Upcoming Season Premier of EXO’s Reality TV Show ‘Travel the World on Exo’s Ladder’

Kpop idol group EXO’s reality tv show Travel the World on EXO’s Ladder will be returning January 21 (KST) with its second season on OKSUSU.

OSEN

The second season of EXO’s reality tv show will be premiering on Monday January 21 on OKSUSU with exciting scenes for viewers. Compared to last year’s first season, OSEN has reported all decisions throughout the show will be based on the results of the ladder game. This means everything related to traveling like destination, food, lodging, spending money etc. will be relying on luck.

Youtube
First season screenshot

Before filming for the show, EXO members are said to have met up with the crew with different plans for new season. Interestingly, every member had their own unique preferences for travel that strongly contrasts with other members. As a result, in the process of choosing the first travel destination was filled with anticipation and nerves.

During the first ladder game of the second season to pick the first travel destination, it is said EXO members were in disarray as the first conflict occurred foreshadowing the not so smooth travels ahead. EXO’s first travel destination will not be spoiled on this article but if you want to know watch the trailer below. EXO-Ls are you ready?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fl6y7zYY_1w

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By Sara N

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Visit Huam-Dong for the Best View of Seoul

There are two spots in the northern part of the river most tourists to Seoul don’t miss – Namsan and Itaewon. While the former is a significant landmark of the city topped with N Seoul Tower, the latter is popular for its cultural diversity and trendy atmosphere.

If you too are planning to visit the two locations in Seoul, we highly recommend you to stop by Huam-dong (후암동), perfecting your day in the area.

Namsan Park

Geographically, Huam-dong connects Namsan and Itaewon. Wedged into the steep valley of Namsan Mountain, you can find the hillside alleys of Huam-dong on the way to Itaewon from Namsan. Find the exit from Namsan Park that links to Sowol-gil (소월길). The road would look bleak during this cold season, but it turns beautiful in spring and especially autumn, as the ginkgo trees planted along the sidewalk turn into vivid yellow.

Look to your right to find this view from Sowol-gil.

Once you’re on the right track, walk along the sidewalk until you find the stairway on your right connecting to Huam-dong. When you’re done navigating the steep alleys of the neighborhood and to move to Itaewon, you can either walk through Haebangchon or take a bus – Green Bus 02, Blue Buses 421 and 405, and Yellow Bus 03 will take you back to the packed area.

One of the greatest charms of Huam-dong is the panoramic view of Seoul the neighborhood offers. Due to the neighborhood’s positional advantage, interesting cafes and bars find their homes in Huam-dong.

The Royal Food and Drink

37 Sinheung-ro 20-gil, Huam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

The Royal Food and Drink is famed for the astonishing view from rooftop seats. Stepping inside the brunch cafe, you might be disappointed by the narrow interior. Hold that thought and climb the narrow staircases to the rooftop, where you’ll find the VIP seats with a panoramic view of the whole southern part of Seoul.

The rooftop seats are very limited so they are usually occupied, sometimes with some queues. But it’s always worth the wait for wine with a view, right?

 

Lala Like

38 Huam-ro 28-gil, Huam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Cafes in Huam-dong also stand out for the compact and cozy atmosphere. Lala Like, located in a rather random area, is a great example.

If you value how your dessert looks as much as its taste, this cake boutique will be a perfect choice. Lala Like is renowned for its colorful cake designs and desserts decorated with Peanuts characters. It’s a great spot especially for your Instagram feeds.

 

The 100 Food Truck

45-1 Sinheung-ro 20-gil, Huam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

 

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This burger shop is one of the first places to pop up when you search for the rooftop restaurants in Seoul. You can spot an exclusive view of the city, either indoors or outdoors.

 

 

Visit also…

Avec.El  41-1 Huam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Known for signature toast and apple latte. Cozy atmosphere and usually long queues.

Oriole  43 Sinheung-ro 20-gil, Huam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
A cocktail bar operated by R&B singer Jung Yeop. A great place to visit, especially in the evening.

Siempre Como Domingo  11 Huam-ro 34-gil, Huam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
The colorful and sun-kissed cafe is an ideal place for a quick bite. Try Egg Omelet Sandwich and Soup combo.

 

By Heewon Kim

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5 Best Winter Destinations in South Korea

There are uncountable tourist destinations in Korea, but some places in Korea turns even more romantic during the winter season. Below is a short list of winter destinations to consider if you’re planning a visit to South Korea when it’s cold.

