Sunday, October 26, 2014

South Korea Part 2

I love Jeju, the air is fresher, less traffic and it's more calm compared to busy Seoul. I can even imagine myself retiring there in a cottage with a garden outside, growing my own herbs and all. We got a good look at what Jeju has to offer at Seongsan Sunrise Peak

Climbing the hill was a great exercise but damn, it was chilly! The winds were so strong! Didn't make it to the peak because I'm old and the wind was not helping too.

Bundled up!

Tried the caramel latte from Angel in-us Coffee and it was so good! Even the cup's design is pretty neat! Too bad we didn't get to try other local coffee joints! :(
Also, there's a snack that looks like a round ball, made with sesame seeds with a red bean filling which is apparently, a delicacy only found at the peak or Jeju so get it and make sure you check the expiry date before paying because when we brought ours back it was already expired. Shopping fail! 

Our next pit stop was a tangerine farm! I was thinking pretty much about the scene from My Girl where Lee Da Hae was stealing tangerines from a farm which was also in Jeju Island! If only we visited the farm last because I would have bought a box of it back because I was hooked after having even the average grade from the farm! Juicy, refreshing and sweet, I was a convert! Since I couldn't bring a box back, I made sure I drank as much as juice  as I can since you can only get in Jeju. Plus, there was even a Jeju mineral water!

Oh Jeju tangerine, why are you not available in Malaysia? 

Then, we visited the Seongup Folk Village, where we got a chance to see how traditional villages looks like and also they were hard-selling their traditional medicine too after we got a short tour around the village. Apparently, one of the villagers head had a horse so strong and fast that like a Ferrari and when the horse passed, they made medicine out of his bones which is said to be good for your bones. One of the hard-sell point. Those health products are too expensive for us young people to afford so I think most of us young ones tuned out.

OMG HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A BLACK PIG? OF COURSE NOT! It's another delicacy here too. It's really ironic how we ended up having black pork BBQ for lunch after seeing this cutie. I'm sorry for eating your cousin and I admit he tasted pretty good too, somehow it tasted healthier, not as streaky as it's usual pink cousins. I'm sorry and RIP.

After stuffing ourselves, we head to the Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum! I have not been to the Malaysia's branch in First World, Genting but I think they'll both have similar exhibitions, I'm not sure. Apparently, we're suppose to cover one floor of the museum only because the local tour guide was screaming at us to go back to the bus but I guess she gave up after seeing that most of us ignored her. -insert Success kid meme-
 I found the museum interesting with some freaky displays which has interactions options for visitors so that it's not too boring. Would I go back? Nah, once was enough for me.

Wall-E will forever be one of my favourite movies. That movie has so much feels even when there's no dialogue involved. Disney at it's best!

A wooden carved Cinderella's horse carriage.

To be honest, I was more excited to visit the Teddy Bear museum! All thanks to Goong/ Princess Hour, which is more widely used, this drama was one of the few K-dramas I watched back in high school which sort of made me go Korea-cray for a while. Thankfully the craze has died down since last year! Sadly, the museum was having some renovations done so most parts of the museum was closed. WHY??? T_T It's was a downer because I didn't get to see the Goong inspired teddies, which was the sole reason I am going to the museum.


Sorry to the museum staff because after taking pictures with my friend here, people started copying as well. I hope the bear is still in one piece. The place was packed with many people from different tour groups as well. 

They see us rollin', they hatin'~

Hermes bear!

Hera bear was wearing a tiara made from real diamonds that's too heavy for her head.

Celebrity inspired bears!

 I said, I do because he offered to buy a Jeju orange plantation for me. Also the teddy bears sold at the gift store was expensive, like about RM100+ for a simple teddy bear. Thankfully, I'm not a collector so my fingers weren't itching for it.

Next, we made our way to a cultural centre where we learned to make Kimchi! I definitely OD-ed on kimchi throughout the trip but not all the restaurants we went to has nice kimchi which was surprising because you expect Korean eateries to have way nicer kimchi than the imported ones and occasional handmade ones back here. Heck, some restaurant kimchi were so bad, I rather eat the ones we can get from the supermarket here.
Everything was already measured and prepared for us so we just need to slap on the gochujang mix onto the leaves and, fold it. 

