Tag Archives: Korea

National Folk Museum of Korea and The Children’s Museum

When traveling, immerse your family in the country’s history and pop culture for cheap or for free by visiting the local museums! I absolutely love educational trips with my kids because they experience concepts uniquely outside the walls of the classroom. Going on museum visits in fine weather is definitely a plus, too!

We took a taxi from our hotel, Ibis Myeongdong, which costed us a few thousand won. We learned that it is more convenient for us to use the taxi vs the subway because we were a family of 4 travelling with 2 kids. It actually may even be more cost-effective.

The day we decided to stroll the National Folk Museum it rained so it was cooler compared to the unusual hot weather Seoul was experiencing last month. Good thing we brought rain gear or we would’ve been stranded for at least an hour!


TRAVEL TIP: Check weather forecast for the days you are planning to be outdoors. Always bring a travel-sized umbrella and hooded jackets for you and your tots. Alternatively, you may choose to borrow an umbrella from your hotel concierge. It just might pour and proper gear will save you from getting drenched and stuck. Being prepared will save you precious travel time!

If you didn’t get to bring drinks with you, just by the entrance you will find vendo machines underneath a canopy of trees where you can also choose to rest after your museum trip.

From the main entrance, expect to walk 5-10 minutes (depending on how fast you walk!) until you get to the main structure. Since it was raining, they canceled the change of guards which is what we wanted to see. So, we decided to look around the grounds and then later on, whichever features they had inside the museum.

Just outside the main museum entrance was stone statues of the 12 Zodiac Signs.

“The Twelve Zodiac Signs have close ties with everyday life of Koreans, including the notion of time and directions in astronomy and the calendar as well as fortune telling, naming a baby, fixing a date and foretelling the fate and marital harmony.” – See more here. Apparently, the General Director of the museum had many studies on the subject matter plus books on the Zodiac Signs published!

Santi was delighted to pose with his Chinese zodiac animal, The Boar. He was born in year 2007 which makes him a golden fire pig. This special sign only comes once in every 600 years so they say that people born during that year are very lucky. I believe so! On his 8th birthday month, Santi got to travel to Hong Kong and Korea. What a lucky little boy!

Maya admiring her Chinese zodiac sign, the Horse. It’s special that she has the same zodiac signs as her Dad. They are both Piscean Horses!

And I get to have a photo with my sign too, The Dog!  

I was amazed at this magnificent calendar in the middle of the statues. It is in Korean so I couldn’t read what it says but I imagine it to be some kind of special lunar calendar?

And then we proceeded indoors to see what interesting exhibits they had. Stars were definitely aligned in my behalf!

Because we were in Samsung-land, multi-media presentations were everywhere.

Baby with Dad in traditional Korean outfit!  If they were babywearing, that would’ve been real awesome.

A message from the divine that day..  

NATIONAL FOLK MUSEUM

Cost: Free

Audio guide rental (optional) : 1,000 won

There are free available wheelchairs for elderly or disabled and infant strollers for use.

Address: 37 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, 서울특별시 South Korea
Contact No. +82 2-3704-3114

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And then the next area was miraculously the Children’s Museum! My Waldorf-schooled child was drawn to the children’s theatre room playing cartoons in the entrance. LOL! (Waldorf Schools do not encourage TV and gadgets like the IPad)

After letting him sit in for 5 minutes, we proceeded to the main exhibit. Looking at the photo below, can you guess what it’s all about? A full exhibit on POOP! Yes, the Koreans seem to love toilet humor. They’ve found a way to merge education with our toilet business.

The Scoop On Poop is the exhibition title. What a catchy one!

A vintage contraption of their bedwetting solution. Santi tries it out. I wish there were long enough english translations for me to understand the descriptions!

“Ewww. pigs eat your poo?”, Santi asked

“Yup, that’s why I don’t eat pork. Their meat is dirty!”, I replied hoping to have made my point very clear.
  Santi squats and sees poop with the pigs below. Oh, technology!

