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Sunday, January 31, 2016

34 Things to do in Seoul and Jejudo, Places to see, Food to eat :D

Annyeonghasaeyo Yeorobun!!

Damnnnn, sem 2 has started but still, it felt like every piece of me are still in Taiwan and Korea :( The past 4 months was just like a dream to me, something I never thought would happen in my life (really). Grateful of all those experiences and fun moments.

Korea, was just amazing. It may not be the best traveling experience (considering the schedule was too packed) but it was one hell of an awesome getaway! So much to see and experience despite being 7 days only. Well I can't say others will feel the same, but I'm sure there are wanderers like me who crave for a multi-faceted experience.
Well I decided to do an overall post about Korea trip, just to tell you the essence of our 7days (coz God knows when will I finally have the time to blog in detail) ASK ME IF YOU NEED ANY DETAILS ABOUT OUR TRIP IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW

Day 1: Urban Seoul

1. Visited one of Seoul's beautiful campus: Ehwa Womans University 梨花女子大学

2. EAT: Tried Mandu (Dumplings) at Kim and Bab (Ehwa Womens University Station)

3. Observed Seoul's Cityscape at Yeoido Hangang Park

4. Mesmerized by Seoul's city lights : N Seoul Tower at Namsan

5. EAT: Korea's version of Chinese cuisine: Jjajangmyeon Black Bean Sauce Noodle

6. Spent the night exploring different types of Sauna rooms : Siloam Jjimjilbang

7. EAT: Drink Sikhye and Smoked Hard Boiled Eggs. Don't forget to crack the eggs with your head. It hurts haha

Day 2 : Jeju's World Heritage

8. Checked out a lava tunnel : Manjanggul Lava Cave

9. EAT: Jeju's Black Pork Barbeque OMGGGGG so good

10. Have a view of Jeju Main Island at Seongsan Ilchubong

11. EAT: Have a cup of coffee to warm yourself while rain hits hard outside

12. Have a glimpse of Korean's market with loads of seafood! : Jungmun Market

13. EAT: Koreans' everyday comfort food in one shot: KimDeokSun (RunningMan was here!)

Day 3: Nature wonders of Jeju

14. Breathtaking views and the FROZEN experience at Hallasan Eoseungsaengak Trail

15. Leisure stroll at a calm and peaceful park: Cheonjiyeon Waterfalls Park

16. The Majestic Waterfall that falls straight into the sea: Jeongbang Falls

17. Date with Teddy Bears at Teddy Bear Museum

Day 4: Glorious Seoul

18. Feel the vibrant atmosphere at Insadong

19. EAT: Korea's lunchbox and yummylicious Bingsu at Miss Lee
(you've probably seen this in We Got Married)

20. Try pretty Royal Hanbok at Insadong Tourist Information Center

21. Appreciate Korea's prime national identity, the beautiful Gyeongbuk Palace

22. Immerse yourself in the unique and ancient vibe of Bukchon's traditional houses

23. Seoul's Monuments of Transformation at Gwanghwamun Plaza and Cheongyecheon Stream

24. EAT: Enjoy Streetfood in bustling Myeongdong

Day 5: For the Vibrant Seoul

25. It's more than just Winter Sonata, enjoy nature with bliss at Nami Island

26. EAT: Take a sip of coffee, chew on Heoteok while smoke blows out from your mouth

27. Feel young and energetic like never before at Hongdae

28. EAT: Afternoon coffee time while watching street dance performance at Coffee Brown

29. Shop like there's no tomorrow at Myeongdong

Day 6: Ever Fun

30. Enjoy roller coasters while you are young at Everland

31. Get up close and personal with beautiful beasts at Safari (Everland)

32. Be Enchanted by the Christmas Illumination (Everland)

33. Futuristic world at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul.  
The filming set of "You who came from the Stars" 

