After working nearly for 15 days continuously got my first day off on Mar 7 2010. So had decided to spend the same roaming around the national capital Seoul. In fact Suwon is a suburb to Seoul, which has resulted from constant expansion on the mega city's side. So taking into consideration all the suburbs Seoul has gobbled then Seoul is considered the second largest urban agglomeration on the planet after greater Tokyo (phrase courtesy - wiki-travel :)).
The first destination of the day was planned to be Yongson Electronics Market , and totally 3 guys Rakesh, Bahubali and myself teamed up for this. Bahubali was the experienced person in Korea and remaining 2 of us were virgins yet to be exposed to mainstream Korea ;).
Off we started from our guesthouses at around 11 am , filling our stomach with the staple breakfast provided at the place i.e. cornflakes and bread, since there is 99.99% chance that we will not have proper lunch outside, being vegetarians.Even non-vegetarians in korea become vegetarians after seeing whats in for menu in korean restaurents :P. Caught the bus to the Suwon train station to move towards Yangson. The train network running in Seoul and its suburbs is really very efficient covering so many places in and around the capital. The only problem one might face for the non-residents is the language barrier which doesn't deter the fact that this was built for the locals.
After collecting the ticket from the automated ticket vending machine (thankfully this has an english option- denoted by the american flag)we went to the designated platform. The train arrived but the digital display board was in korean and we were not totally sure whether this will take us to the destination. Anyway knowing that we will never learn anything without making mistakes we boarded the train. Asked a couple of south korean army guys whether we were on the right direction. This resulted in total confusion. At one moment they informing that we were on the wrong train. Anyway in the end it was confirmed that we were in the right train, this was nearly 10 mins since we started the conversation with them :P.
The train journey was pretty boring, with constant stops. We arrived at the Yongson Metro station nearly an hour later.The Electronics market was nothing like one would expect like w.r.t. Indian markets. This market was infact a mall, the name I-Park, and this is in the same building as the metro station. So as soon as exit the train you would get the directions to reach the mall. We went directly to the 3rd Floor which was majorly occupied by the camera shops. In every direction I could see there were camera shops.
I had planned to buy a super zoom compact camera and had shortlisted Canon SX120 IS and Canon SX200 IS. Also Bahubali had plans to buy another camera. So off we started enquiring at each and every shop, to get the cheapest price. The shopkeepers knowing that we were Indians were not at all interested in selling us stuff. Its becoz we Indians always bargain at such a place. Some people might call it racist.... but thats the way how it is. Anyway after roaming around and not getting prices to our expectations(well our expectations were shocking.... to be frank :P ) we decided to leave to come back later in the day.
We got out of the station and came on to the streets. From here the New Seoul tower was visible, hence instinctively decided to move towards it, on foot. Thought we could just walk to this place :P. After a couple of kilometers walk and the destination looking nowhere nearer we decided to take a taxi and reduce the punishment on our feet.
So after hopping onto the taxi, a good 15-20 mins later we reached the place. Also the War- memorial was enroute, so decided to visit this place after coming back from the Seoul tower situated on top of a hill. Also at one point the taxi driver missed an exit and had to take a circuitous route to come back to the same spot. If he had not mentioned about it we would have never known at all :P. He apologized for that and offered to pay 2000 W taxi entrance fee from his pocket , which in fact was supposed to be borne by the passengers. Expect the same honesty from Indian autowalla's..... ????? Well it will be very rare :P.
Anyway after walking uphill for another 10 mins from the drop reached the base of the tower. It was pretty much crowded (In korean standards, not Indian :P ). After roaming around the base where there is some sort of mantaps and all we decided to go up the tower. Paying the entrance fee of 7000 W (1 Re = 25 Won) we climbed on to the lift to reach the observation deck. This deck provided a 360 degree view of the Seoul Mega City. The boundary of which was endless and was as far as our eyes could see. The river Han cutting through the heart of the city and the 63 floor building,the tallest in korea where some of the eye catching landmarks. Expect this place to offer still more beautiful views in the night. After having a couple of fruits we moved from this place to reach our next destination ,the war memorial.
Decided to climb down the hill on foot and it was a nice experience and it took around 20 mins and caught a taxi from here towards the war memorial. By the time we reached this place it was already 5 pm and later we came to know that this place closes down at 6 pm sharp. We started from the outer displays of antique trucks, tanks, fighers, bombers, choppers and all the other weapons of war during the cold war and especially the korean war. There was huge statues erected and the detail with which they were made was really commendable.
By the time we had completed the outdoor displays and started to move towards the inner ones it was already 6 pm and the time for them to close down. So didnt get a chance what was inside. The fellow colleagues say that the indoor displays are equally good, so got to plan again for this place. Since this place is nearer to Yangson Electronics market, will be able to jump in to this place once again and the my tronics shopping list is far from over :P.
From here moved back to Yangson Electronics market to try my luck in buying a camera for the day. Anyway found a friendly shopkeeper and stuct a pretty good deal and bought a Canon SX200 IS camera and the price was nearly 8.5k cheaper than the Indian MRP. So I was pretty satisfied. Also Bahubali got himself a Sony compact camera. But this deals had pretty much left a hole in ur pocket and we were left like 15000 W(Rs 600) between 3 off us to get back to our guesthouses.
After the deal was done we moved to catch a train to Suwon and as experienced in the morning the routes were all in korean and very confusing. Asked a local and he told in detail that we have catch the third train in that platform.When the train arrived it was very crowded (even for Indian standards :P ) and we were able to barely squeeze in.The journey was boring and we got seats midway of the journey. After reaching Suwon we went out to catch a bus to our guesthouse. We saw the number and boarded it and dropped the 1000 W cash in the cash box (everything is automated). But we noticed a bit later that there is small problem..... the bus was moving in the direction away from the guesthouse :P. It then flashed to us that the bus was moving towards the other end of the town. Anyway nearly wasting 40 mins in the round trip we finally arrived at our destination. The driver in fact didnt even bother to ask us to get down at the last stop :D. Thankfully for us :D.
So at around 10 pm reached the guesthouse , pretty tired. Thus came to an end my first outing in a foreign country as a tourist.
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