Travel Review & Tips: Dragon Hill Spa (Korean Bathhouse) in Yongsan, Seoul

Sweat it out at Dragon Hill Spa, the best Korean spa in Seoul, Korea!dragon-hill-spa (3)What better way to unwind and de-stress in the city than to treat yourself to a spa day?

For Koreans, one of the most popular and unique ways to relieve stress and get pampered is by enjoying a Korean sauna at a traditional Korean bathhouse called “Jjimjilbang (찜질방)”.

For foreigners, these Korean public bathhouses offer you the most authentic and unique cultural experiences such as getting naked in the public and soaking in a bath tub with other people, all of which will blow your mind away.

To show you what it’s like to experience Korean sauna culture and what you can expect at a Korean spa, I, from Trazy Crew, visited Dragon Hill Spa in Seoul, the most famous Korean spa in the city.

So check out this guide to Dragon Hill Spa with a summary of my experience plus tips below!

Dragon Hill Spa at a glance

dragon-hill-spa-(5)Dragon Hill Spa is open 24 hours a day and all year round, you can visit the spa anytime of the year, making it a great late-night spot to hang out with your special ones and the perfect place to escape the heat, cold and rain.

Along with spa and sauna, Dragon Hill Spa offers you a wide range of amenities as well, such as internet cafe, fitness center, arcade center, and even a karaoke. And you can enjoy all of these at a relatively low cost, which is less than $15!dragon-hill-spa-(11)Offering more than just a spa, it has been featured in many famous Korean dramas and TV programs, such as a popular Korean variety show called “Running Man” and named as one of the three best saunas in Seoul by CNN.
dragon-hill-spa-(50).jpgWith signs and menus in English, Japanese and Chinese, the spa is also very foreigner-friendly. It’s no wonder it’s popular among foreign tourists!

Tips for those want to visit Dragon Hill Spa

1. Take advantage of online discount tickets.

dragon-hill-spa (1)While you can buy tickets at a regular price on site, you can also get discount tickets to Dragon Hill Spa on If you buy from Trazy, all you have to do is show your mobile voucher.

2. Take the subway.

dragon-hill-spa-(2)Located in the district of Yongsan in central Seoul, it is very easy for first-time travelers and visitors to get to Dragon Hill Spa and taking the subway is highly recommended if you are not used to taking the local buses.dragon-hill-spa-(4)From Yongsan Station’s Exit 3, you can spot Dragon Hill Spa on your right.

Click a map to enlarge

Tips on getting prepared at Dragon Hill Spa

Once you show the mobile voucher from Trazy, you will receive sauna uniform for a change and a bracelet-like key.
dragon-hill-spa-(13)This key opens all of your lockers (for shoes and clothes) and you can use this key to make a payment when you buy food and snacks at the cafeteria inside the building. So never ever lose the key!!!! If you lose the key, better run up to the front desk and ask for help.

Now, you must first change into sauna uniform.dragon-hill-spa-(14)If you are a lady, take the elevator.dragon-hill-spa-(15)If you are a man, enter the passage on the left.
dragon-hill-spa-(43)Once you get off the elevator, just follow the sign and enter. Then look for the locker according to the number written on your key. Put all your belongings and anything valuable inside the locker.dragon-hill-spa-(12)dragon-hill-spa-(21)Change into the clothes that you received from the front (don’t take off your underwear! ;)).

Tips on what to enjoy in Dragon Hill Spa

1. Don’t miss these Jjimjilbang foods!

dragon-hill-spa-(20)Head to the cafeteria or the snack bar on the 1st floor to try Jjimjimbang foods.dragon-hill-spa-(17)One of my favorites is these Jjimjilbang eggs, which are very, very popular treats served in Korean bathhouses.

Other bathhouses usually serve two kinds – a boiled egg and a roasted egg, or “Maek-ban-seok (Stone-plate Cooked Egg)” in Korean.dragon-hill-spa-(18)But you can find 3 kinds of eggs at Dragon Hill Spa.  dragon-hill-spa-(19)Koreans usually drink “Sikhye (Sweet Rice Drink)” together with the eggs. It is traditional Korean beverage made with rice and has some grains of cooked rice in it. Drink a glass of ice cold rice juice after sweating out in the saunas – 100% satisfaction is guaranteed!

2. Chill out at the public resting zone.

dragon-hill-spa-(34)At the entrance of the public resting zone, you can find the rectangular cushion or pillow. dragon-hill-spa-(36)Grab one of these and lie down, watch TV and enjoy maekbanseok eggs and sikhye with your friends and family.

It was kind of surprising to see so many numbers of people at the Dragon Hill Spa during the weekday, even when I visited late at night. I guess that’s because Dragon Hill Spa is really famous.

3. Try a bit of every sauna room in Dragon Hill Spa!

dragon-hill-spa-(37)Now, if you are ready to enjoy some sauna, choose a type of sauna room you want to experience.