34. Last minute shopping at Lotte Mart till midnight!
was too focused on shopping and totally forgot to take a photo of Lotte Mart at Seoul Station. It's one of the big hypermarkets where it opens till midnight. You'll see many tourist over there.
Personally think the only thing that was cheaper compare to here was Peppero and the Dokbokki Chips. Other snacks like the Market-O and Crown Biscuits are pretty much the same if not more expensive.
But I must say, the chilled beverage section was like wonderland for me!! So many types of coffee omggggg
If they didn't have to be chilled I would have bought one whole bag to Taiwan haha

Now time for the favorites, here's some of the things that I really enjoyed while I was in Korea:

1. Hallasan Eoseungsangak Hiking Trail. Hands down the most memorable experience. It was my first snowland experience (though I'd seen snow for the first time in Seoul on Day 2). I thought snowland was just about the visuals but damn it was about the feeling, cold winds, snowflakes, the sinking feeling when your foot steps on the soft and powdery snow, the moments when snow turns into water on your palm, the weird feeling of breathing out smoke while you speak..... these were all first times for me.

2. Hongdae. I don't know why, but I just love that place. It's really young and energetic and makes me feel proud of being a 20s. I swear I will go there again before I'm 28, spend at least half a day there next time, with pocketful of cash to shop haha.

3. Everland. Not to say I will visit there again, but I really think the experience was super worth it. We paid for a ticket price that is slightly less than USS's ticket price but the theme park was really huge and the visuals were overwhelmingly delightful. It's like a storybook to me. Not to forget the huge area of mesmerizing Christmas Illumination. The Safari was also something cool as well.

4. Gyeongbukgong and Bukchon. Just deeply fell for the unique Korean culture where you can't find else where in the world. In fact this area of traditional buildings are surrounded by all the modern sky scrapers. Stand at Gwanghwamun gate and you instantly sense a strong aura of the nation's proud identity and unparalleled prosperity.

Anyhow, Korea was really awesome to me despite me complaining about the prices most of the time. It was still a memorable and fun trip. The people!! I'm lucky to have met lots of nice people especially during our trip in Jeju Island. Koreans are really friendly to tourists! In fact I guess Koreans love traveling in their own country as well, which is probably why they love sharing their experiences to us. Our roomies in Jeju were super nice and friendly, and the strangers we met at Hallasan were super helpful and people will just say Hi to each other while you meet on the hiking trail (Though I'm quite sure they said Hi to us because Shiyien looked like a local haha). To the unni from our guest house and the family who offered to give us a ride to Jeju downtown, thankiuuuu so much! You guys really made my day!

well now that I'm back to SG, I do try to be kind to others, especially tourists but for some reason it's just hard coz you remember the many times where people just ignored your kind act. That's the sad truth over here, people are getting afraid to be kind now, including me. Well I guess you just have to be brave and step out of your comfort zone, don't be afraid of people's reaction but remember the meaning of your kindness :D

Lastly, I'm grateful to have a travel pal who is super tolerant of me and let me decide everything haha on the other hand she's good with keeping track of details as well. I really liked how we just do whatever we feel like doing. Thanks again dear!

CarmenXTW: 趣台北 第四天 十分 & 九份 Fun Taipei Day 4: Shifen and Jiufen

This post has been a draft for more than 2 months, finally had the time to post this:

Final day of the trip to North! 
Visited New Taipei City's pretty towns of Shifen 十分 and Jiufen 九份. 

From Taipei to Shifen: Took a train to RuiFang from Taipei station and change to the Pingxi Line, which is kinda like the railway traveling route, every station has its charm. This line includes RuiFang, where you can go to Jiufen; Shifen, where you have shops lined along the train tracks and Pingxi, the place where they shot You are the Apple of my Eye. 

