South Korea 2017: Seoul Searching Day Two

Annyeong!

So here’s our Korean Adventure Day Two. I must say our second day is the most tiring but it is also the richest in culture.

We started our day with the usual free breakfast from our hotel. We had cereals, fried egg and toasted bread. We can only hope that it will sustain our energy until half of the day. With our black boots on, we headed out to the streets of the shopping district – Myeongdong!

         

Myeongdong was full of shoppers and tourists when we arrived. So that morning, we took a little time to explore it before we headed to our first tourist destination. It’s nice to see the streets clear with people. A perfect time to take blog worthy photos.

   

On our way to the Gyeongbokgung Palace, we saw a group of people wearing Korea’s traditional dress, Hanbok. We were so fascinated that we even followed them anywhere just to take stolen photos of them. We were clueless that by the time we enter into the palace, there will be hundreds of people who are wearing the same. We can even rent our own Hanbok and wear it ourselves. There are plenty of Hanbok Rental stores to choose from. We entered one near the palace so that we will not have a hard time returning it. You can rent the Hanbok and wear it anywhere you want for 6 hours. We chose not to go far from the shop so we will not have to come back again to return it. We just need a few pictures wearing them. But, you can never have enough photos wearing their traditional dress.

There are a lot of designs and sizes to choose from. Mix and matching took us a while before we finally settled. I chose a blue one and my friend, Jillian, chose a pink one for herself. We could pass as a Korean for a day. Prior to this trip, we already planned our photoshoot.  Here are some shots.

There was this one shot that we tried our best to achieve but failed miserably because, first, no one will take our photo. We had to ask other people to take our photo. As expected, they cannot get it right and it would be too much to ask them to take our photo again and again. Second, there are just so many tourists at that time. There are photobombers everywhere. So we just settled for this…

Next time, it would be nice to travel in group so taking a perfect photo won’t be a problem. Just like this group of friends…

When we’ve had enough taking photos of ourselves wearing Hanbok. We just stood by and waited for the changing of guards. It’s nice to witness such activity in the palace.

Half of the day is almost over. We had a mini break in a park inside the Palace – my favorite place. We did some people watching while eating dewberry cookies which Jillian brought from the Philippines to save us from hunger in the middle of sightseeing. I could stay here all day. I just love how quiet and peaceful it is there.

                                                                                 

The colorful and intricate details of the Palace’s ceiling.

Once we had enough of the palace, we just took few more photos and then we headed to our next destination. The Bukchon Hanok Village. We had a hard time locating the village. We were already exhausted and very hungry. We didn’t even have the energy to explore the place. We just took some photos and we went to find a place to eat. Our feet brought us to the nearest restaurant. We had some kimbap and chicken for lunch.

Here are some of the photos that we managed to take in the village before we lost the hunger game.

                                                                                                  

On our way to our next destination, we grabbed a Koreak bread that tasted really good. I just don’t know what it’s called. One thing is for sure, it’s perfect for the cold weather and it is yummy. We wished we bought more. Here’s Jill modeling the bread.

Our last stop for our second day, the Cheonggyecheon Stream. We originally planned to visit it on our fourth day but since it’s near the Gwanghwamun Square where we went to search for the outdoor ice skating rink which turned out to be a big parking lot and since it’s not snowing at that time, no ice skating rink was found; so we just decided to walk going to the Cheonggyecheon Stream.

Cheonggyecheon Stream is a 10.9-kilometre-long, modern public recreation space in downtown Seoul, South Korea. (c) wikepedia

It is open for 24 hours for those who wanted to relax while listening to the sound of flowing waters. It was filled with people but thank goodness we found a good spot. It’s just so good to sit down, talk, and relax there after a very tiring day.

 

  

It’s time to go back to our hotel and have a restful sleep. As usual, we grabbed a snack on our way back to the hotel. We grabbed a Korean Carp Bread with red bean inside. As expected, it was good.

And for our finale, of course, just like the usual, the streets of Myeongdong! We had Myeongdong’s street food for dinner! hahaha! Myeongdong is totally different at night. It’s so lively and packed with people and colorful lights.

That concludes the second day of our Korean adventure. I can’t wait to tell you about our experience in Nami Island and Petite France on our third day.

I hope you enjoyed reading and will visit my blog again. Have a blessed day! <3

South Korea 2017: Seoul Searching Day One

Friend: Let’s go to Korea.

Me: Okay.

The next thing I know, we were already booking our ticket and preparing our requirements to apply for a Korean visa.

This is my most impulsive trip so far. I had no idea my friend was serious about it. I just went along. But, one morning of January, I was on my annual leave; we found ourselves traveling to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to catch our flight to Incheon International Airport in South Korea.  Hours later, we already set foot in the land of KDramas and KPops.

I was never a fan of Korean Dramas. But, this trip excited me to the bones. I even planned my OOTDs months before the trip. Right even before my visa gets approved. When you have been staying in the Middle East for quite some time, traveling to a cold country is like a break from life. Yes, there is a winter season in this country but it doesn’t stay long and my annual leave usually falls on the winter season. I was so excited to see snow for the first time. We heard, it’s snowing in Korea on January.

