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Touring around Seoul

Updated: Apr 8, 2018

If we weren’t attending events at the Olympics, we were touring Seoul/Incheon.

When we ordered the KoRail passes, we didn’t realize in the book they provided there were coupons for city tours. There are 2 different companies providing different routes, so we took advantage of this, and used them to further investigate the city.

We opted for the Panorama tour of Seoul, which took us to the south part of Seoul, knowing we would never be in this part of Seoul. We got off a couple of stops before the end of the tour to visit the War Memorial. It was quite large, and and both an indoor exhibit and an outdoor exhibit of the machinery used in the Korean War.

We finished that tour early as we needed to get back as our tour guide Chuck and Tak met us again at the hotel to take us back to the market for more delicious foods.

On Saturday we met up with Chuck, (tour guide extraordinaire) to visit his neck of the woods, Incheon. We were on a timeline, and there wasn’t a lot of lollygaging as there was an agenda which must be followed.

Since I’m lazy, and Chuck being Chuck, he wrote the below for us. Also I wouldn’t have remembered the names of half of these places:

We walked to Shimpo Market where we ate “ddak-kang-jong,” which is chicken put in a red pepper batter and then fried. After it’s fried it’s coated with a sugary red pepper sauce and then sprinkled with peanuts. It’s a sweet spicy hot chicken that’s perfect with beer and Asian radish marinated in a sweet vinegar sauce.

After Shimpo Market, we walked through the oldest part of Incheon, the area that was first opened to the West in the late 1800s.

The first treaty was between Korean and Japan, so there were lots of buildings built by the Japanese. Many of the storefronts in this area have been given a restored Japanese look.

Japan colonized Korea from 1910 to 1945. We walked up the hill to Jayu Park (Freedom Park). There is a statue to honor Douglas MacArthur to honor his landing in Incheon during the Korean War. After that we went for a quick wall through Incheon’s Chinatown.

We took the Su-in Subway from Dong Incheon to Sorae Inlet. At Sorae we we walked through the fish market and saw the inlet with fishing boats at low tide.

After Sorae we grabbed a cab and were given a long ride to Songdo. The taxi driver took a wrong turn and went the scenic route. He was a nice guy, admitted it was his fault, and he turned off the meter so we didn’t have to pay more than normal. We went to Sook Young’s house, across from the Sheraton and Central Park, for wine, strawberries, Italian cheese and meat, gold kiwis, dried persimmons, and Japanese desserts. Just an appetizer for dinner.

Then we got a cab to the subway, rode the Incheon subway for about 13 stations, and got off at the Bupyeong Market Station, a 5-minute walk from Chuck’s house and the makgeolli shop. The makgeolli shop goes by two names for us long time customers: new name Goo-eel Makgeolli, old name—Eel Goo Nae Makgeolli. There we had gam-cha jeon (potato pancakes), shi-rae-gee-guk (dried radish leaves cooked in a dwen-jang--bean paste broth). Then a dong-tae-tang (Pollack stew) and gope-jang (tripe stir-fry with sweet potato noodles, sesame leaves, carrots, and hot peppers.) We ended with thin slice of sam-gyup-sal (pork belly) braised with garlic and covered with Asian chives. All washed down with 10 bottles of makgeolli and one bottle of TAK-geolli, Tak’s homemade brew. There were 8 of us, just saying..

We said our good byes to Chuck, Tak and the rest of the crew. Both Chuck and Tak were fantastic hosts, and so glad we were able to see a slice of local life.

Saturday we opted to take the other On/Off bus tour heading to some palaces, and visiting the National Museum which is a must for anyone visiting Seoul.

It was a crazy, busy, exhausting week, but it was worth it. I can’t believe how quickly time went. I hope we have the opportunity to go to another Winter Olympics, but if not, I will be forever grateful that we were able to do this once.

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