Day 2. The War Memorial of Korea, Seoul

We slept really well in our comfortable bed, waking early at 6.30 a.m. due to the time change.

Breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express Euljiro was served in the basement and we found a varied selection of hot and cold dishes to suit all tastes.  Most diners were wearing smart business suits, appearing very formal for a Sunday morning so it was intriguing to wonder where they might be going.  We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast sampling lots of Asian dishes and looking in wonderment as people ate chocolate croissants with chopsticks!

Holiday Inn Express Seoul Euljiro
Breakfast selection at the Holiday Inn Express Seoul Euljiro

Ready to set off, we took the metro which was only one minute’s walk from the hotel making it nice and convenient for us.  Using the metro was so much easier than the previous day without our heavy suitcases and we could just use the escalators instead of searching for the lifts.

War Memorial of Korea, Seoul
War Memorial of Korea, Seoul

Our first destination of the morning was the War Memorial of Korea at Samgakji.  Entrance to this vast museum is free, and it is open daily except Monday.  The museum is housed in the former national army headquarters.  We started our visit by walking through the Memorial Hall which is dedicated to the memory of those involved in past war efforts.

War Memorial of Korea, Seoul
Gardens and lake surrounding the War Memorial of Korea, Seoul

The major focus of the museum is on the Korean War covering the background to the war, its progression and how a truce was eventually established.  The Korean War took place between 25th June 1950 and 27th July 1953 resulting in a death toll of just over 1.2 million.  Galleries cover North Korea’s surprise invasion, major battles and the roles played by the United Nations and other countries.  We were able to view ammunition used by hostile and friendly forces as well as artefacts from people displaced by war.  On the lower floor, the two galleries cover Korean history up until the collapse of the Japanese occupation in 1945 when Korea became independent.

War Memorial of Korea, Seoul
Tanks on display outside the War Memorial of Korea, Seoul

Surrounding the museum is a park and lake which was looking beautiful with flowering azaleas.  This park forms an outdoor hall where both U.S. and Korean restored tanks, aircraft, warships and artillery used during the Korean War are on display.  We were particularly interested to view a B52 Bomber and a replica of a full scale South Korean naval ship sunk by North Korea in 2002.

War Memorial of Korea, Seoul
Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar military transport aircraft at the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul

After enjoying cups of coffee in the gardens we took the metro to Yeouinaru station so that we could walk along the banks of the Han river in Yeouido.  Surprisingly, this area seemed to be quite desolate except for a half marathon taking place during our visit.  The river is extremely wide at this point and pleasure boat trips are available from the pier.  We spotted numerous bicycle rental stations with hundreds of bikes and tandems available for hire but they didn’t seem very popular on a Sunday lunchtime.

Han river, Yeouido, Seoul
Views across the Han river in Yeouido, Seoul

After walking along the riverside awhile we turned inland and walked through Yeouido Park which was historically an old airfield.  We followed a forest trail along a wooden boardwalk which led to a pagoda and lake.  Again, there were azaleas blossoming everywhere and we seemed to have timed our holiday to view them at their best.

Yeouido Park, Seoul
Yeouido Park, Seoul

Leaving the park further on, we caught the metro from Yeouido station to Noryangjin.  It was slightly more confusing using this line as there are also express services which miss out stops, much like on the New York City metro.  From the station it was just a short walk to Noryangjin Fisheries wholesale market which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Yeouido Park, Seoul
Yeouido Park, Seoul

It was interesting viewing the fish, much of which we couldn’t identify. We watched as live fish were selected from tanks by customers, caught in nets and placed on weighing scales whilst still alive.  In addition to supplying the wholesale market, individuals can also make purchases to either take home or carry up to one of the first floor restaurants who will cook it and serve with side dishes.  We didn’t want a large lunch so we ordered some prawns in a light tempura batter which were very tasty.

Noryangjin Wholesale Fish Market, Seoul
Noryangjin Wholesale Fish Market

It had started raining heavily when we left the market so we decided to return to the hotel for a short rest and a cup of tea.  A couple of hours later and we were on our way again, this time with our waterproof coats as the rain was still persisting. We took the metro to Itaewon which is a popular area with expats and U.S. military personnel.  The district looked attractive but few people were around due to the weather.  We didn’t feel like walking far so found a small restaurant called Stacked and managed to get a cosy window table just as someone was leaving.  We ordered a selection of steamed dumplings, egg and shrimp fried rice and a beef and noodle soup all of which tasted delicious and weren’t so heavy on the chillies as the previous night’s offerings.

Stacked restaurant, Itaewon, Seoul
Our starters at the Stacked restaurant in Itaewon, Seoul

On the way back to the metro we stopped for cappuccino’s and returned to our hotel hoping that the rain clouds would have passed by morning.

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51 thoughts on “Day 2. The War Memorial of Korea, Seoul

  1. Pingback: Day 4. Changdeokgung and Changgyeonggung Palaces, Seoul – Love Travelling Blog

  2. ThingsHelenLoves

    Just catching up on your adventures in Korea, seems like an amazing place to explore. Love the museum images, there is something fascinating about the sight of these man made machines of war set against the nature and beautiful planting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am leaving Tuesday for my first air plane ride and my destination is Seoul!! So glad I found your blog! I’ll scroll through it to get some ideas for my trip and I didn’t think of the War Memorial. So glad I saw this! I want to go now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Cedger, Thank you for making contact with me. It’s great to read you are off to Seoul. I’m sure you will have an amazing time. I’ve lots more posts coming up shortly if you get chance to read them. Hope they provide more inspiration for your holiday.