Dragon Hill Spa offers several types of sauna rooms and zones, such as Pyramid Meditation Room, Nephrite Jade Energy Room and Hinoki Woodland Room, so just choose the right place according to your preference (I would say, the temperature you can withstand)!

If this is your first visit, I highly recommended these sauna rooms.dragon-hill-spa-(29)Here’s the Crystal Sun Salt Room, which is one of my favorites. Among many sauna rooms at Dragon Hill Spa, this is the most unique room, which is filled with salt pebbles everywhere.dragon-hill-spa-(32)But do watch out when you walk on these little pebbles – they can be a bit painful.
dragon-hill-spa-(23)If you opt for heat and steam, try the Korean traditional charcoal kiln, which looks like an igloo. These sauna rooms are different in temperatures: low, medium and high.dragon-hill-spa-(25)The low-temp steam room is not that steamy or hot, so if you want more heat, you may want to move to the mid-temp room right next to it.dragon-hill-spa-(28)For those who don’t like the heat, run over to this ice room!
dragon-hill-spa-(27)It’s a perfect spot to cool off after sweating out in the hot sauna. But since it is freezing cold, you’ll probably want to get out of this room after 2 minutes.

4. Use a massage chair to relax your muscles.

dragon-hill-spa-(24)You can also find these comfortable massage chairs in front of the Korean traditional charcoal kiln.dragon-hill-spa-(26)Just put your key and you can use these massage chairs and get a great leg and back massage 🙂

5. Do explore other areas or floors in Dragon Hill Spa.

dragon-hill-spa-(47)Since Dragon Hill Spa is a 7-story building, there are plenty other entertainment and amenities for you to explore and enjoy.

On the 1st floor, there are outdoor hot spring pool and various spa zones along with the snack bar and public resting zone.

On the same floor, you can also enjoy a spa treatment at the Royal Orchid Spa at an additional cost.dragon-hill-spa-(40)On the 7th floor, there’s a Sky Garden and Garden Cinema. There’s a snack bar and a little karaoke room as well. 😉dragon-hill-spa-(22)The basement floor features Cinema Hall, PC room (internet cafe), Game zone and a toilet. You might need to bring some cash to enjoy some of these facilities. And you can also find a little smoking room on the right side of the Adventure Zone.

6. Don’t panic. Public bath doesn’t really mean ‘public’.

After all the wandering, I finally headed back to women’s sauna zone to take a shower and a bath.

The public bath for men and women are completely separated, so no worries.

Carry the key and a towel and head downstairs to the bathing area where there’s a washing area for you to take a shower and a bathing area where you can enjoy refreshing bath.

You must take all of your clothes off, including your underwear. You’ll feel embarrassed to get naked in front of so many people at first, but nobody really cares so just try to be natural.

There are also various kinds of bath waters, so try each one! Don’t forget that it’s an etiquette to take a shower before you get inside a tub. 😉

7. You don’t need to bring your own toiletries.

If you’ve forgotten to bring your toiletries, don’t worry.

There’s a little store (a counter with a lady vendor) where you can buy all kinds of toiletries (mostly single-use) that you’ll need for a shower or bath (like shampoo, conditioner, cleansing foam, etc).

If you are done taking a cool shower and a bath afterward, it’s time to go home!

Freely use the complimentary hair dryers, toner and lotion, cotton swab, and etc prepared at the powder section. 😉

Last words about my experience at Dragon Hill Spa

dragon-hill-spa-(33)Of all the Korean bathhouses that I’ve been to, Dragon Hill Spa was absolutely the best.

The spa and sauna experiences, along with various entertainment facilities…all of them were amazing.

Though taking off clothes and getting to used to a public bath can be awkward at first, I think all of you will enjoy this unique Korean sauna culture.

Those who want to unwind in the city, head to Dragon Hill Spa for a soak today!

Dragon Hill Spa Discount Tickets are available here.

And of course, never forget to visit to find out the latest, newest, trendiest things to do in South Korea! 🙂dragon-hill-button.jpg

Gangchon Rail Park Review: Ride the New ‘VR Rail Bike’ for Only 1,000 KRW!

Gangchon Rail Park’s ‘VR Rail Bike’ Review: The cheapest and most creative way to experience VR!

Gangchon Rail Park, the best rail-bike park in Korea, has launched the world’s first ‘Virtual Reality (VR) Rail Bike’ and now visitors can enjoy the VR while riding a rail bike!

The new ‘VR Rail Bike’ is an additional attraction for visitors to Gangchon Rail Park and it is available at an additional cost of 1,000 KRW.

The VR experience is currently only available at the last tunnel, out of four different tunnels in the entire course, but it is definitely worth the experience.

| NOTE: Visitors must first purchase a regular ticket to try this new VR attraction. Scroll down for detailed ticket information.

To find out what this new VR attraction is all about, I, a member of Trazy Crew, visited Gangchon Rail Park.

