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December Column 2 – Exotic tourist sites in Gyeonggi-do Province

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 Exotic tourist sites in Gyeonggi-do Province

December is the beginning of the winter season in Korea. It provides a romantic mood, rather than a melancholy feeling. It is also a period decorated with splendid decorations from early December and a time when various year-end events are held. Let’s make our way to exotic tourist sites that are suitable for romantic December.

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  • Edelweiss Swiss Theme Park

Edelweiss Swiss Theme Park was created with Switzerland as a theme. Being situated on a hill, it presents itself as a small Swiss village in Korea. Owing to the pastel colored buildings and interesting exhibits, it is a popular dating place for many young couples.

It is a popular tourist destination all year round, but the scenery resembling the Alps looks more beautiful during the snowy winter season.

The Swiss Theme Park, where the model gatekeepers wearing the uniform of French palace guards welcome visitors, consists of 17 themed halls. The museum has a photo zone on the first floor and showcases exhibits on the second floor. Visitors can go down to the first floor via an outdoor garden.

The first place visitors encounter is the Swiss Story Hall on the second floor of the ticket booth building. The Swiss Story Hall is a space where visitors can get to know about Switzerland. As soon as visitors enter the hall, they will see a diorama which shows the scenery of Switzerland in one view. Visitors can appreciate a quiet Swiss village surrounded by a snow-covered forest. A train runs near the village, and you can see the serene nightscape of the peaceful Jungfrau village. A long conical horn-shaped alpenhorn is on display as well. A legend says that shepherds in high mountains once used it as a signal tool to communicate safety and wellbeing to villages in the valleys below.

The Chocolate Museum, Coffee Museum and Cheese Museum present the origin, history and production process of chocolate, coffee and cheese in the form of a large diorama on the entire wall, so anyone can understand the content easily. Particularly, the Cheese Museum is very impressive in that it has an external appearance with the painting of Heidi, a girl of the Alps, and it introduces the production process of Swiss cheese.

In addition, Santa Village, where visitors can enjoy a Christmas mood all year round, the Bern Bear Museum, created with a bear theme, a symbol of Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, and the Love Propose Hall, where visitors can leave their love messages.

At the highest point of the theme park, there are houses where people reside. During the world edition of MBC’s popular entertainment program We Got Married, the FT Island band member and main vocalist Lee Hong-gi and a Japanese actress Mina Fujii had their newlywed home here.

Edelweiss Swiss Theme Park shines more splendidly after sunset at night. The Swiss-style buildings emit soft light and visitors can enjoy various themes of Switzerland along the street.

Edelweiss Swiss Theme Park

Address: 304, Icheon-ri, Seorak-myeon, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do

Operating Hours: 10:00~18:00

Admission Fee: Adults KRW 10,000 / Youth KRW 6,000

Website: http://www.swissthemepark.com/

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  • Petite France

Petite France is already famous as a romantic tourist attraction. The place with the meaning of “Small France” is well known as the filming location of several popular TV dramas such as Secret Garden, Beethoven Virus, and My Love from the Star, so many couples and foreign tourists visit this place.

One more reason you must visit this place now is because of the Light Festival. Petit France has been holding ‘Little Prince Star Light Festival’ in winter since 2014.

 Particularly this year, the romantic, lovely feeling of the winter nights will be enhanced by the soft lights presented under the winter night using electric bulbs and LEDs purchased from France under the theme of Montpellier Street.

The highlight of Star Light Festival is a fairytale-like scenic view created by cute pastel buildings gathered together and sparkly lights connecting the buildings. Soft lights brightening Petite France remind people of their childhood time when their moms read a children’s book to them on cold winter nights.

Each LED bulb is equipped with an IC chip, so it automatically responds to music. The lightings installed in the outdoor plaza move to the tune of music, along with marionette dance performances.

In front of the antique exhibition hall, there is a 30m-long light tunnel, which is installed in a round-shaped structure made in the form of the planet where the Little Prince lived. If you walk through the tunnel, you can imagine taking an enjoyable space trip together with the Little Prince under the colorful lights.

Various performances will be held, adding a romantic feel to winter nights. With the accordion, street musicians will play Christmas carols, old pop songs and movie soundtracks.

At ‘Montblanc Express’ which has recently been constructed in the traditional architectural style of Alsace in France, visitors can see miniature trains and cars passing through a little village which has been reproduced in the shape of a French village and Montblanc Mountain, the highest mountain in Europe.

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Petite France Little Prince Star Light Festival

Address: 1063, Hoban-ro, Cheongpyeong-myeon, Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do

Operating Hours: 09:00-20:00

Fee: Adults KRW 8,000 / Youth KRW 6,000

Website: http://www.pfcamp.com

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  • Bucheon Aiins World

This is a place where visitors can see Paris’ Eiffel Tower and New York’s Statue of Liberty all at once. Bucheon Aiins World is filled with miniatures of 68 world-famous buildings from 24 countries, including UNESCO-designated world cultural heritage sites and the Seven Wonders of the World, which are reduced to 1/25th of their actual sizes.

They are not simply reduced to smaller sizes. Based on strict historical research on the appearance and color of actual buildings, they are made in authentic detail to express the cultural, artistic and historical value of the architecture.

Aiins World is beautiful during daytime, but it looks more romantic and fantastical at night. When darkness sets in, the ‘World Nightview Fantasy Lighting Festival’ begins. Both the interior and exterior of the buildings look splendid from the entrance with the added lighting of the surroundings.

At first, visitors go to the England Zone which has Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace, and then to the France Zone with the splendid Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum and to Europe’s architectural heritage sites, the Colosseum and the Acropolis. After passing Russia’s Red Square and Peru’s Machu Picchu, visitors will arrive at the US Zone. In front of the Empire State Building and Times Square, there is Aiins World’s commemorative photo zone. If you walk back a little and capture a wider view, you can capture the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower in one photo.

*Aiins World ‒ World Nightview Fantasy Lighting Festival

Address: 1, Doyak-ro, Bucheon-si, Gyeonggi-do

Operating Hours: 17:00~23:00

Fee: Adults KRW 16,000 / Children KRW 13,000 (below 12 years of age)

Website: http://www.aiinsworld.com/index.asp

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