Frugal Days Out: The War Memorial of Korea and Noryangjin

In making this blog I’m in no way claiming to be an expert on being frugal. In fact, the point of making Frugal Seoul to showcase my learning experience and also give me further motivation to live my life to the fullest without overspending. So, I’ve decided to start a little series called Frugal Days Out, where I try and find fun things to do around Seoul for under 10,000 won. In writing this, I’m assuming anyone in Seoul already has a fully loaded T-Money card, so I am not including subway or bus costs in the total budget, though I will include a breakdown of the T-Money costs at the end of the post.

So I’m sure most people that live in Seoul or have even travelled around at least once have been to The War Memorial of Korea (전쟁기념관). If you’ve never visited before, I highly recommend you do so ASAP because not only is it fascinating and educational, but the entrance is also 100% free! If you’ve already visited before, like me, it’s always worth another visit to remind and re-educate yourself on some of the issues and events that helped to shape this country. That was my primary visit for visiting again.

So, I woke up bright and early and headed to Samgakji station (삼각지역), situated on lines 4 and 6. To get to the museum you can exit through exit 1, 12 or 13, following the road round to the left. When I arrived it was only around 9.30am so it was nice and quiet as I walked up to the Statue of Brothers (형제의 상).

This is a statue that commemorates two brothers who were separated and ended up fighting on opposite sides during the Korean war. You can learn a bit more about it on its Wikipedia page.

On the inside there were various murals and a pedestal (I guess?) dedicated to both the Koreans who gave their lives for their country and the heroes from supporting countries who also made huge sacrifices.

Outside the museum there were also other memorials along with various aircraft, ships, tanks and the like from different countries which played a role in the Korean war.

The entrance of the museum was marked by the flags of all of the countries that supported Korea during the Korean war as long as individual memorials. It was an impressive yet touching sight.

From the moment I set foot inside I decided not to take any more pictures. Photographs can be wonderful reminders of memorable events in your life, but sometimes it is more important (and more respectful) to just enjoy things with your eyes and not through a lense. However, I’ll detail a little bit about what I saw!

The museum takes you through a chronological history of not only the wars that shaped Korea, but also the way the people themselves changed. It takes you from the very first people on the land that is now known as Korea, through the various changes the countries that it now consists of took up until the modern day. After that, you are taken through the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the aftermaths of both of these, and then a look into modern warfare. It was all absolutely fascinating, but at times hard to process due to the sheer scale of the tragedy and sorrow.

With my eyes reopened after nearly 3 hours in the museum, I headed to my next location – Noryangjin. I headed back to Samgakji station and took a bus from the middle of the road between exits 11 and 10. I took bus 751, but there are others going in the same direction. The journey was estimated at 30 mins, but after about 10 minutes I got off at Nodeul Station (노들역), which is one stop away from Noryangjin Station (노량진역) so that I could go via Noryangjin’s famous Cup Rice Alley for some lunch on a budget.

By the side of a road there are a bunch of food stands selling various things, including – you guessed it – cup rice! My boyfriend and I have been watching the show 맛있는 녀석들 recently and there was a particular food stand that the hosts visited that I was keen to try. As you can see from the signed poster, I located it with ease.

The ajumma running this particular cup rice stand was very friendly and quickly prepared my chosen rice dish – cheese, spam and fish eggs. As you can see, it also came topped with an egg, Kimchi and seaweed. She told me that it’s most delicious if you mix it before you eat it, so I did, but I didn’t take a picture of that part. The dish was much bigger than it looked, so it totally filled me up despite my huge appetite. And the best part is that it only cost 3,000 won! You do need to be able to read some basic Korean to understand the menu, though.

After that, I headed towards the famous Noryangjin Fish Market. I don’t actually like fish that much and I despise sea food, but I do love the atmosphere of Korean markets, so why not!

After walking for a bit I found the entrance to the fish market just beyond exit 7 of Noryangjin Station. The market itself is not actually signposted in English, so look out for signs for 노량진수산시장. The way in is through an underpass, which some enterprising ajummas had set up as their own vegetable market.

Once inside I was impressed by the sheer scale of the market along with the buzzing atmosphere, despite the fact that it wasn’t all that busy when I arrived. I didn’t take many pictures as I was getting a lot of looks as a lone foreigner who clearly wasn’t there to spend money, but it was still a fascinating experience to look around.

After getting out of the market, I decided to get some dessert in the form of a fresh fruit juice since I was feeling pretty parched.

A bit of a craze seemed to pop up from last year of these cheap juice places popping up all over the place. Calling what they sell “juice” may be a bit of a stretch as they actually seem to blend the fruit rather than extract the fruit, but nonetheless it was delicious and really hit the spot. The shop I went to was part of a chain called “Juicy”, however there are lots of different chains doing the same thing.

I ordered a regular watermelon juice for 1,500 won. I usually go for large in everything, but actually the regular size was fine and just what I needed. It tasted great but they definitely added sugar, which it really didn’t need. I did notice afterwards however, that you can request reduced or zero added sugar when ordering, so I’ll do that next time!

After being out and about for about 6 hours I decided to call it a day and head home to rest with the boyfriend and the cat (but not before getting a haircut – that’s a story for another post though).

The total cost for my day out is as follows:

  • Museum – free
  • Cup rice – 3,000 won
  • Watermelon juice – 1,500 won
  • Total – 4,500 won

My total T-Money charges also ended up coming to around 4,100 won.

Do you have any ideas for frugal days out in Seoul? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

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