DAY TWO - NAMI ISLAND and ITAEWON
In the morning of our second day in Korea, the four of us boarded the train to Gapyeong Station before taking a taxi to Nami island pier which cost around 4000 Won for an 8-minute ride! Our simple breakfast that day were Manjoo Hana puffs and chocolate milk. The admission fee and ferry fare cost around 8000 Won. Some parts of the river was still frozen and you could even walk on it! There is a statue of a nude female in the river and since this was still Winter, someone had the courtesy to drape a red cloak on her. She looked like a young Mrs Santa Clause... It was Valentine's day so there were many lovey dovey couples at Nami...
We were happy to find halal food at Nami island. The famous menu is of course Nasi Goncang which comes in a very hot tin container that we need to wear mittens just to hold it. Inside is fried rice with kimchee and egg. We should have tried the pajeon or savory pancake which is on the menu. There is also a prayer room with an ablution area for Muslims to pray. This will definitely attracts more Muslim tourists to visit Nami. Tourists can buy souvenirs, hot roasted sweet potatoes and other goods at Nami. There are also bicycle rides for you to try. Many Valentine couples opted for these rides.
Like many other kdrama fans, we did not miss the opportunity to take wefies and selfies with the lovers and 'mini snowman' of Winter Sonata drama. There are also many cute sculptures around the island. There is also the tomb of General Nami who was falsely accused of treason and later executed. But his name was cleared and later they named the island after him.
What is interesting is that Itaewon is popular with foreign tourists because of its night life. There is a US army base nearby. But we did not feel any danger walking the streets of Itaewon or other streets in seoul. I even bumped into English-speaking tourism volunteers who 'patrolled' the area to help any 'lost' tourist.
The souvenir shop in Itaewon is quite popular with asian tourists. There is a variety of goods that you can buy but the price was a bit more expensive that the shop we went to in Nandaemun. The ahjumma manager here could speak a little Malay and so she tried her best to cajole us to buy the souvenirs. There are many papers on the wall with writings and signatures of her customers in Malay, Arabic, English, Chinese and other languages. Some praised the shop while some warned the tourists of the price.
After buying more souvenirs for the folks back home, we decided to have dinner at the Foreign Restaurant selling biryani rice and spicy curries. We wanted to eat something familiar to Malaysian food so we ordered the chicken biryani. The taste was okay but a bit dry. It was also rather expensive. We should have opted for the buffet menu instead. We had to hurry back to our guesthouse by taking another train. We went window shopping at the shops along the road going to our accommodation.
The cold air and below-zero temperature made us rushed back to our warm, cozy little rooms so that we could rest our tired feet and dizzy heads! :P