Incheon 2019 Day 7 – Explore Jeonju and drive to Wolmido

It was a difficult night as I wasn’t used to sleeping on the thin mattress on the floor without a pillow. I remembered K calling out to me a few times at night as he slept on the 2nd level with mommy, guessed he was either not used to sleeping without me or dreaming. No matter, that didn’t help with me getting enough sleep too.

We got out of bed the usual time and mommy went to pick up breakfast from the pantry while I stayed with K. It consisted of sesame paste and toast with some fruit jam and instant coffee. After breakfast, we started packing for the next destination. K woke to his favorite tunes on YouTube and was happily following instructions to brush his teeth, eat toast and cheese macaroon (from the theme park) and even helped us with our luggage.

Pantry to get breakfast
Simple breakfast

We met the staff whom provided us a space at their handok rental store to stow our luggage while we go see more of historical village of Jeonju. Walking westward, we went to the circled locations on the map marked omokdae which was a pavilion on top of a hill. From there, I went down a few flight of stairs which brought me to a viewpoint of the village. Later I joined mommy and K who had crossed the bridge to the other side and found a smaller pavilion in the Jaman mural village. We didn’t spend time there since we had already seen one of such villages in Busan.

Jeonju street
Omokdae and Imokdae
Jeonju panoramic
Map of Jaman mural village
Sneak peak of the Jaman mural village

Returning back to the Main Street of the village, we entered a mandu store at the corner of a junction across the Gyeonggijeon Shrine called Daurang, and ordered 3 dumplings each for 1.5k. Used the microwave provided and ate inside the store, nice and warm. The mandu was really delicious and worth the visit!

Daurang mandu shop
Inside the shop
Tabletop full of mandu choices
What we bought


After that, we crossed the road to visit the shrine of the village, Gyeonggijeon Shrine, a huge area that was blocked out by a wall. Tickets were 3k per person, and for K it was free. It was like a different dimension after entering the shrine as the walls blocked out the hustle and bustle of the crowd outside and within the compound was more peaceful without so many people dressed in royalty moving around in groups taking photos. It was a big compound and we went to the main temple to take photos. There were a groups of weirdly dressed people there taking photos and I thought they might be the priests as people were invited to take photos with them.

Tickets to the shrine
Central shrine
Photos with the priests
Bamboo forest within the shrine compound

After that we explored the other areas including climbing up building that had a mini exhibition on the second level showing historical books that were kept there. There was a small bamboo garden which offered a good picture opportunity. Mommy went in another direction to see the other side of the compound while K and I went to visit the restroom before meeting up with her again.

Looked like an isolated building
A museum on the inside

Time was running out so we went back to retrieve the luggage, bought the carpark ticket for 6k after discount from the accommodation instead of paying 12k and pushed the luggage all the way to the car.

It was a 3hr journey to Incheon, our next destination and mostly on highways. The drive was mostly pretty easy and K fell asleep along the way. We found a Haengdamdo service area which was not too far from Incheon for a break and for lunch.

Drove into a huge parking space with lots of people stopping there too and found that it was a huge place with 2 indoor food courts and many food stalls outside. There was one stall that sold pastries in the shape of the poop called Dong Bang. We didn’t get any though.

Haengdamdo service area
Store selling pastry in the shape of poop
Toilet had a kids section
Urinal and tiny sink
Tiny monster toilet bowl
Many food stores

At the food court, we ordered pork cutlet rice and omelette rice for 18k and mommy went to buy food snacks for 7k consisting of rice and chicken on a skewer and a huge fish cake with mustard. It was very filling.

Food court
Pork fillet
Omelette rice

Before leaving, we visited the convenience store I got myself a can of warm coffee (interesting that their fridge can warm up canned drinks too) and K got himself a Pikachu car. Mommy got herself a sweet potato latte from Twosome place to try but ended up I was the one finishing it.

There was a photopoint at this service stop featuring a small windmill and a shopping mall that seemed closed. We departed for Incheon after the toilet visit.

