The Han River
Alongside Hongdae (See Previous Blog) this is another must-see location:
The Han River first caught my interest while watching a Kdrama. I don't remember which one, but they kept talking about the Han River and initially I wrote it off as some river in Korea but the more and more Kdramas I watched, the more and more I realized that this wasn't just some river but something of a big deal in Korea. So, off to the Google Gods I went! And holy sheepies Sherlock, is it a VERY big deal in Korea and for good reason! Not including the fact that it is steeped in history, the Han River is beautiful in it's own right! For anyone like me who is planning their trip to Korea and want to make sure that you see Korea's most beautiful sights, this river should probably make the number one must-see spot on your list. You have only to look at the below picture to see why but if you still aren't convinced, continue reading to find out the many things the Han River has to offer any traveler!
The actual name for the Han River is the Namhangang but broken down: Namhan means South Han & Gang means River thus its the South Han River. The reverse title being Bukhangang which translates to Bukhan meaning North Han but this is a mere coincidence and doesn't reflect the geographical division between North and South Korea. (It's a lot like the Blue and White Nile, same river just different geographical locations)
The above map illustrates the four major rivers in South Korea with the Han River being the most northerly. The Han River originates in Mount Geumgang which lies in North Korea and travels approximately 319 miles southwest before being deposited into the Yellow Sea. It travels through many districts and passes under 27 bridges however, most of the touristy sites of the Han River can be found within Sudogwon (the three major cities of S. Korea; Seoul, Incheon & Gyeonggi).
The first thing I plan to do is go on the Seoul City Night Tour. It has two options: the single-decker bus ride or the double-decker bus ride. Each has its own individual tourist spots but the general idea is the same. It travels along the Han River and crosses some of the bridges as well as takes you to the N Seoul Tower (below)
|N Seoul Tower *Picture is not mine*|
*gushes for a minute* Seriously, look at that..is that not incredibly pretty? *Focuses back on the Han River*
The tour also goes to the Namdaemun Market which is also a must-see spot as it's the largest traditional market in Korea. The tour runs for about an hour and thirty minutes but the greatest thing about the tour is that its so cheap! It costs 5,000 won (approximately $4.50 USD) for adults on the single-decker bus! It's 10,000 won (approximately $9.00 USD) for the double-decker bus but lets be serious, where in America could you get a tour ride that lasts that long for $4.50?? Yeah...that's what I'm saying!
So very impressive...
The second thing I plan on seeing is the Banpo Bridge.
|*Not My Picture*|
This bridge is one of the major tourist attractions for the Han River. Watch the above video to see why. The Banpo Bridge is actually located on TOP of another bridge, the Jamsu Bridge. This bridge actually serves a dual purpose; between being beautiful and being ecofriendly, the bridge is also mechanically efficient...? Let me explain; during the rainy season the water level of the Han River rises and can sometimes flood the Jamsu Bridge and when this happens, the Banpo Bridge is there to allow continued access between the two connecting districts of Seocho & Yongsan. Although this bridge also performs water shows during the day, the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain light show is definitely a the main attraction. For my duration in Korea, I would find it very hard not to see the light show every night...*envisions watching the light show & listening to Kim Ji Soo's "Goldfish" on the iPod* Now I wanna go even more!!
However, if you don't just want to experience the Han River from the riverbank (or you're like me and you want to do both) another notable activity to take part in is the Ferry Cruises which take place in Yeouido, Incheon & Jamsil. You can choose between taking a two-way ferry ride or a one-way ferry ride (if there's a group) at the three terminals. The price ranges between 13,000 won and 65,000 won (approximately $12.00 & $60.00 USD) depending on what ferry ride you want to go on. There are several ferry cruise themes to chose from that range from basic sight seeing to buffet specials, live concerts and bird feeding. Now I'm not too thrilled on the bird feeding as there's a large statistical chance that I could be pooped on but it's nice to have the option, especially if birds are...you know...your thing.