 

Onyang

The history of Onyang Hot Spring goes back several hundred years to when kings of Joseon Dynasty visited for medical purposes. The oldest hot springs in South Korea, Onyang Hot Spring houses several facilities including Onyang Hot Spring Hotel.

One of the biggest advantages of Onyang as a tourist destination is its accessibility. Taking subway line 1, it takes approximately 2 hours to Onyang Hot Spring Station from Seoul Station. During the colder season, especially, a hot spring getaway will present a relaxing vacation.

 

 

Seoraksan

Korea Tourism Organization

Seoraksan National Park is renowned for its beautiful scenery changing its color every season. During the wintertime, you will find the snow-covered landscape of the mountains from the snow that piled up since as early as November.

If you want to yield the winter hiking experience to the outdoorsy population, you can take the Seorak Cable Car to the peak. You can also enjoy the fascinating rock formations on the way up.

 

 

Busan

Huinnyeol Culture Village [Photo by Heewon Kim]
South Korea’s second most populous city after Seoul, Busan is the city to choose if you like urban surroundings. In winter, you might prefer Busan to Seoul for the Southern port city’s comparably modest weather.

There are numerous attractions in Busan. Various beaches present their own appeals. Haeundae and Gwanalli are crowded with younger people, while beaches on the west edge like Dadaepo are rather tranquil.

Sites of South Korea’s modern history are allocated in places like Huinnyeol Culture Village. The metropolitan city also has large shopping centers and districts packed with shops and restaurants.

 

 

Seoul

Grand Hyatt Seoul

The capital of South Korea also turns more attractive during the wintertime. Snow-covered palaces make the city more romantic and luminous lights, along with Christmas decorations, fill the city with winter spirits.

Several outdoor ice skating rinks open during the winter season in Seoul. Some of the popular ones include the staking rink in Grand Hyatt Hotel, Yeouido Ice Park, and Olympic Park Ice Rink.

 

 

Nami Island

Korea Tourism Organization

The beautiful island in Gangwon Province is one of the most popular destinations during the summer season. However, it also has a special appeal as a winter trip destination as well.

Especially this year, Nami Island holds a winter festival, “Winter Wonderland, NAMI ISLAND.” The island is decorated with Christmas decorations and illuminations to give a seasonal mood. Children and adults can enjoy snow sledding, snow fights, and ice performances.

 

By Heewon Kim

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Check Out These Places in Seoul if You’re A Book-Lover

Where ever you are in Seoul (or the area surrounding it), a bookstore or wonderful book-themed cafe is close by! Check out some of these must-visit places around Seoul for book-lovers.

EliFrancis / Pixabay

 

Paju Book City
파주출판도시

 

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 This is one of the places on our list that is not located in Seoul but is not too far away — about a 20-30 direct bus ride from Seoul will get you to this book haven in Paju.

Paju Book City is said to have more books than people, and by looking at a few pictures it is likely true. The “city” is actually a giant cultural complex and home to around 250 publishers including most if not all of the countries major publishing companies.

In addition to books, visitors can appreciate sophisticated architecture, endless book cafes, galleries, and restaurants.

 

Starfield Library
별마당 도서관

 

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This enormous library has two stories and bookcases that are tower over readers at 42 feet packed that hold 50,000 books. Additionally, the area also has a huge variety of local and international magazine and an expansive up-to-date electronic book selection.

Besides the available reading material, there is free Wi-Fi, plenty of power outlets, natural lighting, and specials events that vary week-to-week.

 

Baedari Secondhand Bookstore Alley & Cheonggyecheon Secondhand Book Street
배다리 헌책방 골목 & 청계천 중서거리

 

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Similar to Paju Book City, to explore the Baedari Secondhand Bookstore Alley in Incheon) and Cheonggyecheon Secondhand Book Street located in Seoul you have to wander around a bit. The all of the bookstores are clustered in one area but can be on different streets and down back alleyways.

Further, while the area lacks the glitz and glam of the two previous locations, this place is rich in history. This place first started to grow in the 1960s while South Korea was still experiencing political and economic instability. As such, second-hand books were in high demand by the literati.

 

Itaewon Foreign Bookstore
이태원 외국서점

 

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While the above places are beautiful and great experiences for sure, they can lose a bit of magic if you don’t possess the Korean language skills yet to read the books. However, there are other places around the city that you can visit including the Itaewon Foreign Book Store. Located in the diverse Itaewon neighborhood, this shop opened up more than 40 years ago and is still going strong with the original owner.

Here, visitors can find used English titles that cover a range of genres and topics — but you’ll have to work to find them. The literary tombs are piled from floor to ceiling, so make sure you have enough time in your schedule for moving, searching, and stacking.