Gangchon Rail Park (10).jpgFor those who have never heard of or visited Gangchon Rail Park before, it is one the popular attractions near Seoul where you can ride a rail bike all year round. Gangchon Rail Park (12)While Gangchon Rail Park is one of the largest, with a total of 8.6km course, and most popular rail-bike destinations in Korea, there are other places where you can ride a rail bike as well, such as Gapyeong Rail ParkYangpyeong Rail Park and more.

It is also famous for being the filming location of many Korean TV variety shows such as ‘Running Man‘ and ‘We Got Married‘.Gangchon Rail Park (9)Gangchon Rail Park has 2-seater (blue) or a 4-seater (red) rail bikes available for visitors and the rail bike departs every hour from 9:00am to 6:00pm.
Gangchon Rail Park (5)While pedaling along on your bike, you can enjoy the scenery of Gangchon area and the Bukhangang River. Gangchon Rail Park (8)Since the scenery is stunning every season, you can have a completely different experience each time you visit Gangchon Rail Park.Gangchon Rail Park (7)You will pass through four different tunnels during the entire course, and it is the last or the 4th tunnel where you will ride in VR.

Hopefully they make the VR available for all tunnels in the future. 😉

Before you enter the tunnel, you will be given a VR headset. There will be staff who will help you wear the headset and guide you along the course, so don’t worry if this is your first time trying VR.
Gangchon Rail Park (6)If you press the button on the right side of the headset, you can shoot missiles and kill the villains. And when there are explosions going off, you can actually feel the heat of a fire on your face, which is absolutely awesome!
Gangchon Rail Park (4)After you pass through the fourth tunnel, you will reach a rest stop. From here, you will take Nangman Train, or the ‘Romance Train’, to Gangchon Station.Gangchon Rail Park (3)Along the way, you can sit back and relax while taking in the gorgeous landscapes of Gangchon.Gangchon Rail Park (2)After you get off the train, you can take a free shuttle bus at the parking lot back to Gimyujeong Station.

| NOTE: The entire course takes around 1 hr 30 mins (50 mins of rail bike ride + 20 mins break time at transfer stop + 20 mins of Nangman Train ride).

Gangchon Rail Park Ticket Information

Where Can I Buy Regular Tickets?

Regular tickets can be purchased via online booking. The official website is not available in English, but you can book tickets to Gangchon Rail Park via, an online booking website for foreigners.

You may also purchase tickets on site, however, it is recommended that you purchase online in advance to guarantee your tickets as it is first come, first served.

Booking must be made at least 3 days prior to the date of your visit at

To buy Gangchon Rail Park tickets online, click here.

Where Can I Buy VR Rail Bike Tickets?

The VR tickets are only available on-site and they will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. 

For anyone wanting to visit the rail park, read on to find out how you can go to Gangchon Rail Park from Seoul.

How to Go to Gangchon Rail Park from Seoul?

Gangchon Rail Park (14)Planning an independent trip to Gangchon Rail Park from Seoul can be tricky as it is located in the city of Chuncheon. By public transportation, it will take at least 2 hours or more in general.

  • By Express Bus: Dong Seoul Bus Terminal ▶ Chuncheon Intercity Bus Terminal (approx. 1 hr 15mins~) ▶ Namchuncheon Station (Subway Gyeongchun Line) ▶ Gimyujeong Station
  • By Subway: Any subway station in Seoul ▶ Gimyujeong Station (Subway Gyeongchun Line)
    • Ex. Myeongdong Station▶ Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station > Wangsimni Station ▶ Gimyujeong Station (approx. total time: 2hrs 20mins~)
  • By ITX Train: Yongsan Station/Cheongnyangni Station ▶ Gangchon Station (1 hr 7 mins) ▶ Gimyujeong Station (Subway Gyeongchun Line)

★ Tips for Subway & Train Travel 

Since Gyeongchun Line is usually packed with people, taking the ITX train is strongly recommended. However, the ITX train tickets usually sell out quickly and there may not be any train running on your desired schedule. Make sure to check the train schedules and purchase the tickets in advance at official Korail homepage.

★ Advice

If you still find these methods confusing, consider taking one of the organized tours offered by Trazy, which provide you with admission tickets and round-trip transportation.

These tours are ideal for travelers who want to visit Gangchon Rail Park and nearby tourists attractions, such as Nami Island, Petite France and the Garden of Morning Calm, all in one day.

Interested in taking a tour? Check out these tours below:

Did you enjoy reading this travel review? Check out our previous travel review on Gangchon Rail Park: Gangchon Rail Park & Nami Island & The Garden of Morning Calm.

Looking for more rail bike destinations in Korea? Visit, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop, today.gangchon-rail-bike-cta.jpg

Goryeosan Mountain Azalea Festival | Travel Review & Tips

Usually, when the cherry blossoms are gone, pink and purple azaleas explode in spectacular bloom in Korea.goryeosan-mountain-azalea-(120)Now, if you are thumbing through guidebooks searching for the best place to see these breathtaking azaleas, Goryeosan Mountain Azalea Festival is the perfect place to be!

