Korea and Jeju - Day 3

19:04

Day 3:

We checked in pretty late on Day 2, so I could only snap pictures of Yong Pyong All Seasons Resort: Dragon Valley Hotel's exterior in the morning. 

We had a typical morning breakfast buffet. One good thing about this hotel is that we get free wifi from our rooms! Thank goodness I don't have to be a hermit and get cut off from Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp and Facebook.


It was a pity we went there in summer. I didn't get to see the place enveloped in pretty white snow and I didn't get to experience skiing. Well, to think about it, it's indeed strange to go to a ski resort in summer!




2018's Winter Olympics would be held at the hotel's ski course, so it's time for some tourist-y shots!


The gondola's aren't operating in summer. Imagine the amazing views that we could see if we actually rode up the slopes in the gondolas!



We went to Winter Sonata cafe, right across the road from the hotel for more photos! It's the film site for Winter Sonata.





This is where Jun Sang played the piano for Yoo Jin.

Though I've never watched Winter Sonata before, I've heard it was really popular, especially among the Japanese. Of course it's exciting to be at the shooting locations of dramas!

Next stop: Coffee Cupper Coffee Museum!



There's a natural stream right beside the coffee museum.


We started roasting our own coffee beans after a short demonstration. Man, my arms were aching from all that shaking just after 5 minutes! Coffee bean skin was flying all around, but they sure smelled nice. Very rejuvenating indeed!



Cool dude at the coffee museum helping us with our coffee roasting

The staff who helped us with our coffee roasting had a really sexy American accent, a cool lil ponytail and even does beatboxing as we swished and shook the coffee beans. Nice guy.



Cooling down my coffee beans after roasting them!



Fancy a cup of coffee?

After kick-starting the morning with a cup of freshly brewed hot coffee, I'm wide awake!

We saw a few wind turbines on our way...



Mount Seorak National Park! Here I come!


The statue has a Dangun legend behind it. Koreans believe that they are descendants of bears (while the Chinese believe that they are descendants of dragons). The legend goes like this: A tiger and bear prayed to Hwanung, the son of the Lord of heaven, to become human. Upon hearing their prayers, Hwanung told them to start being vegetarian for a month. The tiger gave up after about twenty days and left the cave. However, the bear remained (it hibernated!) and was transformed into a woman. The bear-woman became a wife of Hwanung, and soon she gave birth to a son, who then became the ancestor of Koreans.






I'm at the top of the world (the mountain, actually)!

As it was raining, the steps were slippery and we had to forgo the ascend to Gwongeumseong Fortress. We visited Sinheungsa Temple straightaway.




Trying out the natural mountain spring. One drink cures all ills, second drink keeps your youth.
We were all impressed by the Bronze Jwabul Statue which is over 10 metres tall. Our guide, Jullie, told us that the statue faces North Korea, as South Koreans pray that North and South Korea would be reunited again.

Soon, it was time for lunch!




The squid was fresh and the marinated pork was tender! It was a really satisfying lunch!
Jullie told us a joke. In Singapore, squid is called sotong, but in Korean, Shotong means cow dung. When a group of aunties from a previous tour group went into the restaurant, they started chattering excitedly that they were eating "cow dung"  for lunch. Imagine the looks of horror from the restaurant owners! Haha.

When we were done with our lunch, an old uncle attempted selling black sesame sweets to us. However, I've heard that it wasn't authentically "Made In Korea", so no one from our tour group bought any though we all had free samples.

Then, it's time for another long coach ride, this time to Resom Spa Castle, where we'll be staying the night.

After a long 6-hour coach ride (National holidays cause major jams on expressways), we finally reached Resom Spa Castle, (in)conveniently nestled in the middle of nowhere. Well, technically it's in the countryside of Korea.

Dinner at the hotel restaurant



The mushroom steamboat was rather bland, but I suppose it's the only thing we could stomach after a long journey that left me felt like puking my guts out. Thank goodness I didn't suffer from motion sickness this time round. (Fisherman's Friend saved me from puking.)

Resom Spa Castle's lobby

The hotel only had free wifi in their lobby, so it was rather inconvenient for me. Our entire tour group had our rooms upgraded to included a tatami room, where we could choose between sleeping on normal single beds, or on mattresses on the ground to try out the traditional Korean style of sleeping on tatamis. The rooms had their own living room area and a kitchenette, complete with electric stoves, pots, utensils, crockery and rice cookers! WOW.



Living room, kitchenette, bedroom and tatami room.
Although the rooms were big enough, I felt rather uneasy upon stepping into the room. The lighting was dim, and I had this strange feeling of being watched/ some presence was nearby. I felt nothing like that for the previous hotel. (Being superstitious, I made sure I knocked on the door before stepping in, I locked the balcony's sliding doors, pulled all curtains shut, and I left all our shoes facing the door to indicate we were only staying for a short while.)

Initially my parents offered me a choice between their room and this room. I was more uncomfortable in the other room, so I chose this room instead. (The other room had its door facing the lift - the Fengshui isn't good.)

We only had two single beds for the 3 of us (I sleep with my two siblings), and none of us wanted to sleep alone, so all of us opted to sleep in the tatami room together. Safety in numbers, I reckoned.
At around midnight, I heard soft knocking from the front door. I was already slightly creeped out by then, so I pretended to not hear it and started a pillow fight with my siblings. We were really making a din and I suppose it kind of masked the knocking sounds.

Then when we got tired from all the screaming and shouting, I heard the unmistakable sound of nails tapping from the balcony window. HOLY SHIT. I freaked out inside. We were on the 5th floor! There were no branches outside, and no birds would be out at night! What could be at the balcony? Of course I had to act calm and composed for my siblings already felt weirded out and I was worried they would freak out if I lost my cool. I sneaked out of the room to check, but felt cowardly as I inched closer to the closed curtains of the balcony doors. Then, I called for my siblings to come out of the room with me. Yet, we still didn't dare to pull open the curtains. I suppose it's safer to feign ignorance. We snuck back to our room and this time, we shut the door, and left the kitchenette's lights on.

My brother barely slept a wink that night. According to my parents, their room was "dirty" too. My dad had nightmares about those lurking presences (he's sensitive to these things) and he only managed to sleep after putting on his amulet. When we asked around our tour group, we realised that we weren't the only family to feel that. This little girl (Primary 3) also felt uneasy in her room and refused to step foot into their tatami room. [Apparently kids are more sensitive to these things.] In the end, she cuddled with her mother on a single bed. Blankets were also pulled off from an elderly lady's bed when she was sleeping and another auntie was unable to sleep that night too.

That was definitely a freaky experience. I'm NEVER going back to that hotel again!

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