Tuesday, September 29, 2015

It’s Halloween Season at Everland Korea

Entrance to Everland Amusement park
Entrance to Everland Amusement park
If there’s one thing I like about Everland, it is so big when it comes to seasonal celebrations. It doesn’t stay that way for the rest of the year; in fact, there’s an area as big as football field specifically installed to suit different occasions. When I went there, pumpkins and spooky stuff were everywhere, obviously, the park highlights the Halloween Season that time.

Everland Korea
Dealing with the pumpkins with my brother at Everland

As backgrounder, Everland is the biggest theme park in South Korea. Actually, “theme park” is an understatement because aside from the themed attractions, Everland has all the fun stuff in the world starting from animals, to outdoor attractions and the natural beauty of the place. Seeing that it is situated in the hills of Yongin, you can expect to see the stunning beauty as it is being enveloped by trees. It is very beautiful especially during the autumn. The only setback is that, it is too far from Seoul that it would take so much time to travel to Everland. But it’s all worth it. Just imagine the fun you can get with the thrill rides especially its world-renowned wooden roller coaster ride.

During the late September up to the month of October, Everland celebrates Halloween. It’s so ironic because Halloween in Korea is not a big deal. There’s no trick or treat, no costume party, no pumpkin and no weird looking creatures… no, not at all. I have no problem with that because I personally don’t celebrate Halloween, but I do love scary things. I like horror movies, I like creepy stories and everything morbid. When I heard that there’s a “Walking Dead Square”, I was so excited because I know that it’s a compliment to my favorite TV series “The Walking Dead”. So I went with my brother to the “Walking Dead Square” of Everland just to check it out.

Walking Dead Square everland
The brother at the Walking Dead Square

If you think that this is all about Rick, Michone, Glen, Daryl and the rest of the characters of TWD, you are wrong. The only appearance of these characters are in this TV poster that promotes the season 6 premiere of the show this coming October.

With the casts of The Walking Dead
With the casts of The Walking Dead

So what is this all about?

Well, apparently, there are several haunted houses, horror maze and some make up artists that will “zombify” you. There are extra charges of about 5,000 KRW for these though, but we decided to skip those because first it has extra charge, and second there’s a long line in them. We only have limited time so we went to free places at the walking dead square just to experience it.

Zombies or walkers(as they call it in the TV series) are everywhere in this area. Just beware because sometimes they will intimidate you. The only way you can get away with them is to act out with them and don’t show that you are afraid because these zombies will haunt you.

Walkers attack

Aside from the Walking Dead Square, the display of pumpkins is almost omnipresent in the park. Of course, Halloween is not without pumpkins. There are also other spooky stuff scattered all over the place for a photo opportunity. I find them all cute than scary though, so kids will surely enjoy the experience and will treat Halloween as a fun celebration.

Halloween Decoration at Everland
Halloween Decoration at Everland

But Everland is not just all about the season. The theme may change according to the season but there are other attractions that will constantly entertain people all throughout the year. One of my favorites is actually the Animal Wonder World. Not everyday you can see animals like Kangaroo, porcupines, boa constrictor, owls, orangutan, etc. I enjoyed my trip to the animal world, There’s also a garden where you can see variety of plants and flowers.

garden at everland
Garden at Everland

I also like the party parade. It was so much fun to watch especially the performance and the vibrant colors of the costumes and the interesting characters presented.

party parade everland
One of the performers at the parade at Everland

At Everland, there are also a variety of food stalls where you can buy something to fill in your stomach. Don’t expect too much of the food though because although there are diverse type of food available, it is not what you really think it is. It could be a Chinese food but not really the authentic one. Or an Italian spaghetti but not that type you really wanted. Or an American burger that’s not really appetizing. In short, don’t go there just to eat. LOL

Anyways, you can actually shop inside the park. There are literally shopping centers inside. I just don’t know if it is way expensive there, but yeah, you can buy some clothes there.
For those who want to experience Halloween Season in Korea, Everland is the place to be. You can still catch the Halloween party until October.

How to go to Everland Amusement Park of Korea?

Everland is located at this address:
199, Everland-ro, Pogok-eup, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do
경기도 용인시 처인구 포곡읍 에버랜드로 199

If you want to go via subway, take Yongin Ever Line and get off at Jeondae Everland Station. Go to Exit Number 3 and take the shuttle bus to Everland.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Itinerary for Gapyeong City Day Tour

The Gapyeong City Bus Tour
The Gapyeong City Bus Tour

Gapyeong is a city in Korea that is located in the province of Gyeonggi-do. If there’s one thing that this city is proud of, it’s the beautiful landscape. In this city you can see one of the famous tourist attractions in South Korea, and that is the Nami Island.

But aside from Nami Island, Gapyeong has a lot more to offer to the tourists. Don’t you know that in one day, you can actually visit up to 3 tourist destinations in Gapyeong? That means hitting three birds in one stone. However, if you want to achieve this, you must be very particular with your time. Gapyeong is almost 2 hours away from Seoul, you don’t want to spend your time on transportation, so you must carefully plan your travel including the time.

