Showing posts with label Travel Guide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel Guide. Show all posts

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Gangwon: A Journey Through Nature

Gangwon-do province is gifted with nature's riches: to the east lies the azure blue waters of the East Sea and along the mountain range, the backbone of Seoraksan, Odaesan and Taebaeksan mountains each showed off their splendid beauty. Surrounded by lush mountains and pristine waters, the region is often referred to as the "lungs of Korea" for clean air, peaceful valleys and breath-taking views are scattered throughout the region. It is a place to experience true relaxation and revitalize the tired body and mind in the untouched natural environment of Gangwon-do. No wonder that Gangwon-do is the most popular holiday destination for all! Let me take you through the 5 places to visit for a journey through nature in Gangwon-do. 
Seoraksan National Park 설악산국립공원
Seoraksan is the most iconic mountain of Gangwon-do and stretches through 3 counties of the province. With Daecheongbong Peak at its summit, Seoraksan Mountain (whose name literally means "mountains of snow and rocks"), features unique rock formations such as Ulsanbawai Rock and Gongnyong Ridge. Every fall, it is one of the first mountains in Korea to be coloured with autumn foliage, with mid-October being the best time to view this splendid scenery. Also referred to as the "snow-like white rock", the mountain is especially spectacular in winter when it is entirely covered in snow. 
Nami Island 남이섬 종합휴양지
Well-known as a filming site for the ever popular Korean TV drama Winter Sonata, Nami Island boasts an unique and romantic atmosphere. One of the most famous locations on the island is the tree-lined roads, which greets visitors with different colours throughout the year. You can relive the memories of the drama by walking along the path, otherwise there are also many interesting activities and facilities on the island. 
Jeongdongjin Sunrise Park 정동진 해돋이 공원
Jeongdongjin liternally means "due east" and was named so for being located directly east of Seoul's Gwanghwamun Gate. Crowds of people flock to this seaside park every New Year to watch the first sunrise of the year. A view of the coast can be seen immediately upon exiting Jeongdongjin Station, which holds the Guinness World record  for being the station closest to the sea. Not far from the station is Haslla Art World, which is an art garden located on a hill overlooking the green waters of the East Sea. 
Woljeongsa Temple 월정사
The most beautiful fir tree forest trail in Korea leads to the 1000-year-old Woljeongsa Temple, which is surrounded in the natural environment of Odaesan Mountain. This is especially ideal for hiking due to its trails lined with fir trees. At the entrance leading to Woljeongsa Temple, visitors will find restaurants serving set meals featuring over 20 side dishes made with mountain vegetables. A great opportunity to cleanse the body and soul! 
Hwanseongul Cave 환선굴
Hwanseongul Cave is the largest cave of Asia which formed an estimated 530 million years ago. The cave measures 6.2km long, of which 1.6km is open to public. The cave has a complicated structure, full of uniquely-shaped stalactites, stalagmites and is inhabited by many cave creatures. Visitors can take the monorail that departs from the ticket booth to the entrance of the cave, which offers a beautiful view of Deokhangsan Mountain that sits on top of the cave. 

So, start planning your next trip to Gangwon for an experience through nature! Have fun :) 

Images from Korea Tourism Organisation are credited with their watermarks. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Autumn in Korea, Jeju: Preparations for Self-Drive Trip

Hello November! 2 months to the end of the year and 1 more to my favourite month. Looking back, we were away on our winter holidays for 2 consecutive years hence we decided to take a break this year and stayed in Singapore instead (for now). Perhaps, I may get to celebrate my birthday properly, ha! 