Windmill for taking photos

The short distance between the service area didn’t translate into a short drive. The time taken was 1.5hrs as the roads became gridlocked with traffic with many vehicles traveling towards Seoul. Stretches of road were even at standstill for couple of times.

Slowly but surely we arrived into the town side of Wolmido island, driving past colourful lighted up funfairs which K wanted to visit once he checked in. Parked at the hotel Benikea the Bliss parking lot and checked into a big room that had a nice view of the bay. Just before sunset, we left the room to go explore.

View from the room
Incheon sunset

The street just below the hotel was a street lined with restaurants and game stores. After a photo session with the Incheon words, we walked towards the ferries wheel to find ourselves at the Wolmi theme park. For the most part of the park, they were closed during our visit (maybe due to off-season). We managed to try the ferries wheel for 6k per adult and 5k for child. The slow pace Ferris wheel brought us one round which offered a nice view of the surrounding before going back to ground level. We then left this park to go to another funfair at the other end of the street.

Incheon panorama
Rows of shops along the promenade
Wolmi Theme Park
At the bottom of the wheel
View from the ferris wheel

The other funfair had more rides opened although a large section of the children rides were closed also. Here we tried bumper cars as K wanted so much to do so for 5k per adult and 4K per child and together with another kid, there were just the 3 of us in the arena. But it was fun enough. Ended off with another kiddy ride of 4K that just went round and round. The elderly staff just turned on the ride and let it go and we thought it would never stop! I gave the man a look as a signal that it should be enough already then he stopped the ride. Guessed K gained the value of that 4K through and through.

Promenade lighted up at night
Another funfair
Bumper car tickets

For dinner, we moved into an makeshift enclosure that had a nice heater next to a food stall and ordered chicken with fries and unagi with rice for 18k. As the chicken didn’t come with rice, I asked if I could buy rice to top up but was given 2 balls of rice for free. Food was tasty, as often so with street food.

Our dinner

On the return back to the hotel, we visited one of the games stall to try popping balloons with darts for prices. Paid 10k to get 4 cups of 5 darts, and the stall owner gave me 2 extra darts as bonus. In the end, I got 18 balloons that earned me the prize of a pac man monster soft toy that K chose. It looked pretty decent in quality. Exiting the stall, we saw people firing fireworks, the stall owner informed that we could try to as she was selling the too. We didn’t.

Where we pop the balloons

The night was the usual bath time in the tub followed by TV that had some English speaking show but mostly still in Korean. I had drifted off to sleep as I was dead tired and eventually mommy turned off the lights with the TV remote control when K was snuggled up in bed with me on one queen bed and mommy in another queen bed.

Night view from the room

Jeonju 2019 Day 6 – Drive to Jeonju, cheese theme park and Jeonju old town

2nd morning at Yeosu and I made another attempt to check out the sunrise, this time much more prepared. Suited up and got out of the room at 6am and walked over to the elevator to the cable car only to find it inaccessible.

Went to take the stairs instead and after much panting, I finally reached the pavilion overlooking the islands coinciding with the time that the sun started to peek over the islands. There were a few people there also for the same purpose. After taking a few shots, and much less for my camera which would always die in the cold, I made my way back to the room for my usual morning activities – backing up memories on my phone.

Sunrise Panoramic
Pavillon to view the sunrise.
Pole full of heart shaped messages.
Pathway up to the viewing pavillon.

Mommy woke up and had me ordered a Korean breakfast set in room service for 34k and we all shared the breakfast that was pretty filling even for all of us, as it was a meal that looked more for lunch! Left to check out at about 1045 and we were off to head northwards to Jeonju.


Made a stop at a Hwangjeon service station about an hour into the drive. The place was a little hazy and so mommy and K donned their masks that they brought from Singapore although I thought it smelled ok.

Used the bathroom and then went over to take a photo of the view that the hippiest Dunkin Donuts building was overlooking. It wasn’t a fantastic view unfortunately.