  4. My father fought in the Korean war as a 19 year old (Middlesex Regiment). He has only very recently started opening up about his experiences there – which were horrific – and he grieves the millions of Korean civilian lives lost who were caught between all warring parties. I intend, in time, write some posts about this.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I hope your enjoying your holiday in Seoul. We’re having a rather wet July this year. 🙂 On the upside, the air quality is excellent. We visited the War Memorial (on my first trip) in 2015. Haven’t visited since. Youeido is one of our favourite spots in Seoul. 🙂 Have a great trip and can’t wait to read more about your adventure in South Korea.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m made so many trips to Seoul Korea. It’s not all that far from the DMZ and I’ve been close there teaching an extension course at a university close by. We cannot begin to imagine the way lives have been changed and families disrupted as they fled one way and another to avoid fighting and ended up on different sides of the line. People in Seoul originally from North Korea have told me how much they suffered during that time. It all looks peaceful and prosperous now, but not that way in the 1950s.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I stayed in Korea for 4 months but never got the chance to visit the museum and Noryangjin Fisheries Market. But the market reminds me of Busan’s Jagalchi Fish Market. I hope you’re planning to go to Busan too, since it is a fascinating city on the seashores 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Great description of your day in Seoul. The only thing I know about this city is the airport where we had a connection to our flight for Thailand. Tasting local food is a great idea . Great post ! nice pictures.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. You certainly had a quiet day to see an enormous city. I would bet that kpopjacketlady’s observation about the number of practicing Christians in S. Korea may have contributed to the quiet scene. I have a rare quibble with your invariably detailed and reliably accurate reporting. I know military history isn’t your specialty, nor is it mine. I do not think your photo shows a B-52, unless it’s a surviving one of the earlier prototypes. It has propellers, and the operational B-52s began life with jet engines. It’s possible that it’s a historic example from the development stages, goodness knows. This is something that’s outside my area, so I could easily be wrong. I’m quite willing to be proven wrong, too. Thanks for the look at another part of the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Brad, I am so pleased that you got in touch with me as I detest factual inaccuracies! I have looked into the aircraft in question and disturbed my menfolk from their World Cup TV viewing to help sort out the problem. You are quite right, it isn’t a B52 although there is one there. My photo and caption have obviously got mixed up so I have left that aircraft photo there and updated the caption to its now correct (hopefully) title which is apparently a Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar (an American military transport aircraft used in the Korean War. Thanks again for alerting me to the issue and don’t hesitate to let me know if you notice anything amiss in the future. Marion

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the gracious acceptance of my not-necessarily-correct correction, Marion. The B-52 and the Flying Boxcar are actually lifelong companions of mine. I’m just about the same age as the B-52, and fortunately we’re both still operational. As a kid, I used to see both those aircraft overhead nearly every day, flying in and out of a large air force base in Dayton, Ohio, Wright-Patterson. But I wouldn’t know a flying boxcar close-up, only from out there in the fields of 60 years ago.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I thought about saying something about the propellers as well, Brad. I held off since I could not pin it down during my quick web research. Besides, I thought I was being a bit nerdy. I am a retired US Army dude, so I know a thing or two about identifying military aircraft.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Thank you for liking my posts as usual , and thank you for sharing this post on south Korea . My brother in law was in Korea and my brother was about to be sent when the war ended. I would like to see this memorial as the one in Washington is one of my favorite memorials to visit . I would like to see it from the Korea point of view . Have a safe trip and thank you for your posts .

    Liked by 2 people

  11. You chose the rainy season to visit Korea, so raincoats and umbrellas may be the norm. Although often there are fine days in between the rain. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you get better weather for the rest of your trip. Spring and Fall are the best seasons to visit for the best weather.

    I lots of the food will be spicy as they use ‘gochujang’ red pepper paste in many of their dishes. Maybe look for a temple food/buddhist restaurant as they don’t even use garlic and onions, let alone the spicier spices. Or a tonkatsu restaurant, which is a Korean take on a Japanese recipe. Or Chimaek (chicken and beer) restaurants serve non spicy varieties.

    And the Sunday being quiet, could have been the rain, but remember about 30% of Korean are Christians, most of them practicing.

    I’m enjoying reading about your adventures in Korea. Bringing back many memories.

    PS, as a tip for next time, most people use an airport bus and not the train as it is easier with luggage, or if there’s 3 or more a taxi works. (Taxi fares in Korea are really a good deal compared to most places.)

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Thanks for taking us to Korea. I have been to Japan many times, but never Korea. Too bad Holiday Inn Express did not try harder to have interesting breakfasts in their North American hotels. Tends to be pretty cookie cutter here, except there are no cookies. Allan

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts n my post Allan. I’ve not visited Japan yet but hopefully will get there sometime soon. Korea is lovely and as for Holiday Inn Express in Asia, they seem to run to a different model and are much higher quality. The one we stayed at in Clarke Quay Singapore was even better than most Holiday Inn’s we’ve frequented in Europe!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Marcus for taking the time to look at my blog, it’s much appreciated! Let’s settle down for the big England game now and hopefully we’ll be enjoying a celebratory barbecue afterwards in the garden but if not, it’ll still be nice I’m sure. Enjoy your weekend, Marion.

      Liked by 1 person

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