I pretty much spent the month of October travelling; a business trip before heading for a holiday to my second home, Korea! Yes, I'm finally back in Korea to complete my experience-4-seasons-in-Korea much to Leecher's dismay. This time round, we headed over to Jeju before continuing the rest of the journey in Seoul. We decided on a self-drive adventure in Jeju as this was the most convenient and efficient way to explore the island. Not to mention that we are spending 6 days in Jeju, ha! Our mini honeymoon since Jeju is the honeymoon island for Koreans. In order to drive in Korea, you will need to prepare these beforehand:
1. Obtain your international driving permit
The International Driving Permit is the first thing that they will request to see when we collected the car in Korea. You can apply for IDP via AA, either online at or at their AA offices (Kallang Bahru/Ang Mo Kio). The IDP fee is $20 and the permit is valid for a year from date of issue. For walk-in application, the processing time is within 1h. They will help you to take a picture on the spot and the whole application was relatively hassle-free.
2. Reserve a car online 
There are lots of car rental companies for renting cars. Previously, I used KT Kumho but they have since changed to Lotte. You can sign up as a member to be entitled to discount rates off the listed price. Since car rental is Leecher's department, I put him in charge of getting this done. To think that he actually outsourced to concierge and they provided us with a list of rentals/prices. Finally, we confirmed the car with Hertz. 
3. Request for an English GPS 
We requested for one but it wasn't available. Hence, we survived on a Korean GPS which was pretty difficult to navigate at first (even our AirBnB host said so!) but I soon got the hang of it.

With that, we are ready to kick start our self-drive trip in Jeju! Now, I just need to sort out the pictures across cameras + phones before I start blogging about it. Before that, let me just catch up on the latest episode of Infinity Challenge - 무한도전. Stay tuned!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Melbourne 2015: 8 essential items for your road trip in Melbourne

Now that we are back in Singapore, I'm missing the weather in Australia. No doubt that it was chilly, it was way better than Singapore. Last year, we had fun driving down the scenic Great Ocean Drive route, stopping at certain points to admire the vast coastline. We then crossed over to Yarra Valley and drank to our hearts' content. Having survived our 1st solo road trip in Melbourne, here is my pick on the top 8 essential items:
1. Trusty and Reliable Car
Leecher gets to select the car since he'll be the one behind the wheels. For this trip, he chose a SUV - huge, comfortable and stable. We had so much space to ourselves, dumping stuff on the back seats. Most importantly, Leecher wanted to have a feel on driving a SUV and the best way to test-drive this? 8 days of road-trip! 
2. Music List
A good road trip music list which consists of the songs that you can sing along to! We tried to go local and tune in to Kiss FM(101.9) but got tired of the songs. With our data card, we tuned in to internet radio of YES933 and Kiss 92 for a mix of Chinese and English songs. We also got our K-pop dosage from my iTunes list.
3. Shades & Sunscreen
The sun in Australia is really no joke. Be sure to slap on sunscreen and wear your shades for extra protection. Furthermore, you'll look like a fasionista when taking pictures too! 
4. Drinks & Snacks
Stocking up on drink/snacks is a must to curb your hunger pangs during the long drive. I found my favourite indulge at Coles supermart - this is absolutely yummy! 
5. Data Card
Definitely a must in today's world. We depended on the card for playing the internet radio, keeping in touch with families/friends and not forgetting navigation for the drive. A tip: always download the respective telco app on your device to check data usage/allowance. We paid for 4GB but was only given 1GB. Thankfully, the kind SA helped to resolve the problem and we were credited with our allowance. 
6. Overnight Bag
We were shifting accommodation almost every other day. Hence, we opted for overnight bags to contain our clothings/essentials for the night(s) instead of lugging our luggages up and down the car. 
7. Wet Wipes
 To give your hands a clean wipe before/after eating.
8. Mini Trash Bags
We exercised basic courtesy so all rubbish went into the thrash bags then into the bins. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Malacca 2015: 5 things to do in Malacca

From a simple fishing village to a UNESCO site, Malacca has come a long way since 1377. Malacca is also a popular place for weekends getaway with both Singaporeans and locals. Within the span of 1 year, I headed to Malacca twice - once with the Jitches and most recently, with the in-laws. Here's the 2015 edition of 5 things to do in Malacca: 
 1. Ride on the rickshaw
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Hop on for a ride in these elaborately decorated rickshaws, which even came equipped with a stereo system blasting the latest songs. Top marks for the amount of effort taken to dress each rickshaw, which has now become an icon of Malacca.
 2. Stroll along Melaka River
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Evening is the best time to stroll along the Malacca River, which was once a vital trade route during the heyday of Malacca Sultanate in the 15th century. Restaurants, bars and shops are scattered on both sides of the river, so you can hop in for a rest or a quick bite before continuing the rest of the journey.  
3. Nadeje Mille Crepe 
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Before Lady M invaded our shores, Nadeje was the to-go place for mille crepe. They pride themselves for using quality ingredients to make their crepes/cakes, which probably explains the ridiculously long queues for both dine-in and takeaway.
4. St Paul's Church
Catch a glimpse of St. Paul's Church, the oldest church building in Malaysia built in 1521. Located at the summit of St. Paul's Hill, this roofless church was originally a simple chapel before it became a burial ground. 
5. Shop at the Malls
Escape the scorching sun and head to the malls instead. Shop at either the iconic Mahkota Parade, which was recently refurbished to embrace a younger crowd or Dataran Paulawan, home to some of the most exciting entertainment, such as the cinema, skating rink or archery. 