About Goryeosan Mountain Azalea Festival

Every year from mid-April to the end of April, a fantastic azalea festival takes place in Goryeosan Mountain, or Mount Goryeo, in the heart of Ganghwa Island in Incheon.

As Incheon is a city bordering with Seoul, it only takes 2 hours to get to the festival from Seoul by car, making it an ideal destination for a short excursion.goryeosan-mountain-azalea-(127)

  • Festival Date: April 12 – 23
  • Location: Goryeosan Mountain, Ganghwa Island, Incheon
  • Best time to visit: Mid-April – late-April
  • Book a shuttle bus ride

To witness this otherworldly sight of flaming pink bloom myself, I visited the azalea festival via a shuttle bus package offered by, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop. goryeosan thumbnail_1And it was a fantastic experience, definitely not an ordinary trip that you can take anywhere else except with Trazy. Read on to find out why! 🙂

Top 4 Highlights of Goryeosan Mountain Azalea Festival Trip

Take a look at the four highlights of my trip to Goryeosan Mountain Azalea Festival, and you will see why this is ‘no ordinary’ trip.

1. Make your way to the top of Goryeosan Mountain to witness the breathtaking azaleas

Since the Azalea Habitat, the main feature of the festival, can be viewed from the peak of Goryeosan Mountain at 436m (1,430 feet), you will have to do some hiking during the trip, which gives you a ‘totally different’ travel experience you can’t get from other spring flower tours. goryeosan-mountain-azalea-(27)While hiking, you can find gorgeous pink azaleas along the way. So stop for a minute and take up-close photos! goryeosan-mountain-azalea-(124).jpgHonestly, I must say I am not a mountain person. But other than some relatively steep inclines on the way to the peak, the hiking trail that I took is enjoyable in overall even for non-climbers, like me.  goryeosan-mountain-azalea-(126)Plus, the spectacular views of breathtaking ripples of pink azaleas definitely pay you off when you reach the top of the mountain.
goryeosan-mountain-azalea-(129)goryeosan-mountain-azalea-(128)The festival also offers a photo zone where you can take pictures against a backdrop of Goryeosan Mountain covered with azaleas, too!goryeosan-mountain-azalea-(130).jpg

Take a look at the map below if you want to follow in my footsteps from my trip with Trazy!goryeosan-mountain-map

  • Total Distance: 2.9km
  • Duration: Approx. 1~1.5 hours; one-way
  • Difficulty Level: Easy – Moderate
  • Detailed Course: Cheongryeonsa Temple Entrance (Drop-off location) > Cheongryeonsa Temple > Peak of Goryeosan Mountain & Azalea Habitat

2. Stop and replenish at Cheongryeonsa Temple

On the way to the top, you will pass by this beautiful Buddhist temple called Cheongryeonsa Temple, but I recommend you to fully enjoy your time at the top of the mountain and then drop by this temple on your way down.goryeosan-mountain-azalea-(12)There is a rest area with a bench where you can replenish after burning off all your energy on your hike as well as a stunning magnolia tree, which was full in bloom during my visit.goryeosan-mountain-azalea-(125)

3. Enjoy the tranquility at Gukhwa Reservoir

If you have spare time, take a brief moment at the reservoir where you can soak in the scenery and enjoy the tranquility.goryeosan-mountain-azalea-(118)A short walk from the entrance of Cheongryeonsa Temple will have you at this calm and serene reservoir.goryeosan-mountain-azalea-(131).jpg

4. Travel like a local at Ganghwa Pungmul Market

Before heading back to Seoul, there was a short stop at Ganghwa Pungmul Market during the trip. It was quite an authentic place that gives you a glimpse of a thriving and vibrant local Korean market scene.goryeosan-mountain-azalea-(117)Check out this cute map of the market!goryeosan-mountain-azalea-(114)

Checklist for Travelers to Goryeosan Mountain Azalea Festival

1. What to bring
Bring a sunscreen, hat, handkerchief, a water bottle and, of course, your camera, hiking poles if you have one. 😉

2. What to wear
Wear casual clothing and comfortable lightweight walking shoes!

3. Where & What to eat
While you can find vendors selling ice creams and cool beverages along the way to the peak, you can find outdoor food stalls around the entrance of Cheongryeonsa Temple and at the top of Goryeonsan Mountain.goryeosan-mountain-food.jpgThese food stalls serve Korean spicy cup noodles and local dishes such as ‘Muk-muchim (seasoned acorn jelly salad)’, ‘Pajeon (green onion pancake)’ and ‘Janchi-guksu (banquet noodles)’. The prices range from 5,000 to 15,000 KRW for the meals.

But bringing your own lunch box and enjoying it during the hike is a great option as well!

Enjoyed reading this travel review? If you have any questions about the trip, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and book Trazy’s trip now while it’s available!

