Today we went on a cruise along the Han River (한강), and then we also went to Yeouido (여의도) to see the 63 Building. First, we had to take the Seoul Subway to our destination of Yeouido, which is an island.
The Seoul Metropolitan Subway is a HUGE and complicated system that stretches out in all directions under Seoul and its surrounding areas. A mode of transportation employed by almost all Koreans, using the subway might seem terrifying and overwhelming at first. But once you get used to it, it’s a really fast and cheap way to get around to all the to-be places in Seoul. And unlike other subway systems in the world, there aren’t any hobos living on the platforms, and because security is such a big concern in the Korean society, there are plenty of policemen patrolling the area. So, completely safe.
So anyway, we took Line 3 (the orange line) from Yangjae Station (양재역) to the Gangnam Express Bus Terminal Station (강남고속터미널역). And then we switched to Line 9 (the olive coloured one) to take the express subway Yeouido Station (여의도역), and then finally switched to Line 5 (the purple line) to go one more station to the the Yeouinaru Station (여의나루역). Whew.
This was the scene that greeted us as we emerged from underground. The entire length of the Han River has recently been modernized and has many important high-rise buildings, from apartments to office buildings. Over on the right of the picture, you can see in the distance the N Seoul Tower (남산타워), which is a large communications and observation tower on Namsan Mountain.
We had some time before our cruise ship left the port, so we settled down at a Lotteria (similar to a Korean McDonald’s but actually good, haha) to have lunch. The fast food franchise was on a cruise ship on the harbour that had been converted to a mini shop lot. I ordered the “Hanwoo Lady Burger” because I’m a lady! *giggles* But seriously? That burger was HARD to eat like a lady. Sauce going everywhere. Slurp slurp. Nom nom.
And then it was onto the cruise ship! We stayed inside for most of the trip because it was so cold, but the walls were completely made of glass so that was alright. We still got really good views of the birds and of the river and the buildings along the river. There weren’t that many people on the cruise either, which was great because we got to move around as we wished. There was also a magic show which was really interesting. See that photo up there? That’s a floating table. He let me me put my hands under and over the table. And the photo doesn’t do it justice; it was just bobbing up and down, completely naturally and all. *mind blown*
There was also a mini-lecture explaining all the birds by this bird professional, but the whole thing was in Korean, so I felt kind of bad for the Japanese couple sitting a few rows in front of me and my mum. Hmm.
We then went to the 63 Building. The 63 Building used to be the tallest building in Korea, but now it’s only the third highest. Still, it’s the tallest gold-cladded building in the world! It’s a national landmark because it was the tallest sky-scraper outside of the US upon its completion in 1985. There really wasn’t much to do here, to be honest. Most of the building is occupied by office spaces, but there are some touristy places, like the observational tower, a wax museum (which my mum didn’t want to go to as it was “too creepy), an aquarium (really expensive), and the world’s tallest art gallery. There were also a bunch of tiny toddlers toddling around because a kindergarten had come to the aquarium for a field trip. So cute! I just wanted to eat them up! :3
The rest of the day we spent in the famous underground markets of Seoul. These are located at subway stations, and have everything from clothing stores, accessory stores, florists, and bookstores. More on these underground markets later. Of course, cute stationery were a must buy.