Here’s the good news!!!

There’s a city tour available for you so you can easily go to the different tourist destinations in Gapyeong. For only 5,000 Korean won, a bus will take you to these awesome places. Please take note that entrance to these places is not included, so you need to prepare extra money too for food and entrance fee.

In order to maximize your time in visiting Gapyeong city, here is my suggested itinerary.

9:00 AM – Gapyeong Station

You need to be at Gapyeong Station, on or before 9:00 AM. The first bus will arrive at 9:10 AM and you need to take that bus so that you will not waste any more time.

How to go to Gapyeong Station?

It would take around 2 hours to go to Gapyeong Station from the Seoul Station.  You may refer to the subway map on how to go to Gapyeong Station. A mobile app of Seoul subway map can also help you get the fastest way to your destination via subway train. The time you need to spend to travel to Gapyeong Station depends on where you are coming from. You must be very early because you need to be at the Gapyeong Station on or before 9:00 AM

Fare Cost:  1,850 KRW

9:00 AM to 9:10 AM – Wait for the City Tour Bus

You may need to ask around where to wait for the city bus tour.  Remember, you only have 10 minutes to locate the waiting area for the city tour bus. It’s just outside the station, so it is not easy to locate. You should buy the ticket from the driver. This ticket will allow you to hop on or hop off for an unlimited number of times within that day. Just show your ticket and the city tour bus will admit you. Bus interval is once every hour, it is important you have the schedule of the bus too.

Ticket Cost: 5,000 KRW

NOTE: If for example you were not able to catch the city bus tour at Gapyeong Station or if it is already full, you can ask around where to buy the ticket for the bus and head on to Nami Island through taxi, don’t wait for the next bus because the next bus will arrive at 11:10 AM. You can just use the bus ticket for the second stop. You may need to pay around 3,000 won for the taxi fare though.

9:10 AM to 9:15 AM – Travel to First stop: Nami Island

Depending on the traffic and other circumstances, it would take around 5 minutes from Gapyeong Station to Nami Island.

9:15 AM to 12:30 PM – Nami Island

The Nami Island
The Nami Island

Nami Island is an imaginary country. It is an isle in the form of a half moon. There are a lot of things to do at Nami Island. You can go biking, or dine in at the restaurants or just appreciate the beauty of the island.

CLICK HERE for my tips so you can have a convenient trip to Nami Island.

Admission Fee: 10,000 won (8,000 won discounted price)
Extra expenses (Food/bike rentals/etc):  around 15,000 won

NOTE: You must leave Nami Island on or before 1 pm. The City tour bus will arrive at exactly 1:15 PM, you must catch the bus, or else, it will leave you and you need to wait two more hours for the next bus.

1:15 PM – 1:40 PM: Travel to second stop: Petite France

The road from Nami Island to Petite France is never easy. It’s like a roller coaster ride because the road is as crooked as intestine, so you better brace yourself. The breath taking view may help you ease that out though, because you will get to witness the beauty of the rivers and the mountains of Gapyeong.

1:40 PM -3:30 PM Petite France

Petite France
Petite France

Petite France is a theme park in South Korea which features buildings, memorial hall and The Little Prince. There are shows available also like the hand puppet show, concerts, and whatnot. You can read my previous post about Petite France HERE.

Entrance Fee: 8,000 won
Extra expenses (food/souvenirs/etc): around 15,000 won

Note: Please leave Petite France on or before 3:30 PM. The next bus will arrive at exactly 3:40 PM. You only have 10 minutes to walk from the park to the waiting area.

3:40 PM -4:30 PM Travel to third stop: The Garden of the Morning Calm

4:30 PM to 6:15 PM – The Garden of Morning Calm

And for your last stop, you have one hour and half to spend and enjoy the beautiful landscape of this garden. Here you will see the rare species of flowers and trees that you can only see in Korea. If you are a nature lover, you will enjoy this place.

Entrance Fee: 9,000 Korean Won

6:30 PM – Take city bus tour back to Gapyeong Terminal.

In total, the amount you will spend on this trip ranges from 50,000 Won to 60,000 won. You can successfully do this if you are good with time management and you are always on the go.

Enjoy your trip.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Little Visit to Petite France in Korea

Petite France Korea
Entrance to Petite France

The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre Museum, The Cathedral of Notre Dame, Chanel, Dior, and the world’s most-loved novel The Little Prince, all these and more are the contribution of France to the world. No wonder why France is one of the most interesting places to visit.

Most of us are still dreaming to go to France, but for those who are here in Korea, don’t worry because France came to Korea to meet you. Yes, it’s true. There’s a place in Gapyeong in the province of Gyeongido  called “Petite France”, it is a French cultural village that displays statues, infrastructures, fictional characters and anything related to France.

