Friday, 22 October 2010


Jeon-ju is an outskirt area, known for it's Hanok Villages (Traditional, old-style of Korean houses) which are still being occuppied by residents and their Bibimbap.

Tourist to Seoul can book a bus ticket and get a free transfer from Seoul to Jeon-ju. Be prepared to sit in the bus until your ass hurts. (My Taiwan friends did all the booking, so all I did was to show up on time)

Being the usual me who enjoys "vacuum-packing" -by that, I mean I like to fit our travel itinerary to the "tighest" possible! I decided to bring Chanpeng on this outskirt tour... we headed for this folk village out of Seoul.

We took a time-wasting 3 hours to get there and another time-wasting 4 hours to get back (due to bad evening traffic)...

Left at 8am, arrived at 11am, roamed about randomly for 5 hours before we departed at 4pm and only arrived at Seoul at like 8pm...

Luckily the bus ride was free, otherwise, we would have effectively wasted both the TIME and MONEY...

Jeonju is a location out of Seoul which consists of a cluster of traditional hanok village. Most are still ocuppied with residents and people do really make a livihood there... small businesses, some trading to and fro Seoul erc... it's a simple and very much preserved location. (Which explains why it lacks "entertainment")

Since it was a sunday, most of the shops were closed. It's a folk village and so, those shops are those tradition "auntie/uncle" shops - like mama shops in singapore.

Even the famous bibimbap shop was closed (Jeonju is known for its bibimbap, which is a dish where you have rice and various veg and a half-cooked egg all mixed together like fried rice) we settled for the only one opened and that just tasted like any other bibimbap. (See top picture on bottom left-hand corner) Either that, or i just have no comments since "food" has never really been my subject...

According to some other more well-travelled friends, they mentioned that Jeonju has alot more things to do. Perhaps we really should have done our research early!

The next interesting thing i spotted was a "walking-trail" which seemed like the best thing to do other than walking to nowhere and in circles round similar-looking villages. But, i faced objections when i suggested the trail, so we didn't do it. It was have been a peaceful and serene walk into nature (since it is already ulu as it seems) haha!

If you look on the bright side of things, that place is indeed good for spending quality time with each other since there is really nothing much to do but talk to each other!

Then we spotted some sort of a palace and explored it... Over there, there was this bamboo grove in which we took many idiotic pictures. Thank God for self-entertaining talent. This way, no matter where i go and can be kept entertained!

No doubt the trip was a little boring, but Cp and i managed to spend alot of quality time with each other. (We had nothing better to do than to look at each other! hahah and take silly pictures!)

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Banpo-Bridge, Rainbow Fountain

Express Bus Terminal Subway Station, Line 3,7 or 9, Exit 8-1.
Go straight for 250m, and turn right at the Express Bus Terminal 4-way intersection.
Continue going straight for 400m and cross the street at the crosswalk.
Go straight through the underpass to arrive at the park.

In the 6th week of my "expedition" Chanpeng came over to Korea - though it was just a 4-day trip, i really appreciated it!

There is this one romantic place which I would really like to hang out at. So I brought him there!

If you watch BOF, there is this part where Jin Cao thanked Ji Hoo for being her "fireman" before she ran-away... In the background there was this bridge which had a rainbow fountain "spewing" from the edges of the bridge... is this the right way to describe that bridge? Who cares? (That bridge it is actually an expressway across Hangang)

Anyways, this is a good spot for dates cos the ambience is pretty romantic... so romantic that there are couples spotted all over the place... that is the only not-so-romantic part about it... Ironical.

Thankfully, Chanpeng was there with me, otherwise, I would have felt very much like a fish out of water!

So here is the compilation of the photos I took...

Before we went to Banpo Bridge, Cp and I had a yummy BBQ (what else?) dinner with my buddy and his best friend... Cp does look young doesn't he? He is 13 years older than my buddy and 12 years older than me... 
either that or we all look old!

