(Above) The Wondang Horse Ranch - Filming location for Korean drama - On Air
On day 7, we will check out of our apartment early after breakfast by 7am and leave our luggage at the security deposit so that we can go somewhere else without lugging our bags. As our check-in time at Seoul Park Hyatt is 3pm, we will have a whole morning past lunch to start our own Korean drama location shoot visit. Leaving early would also help us avoid the morning peak hour
We will book an international taxi from our hotel to the Wondang Horse Ranch for 4 hours(70000W – SGD$80). The Wondang Horse Ranch was one of the filming location for the popular Korean romantic drama series – On Air starring Kim Ha-Neul, Park Yong-Ha, Song Yun-Ah, Lee Beom-Soo. We had watched the show and marvelled at the open expense of the ranch and it’s picturesque scenery and beautiful horses. The ranch was the location shoot for the drama series – On Air in episode 7.
(Above) On Air Korean romantic drama
The location was featured in the part where Oh Seung-Ah(Kim Ha-Neul) elegantly rides up on a beautiful horse as Jang Gi-Jun(Lee Beom-Soo) brings her the script for
We will spend a little more to hire the International Taxi which is managed by the Seoul government to provide tourists with English or Japanese speaking taxi drivers who are well trained and are able to provide a customised transportation service if the tourist so desires. International Taxis can also be flagged down along the streets like any normal taxis and metered fares start from 2880W. For those who want a cheaper way to get to the ranch, you can take a subway train on Line 3 and alight at Samsong Station and use exit 5. Then take bus no 1 for 10 minutes to it’s last stop and get off at the horse ranch. The address is Gyeonggi-do Goyang-si Deokyang-gu Wondang-dong 201-79. The journey by car should take about an hour and we aim to reach there by 9am which is the opening time. The ranch closes is opened daily except for Mondays and Tuesdays.
The ranch is one of two stud farms the Korea Racing Association runs. First used as a racing track and training facility for racehorses when it opened in 1986, the ranch is no longer used for racing, but as a stud farm and stable for retired racehorses. Most of the horses at Wondang are thoroughbreds valued from 20 million won ($21,200) to 500 million won. The ranch is popular as it is a free attraction that does not charge admission or parking fees. It is popular with dating couples and families with children because of the stunning beauty of the scenery there. The 364,000 square meters of land (approximately 90 acres), is filled with wide open fields on which about 100 horses freely graze.
Freshly painted white fences run along dirt trails and visitors can follow around the farm. Thick woods surround the ranch from afar, and there are plenty of big trees on the farm to provide a cool shade for a picnic or a rest. The ranch also lends picnic mats at its entrance. It was only in 1997 that the farm was opened to the public. Because it was not initially designed for outside visitors, it has no street lamps. It remains open only during daylight hours, closing about 5 p.m. We will probably take a lot of photos there of us with the horses and the beautiful scenery. From there, we will take the taxi back to our hotel. That should be an hour later which should be lunch time. We will probably look for lunch when we get back.
We will then return to Somerset Serviced Apartment to collect our baggage and take a train from Anguk Station along Line 3 to the Seoul National University of Education stop where we will transfer to Line 2 and alight at Samseong Station which is within walking distance to our accommodation for the remainder of our stay in Seoul – Seoul Park Hyatt hotel. This hotel would be a more strategic location for us as we are planning to explore the Gangnam area and shopping malls like the COEX etc.
(Above)The Park Hyatt Seoul hotel
We will be staying at the luxurious Park Hyatt Seoul for 3 nights and by booking 3 months in advance, we were able to get advance best internet rates of 905,850W (SGD$1153.19) inclusive of 10% VAT taxes, as compared to the normal room rates of 1,590,435.80W (SGD$1900.00) for 3 nights. That is a savings of about SGD$750.00 . We know that people may question why we want to splurge so much on a hotel but well, we guess isn’t that part of travelling overseas, to live and get away from our normal lives and to just have a wonderful experience and pamper ourselves. Besides we will usually crave more comfort towards the end of the trip since after so much shopping and visiting, our bodies and legs especially deserve something extra.
(Above) Our luxurious deluxe room at the Park Hyatt Seoul. We have booked one with a city view and requested for high floor.
(Above and Below) A washroom to die for !
