After about 6 hours of midnight flight from Kuala Lumpur, we arrived Incheon International Airport at around 6am local time. After going though immigration and regrouping with our tour group members, we boarded our travel bus and proceeded to our first destination – Gwangmyeong Cave (光明洞窟 광명동굴).
Gwangmyeong Cave (光明洞窟 광명동굴)
Gwangmyeong Cave is located in Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi-do, which is at far southwestern outskirts of Seoul. The cave was used when Korea was under Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945 for mining purposes and was staffed by forced laborers. The cave complex re-opened in 2011 for tourism purposes and now has historical exhibits. (source: wikipedia)
The bus stopped at the foot hill and we enjoyed our slow 15 minute walk under the drizzle to the entrance of the cave.
The temperature inside the cave was obviously lower than outside. We followed the path and came to a large space where we all sat to view a laser/light show. The show was about the history of a comet that hit earth and life started to flourish since then.
Short video clip of the Gwangmyeong Cave laser/light show:
After the show we continued to explore the cave. We just had to follow the path, although we got lost in some intersection but the staff were friendly to guide us. One thing for sure, Koreans don’t speak proper English so communication was definitely an issue. Nevertheless, the experience was good.
In the cave there are many stone sculptures where we, as tourists, had to take photos together. There are also wooden stairs where we had to climb so just keep that in mind.
We were in the cave for about 40 minutes. Upon leaving the cave, we had our family photo at the entrance of the cave.
There’s a very tall chimney nearby and it’s very striking with its pink paint. Not sure what that building was though.
Before heading to our next destination, it’s lunch time. Lunch was pork rib soup + rice. Having a hot meal in this kind of cold weather was definitely an enjoyable moment.
N Seoul Tower
Next stop is the N Seoul Tower (N서울타워), or commonly known as the Namsan Tower or Seoul Tower. It is a communication and observation tower located on Namsan Mountain in central Seoul, South Korea. At 236 metres (774 ft), it marks the second highest point in Seoul. (source: wikipedia)
There’s a slope that we had to walk up to reach the N Seoul Tower. It was still drizzling so we had to be careful as not to slip.
Once we have climbed the slope, it was flat ground again. There was a wooden platform to oversee the city. We didn’t go up the tower as it wasn’t included in our tour package. Of course, time didn’t permit us to do so as well. We just walked around snapping photos. There was a place where visitors could get a lock
Some scenery photos around the N Seoul Tower.
We can view the city from the top of the hill. Here’s our view from this foggy weather and a view during clear day.
Flight to Jeju Island
After visiting 2 attraction spots in Seoul, we came back to the Incheon International Airport again to catch our flight to Jeju Island.
Yongduam Rock / Dragon Head Rock (용두암)
The flight was only about 1 hour. Once we landed and cleared the immigration, we hopped on the bus and headed straight to Yongduam Rock.
Situated to the north of Jeju City, Yongduam was created by strong winds and waves over thousands of years. However, there are plenty of other stories of how it came to be. One legend has it that a dragon stealing precious jade from Mt. Halla was shot down by an arrow from the mountain deity. When he fell down on Yongduam, his body immediately sank into the ocean and his head rapidly froze looking at the sky. Another legend has it that a white horse, who dreamed of being a dragon and ascending to the sky, came to be caught by a soldier and froze into the rock. (source: Official Korea Tourism Organization)
This is by the shore and the wind was blowing so strongly. I’m not joking when I said that I had to hold on to my boys’ hands so that they won’t be blown away by the wind. No hands for my camera and so I just had to use my phone for a quick photo. It was only 6pm but the sky had already gone all black. Under poor lighting condition, these photos were as best I could capture.
There was also a smiling mermaid statue here. The mermaid statue is used to symbolise the Haenyo – women who dive for abalone, seaweed, sea urchins, octopi, shellfish and other treasures, in a tradition dating back centuries in the island of Jeju.
We proceeded to a nearby restaurant for dinner after this.
After dinner, it’s time to head to the hotel and end our first day in Korea. The hotel that we stayed for 2 nights were Hotel Nanta. We were greeted with a very nice Christmas themed decoration at the lobby. That’s the end for day 1. See you again in the next day.