Korean Folk Village take 2

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We did a family trip to the Korean Folk Village in Yongin when Clarissa was two. There was a homeschool field trip there last week and Clarissa and I decided to go since she didn’t remember the first trip. There were actually several things that we did this trip that we didn’t get to do the first time so I was happy about that.

We decided to pay for the full admission which includes the Folk Village and the Amusement Park as well. Full admission is 27,000 won (about $25) for adults and 20,000 won ($18) for children. If you plan to skip the rides, adults pay 18,000 won for admission to the folk village itself. Children pay only 13,000. There is parking available for 2,000 won per car or you can take public transportation available. I saw several buses that said they came from Suwon station or Incheon Airport.

We started our beautiful fall day at the amusement park. Clarissa really liked the boat ride and the train ride. She was too afraid to go on anything else but the teenagers we were with loved all of the rides available.

If you look at the boat ride, to your right is a World Folk Village Museum. Clarissa and I kind of stumbled upon it while we were looking for a bathroom. It was honestly one of the highlights of our trip. There were nine different buildings with 2-3 different countries inside. Each country showed clothes, weapons, jewelry, or housing for an indigenous people of that particular country. The signs were in Korean and English. There were longer descriptions in Korean as well but we learned plenty without being able to read the longer writings.

Clarissa and I had some great discussions about all of these countries. She recognized some of the names like United States, Japan, China, Peru, and Australia. Some were new to her: Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, and Iran. There were maps on the wall so we could see where each country was on the map. I think we have a lot of books to read now so we can continue learning about these places and cultures.

We met back up with our friends for some gelato and then headed to the Equestrian Feats show. It was great! The performers basically did gymnastics on horses. It was only about twenty minutes and our attention was focused the entire time.

After the show, Clarissa and I wondered a bit and saw some different types of houses you would find in Korea at different points in history. There were government buildings, mansions, and farm houses. There were several additional experiences that you could pay for like making a clay pot or woodworking, but they close earlier in the day so you need to do those first. Clarissa really enjoyed walking through the jail and seeing the governor’s house, sitting in the governor’s chair, and pretending to be a prisoner on trial.

I was surprised that five year old Clarissa was interested in all of the buildings and houses. She actually walked the whole day without complaining. She kept saying, “What’s that? Let’s go over there…”

The Folk Village is open 8 hours each day. You can easily spend the entire day there and not see everything. I recommend it for children and adults.

Everland

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Tim lived in Korea ten years ago, so he has seen several things. He said that the best amusement part to go to is Everland. He claimed that the zoo alone made it worth the trip, and he was correct!

Thursday morning we woke up and headed downstairs to the breakfast buffet in our hotel. There were several options available. Some Korean flavors as well as more traditional western breakfast items.

Waze said it was a 30 minute drive to Everland from the hotel. The subway was 43 minutes, so we decided we would rather take the train and not have to deal with traffic or parking.

While switching subway lines, we had to take an elevator. It was the slowest elevator ever. We got there with several people and there wasn’t enough room for us that round. There are six minutes between trains, and it seriously took us longer than six minutes to wait for this elevator. It was two steep flights of stairs and the escalator was blocked in the middle so the stroller couldn’t go through. So we waited…

There was a shuttle bus to take guests from the bus and subway terminal to the gates of Everland. Tim ordered tickets at a discount ahead of time. On the train we realized that we forgot to bring them with us. Thankfully, the email had a barcode so that was all we needed to get in.

We attracted quite an audience while applying our sunscreen. A young college group thought that Clarissa was the cutest thing ever! They wanted to take pictures with her, but she refused. Not that she was happy about the sunscreen either.

The zoo is pretty close to the main entrance of the park. The first animals we saw were the pandas. They have two pandas at Everland and they just arrived in April so they were pretty popular. The line wasn’t horribly long though.

The girl panda is about five weeks older than Clarissa and was actually born on Tim’s birthday July 13, 2013. The boy panda was a year older and also a July birthday. They were resting when we got there because it was already at least 85 degrees. At the gift shop area, Clarissa chose a stuffed panda whom she named “baby Po” like Kung Fu Panda. She held that panda all day!

Next we went to see the birds. There were several different species including penguins and flamingos. There was even an enclosed bird area where you could pay 1,000 won (less than $1) for bird food and feed the birds yourself. Tim decided to try that. The birds did come right up to him and Clarissa really enjoyed watching the birds eat from his hand.

A lot of the larger animals we saw were asleep for lunchtime. The lions, tigers, seals, and sea lions were all visible but sleeping. The polar bear was awake though.

Then we went to monkey world. There were so many different kinds of monkeys! Clarissa was very excited about them.

