Escape to Seoul
Seoul. Our first visit to South Korea as a family turned out to be quite an enjoyable and fruitful trip, despite initial reservations about the short itinerary and exploring by day-tours - another first for us. Our travels have always been self-drive with full flexibility to carve our own itinerary at our own pace. However, this 4-day trip with two full day-tours made us appreciate the convenience of having others to help get us around, minus the hassle of figuring out how to get there, what to look out for etc. All we needed to do was book online via the Klook app, and show up at the meeting point. The day- tours with the comfy coach also allowed us all to get some much needed rest after each attraction.
The other two days were free and easy, we got around town conveniently with our 4G wifi device picked up from the airport. Started the trip on day one with a visit to Everland and ending it on day four with a Hanbok dress-up at Gyeongbokgung palace. Both attractions were pre-booked with Klook and we saved time by simply showing our e-vouchers. There is no need to fiddle with price plans (at the hanbok shop) and you get to skip queues with priority passes in Everland. Perfect.
As a busy metropolitan city, we were pleasantly surprised at how kids-friendly Seoul is. Throughout our trip, the places we visited and people we met were very accommodating towards kids, and little touches like clean public washrooms (so important when our toddlers are toilet-trained) have been nothing but impressive.
Thoroughly enjoyed the night shopping at Myeongdong and had to lug an extra luggage full of goodies back home. There’s so much more to see, eat and shop, so definitely planning to return and explore more of Korea, Busan perhaps?
Disclaimer - Our trip is a collaboration with Klook and Korea Tourism Organisation. All opinions are entirely ours.
Save yourself $15 off Korea activities booked on Klook with a minimum of $150 spent with the promo code KLOOKKTO. Promo ends 30 Nov 2018.
4D3N ITINERARY SINGAPORE TO SEOUL
Flight - Asiana Airlines
Hotel - Hotel Prince, Myeongdong
4G WIFI - KR Airport Pick up
After a red-eye flight into Seoul, we were glad to have chosen a full-day car charter option from Klook. Not only did we have a smooth private transfer to hotel (no need to lug around luggages/prams with two active toddlers in tow), having a private charter gave us the flexibility to plan the day at our pace, with the girls nap time taken into consideration.
Located less than one hour drive from Seoul, Everland is Korea’s largest fantasy theme park. Also home to South Korea’s first wooden roller coaster, the T- Express, this massive park is great for both adults and kids and is made up of five uniquely themed zones - Global Fair, American Adventure, Magic Land, European Adventure and Zootopia. It is definitely not enough to cover the entire park in a day! For toddlers and younger children, we recommend going straight to Zootopia to explore the animal exhibits and going on the safari rides.
Today’s tour was arranged with KTOURSTORY booked via Klook. As it turns out, the morning pickup and drop-off point was literally at the doorstep of our accommodation, Prince Hotel at Myeongdong, super convenient. The places to visit today included 3 places - Jade Garden, Alpaca World and Cafe Street.
Jade Garden is a European style luxury arboretum settled in a beautiful valley, a peace of tranquility in the Chuncheon area. Just 1.5 hours away from Seoul, the kids had a great time crossing suspended bridges and admiring the beautiful greenery and flowers. Mornings are the best time to visit as there are lesser crowds and we were able to capture some really nice pictures with the lush greenery and perfectly manicured gardens. In addition, the weather is perfect! However, take note that the garden grounds are not paved, so leave the strollers in the car/bus.
Also located in Chuncheon, Alpaca World is the largest forest experience farm in Korea. The kids, being the animal lovers that they are, loved it as they got to pet, feed and walk with alpacas in nature. There are many other farm animal activities such as pony feeding, horse riding and the deer safari train scattered across this massive 110,000 square feet of land. Relatively new, the upkeeping of this place is apparent, everywhere we went were well-maintained and clean. There are 5 cafes around the park that boast panoramic views of the surrounding mountains although we only manage to try one. For parents, there are free strollers that you can borrow near the ticket counter, a must have to navigate the slopes in the park.
Santorini Cafe, our final stop for the day! It was good to wind down and enjoy a cup of chestnut latte (included in tour) with beautiful views of Seoul city, and watching tourists do all their selfie takes around the cafe grounds. This was one of the cafes located along the famed Cafe Street.
Our second day-tour, this time with S.A Tour booked via Klook and also with 3 key places of interest - Petite France, Nami Island and Gangchon Rail Park. Meeting point just across the street from our hotel.
As the name implies, Petite France is a french-themed cultural village set in Korea with colourful French houses, antique shops and beautiful gardens. It is home to the Little Prince from the celebrated French Novel by Saint-Exupery. We learnt from the guide that there are 34 themed rooms for accommodation here! There is also a long walking trail for trekking lovers and several free performances such as String Puppet Show and Hand Puppet Show. A charming little village with lots of props to keep the kids entertained!
Made famous by filming of Winter Sonata, with its beautifully-lined trees and leisure activities such as biking and boat rides, this island is a draw for many tourists and locals alike. Figured that this place would look amazing when autumn comes around! One can either choose to explore the small island by bike (especially the 4 seater family bike), but it is also entirely walkable within an hour. Alternatively, there are electric buggys with drop off points around the island. For adrenaline seekers, they can zipline directly to Nami instead of taking the ferry! With the girls napping on their prams after the soothing ferry ride, we ended up taking a romantic walk down the park sharing an overpriced vanilla ice-cream. Managed to squeeze in a paddle duck boat ride when they woke up!
GANGCHON RAIL PARK
Ending our Gapyeong experience with a sunset rail bike ride on the defunct train tracks along the scenic countryside. The journey is 45min long and requires some legwork however most parts of the track are gentle downslopes so all the paddling is quite manageable. That said if you were here in mid-day or height of summer it can get hot for sure (the canopy does little for shade). The most interesting parts of the ride are the themed tunnels along the way that gave the kids some surprises including a bubble tunnel, disco tunnel and a virtual-reality (an optional add-on) tunnel.
Starting our morning hunting down the insta-famous Cartoon Cafe at Yeongnam-dong and we weren’t disappointed. This Seoul cafe makes you feel like stepping into a cartoon world! The cafe's interior is all white with every object or detail outlined in black to give the space an intriguing pen-and-paper look.The real-world furniture blends seamlessly into the wall art which makes it a perfectly instagrammable spot. The kids got to enjoy their little cute cup of Choco Choco latte.
When in Korea, wear a hanbok! Transport back in time with Korean traditional dress-up while visiting the gardens at the Gyeongbokgung Royal Palace, a truly unique experience. Admission fees are waived for visitors wearing hanboks for all 5 palaces located in Seoul. So, the girls got to live their dreams of being little princesses for the afternoon!