Booze, waterballoons, and Kpop – Konkuk Festival

It’s that time of the year again when the universities in Korea are filled with music, drinking and good vibes. Every year during May all the universities have these festivals where the students from different majors and clubs set up booths with games and food, which then turn into drinking booths towards the night. The biggest attraction to these events are probably all the k-pop groups, singers, and rappers that the university gets. The best part of these performances is that they’re free. Can’t go wrong with that.

Pictures from Tuesday night

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This year my university Konkuk is turning 70 so for their big celebration they got PSY to perform at their festival. I also got to see Dynamic Duo and Girlfriend. The performances were held on a new football field that Konkuk got this year.

Today is the 2nd day of the festivities here in Konkuk, and I’m going out to enjoy it now. Here’s a link where you can see the schedules for the festivals at different universities and the performers: www.worknplay.co.kr/index.php/mod/event/act/showEvent/evt_no/72. I’ll leave a bunch of photos here for you guys from Wednesday.

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-Thien

Switching Gears to Chuncheon

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After finishing the temple stay experience at Baengnyeon Temple we set off to check out Chuncheon, which is approximately 50 minutes away from Seoul.  All I knew about Chuncheon was that it’s a beautiful place and they have a street dedicated to Dak Galbi, which is a popular Korean dish generally made by stir-frying diced chicken in gochujang sauce, cabbage, potato, onions, and rice cake together on a hot plate.

The first thing we did at Chuncheon was renting bikes to get around conveniently and see all the beautiful things. We got bikes for 10,000 krw /day from a rental place right next to the station.

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My model boy

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The abandoned amusement park

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The weather was pretty great during the whole trip

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Being lost

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After cycling a while we saw this Buddha statue on a boat/house set-up. Since we just came from a temple stay we felt that we had to go there to pay our respects. There was a sweet old lady on the boat who was very excited to see a bunch of foreigners. She told us some cool stories and gave us some vietnamese coffee.

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Cycling next to a huge river

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We got to see some Cherry Blossoms

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Break time

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Josh leading the pack

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With 5 ~ hours of happy cycling behind us we started heading to the downtown area in Chuncheon. On our way there we came across this man selling mojitos. They were non-alcoholic but that didn’t matter since the mojitos were BOMB! They were absolutely delicious and felt so perfect after the long cycling trip. And they were only 2,000 KRW.

It didn’t take us long before we found the Dak Galbi street, which was really a sight to see, a street with only Dak Galbi restaurants. We decided to have BBQ Dak Galbi instead of the traditional one. Really happy about that choice since I’m not a big fan of the normal Dak Galbi. It was super good, loved it, the best chicken I’ve had in Korea for sure. A perfect way to end a good day.

-Thien

Finding the Buddha in me

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As a person who knows very little about buddhism and how it’s practiced, I decided it was time to educate myself. I went to a temple stay experience last weekend with my friends at the 백련사 (Baengnyeon Temple). We were very excited to learn more about buddhism but the thing that got us really nervous was whether we’d survive with the vegetarian food or not 😀

We arrived to the Cheongpyeong Station around 2:30 PM, a little later than originally scheduled. Our guide was there happily waiting for us with his van. After arriving to the temple our guide showed us to our rooms and gave us some free time before the orientation meeting at 4:20 PM. (blaze it)

At the orientation meeting the guide went through the schedule with us and then took us to the ceremony hall where he explained to us more about buddhism and different ceremonies that they do. We also learned how to do the bow correctly.

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After that came the part that we were all very excited for. Dinner. It wasn’t as bad as we initially thought and to our pleasant surprise they had potatoes. Oh god I’ve been missing potatoes the whole time I’ve been here in Korea.

With our bellies filled we had the energy to attend the evening ceremony and do the 108 bows afterwards. After all the bowing we moved to the hall where we first had to orientation. There we were given crayons and some cool pictures to colour. Childhood all over again. After colouring the pictures we sat in a big circle drinking tea, eating cake, and talking about our feelings. Good times.

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The next morning we woke up for the morning ceremony at 5 AM, followed by breakfast. After breakfast we should’ve done some cleaning according to the schedule but we just went back to our rooms and got a few hours worth of zzz’s in. We woke up again around 9:30~ for a small tracking session, and to make some beads for souvenirs. We departed from the temple around 12 and headed towards Chuncheon, which I will talk more about in the next post 🙂

-Thien

Conquering Suraksan

 

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Have you ever hiked a mountain here in South Korea before? Well if you haven’t, I highly recommend you to get your lazy ass up and go hike one! It’s a really thrilling experience to sit on the edge of the cliffs for a cool photo, or to jump over ledges to reach places people don’t go to. Do I even have to talk about the scenery? Simply breathtaking 🙂

I just recently hiked Suraksan with my friends, Rory, Marcus, and Monica. Suraksan is a 638 meter high mountain located on the northeast side of Seoul. I was surprised that we didn’t bump into that many people, but then Suraksan is not as popular as the other mountains such as Bukhansan so i can see why. We got there from the Suraksan station which is located on Line 7. It’s very quiet, serene, and peaceful up in the mountains. This feels amazing compared to the hectic pace in the streets of Seoul.