After leaving the monkeys, there was a crowd of teenagers around a man holding a small animal. We were allowed to pet the fennec fox. Clarissa was very happy about this as well.

Next we saw more foxes, wallabies, and kangaroos at Ranch world before heading to my favorite part of the day, the safari. The line was about twenty minutes long, but so worth it! We climbed into a vehicle that could drive on land and water (reminded me of the duck boats in Boston). We saw camels, zebras, hippos, elephants, rhinos, and more.

A giraffe came right up to our vehicle and the tour guide fed it leaves through the window!

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By this time we were getting hungry. We weren’t thrilled with the menu at the first restaurant. While we were looking at the outdoor menu, Clarissa took a few leaves off a bush. When I looked at her she was trying to give them to her stuffed panda. “I’m feeding baby Po.”

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We decided to finish the zoo and head to lunch. There was one more bird area and a petting zoo. But it wasn’t really a petting zoo… You could pay to feed an animal with a long spoon. But you weren’t allowed to touch any animals.

Then I saw that you could pay to ride a pony or a camel. I got excited for Clarissa. She said she would ride the pony. We paid 5,000 won for our ticket and waited in line. She was fine until I accidentally called it a horse. When it was her turn, I tried to put her on the pony and she flipped out. But we were all hungry and it was naptime so it didn’t happen. Maybe after lunch or earlier in the day would have been better… Next time.

For those who are interested, camel rides are 7,000 won. I rode a camel through the desert once. Not very comfortable. But for five minutes is probably fun.

We were all in much better moods after lunch. The amusement park part of Everland reminds me of Busch Gardens with the different sections of continent themed rides and restaurants.

Clarissa was too short for most rides. But she was tall enough to ride the Thomas train around the magical garden.

All day long refused to smile for pictures but demanded that I take her picture with Percy.

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After that we decided to head back towards the hotel for dinner and some playtime before bed.

Of course, she had to open the door herself!

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Finally, a real folk village!

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When we moved to South Korea last year, one thing on my bucket list was to see a traditional Korean folk village. We saw one last May in Seoul, but it didn’t impress me. It was hot so we didn’t stay long and it really reminded me of the palace we had seen the day before.

On the way home from our most recent trip to Seoul, we tried to see the folk village at Andong. That one seemed to be more of what I was looking for. But it started sleeting and we didn’t stay.

In March, we tried Jeonju. But that was more traditional buildings as businesses and not what I really wanted.

This time, I got exactly what I was looking for!

We left on Wednesday morning and arrived to the Folk Village about lunch time. We bought our tickets ahead of time through Seoul Pass to get a discount.

After looking at our restaurant choices, we decided to split a mungbean pancake and wild vegetable bibimbap. The pancake honestly reminded me of hashbrowns. The bibimbap was great as always.

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We then decided to get ice cream. Tim and I each got a cone. I planned to share with Clarissa. She wouldn’t have it. She ran back to the counter to get her own ice cream cone and refused to eat any of mine until I assured her that I was finished and it was now her ice cream. She was pleased to eat her ice cream after that. She had quite the audience while eating. Several Koreans asked to take her picture. Some Koreans even asked us to take their picture with Clarissa as well.

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After having our fill, we started to wander through the folk village. It reminded me of Jamestown with the straw rooves and hanging corn. They had several different areas. There was a settlement for a farmer, a peasant, an upper class home, and even a government building. There was also a Buddhist Temple.

There were several performances to see as well. There was a horse show and a farmer dance show. The one I was most interested in was called a Bboy Fusion Dance. It was so cool! They did all kinds of flips and tricks to traditional Korean music. Clarissa enjoyed it as well. I started to think that it would be the coolest job ever. But then I realized that it was already 85 degrees in mid-May and would be getting much hotter. And, they do all of these awesome tricks in the dirt. That blew my mind. I wonder how much more they can really do? And they were already pretty awesome.

Then we continued on to see the mansion where they show traditional wedding ceremonies. On one of the signs it said that the groom was supposed to find a wild goose for the bride’s family during the ceremony! Apparently one of the mansions is also the location of a popular Korean drama set 100 years ago.

There was also a traditional marketplace set up, a scholar’s home, a Confucian school, and homes from various islands in Korea. The Folk Village also includes an amusement park, but we didn’t go there.

One our way out, we stopped at one of the shops. Clarissa picked a Lani bus that she could pull around. Tim chose a bookmark and a dragon shirt, and I chose a wooden calendar with traditional Korean background.

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Then we headed to our hotel, which ended up being an even better location than we thought! It was a block from the subway and nextdoor to a Lotte Mart, across the street from a Home Plus, and near Outback and Pizza Hut as well. They even had a free breakfast buffet in the morning.