Looking for other cool spring festivals in Korea?


Don’t forget to check out, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop, for more spring tours and the best things to do in South Korea!button31

Photo Credits
By Byungjoon Kim (IMG_1392Uploaded by Caspian blue) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival | Travel Review & Tips

When it comes to spring in Korea, we can never leave out the cherry blossoms. But if you don’t know where to go and catch them, here’s the perfect destination for you!

About Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival

The picture-perfect Bomun Lake in Gyeongju, a historic city in the southern part of Korea, shows off its best every April when 9,000 cherry trees around the lake burst into bloom.gyeongju-cherryblossoms (17)Bomun Lake is located at the center of Bomun Tourist Complex, a tourist district where you can find hotels, resorts, theme parks, an amusement park and other various attractions. gyeongju-cherryblossoms (10)If you visit during the Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival, there are also live music and performances to keep you entertained as well.

To get a better idea of what Gyeongju has to offer, I took a day trip during the festival period via a tour organized by, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop, which saved my time and made my trip very easy and convenient.

  • Festival Date: March 31~April 9, 2017 (10 days)
  • Location: Around Bomun Lake in Bomun Tourist Complex (east of downtown Gyeongju)
  • Why this festival? Beautiful cherry trees around Bomun Lake and across Bomun Tourist Complex, coupled with a variety of attractions to enjoy
  • Book one-day tour to Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival

Note that the bus ride takes around 5 hours (more or less depending on weekend or weekday) from Seoul to Bomun Lake.gyeongju-cherryblossoms (14)The festival runs during the peak of cherry blossom season, but you can still visit the lake and admire the cherry blossoms until mid-April.

※Like many other seasonal tours, I strongly advise you to check for weather conditions, availability of the tour and book your trip ahead of time.

Enjoy the festival according to your travel style!

Walking along the 8km-long cherry tree-lined path around the lake and taking in the beautiful lakeside scenery of Bomun Lake can be the best part of the festival, but there are certainly more options for you to enjoy.
gyeongju-cherryblossoms (11)To help you maximize your trip via Trazy’s tour, here I recommend two routes – choose according to your travel style!

※Completing the entire walkway around Bomun Lake can take about 2 hours more or less and completing these recommended routes can take around 3~4 hours.

※See the map below for the location of each spot in the routes.

Click to enlarge the map.

Route 1. For hardcore travelers

For travelers who want to see a little bit of everything and are comfortable with a tight schedule, follow this route below!

  • Gyeongju World Culture Expo Park Parking Lot – Hwangnyongwon (a 9-story tower) – Bomun Pavilion – Bomun Lake – Wooden Bridge – Hoban Square – Waterwheel Square – Silla Millennium Park – Gyeongju World Culture Expo Park Parking Lot

Route 2. For slow and easy walkers

For those who want to make the most of their time around the lake and appreciate the scenery, take this route below!

  • Waterwheel Square – Bomun Pavilion – Bomun Lake – Hoban Square – Wooden Bridge – Mulneoulgyo Bridge – Donggungwon (Gyeongju East Palace Garden) – Waterwheel Square

4 Tips on how to double your joy at Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival

Tip 1. Snap photos at two iconic spots

Everywhere in Gyeongju’s Bomun Tourist Complex are Instagram gold. But here are two of the most popular spots to take incredible photos!

  • Waterwheel Square: This square is one of the most popular photo zones where many visitors take photos in front of this huge waterwheel set against a small waterfall and tree-lined path.

gyeongju-cherryblossoms (6)

  • Bomun Pavilion (Bomunjeong): Known as one of the “50 Beautiful Places to Visit in Korea” by CNN Travel, this is a picturesque pavilion that is a must-visit spot for all avid photographers. Takes 5 min from the Waterwheel Square by foot, across from the Hilton Hotel.

gyeongju-cherryblossoms (18)

Tip 2. Pedal on a cute duck boat

Gyeongju’s Bomun Tourist Complex is very famous for their duck boats! So head over to Hoban Square and get yourself one of the duck boats. Paddle around the lake and share the fun experience with your loved ones.gyeongju-cherryblossoms (19)gyeongju-cherryblossoms (20)

  • Options: 2-seater / 4-seater
  • Duration: 40 mins
  • Price: 20,000 KRW
  • Operation hours: 9am~6pm

Tip 3. Ride a bike like the wind

Why not try riding a bike instead of walking all the way around the entire lake? Feel the cool breeze and take in the view around the lake. gyeongju-cherryblossoms (5)gyeongju-cherryblossoms (13)Drop by the bike rental shop in front of Daemyung Resort in Bomun Tourist Complex. Rental fee costs 5,000 KRW for an hour.

Tip 4. Drop by other attractions nearby

There are plenty of attractions to enjoy around the lake such as Gyeongju World Amusement Park, Gyeongju Teddy Bear Museum and Donggungwon, Korea’s first zoo and botanical garden.

