Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 3 - Mt. Seorak & Everland Near Seoul, Dongdaemun Market in Seoul

October 24, 2009 (Saturday)

This day was a special day for learning what to do when going to amusement parks near Seoul

seoul everland 2

I have never stopped wanting to go to any amusement park or carnival for that matter in my entire life. I love the thrill of the roller coaster rides and all the junk food I can eat, especially the special ice cream, churros and mini donuts. I love amusement parks for the cute souvenirs I may never use, the parades even those with weird characters and the mini games I don’t ever win. 


I could not, however, muster up any courage to enter a House of Horror on my own until now. Amusement parks, for me, are one of the Happiest Places on Earth as a child at heart. It’s the place to let go and just have fun.


Lesson number 1 is what to do before going there. That is, staying at a resort in Mt. Seorak is the way to go before you head out to Everland. Everland Theme Park is located in Yonggin, Gyeonggi (province). It is the largest theme park in Korea and is operated by the Samsung Company. (We'll talk about companies like these later on in the trip.)


Of course, we were decided to sleep on the heated floor in traditional mats with a tiny pillow for our necks. Let me tell you that I never slept so soundly and that hard pillow (made of small beads or something) was actually very comfortable. 


The morning view and the view while in the bus were also spectacular. 




It just sets the mood right for a day of unexpected things.


See these square (fish?) cakes we got from our quick stopover? I didn’t like it.


Lesson number 2 is when you get there. Be careful when riding the cable car (somebody slipped and had an accident). Know that the place is very big (I believe several mountains are occupied). Know that Everland also has the first, oldest (2006 but looks ancient), steepest and largest wooden roller coaster in Korea. 


We tried to line up but it was, indeed, a very, very bad idea to go to a theme park on a Saturday! The day was starting to crumble. Good thing I was able to buy myself a reversible neck pillow as a souvenir at the shop. 


We were also given a meat stub to eat on our own in selected Everland restaurants. Turns out all the kiddies had a meal stub as well, together with unlimited kimchi (which is important for Koreans for every meal, Everland knew this fact too well). I had my pork cutlet. 


It was one of the finest meals I had so far in the trip.

Finally, we decided to just do the Safari Tour since we only had 4 hours until call time. It was the first time I had heard of 4 hours (12 p.m. to 4 p.m. including meals) at an amusement park! Wait! Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to stay in Mt. Seorak after all because it took the several hours (around 2 to 3 hours) to get there… I had an extra round of churros outside to fill my inner child’s desires while waiting in line for the Safari Tour. 



I probably could have eaten 5 more rounds going back and forth but people might start noticing so I stayed put, while taking pictures that is. 



The Safari Tour was intriguing enough. Aside from very cooperative stunt-performing bears, the main part of the tour was the Liger. Do you know what a liger is? It is an offspring of a lion and a tiger. Once upon a time, a lion and a tiger fell in love and made a liger. They lived ever after in Everland. 


There is such a thing as a tigon (a tiger and a lion), too but here in Everland, they had a liger. What’s the difference? Click here. I think it depends on who is the male and female parent. I can only say that I think I saw a liger when the driver pointed to one. I didn’t have a clear view. 


I had more fun watching the bears although they react like that to get treats from the driver. 



I also saw cuddling white tigers and other dead-tired animals. 



We decided it was time to go back after the Safari Tour because there were lines everywhere and we just ran out of patience. It took us our entire call time to line up for a 5 to 10 minute Safari Tour ride.

Lesson number 3 is leaving the park. We had to walk far to get to the entrance where we were to meet our tour guide. It seemed so near when we took the cable car down. 


We also didn’t understand the signs and the map so we had to ask a lot of other people where the exit was and most of them didn’t know either or they just didn’t understand us. The plaza near the entrance was Halloween-themed and Everland had their own mascots. 



When we got there, grandma and grandpa went missing so be warned. Our tour guide just went nuts because she lost them once in Nami Island too. It was impossible to find them inside with the crowd and the humongous theme park. 

seoul everland 1

We were supposed to be on our way to Seoul. She relied on who saw them last and they got on the bus around an hour later.


There was a brief pit stop at the Dongdaemun Night Market when we got to Seoul. It opens around late morning and closes at around 5 a.m. Please be warned that the subway closes early and the only way to go home in the wee hours of the morning was by taxi, which was a little expensive in Seoul. We just went around for a bit and bought an overly spicy rice cakes or teokpokki. 


I swear even my favorite street food was not as good as I expected in this tour. (It only got better after the tour.) Dinner was only raw meat now and no soup. It was all we got though, always sticking to the theme of one dish (in this case two) per meal. Even the bibimbap didn’t taste so great.



We checked in at Novotel Ambassador Hotel in Gangnam


Gangnam is the high-end area in Seoul. This probably took a large chunk of our tour package because we were to stay here in the next few days of the remaining tour (coming home to this for a few nights is so worth it!). Our hotel was just a block or two away from a new subway stop and there were only a few people in the station. I started to feel relaxed and unhurried as the days went on.  

Special thanks to my dear friends for the memories, the good company and the pictures!

Read more about Seoul in Korea (you can find Busan in the labels):
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 1 - On The Way to Seoul, Incheon & Songdo City
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 2 - Nami Island & Mt. Seorak Near Seoul
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 3 - Mt. Seorak & Everland Near Seoul, Dongdaemun Market in Seoul
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 4 - Seoul City Tour - Kimchi-making, Hanbok-wearing, National Folk Museum, Cheongbuk Palace, Myeongdong, Drawing Show at Hyehwa, Banpo Bridge
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 5 - Lotte World (tour ends here), Seoul Tower (start of our extra day), Teddy Bear Museum, Myeongdong in Seoul
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 6 - Hyehwa, Gangnam, Insadong in Seoul
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 7 - Sinchon, Korean Universities in Seoul
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 8 - Namsangol Hanok Village, Namsan Stairs, Nanta in Seoul
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 9 Part 1 - Deoksugung Palace, Doldam-Gil, Tteokbokki Street in Seoul
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 9 Part 2 - Cheonggyecheon Stream, King Sejong Story, Samgyeupsal, Coffee Prince Cafe
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 10 Part 1 - Making Kimchi in a Korean Home, Korean Hospitality at its Best, Korean Grapes & Persimmon, Kimchi All-You-Can, The Peppero Story at the Supermarket, Ramen Eaten 3-Ways, Pojongmacha
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 10 Part 2 - My Best Foodie Experience in Seoul!
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 11 - Bossam Day, Incheon International Airport Activities