Day 4: I·Seoul·U, DMZ, and Gangnam
Day four was the only rainy day we had in Seoul. Our past exchange student Young Hee set up a tour for us and her two friends (Hun and Paul) at the DMZ on Day 4. For the DMZ tour, we meet the bus and guide at a hotel around Seoul City Hall, where the I·Seoul·U sign is located. So before going to the bus, we stopped to get a picture at the sign.
The ride to the DMZ seemed a little long, but almost the whole way you could see the shores of North Korea. The tour consisted of three stops: the 3rd tunnel+museum, the Dorasan Station that once connected the countries, and the observation building to see the demilitarized zone. One of the best parts of the tour was our tour guide, George, that learned English from British YouTube videos. We thought his accent was hilarious, but not in a mean way. As George would say: "Annnnddd, so yeah," the observation building is very dismal if you are going on an overcast day. The tunnel was interesting. First, you watch a movie in a museum to learn about the relationship and history between North and South Korea. Then, you go into a tunnel that North Korea built to invade South Korea. Just a warning you could be in the best shape of your life coming back to the top of the tunnel will definitely ware you out. After going to the tunnel, you will then make your way to the Dorasan Train Station. I thought the station was the most interesting part of the tour. The station seemed to be remodeled by the same people who built the airport. Throughout the station was pictures of the meeting between the two Korean leaders, and flowers at the foot of each picture. To me, It showed an eagerness from South Korea to have peace between the countries. The tour overall was okay. It was not my favorite thing we did in Seoul, but if you are interested in a guided tour and the history of North & South Korea, I recommend doing it.
When you come back to Seoul from the DMZ tour, you stop at a gift shop in Gangnam. You have the option to leave the tour bus and go your separate ways since we were in Gangnam. Our newly found friends, Hun and Paul, take us on a little tour through a park and then to eat in an underground mall. We did not explore this part of Seoul too much because of the rain and tiredness. So after that, we took a subway back to our Airbnb and rested.
Day 5: Insadong and THE WEDDING!
Insadong is a cute little neighborhood in Seoul where all the souvenir shops are. You can buy the basic tourist souvenirs along the main street. Also, side note, the salesman do negotiate, especially if you use cash. Along the main street are smaller side streets. These streets are where you can take cute pictures. This neighborhood is where the "Poop Cafe" is if you are into that. To miss the crowd, I recommend going in the morning just before the shops open at 10 am. This will allow you to enjoy the peacefulness of the neighborhood. We stopped by the neighborhood and did a little bit of souvenir shopping before the wedding we had to attend later in the day.
The Wedding between Young Hee and Kahn was the main reason for us visiting Seoul. The trip to get to the wedding was pretty hectic since it was on the outside of the city. But we finally got there with seconds to spare. The wedding and Young Hee was beautiful. The location was incredible. The venue was in a mountainous area at sunset. We could not understand what was going on, because it was all in Korean. It was like an American wedding, where the bride "walks down the aisle" with her dad. They stood under the arch and got married. Then they were presented and walked towards the crowd. Something that I found interesting was that the bride and groom don't share their first kiss until they walk down the aisle. They wait till they are away from the parents and family. Some things that were different from an American wedding was the crowd, reception, and after party. At a Korean Wedding, you invite everyone you know and maybe someone you just met. The idea is, the more people that show up, the more monetary gifts you will receive. So, there was a large crowd at the wedding. There were 6 or 8 rows of chairs where the family sat. The parents of the bride and groom sat in chairs that were closer to the bride and groom. The rest of the crowd would sit or stand behind the family. At a Korean wedding, you can go before the wedding to eat, and when the food runs out, it runs out. The reception is just a small party afterward where the bride and groom thank their guests, with little traditions like the first dance and such. After the reception, the real party begins. The bride and groom invite their friends out to another location, without parent and grandparents, and have a party. We left the party early and went back to the Airbnb for the night.
If you are planning a trip and have not used Airbnb yet, here is a link to use to get a great discount (up to $55) on your stay! https://www.airbnb.com/c/shelbybreek?currency=USD. This gives me a $30 credit towards my next stay! So if you use it THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Thank Y’all, for taking the time out of your day to read this post! I hope you have an amazing day!
Love, Shelby ♡