In my case, I dropped by Silla Millennium Park on my way back to the parking lot where I spent about an hour and a half during the trip.  gyeongju-cherryblossoms (4)The park is quite impressive as it features traditional houses and historical landmarks from the Silla Kingdom and also offers beautiful cherry tree-lined paths.gyeongju-cherryblossoms (3)Also, I was lucky enough to watch a horse-riding performance by Hwarang warriors!gyeongju-cherryblossoms (2)For those who want to see more than just the lake, stop by Silla Millennium Park or any of the other attractions nearby during your visit. The admission fee for Silla Millennium Park costs 14,400 KRW for adults.

What to Eat in Gyeongju

Here are some of the best Gyeongju’s local specialty dishes you should try!gyeongju-food.jpg

  1. Ssambap: Rice wraps served with fresh vegetables, stews, grilled fish and more
  2. Tteokgalbi: Minced short rib that is grilled in the shape of a round rice cake
  3. Sundubu: Meals made of soft, light tofu
  4. Hanjeongsik: Korean traditional meal
  5. Hwangnam-ppang: Sticky barley bread

Places to Eat in Gyeongju

  • Bomun Lake Complex (south of Bomun Lake, near Gyeongju World Culture Expo Park)
    • Bomun Hanu: Barbecued beef short ribs (10,000 KRW~)
    • Pulipchae: Buffet of traditional Korean dishes (12,900 KRW~)
    • Gyeongju Cheonnyn Hanu: Barbecued beef short ribs, (7,000 KRW~)
    • Jinsuseongchan: Marinated fresh crabs (8,000 KRW~)
    • Daedokjang: Kimchi Stew, (7,000 KRW~)
  • Bukgundong Complex (north of Bomun Lake)
    • Nakjimasil: Spicy stir-fried octopus (7,000 KRW~)
    • Jeonju Bibimbap: Bibimbap mixed rice bowl (9,000 KRW~)
    • Unsudaetong: Barbecued beef short ribs (20,000 KRW~)
    • Maetdol Sundubu: Sundubu tofu stew (9,000 KRW~)
    • Hobakneongkul Daegejang: Marinated fresh crabs, sundubu tofu stew (8,000 KRW~)

Enjoyed reading this blog post? Make sure to check out Trazy’s Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival Tour!gyeongju-cherryblossom

First time traveling to Gyeongju?

Once the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla, Gyeongju stands as a city with a rich history of the thousand-year-old Silla Kingdom today. Known as ‘museum without walls‘, the history city of Gyeongju offers bountiful UNESCO-designated sites and national treasures.

For those traveling on a budget, there is a city tour bus in Gyeongju, which takes you around the major historical destinations on two different courses. For more information, click here.gyeongju-city-tour-bus-ticketSince Gyeongju is relatively close to the southern port city of Busan, it can be convenient to travel from Busan to Gyeongju.

For those who want to visit Gyeongju from Busan, Trazy offers the following tours.


Find more tours to Korea’s major spring festivals and cherry blossom festivals here.

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Photo Credits
By by Pachinee Buathong, CC BY-SA 2.0, 링크
By by Jinho Jung from South Korea –, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
By by titanium22, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
By ProjectManhattanProjectManhattan, CC0, Link
By Gyeongju City

Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival | Travel Review & Tips

Hwagae Cherry Blossom (20)

About Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival

Early April every year, the Simni Cherry Blossom Road, the 4 km road that connects Ssanggyesa Temple and Hwagaejangteo Market, is filled with 1,200 cherry blossom trees in full bloom.  To capture this scenic view, people from all over Korea take a trip to this small village in Hadong, Gyeongsangnamdo Province and have an unforgettable moment with their beloved people.

In the hope that international travelers also get to know about this charming little village, I, a member of Trazy Crew and your best online tour guide for Korea, set off to Hadong to deliver the beautiful scenery of Hwagae Cherry Blossom FestivalHwagae Cherry Blossom (0)Trazy’s Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival tour bus dropped me off at Ssanggyesa Temple. The tour is designed for you to walk about 4 km from Ssanggyesa temple to Hwagaejangteo Market while enjoying the cherry blossom arch over your head.

Ssanggyesa Temple

Ssanggyesa Temple is one of the most popular temples in the Jirisan area and its foundation dates back to the 8th century. The layout of the buildings in the temple compound well harmonizes with the surrounding nature. The colorful, but not necessarily gaudy, paintwork on the wooden buildings doubles aesthetic pleasure in the traditional construction.Hwagae Cherry Blossom (1)Hwagae Cherry Blossom (2)Hwagae Cherry Blossom (3)Hwagae Cherry Blossom (4)

Simni Cherry Blossom Road

The road to Hwagaejangteo Market divides into two at the temple’s entrance by Hwagaecheon Stream. Both roads, laid out side by side with the stream in the middle, are filled with densely planted cherry blossom trees. Whichever side you choose, you’ll walk under the beautiful cherry blossom arch. Also, you can switch the road at the bridges that you will encounter a couple of times on your way to Hawgaegangteo Market.Hwagae Cherry Blossom (5)

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Photo of the other side taken from one side of the stream
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Photo taken on the bridge

Hwagae Cherry Blossom (7)This cherry blossom road has a nickname. Some people call the road “Hollye-gil” which is translated as “Wedding Road” in English. The myth behind it tells that if a couple walks this road together, they come to get married and live happily ever after.Hwagae Cherry Blossom (9)Hwagae Cherry Blossom (10)

Tip 1. Try Cherry Blossom Oyster & Ice Cream!

