Ambitious Trip to Gapyeong

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It was almost lunar new year. Which means winter was almost over. I thought all winter festival had ended and there’s no way for me to fulfill my ice fishing bucket list. But then I read that there’s an ice festival in Cheongpyeong that would end on Seollal (korean’s term for lunar new year). So I decided to go there. When I had some research about it, I learnt that it’s not that far from Nami Island… and Garden of Morning Calm… and Petite France. And that’s how I ended up going to this ambitious trip. Visiting 4 places in Gapyeong in one day! Thanks to Gapyeong Circle Bus, I can do that. Read more information about the bus schedule here. Because there’s only 1 bus every hour, i need to plan my itinerary well and should follow the plan if i don’t want to ruin it for whole day.

I was leaving at 7am, 30 minutes late from my plan. What a “good” start. lol. My first destination is Cheongpyong Ice Festival. I need 3 hours to reach Cheongpyeong Station. It should be shorter if I took ITX train, but I took regular train and need to transfer 2 times (Gyeongui-Jungang Line from Yongsan to Sangbong, Gyeongchun Line from Sangbong to Cheongpyeong). And the waiting time for the Gyeongchun Line was around 20 minutes.

Surprisingly, there’s shuttle car provided outside Cheongpyeong Station. I asked the staff there “chukje?” which means “festival?”. But he didn’t understand my poor pronounciation, and instead asking “How can I help you?” with good pronounciation. Ohh, great! He can speak english. So I just asked him in English and then went inside the car after make sure it’s heading to the festival.

The festival is only 5 minutes from the station. There are 2 kinds of ice fishing available there, trout (송어낚시) or smelt fishing (빙어낚시). I chose the smelt fishing because it’s a little bit cheaper (10000 KRW). I was kinda confused after buying the ticket because I know I need some fishing tools but I don’t know which one I should buy. I tried to ask the ticket operator but she didn’t understand. So I just walked to the area, and it turned out that they lend the fishing tools. When I showed my ticket, the operator asked me “Alone? 1 Person?”. Ugh, I hate this question. A lot!

But then I entered the fishing area. I was amazed. How could the ice formed there??? On the top of the river??? I saw some people came really prepared with their advanced fishing tools, small chair, mat, etc. Compared to my plastic and fake fishing lure, it’s so different. I knew I wouldn’t get any fish. Hahaha.

There are some holes where we can put the fishing tools. It was my first time fishing. So I didn’t really know what to do. I just put the tools on the hole, sometimes shake it, and wait. And of course taking picture. It was almost an hour and I didn’t see anyone catch the fish that I doubt that there’s fish there. Hahaha. But then I saw some people did actually get some fish. The fish is big enough which means it’s not a waste of money if you get the fish. But looking at my fishing tools, I don’t think I’ll get any fish no matter how long I tried so I just follow my schedule and leave there as planned. At least I satisfy my curiousity. xD

I walked back to Cheongpyeong Station to take Gapyeong Circle Bus. Glad that it was 10 minute late from the schedule, because I couldn’t make it if it’s on time. I bought the ticket for 5000 KRW. Expensive? No, because it’s an all-day ticket. My next destination is Garden of Morning Calm. It’s a garden that was built to showcase Korea’s natural beauty. There are some themed garden such as bonsai garden and korean theme garden. But because it’s winter, there isn’t a lot of plant to see. But it’s still a nice place to visit. Actually, they have light festival during winter. But It’s at night and I didn’t want to go back to the dorm late because there’s curfew.

Here are some spots that I really like. Korean traditional garden, showing garden in a traditional house. Equipped with jars to make kimchi outside.

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korea traditional garden

Place where we can see the garden from above.

And green house! I love the green house so much. The flowers are beautiful and colorful. And it smells really nice.

Garden of Morning Calm is shooting location for some dramas and variety shows such as You’re Beautiful & Marry Me Marry. By the way, there are a lot beautiful pensions around the area (just like villa in Puncak, but without mamang villa xD).

At 2PM, I took the bus to Petite France. I just showed the ticket I previously bought to the driver and let him check the date. It departed on time because it’s the first stop. The view during the trip was very breathtaking. Cheongpyeongho Lake is so beautiful. Sit on right side of the bus to get the best view!

Too bad, I can not use Korea Grand Sale voucher to get discount in Petite France because they needed printed voucher. Pfft. I can use the voucher by only showing it through my phone in Garden of Morning Calm, though. I went to orgel house first. There are 3 performances in a day. A woman explaining the orgel history and all, but in Korean.

I didn’t have a lot of time here, so I just took pictures. And there’s nothing much to do here anyway. Some interesting places: France house interior showcase, Doll House, and Observation Tower where you can see Cheongpyeongho Lake. But the observation tower wall is full of tourists’ scribble. It’s annoying. Running Man and My Love From The Star had their shooting here. There’s Do Minjun & Cheon Songyi cardboard, too. And I saw a lot of Indonesian tourist here. Haha.

After that, I took the bus to Nami Island. But I didn’t get a seat. Yup, one of the risk of taking this bus is not getting any seat or it’s full. So, if you plan to take this bus, please consider these things.
The ticket for foreigner costs 8000 KRW. They called it “VISA” because it’s Naminara Republic. “Nara” means country in Korean. So cute. I need to take ferry to go to the island. And there’s Indonesian flag on the ferry! When I arrived at the Namiseom… 헐! The queue to take ferry back was so long. Maybe because it’s long holiday. I felt uneasy because I was worried I can’t take the last circle bus to subway station. My goals in Nami island: find the praying room, eat at the halal restaurant there, take picture of Winter Sonata statue. Hahaha.

I found the prayer room. Prayed there and go to the restaurant called Dongmun. It’s officially certified as Halal Restaurant No. 4 in Korea. So I can trust them. I eat bulgogi bibimbab there. It’s so delicious. It’s like the first proper meat I eat in Korea. Before, I only ate meat in kebab. After that, I walked around the island to find winter sonata statue. After found it, I took some photos and I walked to the gate to take ferry back. The queue was still long.

And when I finally arrived in mainland, I saw the bus leaving. It was the bus for the opposite direction, but I thought the last bus that I need to take had also left. So I queued on a very long line for taxi when suddenly the real last circle bus arrived. I ran to the bus, but there’s no more spot there. It was really full. I walked back to taxi queue… From the back again… And there’s a regular bus stopped. I ran to bus line. But it’s full.. again. Then I decided to just join the queue on bus stop because I was sure I could get on the next bus. And finally I took the next bus to Gapyeong Station. Took the subway from Gapyeong and safely arrived in Incheon 3 hours later. xD

This is the last part of winter bucket list edition. So, I couldn’t fulfill 2 of my bucket list: ski – I was sick 2 days before the D-Day I supposed to go!😦 – and build the snowman – the snow is not thick enough. I hope I can fulfill it next year! We will move to spring bucket list soon. Kkkk. See you!

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