Too bad, we didn't get to bring home the kimchi which we made. Another ridiculous reason. Apparently, they will ferment the kimchi which we have made and will package it and sell it. We got to try samples of ready-made ones though.

We adjourned downstairs to put on some hanbok to take pictures! I was a bit grumpy because I couldn't get my kimchi and no one was there to teach us how to tie the dress so all of us was just tying it just to make sure it doesn't fall off.

The beau tried on some emperor-esque robes so we look like his gisaengs right next to him.

DQ and I. I can't remember how we started talking to each other but we both disliked a certain group and the local tour guide so yeah, that was our common ground. :P

Before we headed off to dinner, we visited Yongduam Rock, a volcanic rock formation that resembles a dragon rising from the sea or something. Can you spot the dragon head?

Now would you look at that! Fresh abalone on top of ginseng chicken broth. It's the perfect dish for winter, you get a whole chicken with a bowl of rice inside the soup, which already absorbed the healthy, hearty goodness of this herbal awesomeness! Too bad we couldn't have extra abalone and soup.

Once we reached the hotel, we went out to explore the shops since it was our last night in Jeju. We popped by Coffine Gurunaru Cafe, which was right opposite our hotel. I ordered the hot milk chocolate, which I didn't know, comes with a generous topping of whipped cream and chocolate buttons. It was a sweet, warm drink which only made me miss Jeju more. Plus, this cafe has wi-fi too, you just need to like their FB page. ;)

After checking out the next day, we flew back to Seoul. Had lunch at Dolphin Seafood Buffet which was not that amazing, heck, there wasn't much seafood to begin with and there were some drama at the buffet line too, thankfully, it didn't involved our group. Then, we were brought to a duty-free beauty shop that's especially for tourists that was selling things from UGB and other brands which were not that cheap, about 25,000 won at least. Not many of us bought things from the shop, but I bought a bb cream puff and a sleeping mask from Nuganic, which was so good that I am very upset that I couldn't get it anymore. So, the local tour guide was criticizing the more commercial brands such as Etude House and The Face Shop the whole way saying that we youngsters are paying for things that are not good for our skin compared to the ones being sold in the duty-free shop. Annoying much? Then, we made a stop to a seaweed factory (SEAWEED FOR THE WIN!!!), that's where we went cray. I think we bought more than 15 packs of seaweed in assorted flavours. Later, we visited the Han River.

Pretty cool street art murals under the bridge!

We then got a chance to make our own bread before we head on board of the Han River cruise to catch the Pang Show.

My breads look decent compared to the beau's. :P

Pang Show is definitely more catered to kids because it was boring to me. All the acting and exaggerating actions were a bit over the top because it's a non-speaking performance. So most of us went out of the room to explore the ship and catch the beauty that Han River has to offer.

After standing outside of the ship and freezing our butts off, we got off and I immediately got myself a Citron hot tea from The Caffe which was nearby.  

Collected our breads as well!

Dinner time! We've been eating a lot of stews throughout the trip.

The famous shopping centre, Doota where the products are mostly mid-range to high-end priced. Not for us young folks who are strapped on cash and we were only given 2 hours to shop (UGH!). Luckily, DQ and her sister knew about the cheaper and more street market type of shopping mall which was right beside Doota so we headed there asap. There, you can actually put your bargaining skills to the test because they will not make it cheap easily. Due to time constraints, I only managed to get a knitted lace crop top and then we had to rush back to the side entrance of Doota to regroup. Then, we zoomed off to Dong Dae Mun street for while.

We checked into COATEL Chereville located in Gangnam, where we will be staying for 2 nights. It's a pretty spacious boutique service apartment with amenities such as a kitchen, washing machine and a dryer too.
See that maroon bag over there? That's our seaweed stash!

Each room has their own WiFi password as well. It's my first time staying in this type of hotel so it's something different.

The following day, we visited the Ginseng factory, where obviously they were hard-selling their ginseng products which were out of our buying range, only aunties and uncles were convinced and has the card to pay the high price. Local tour guide was persuading us young people to share and get a box of ginseng to nibble on but yeah, she gave up.
After the ginseng factory, we headed to the Amethyst factory then the Cordyceps factory. We managed to get some cheap amethyst keychains as souvenirs but cordyceps were expensive as well so sthat was a waste of time for us.