Just like any tourist, after checking out from the airport and buying our T-Money card- the official card that you to pay for public transportation and other convenience store purchases – the first thing we did is to check into our hotel – K-Grand Hostel located in the shopping district of Myeongdong. The airport is quite far from the city so we had to take a long bus ride to our hotel. Our hotel is not that hard to find. It was a small hostel in the heart of the city. But, it has a home-y feeling. Not to mention that the receptionist is a K-Drama worthy handsome man. There’s a kitchen where we can prepare our breakfast before we head outside. Traveling abroad means less time sleeping and resting. You’ll be out most of the time. You’ll only go back to the hotel when it’s time to sleep so staying in a small and cheaper hotel is not a problem. K-Grand gives value to our money without compromising our comfort.

   

  

We didn’t even think about rest. Once we get into our hotel room, we immediately put on our thermal clothes,  layered it with our winter clothes, and went out to explore the place right before the sun set.

Our first stop, the Ewha Mural Village. My friend has this thing for grafitti walls and there’s a mural of angel wings that she saw in the internet and our goal was to find it. You have to climb your way up to explore the village. You have no idea how tiring it was to go there right after a long flight without food in our tummy. We were hungry but our eyes were full. The view from up is amazing. You can see the whole city from where we were. Lights and buildings everywhere. We were even trying to guess which one is Lee Min Ho’s house. Being up there is just so calming. There really is so much to see in this world.

Here are some of the photos from Ewha Mural Village.

   

         

This is not the angel wing mural that we are looking for but yes, this will do.

After walking around, we knew it was time to eat. We walked some more to check on the restaurants and cafes around. To our surprise, majority of the food establishments near the area are coffee shops. No matter how cute their interiors are, we were really planning to eat a heavy dinner. But, our energy only lasted until the nearest CU convenience store where we made our first purchase. You wouldn’t believe what we had for dinner on our first day in Korea. We had cup noodles! Well, it was just right for the cold breeze. Not very satisfying though.

If there is one thing I remember about Korea, it would be that the whole surrounding smells like pancake which makes us crave for it. There was this cute waffle/pancake stall near the convenience store so we decided to grab one along the way. The owner of the stall was kind enough to let us use their toilet. He even went an extra mile and prepared us free signature tea to make us feel warm. He told us how much he loves the Philippines and that he goes there as a part of their church mission. This leaves a lasting impression on us on how nice the Koreans are.

   

After dinner, we went straight to Dongdaemun History and Culture Park where the 25,000 LED roses are located. This one is on my Korean Bucket List and it is just so glad to checked it off the list on our first day. The place was so romantic. I pictured out a romantic date in my head. Walking hand in hand and just talking while walking along the shining roses. No wonder Korean Dramas are full of kilig moments because of places like this.

             

                                                                       

We ended our first day with a little stroll along Myeongdong Shopping District. It was a tiring day so we decided to call it a night to regenerate more energy for the next day.

I am leaving you with some random shots during our first day in Seoul. Stand by for photos of our amazing and rich in Korean culture second day. Anyeong!

Glad to share,

Thailand 2006: First Plane Ride

I was in my third year in college when we were given an option to join a learning caravan in Thailand as a part of our On The Job Training. It will be few hours less from the total hours that we need to accumulate for our internship which means less days of traveling the busy streets of the city as we get a taste of what it feels like to be in the “real world”. So, my classmates and I applied for a passport and went for it. The next thing we knew, we were flying to Thailand.

As a kid, I have always wondered whether you can touch the clouds or see the star up close when you ride an airplane so I was really looking forward to see what happens up there. It was my first time to ride an airplane. It’s a bit disappointing discovering that clouds above are just smokey stuff that makes everything hazy. Nevertheless, I still felt like I was in cloud 9. For a first timer, my heart was full of excitement as I waited for our landing to the first ever country that I will visit, Thailand.

We were warmly greeted by tour guides with garlands. It was hotter that I had expected. We went straight to the Golden Buddha Temple where we saw the big Buddha that is said to be made out of gold. We grabbed a fresh buko (coconut) juice to quench our thirst. That was our first purchase and it was worth it.

     

Since it was a learning caravan, tourist spots were never in our itinerary and because we were Communication Arts students, most of the places that we visited were schools and TV stations. We visited the Bangkok University with amazing TV production facilities and an equally amazing campus. They have a huge TV Production studios inside the campus. They are using Apple computers and their students produce amazing outputs. Their campus is so big that we even needed to ride a bus to go around the campus. Not to mention their own 7eleven inside the school campus. And to end our visit, we had the chance to dance their traditional dance with some of their students. It was an amazing experience.

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Then, we went to visit their TV stations. We were also greeted friendly by the staff. We even had the chance to go on air in one of their morning shows. It was a fun experience.

Once our business was done, we explored what the city has to offer. We managed to visit their malls, the night market, the Grand Palace, the Gem Factory and other attractions. We were also able to taste authentic food from Thailand, and ride the infamous Tuk-tuk.

We didn’t have enough time to visit well known tourist spots such as the Elephant Nature Park and the Floating Market in Bangkok but I still consider this trip a fun trip simply because, no matter what’s happening, my friends and I were able to have fun despite our misadventures even if it means just staying inside the hotel room and taking lots of selfies.

This concluded my Thailand trip. I lost most of my photos but the memories created will always be remembered. Yes, even the unfortunate ones which I didn’t mention in this post.

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Perhaps, when I visit Thailand again, I will really find time to experience their wonderful culture. This one is definitely on my list. <3

Sawadeeka!