During our break from school for the Korean Thanksgiving, Chuseok, some fellow foreign teachers, Matt and I decided to take an excursion to Seoul. Matt and I were thrilled about this because we hadn’t yet been to Seoul. Plus, we were going to go to an amusement park and have an undoubtedly enthralling night out in the city.
We left around 9 a.m. via bus with everyone and got off at a train station, where there was a god-sent-like Dunkin’ Donuts. After refueling, we hopped on our train. No, it wasn’t the fast train. However, it was the “medium” train, which travels almost as fast as the KTX (fast train), so that was fairly exciting.
Fun fact: while traveling in Korea, especially by train, talking loudly is interpreted as rudeness. So, don’t be shouting loudly with your friends. A couple of our friends received some nasty looks for conversing at a reasonable decibel (you know, for America).
On our way, we managed to see some beautiful Korean scenery right outside our large-paneled window.
Another fun fact: when being a foreigner in Asia, anticipate people taking pictures of you. While on the train, one Korean fellow seated in front of us was taking a lot of selfies, which were actually mainly comprised of our faces. In retrospect, I wish I took a picture of him taking a picture of us. Or, at least made an unforgettably horrific face into his camera. That would’ve definitely made the ride a bit more interesting.
Next stop, we got off and jumped onto a subway train (thank the gods one of us was handling the navigation because I honestly was confused the entire time. Kudos, Tara!). Their subway trains are also fairly clean, spacious, and comfortable! So, that’s a nice plus.
Eventually, we made it to Everland, a Korean theme park, which was at the time holding a 50% discount on all tickets for foreigners! After handing in our tickets, we made our way through the park.
Who the hell is this lady?
German town-like replica
In the German town area
In case anyone was curious, I’ve become gradually more terrified of heights as I’ve grown older (am I ancient or something!?), so rides no longer attract me as they used to. However, fortunately for me (and unfortunately for the people I was with), there were lines of impatient people zigzagging all across the park, so not many rides were ridden. Me? Zero. But, I was mainly there for the Halloween-themed evening anyway.
Beheaded person (notice: Patrick in the background, killin’ a photo op)
My favorite part of the evening had to be the haunted house. I went in with Tara (who led the group again, like the champ she is!), Patrick (her boyfriend and another teacher), and Matt. We went inside train-style with our hands on each others’ shoulders, already quivering in fear, since we were hearing plenty of blood-curdling screams coming from inside while we were on line.
Once inside, we noticed its theme was a haunted asylum, filled with fake blood, rickety stretchers, dark lighting, and people dressed impressively well as inmates. The people followed us as we walked (more like ran) through the maze, jumped out at us, and honestly just scared the ever living shit out of us. We screamed. A lot. It was hands-down the best haunted house I’d ever been in. A+, Korea!
I also thoroughly enjoyed the zombie dance. Employees were dressed impeccably as zombies and were dancing zombie-style to background music within a circle of intrigued park-goers. They would occasionally quickly sprint at the unknowing crowd, causing plenty of jumps and screams. It was an awesome fifteen-minute show!
Zombie dance (sorry for the blurry shots)
After Everland, five of us made the trek to Itaewon, an area of Seoul city, which was about two hours from where we were. When arriving in Itaewon, we changed in a coffeehouse’s bathroom, had some food, and waltzed to a street littered with bars. We drank some 711 soju on the street corner (we’re classy) and decided to go to another bar a few blocks away.
On the way, a passerby caught my eye and turned out to be an old friend, with whom I grew up! What a small world, huh? I come from a small town with a population of 5,000 people, I move to Korea, and the one night I’m in this one particular area in Seoul, I run into someone from my hometown. How is that even possible?
So, obviously, considering the very unlikely circumstances at hand, he decided to come with us and brought one of his friends along with him. We arrived at a bar called “Thursday Party,” which apparently is notorious for wild foreigner shenanigans.
It had to be documented that we, in fact, found each other in Seoul!
It was honestly a great time! I had many drunken conversations with people from all over the world, such as Africa, Thailand, and native Koreans! Everyone was super kind and talkative. It was such an eventful, yet hazy, evening. Or morning, really.
At around 5 a.m., we left Thursday Party and wandered the streets, looking for a hostel to stay in for the night. We went to one that one of us was familiar with, but it unfortunately had no room available for us. So, instead of being logical and looking for another hostel somewhere else, we made the decision to make the three hour-long trek back to Sejong.
We took a cab, then the KTX (yes, the fast train!), then another cab. Finally, at 8 a.m., we arrived back at our apartment and knocked out immediately!
How about you guys? What are your experiences with Seoul?