Enjoy the photos!

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Suraksan station

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Before starting the hike

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Getting some food for the hike

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Breakfast

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Our Tarzan

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Very serene scenery

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Rafiki and Simba

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Found a good spot for a nap

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Squad photo

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Lunch break

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Makgeolli, Korean rice wine

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Kimbab

 

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“Smile boys!”

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At the peak

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The boys love their flowers

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On our way down

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Cleaning off the dirt

-Thien

The Beer Week Seoul

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There’s a really cool craft beer festival going on right now in my neighbourhood, at the Common Ground. I just went there tonight to grab some dinner and a few beers with my friends. The Common Ground is definitely a place to go to if you want some really good food. They have 4 food stands at the plaza, selling burgers, tacos, hot dogs, and barbeque food. This time I chose the burger stand ‘Hand in Hand’. Got the Original burger set with fries and a coke for 9,900 KRW.

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After we got our bellies filled with some grub it was time to taste some beer. The list of the craft beers that we tried include: Yuja Gose, I hop so, Wit my Ex, Vanilla cocoa stout, Gorilla Session, Transporter, Amarillo lager, and few others that I can’t remember. Most of them tasted very good, with my favorites being the Yuja Gose and I hop so. Some of them tasted exactly how they sound like (Wit my Ex).

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Had a really great time here and I really recommend visiting this event if you happen to have time this weekend. The Beer Week Seoul will be going until Sunday 17.4.

-Thien

Beer & Baseball

 

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After 9 months of living in Seoul I finally went to see a baseball game with my homeboys last night. I was very excited for this event since baseball is seriously a very big thing here in Korea, similar to ice hockey in Finland or american football in he US. We almost missed this game since the boys had a very rough night and barely woke up an hour before the meeting time. So we met up at Konkuk Station exit 2 around 17:15 and headed to the Jamsil Sports Complex.

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After getting to the Jamsil Sports Complex we met up with our Korean friend Heonjin who got the tickets for us. The tickets cost 7,000 KRW each. Since we are in Korea, everybody knows that Chicken & Beer have a big role in our everyday life. After the game started we only had our beers to drink and no chicken to eat. What you’re supposed to do is you go buy these chicken boxes before the game starts so you still get them for a decent price and when they’re hot but of course we didn’t know that. This resulted in us going to KFC to buy the chicken which wasn’t that bad, we just had to pay more.

The atmosphere at the stadium was absolutely amazing. Lots of cheers and songs going on all the time. They even have these party dudes to conduct the cheers and the songs. During the break times they had cheerleaders dancing to k-pop songs, also Outsider and Tymee (korean rappers) were present to do an opening act and they performed a few songs afterwards.

The end result was LG Twins 5 – 3 Lotte Giants. Overall the event was quite a blast. Amazing atmosphere, Beer and chicken, cheering and singing, and just being with friends. The actual baseball game itself was quite boring. It lasted 3 and a half hours. You can play 2 football games in that time. I quite often found myself looking at the audience while they were cheering or talking with my friends instead of following the game. From time to time some ‘Oooooh’s got my head to turn back to the game to see if something was happening. The overall conclusion is that baseball is a very very boring game to watch and you just go to these events to enjoy the atmosphere. Definitely worth checking out a game if you happen to be here in Korea. Just make sure you grab your mates, beer, and chicken with you.

-Thien

Starting the blogger life

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Me on top of Dobongsan

For people who are not familiar with me yet I’ll put a short introduction here to fix the situation. So I’m a 22 years old Finnish Vietnamese dude, an undergraduate student at Tampere University of Applied Sciences, currently doing my 3rd year for a BBA. Born and raised in Finland, in the hoods of Hervanta. Currently living in Seoul. The things I like to do include dancing, gaming, eating, and spending time with my lovely friends.

Very excited to finally get around to start this blog that I was planning to originally do when I began my exchange studies here in Seoul, South Korea. Since I’m a very active person, coming to a new country, I had so many things to do and see. Being overwhelmed by all of this and trying to cope with the Korean education system I just felt like I couldn’t keep up a blog. So instead I did some videos about few of my travels here in Korea now and then.

With this blog I want to share my everyday experiences with you guys. For now I will be talking about my experiences here in Korea, the daily stuff that I do, food that I eat, and the places I go to. I’m also taking this as an opportunity to improve my writing as I recently realised I don’t have much experience in writing that I can show to people.

Right now I’m writing this from a coffee shop right next to the Konkuk University and having a late breakfast. The owner of this coffee shop is a very nice old lady who can speak english! That is very rare here in Korea. When you go out to some restaurant or a coffee shop the workers are normally quite reluctant to speak in english. The fact that she is an old ahjumma (korean auntie) makes it more amazing since I’ve seen so many young people of my age working at restaurants and they don’t even know the numbers, or any basics words in english

Well, all this said I’m super stoked to start writing and sharing the things I do. You have some questions, ideas, suggestions, or feedback? Feel free to hit me up! I greatly appreciate any kind of feedback and help that I can get since this is my first time doing a blog.

Let’s see how this turns out 😀

-Thien