Hwangjeon service area
Some sort of a monument
Dunkin Donuts
Place to take photo
Panoramic view from the service area

Then a further 30mins we exited to Imsil for a visit to the Cheese Theme Park, paying a toll of 4.7k. Parked at the almost empty lot and walked around to find that this theme park didn’t require entrance tickets! There were just buildings that looked like Swiss buildings all around and a couple of items here and there to take photos with. We didn’t know what the buildings were for as we couldn’t read Korean. There was a palace like building that had a food court and on the 2nd level there was a museum that we went around quickly.

Theme park map
Grand entrance
Like a palace
Clock in front of the palace
Inside the museum
Colourful display
Interesting to look at though in Korean

Then we walked uphill to find some Smurf statues to take photos with before climbing to the top where there was a long roller slide and a playground for K to play. There must have been a school outing as there were many kids around but K didn’t find an problem playing there.

Cheesy displays to take photos with
Long roller slide
Super long slide

The roller slide was interesting and K went on it twice, the 2nd time on his own. Then we squeezed past the barricades to the entrance of the playland for K to run around the playground that had a couple of places for him to climb around, including a pirate ship and a treehouse amongst them. He was unwilling to leave until much persuasion later and as we walked back uphill from the playground, we entered an area where there were some farm animals kept that, including chickens, rabbits and a pair of pigs.

Pirate ship

Our last visit was to the round cheese building that sat atop the hill. 3rd floor was a viewpoint of the entire area while the 2nd floor featured a wall that illustrated the cheese making process that I used it to explain to K.

Cheese building
Map of the cheesy world
Cheese making process
View from the cheese building

Then our tummies were rumbling as we went back to the car after a short visit to the store to see if we could get any cheese products to try. Couldn’t get any refrigerated ones as we didn’t know if the next accommodation had refrigerator or not and worried that these would spoil and become a waste. Settled for some cookies before getting into the car.

Mommy suggested that we have lunch at Osu service station as it was claimed to be one of the best service station. There was also the delicious cheese bimbimbap that combined the cheese from Imsil and the bimbimbap from Jeonju. 15mins drive and we would arrive, I thought. Then as we hit the road, we took more than the 15min that I initially thought we would need as I kept getting lost, first Navi didn’t get me to the right exit, then mommy giving the wrong direction to turn and I also took an early wrong exit. This cumulated into a 30mins drive and some multiple toll fees of 1.3k each exit.

We arrived finally at the service area close to 3pm with K almost falling asleep. Quickly parked and entered the eating place to find that Bimbimbap was sold out. We settled for Udon and Tonkotsu rice for lunch and free plain water.

Osu service area
Inside the food court

From Osu it was a 50mins drive to Jeonju and we entered the town but I was only brought to some location on the Main Street even though I had set the end destination inside the old town. Tried to drive into the old town unguided as I roughly knew the direction and then realised that it was actually possible to drive in. Went to location that was supposedly a carpark but it became an open space for something else so I had to let mommy and K alight as he wanted to go to the loo urgently while I tried to find parking on my own. Upon exiting the old town, I spotted a secured parking and drove there to park, the daily parking fee was 12k.

Secured car park at Jeonju Hanok village
Jeonju Hanok Village
The space that was indicated as a carpark on Navi
Accommodation compound

Returned to look for mommy and K and was informed that they couldn’t find anyone at the Samlockhon accommodation to check in. We had to call (also suggested by one of their guests there that we met at the entrance) the number on one of their flag to inform that we had arrived before the staff came over.

K was adamant not to stay in this accommodation as he thought that it was boring but upon entering the room, he immediately took a liking to the dual floor concept and that he could sleep on the second level. After some korean Disney channel, we went out to explore Jeonju old town, armed with the map that the staff had shared with us the most popular places to go.

Small dual floors accommodation
Shower and sink
Bedding on 2nd floor

We walked along the Main Street of the old town and found the PNB store that was famous for Choco Pie and we bought some to try (couldn’t bring home as the expiry was 7days). Then we headed towards the gate at the end of the street to take a photo of it before walking to the recommended bibimbap store, Hankookjib.

