I know early birds are already harvesting the fruits of their seat-sale bookings ’cause I was one of them. I just came back from my Korean Autumn Trip in Seoul, South Korea. Of course, I had an awesome time! I enjoyed taking pictures and flooding my Instagram feed with fun posts and minus a Seoul-pun hashtag. #SorryNotSorry
Autumn in Korea is not just about Nami Island. It’s so much more! Before winter comes, make your autumn trip worthwhile with this set of instaworthy spots in and around Korea.
Abai Village, Sokcho
If you’re a genuine Koreanovela fan, you would know some of the earliest K-series that hit the Philippine shores. No, Meteor Garden was from Taiwan. It was Autumn in My Heart a.k.a. Endless Love (aired on GMA 7). This was the series that introduced us to Johnny (Jun-Seo) and Jenny (Eun-Seo), and their bittersweet love story. Spoiler Alert: They both died. 😥
Jenny’s house was shot in Abai Village in Sokcho. By house, I mean the house she lived in as an adult. Watch the series please! Abai means “aged person” since many members of this village were elderly people who fled from North Korea.
How to get there: From Sokcho Express Bus Terminal, you can walk or take Bus 1, 7, or 9. Tell the driver you wish to go to Gaetbae (small boat) Boat. After a 5 minute walk, you’ll see a small boat that crosses the lake to the shooting location of Autumn in my Heart. The boat ride costs 200 won. The gaetbae operates on manpower where people would pull a rope to cross the lake. Prepare your muscles!
Thanks Nature Sheep Cafe
We met Lulu and Lala, the super cute sheep of Thanks Nature Cafe. The shop is well-maintained and you can see that the owner really loves them. I saw him getting a kiss from one of them. So sweet!
How to get there: From Hongik University Station Exit 9, walk straight towards the big intersection. Turn left to Hongik University main gate and on your left, watch out for the coffee shop’s signage. The shop is located in the basement so be careful not to miss it.
Seoraksan National Park, Sokcho
Seoraksan (Seorak Mountain) is not on top of the list of most Korean Autumn trips since it’s three hours away from Seoul. For my third trip to Korea, I had the time to go to the mountain and explore its natural wonders.
For our first stop, we took the cable car to the Gwongeumseong Fortress (10,000 won). We were initially hesitant to go up since we thought “naka-cable car naman na ako sa Hong Kong.” To our surprise, this was a whole different experience. The fortress offered a spectacular view, for all ages. (In our experience, I mean this very literally.) To get to the top, there’s a 20 to 30 minute uphill trail that even the oldest ahjummas could hike.
Alternatively, if you have more time, take the 4 km. hiking trail to Ulsanbawi Rock. This will take you 2 to 3 hours up and an hour and a half back down. Important: Wear your hiking gear and prepare food and water. We learned this the hard way. I wore skinny jeans and my friend was in Keds. Imagine our struggle. Again, the hike can be for all ages. During our hike, we were accompanied by a lot of ahjummas and ahjussis that were more fit than most youngsters in our country. I unofficially declare that Koreans are best in aging! The view is definitely worth the hard work.
How to get there: Take a bus in Seoul Express Bus Terminal (Gyeongbu/Yeongdong Line) to Sokcho that costs 18,100 won. The earliest bus ride is at 6AM and a bus leaves every 30 minutes. Sokcho is 2.5 to 3 hours away but the bus is so comfortable, you won’t recognize the time. Then, across the Sokcho Express Bus Terminal, there is a bus stop. Take Bus 7 or 7-1 (1,200 won) to Seoraksan National Park (last stop). To enter Soeraksan National Park, you need to get admission tickets which costs 3,500 won. There’s an information booth near the bus terminal if you need more details.
World Cup Stadium
There isn’t a lot to do inside the World Cup Stadium but knowing that it was used for the 2002 World Cup made me all giddy inside. The stadium is still well-maintained. The football field is still very much the green, green grass of home with the matching Olé, Olé, Olé music in the background. You can definitely feel Korea’s love for the sport. We toured the front seats, went down to the field and even the locker rooms.
I’m sure, this is not typical in your newsfeed so get to the World Cup Stadium now!
How to get there: Take the subway to World Cup Stadium Station and walk. Admission fee to enter the stadium is 1,000 won.
Nami Island (Outskirts)
A Korean autumn trip is not complete without Nami Island. I guess, this is one of the most common destinations in Korea. With its perfectly aligned trees with flaming leaves falling on the ground, who wouldn’t want to Instagram this? Then again, I have been to Nami Island three times already but I always find new breath-taking Insta-worthy sports. It’s all about the angles and lighting, emirayt?
I suggest you rent a bicycle or an electronic bicycle so you could easily go to the outskirts of the island. Don’t settle for the “mainstream” trees in the middle. Explore the island! Autumn is the best time to bike in Nami. It’s not as hot and tiring as it is in the summer.
Go take your bike, follow your heart and find your personal insta-spot!
How to get there: Take the subway to Gapyeong Station, from there, take bus to Gapyeong Naru. Alternatively, take a taxi for about 4,000 won. Take the ferry to Nami Island for 8,000 won (for foreigners). This already includes general admission. Bike rental is at 7,000 won per hour.
Haneul Sky Park
Haneul Sky Park is heaven! I don’t need to expound. Just look at the pictures. 😛 The whole park used to be a landfill but Korea proved that if the government has initiative, we could protect the environment! Go South Korea!
How to get there: From World Cup Stadium Station, walk towards a big intersection near the stadium. Walk straight towards a big overpass connecting to a mountain. The overpass will lead you to the Haneul Sky Park trail. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle up and down the hill for 6,000 won.
Another unique Insta-spot is the Olympic Park. It was built for the 1988 Seoul Olympics but it is now a place for people to relax and unwind. It’s composed of different areas and one of the notable ones is the World Peace Gate where the flags of participating countries in the Olympics are standing.
There are also over 200 sculptures made by 155 world-renowned artists standing around the park. One of which is a giant thumb.
Compared to other Olympic host countries, the country has maintained the facilities even after so many years. I wonder if Manila will/can ever host the Olympics. Hmmm… What do you think?
How to get there: Take the subway to Olympic Park Station or, alternatively, if you want a stadium nearer to the Peace Plaza, go to Mongchontoseong Station.
Autumn is also the best time to rent out a hanbok (Korean traditional wear). Not known to many, if you’re wearing a hanbok, you get free admissions to the palaces. Plus, foreigners will take pictures with you. I experienced this first hand. It was fun. HAHA. #ArtistaMode
Walk as ancient noblemen, king or queen of the palace and find the perfect shot to make sulit the 20,000 to 30,000 won (2 hours) hanbok rental.
How to get there: Use exit #5 of Gyeongbokgung Station. General admission costs 3,000 won.
There you have it. Just download the Korea Subway or Korea Tour apps to estimate the time and train costs. 🙂 Happy trip!
What do you think of the list? Gotta love Korea, right? Did I miss anything? Sound off in the comments section.