Well, actually, the pictures don't do much justice to the place cos
1. It is in the night and since I am not so professional (in fact, mu photography skills are bad), I failed to capture a good shot.
2.  The flowing water is a moving object and that's hard to capture! (enough excuses for wanting to post only 1 photo!)
3. OK, fine, I admit. I forgot to take pictures of the directions to the place. My bad - but if there's a will to go there, there is always gonna be a way!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Nami-Som (Nami Island)

Cheongnyangni Subway Station, Line 1 >> transit to Gapyeong Station (60 mins) >> Cab ride (5 mins) >> Ferry Transfer (5mins)

Total Estimated Time: 1.5 hrs (inc of waiting)

So our 2nd field trip was to Nami Island - aka Nami-som.

Nami-som is the place where Winter Sonata was filmed. Thanks to the sleep monster in me, I overslept and the school bus departed without me. :(

I can still remember how shock I was when I answered the phone and heard my teacher's voice on the other line asking if I was on my way to school. (FYI, I stay a good 1+ hour away from school!)

SO... I was forced to go to Nami-som on my own...

At first, I abandoned the idea of going to Nami-som as I was just too tired (it was the day after our last exam.. and, I really studied VERY hard, extermely K.Oed, though this is not an excuse!)

Taking it positively, since going places on my own was no longer foreign to me, I decided to check up the internet for directions to Nami-som... trip-advisor was the first weblink to pop-up and the instructions seemed pretty reliable, so I got ready and set-off...


First, you need to take the subway to Cheongyangi station... from there you "were" suppose to take the KTX express train (1.5 hrs) to Gapyeong Station...

(But due to the fast-paced construction of Korea's subway system, you can now simply take another subway train (about 45-60 mins) directly to Gapyeong Station from Cheongnyangi station, meaning you transit within the station)

Note: There is a difference between KTX Express Train & Subway. (I preferred the experience on KTX as I got to see alot more scenery as compared to the subway where most of the journey was underground. But I don't think the KTX route is available now)

This is a shot of the KTX Express Train.
 The interior of the train.

Not the best scenery shot, but that's about the best I got.

Get off at Gapyeong station.
From the Gapyeong station, take a cab (5 mins) to the port where you can 
take a ferry (less than 5 mins) to Nami-som!

Shot from Taxi

Upon reaching the port, just queue to buy the ferry ticket and there you have it. 
You are on your way to Nami Island.

 This is the view of the sea from the ferry... not fantastic, but only less than 5 mins... so it's ok.

Welcome to Nami Island!

Nami-som is not only popular amongst tourist,but also locals. Many korean families go there are a family pinic...Not to mention, couples alsolove going there on dates.... it is a very serene and peaceful venue to spend quality time with your loved ones... and schools also bring their elementary students there as a field trip... (like us- we tend to spoil the atmosphere for dates due to the heavy-duty noise pollution that we contribute by playing team-bonding games! hahah)

And also, you can see celebrities from Winter Sonata when you are there.. just that they come in stone statues and pictures! HA!

Since the suicide of Park Yongha, the supporting actor in Winter Sonata, there are lots of momentos and "love-notes" created and planted there in rememberance of Yongha...

This island is like a huge park where you can rent bikes and ride around or just chill-out on the grass (in a good weather)... If you walk about randomly, you will enjoy the tranquilty of mountain cum river-viewing... very nice!

These are almost the last of the autumn leaves I could have spotted there... 

Honestly, I did not spend enough time in Nami-som, so I promised myself to go back again in winter! 

The forest behind my school

I really don't understand why time flies this quickly. It is like - wink, and there 6 weeks has past without a sign. 왜?

I guess this just means i have been making full use of my time here to see places and learn.

Before i came - i have been so uncertain about what to expect and even thought 3 months is long! (And the rest of my family in Singapore still think so!) And yet now, as i inch closer to the day i depart, i feel that sense of melancholy. I guess this is what happens when you adapt too well...hmmm....

