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Around the World in 20 days - first stop South Korea

Exploring Seoul

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After reading an article on the Constellation Journeys' inaugural 'Around the World' trip I decided to google the company and discovered that a second trip had just been announced. By the end of that week we had booked our places and begun saving for yet another 'trip of a lifetime'!

As Constellation Journeys are an Australian company we had to start our journey by flying to Sydney. We flew over the night before, ready for our early morning flight to Seoul.

Around 80 of the 200+ passengers, on our very own chartered 747, were passengers that had traveled on last year's trip so we figured we were in for a holiday to remember.

On our first day in Seoul we all went to the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) which is the 2km separation point between North and South Korea. First we headed to the look out point but it was very smoggy and not really photo worthy.
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Afterwards we entered tunnel 3 one of the tunnels that the North Koreans tried to make to connect to South Korea. North Korean people are not tall so the tunnels are only about 5ft6 high. We had to enter wearing hard hats and they were well needed. The man in front of me hit his head many times, once so hard he knocked his hat off! Nothing can be taken into the tunnels so there are no photos.
We also had a quick look around the museum and stopped off at the train station that can enable (but doesn’t) travel to North Korea from the DMZ.

After our DMZ tour we had lunch on the 59th floor of building 63 Square in the city. Sadly it was so hazy the views weren’t great but it gave us the chance to get to know some of the other passengers.
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Next we headed for our first optional activity - a taekwondo lesson - which was great fun. We had to wear a uniform then learnt to hit, kick and shout. Our final task was to break a board with our fist. It took me 2 attempts but I did it!
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That night we got to experience the first of our gala dinners. Our special Seoul dinner was on The Floating Island and we were entertained with some traditional Korean dancing whilst being treated to a delicious 3 course meal.
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The next day we visited the royal palace Gyeongbokgung, built in 1395. If you dress up in traditional costume you get free entrance so there were people dressed up everywhere! It was a cloudy day so it didn't provide great photos but the palace was very impressive and beautifully decorated inside and out.
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Next up was a visit to one of the oldest and biggest markets in Seoul with 5000 stalls. We only saw a couple of hundred. There was lots of food including live octopus, pigs head, fruits & veg and lots of other seafood options.
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The afternoon provided our second optional activity, a very relaxing few hours in Aquafield Bath House. The place was huge and had many saunas ranging from 25-81 degrees. Each with different theme - a charcoal room, clay room, Himalayan salt room, mist room and more. We really enjoyed our visit and felt extremely relaxed after our visit.
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We had a fairly early night as it was an early start for our 9.40 am flight to Jerusalem the next morning. That will be the next blog installment!

Posted by bumblebum 23:59 Archived in South Korea

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