Sunday, July 3, 2011

2011 June: South Korea: Leaving Nami & Visiting Namsan Tower

Travel Date: June 22, 2011
Destination: Namsan Tower
We started early, since we know that we will have a lot of stops along Central White Pine Tree Lane due to our heavy bags. First ferry leaving from Nami Wharf is at 8.30am, but we missed it. The boat immediately left without passengers, so we tried to catch the next one.

We met Chae, a Korean painter working in New York for years. He painted 2 rooms (105 and 107) in Nami Hotel. He was is good enough to accommodate our taxi fare going from Family Mart (ferry wharf) going to Gapyeong Station. It took us around less than 2 hours before we reached Seoul Station.

During that long discussion with him, we knew a lot on he’s travelling. He is proud that Korea’s season is so distinct compared to other countries. The 3 month cut between Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall is so clear based on experience. He is also a climber in Himalayas and a frequent visitor in Nepal.
We missed breakfast and had lunch (grilled beef with seaweeds) in a Korean Restaurant, upper level of Seoul Station.

Zaza Backpackers ( in uphill area of Myeongdong is our 3rd guesthouse for this trip. This place does not accept more than 2 months advance reservation. They are attentive in answering my inquiries in mail, but due to some conflicts in their building permit with the Korean government, we had multiple reservation issues with them. It is almost 10-15minutes away from the train station. However, we were not able to find any lift or escalator on that station, thus, it is hard if you have heavy luggage.

The place is clean and the room is well lighted with windows. The bed is soft with clean pillows and sheets. Air-conditioner is working well. The television has no English channel. They also have hair dryer.

Since they will provide the pass code for the digital door lock, it looks like you are not secured from them. One time, we were watching tv and somebody unlock our door, so we requested the owner that we change our pass code, where we are the only ones who know it (even the owner does not know it during the rest of our stay. Then we shared it upon our checkout).

The common room has 2 computer units with internet connection. They have a phone which can be used for international calls, but Philippines is not included. They also provide maps and guides for tourists.

Hangers, adaptor and doormat are available upon request. Too bad that there are no slots for hangers, they do not have cabinet as well. They do not provide toiletries and big towels. There is no elevator, so you have to carry your luggage if you are staying on the upper floor.

Late afternoon, we started walking on the upper area of the street to find the Cable Car Station. We bought the one-way ticket worth 6000 won (240php), and the trip lasted for less than 3 minutes. The combo ticket for Teddy Bear Museum and Viewing Deck is 14000 won (560php). We had a late merienda in Twosome Place.

The Teddy Bear Museum ( has 2 exhibit halls - The Past: Historical Seoul. Closed last Nov 2013.

The Present: Today’s Seoul

The bears used in Goong (Princess Hours) are in this Museum (Although, the actual location shoot of Princess Janelle and the Queen was in Teddy Bear Museum Jeju). There are also several special Joon Bears, inspired by Bae Yong Joon’s drama series: Winter Sonata and The Story of the First King's Four Gods.

Due to bad weather, there is a zero visibility in the Observation Deck. We took photos of the Manila prints. The stamps available in the shop is on package to a postcard that is not related to Namsan Tower, so we did not bother to send one.

We took Yellow Bus 02 going back to Myeongdong.