Seoul, Jeju 2017

After so much delay and procrastination….. I am finally back to doing a post on this last trip in 2017!!

So my last trip of the year in 2017 was to … *drumrolls*

Seoul and Jeju, Korea (duh, as though it is so hard to guess right, the title already speaks for itself okay)

Since my last trip to Korea in 2015, I was actually really looking forward to all the mask and skin care shopping and the cold winter temperature! What I have also been looking forward to was hopefully, more English translated street signs, more accessible transport for foreigners, and friendlier ahjumas (because we are here to contribute to their economy :P). I could vaguely remember the same airport and place that I landed years back in Incheon Int’l Airport, it was good memories back then and I thought I was back to some hometown this time. Nonetheless, although this was a packaged tour signed up with a travel agency, we still get to visit some familiar places and never visited places and the most important feature of the trip was, we will also be taking a domestic flight to Jeju and visit some UNESCO heritage sites! It has always been my goal and dream to try to visit some UNESCO cultural / heritage sites whenever I visit a different country. 😀This is one palace in the heart of Seoul – Gyeongbok Palace, where I really love it despite it looking so old and traditional. This was my third time visiting this palace and it was the first time I got to know that the admission is free if only you dress up in the traditional Korean costume called the HanBok! I love this picture because of the mix of traditional and modern architectures infused together. It just reminds us of how Korea or any country in the Asia region would look like in the olden days and how it has amazingly transformed into a city with so many skyscrapers and business districts around it.

This is a picture of us on the Jeju rail bike, it was something different yet relaxing. The rail bike was automatic, meaning although there are pedals under each seat, we did not have to pedal and it will still move allowing us to enjoy the scenery around us. This was located quite seclusively, as I noticed there were no bus stops or subway stations nearby, when we arrived, it seems like there were just only 1 or 2 old couples out on their rail bikes. The exciting part was when the tour guide who was in the same rail bike as us egged us on to pedal as much as we could to overtake the other couple beside us (there were 2 rail trails, each beside one another).

After the rail bike, we were moved off to this peak where it was said to be one of the famous attractions of Jeju. On the east coast of Jeju island sits the 182m high Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak aka Sunrise Peak. This peak was claimed to have rose from under the sea during a volcanic eruption over 100,000 years ago and at the top of this peak, sits a crater. It was packed with locals and tourists when we arrived, but it was not too stuffy nor warm since it was in winter. So alone, I took up the challenge to hike up this peak in order to get some over the top pictures like the above one. It was indeed well worth the climb and worth the sweat despite climbing in winter wear. 😅

Picture credits to Jeju Tourism Organization.

A pity there was no helicopter ride or fly some drone to personally capture this beautiful shot of the crater on this peak.

This was the other side of the peak where I decided to explore after descending. Looking out at the sea, the view was magnificent, the vast space of this place were covered by deep blue ocean and mountainous rocks, the feeling was awesome especially when the cool breeze was blowing into my face and messing up my hair, I cannot help but thanked God in my heart for such a beautiful creation that he has given to us.

This was the Jusangjeolli Cliff, a spectacular volcanic rock formation sight at the southern coast of Jeju Island. There were so many other tourists crowding when our tour group was there, it was a pity as we couldn’t spend more time admiring the natural creation of this rock formation, taking pictures was not easy due to the overwhelming crowd too.

Besides visiting natural sceneries, the itinerary also consisted some attractions in the city. We had visited the Sumokwon Theme Park which is itself an indoor theme park and houses the popular Ice Museum. There were huge blocks of ice artistically crafted by Japanese artisans to form many different sculptures like animals, cars, the Jeju symbolic statue, etc. It was considered a small museum and I recalled there was nothing informational to know about besides just viewing all the gigantic ice sculptures, so we just walked through it and ended the activity in less than 30 mins.

 

 

 

We were lucky to be able to visit the 3rd highest mountain in South Korea – Mt Seorak. As we had limited time for each place in the itinerary, we had to take a cable car ride up to the summit instead of hiking up to quickly enjoy the beauty of the surrounding scenery at the top of the mountain.

 

 

 

This place reminded me of a Korean drama “Yong Pal”, where one of the romantic scenes was taken near these gigantic windmills in the hills. I am considered a “mountain tortoise” since this was actually my first time coming so close to these cluster of windmills. It was freezing cold here at the Daegwallyeong Skyranch, a privately owned sheep ranch located in Pyeongchang. Fortunately, the itinerary included a tractor ride around the vast grazing landscape of rolling and treeless hills, otherwise, we cannot imagine we could have survived under such low temperatures of -15 degree celcius.

 

There were a few other attractions in this itinerary that was not mentioned in this post, due to the lack of pictures as there were some places we had visited in the previous trips, just find it weird taking the same pictures again. And due to the lack of free time and new places we wanted to explore on our own, the shopping plus the freezing weather in Seoul had somehow taken a toll on us, it was a pity and wished my loots could have been more than the picture shown below. 😀

And before I end this post, I hope you will enjoy and please ask me in the comments box below if you have questions.