Psst .... detailed posts will be linked once completed, stay tuned!  
Read our Malacca adventures here:

Monday, June 1, 2015

Seoul, Summer: 10 things to do in Korea

I'm in love with Korea , period. I was captivated by its charms during my first visit. I basically suffered from Korea/Seoul withdrawal after landing in Singapore. Thus, when SQ offered a promotion price to Korea, I knew that it was a god-sent sign that I have to head back. I was so desperate to go that I offered to pay for Leecher's air tickets. So, this Leecher jumped at the (sponsored) opportunity & came along for our 2nd trip to Korea :) During the 1st trip, we spent a good 8 days in Spring. With a different itinerary in hand, we headed to Korea for the summer. Here is my personal take on the 10 activities to do in Korea for summer!
1. Visit the traditional markets
The traditional Korean marketplace is one of the best way to soak up in the local spirit of Korea. In here, you get to rub shoulders with the ahjummas, bargain with the store-owners and feast to your heart's content. These traditional market places are littered throughout Seoul and Namdaemum Market is the most popular of all.
2. Pedal on a Railway bike 
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Be surrounded by nature as you pedal along the old abandoned railway tracks. Fans of Running Man would instantly recognise this as this was one of the games played in ep 144. We had a fun time pedaling the entire 8km distance, so head there for a morning workout before rewarding your tummy with chicken & beer later in the day!
3. Hike up Mount Bukhansan
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The Korean peninsula is covered mostly by mountains, hence it is no secret that hiking is one of Korea's national pastime. We embarked on a hike up Mount Bukhansan and were treated to a bird's eye view of Seoul at the top. Enough said! 
4. Visit Hongdae Flea Market
The Hongdae flea market aims to showcase local artists and handcrafted goods. Rather than selling second-hand goods, these artists gather every Saturday and showcase their creativity through their unique handiwork. Head there to enjoy an afternoon of impromptu street/music performance. 
5. Embark on a Korean summer food trail
Summer in Korea is no joke, with temperatures rising close to 35 degrees. We often find ourselves heading indoors to stay away from the heat. The best way to combat the summer heat - indulge in cold dishes like bingsu, naengmyeon and memil-guksu.
6. Catch a baseball game 
Catch the lotte giants in action at their home ground in Busan. Throughout the game, we were entertained by the cheerleaders on the sideline, the players on the pitch and not forgetting witnessing the first ever home-run of our lives. 
7. Conquer Hwaseong fortress
Surrounding the centre of Suwon, Hwaseong Fortress was constructred by King Jeongjo to honour his late father.  Listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, we braved the heat and sun to conquer the fortress wall that stretches close to 5.52km, stopping by various spots for picture taking. 
8. Play a game of Korean archery
While conquering the fortress, we took the chance and participated in Gukgung, also known as Korean traditional archery. This bow is relatively light and easy to pull. Follow the instructions of the instructor and you are ready to go!
   9. Enjoy the rainbow fountain at Banpo bridge
Want to enjoy a night's out with food and music? I will suggest that you grab some pizzas, takeaways and head to Banpo bridge for a night's out. At regular intervals, the bridge is illuminated with rainbow-coloured dancing lights, swaying to the sound of music.
10. Catch an exhibition at DPP
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Located in the heart of the city, Dongdaemun Design Plaza's building itself is a piece of art for you can't find any straight lines or walls. Head to DDP on a day, catch an exhibition and reignite your artistic spirit. 