 

 

By O.C

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Sam Smith’s Route in Seoul Makes a Great Travel Itinerary

On October 8, Sam Smith arrived in South Korea for his first ever concert in Seoul. Before his concert on October 9, Sam Smith took time to explore Seoul and posted pictures of his travel route to his Instagram.

Netizens found his Instagram feeds surprising, for his ability to cover the essentials of Seoul for the short period of time given. Many of them commented that the series of his Instagram stories in Korea would make a great one-day itinerary in Seoul.

Below is the collection of the places and things Sam Smith has been, eaten, and done in Seoul.

 

Gwangjang Market

Instagram @samsmith

Gwangjang Market is a great place to explore the humble delicacies of Korea, ranging from kimbap to beef tartare. At the market, the artist tried a wide variety of dishes, which include tteokbokki, kimbap, japchae, and jokbal. He even gave live octopus a shot. According to his comments on the dish, it was worth the try!

 

Gyeongbokgung

 

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Seoul

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The palace located at the center of Jongno district, Gyeongbokgung is a must-visit in Seoul. In the background of Sam Smith’s picture, you can notice a number of people in hanbok, the traditional Korean dress. You can also try them yourself at the rental shops around the palace.

 

Insa-dong

Instagram @samsmith

Insa-dong is a neighborhood in Jongno district popular among tourists and locals alike. If you’re lucky, you can see a parade as Sam Smith did!

 

Street Food

Instagram @samsmith

Street food is definitely one of the essential parts you need to try in Korea. You can find a great assortment of Korean street food at the main alley of Myeong-dong. Looks like Sam Smith chose the egg buns.

 

Hongdae

Instagram @samsmith

The artist didn’t forget to pay a visit to the trendy streets in Hongdae where people in their 20s hang out. You will find young people’s favorite places, which range from restaurants and cafes to clubs, here at Hongdae.

 

Tattoo (Optional)

 

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Taking home something that reminds you of the precious memories of the city is the last but not the least part of the trip wherever you visit. Sam Smith chose to get a tattoo while in Korea.

 

By Heewon Kim

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Be a Member of “Produce 101” at This School Uniform Rental Store

Image in courtesy of Ehwa School Uniform

Have you ever dreamed to go to school in Korea? Even if you haven’t, those cute school uniforms shown in recent TV shows like “Produce 101” and “Idol School” certainly have special appeals.

Right next to Lotte World in Jamsil, there is a special clothing rental store which evokes the nostalgia you didn’t even have. At Ehwa Gyobok, which is also alternatively called Ehwa School Uniform, you can try a wide variety of Korean school uniforms that will make you feel like one of the local students.

Image in courtesy of Ehwa School Uniform

The variety of uniforms available at Ehwa Gyobok includes some of the real-life ones from a selected number of schools known for their uniform designs. What truly appeal to many, however, are the replicas of the uniforms from the popular idol group audition show, “Produce 101.”

Turn into the 102nd member of “Produce 101” and head out to take selfies. The nearest destination, Lotte World, is only minutes away. The bridge in front of the castle and carousel are the two signature photo spots. If you prefer a less crowded place, Seokchon Lake Park and Han River Park are great outdoor options as well.

The rental store itself has great selfie studio as well. A corner of the store is decorated just like the studio of “Idol School,” perfectly matching the whole theme. Ample lighting and pink walls make the powder room a great photo zone as well.

Image in courtesy of Ehwa School Uniform

Visit Ehwa Gyobok’s website for further details about the rental fee and other information!

 

By Heewon Kim

Air Busan Launches Limited ‘1+1’ Deal for Flights to Japan

For a very limited time, two travelers can take a trip to Japan for the price of one.

On August 8, Air Busan announced a new and limited timed event allowing two people to travel for the price of one passenger. Beginning on the 8th at 11 am KST the deal only last two days with the event ending on the 10th. Additionally, the airline has detailed that specific routes from both Busan and Daegu are eligible.

Busan > Fukuoka 40,100
Daegu > Fukuoka 48,100
Busan or Daegu > Osaka 44,600
Busan > Nagoya 48,100
Busan > Tokyo 58,100
Daegu > Tokyo 53,100
Busan > Sapporo starts at 77,000
Daegu > Sapporo 74,500

Further, there are also certain boarding restrictions where buyers have a limited window to fly to a certain location. For the cities of Fukuoka, Osaka, Tokyo, and Nagoya travelers should plan to visit from August 9 to October 31. Those who are hoping to go to Sapporo have an event smaller window: September 1 to October 31.

