How we survived a hot summer in Seoul

I’ve been in Korea for almost three years and yet I am still surprised how hot the weather here can be. It is ironic how Koreans teased me of being used to this kind of heat because I am from a tropical country, the Philippines. Little do they know, that I feel quite burned when strolling outside in this country. I easily sweat because of the humidity. July is actually the peak of summer here in South Korea, so expect extreme hot weather that rise up to 34°C. The nights though are still a little cool. Anyway, this month, the Korean Tourism Organization asked us Wow Korea Supporters to go on a summer trip for free! Yes, free! Not only that, we get to choose which places we would like to visit! I made very nice plans because I was one of the leaders of the group. I prepared travel plans such as surfing trip to Yangyang, Water Sports at Gapyeong, and a Leisure tour at Chuncheon. Unfortunately, they didn’t allow us to pursue our plan because it turned out that our trip for August will be in Gapyeong! Also, my team mates were a little difficult to grasp so we ended up taking a trip just around Seoul. The image below is our picnic course in Seoul.

picnic trip in Seoul course

picnic trip in Seoul course

First off, my team met at the subway station – Yeouinaru Station (line 5, exit 2). A little walk towards 63 building will lead you to Yeouido-Hangang Park where you can enjoy various activities such as Bike Rental, Duck Boat, and the E-land River Cruise. I tried to reserve tickets for the river cruise but the lady at the ticket booth told me that it is better to buy tickets minutes before I take the cruise because sometimes the boat doesn’t leave when there aren’t enough passengers.

After strolling around Hangang-River Park, we went to the other side of Yeouido (exit 2 direction) – off to Supia Swimming Pool. Since it was a picnic, we really didn’t mind looking for good restaurants instead we were more interested in searching for marts or small shops that sell food like dosirak, kimbap, and even watermelon. Unfortunately, there aren’t many marts apart from the mini-stop and a few street food carts near the highway. It was almost 1pm and we were famished, so we settled on buying a box of chicken at a Mini-stop near Supia Water Park. I regretted bringing my team there, the old ladies (ajuhmma) watching over the place weren’t very friendly. In fact, the moment we sat down the chicken place, one of the ladies turned off the air conditioner! It was freaking hot outside and obviously, we were almost suffering from heat stroke – yet, she didn’t bother! One of my team mates said, the old lady must have done that to shoo us away. Sadly, she doesn’t want to entertain foreigners like us. Moreover, one of my friends had to charge her phone. Usually, in almost any store here in Korea, they are very willing to charge your phone battery; however, when another team mate of mine approach the lady, she shook her head and gave a lecture about energy conservation! We keep mum, then suddenly she said, “Okay, I will charge it for 1,000won!” Really? We already bought food in your place, you turned off the air-conditioner, and here you are asking for a dollar to charge my friend’s battery! I got pissed off after hearing it. So I kept complaining to my other team mates about the situation – in English. In the end, she said, “I’ll let you charge for free because you are foreigners” It didn’t end there, the old lady asked for another dollar when my friend asked for just one fork for her Ramyeon! What a crazy store! I will never recommend you guys to visit that place. It’s a mini-stop below and a chicken place/coffee place on the second floor. Instead,

I’d definitely recommend you all to just bring a picnic box when you are planning to spend an afternoon in the park.

The place is deserted. If not, the marts are over priced! The chicken we ate wasn’t delicious. *Sigh* The hot summer sun continued to shine brightly at past 1pm, so my team decided to eat lunch under the bridge just beside the water park. There, there were many old Korean men and a few women. Most of them were taking a break from biking. Some were fishing and the others were like us, having a picnic beside the river. We had chicken, kimbap, ramyeon and cold drinks for lunch. Not so fancy, but it was enough to keep us energized for the day.

