[MKHtravels] Exploring Korea with the Power Blogger Programme

The Power Blogger Invitation Programme aims to provide a platform for cultural exchange in bilateral media and opportunity to share knowledge and expertise.  MyKpopHuntress was one of the chosen sites for this year’s session, and we were in Seoul and Pyeongchang from 28 November 2016 to 4 December 2016 to meet new people and experience new places and cities. Here are some highlights of our trip, and tips for the next time you decide to visit.

 

Namsan Tower

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If you really are an avid consumer of Korean entertainment culture, you would not miss out on the opportunity to visit the Namsan Tower or also known as the N Seoul Tower. Though there are a few ways to get there, we to get on the cable car (8,500won for a round trip) and enjoyed a splendid view of Seoul on our way up. We went up to the observatory of the tower at 236.7m atop the Namsan Mountain to get a 360 degree panoramic view. The tower has a lot of other attractions such as a museum, roof terrace, lock of love, restaurants and also the souvenir shop.  We also couldn’t miss out on the chance to check out the ‘Sky Restroom’ where we could enjoy spectacular views while we were, err, doing our business.

Paju

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It just takes one hour for you to reach Paju from Seoul, and our first stop was Myung Films Art Center. We were taken to the cinema to catch get a glimpse of a movie produced by the students from the Myung Films Institute with very high-tech projection and sound system. Before heading back, we made a quick stop at Paju Book City comprising a library, gallery secondhand bookstore and a café. Such a short trip to Paju was not enough for us to explore everything we wanted in this magnificent place, so we’ll definitely be back to soak in more of the attractions and architecture.

Gwangjang Market

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Most visitors to Seoul would choose to head straight to Namdaemun or Dongdaemun for some shopping but for a different kind of experience, we would highly recommend you to go to Gwangjang Market, a large traditional market for its delightful atmophere, yummy food and stores selling silk and satins. While we were there we learnt that Malaysians shopped so much there that the shopowners could speak a little bit of Malay and even knew to tailor the kain to 4 meters, perfect for our baju kurung! The Market also offered a variety of food – we tried out a crispy pancake called bindatteok, odeng (fish cake soup),  mayak kimbab (a specialty of Gwangjang Market), mandu (dumplings), kkalguksu (knife cut noodles) and as well as patjuk (Red Bean Porridge as the desserts.

MBK Entertainment

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We couldn’t possibly leave out all the K- entertainment portions of our itinerary! We were brought to one of the biggest record labels in Gangnam, which manages popular groups such us T-ara, Shanon and DIA. We met the group manager and their CEO and had a little discussion session with them on how the entertainment company in Korea works.  We asked about their talents, the recruitment process, and the training journey to becoming an artiste. Event hough we could not meet the groups, we were gifted with signed CDs.

SM Town Studio

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Located in COEX atrium, SM Town Studio is a great attraction for Kpop fans to visit. The building has 5 floor that consists of a studio, café, theater and store. We were taken to the SM Town Studio, where we experienced what it felt like to be a hallyu star for a day! We started with a dance class in which we learned how to dance to EXO’s Dancing King. It was difficult for us with two left feet, but the trainers were so passionate and determined to make decent dancers out of all of us. We were later in the vocal studio where we were given lessons in singing EXO’s Miracles in December. To end the perfect day off, we had a photo shoot in the photo studio with a professional photographer. We were all worn out from the activities but at least now we’ve gotten a very brief glimpse of what the idols go through on a daily basis. Definitely a must-try for all K-pop fans!

MBC World Broadcast Theme Park

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If you are lover of all things K-Drama, you must make a stop at MBC World Theme Park. It is the first broadcasting theme park in Korea where you can enjoy Korean Wave contents. The first zone we went to was Zone C where we took a lot of photos with celebrities in photo booths with different themes from dramas such as ‘My Little television’, ‘Star Street’, ‘I am a Singer’ and ‘We Got Married’. Zone B is the Historical Drama Zone were you can don the traditional costume and time travel to the past. We also had a peak at the real newsroom where the MBC news department is located. There a lot more activities offered in Zone M. We tried the Hologram theatre (BigBang concert!) News Experience (you can become a news anchor and be recorded while you’re at it), Digital Guest Book (have your message sent straight to your email) and Garden Studio (spot some celebrities doing their radio broadcast). The entrance fee is 18000 won and you can get there by Digital Media City Station, exit 9.

 Noryangjin Fish Wholesale Market

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As a big fan of Korean Food, we were so glad that we visited  Noryangjin Fish Wholesale Market, the largest seafood market with that will have you spoilt for choice. If you’re a fan of super fresh seafood (they’re often kept alive until you order something to be cooked), this is one place you need to check out. You can bring your newly bought seafood to restaurants on the second floor that will cook them for you for a fee. As we often seen on television, we tried the live octopus (sannakji) and the sashimi wrapped in leaves, and a little bit of gochujang. We also had a big plate of spicy fish soup (maeuntang) and braised mackerel with radish (godeungeo jurim). You might spend a lot here for the food, but believe us, it’s worth it.

 

We’ve been to Korea on personal trips with friends and family, but it’s definitely a different experience having someone bring you around for the best food and attractions! Stay tuned to our next post on how we survived the cold weather in Seoul, and our unforgettable experience in Pyeongchang to catch a glimpse of the preparation going on for the Winter Olympics.

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