Notably, to qualify for the deal buyers needs to input two people during the flight search process.

Regarding the event, a representative said that it is meant as an opportunity for those who have not gone on vacation yet.

 

 

Original article

Translated by O.C

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Korail Announces Plan to Abolish Incheon International Airport KTX Line

The rail line is more than fast transit — the KTX line connects the country to Incheon International Airport.

Image source – Korea Daily (Joongang Daily)

In June 2014, transportation company Korail launched a new high-speed KTX train direct connection from Incheon International Airport to other major cities in the country including Seoul, Busan, Daegu and more. For many visitor and citizens alike, it was a convenient way to get to different parts of South Korea and to Incheon airport.

However, according to Korail, the Incheon International Airport KTX (ICN KTX) line is set to be dismantled later this year. On July 30, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transportation announced that it had approved Korail’s proposal to suspend ICN KTX operations. Reportedly, the company submitted the business plan change at the end of March. Korail will end service on September 1.

According to reports, the reason for the decision in inefficiency. Using their Seoul Station to Geomam station (station closest to the airport), Korail said that the average number of daily riders is only 3,433. Considering that the number of seats available on the train is 14,970 the train is about 77 percent empty with approximately 11,537 vacant seats per day.

Reportedly, part of the inefficiency is due to competition with the AREX, or Airport Railroad Express, line. This train line comes in two variations: a commuter “all stops” version and an express line. The first stops at all regular stations between the airport and Seoul Station while the latter does not. Unlike KTX, which has an average 3,433 users per day, AREX reported a daily ridership of 220,000 as of January 2017.

Image source – Airport Railroad Corporation (AREX) via Korea Tourism Organization

However, many local governments are opposed to the change, including Gwangju City. Next year, Gwangju will host the FINA World Championships. As such, local officials have expressed concern that with the suspension of the ICN KTX.

A city official said that “We are worried that the accessibility of the participating athletes and foreign tourists will be compromised and this will negatively affect the success of the event.” Further, a Busan city official stated that it “is not an appropriate decision in terms of balanced regional development and public railway service.”

Previously, the ICN KTX line would run from the airport to Seoul Station 22 times a day (round trip). However, due to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, it was suspended to make way for a temporary line to the events area. Since then, Korail has failed to resume regular run-times due to vehicle maintenance.

A Korail official said they have considered reducing the number of trips around the country, but that it was not feasible. Instead, the company plans to add cars to existing trains.

 

 

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Translated by O.C

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5 Latest Trends in Korea, Summer 2018

These days, it’s not so hard to experience Korean culture even if you live on the other side of the world – most of K-pop favorites are available on YouTube and Korean dramas, too, have become ever so accessible, allowing you to see how Korea looks like wherever you’re at.

However, you still can’t claim that you know every bit of Korean culture just by following the latest K-pop trend or eating out at your favorite Korean bbq restaurant. For those of you who are curious what are actually trending in Korea right now, here are few of them.

 

1. Wide Pants

Image in courtesy of HI JJOO

Walking on the streets of Hongdae or Itaewon, or pretty much any streets where young people gather to hang out, you will encounter at least five people wearing wide pants. Previously in spring, we’ve mentioned long skirts as one of the trends sweeping Korea. And here we are, well into the hotter season, the baton is handed to pants to sweep the streets – both figuratively and literally.

This new fashion trend is not only stylish, but it is also functional during the summer season when the sun is high and you need to protect your skins against sunburn.

 

2. Personal Fans

Image in courtesy of Kakao Friends

These handy portable fans are the best summer invention of all time. Made rechargeable with USB cables, mini portable fans have become must-have items as the peninsula is suffering from extreme heat and humidity.

 

3. Vacation in Hotel

Paradise Hotel Busan

Have you heard of “Hocance?” It’s a compound word made of hotel and vacance, referring to a vacation spent in a hotel. As the summer heat wave in Korea has grown severe for the past few years, more and more people are searching for vacation spots where they can spend the least time outside.

In this context, the term “hocance” has emerged. Certainly, some hotels in Korea are good enough to make your vacation perfect, with rooftop pools and luxurious spas. Some hotels even offer hocance package deals.

 

4. Watermelon Juice

Starbucks Korea

Last year, we’ve listed watermelon-flavored food and drink as one of the summer trends of the year. Along with the season, the trend is back this year as well. Nearly at every coffee shop you enter, you will find watermelon juice on their menu (even Starbucks has recently released their version of the drink).

Watermelon is widely known for its high water content, so feel free to enjoy the trend as much as you want!

