Tag Archives: Yongsan

My Private Tour of the National Museum of Korea

The National Museum of Korea in Yongsan offers plenty of guided tours, but I partly kid when I say my tour was “private.” The only reason I ended up getting a private, one-on-one tour of this grand museum is because no one else showed up for the 10:30am English tour! It was just me and my guide, a nice Korean man who spent several years living in San Francisco, so his English was pretty good.

According to my tour book, the National Museum of Korea is the largest museum in Asia. According to the Korea tourism website, it’s the largest museum in Korea. Either way, it’s massive. While the museum has a collection of more than 150,000 pieces, it actually only displays roughly 15,000 of these at any given time.

Admission is free for the permanent exhibition, but varies for their special exhibitions (more on these later). The permanent exhibition is spread across three floors and is divided into the following sections: Prehistory & Ancient History, Medieval & Early Modern History, Calligraphy & Painting, Donated Works, Sculpture & Crafts, and Asian Art. I had no idea — until my guide pointed it out, of course — that the museum contains numerous Korean national treasures. These include including the Pensive Bodhisattva, Goryeo Celadon Openwork Burner, Ten-Story Pagoda from Gyeongcheonsa  Site, and Gold Crown from Silla. Continue reading My Private Tour of the National Museum of Korea

Seoul Lantern Festival and Other Weekend Fun

There’s definitely plenty to do in Seoul on weekends. Friday night we were already thinking of checking out the pedestrian area along Cheonggyecheon Stream, which runs for about 5.8 km through the middle of a major busy avenue, and then I read in the latest issue of 10 Magazine that the annual Seoul Lantern Festival was currently taking place. Perfect! (Note: 10 Magazine is really great, with info on upcoming events, nightlife, restaurants, arts, culture and entertainment.) It was pretty crowded, but still fun to see so many colorful lanterns lighting up the night. It went on for miles, so we didn’t walk the whole thing, but here’s a glimpse (sorry some of these are dark, it’s tricky getting an iPhone camera to adjust just right). Oh yes, and it was FREE:

Continue reading Seoul Lantern Festival and Other Weekend Fun

Lessons in grocery shopping in Seoul

Disclaimer: Not every post moving forward will be daily journal-type entries. I guess everything’s so new and fresh right now I’m just excited to share. Enjoy it while it lasts and while I have time for it. 😉

Day three: The food here in Seoul is delicious. That said, if we ate noodles, dumplings, pork cutlet and fried street-vendor food every day for months on end, we’d return to the states quite a bit heavier. So! While I plan to try as much of the local food as I can while we’re here, I’m hoping to be able to cook at home, too, and not go out to eat all the time.

My friend from the plane had mentioned that e-mart is a Walmart-like store found all over Seoul, with groceries and home goods at affordable prices, so I knew I wanted to check it out. I’d also read that Lotte Mart is a similar type of store, and we have one located close-by at Seoul Station. On my first day venturing out solo, I decided to drop by both stores and do some price comparisons.

Lotte Mart is enormous. Two stories of everything you could ever need. The second floor includes Lotte Hi-mart, their electronics and appliances section. I walked and walked and browsed, noticed they had what looked like a discounted section (think dollar-store kind of items), and concluded they have very reasonable prices overall, including for groceries. They also carry many common American brand-name products, albeit those are slightly pricier than back home.

Lotte Mart

Lotte Mart aisles Continue reading Lessons in grocery shopping in Seoul