One of the most remarkable displays in the place is the statue of Little Prince. Who doesn’t love the adorable Little Prince? He is a character in the famous novel who apparently loved by the Koreans. You can see a lot of things connected to The Little Prince.

Human size statue of Little Prince in Petite France
Human size statue of Little Prince in Petite France

I have visited several Traditional French houses, you can see dolls and figurines everywhere. There are scary dolls, there are cute ones and of course there are adorable ones that entertained us with a short marionette show. I enjoyed that show.

The marionette show at Petite France
The marionette show at Petite France

The odd looking and colorful buildings are also pleasing to the eyes. It made me feel that I was really in France.

buildings in Petite France
buildings in Petite France

Of course the Eiffel Tower can’t be taken out of the equation when we talk about France. The famous infrastructure is there too, well at least for a photo opp.

eiffel tower petite france
eiffel tower petite france

There’s antique house too where you can see French style plates on display and other items like figurines and whatnot. All of these are very France.

French items on display
French items on display

Because of its unique appearance, Petite France was also a shooting location of some famous Korean drama series such as Beethoven Virus, Secret Garden, Running Man and You Who Came from the Star.

How to go to Petite France in Korea?

Petite France is located at this address:

1063, Hoban-ro, Cheongpyeong-myeon, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do
경기도 가평군 청평면 호반로 1063

But if you go there via public transportation, get off at Gapyeong Station (Gyeongchun Line). When you exit the station, you can buy a ticket for Gapyeong City Bus Tour for only 5,000 won. This City Bus Tour will take you to Gapyeong’s tourist destinations like Nami Island, The Garden of Morning Calm and Petite France. You can choose to get off at Petite France. If you have ample time, you can actually visit all other places available in the city tour.

Entrance Fee at Petite France is 8,000 won.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Missed Flight

Jose Agtual of Pangasinan, 55 years old, was so excited that night of September 13, 2015 because finally, after almost 30 years of staying and working in Korea, he’ll going to meet his family again. He recalled how that very same Incheon Airport welcomed him 30 years ago and opened the opportunity to work in South Korea. Jose started as a legal worker, however, with his desire to continue to support the education of his 4 kids, he decided to extend his stay by using a different name. Because of the fear that the immigration will discover his true identity, he stayed in South Korea undocumented, which means giving up the chance to visit home in the Philippines. He continued to work under illegal alien status until his 4 kids finished school. To his family, Jose is a very good father because of his sacrifices and his continued support to them.

The distance and the long years of being away has rocked his relationship with his family. So he decided to just stay for one last year in Korea and go back home for good and fix the problem with his family. But fate has another plan for him, he was lately diagnosed with Acute Hepatitis, a disease that needs immediate medical attention. Some of his relatives and friends here in Korea were eager to admit him to the hospital for medication. But Jose decided to go back home because he wanted his family to take care of him. Luckily, the doctor gave him the certificate to travel to the Philippines as per his request.

To cut the long story short, Jose booked a flight back to the Philippines despite his illness. According to his friends who went with him to the airport, he was still able to walk that time, he can even talk and he was strong. He brought with him some goods as his pasalubong to his family and a pocket money. Because of his medical condition, Jose was escorted by his friends and the flight attendants to the emergency departure area. But before he stepped up to the plane, he signaled to the personnel who escorted him that he was about to die. The management decided to not allow him to ride the plane and he was instead brought to the emergency area of the airport. His friends then decided to bring him to the nearest hospital in the area, but the doctors of the hospital told them that they could no longer save him and he was declared dead at 9:20 PM due to cardiac arrest.

The plane went to the Philippines without Jose because he died. He could have waited for at least 5 few more hours to see his family, but he was overwhelmed and succumbed to death right before his scheduled flight. His last words while his friends brought him to the hospital were all about gratefulness for his help, he uttered “Salamat, magkikita pa tayo……” to his friends.

The Philippine embassy is now trying to contact the family of Jose and his remain is now in the morgue. Jose, in his deathbed, is still facing one last challenge, and that is the Financial Challenge. He needs at least 4 Million won for his body to be released in the morgue, and another money(God knows how much) so that his body will be sent to his family to the Philippines, and we all know that this will never go cheap. Jose could no longer face this challenge, but we can make a difference by being part of his solution. If we could all work for this together, we can send him back home to his family, after all, that’s all what he wanted, to be taken cared of by his family, because for almost 30 years that he was here in Korea, he never got to experience that. He braved the storm alone here in Korea, he was alone when he was sick, he was alone when he was lonely, he was alone all the time he stayed in Korea. Thanks to his friend who appreciated him and stand by him. But he was looking for the care of his family, that is why despite his medical condition, he chose to go back home because he wanted to feel the care of family. But now that he is dead, we can become an instrument to at least grant his wish. Let his family bury him and see him just for once. Jose could no longer see his family, but at least we help him make  his last wish to be with his family come true.

To Sir Jose, Rest in Peace. Now, you can finally rest.