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Busan 2015. 

This is another one of my belated entry of my travel diary since this trip was made somewhere in April 2015. My last visit to South Korea was in 2007 and it has been almost 8 years since then. Despite this delay in making this trip, I still felt a sense of familiarity with this city upon touching down at Incheon airport. Probably, it was because I have always been watching SK dramas and movies for the longest time. hahaha.

 #0 this was taken at their domestic airport with an awesome view of the aeroplanes. Felt that watching aeroplanes fly and land can be quite therapeutic.
IMG_0018  #1 Took a domestic flight to Busan and we were transported to this Boseong Tea plantation which locals boast it as their finest green tea field in SK.

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#2 mandatory jump shot ?  #2.5 Naganeupseong Folk Village
  #3 reliving my childhood on this super humongous ‘Qiu Qian’

#4 I went up the rocky stairs to this huge rocky platform and sat there. So I insisted my mum to take an arty farty shot of me looking up at the skies. This is it.
  #5 Left the folk village for this Suncheon bay which is one of the top 5 coastal wetlands in the world. I bet this is a UNESCO heritage site since it is being protected and preserved by the country.

 #5.5  suncheon bay

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#6 Gumcheon art culture village

#6.5 so… this is the famous everyone’s heard of Santorini of the Asia.  This is the Gumcheon Art Village which is also famously called the asian version of Santorini. So while we are on the way to see that famous landscape, there were alot of such wall murals that decorated the streets of this quiet place which is also still homes to perhaps some of the poorest oldest citizens of this country.

#7 this is it. Added some filter to enhance the sunlight shining through the camera lens 😛  

#8 Us.

#9 and Us again.  

#10 took quite a number of selfies with the selfie stick hahaha!

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#11
 #11.5 the view at Skywalk Oryudo 

#12 this was taken down at the foot of the rocky hill. Was quite a long way down and I ran up because I felt guilty for eating too much ‘bap’ (meaning: rice) for the past few days. Locals eat bap for almost every meal.

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#13

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#14

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#15 Bulguksa Temple – an UNESCO heritage site, one of the incentives of this trip is been able to visit a few of the many UNESCO heritage sites in the world. To me, its like a check in the bucket list.
 #16 Cheonmachong (Algol Court) in Gyeongju where some of the late king and officials of the Silla Kingdom are buried here. Each ‘hill’ is a tomb for the king or some high ranking official. We visited one of the hill which laid the remains of a king.

#17 Another of nature landscape taken at the Cheonmachong. Overheard that this was the garden where the queen or king would roam around in their free time. Not sure if I remembered correctly, hehe.
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#18 This was Anapji Pond in Gyeongju.

 #19 on the way to lunch, we saw a big field of this yellow flowers and so the tour guide allowed us to alight to take a few pictures as this wasn’t a common sight in this part of the country in this season. This was also gps tagged at Wolsong area. 

#20 After an escapade to the countryside, we took a speed train back to Seoul from Shin GyeongJu Station. Pretty good weather to start with that day.

#21 This itinerary also included back row tickets to the Wedding Musical concert in Seoul and this was one of the actors in the musical.
IMG_0187 #22 Bukchon Hanok Village where the confusing streets of traditional korean houses are cultured together. 

#23 GyeongBokGung Palace.
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#25 we bought alot of MarketO cookies this trip.. it was so much cheaper here than you would get online or at the korean shops in SG.

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#26 aiyah.. i looked so fat here.. didnt wanted to upload this pic but uploaded this to mark my step here to this Teddy Bear Museum in Gwangju.
#27 This was the bonus of the trip where we finally catch a few glimpse of cherry blossoms on our way from/to Incheon airport. I knew our trip is a late one if we had wanted check out the cherry blossoms. Nevertheless, thank God we are still able to see it on our way along the highway.

The pictures are about it, the journey has been fulfilling and lessons learnt as I was so careless in Busan when I lost all my remaining money and the wallet. I really should be more careful and less confident about my alertness.

Fantasies of Seoul

That was Christmas 2007..

I’d remember this as the first overseas holiday trip we made together as a family if you don’t count the road trips into JB or any part of Malaysia 🙂

#1 front entrance view into the theme park

#2 some palace park that we had visited in the itinerary.. really had all the traditional Kdrama feel~

#3 Korea zoos are amazing! We were in a minibus and it just went past this animals which were like really close to us! There weren’t any man made river or lake between us so u can imagine the distance we are between one another @.@

#4 very nice array of trees, i think it was the one in that very popular Kdrama of that star-crossed couple. There was even a stone statue of them looking at each other in the park!

#5 this was the first time i had such a close encounter with snow! Was really damn stoked about it and i was wearing like 5 layers thick..

#6 Best part about every holiday trip is to check out the streets at night. That’s ofcos you must be prepared for pickpockets as well who are very good at picking out tourists from locals. So when you are ready for that… 🙂 🙂 🙂