I always keep my eye on the events posted by the travel groups in Korea. They’re really helpful sometimes and give people the opportunity to do things a little bit easier. I’ve went on two trips with WINK tours (which I don’t recommend because the owner is a dick but the trips I went on were fun) and now two trips with Enjoy Korea. I had saw the event posted called “K-pop, Caves, Coasters, and Shooting” and it seemed like a random mix of things. I like k-pop, I like roller coasters, I’d never shot a gun and I don’t really like caves but whatever, why not? I had put going to a k-pop concert on my Korea bucket list and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. My friend Alice and I booked the trip and made our way out to Gangwondo with our trip leader Rachel and the rest of the Busan group early Saturday morning.
The trip from Busan to Gangwondo was pretty long, about 5 hours in the bus. We were lucky and had little to no traffic but Alice had some pretty wicked bus sickness so she was very happy when we were finally up at the resort. We stayed at the every popular High 1 ski resort. This place will be the home for the Pyeongchang Olympics in 2018 (in fact this was the reason for the concert). I should have prepared for the cold weather! It was fine in Busan but Gangwondo is way up at the top of Korea. It was pretty chilly up there, especially at night during the concert. Before the concert we were allowed to go on the Alpine roller coaster. This is a single track roller coaster cart that you control the speed of. Well, they say you control the speed of it but you basically have to go fast the whole time as to not hold up the ride. It was so much fun. The ski lift ride up to the top of the Athena run was picturesque. The area is surrounded by mountains and it was stunning. I found myself marveling in the beauty of it, Korea really is a beautiful country but that idea can get kind of lost when you live in a big city area. The trees had started to change so you could see some nice fall colours. The ride was awesome and a lot of fun. When we finally made it to the coaster we had to wait a bit to ride but it was so worth it. I screamed my whole way down (because what’s the point of a roller coaster if not to scream?) and genuinely enjoyed myself. Alice and I grabbed some cheese bokki and then made our way to our hotel room.
The room situations on the tour trips can be a bit upsetting at times. You all pay the same amount and some people get the better end of the bargain. In this case, Alice and I did. We were the first to our hotel room that we’d share with 6 other people and we claimed the only actual bed in the room. Pension style rooms usually have one or two beds and then a heated floor sleeping area with mats and pillows. We had 7 girls in the room and 1 guy who was dating one of the girls. Alice and I took the bed, exclaiming how happy we were about having a bed instead of sleeping on the floor, the couple took the couches (pushing them together to make a makeshift bed), and the remaining girls (who were very lovely and friendly) all had to sleep on the floor mats. It kind of sucked but all in all our room was really nice. We had a full kitchen and a dining set area, and a TV. The sleeping area Alice and I had also had an ensuite bathroom. It was comfortable enough for us, but I felt bad for the girls who had to sleep on the floor. After we all got settled in, ate some food, and got ready, we were off to the concert! The concert was held in the parking area of the resort so the ride was super short, but it was freezing out. I put on the thickest shirt but even that wasn’t enough. I hugged myself for the majority of the concert and also danced around a lot.
Now K-Pop concerts are weird. That’s my impression of them at least. We all had assigned seats and we were in chairs and we weren’t allowed to get up and dance around like I would at any other concert. I still danced in my seat, stood up to get a few pictures, but the environment wasn’t as enjoyable as it could have been. I would have been happy to dance the night away and it would have kept me a lot warmer too. The lineup for the concert was pretty awesome and I felt pretty lucky that I got to see some big K-pop artists. I was most happy about EXID (who performed first!), Shinee (which made Hannah very jealous), VIXX (my friend Vava loves them!), BTS, GOT7, and CLC. They had a lot of other performers too and even a local band play (they were also good!). It was a good night overall and we ended it with some delicious pork bbq in the small town of Gohan. We were overcharged for our taxi as we headed back to the resort (he doubled the fare because he didn’t want to go up the mountain) and then we all fell into bed.
Sunday morning was a semi-early start, Alice and I stayed in bed until 10 and then rushed to get out of the room and meet everyone at the bus at 10:30. We made our way to our first stop: clay pigeon shooting. At least, that’s how they advertised it. We really shot some bright orange discs. This was my first time shooting a gun and it was a HUGE shotgun. My arms hurt from the kickback for days afterwards BUT I did hit the target twice. It was really fun, kind of expensive if you wanted more rounds ($10 for 5 more) but it was a fun experience! Everyone was really safe and the guys that worked there were patient and helpful with us. I had a pretty good experience, my guy wasn’t very vocal but I did get the target twice so I think that I was pretty successful.
Our next stop was the nearby Gosu Caves. We grabbed some lunch (donkatsu and pajeon) and then headed into the cave. I had a horrible time, I felt super anxious, there was a TON of climbing stairs and crawling through narrow spaces, I was having a hard
time. One of my new trip buddies, Nadine, and I left the group early and headed back to poke around the shops in the area. I thought the cave was interesting but there was too much climbing and it made me feel too nervous being inside of it. I’m not usually claustrophobic but it sure felt like it then.
After our cave trip we made our way back to the bus and back to Busan. Again the trip was about 5 hours, but we were back around 7pm. I fell asleep a few times on the bus, thankfully, so it went pretty quick.
All in all, I had a fun time on the trip with Enjoy Korea. There were some pretty annoying girls who thought they were entitled to perks not all of us were, but they were besides the point. It was a fun, random weekend and I’m glad I got to do a bunch of stuff I hadn’t before. Enjoy Korea is a good tour group and they try to keep to their schedules and entertain people in ways Wink didn’t. We watched a bunch of 30 Rock episodes and Drunk History on the bus trip so it made the time go by pretty fast. If I was staying in Korea I’d probably go on more trips with Enjoy Korea. And honestly if I do come back to Korea, I’ll probably look for a job in Gangwon-do. The area is beautiful and I had previously went up there for the ice fishing festival. It was just a nice beautiful countryside place…
I’ve got a few more posts coming up soon, including my reflections and some other stuff! Look forward to it! 🙂
Until next time,
Ps. Ailee is amazingly talented and rocked her whole set from a chair with her broken leg…Shinee were cute and gave us a great finale.