As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, Gyeonggi-do is a fascinating place. It’s where beauty, fun and old town charm are all rolled into one. You can even say it’s where the past, present and future come together (a statement that, in my opinion, is applicable to most of South Korea). I already showed you “the past” through my post yesterday about the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress. Today, let me show you the “present” and “future” of Gyeonggi-do.
When you think about Korean culture, what comes to mind? Come on, be honest. I’m sure a lot of you automatically thought about your favorite K-Pop artists and K-Drama stars. And who can blame you? They’re the people responsible for the Hallyu wave after all. They made everything and anything Korean famous! One of which is Korean beauty/skincare/makeup. BB creams, CC creams and snail creams–we’ve got the Koreans to thank for these. Try walking around Myeongdong and you’ll see hundreds of makeup and beauty stores all over. Koreans take their beauty and skincare seriously which is why I reckon no Korean experience is ever complete without a beauty session.
Introducing, Skinanniversary Beauty Town–the one-stop solution to all your beauty needs. Skinanniversary is a center that provides customized skin care treatments based on individual skin checks and make-up services. It has 300 skin care professionals ready to serve guests and tourists everyday. This was our first stop at Gyeonggi-do. What a way to start our tour right? No complaints here!
When we entered the facility, the first thing we saw was this wall filled with photos of Korean celebrities who have Skinanniversary to thank for their gorgeous skin. I didn’t have the chance to stare at all of them but I recognized a few like Big Bang’s TOP and Miss A’s Suzy. Apparently, Skinanniversary has been taking care of our favorite Korean celebrities’ skin for over 10 years already. I think it’s safe to say, my skin was in very good hands.
In Korea, even teddy bears have to have pretty skin. LOL! Just kidding. Skinanniversary actually also houses a Teddy Bear Gallery so I guess this is why there’s a random bear standing here.
So what usually happens when you go to Skinanniversary? They offer three beauty courses for you to choose from. Our tour group got course B which takes around an hour. The process started with a skin check wherein the skin care professional used this tiny sensor thingy (right photo) to get my skin’s condition. In just a few seconds, the results appeared on the screen in front of me and I was handed a brochure with recommended products to be used during my treatment.
After skin check, we were lead to the immense aesthetic zone where our treatments (based on our skin check) were going to be done. All of us got a skin care professional assigned to us individually. I didn’t know what to expect. I just removed my top, wore my robe and lied down on my bed not knowing that the skin care professional was about to change my life! Okay, I’m exaggerating but it felt so good I was on cloud nine! Anyway, here’s what happened (so you can die of envy). She cleansed my face twice first which felt really nice with her hands gently massaging my face. Then she applied the first moisture pack that smelled really good and felt refreshing. While my moisture pack was on, she proceeded to massage my neck, back and shoulders to promote proper blood circulation. This was my favorite part. After that, she removed my moisture pack and did another round of facial skincare and followed that with a modelling mask pack. I can not explain how relaxing all these felt on my skin. After the treatment, I noticed my skin having that natural glow. It looked a bit dewy even!
Of course you can’t always go to Skinanniversary for treatments so there are skin products for sale that you can take home. The brand is called Nuganic.
Nuganic doesn’t make use of paraben, benzophenone, mineral oil, animal material and synthetic perfume. It’s Korea’s best functional product verified by the Korean Food and Drug Administration.
There’s also a makeup area so that you can apply makeup on and fix your hair after your treatment. The brand is called Ani Place.
Aside from the Teddy Bear Gallery, Skinanniversary also has a small Trick Art Gallery. A bunch of us had so much fun posing in front of different trick-eye murals. This one is my favorite because it matches my outfit well. Oh the mind of a fashion blogger!
Now that we’re done spoiling our skin, it’s time for a little fun and games! Gyeonggi-do has a lot of theme parks, both indoor and outdoor. The famous Everland is actually located here as well. But since you’ll probably need an entire day for that, we toured around OneMount instead. It’s a multi-cultural complex consisting of a waterpark, a snowpark, a shopping mall and a sports club.