After we have checked ourselves in and have a hour plus good rest while also admiring the view of Seoul city from our room, we will head for the COEX Mall Seoul nearby our hotel.
(Above) Facade of the COEX complex
COEX Mall, Seoul is a well known shopping mall which lies just beneath the Samsung-dong Trade Center in Gangnam-gu of Seoul. The underground shopping mall of COEX Mall is the largest shopping center in Seoul and also Asia's largest underground mall. The sprawling shopping arcade of COEX Mall is spread across an area that accounts for 85,000 square meters of space housing some 260 shops and restaurants within. The location of COEX Mall is at a convenient position. It is near the Samseong Station on Seoul Metro Line 2. COEX Mall of Seoul offers locals and tourists from different corners of the globe with an extensive range of shopping options. The mall specializes in selling clothing materials and dress items, interesting range of quality makeup, fashion and accessories, and items for decoration of the interiors. COEX Mall of Seoul is home to about hundred shops that offer shoppers a variety of items and products. This place is a favorite hangout of teenagers and young couples.
The Hyundai Department Store and COEX SKM Duty Free shop are also directly connected to COEX Mall. Shoppers can compare and shop for affordable non-branded goods as well as high-end luxury goods. Also nestled amidst the myriad shops are the COEX Aquarium, Megabox Cineplex, and the Kimchi Museum - a popular destination among international visitors to enjoy some sightseeing between shopping sprees.
(Above) COEX Shops
There are many local brand boutiques offering various brands such as ENTER6 or MILLE21 which are recommended and are quite reasonably priced. If luxury brands or high-end goods are desired, one can try the Hyundai Department Store or SKM Duty Free shop for an impressive selection of internationally recognized brands.
While shopping at COEX Mall, we will also look out for the shops that specializes in stationery, household accessories, and toys. We heard that specialty shops like ARTBOX and Barunson are a must. There are also Aniland for animation characters, Puzzle Zone offering a wide range of puzzle products, and Asem Hobby for figurines. As these items feature unique designs, they would make excellent gift ideas for early Christmas shopping. Gayle will be interested in the many Low-cost jewellery shops there, including Lloyd and Clue, and other accessory shops are located in the COEX Mall. They offer a very wide range of items including hats, hair bands, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and hairpins. Since many of these shops target their products at young shoppers, prices are also comparatively lower.
(Above) Overview of the COEX complex.
COEX Mall is quite complex and huge. If one walks around without any specific plan in mind, one may end up circling exhaustively around the same route again and again. It is advised that visitors pick up a guide map at the Tourist Information Center in Millennium Plaza to better plan their route and alleviate any confusion. COEX Mall has four Tourist Information Centers where you can pick up a guide map (Korean, English, Japanese, and Chinese). If you require information in any number of foreign languages – English, Korean, Mandarin and Japanese, you will need to go to the Tourist Information Center in Millennium Plaza. International tourists are strongly recommended to pick up a guide map to efficiently find their way through the COEX Mall. Opening hours are from 10am to 8pm. One tip is to pen down on the maps the areas you have shopped at to keep track of where you are, where you are heading for and what you want to look for. A professional shopper must always know their location. The theme of the COEX Mall is “flow of water.” The main entrance leads to Forest Walk, Waterfall Walk, Canyon Walk, Tropic Walk, and Ocean Walk where the shops and restaurants are located.
For dinner, choices are ample for us. COEX Mall has no shortage of eateries and restaurants and is nicknamed the “Heaven to Gourmets” . COEX Mall has a broad selection of restaurants ranging from well-known family establishments like Marche, Bennigans, T.G.I FRIDAY'S, and Todai to fast food chains including McDonalds, Mr. Pizza, Burger King, Pizza Hut, and KFC. There are also restaurants specialized in spaghetti, omelette rice, and Korean food. There are so many excellent choices such that it will be hard picking just one. There is also the Lake Food Court or ASEM Food Court, offer a huge variety of eateries all clustered together.We will just continue our shopping after dinner until we are running on empty and filled with bags of shopping.
(Above) Nice nice pool at the Hyatt
We will then proceed back to our comfortable hotel for a good night’s rest and consolidating the day’s shopping conquests. We may head to the hotel’s famed swimming pool for gorgeous views of the city skyline and a cool relaxing swim to freshen our tired muscles.