- Post-pandemic Openings: New (and Renewed) Places You Should Go in This June June 02, 2022
Places in Seoul and the Suburbs that You Need to Visit Before Summer
The pandemic that has plagued all of us for the past two years seems to be ending. Social distancing was eased in mid-April in South Korea, and many places and activities were reopened. At the same time, some new attractions also have opened in Seoul and the suburbs. We prepared this short recommendation list for you to visit this June; so you would go before the deadly hot and humid summer comes.
Cheong Wa Dae (The Blue House)
Cheong Wa Dae, better internationally known as "The Blue House," is the office and residence of the President of the Republic of Korea. No, it "used to be." Since May 10, 2022, Cheong Wa Dae is not the presidential palace anymore. With the inauguration of new President Yoon Suk-yeol on that day, the presidential office moved to another place according to his pledge. Now all facilities at Cheong Wa Dae have been fully open for the general public to visit.
In fact, Cheong Wa Dae had been open to tours even before then. But it was available only for limited spots and on weekdays by reservations through the Cheong Wa Dae website. However, since this full-scale opening, visitors can also see the interior of the major buildings and previously forbidden places, especially every day, regardless of the day of the week. Just keep in mind that you must apply in advance through specific applications such as Naver, KakaoTalk, and Toss. As of the end of May, not all buildings are fully opened yet; they will be available after all the facilities are reorganized, and the tour routes are installed. According to the Office of the President, it will be open to anyone and any time, like Gyeongbokgung Palace in the future!
Address: 118 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Hours: 7:00 – 19:00 from May 23 (Mon) to June 11 (Sat)
*Opening hours from June 12 (Sun) will be informed later.
Nearest Metro Station: Gyeongbokgung Station on Line 3
Jamsil Baseball Stadium & Gocheok Sky Dome
There are various professional sports in South Korea: football (soccer), basketball, volleyball, and even baduk (go) and e-sports. But the most popular league is professional baseball, the "KBO League." Marking its 41st season in 2022, the KBO League has maintained its top position thanks to the fandom of each team well-rooted in major cities over the past 40 years. In particular, the unique cheering culture has contributed so much to its popularity. South Korea's unique cheering culture, which is hard to see in the United States, the home of baseball, and other countries such as Japan and Taiwan, is becoming famous in other countries through YouTube. Each team – there are ten teams located in eight cities – has unique team cheering songs, and even batters have their own individual cheering songs. There are also cheering chants for situations in a baseball game, such as checking, full count, scoring, and winning, making it more spectacular to see thousands of fans singing together. Well, if you are familiar with football matches in Europe and South America, or you are a student at Yonsei University or Korea University, maybe you will know what it feels like. Besides, many Koreans think that having *chimaek at a baseball stadium feels very different from at a restaurant or home, so you shouldn't miss that, either!
During the 2020 and 2021 seasons, unfortunately, social distancing due to the pandemic prohibited cheering and eating at stadiums. But as social distancing was finally lifted this April, cheering and eating are now enabled at all stadiums from April 22! If you want to feel the cool breeze in the afternoon, visit Jamsil Baseball Stadium, the home of the LG Twins and the Doosan Bears. Or, if your priority is to enjoy baseball comfortably with avoiding rain and heat, visit Gocheok Sky Dome, the home of the Kiwoom Heroes. Of course, don't forget your voice and fried chicken!
*Chimaek: A pairing of fried chicken and beer, which is a popular way Koreans enjoy both foods for a casual meal.
Address (Jamsil): 19-2 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul
Nearest Metro Station: Sports Complex Station on Lines 2 and 9
Home Teams: LG Twins and Doosan Bears
Address (Gocheok): 430 Gyeongin-ro, Guro-gu, Seoul
Nearest Metro Station: Guil Station on Line 1
Home Team: Kiwoon Heroes
Click to watch a video clip about the cheering culture in South Korea on the WBSC (World Baseball Softball Confederation) YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/V5kiNA2D8iE
LEGOLAND® Korea Resort
Many of you would already know about Lotte World, Seoul Land, and Everland. But do you know that Legoland is also established in Korea? On May 5, 2022, Legoland Korea Resort officially opened in Chuncheon, which is within one and a half hours from Seoul. - It was the 100th anniversary of Children's Day in Korea. - It is the first "global franchise theme park" opened in South Korea. Well, that's a little surprising, isn't it? For a long time, global amusement park franchises such as Disneyland and Universal Studios tried to enter South Korea, but for many reasons, none of them made it through. So Legoland finally won its "first" title. Legoland Korea is the first Legoland built on an island and is the largest Legoland in Asia. It also includes a Lego hotel, water park, spa, and outlets. It has opened with about 40 rides and attractions. According to Legoland Korea, they will be updated through reviews every year.
Legoland Korea is South Korea's first theme park with a clear theme and story. Before Legoland, all the theme parks in South Korea were simply amusement parks with only rides, or the themes were clear upon the opening but became vague later on. Legoland, obviously, has a definite theme that cannot be erased: the Lego bricks. Meanwhile, the Legoland project had to endure a long delay for over a decade due to discovering prehistoric sites on Hajung Island, where the Legoland was built. The sites are assumed to be the largest prehistoric remains in the entire Korean Peninsula; it is drawing attention as it is said that the site and remains will be preserved by building a history park and a museum by Legoland Korea in the future. The biggest drawback at the moment is transportation. Public transport from Seoul and Gyeonggi areas to the Legoland is quite inconvenient yet. Just as express buses go from Seoul to Everland in Yongin, many hope that direct transit to the Legoland will be set shortly. But we are sure all of you are strong enough to overcome this level of discomfort!
Address: 128 Hajungdo-gil, Chuncheon, Gangwon-do
Hours: 10:00 – 18:00 on Monday to Thursday, 10:00 – 19:00 on Friday and Weekend
Nearest Metro & Train Station: Chuncehon Station on Gyeongchun Line