Day 5 (26th October 2012)
Today is our last day in Seoul. We woke up early, and by 9AM we checked out from the hotel. Our first destination was Gangnam district.
I’ve been wanting to visit the famous Gangnam district, made popular by the song “Gangnam Style”. We took the metro to the station called Gangnam. To my disappointment, there’s no big sign labelled “Welcome to Gangnam“. I was half expecting, given the popularity, there to be a big tourist gate with a picture of Psy doing the horse dance. Haha! Anyway, I was informed that Gangnam literally means South of the (Han) River. The area on the north of the river is called Gangbuk. The Gangnam metro station is located in the middle of the Gangnam district.
The area lived up to its expectation. Wide 8 lane streets, with tall high rises of offices and luxury apartments stretches as far as the eye can see. To put it plainly, it’s Seoul’s version of 5th Avenue in Manhattan.
After that, we went silk shopping at Kwang Jang Market. From the various Malaysian blogs that I read yesterday, all recommended a particular shop at Kwang Jang Market called Hyun Woo Silk. The shop is not difficult to locate. On the ground floor (please note that Korea uses 1st floor to denote “ground floor”), from the main entrance of the market, head straight and turn right at the corner. We actually got lost in the market and had to ask another storekeeper to guide us. She was kind enough to show us the way.
At Hyun Woo Silk, we met the owner, Mr Sung Ki Baek. He gave us his business card with all his contact details. He said he gets a lot of Malaysian tourists to the point he knows you need 4 meters for a baju kurung! (Korea uses “yards”, so “meters” is quite unheard of in the textile market).
He gave us a good price. 80,000 won (~RM224) per 4 meters.
Hyun Woo Silk
Unit 187, 188 1st Floor (Ground Floor)
Kwang Jang Textile Department
6-1 Yejidong Jongroku,
Tel: 2266-0169, 2276-0169
After that, we quickly took a cab back to the hotel as it was time for us to head to the airport. At the airport, I observed something interesting.
There was a mock traditional procession in the middle of the airport, showing foreigners their traditional dresses! Apparently this is part of the Korea Culture Museum they have at Incheon Airport. The museum offers foreigners a chance to try out the traditional hanbok and take pictures with it. Amazing!
There was even a shop called Korea Traditional Cultural Experience Center, only for foreigners (there was a sign for this). The shop offers foreigners free lessons in making Korean traditional toys and accessories. The Koreans are just excellent at promoting their culture! This approach is definitely something the Malaysian government can learn from!
My short trip to Korea has been an eye opener to me. I will definitely return for future visits. There is so much more to do. From exploring their beautiful outdoor activities, to visiting the DMZ in the north, to experiencing their ski resorts, and lots more! Their attitude towards economic development, and the fact that they achieve developed country status in such a short time period is highly admirable. That is something other Asians in the East and ASEAN could learn from!