Beautiful traditional buildings
Water wheel from another angle
Small roads that allowed cars access
Famous choco pie bakery
Panoramic view of Jeonju street

Old church within the village
Gate at the northen end of the village

Map of the village

The historical store was recommended by Michellin as it served the original bibimbap. So we ordered one with the stone bowl (Dolsot) and mommy got herself a spicy bean sprout soup as she doesn’t take beef. The food was pretty delicious and the side dishes were really refreshing. There was also tiny crabs marinated with the spicy sauces that was different from the usual side dishes. All these for an affordable 18k.

Hankookjib restaurant


Pots on display
Inside the restaurant
Dolsot bibimbap
Bean sprout soup

We returned to the room and prepared for bath. The room was thankfully not too cold, as the floor was also heated. I got K to bath quickly worried that he might get a cold. After that it was a bit of TV, some books, some arguments with K on who sleeps where and off to bed.

Lighted up buildings at night

Escape Plan to South Korea & Hong Kong March 2019

A brief summary on the itinerary

Escape Plan to South Korea and Hong Kong:

Total duration 18D17N
Singapore is 1hr behind of Korea and same timezone as Hong Kong.
Flight time is 4hrs 5mins on Cathay Airlines from Singapore to Hong Kong, a 50mins transit followed by a 4hrs 50mins time on Cathay Airlines from Hong Kong to Incheon Airport Seoul.

Return flight is 3hrs 55mins on Cathay Airlines from Hong Kong to Singapore.

Friday night flight on 29th Mar at 810pm and arrival in Hong Kong in the morning of the 30th Mar at 1215am followed by a flight at 105am and arrival in Korea in the same morning at 555am.

Return flight from Hong Kong on the 15th Apr at 230pm and same day arrival in Singapore at 625pm.

Day 0-1 Flying and Gamcheon Village in Busan
Day 2 Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival and arrival into Geoje
Day 3 Cruise to Oedo Island, Tong Yeong Hallyeosudo cable car and Junggang market
Day 4 Hakdong beach, Windy hill and drive to Yeosu, Odongdo island
Day 5 Yeosu Rail bike, Aqua Planet and Teddy bear museum
Day 6 Drive to Jeonju, cheese theme park and Jeonju old town
Day 7 Explore Jeonju and drive to Wolmido
Day 8 Fairytale land, Chinatown and back to Seoul
Day 9 Yeouido park, Noryanjin Market and Myeongdong
Day 10 Lotte World Adventure theme park
Day 11 Nami Island, Gangchon rail park and Garden of Morning Calm
Day 12 Dongdaemun and Lotte Outlet
Day 13 Strawberry farm, Pocheon Art Valley and Herb Island light festival
Day 14 Seoul to Hong Kong
Day 15 Sino Center and Hysan Place
Day 16 Hong Kong Space museum and shopping at CHKC
Day 17 Home Sweet Home

This escape plan was the first time in donkey years that we travel with my extended family. It was not an easy itinerary to begin with, having to plan different flights for my wife, my parents, my aunt in HK and for me and my boy, as we were flying different times, for reasons such as for business, for best price and for breaking the trip. There was also trying to plan a bit of something for my parents and for the kids. Glad that everything turned out well.

Budget nature: Rather Expensive 

Costs of living in Korea was quite high especially in the cities, car rentals was expensive too. This was offset by the optimisation of squeezing into Airbnb units in Seoul and getting the better deal through Klook and utilising discount coupons from tourism book brought over from Singapore.

Complexity: High

Due to different flight times (5 different tickets) for everyone, we had to get all the dates and times right before purchasing the tickets. Travel by car outside the city was still fine but met with heavy traffic when in Busan. Thankfully for the Hyundai Sonata in-car GPS, it was a little easier to navigate as Google maps do not work, and Naver app wasn’t driver friendly. Travelling via public transport in Seoul was easy but not so in a taxi as we were easily lost in translation, and getting taxis for a big group was a challenge itself, as the taxis can only take up to a certain number of people.