By the time my legs got tired and I needed something to eat, I came across a few food tents and snack bars. While the food is generally slightly over-priced, it is worth trying this unique local food of the area, Beotgul – the cherry blossom oyster.Hwagae Cherry Blossom (12)Hwagae Cherry Blossom (13)Hwagae Cherry Blossom (11)This oyster is caught from Seomjingang River in the local area. Unlike other oysters, this inhabits fresh water and grows as big as a human hand. I ordered one huge oyster. The server lady cut one of the shells off, took the flesh off from the other shell, chopped the flesh into a mouthful size and topped it with sour and spicy chili sauce. If you feel put off by raw freshwater food, you can also ask to cook it.Hwagae Cherry Blossom (16)I kept walking towards Hwagaejangteo market, the pick-up point for the tour bus to Seoul. This time I came across an ice cream stall famous for the cherry blossom ice cream. They added cherry blossom syrup in the ice cream mix. The ice cream is very sweet and you can taste the flowery flavor in it. I continued to follow the road with the ice cream on one hand, and the camera on the other hand.

Tip2. Walk More for the Greater View!

Hwagae Cherry Blossom (17)As I got closer to the market, the view became even more picturesque because the cherry blossoms begin to bloom near the market and they gradually spread up to the temple, the higher area. My view became brighter and brighter every time I took a step forward. The snow white cherry blossoms absolutely dazzled my eyes.Hwagae Cherry Blossom (18)Hwagae Cherry Blossom (19)The magnificence of the view reaches its peak at the end of the 4-km cherry blossom road and I finally met Hwagaejangteo Market with its signature thatched roof stores.

Hwagaejangteo Market

Hwagaejangteo Market is located where Hawgaecheon Stream joins Seomjingang River that divides Jeollanamdo Province and Gyeongsangnamdo Province. For its geographical feature, the market traditionally served as a meeting point for people from different provinces. People from Gyeongsangdo Province and Jeollado Province would come to Hwagaejangteo Market and exchange their local produce.Hwagae Cherry Blossom (22)The statue symbolizes a pedlar who used to travel across the country to sell goods in Hwagaejangteo Market.Hwagae Cherry Blossom (21)You can find locally cultivated green tea and herbs, pottery, and rice wine in the market. Hwagae Cherry Blossom (23)The beautiful scenery of the surrounding area attracts heaps of tourists all over the country and the market, of course, serves as an agora for people from different regions to meet.

Things to Check before You Visit

  • Wear in Layers!
    Although it is warm during the day in early April, mornings and nights are still chilly and you definitely need a jacket. The tour starts in the early morning and the temperature is highly likely below 10-degree celsius. It would be wise of you to wear thin clothes in layers during this season.
  • Wear Comfortable Walking Shoes!
    The area is not hilly but you’ll have to walk the 4 km cherry blossom road and more. Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • Remember When to Visit!
    Cherry Blossoms in Hadong, located in the southern part of Korea, bloom earlier than those in Seoul. Make sure you plan the trip for the first week of April if you want to visit Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival.

Book Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival tour here.Hwagae cherry blossom thumbnail

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Gwangyang Maehwa (Plum Blossoms) Village | Travel Review & Tips

About Gwangyang Maehwa Village

gwangyang-maehwa (33)Gwangyang Maehwa Village, also known as Seomjin Village, is a small, charming local village tucked in the city of Gwangyang, Jeolla Province, at the downstream of Seomjin River, the cleanest water among Korea’s 5 largest rivers.

Every spring, the picturesque view of more than 100,000 plum trees covering the hilly Seomjin Village bursting into bloom fascinates both local and international visitors. gwangyang-maehwa (35)I, a restless traveler and a member of Trazy Crew, can’t have missed it out. Let’s peep into what my wanderlust presented me this time!gwangyang-maehwa (2)

Take a look at the things you must try or enjoy at Gwangyang Maehwa Village!

1. Get inside Cheong Maesil Farm

The plum blossoms are the starters of spring flowers that mark the arrival of spring in Korea. So if you want to fully enjoy Korea’s spring, this village should be the first spring destination on your list.