The snowpark is my favorite–probably because I come from a tropical country where it never snows. Plus, I’m a lover of the cold weather. My friends even joke that I have skin as thick as a cow’s because I can withstand the cold and get hot so easily. In short, this place is perfect for me!
But if you get cold easily, don’t fret. There are jackets for rent like this pink one I’m wearing. I had to crop this photo though because I looked so funny with my thick jacket on plus my gladiator sandals (no footwear for rent here). Fashion boo boo!
The snowpark has 7 types of theme caves, a 300 meter long ice road and ice lake for fun activities like riding sleds drawn by Siberian huskies.
I didn’t get to ride the sled but before leaving the snowpark, our guide asked us who’d like to try the snow slide so I quickly grabbed the opportunity. Pat and I were the first volunteers, along with AirAsia Zest’s Len. I sort of regretted riding it halfway through though, out of fear that I’d topple over while trying to hold my bag and keeping my butt safely stuck on the round sledge. But once we landed, I felt like doing it all over again! It was so much fun!
Whoever said summer and winter can’t coexist clearly hasn’t been to OneMount. It has a snowpark on one side and a waterpark on the other. The waterpark consists of 13 slides and 18 pools. It’s the greatest Aqua Play Zone and Water Splash in Korea. Look at those slides!
So jealous of these guests! I wish we got to try the slides too!
These slides must be pretty scary. You see these yellow and blue slides on the left photo? These are indoor slides that lead outdoor! So while you’re sliding your way down, you see the buildings and skyscrapers! Cool right? The photo on the right is sort of like a combination of the snowpark and waterpark. Guests get pushed down the slide that lands straight into the pool while riding a snow sledge. Oh what fun!
We all know how Koreans love to keep their skin white and fair, right? You’ve seen them at beaches, covered from head to toe, so it only makes sense that their waterparks have indoor areas too! See these cute candy towers? They spew out water every few seconds or so. The kids love them!
Next stop, Gyeonggi-do’s Hanwha Aqua Planet. Don’t let the name fool you. It’s not all fishes and sea creatures. It’s the one and only aquarium in Asia that has an indoor zoo as well!
The bird village is my favorite place. There’s a staff member stationed here who gives out bird food for free so that guest can feed the birds themselves.
How cute are these birds! Look at their feathers!
Happy Feet was there too!
I’m not a good swimmer so aquariums are a joy to me. I get to see a snippet of the ocean’s colorful treasures.
I thought I have a default angry face but I’ve got nothing on this shark. Poke! Poke!
With all these places that we visited, you didn’t think we’d skip dinner now would we?
We ate at this quaint restaurant called Suwon Galbee. (I thought I’d take a photo of it just in case you want to visit this restaurant as well.) By just mentioning galbee, I’m sure you know what heavenly dishes awaited us.
After our dinner, we headed to Suwon Hwaseong Fortress which I blogged about here. The sun sets pretty late in Korea, (compared to Manila at least) so we were able to see how it looked like while the sun was still up and when it finally set. The fortress is lit at night so it’s nice to check out both views.
That’s it for our first day in Gyeonggi-do! If you’re thinking of visiting Gyeonggi-do, here’s a few more places I recommend for you to visit (I’ll probably visit these as well when I get the chance):
1. Everland Amusement Park – listed as one of the 4 major theme parks in the world
2. DMZ, Imjingak – the border that separates South and North Korea
3. Korean Folk Village – traditional houses and lifestyle of ancient Korea. A number of K-Dramas where shot here like You Who Came from The Star and The Moon That Embraces The Sun.
4. Petite France – a small French village in Korea that’s full of charm. Secret Garden and You Who Came From The Star filmed a few scenes here too.
5. Hanok Experience Village – consisits of 9 Hanoks or Korean traditional houses. You can experience traditional tea ceremonies and might even witness a real traditional wedding too!
6. Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty – designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site
7. The Garden of Morningcalm – beautiful place especially at night when the garden is lit up with colorful lights
8. Ski resorts, spas and premium outlet malls
***For K-Drama fans, visit Yongin MBC Dramia (major location for historical dramas) and KBS Drama Center (sort of like the Warner Bros. lot but smaller)