Sit on your throne! And do you read that, “WHAT DOES POO TASTE LIKE?!?” Oh my….can someone translate to me what it says?!

Poop carrying Santi. “When flushing toilets weren’t invented, you had to carry your poop out to the field”, I explained to Santi. I hope he got the message on how challenging life was before!

My parents and I indulge in poop humor. Poop clouds over our heads. Thank God for such cool, grandparents!

Poopy cartoons

The olden day ways of wiping yourself clean. Interesting inforgaphic for young ones!

 After viewing the exhibit, we exited into a maze around this giant robotic structure. If it weren’t wet from the rain, Santi would’ve loved to hang out and play.

 And onto the Old Korea town. A whole alley filled with blast from the past structures and things.

No electricity required fire for cooking and heat. Firewood was essential in every household. It seems we lack this element in modern times.

Freezing this moment with Maya who was 1 year and 3 months old at the time photo was taken.  

Santi’s famous kung-fu pose. Maybe he thinks Korean’s invented Kung-fu. I should correct him LOL!


  

After all the walking, we stopped to have a picnic. It was such a lovely afternoon to be out in nature with family!

He obviously had a good day 🙂

SEOUL’S CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

Cost: Free of charge for some exhibits

MUSEUM TIP: Checking the website, there is a lot of educational programs to avail in the children’s museum. Make sure you read about offerings before planning a visit to make the most out of your trip to the museum!

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Review: Ibis Ambassador Hotel, Myeongdong

I chose to stay in this hotel purely because of its location. Right smack where the action is in busy Myeondgong where an abundance of food stalls and make up stores are located. It is also infront of Lotte Young Plaza next to Lotte Hotel where many of my friends stayed.

  
I booked 2 rooms months ahead via Agoda.com which was so very convenient. I chose the cheapest option which had no breakfast included but when my son found out we weren’t eating in the hotel, he and his grumbly tummy got very upset at me for 3 consecutive mornings hahahha. So if you’re traveling with children, make sure you wake up and feed them before hunger strikes!

 
The standard rooms are 21 sq meters in size which had a small shower (that felt like you were in a space craft) and a high tech toilet just like the ones found in Japan. 

  
My son was amazed at this invention and wanted one for home! 

What we all loved was the comfortable bed, pillows and super soft sheets which was hard to peel away from in the mornings. 
  

Plugs for charging and free wifi was available in the room, yay! 

  
Our room 1117 had a functioning AC while my parents room 1120 had a faulty one so they requested for a fan to be brought up. There was a 24-hour gym and a hot bath facility which I didn’t get to try.

They also have a free shuttle to certain areas but we didn’t get to make reservations ahead so we didn’t have space anymore that day. If you’re staying in this hotel, make necessary shuttle arrangements for your sight seeing at least a day before.

  
The only odd thing was that reception was on the 19th floor so it was out of the way. Can someone explain to me why do they do this??!

I would recommend this hotel for people who like shopping at fashion, make up and skin care outlets or trying out the endless food stalls found on the streets of Myeongdong. Next time we return to Korea, I wish to stay in a traditional style homestay close to nature to get a feel of the old Korea.

To give you a little background of how this trip came to materialize, my high school friends and I have been planning a trip out of the country since last year. Initally, I was supposed to bring just one child, my 1 year old daughter Maya (because we are still breastfeeding). My cousin-in-law who is also part of my high school circle was supposed to be my roomie with her 1 year old son as well. When my parents found out about this trip, they felt sorry for my son because I wasn’t planning on bringing him. So they told me that they would bring him because it was his birthday month, lucky little boy!

And because sometimes, life doesn’t go as planned, my cousin-in-law and son never made it to the trip. So, instead of this becoming a high school girlfriend’s trip, I decided to spend some time with my parents and both children. It’s been a family custom to use this time to bond during travels. And so, we did 🙂