And yes, when I got there, these plum blossoms were already greeting heaps of people with their families, lovers and also on their own at the village.gwangyang-maehwa (37)

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Hong Ssangri Cheong Maesil Farm

It’s this female farmer’s own devotion of 50 years that the whole mountain has turned into a vast orchard that only grows organic plums.

24-year-old young lady Hong SSangri, married to a native Seomjin villager, felt lonely in the rural countryside with a very small population. She thought more people would visit her town if the place was covered by beautiful plum flowers. So she started planting plum trees adding to already existing 5000 plum trees inherited by her father in law.

Now, Hong’s Cheong Maesil (Green plum) Farm has become the biggest plum plantation in Korea and thousands of tourists visit the village to see this breathtaking scenery. She made her dream come true! gwangyang-maehwa (38)A huge monument greets visitors and tells now you’ve reached the entrance of this plum orchard.

2. Take in the plum blossoms off the beaten path

Walking in the uphill path, not only have I seen the scenic view of plum blossoms but also the 50-year dedication of the plum master who planted and grew the plum trees from the bottom of your heart as she brought up her own children.

While it is fun to walk the main orchard paths with other visitors, I also ventured to take narrow paths of which the entrances were somewhat hidden behind the bushes.gwangyang-maehwa (48)gwangyang-maehwa (54)gwangyang-maehwa (53)In contrast to the lively main paths with street vendors, loud music and people beaming at their cameras, this small path enabled me to sit and fully appreciate the floral spring ambiance. gwangyang-maehwa (47)gwangyang-maehwa (50)

3. Quench your thirst at the beautiful Hanok cafe

The day was sunny and warm, and I soon became quite thirsty. There. I found a cafe bustling with people. This touristy, but still keeping the local tradition, village has a Hanok cafe boasting the beauty of its curved roof.
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4. Try Maesil Ice Cream!

I got out of the cafe and as I headed towards the tip of the hill, I found these countless jars used to preserve plums for various purposes. The plums will be made into plum tea, plum juice, plum ice cream etc.gwangyang-maehwa (46)Curious what it would taste like, I decided to try the ice cream out of plums.

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Maesil Ice Cream Shop

gwangyang-maehwa (45)A piquantly plummy-sour and sweet ice cream doubled the joy of the spring excursion! Don’t forget to try this ‘Maesil (plum) ice cream’ if you visit Gwangyang Maehwa Village. It’s a MUST!!!! The ice cream costs 3,000 KRW and you can buy it with your credit card. 😉

5. Cool off at the bamboo forest

After quenching my thirst with ice coffee and plum ice cream, I realized that there was much to explore. Here, as you move your step, the scenery you encounter continuously changes.

On the way to the observatory deck, there is a path that you should not miss. With plum blossoms on the left side and a bamboo forest on the right side, you will feel like walking inside a movie!gwangyang-maehwa (17)

6. Hike up to the observatory deck

After passing the bamboo forest, you will see people climbing up the wooden steps, which take you to the observatory deck. It can be strenuous to walk all the way to the top, but it’s definitely worth it.gwangyang-maehwa (20)gwangyang-maehwa (29)

7. Try Maesil Bibimbap & Maesil Makgeolli

Although lunch is not provided, you can find several restaurants and booths around the village and inside the Cheong Maesil Farm where you can taste a variety of local Korean food and dishes.

The dishes served at the booths inside the farm are relatively cheaper than the ones outside the farm and near the parking lot, so I strongly recommend you to have a lunch inside the farm if you want to save money. The dishes cost around 7000~10,000 KRW per person.gwangyang-maehwa (31)gwangyang-maehwa (32)I had ‘Bibimbap’, Korea’s famous dish, but it was extra special because it was topped with plums. Other dishes served at the booths include ‘Pajeon (Korean-style pancake)’, noodles, ‘Nakiji Bokkeum (Stir-fried Octopus)’and many more. Some of the booths seem to serve the Cherry Blossom Oysters, or ‘Beotgul’ in Korean, which are also one of the popular local specialties in the area, as well.

Another thing you may want to try or take home with you is ‘Maesil Makgeolli’, which is Korean rice wine made of plums.
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8. Get down by the riverside

If you are done navigating the Cheong Maesil Farm, get down to the riverside and you will find the Toad Square. gwangyang-maehwa (5)According to legend, a swarm of toads scared the Japanese army away from crossing the Seomjin into northern Jeolla. The name of Seomjin River, or Seomjin-gang, literally means “toad ferry”, from the Chinese characters ‘seom’ (toad), ‘jin’ (ferry), and ‘gang’ (river).gwangyang-maehwa (3)

Do try and visit this charming local village in Gwangyang before the plum blossoms are gone!
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Things to check before you visit

Around mid-March, it is warm during the day and cold in the early morning and night time in Korea. It will be wise of you to wear thin clothing inside and bring a thick outdoor jacket as well. Also, make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes as the village area is hilly and you will be doing some hiking.

See more stunning photos of Gwangyang Village and the spectacular plum blossoms that I took from the day of Trazy’s tour!

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