South Korea in the Perspective of a Filipino Expatriate

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Day Trip to Switzerland in Korea at Edelweiss Swiss Theme Village

If you want to go to Switzerland, go to Korea!

I repeat, if you want to go to Switzerland, go to Korea!

Sounds absurd right? But that’s true, because in Korea, there’s a Swiss Theme Village called Edelweiss.

Entrance to Edelweiss Swiss Theme Village

As the name of the park suggests, this village is all about one of the most lovable countries in the world, Switzerland! I mean who wouldn’t love a country where you can see beautiful lakes, interesting villages and most of all high peaks of the alps? I love to go to Switzerland, but for the time being, let me suffice myself with a small replica of Switzerland at Edelweiss.

Edelweiss Swiss Theme Park is located at Gapyeong, the same city that houses other remarkable tourist spots like Petite France, Nami Island and Garden of the Morning Calm. I have been to all of these places in Gapyeong, but just when I thought I had the fair share of the tourist spots in this city, I never really knew about Edelweiss until a friend dragged me to go there during the National Foundation holiday of Korea. I found it interesting, so I gave it a go.

To go to Edelweiss Swiss Theme Village, you must take a train and get off at Cheongpyeong Station. This is the nearest train station to Edelweiss. If not for the Free Shuttle bus, going to Edelweiss would be quite challenging and at the same time expensive. Taxi fare would cost around 20,000 Korean Won from Cheongpyeong Station up to the village. But don’t worry guys, you can avail the free shuttle bus, you just have to take note of the schedule so you can get the free ride. However, the shuttle bus only operates on weekends and public holidays though. If you go there on weekdays, you may need to take a taxi. The schedule for free shuttle bus for weekends and holidays from Cheongpyeong Station to Edelweiss is at 9:30, 11:00, 13:00 and 15:00.


This is how the free shuttle bus of Edelweiss looks like

When you arrive at the theme park, you will be greeted with the beautiful and colorful buildings all related to the style of Switzerland. When you look to the right, you will see the breathtaking view of the mountains, yes, you read it right, the view of the mountains because the village is located in a very high altitude that you can even see the mountains below.

The ticket office is located right at the gate of the village (duh!!! It’s a no brainer..lol). It was such a welcoming ambiance because of the presence of the cute bears in the room, but the stuff toys are for sale. There are also other souvenirs like scented candles and other stuff that would remind you about Swiitzerland and Edelweiss. Entrance fee is 10,000 won for adults 20 yrs old and above, 6,000 won for students and 5,000 won for 13 years old and below,

The start of the course of the village


A sweet young Korean lady welcomed us as we entered the Swiss Village, a Swiss themed café called Thats Coffee was the first thing we saw inside. Since it’s almost lunchtime, we took our lunch first. And guess what, they offered Swiss food inside, oh what a coincidence. My friends settled for pasta salad, and since I saw a lot of green leafy vegetables in the salad, I had Hotdog instead and fresh milk. The café is in a perfect location because when you look out of the window, you’ll see the beautiful view outside. On the second floor of the building, there’s a small coffee museum, for me it looks like a cellar because there are what looks like sacks of coffee beans, but I guess it’s for display. There are also stories and drawings and dioramas all about the production of coffee in the ancient days.

Thats Coffee located right in front of the entrance
After we had our Swiss Themed lunch, we did not waste any more time, we immediately explored the village. Our first stop was the Sheep Farm. However, I was a little bit disappointed because those are not real sheep. I thought there were live sheep happily grazing in the grass, but those were not even green grasses. The sheep farm is just an area where you can see two fake sheep in the field of beautiful and colorful flowers. Now that would make a good photo zone.

Swiss Sheep Farm

The village has different buildings and each building has a theme. On the right side of the road are the different museums and theme building where everybody is free to enter. On the left side of the road, there are residential houses, and I mean real houses. There are people actually living in this village, so you may notice that some of the house are gated and locked, that means, you are not supposed to enter there. The real head turners though are the flowers in the windows and in the side of the road. I presume it’s the flowers of Switzerland. I am not good when it comes to flowers, but whatever it is, they sure are great addition to make the place really look like Switzerland.

Inside the Swiss Theme village


The first building we invaded was Love and Wine Building. When we purchased the ticket to the village, they gave us a note card where we can write a love letter or a message. At the Love building, there’s a tree where you should pin that love note. I am not sure what the vital role of this in a relationship but couples are doing it. We had fun vandalizing the walls of the museum because we were allowed to do so, on the second floor, there’s a wine museum. There’s a set up for wine party and a diorama of the process of making a wine from harvesting up to the fermentation.

