Sun.Star Baguio - - Live! - BY DEBB BAUTISTA

THE BEAUTY of travel is find­ing new en­coun­ters. One can jour­ney to the same des tina­tion yet see it in a mag­i­cally dif­fer­ent way. I joined the Ru­ral Bank of Ito­gon (RBI) tour of Seoul and its suburbs.

A bril­liant idea that has paid off with vis­i­tors com­ing from far and wide is PETITE FRANCE. This is a man-made French vil­lage with lots of quaint houses, an­tique shops and beau­ti­ful gar­dens set on a hill that pro­vide lots of photo op­por­tu­ni­ties. Be pre­pared to walk up slopes and stairs. HWASEONG FORTRESS (UN­ESCO World Her­itage) is a splen­did citadel of His­toric Su­won where you can see the ex­ten­sive walls of the past with its var­i­ous plat­forms and com­mand posts. It’s like a mini Great Wall (of China) and quite a long walk of more than 5-km. A friendly warn­ing – this place may not be suitable for those with walk­ing dif­fi­cul­ties as it in­volves climb­ing stairs or go­ing up­s­lope. HWASEONG HAENGGUNG PALACE is also known as the sum­mer palace and a very good ex­am­ple of an­cient Korean ar­chi­tec­ture. There are mu­ral tiles on the ground show­ing the royal cer­e­mony and life-size mod­els of maids and ser­vants in some of the rooms. Due to its small size, it is easy to go around the whole palace within a short amount of time.

South Ko­rea’s largest amuse­ment ground is the EVERLAND THEME PARK which re­ceives 7.3-M vis­i­tors an­nu­ally. Op­er­ated by Sam­sung Cor­po­ra­tion, it fea­tures a zoo, sa­fari, few roller coast­ers, merry go round, fun­fair-type rides, mul­ti­ple res­tau­rants, and big gar­dens that caters to every one of dif­fer­ent ages. Like any reg­u­lar en­ter­tain­ment area, it was crowded with both tourists and lo­cals. Perched upon the high­est point of Mt. Nam­san, SEOUL TOWER was built pri­mar­ily as a com­mu­ni­ca­tions tower with look­out fa­cil­i­ties, res­tau­rants, and sou­venir shops. It was a steep walk up to the tower park but we were re­warded with a spec­tac­u­lar panoramic view of Seoul at the top.

I love that we went to beau­ti­ful NAMI IS­LAND in au­tumn. The view was sim­ply breath­tak­ing with the vivid col­ors of gold, crim­son, and orange. Ev­ery­where on the is­land was pic­ture-per­fect. Although it was rain­ing and cold and packed with tourists, I con­sider this visit as one of the high­lights of our trip to Seoul. Over­all, this short but sweet trip al­lowed us the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence au­tumn in Seoul like never be­fore.

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