Have you ever found yourself entirely swept off your feet with the spontaneous trip? Surprisingly, Cheonan City Tour is one of amongst that offers an unforgettable experience and gives a glimpse of local culture and history.
So, being fascinated by Korea’s past I opted to book the weekend tour and lured my whippersnapper friend to join me. Oh, and did I mention that in fact, except weekends, the tour runs also on every Tuesday and Thursday and each one offers something slightly different from one another?!
Thus, armed with English maps, at 9:30 we bought the tickets from the Tourist Information Center located right in front of the Cheonan Station, Exit 1, and had some local snacks (Hodu-gwaja) before the bus arrived at 10 AM. Luckily, the huge bus stop sign was about 20 meters away from the ticket office and long, perfect queue clearly showed that there were people waiting for something ‘’good’’.
Little did we know, that we would be the only foreigners in an entire bus, but it hasn’t stopped us from making the most of our trip. Our tourmates, even though, not knowing English was super enthusiastic to help us and through the day made us feel that one can never be ‘’lost’’ in South Korea.
icon-check-square-o HONG DAEYONG SCIENCE MUSEUM
Our first stop was Hong Daeyong Science Museum, very informative and interactive museum that fires the imaginations of children (and not only) through fun and exciting activities and 3D demonstrations.
And then as quickly as we got off the bus, I found myself glaring at the beautiful museum and posing for the pictures in front of a sundial. No doubt, an extravagant exterior of the building gives the museum a distinct charm.
But what really amazed me was the fact that this museum provides not only free guided tours (Korean, unfortunately), but entertaining and informative facilities both for adults and young minds. Planet replicas, video explanations, milky-way-like ceiling and other articles are indeed mind blowing for the kids. Plus, except huge parking lot, they have special areas for babies and toddlers.
Having observed an exhibitory hall on the 3rd floor we moved to the final rooftop where the museum houses few telescopes and offers solar observing activities during the day and night (moon). And—Bam! I saw my tour-mates out of happiness excitedly waiting to grab the telescope and see what they could spot on the sun. No having the luck to see any tell-tale dark spots on it, I decided to revisit the museum on another evening, but that time for the night observations on the moon.
After going solar, if one still cannot get enough of the theoretical perspective of the universe, then its time to put on the 3D glasses, convert the chair into bed and watch 30 minutes documentary about ‘’Extrasolar Planets’’. Although it’s in Korean, I still enjoyed the video and earned the added bonus- practiced my Korean listening skills.
All in all, museum clearly stands out as a perfect off-the-beaten-track vacation spot for science geeks and the families with children, especially if the parent wants to trigger child’s interest towards space science. So, bring them here and let your little scientists discover the wonders of the universe!
icon-check-square-o AUNAE MARKET
The second destination offered us a taste of a local life. Abuzz with sellers this ‘’5 day market’’ (opened only 5 times per month) has stalls spanning an area and wide range of products. Aunae market also has an assortment of local street food and is absolutely worth visiting.
Having first strolled around the market, we decided to fill our stomachs with the traditional dish and went to the local place. As saying goes ‘’When in Rome, do as the Romans do’’ and we did not miss out unique Korean food Sundae (Korean sausage) for the lunch. Following our Korean tourmates, we end up sitting on the floor at the local restaurant장터순대 and whole-heartedly enjoyed a delicious and reasonably priced meal. For those, loving to explore hidden gems and plus loves Sundae – now you know where to go.
icon-check-square-o MEMORIAL HALL OF MR. LEE DONG- NYONG
The third stop was the proper passage for what yet had to come. Being 5 minutes away from Independence Hall of Korea, this beautiful place provides detailed information about one of the most famous Korean Independence activist and the President of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea- Lee Dong-Nyeong. Memorial Hall gives an opportunity to surmise his thoughts and exhibits his own writings, letters, documents on the Provisional Government and so on.
Visiting such a historical place, people often think that it could be non-family-friendly but the kids from our bus seemed to have a lot of fun while reading children’s history books, stamping visitors cards, enjoying taking pictures in the photo zone or observing the Herons.
My quite astonished friend kept whispering that in her country seeing herons nearby the building is a blessing sign. So, I kept thinking, perhaps due to its historical importance this place is really blessed?
The truth is that Memorial Hall of Mr. Lee Dong-Nyeong maybe not be the grand scale of some other memorial halls but it certainly packs a punch.
icon-check-square-o INDEPENDENCE HALL
The last and the best place to visit was the dazzling, yet, entrance free, Independence Hall of Korea. It tells the story of Korea’s struggle against the oppressors. There are so many things to explore, that not less than a day must be solely spent for that. It contains the museum, park, campsite, an artificial lake and many other things that I just don’t recall. Seeing all these, just pushed me thinking how lovely it would be to spend a day in summer doing picnic here with friends or family. This amazing monument is like a book in action, especially, for the kids studying Korean history.