[seoul, korea - asean media people's visit, 21-27 november 2010]

i missed the winter in seoul.

no, it’s not the title of a korean tv drama. literally, i missed the first snow in seoul because i was already on my flight back to jakarta when it started to snow in seoul.

after one week experiencing the freezing weather in seoul, my only hope was to be able to catch the first snow there. but no luck for me that time. so no pictures in the snow for me… despite the 'no snow' situation, i still took tons of pictures everywhere (please check my flickr), even from inside of our tour bus.

some quick snaps of down town seoul

the best thing about visiting seoul this time was that it was not for a meeting, but rather it was more like a group tour and a vacation. plus the weather was extraordinary as it was towards the end of autumn, which means the temperature was varied between -7°c to 5°c. my last visit to korea was in august 2005 for a youth forum in suwon. it was bloody hot with the temperature more than 40°c. so when I had a chance to visit seoul in a cooler weather, i could not and must not resist.

my packing for this visit was rather extreme as i packed-up more clothes than what i usually need for a one-week visit. i always think that layering is the key for the unpredictable weather, as i don’t know how cold or how warm it could be during the late autumn. so I was thinking this time it would be okay if i skip the art of not travel light (not to admit that i have mastered it so far, lol).

i was in seoul for an asean media visit. i had a good time there. meeting nice people, eating tons of kimchi everyday, going to all different places i never had a chance to visit during my previous visits there, and reminiscing of the good old times as we visited those cities/place that i’ve visited years ago: suwon, daejeon and namsan tower.

namsan tower

spectacular view en route to namsan tower

view of seoul city from the tower

love tiles at the namsan tower

locks of love also at the namsan tower

one of the most unforgettable programme during the visit was to see this famous ‘cookin’ nanta’ musical show. this is not an ordinary musical show as the performers were producing their ‘music’ out of cooking utensils. the show was a combination of traditional korea rhythm called 'samulnori' and comedy . all i can say is that the show was very entertaining: nearly two-hours time of loud music, powerful beat, hilarious comedy and buffed shirtless guys. it was a fiest for my eyes. i could not regret any second of it :)

cookin nanta in action
since this visit was considered as 'official', therefore we had chances of visiting 'unusual' places like the korean tourism (KTO) office, samsung electronics, KIA motors plant, korea atomic energy research institute (KAERI), korea forest service (KFS), asean-korea centre (AKC), the gyeongbok palace and the SK telecom ubiquitous museum.

gate of the gyeongbok palace

group photo at samsung electronics

the next quetsion would be: what good travelling be without shopping? but a proper shopping time was a luxury to ask for as our programme was packed. however, i managed to went rush shopping for souvenirs for friends and family on the last day of the visit. the places were insadong, gangnam and myeongdong. actually i went to gangnam almost every single night of my stay in seoul as our hotel was located near gangnam.


myeongdong at night

my stay in seoul was coincided with the shelling by north korea to south korean island of yeongpyong on 23 november 2010. i sufferred a slight panic attack for the first two days, i even have my belongings packed already just in case suddenly the indonesian mission in korea ask the indonesians to flee the country immediately :P... the group closely followed the news on tv and news papers everyday, everywhere. but surprisingly the city was calm and the daily life in seoul was carried on as usual.

i hope that the tension has cooled down now, nothing bad will happen in the future, and all my good friends in south korea are okay. i really wish i can visit korea again in the near future, be it seoul, daejeon, busan, suwon or other city, whether it's in spring time, summer, autumn or winter...

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