Wow Korea 2nd Trip [Day 2]

Monday, 13 July 2015

So we had the second Wow Korea trip since the first trip (Day 1Day 2Day 3) This time, we went towards the West side of South Korea, incorporating Gunsan, Gwangju, Gurye, Damyang, Gokseong and Jeonju! Well, seeing that I wasn't able to make it for the first day as I was in the PyeongChang WINNERS Program (See here), I was only able to make it on the first day at night time, therefore the post starts from Day 2, instead of Day 1.

So anyway, went to the express bus terminal the moment I got off the bus in Seoul. Bid farewell to my teammates who walked the same way as me, and then bought a bus ticket towards Gwangju. On the first day, the rest went to the Gyeongam-dong Railroad in Gunsan, followed by the Modern History Museum. They also went to the Saemangeum Art Hall where they watched a performance of the Ariul Story, thereafter taking a photo at the Saemangeum Seawall.

Though, the most exciting and hyped up part of the first day would be moving to Gwangju World Cup Stadium for the opening ceremony of the 2015 Gwangju Summer Universiade. When I kept telling people I was heading to Gwangju, they kept asking me, "Oh, going for the Universiade?" when in fact, by the time I arrived in Gwangju, it would be 11pm, way past even the ending time. While waiting for the bus, I bought a little cup of IrishPotato. (Yumz) [Look at this gnia, wahahaha]

Upon arrival, I met up another latecomer, Janelle, and we took a cab down toward the lodging for the night: I Am Guesthouse. The rooms were beautiful, though it's not private rooms in case you're wishing to be with your family or friends, but it's those dormitory type rooms where if you don't book with a group, you might end up staying with other strangers. It was a shared bathroom across the entire floor, and there was a huge kitchen. 

On the night itself, the owner cooked ddeokbokki for all of us to eat, but a few of us went out to get some supper from the convenience store nearby, and some sunhari soju too. If you're wondering what sunhari soju is, it's a flavored soju that is made from oranges found in the southern part of Korea, mostly Jeju. There's also this huge craze going on now and many brands are releasing flavored soju, so there's blueberry, grapefruit, orange and the works. So give it a try if you're in Korea!

Anyhow, the next morning we woke up there was breakfast already prepared. There were many side dishes, pork and beef and we were allowed to fry our own eggs, or wait for the owner to fry them for us. I was in a rush so I fried my own eggs, filled my bowl with rice, beans and pork, topped with my very own morning sunny side up.

For the first activity of the day, we headed to Joy Dance Academy (Gwangju) where we learned K-pop dances. This dance academy is pretty famous apparently, and they have dance studios where you can sign up in Gwangju, Daejun, Mokpo and Seoul. The school teaches singing and acting along with dancing. Many of the K-pop idols now were actually discovered from the dance academy itself. Some examples would be Seungri from Big Bang, Minzy from 2NE1, Yunho from TVXQ, Hyerin from EXID and more..

So anyway we gathered, and as the girls all went into the other room to learn another dance, the guys gathered in the smaller room (less guys) to learn Big Bang's Bang Bang. It was incredibly hard, but really interesting. I never actually thought that it could be so fun, and it felt like jumping on the bandwagon for me so I never expected myself to be in a dance academy. I really enjoyed myself and burned some calories so early in the morning. After like an hour or so of practice, we all gathered into another room to do a short performance for everyone.

The girls showing their moves (Team A)

The next batch of girls (Team B)

And finally... us:
(Couldn't be taking photos since I'm inside too, so here's a video from one of our managers)

Group photo with our dance trainers!

Our dance teacher, lotsa tattoos but nice person
(See.. people with tattoos are really nice :D)

But of course, he can look scary

More photos while we were being urged to move quickly

So next up, we headed to the Kimchi Experience Center in Gwangju Kimchi Town for the Gwangju Summer Kimchi Festival. Here we received lessons from an elderly lady who taught us how to make 2 different types of kimchi: 1 made with cucumbers and the other, something a little suited towards the younger generation: a kimchi-style wrap (like a burrito?)

