30 people from 21 countries… brought together by a shared love of Korea and Hallyu. What could be more fun than that?
The Korean Tourism Organization (KTO) planned an absolutely marvelous, fun-filled, whirlwind Hallyu-inspired trip to Seoul and invited people from all over the world to apply to participate via their local KTO offices. Participants had to prepare a Hallyu-inpsored 5 day travel plan and marketing report (up to 10 pages long, mine was 8 pages) to apply and those chosen (yay, I was one!!) were treated to an all expenses paid (except spending money of course) trip to Seoul.
Our lucky group of 30 people included bloggers, online media people (radio, magazine, even the CEO of an online media company), fan club organizers, K-pop event promoters, and more. We came from literally all over the world! One of the neatest things? I’ve read and/or visited the websites/YouTube pages of some of them. Cool, eh?
We spoke a ton of different languages – well, we were from 22 different countries – but our shared passion for Korea, Korean culture and Hallyu helped bridge any language gap we might feel. While the activities we did and the places we visited on the trip were beyond amazing, as a people person, I will always treasure the wonderful people I met. Everyone was lovely – the participants, the tour/team managers, the organizers – everyone!
I am so thankful that I had the chance to meet you all! Thanks KTO!!
But since I know you’re dying to know what we did… let’s get started. Everything started on Sunday. The KTO put us up in the Plaza Seoul which is probably the nicest hotel (and even though I love B&B’s and guest houses, I have stayed in some nice places) I’ve ever stayed at… definitely the most technologically advanced. Loved the control panel (yeah, I’m a geek). So after playing with the room a bit (loved the control panel but the toilet intimidated me a bit), it was time for the fun to start.
The tour started at 4:30 pm on Sunday when we all met in the lobby for the first time before heading off. It was so neat to meet all the wonderful people – some of whom I’d talked to a little online as the KTO organizers introduced us a bit in our groups (they broke us up into 3 groups of 10) via email prior to the trip. We were all ages (18 to 50 I think), spoke a variety of languages and like I said, were from 22 different countries… but everyone was super nice and friendly. I now have 22 new friends… plus the wonderful team leaders and tour organizers. Everyone rocked!
Our first night was a light schedule – just a welcome dinner and then off to Namsan mountain to visit Seoul Tower. Dinner was a light buffet were we all got to know each other just a little bit better. But I was super excited about Seoul Tower because I’m going to tell you a secret… I never visited it while I lived in Seoul. I know, I know… I lived there for two years and I always meant to go but just never made it.
Plus it was made just a little bit more special as I just watched the Korean drama, Dating Agency: Cyrano (and wrote about it on DramaFever) and they visited Seoul Tower in one episode. It was so cute seeing the benches in real life. ^^
Another highlight for me was the neat light show they put on the tower itself. We missed a bit of it doing a group photo but it was pretty. If you’re in Seoul and have a free evening, I definitely recommend visiting Seoul Tower. Just wear comfy shoes as you’ll have to walk the last portion up the hill/mountain.
Remember I said we were 30 lovely people from 21 different countries… literally all over the world? Well, I was so curious (and knew some of my readers might also want to know) as to where we all came from, I asked. And my super amazing team leader – Sun, you were so friendly & helpful – was glad to tell me.
North & South America: Canada, United States, Peru
Europe: United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Hungary
Asia: Philippines, China, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan
Middle East: Turkey, Israel
See we were literally from all around the world! ^^ Check back tomorrow for Day 1 of our trip…