Loads of people, this place is popular for both locals and tourist

some bamboo forest that we pass by while on our way to Shifen Waterfalls
Gotta love the nature here
lush greens and emerald waters

Shifen Waterfalls 十分瀑布
The waterfalls is around 20 minutes walk from the station. Can't really tell you the directions coz we took a rather weird but somehow faster route, taught by Mr. GoogleMap. But we still reach anyway, thanks to the directions from kind locals.
Heard the gushing sound of water when we were at the entrance and realize the waterfall is actually much wider than i imagined. Water rushing down at high speed, I can even feel the mist on my face.    

Back to the main street of Shifen
it was very crowded, loads of people releasing their paper lanterns on the train tracks.
I was really looking forward to writing wishes on paper lanterns but the moment I saw the amount of people lining on the train tracks, I just lost the urge to do so LOL. almost every shop over there was offering this paper lantern service, where they let u write, help u take photo and even videograph the whole process LOL But I doubt my photos will look nice, not with so many people doing the same thing in the background. One thing I really don't like about traveling to tourist hotspot, too many people and they kinda ruin photos. I rather not take any and just enjoy the atmosphere haha

at one of the shops

From Shifen to Jiufen: Took the Pingxi Line Train to Ruifang station. From there, you can take a bus but we ended up taking a cab instead coz it was kinda late already, the sky was turning dark. 

Jiufen Old Street 九份老街
Unique town built along the slopes of the hills, best known for its narrow streets that wind up the hill, with shops selling local delicacies and red lanterns that decorate the shops. It is also popular among Spirited Away fans as one of the tea shops was the source of inspiration of the bathhouse in the movie.  
On the hills, overlooking the coast 

Most of the shops in the streets sells snacks, local products, craft products and souvenirs. 
Catered for tourists. 

Red lanterns hanging along the shops

Icecream spring roll -- 2 scoops of icecream sprinkled with grounded peanut, wrapped in spring roll wrap.  

One of the must-eats in Jiufen
the legendary Taiwanese Taroballs!

Taroballs in Greenbean and Redbean Soup 芋圆汤 -- TWD45
super delicious especially in this chilly weather. 
The taroballs are chewy and the more you chew, the delicious aroma of starts to build up. 
The natural sweet taste of the soup really warms the soul seriously

and best part is you can enjoy this view while sipping the hot soup. 

when night falls, Jiufen turns into a mysterious and romantic town
with bright red lanterns in contrast with the brown wooden shoplots. Totally unique.  

My photos don't look really nice though, there's just too many people. And I had a difficult time finding a spot to take photos of the street. I even missed out taking a nice photo of the teashop that was the inspiration of the Spirited Away bathhouse.

But I guess Jiufen really is a charming piece of Taiwan. The red lanterns really are mesmerizing. It would have been great to have one whole day to spend over there. Enjoying the local snacks and maybe chillax at one of the teashops, taking in the seaview while sipping tea.

From Jiufen to Taipei City, we took bus no. 1062 that goes back to ZhongXiao FuXing MRT Station in Taipei . Allocate more time if you are going on a weekend coz there will be lots of people queuing up.
and that concludes our Taipei 4 day trip. Super Packed schedule but I really did enjoy.

Just to list out some of the places that you definitely should go (listed according to preference):
1. Danshui 淡水 -- you can spend one whole day over there, cycling to 渔人码头 (Fisherman's wharf) and shop at the main street (yep things are cheap over there!) Go explore the red bricked buildings like Fort San Domingo and Aletheia University.
2. Jiufen 九份 -- If you fancy chillax time like me, Jiufen would be nice where you can just stroll around, eat some snacks every now and then and enjoy the seaview.
3. Shifen 十分 -- The waterfalls is a MUST GO coz i think it looks beautiful.
4. Taipei Zoo 台北市立动物园 -- Great Value for money. Well maintained zoo with great facilities.
5. Maokong 猫空 -- If i'm living in Taiwan, I would prefer a to spend a nice Saturday afternoon here, sipping coffee and chatting with friends.

More Taipei diaries coming up by the way.... stay tuned.

Love Nuffnang


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