My Korean studies is getting slightly better, but i know that by 3 months (if i only stick to the textbook)... I will not be able to hold a decent conversation when i return... not to mention, i think iwill NOT be able to sing "nobody"! So i have taken steps to try learn as many everday expressions as possible... I hope my 3 months here will not be a wasted trip... Time passes way too fast to achieve what i have set out to achieve! ARG!....

Usually, when i am overwhlemed with thoughts... i like to "escape" into my own world and just hide away (although i know horoscopes are more like "horrorscopes"... i do think i have the characteristics of a "crab... they are soft on the inside, hard on the outside and when they face a not so ideal situation - they just hide...)

This is the perfect haven for hiding.... and it is in my school compound!
So one day, after school, i have decided to explore an unfamiliar newfound trek that looks tempting... I just followed the road and up i went... Initially, i was going to look for somewhere that i could sit and write my diary, but somehow, i decided to just challenge myself further and walk - the more i walked, the deeper i went and soon, i realised, i could not identify the accurate route back! Tell me about being over-confident!

God sent angels that took me the nearest bus stop.... I WILL explore this route again! This time, i will bring breadcrumbs to drop along the way! :)

Insadong 인사동

Anguk Station, Line 3, Exit 1 & 6
Jongno 3-ga Station, Line 1, Exit 4 &5

One look at the streets of Insadong, and you will know it is a "tourist" place... Almost all the shops are selling souvenirs, art-craft and traditional items.

 Of course, Koreans do come here too, but i believe the price quoted by the shop keepers are different. So your best bet is to bring a Korean friend along or pretend to be Korean! HAHA

I guess, this place also exhibits a more arty side and as many other popular streets, they also do sell fashion accessories, shoes and bags... Just that they are more well-known for their antiques, souvenirs and traditional stuff....

Along the streets of Insadong, you are likely to spot a building out of nowhere called Ssamziegil... This building is almost like a "stairless" building cos the architectural design is such that the pathway winds up to the next level and because the gradient is ever so slight... you almost don't feel the slope... You may seem like you are walking back to the same spot, and yet that spot presents a different shop!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Hi-Seoul Festival Closing Ceremony with Fireworks!

Deoksugung & Seoul Museum of History

So my fabulous Taiwanese friends have made plans for a full afternoon of activities followed by the viewing of the closing ceremony of HiSeoul Festival @ Hangang.

First, we headed to Deoksugung at Gwanhwamun area and roamed about in the vicinity including the Seoul Museum of History.

 There are always guard-changing ceremonies in palaces. (Or at least it seems like it)
I particularly like this palace cos it's in the middle of town, but it's a really small Palace with a Museum inside. 
Go only if you have limited time.
(I'd still suggest going to Gyeongbokgung for a better Palace experience.

 Love the horses - and i saw them up close and personal! YAY!

Weird to see ancient dresscodes mixed with modern ones.
It's pretty comical. And the guards are crossing the road!


Upon entering the palace, you will see this modern museum.They exhibit art paintings from all over the world.
Exhibitions are seasonal.

After that we headed for the highlight of the day!

Fireworks @ Hangang!

Imagine the big hoo-ha in Singapore when we have a firework-display lasting 3 minutes.

THEN imagine that duration multipled by 40times! 2 FULL hours....

There was serious human jam whilst making our way there. 
The train was packed with people, it's almost nose-to-nose.

It was like a mass gathering. Families, friends, couples all spread their pinic mats at any possible open grass spot. 

So full that i couldn't see the grass anymore.

63 building 육삼 빌딩

Then the host came up and the fireworks started. I expected it to stop but it just went on and on and on and my camera was working so hard that it went out of battery before the end of the show.

The whole time, we were just watching the fireworks and enjoying the ambience... it was awesome!

An unforgettable memory!