We headed up first to the second floor where we had a lesson on how to make the two types of kimchi, followed by a hands-on lesson where we could try it out ourselves and the guides would come around and give us a hand whenever we got stuck or didn't know how to continue.

Here's the address of the place:
675 Imam-dong, Kimchiro, Namgu, Gwangju
Tel: 062-672-8890
Operation Hours: 09:30am ~ 18:00pm daily

Jason, American-born Korean

And so it began, everyone got on their orange aprons and started cooking. I, on the other hand, went around snapping a few photos before getting my hands dirty. We spent a lot of time making and making that we didn't have enough mouths to finish them all. In the end we were trying to push off the kimchi to everyone because we were so full. Well, apart from the fact that I don't really like eating vegetables to begin with.

Philippines United

I told them to act natural and all just continued what they were doing... while smiling.
Yea... "natural"

One of the staff feeding a reporter

My beautiful looking wrap

Make already of course must selca with it right

After we were all down, we headed downstairs for their Exhibit Promotion where they were giving us a lot of samples, and of course we were allowed to buy them if we wished to. Every product there was made with kimchi. There was kimchi cookies, kimchi tea, kimchi rice cakes, kimchi pancakes... and it was just too much kimchi for me D: Anwyay, we all sat down to watch a rap performance, and thereafter people could go up and do certain competitions like chapteh. Well I think it's called differently in Korea. Then out came the hanboks and everyone was rushing to wear it and pose for photos.

Kimchi rice cake, kimchi cookie, kimchi pancake

Photo with the mascots

The time came when we had to move on the our next location, which was the Mudeungsan Boribap Street, where we had lunch at the Paldo Garden, where we had the Bori Bibimbap Set. It was... vegetable-ly. Almost every thing on the table was made from a certain kind of vegetable and then 1 dish of fishcakes (어묵) and another dish of pork (제육). The only things I put in were mushrooms (버섯), beansprouts (공나물), fish cake and pork. 

I didn't really eat much because I was so full from all the things we ate at Kimchi Town, including what we made during class and what we had during the sampling exhibition. Anyhow, on the bus towards the next destination, our manager was giving our prizes for the best written this and that, and I won something for best photos! Though I am not sure how to use, it says Oil-Drop Anti-Aging Serum... so might it make me look years younger? 

The next location we were at was in Gurye, the Gurye Natural Dream Park. This entire place was built to produce natural, organic foods, house its employees and also provide tours of people interested in the process. We were given a tour of their eco-friendly manufacturing processes in the food they make, and how they plan on making the world, or at least Korea, a better place by providing people with the best food for their health.

We first went into a room where we watched a video introducing what the place was about, including their mission, why they started and how they started coming about. If you want to have a look at their website, it's: icoop where they are actually selling their products. If you can see in the photo below, they have dormitories for their employees who work in the factories as well.

It's almost like a school, seeing as it even has cafes, lots of trees, buildings and it's all secluded in one spot.. Kinda like my campus right now in Songdo, Incheon. Anyway, we were given a tour by this guide who seems like he's just doing talking, but come photo time he took out a 5D Mk 3 with some sick ass big lenses and started snapping photos of us, making me want to keep my camera because it couldn't compare.

The range of dumplings they make

After this, we had around an hour bus ride to the next place, Damyang. We were all pretty sleeping due to the fact we had an early day, and to top it off, continuous eating throughout the day. So... things started to get quiet really fast in the bus as everyone drifted off into a very bumpy and uncomfortable nap. But everything's comfortable when you're sleepy, no?

Sleeping beauties. Muahahaha.

So apparently, they also have a snack where you crush it and then put seasoning inside.
Kinda like our mamee monster in Singapore, but way more healthy, since it's made from this company.

The next area we were at was in Damyang, the Juknokwon (Bamboo Garden) 죽녹원. Over here, we had to walk up to a place where it looked like an entrance to some olden day movie, because of the houses and the bamboos. It was pretty interesting because I've never actually been into a forest full of bamboos before.

Address: 119, Jungnogwon-ro, Damyang-eup, Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do

See? Doesn't it just look like some olden day movie?

