THE BUSTLING cars, the unstopping traffic lights, the blatant neon signs, the loud crowd of people walking towards here and there – have you ever felt like you needed a break from all those traces of the city? From time to time, everyone can crave quietness outside the busy life. A great way of yielding yourself like this is going on a day trip to somewhere as calm as you would like your mind to be. But where to find those places? If you are looking for somewhere that serve as escape destinations from the city, here are perfect suggestions for you. Try visiting Bo-mun-sa, a temple that will greet you into its peaceful gardens. Also, how about a stroll along the zigzagging lanes of the Antique Street which will fill you with flittering memories of the past? And yes – the best part is, that Bo-mun-sa and the Antique Street are both so easily accessible from whichever part of Seoul you are in. How about giving yourself a generous break from the city life to visit those destinations that will touch your hearts like a gentle summer breeze?
On the move: getting there
Bo-mun-sa and the Antique Street are located only roughly ten minutes away from the centre of Seoul, the City Hall subway station. If you are seeking for the easiest way to get to our destinations from Yonsei University, you will not be disappointed to find that both of them are only about 30 minutes away from Sinchon subway station, too.
The line two Sinchon subway station is always teemed with hectic air. It is therefore, a little ironic that the first step towards going on a journey to calmness involves taking the subway in one of the most busiest stations in Seoul. Take the regular green line two in Sinchon in the direction towards City Hall or Jamsil. The line travels through the core centre of Seoul and reaches Sindang, which is where you can transfer to line six. Move a single station on line six towards Bong-hwa-san; you will find yourself arrived in a station called Dong-myo-ap. Welcome to the most antique town of Seoul - Dong-myo. Leave through exit three and you will find the historic relics of Korean architecture welcoming you to the town.
Dong-myo: Welcome to the town of relics
Immediately before your eyes, you will find the majestic Chinese shrine of *Gwanwoo*, who most of us know as one of the heroes from *Sam-guk-ji*. The place is reserved as the 142nd treasure of Korea, and it will be a pleasant experience to venture through a traditional building built in a Chinese architectural style. However, the main destination of *Dong-myo* is the Antique Street that is around the corner of the shrine. The street has an aura that is unique to this place. The narrow alleys are filled with merchants selling all kinds of material goods ranging from t-shirts, jeans, radio players, furniture, and even artefacts that have never been seen before in any other parts of the city. This is a place where the old is not frowned upon, but instead where they find their true values at affordable prices. And the best part is that those streets are never-ending with countless narrow alleys greeting you with every turn you make, and they, all in all will spark your childhood memories and dreams.
Bo-mun-sa: the temple in the city
After the tour of the Antique Street, perhaps with your hands full of goods that you could not resist but buy, get back on the subway that you alighted from. Two stations later, you will arrive in a town called Bo-mun. This is a town with a similar air to Dong-myo, only with less air of antiquity. Instead, it is a quiet town where a temple in the city, Bo-mun-sa rests. Take a short walk for about five minutes, up along a gentle slope that is lined with forest-green trees and aging shops. The temple that soon greets you is the Bo-mun-sa. Do take for granted that this is the place that truly serves as an escape out of the city, as it is proudly located on a mountain, enveloped in adjacent forest of pine trees. The dazzlingly colourful temple lamps guide the way to various relics of the temple, which include temple architectures, Korean traditional pots, and the miniaturised model of the famous Suk-gool-am, so your eyes are never bored. Do not be fooled into believing that this is all that Bo-mun-sa has to offer. Bo-mun-sa is so much more than a mere sight. Rather, it is an experience of its own. It is a place where striking up a friendly conversation with a total stranger is the norm. It is a place where you can delve yourself into deep thoughts or memories. And, it is a place where listening to your favourite music while sitting under the breezy shadow of the waving trees feels like you are on heaven on earth.
* * *
Sometimes we all feel that we want to stop all that surrounds us – all the traces of the chaotic, all the traces of the city. Take a break when you feel like that. Take a day trip. Go on a travel with your closest friends, families, or by yourself. The warm sun under the June sky is a perfect time for you to enjoy your escape out of the city.