 

5. Pyongyang Naengmyeon

Thanks to the peaceful gestures compromised across the 38the parallel, demand for North Korea’s most famous signature dish, naengmyeon, has been peaking all over the South throughout the summer.

South Koreans enjoy naengmyeon as a common summer food as well, but Pyongyang-style naengmyeon is differentiated from those of other provinces. Its broth is recognized for a profound meat flavor, which is chilled and carefully topped with simple vegetables to be served.

Once tasted the naengmyeon, Koreans in the southern part of the peninsula are nodding their heads, agreeing with Kim Jong-un, who was so willing to share this taste with Moon Jae-in that he even brought the chef from the most famous naengmyeon restaurant in the north.

 

By Heewon Kim

 

Read more:

5 Latest Trends in Korea, Spring 2017
5 Latest Trends in Korea, Summer 2017
5 Latest Trends in Korea, Winter 2017
3 Latest Trends in Korea, Spring 2018

Best Indoor Activities You Can Enjoy During Summer Time in Korea

If you’re visiting or staying in Korea this summer, we would have to express how sorry we feel, as the heat wave this year is unprecedented.

When the temperature and humidity are as high as these days, it is suicidal to stay outside, even for a brief moment. So we hereby suggest four indoor activities and places to enjoy them, while avoiding the heat outside.

 

Jjimjilbang

JTBC

Have you ever been to Jjimjilbang, a Korean-style sauna? Literally translates to “a heated room,” Jjimjilbang is an unexpectedly fun place to hang out, experiencing interesting aspects of Korean communal culture.

We’re not just suggesting this place to train you to the crazy heat outside (although it could be one of the reasons). Jjimjilbang actually serves various purposes. Inside its cozy heated rooms, you can sweat yourself out to feel relaxed and recharged. The restaurants and snack benders serve you a variety of Korean food, and if you get bored of the endless loop of foods and naps, you can entertain yourself playing games, watching TV, or maybe even singing karaoke.

 

Dragon Hill Spa
40, Hangang-daero 21na-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

The 7-story spa located near Itaewon is distinguished with its luxurious outdoor spa.

 

 

Indoor Sports Center

Sports Monster

Can’t bail on physical activities even indoors? Sports Monster would offer you a great solution. The very first “sportainment” theme park in Korea, Sports Monster is basically a playground for adults, where you can move your body and sweat out while having fun and naturally exercising.

The park is divided into four sectors – Basic Zone, Exciting Zone, Adventure Zone, and Digital Zone. In Basic Zone, you can play various sports with your friends and family in stylish indoor courts. If you want extra entertainment, go to Exciting Zone where you can jump on a trampoline up to 4 meters or shoot razor guns.

If you need something more dynamic, skip everything and run to Adventure Zone. This sector is filled with thrills that range from rock climbing to an 8-meter free fall. Last but not least, Digital Zone is where you can have fun and gain some muscles at the same time, using digital equipment.

 

Sports Monster
Goyang Location: 1955, Goyang-daero, Deogyang-gu, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do
Hanam Location: 750, Misa-daero, Hanam-si, Gyeonggi-do

 

 

VR Cafe

Joins

You may not have heard of this, but Koreans are known for their abilities in video gaming. In terms of the gaming industry, as a result, the country is one of the leaders of the world, and there are many spaces designed to provide a perfect gaming environment, such as Internet Cafes.

VR Cafe is the latest creation of such. At VR Cafes, you can play virtual reality games, wearing special equipment to hunt zombies and fight aliens. When you first enter the VR café, you might find it funny seeing all the people swinging their arms against empty walls. However, once you wear 3D goggles and start playing games you will understand their thrills and excitements.

 

VR Plus Cafe
825-22 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

There are a number of franchised VR Cafes, and VR Plus is one of them. Conveniently located in the center of Gangnam, this location has a nice variety of games and staffs who are willing to guide you through the VR experience.

 

 

COEX

COEX

Can’t make a good compromise with your friends on how to spend your day in Seoul? Then COEX can offer you a great solution. This large multi-purpose space does not only hold conventions and exhibitions as its name suggests (COEX is an abbreviation of COnvention center and EXhibition hall), but it also offers various entertainments.

The mall is known for being a shopping mecca, housing global brands in fashion, accessories, beauty, lifestyle products, and others. A large movie theater is also located inside the complex, as well as the biggest aquarium in the country. Are you a fan of K-pop? Then SMTOWN is a stop you can’t miss, as you can find everything related to SM Entertainment artists here, which range from fan merchandises and a hologram theater.

 

Starfield COEX Mall
513, Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

 

 

By Heewon Kim