Korea & Taiwan 2015 (2/10) – Hwaseong to Gangnam

Korea & Taiwan 2015

  1. Out We Go Again
  2. Hwaseong to Gangnam
  3. Korean Fried Surf & Turf
  4. The King, the Art, and the Food Stalls
  5. Myeong Dong Kyoja
  6. On To Taichung
  7. Eating All Day Long
  8. Happy 90
  9. This is How We Breakfast
  10. Signage & More


After what seemed like a very short nap, the kids’ jet lag got us up and ready to start exploring.

It was chilly at 5am so we thought Ting could use some extra insulation…

We were disappointed to learn that Paris Baguette didn’t open until 7am, so we had to aimlessly walk around in the dark with no coffee.  Until we found a suitable breakfast spot, that is…

GS25 appears to be Korea’s most common convenient store.

A healthy, balanced breakfast for the family included a Gon-branded bag of chips.

After sunrise, we went to see the reason we were in Suwon: Hwaseong Fortress, an UNESCO World Heritage site.  The fortress was built 220 some years ago by a king for his dad, earning Suwon the name “The City of Filial Piety”.

The hotel receptionist recommended that we head to Changyongmun (the east gate) first.  We asked our cab driver to take us there, and after trying to pronounce it 10 times, he still had no clue what we were talking about.  It was embarrassing that he had to get out of the car, into the hotel, and ask the receptionist to explain.  When we arrived there a few minutes later, he announced “Changyongmun” and I was like, what the heck, isn’t that what I just said???

It was some sort of cultural holiday and admission to the city wall was waived.  That made our trip more affordable already!  (Note: we figured out another way to visit it for free… contact me if you’re interested in saving $0.87 per person when you go).

Free is always better than not free.

The training platform, with an obnoxiously giant church in the background.

That said church.  Looked like something out of LOTR.

On the other side of the wall was a large golden Buddha statue.  I was pretty sure the city wall wasn’t built to segregate religions… or was it?

The hike along the wall.



The door to the gun tower was unfortunately locked.

Xuan keeping an eye on those darn intruders.

Taking a break from her guard duties.

After what seemed like a really long hike (one of us had short legs), we arrived at a traditional market (which we later learned to be at Padalmun, the south gate).  It turned into an unplanned detour.



Pig heads!!!

We bought one of these.  Wasn’t that good.

Care to buy some salt?

Or some chili?

Or… silkworm cocoon?

The market continues…

Dried beehive and crickets!  Yum?

We went back to the hotel, checked out, and called for a taxi to take us to the main destination of our Korea trip: Seoul.  After a 45-minute ride, we arrived at Park Hyatt Seoul in Gangnam.

This entrance was an understatement to how incredible the hotel was.

Our receptionist walked us to our room… can you spot the “hidden” door?

Park Hyatt Seoul vanity.

The hotel prepared some fairly non-standard amenities for our children.  The most amusing of which was a wooden hippo on wheels.  We had a blast drifting it around in the room.

Park Hyatt Seoul cookies.

The hotel room was endlessly cool, but we were hungry.  So we went downstairs to COEX, a giant underground mall, and looked for lunch.


After ordering at the food court, we were handed these buzzers.  They were similar to the American ones, but more compact, displayed our order numbers, and had a digital display for the respective stall’s logo.

I got a Korean beef soup and Hong got seafood pasta with pizza.

After lunch, we returned to the hotel for a big nap.  Then we woke up to this:

View of COEX and the Samseong intersection, from our Park Hyatt Seoul room.

And then our parents showed up at the hotel!  They were flying into ICN separately from Taiwan, and finding their way into the city.  We were glad that they made it according to plans 🙂

Ting napping on grandpa’s lap.



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