Despite our terrible experience with the old ladies at the mart, we had a wonderful picnic lunch under the bridge. One of the old men turned on his radio and had one popular FM station broadcast. Although the heat was draining our energy, the cool breeze of the wind was bringing it back to us. Now, we were ready to go to our next destination – Yeouido Supia Swimming Pool! The entrance fee was 5,000 won. The water park is located a little far from Yeouinaru Station, exit 2 direction – probably around 20 minutes walk; however, in our case, it took us around 30 minutes because of the heat of the sun. You may want to go to the pool around 5pm if you don’t want to get a sunburn. The park had two big swimming pool – one for little kids and another one for, well, everyone else. There are several things to take note when going to this water park though:

  1. You need to bring a cap if you don’t want to pay for an oversize swimming cap (10,000won adults; 5,000won kids). I assumed that this rule is made to keep the pool clean from hair fall. However, it was just strange when they allowed other people to wear baseball caps inside the pool!
  2. They announce every 20-30 minutes that people has to get out of the pool. Don’t ask me why, I never figured it out because they didn’t do anything (i.e. clean the pool) with the pool.
  3. Overpriced! Overpriced! Overpriced goods being sold inside the water park. So, I suggest you bring everything that you need to enjoy a blissful afternoon.

Supia Water Park looks pretty on the photos though. It was surprising for me to see a number of Koreans getting a tan. I’ve always thought Koreans were afraid of the sun – well, yes, majority of them, yet still it was interesting to see some of them enjoying the sun. Oh, my friends and I had an interesting observation. One of my friends said, “Wow, Koreans are so skinny!” Another team mate of mine replied, “Well, if I were fat, I wouldn’t go to a place like this!” Well, she’s got a point. Contrary to what most people see on media, there are Koreans of various shapes and sizes that exist.

As much as I wanted to swim in the pool, I couldn’t, because ugh girl problems! Grrr! Cielle also wasn’t able to swim in the pool. So, we, instead, tried to shave off the summer heat with a cup of Patbingsu. It was overpriced, but there was nothing else that we could do. I was kind of stupid not to bring my playing cards – haha! It was already past 4 in the afternoon yet it still feels like noon time! Crazy weather! I asked my team if they would still want to ride a bike or do some in-line skating at the park, but I guess it was a terrible idea. So… we changed plans! Also, the river cruise didn’t go because they weren’t enough passenger for the schedule we wanted – 4:40pm. We decided to go to Dongdaemun to search for a good Patbingsu because we were disappointed with the Patbingsu served inside the swimming pool. We couldn’t find the Solbing (설빙) Resto my friends were talking about,

so we ended up at Wicked Snow. And, damn, the bingsu there were indeed wicked :3

After getting cooled down, one of my team mates had to leave for some personal business. So only me, Gita, and Cindi were left. Right in front of Wicked Snow shop was the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. It’s a modern architecture with a very peculiar design. It hosts several exhibits and we actually visited one during this trip – the “You Who Came from the Stars” Production Design Exhibit.  Wed decided to check it out and even asked the counter if we could enter with a discount as the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) is one of the sponsors of this exhibit. It was a difficult transaction. They asked us to call our manager. Fortunately, Manager Sumin possess this awesome charms to give us not only discounts for the exhibit but to actually enter it for free! Thank you Manager! PS. To my fellow Wow Korea Supporters, please always bring a few KTO business cards with you to enjoy this kind of privilege. 😉 On the other hand, you may click on the photos to view it in original size.

There are so many things you can do inside the exhibit area even if you’re not a fan of the drama. Some are for free, but most of them have a little price of around 3000원++ You can take professional photos with the props but you’ll have to pay for it. Yep. So, if you’re an avid fan, make sure to bring a lot of money 😉 There are booths for souvenir items, nail polish, and make-up sessions! They even installed a booth for drinking beer and chicken! (That Marketing –,) Well, my favorite part was nothing special to other people. I was drooling over SBS’ camera – it looked old but it was smooth and awesome! Yep, my broadcomm skills were turned on that time! During the exhibit, all I could think of was the production designs we made during college. What a shame, we can only afford tarps or rent a friends house. And here, just a box which completely looked like a big mansion. Damn. Anyway, my friends and I had a wonderful time inside the exhibit and I think, I would recommend this to you guys. Last day of the exhibit will be on August 15, 2014.

Since we didn’t pay for the exhibit, we decided to splurge on dinner. We ate at a restaurant just inside DDP building – at Misoya to be exact. It was a long and tiring day, and although we had a few changes from the orginal plan, I do hope that my team mates still enjoyed our picnic trip around Seoul.

Thank you KTO! I had a wonderful trip in Seoul 🙂

Travel Budget: 50,000원


One thought on “How we survived a hot summer in Seoul

  1. Pingback: Petite France: Why are Koreans fond of European Architecture? | splurk

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