When in Seoul Do As the Seoulites Do

I used to associate Seoul with shopping (Myeongdong, baby!). But after having countless visits to the city, I realized there are more to it than just shopping. It is an amazing city filled with mouth-watering (street) food and exciting attractions.  Continue reading “When in Seoul Do As the Seoulites Do”

Lounging at Yuseong Hot Springs (유성온천지구)

Whenever I googled for “attractions in Daejeon” — this always comes up. Always. So we decided to, well, check it out.

Yuseong is well-known for hot springs and popular among locals/tourists alike.
The water is known to be effective in countering various infections. High in alkaline, it is also believed that the water contains over 60 elements of minerals.
According to legends, wounded soldiers from the Baekje Dynasty were miraculously healed after taking their baths in these hot springs.

The spa at the acclaimed Yousung Hotel (built in 1915) is where you go for the “original” experience of basking in hot springs.

Yousung Hotel
The “original” spa experience – Yousung Hotel

Coming from 350m underground, with temperatures reaching 56°C  – the water is known to also relax sore muscles as well as stimulate blood circulation. There are also various options that include medicinal herb baths or seaweed baths.

This particular spa at the particular hotel is apparently the best.
It is open daily from 05:00 am – 10:00 pm and costs ₩4,500 for adults / ₩2,200 for children. If you go in before 08:00 am, you’ll pay Early Bird price at ₩3,000 –

But if you’re on a budget yet still looking to sample the experience, there’s a FREE open air foot spa area at the park to the east of Yousung Hotel.

Well, we opted for this one — y’know, just to give it a try.

Yuseong Foot Spa
Yuseong Foot Spa

This foot spa area consists of four pools — but when we were there, one wasn’t filled. There were quite a bit of people already enjoying the hot springs; mostly locals. But it wasn’t at all hard to find empty spots.

Yuseong Foot Spa
Main Pool

Before you start enjoying the water, it is a must for you to wash your feet. There’s an area provided especially for this purpose.

Yuseong Foot Spa
Feet washing area with Main Pool in the background.

The temperature was very pleasant for a slightly chilly afternoon —
We spent a good half hour with our feet dipped in the water. And apparently, it is not advisable to do it for longer — there was a signage nearby mentioning this. I’m curious to know why though.

Yuseong Foot Spa
Do’s and Don’ts 🙂

It was definitely a nice way to spend one’s free time.

I’ve been to various hot springs back home; but this one here in Yuseong is simply fab. Plus, it is super clean — not talking about the water or whatever, just surrounding in general.

But, guess that’s a given when you live in Korea 🙂

This foot spa area is open 24/7 all year round and like I mentioned earlier, it’s FREE!

To visit, take the subway to Yuseong Spa station (유성온천역) and use Exit 7 to get out. Walk straight until you reach the intersection and turn right. Walk for about two blocks and you will see the area on your left.
It’s hard to miss, that’s for sure 🙂

For those of you interested in visiting South Korea, direct airfare from Kuala Lumpur to Seoul starts at RM991 per person (return flight) — you may check out Skyscanner for more awesome flight deals from other point of departures 🙂

Give it a try, and let me know your experience. Enjoy!

 

** This entry was first published in my old blog **

Ihwa Mural Village (이화벽화마을) – Where Tradition & Art Coexist

 

Just below Naksan Park  and around the corner from the bustling Daehangno neighbourhood, is a small village which once was at risk of being demolished. Ihwa-dong is one of the very few ‘daldongnae’ (달동네) or ‘moon villages’ left in Seoul. Daldongnae normally refers to a poor village located at the mountain slope (closer to the moon hence the name).

Seoul Skyline
Seoul Skyline

But Korea’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s project “ART in the City 2006” have managed to turn this around and Ihwa-dong has become a popular attraction among tourists/expats and Koreans alike. Fans of K-Shows/Dramas: a few areas in this village have been featured in various shows such as Rooftop Prince (옥탑방 왕세자), 1 Night 2 Days (1박 2일), etc.

From an isolated, lackluster neighbourhood, Ihwa-dong today is a village full of character thus making it a lovely place to explore.

Ihwa Mural Village

Ihwa Mural Village

Ihwa Mural Village
Cuteness

Ihwa Mural Village

Ihwa Mural Village
The famous angel wings from 1 Days 2 Nights

We spent hours exploring Ihwa Maeul and even came back on the second day to explore some parts of the village we didn’t get to see the day before. But of course, it was Saturday, and there were tons of people at the village. Visitors even have to queue up to take photos of the murals.

So try to avoid going there on weekends if you want to take your time admiring these murals.

** Go on a sunny day to have the best view and for parents with little kids/babies – this walk is not very stroller-friendly due to the steep alleys and lots of stairways. 

As of April 2016, the famous fish and flowers painted on the stairs have been removed by the residents due to tourists’ misbehaviour (according to Trazy). While walking around the village, one can see lots of signs reminding tourists’ that Ihwa is a residential area and noises should be kept at a minimum.

Ihwa Mural Village
Credits to: theworknplay

 

How to Get to Ihwa Mural Village:

Take the Subway to Hyehwa Station (Line 4) and get off at Exit 2. Walk for about 200m and turn left once you see a street called Dongdung-gil. Keep walking until you get to the Lock Museum and turn right to Naksan Gongson-gil (after 50m). Keep on walking until you reach Naksan Park.

** Download Subway Korea (available on both App Store and Google Play) – this app helps me to easily navigate the subway system in Seoul.

** Return ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Seoul costs RM991 — you may check out Skyscanner for more awesome deals from other point of departures.