The wine museum

We then visited the Switzerland Story, a building which tells the story of Switzerland, did you get that? In this building, there’s a big wind musical instrument. There were several people taking turn to blow that instrument and there’s actually sound coming out of the instrument. I could have tried that but I just imagined how many people tried to blow that thing so I passed. There’s also an archery and people just played with the bow and arrow, some used it as a props. But we enjoyed wearing the Swiss Ornaments including Santa’s beard for a photo opportunity.

Switzerland Story

Next was this building called Heidi Cheese. It’s a building that tells a story of Cheese presenting the Cheese ambassador to Switzerland, Heidi. It’s actually a cheese museum in the guise of Heidi memorial center. There are memorabilia of our beloved childhood character Heidi. I felt a little nostalgic because Heidi was part of my childhood. So it’s not really more about the cheese but more of Heidi.

Heidi Cheese


Remember Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? It’s what I first saw when we entered the Swiss Chocolate Museum. It has the same concept as the Cheese building, but this time, it’s all about….. guess what…. Chocolate!!!! Although I am more of a cheese lover than chocolates, I find the story of chocolates more interesting. There were stories about how Chocolates became part of religious rituals of the ancestors and different interesting facts.

Chocolate Museum

I think my favorite was the Santa Village because it reminds me of the most important day of the year, Christmas!!! There’s a big Christmas tree and the background music was all Christmas songs and there were fake snowflakes and couples were kissing under the Christmas tree with the Christmas light. I felt the spirit of Christmas in that room, and it’s just what, October? If ever you want to feel Christmas any day of the year, Santa Village will give it to you because it’s Christmas all year round in this part of the world.

Santa Village


And for Everybody’s favorite, the Bern Bear. There’s a huge bear you can hug inside this building and you can take photo with him without any complaints. The cuteness will never fade and the charm will never go away. While there were not a lot of actual teddy bears in the building, you can just take photos with the standfies of Swiss bears and remain cute for the rest of your life.

Bern Bear

What is amazing with all these buildings is that, you enter the building through the door on the ground level, and you exit on the second level and there’s amazing view waiting for you outside. The Milk Cow farm is one of the examples. Again, there’s no actual cow, there’s no actual milk and there’s no actual farm. Only two fake milking cows and two mascots perfect for couple selfies.

Cows Milk farm

So far, those buildings are the highlights of the Swiss Village. Other houses are closed because some people actually lived there, so it’s kind of a private place. But there are other interesting places like Fountain Square, it looks like a garden or some sort but it’s just a small area though.

Garden Fountain

There’s also a LOVE square where you can take photo with your partner on the big heart shape decorated with colorful flowers. There’s also big letters that spell LOVE, a perfect spot for photo with the beautiful scenery as your background. You will surely LOVE that.

Love Square


We spent a good five hours in the Swiss Village. It was already 4 pm when we decided to go home. However, the schedule of free shuttle bus from Edelweiss to Cheongpyeong Station is at 10:10, 12:00, 14:00 and 17:30. Either we wait for one hour and a half or we commute back to Cheongpyeong Station to save us some time. The problem was, there’s no bus stop near the Swiss village, so the best way to go back to Cheongpyeong Station is to take a taxi. There’s a problem again, unless you know how to call a taxi, there’s no way you can get one. So our last option was to find the nearest bus station so we could at least take a bus. We didn’t expect that the search for the nearest bus station would make us walk for more than 30 minutes and more than 2 Kilometers. To add insult to the injury, we passed through several villages that look like a ghost town to me because I didn’t see a single human life there, only fierce dogs barking at the noisy strangers. To lighten up the burden, we just threw jokes, talked and laughed as we trek down the mountain to find “the nearest bus station”. But it was not only dogs that challenged us on our search, even snakes. I almost, for the life of me, had a heart attack when a snake crossed the street just a few meters away from us. The poor little thing was left lifeless when a car passed and hit as it slithered towards the other side of the road. That was a relief though. So if you don’t want to battle with the dogs and snakes or walk more than 2 kilometers in the mountainous remote area of Gapyeong, don’t take a bus from Edelweiss to Cheongpyeong Station. I suggest you either call a taxi or wait for the schedule of free Shuttle Bus.

All in all, it was a good, memorable and awesome experience. I can’t take the view from the village out of my mind, maybe I’m in love with the place. My only suggestion to the administrator of Edelweiss Swiss Theme Village is to make a way to make it accessible to the commuters. I hope there’s a bus stop at the entrance of the village or even a taxi waiting area. The free shuttle bus is good, but it’s only available on weekend and Holidays. Overall, good job for coming up with this awesome theme park.  I just hope someday I can go to Switzerland, like the real Switzerland and live my life the Swiss way.

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