We had a mission here where we had to take photos with a "couple-feel" and we chanced upon this statue of this man and decided to use this as our mission subject. So.. thus began the photo spam. We weren't really sure what to do so we just started having photos of us caressing and hugging the man.

Apparently this place has been used a lot for filming of certain Korean movies or dramas

And of course, with bamboos, come PANDAS!
(Definitely has to be fake... because if it's real there wouldn't be bamboos left right?)

After we were done, we started walking out towards Noodle St, but not before trying bamboo flavored ice-cream! We were pretty afraid that it wouldn't taste that nice so we requested for the mixed flavor where it was bamboo and strawberry. It wasn't as sweet as sugar cane, and it hardly had much flavor... but it's bamboo I guess.

We headed back down, crossed a stream and ended up on this long street called "Noodle Street". The name comes from the fact that the noodles sold here were AMAZINGLY GOOD. Seriously, I was skeptical till I actually sat down and tried it. It was ohmigod so good that I regretted only ordering one for all of us to try. We didn't plan on eating too much because it was dinner soon and we were still pretty full from lunch.

We ordered one bowl of the non-spicy noodle and I expected it cold, you know, because people eat the cold noodles during summer. But it came out warm, and the soup was simply delish~ It was just the right amount of salty, and the noodles had amazing texture. Not to mention we ordered their roasted eggs (3 for 1000W!) and we ate them with salt. So so so good! Noodle street is just a stone's throw away from Bamboo Garden so you need not worry about getting lost. It's like killing two birds with one stone when you head there.

"Noodle Street"

The sun was setting and it was just beautiful

The next place we went was highly recommended because of the fact that we all loved taking photos. This place was one of the hot locations for wedding photography and couples loved coming here. This place is called Metasequoia Road. It's funny how a place in Korea could have such a latin type word. The place was really nice, rows and rows of tall trees with a wide sandy path. 

578-4, Hakdong-ri, Damyang-eup, Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do

Wanting to take good photos with nobody in the background, we kept running forward so that we could beat the masses of people lagging behind us. True enough, when we reached the end of the path we were the first to arrive and so we just started spamming lots of photos. I saved you readers incredible amounts of scrolling by removing all the spam since it's not really relevant, and also because this is a really long post and I believe you're tired of scrolling. Just a few more things, I promise!

The sun set was pretty beautiful too

I saw a lot of couples walking around and I really wanted to take a photo of them, but I only managed to pluck up the courage to ask this nice looking couple who looked like they wouldn't reject me. They willingly obliged and were willing to give me their e-mail address so that I could send them the photo. 

After this, we headed to a restaurant that's pretty famous called Damche, where they served this special course that had grilled duck, soup and a bowl of rice served inside an authentic bamboo tube. The food was simply delightful and amazing. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking and drooling because of the wonderfully succulent grilled duck that was so tasty and soft. 

The side dishes were equally amazing

But omg... look at that duck

 This fish, apparently is really expensive, and when eaten has a minty flavor that burns your throat

  The food was really really good...

Not to mention, while we were eating, we were serenaded by this multi-talented guy
(Just look at the instruments he can play...)

We also had our very own Princess from Philippines who went up and sang an almost uncanny version of Whitney Houston's "I will always love you"

We had to rush through dinner because we were delayed throughout the day, and we had to be at the next area on time because it was only open till a certain timing. We were to go to the Gajeong station (abandoned railway station) in Gokseong to have a tour of the Gokseong Seomjingang River Observatory. We went in because it was cloudy and we didn't get to see the stars as planned, but we did get a 3D like experience in some omnitheatre that introduced and explained to us our constellations and star signs. Though, we were all really full, sitting on really comfortable, reclined chairs, and on top of that looking at stars in the night sky... some of us drifted away into lalaland.

After we ended the show, the sky cleared a little bit and we got to see some stars. On top of that, something that we thought was a star turned out to be Saturn when we looked through a really powerful telescope. After which, we moved on to our accomodations for the night, staying at Seomjingang Train Village Rail Pension, where our rooms for the night were in trains. Whether they used to be real or not, I'm not too sure, but they looked really nice and was sitting in an abandoned train village.

I'll continue about the places in the next post about Day 3! Till then!

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