But if you're not too water friendly, as some people aren't, there is PLENTY to do outside of taking a ferry ride! The Han River is surrounded by bike paths and walkways that travel alongside the river and connect several parks--The Hangang Parks. The Hangang Parks are actually a series of parks that travel along the Han River and are actually under a lot of construction right now due to the The Hangang Renaissance Project which will make the Han River's surrounding parks into the cultural highlight of Korea with a specific theme for each location. The Hangang Parks also cater to many different festivals--which if you know me personally, you'd know I'm all about the festivals!
Actually, I want to take a second and stop to give props to the Korean Government and it's people for the undertaking that it has taken up in not only restoring their country. In recent years the Korean government has taking large leaps in cleaning up their waterways, their streets and creating a more ecofriendly environment that caters to clean living whilst instilling pride for their country. Even American newspapers have Noted the amazing job Korea is doing in cleaning up their country. So once again, mad props to the Korean Government! Ok...back to the Han River...
One of the locations I want to see for myself is the Yeouido Waterside Fountains which is located at the Yeouido Hangang Park. Granted I also saw this in a Kdrama but the inner child in me would have liked this place regardless--wait, I get to roll up my jeans and play around in a shallow fountain and not get yelled at?Count me in! The fountain is shown below:
|*Again, not my picture*|
The other location I would like to see is the Jamsil Hangang Park which has an underground shopping mall!
The Han River's surrounding areas have several scenic Cafes that are notably worth visiting. The Cloud or Sunset Cafes are of particular interest and tend to be relatively busy at night due to the amazing view of the Banpo Bridge (remember the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain light show I walked about earlier..yeah..perfect way to watch the show!).
And one last thing! I don't know much about the bike pathways that travel along the Han River (as I've never been to Korea) but I came across this Blog that illustrates the many biking paths available, along with videos and first hand accounts. "Mark" makes even me want to rent a bike and go biking along the amazing river that is the Han River. Not to mention that the site shares a lot of first hand experience with many of the highlights of Korea, so definitely check it out.
Although this is all a part of me planning my trip to Korea, I hope I have given some new and fresh ideas to those who are thinking of travelling abroad to Korea. The Han River is an amazing location with many things to do and see so definitely check out the Han River!
Today's Blog Artist & Drama Winners are....
*Drum Roll Please*
I accidentally found this group on iTunes while searching for more Jin Jung Woon songs and almost immediately this group caught my attention because I've never actually seen a Kpop group that consisted of two guys and a girl. I see mash-ups where there's a female or male person being brought in as a featuring artist but never an actual group that consists of the two genders. So, needless to say, that was a treat! At first I had purchased only the song "Star" which featured Jin Jung Woon and TVXQ's Changmin but the more and more I listened to the song-the more interesting 8Eight became. They've got two beautiful voices for the ballad singing and a rapper in the group. Their songs all blend well together and makes for easy and relaxing listening.
Plus...look at Lee Hyun, isn't his hair absolutely AWESOME?!?!?!
The video/song I have for them below is by far my favorite and it's great that it was paired with a fanmade MV of multiple Kdramas, So enjoy 8Eight! Sadly, however, I think this group is no longer still together, which is a shame...I wanna give them some postmortem props!
A Gentleman's Dignity is an amazing...amazing drama. It ranks pretty high on my favorite drama list which is pretty hard to do, if I may say so myself. The first thing I want to illustrate about this Kdrama is the hilariousness of it! These four men have got to be the best fake-on-screen-close-knit friendship I've ever witnessed in KDramas and they pull it off so well that I can only imagine that these men have become really good friends in real life! The Kdrama is about four men who are entering their forties and don't have much to show for it besides great careers. The focal point of the drama is watching these four...rascals/troublemakers fall in love with their respective partners. But it's not just these four men that make the show worth watching, I gotta give props (I'm beginning to think that's the word of the day is "Props") to Kim Ha-Neul who plays Seo Yi Soo (the main love interest) her quirkiness highlights these gentlemen beautifully!
Watch the Trailer>>
As always, I hope everyone stays healthy and happy! Until next time...