Beef stew for lunch! Om nom nom!

Best timing ever, was the moment our bus stopped outside Gyeongbok Palace and it started snowing!!!
I guess it was suppose to rain but since it was cold, rain turned to snow!

I guess I can say that my Zara coat, is sorta snowproof?

Imagine walking into the palace grounds and see this accidental but beautiful snowy addition to the scenery? It was breathtaking!

It kinda makes you feel like you stepped into another world.

We visited the National Folk Museum which was inside the palace grounds. Another speed through tour thanks to the tour guide who saw her favourite group was sleeping through her explanations, like literally dozing off in public.

Frozen lake surrounds the pretty pavilion.

We managed to catch a glimpse of the changing of the guards session before being shooed onto the bus by the frantic local tour guide.

We were then dropped off at Lotte Duty-Free Mall, where most of us bought loads of beauty products for family and friends. Warning, the Laneige counter is one of the most crowded so be prepared to wait a while. I was looking for the 3CE shop but I couldn't find it until the last minute as we were leaving the mall. Then, we had to gather at Myeongdong. I'll be back for 3CE one day! So we got about 3 hours to shop around Myeongdong and we saw signs to a Dog Cafe so once we reach the cafe, we were greeted by a unhappy-looking waiter which didn't even allow us into the cafe so that just gave us a really bad impression if it wasn't enough already. Shopping was so much better here, loads of accessories shop selling affordable earrings, necklaces and phone accessories. My younger sister went cray cray at the Innisfree shop. Also, entered a Missha shop and the salesgirl gave me a basket with a free mask but seeing that I didn't buy anything, she immediately took the mask with the basket away from me with a sour face. Great customer service.
On a happy note, I had some really nice udon with spicy mandu! The kimbap was not bad too. If memory serves me right, this shop is called Mandu. Randomly, stumbled upon while exploring the busy streets of Myeongdong.

Back to the hotel after our shopping escapade and spent the whole night packing! We bought a lot of mask and beauty products that even our luggage is filled to the brim.

On the last day, we headed to a Chinese food buffet for breakfast. Apparently (somehow I think I overused this word for this two post. My apologies because I can't help being sarcastic.), it's one of the best places for chinese food according to the local tour guide. She must really have bad taste in food because it was bad, hence, no pictures. After that, we headed to Sinchon Lady's Street where all the women universities are. We didn't realize that the certain group was debating with the tour guides to just head straight to the airport because one of them wanted to have more time to shop at the airport's duty-free. -_- Luckily, the local tour guide was not stupid so she finally let us off the bus after wasting everybody's time. We were at the street pretty early so many of the shops were not open yet but we managed to do some last minute shopping.

Our last pit-stop was the wholesale mall selling local-made products. Boy, that place is mayhem! Packed with so many tourists who were fighting like cats and dogs for biscuits and chocolates. We bought two copper pots, ramen, brownie cakes, tea for me of course and more snacks! There will be people helping to pack your items into boxes to survive the plane ride back. Had another bad experience with a certain bunch of tourists from a certain big country. To be honest, tourists from that country put quite a damper on the trip too whenever they're around.

Then, it was to the airport, too bad we couldn't extend the trip to travel more by ourselves because we haven't seen everything. What made me pissed was that the local tour guide was passing out feedback forms to each group and stood by to make sure that we feel bad and give her our dishonest review about her. She's one sneaky b**** because she passed the form to the most blur person in my group which is the beau so the beau had to give her good reviews even when she has done nothing good. So frustrated, I would have given her really LOW and BAD marks if I had that form.

Had lunch at Lotteria before checking in. It's like the healthier version of Mcdonald's. It was a nice goodbye meal before flying back to KL. In conclusion, I will never ever want to see the local tour guide and that kinda of family ever again. I think I can never travel in group tours. Yes, it's great that accommodations, food and main tourist attractions are all settled but it's always a rush, there's no flexibility, you meet stupid people and you can't extend your trip. So are you a fan of group tours or making your own travel plans?

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