Psst .... detailed posts will be linked once completed, stay tuned! 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Guesthouses in Seoul, Korea

When it comes to booking accommodation for our trips, it has to fulfill some requirements like the location must be in a safe district, clean room with attached bathroom and lastly, fits within our budget. While I'm always tempted to stay at posh hotels, I can't bring myself to pay the hefty price tag. The money saved can go into our funding for more shopping or activities. During our recent visits to Korea, we opted to stay in guesthouses instead. Most of these guesthouses are located to major tourist attractions and conveniently accessible by public transportation. Best of all, they fit into our budget for being reasonably priced and come equipped with basic amenities. 
 Namsan Guest House
Namsan Guesthouse consists of 5 guesthouses which are within walking distance from one another. Every room is equipped with private bathroom, air-conditioner, cable TV and ondol system (Korean floor heating system). Conveniently located in Myeongdong, the guesthouse is located around 150m (up-slope) from the subway station and 10 min walk to Namsam Tower. Starting price of 55,000 Won for 2 pax.
Suitcasers is located at City Hall station, one of the best location that you can ever find. You can walk to Deoksugang Palace, Cheonggyecheon Stream, Namdaemun and many others. You can reserve the portal wifi egg from them (complimentary) when you confirmed your reservation. The basic services includes breakfast, international calls, printing, cable TV etc - all free of charge as long as you are a staying guest. Starting price of 70,000 Won for 2 pax. 
Banana Backpackers
The Banana Backpackers is easily recognizable from the windmill outside the building. This guesthouse is strategically located to tourist sites like Insadong, Bukchon Hanok Village and Changdeokgung Palace. The staff are friendly and very helpful when we wanted to order Chinese takeout from the nearby restaurants. Starting price of 50,000 Won for 2 pax.
Haemil Guest House
 A traditional Korean house (Hanok) situated close to Changdeokgung Palace and Jongmyo, both of which are designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites. At Haemil, you will get to experience sleeping on their ondol heated floor, with traditional korean blankets & mattress. In addition, guests get to start the new day with either traditional Korean or Western breakfast prepared by the lovely hosts. Starting price of 100,000 Won for a room.
 Mago Guest House
Mago Guest House is centrally located near Chungmuro subway station and Namsangol Hanok Village. The place is designed to feel like a traditional home but with modern amenities. Offering a mixture of korean ondol rooms and modern rooms, this is the place to go if you like to experience the different styles without moving to another location. Starting price of 62,000 Won for 2 pax.

Psst .... detailed posts will be linked once completed, stay tuned! 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Malacca 2014: 5 things to do in Malacca

Malacca, located on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia, is often termed as "The Historic State". Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city centre eludes a strong blend of historical and cultural influences from Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. Over the weekend, the Sisters embarked on a road trip to Malacca, braving the infamous Malaysia jam to enjoy a 2D1N sisterly trip!
1. Asam Laksa at Jonker 88
The most famous icon of Jonker Walk, Jonker 88 is no doubt the place to go for a bowl of asam laksa. Based on a home-made recipe, the laksa is served with noodles and tipped with cucumber, onion slices, tofu pok and a spoonful of tuna. Be prepared to brave the queue before you are greeted with a bowl of delish noodles. 
2. Conquer Jonker Street
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Conquering Jonker Street on a weekend is no easy feat. This street comes alive at night, bustling with roadside stalls that sell everything under the sun - ranging from tasty snacks to cheap souvenirs. We braved the human crowd (sweaty bodies, arms and all) and walked from one end to the other while sampling tasty snacks along the way!
3. Indulge in Chicken Rice Balls
Don't leave Malacca without polishing off a plate of chicken rice balls. These rice balls are so tiny that I could easily eat 10 of it myself. Do not attempt to bounce these off the table, for they are not ping pong balls :)  
4. Fill your tummies with pastries
Savour a wide collection of pastries housed under one roof, ranging from 老婆饼 to 豆沙饼. These pastries are freshly baked from the bakeries, we could even smell the fragrance from across the street. Lug some goodies home for the family and spread the love!
5. Chill at a Cafe & enjoy live music
We headed to Geographer's Cafe for a girls' night out. Located at a corner of Jonker Walk, this is the place to be seen! With a drink in hand, we chatted the night away while live music accompanied us in the background. 

Psst .... detailed posts will be linked once completed, stay tuned!  
 Read our Malacca adventures here:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Honeymoon: 15 things to do in Paris

Paris, also known as the City of Love, is a popular honeymoon destination. When it comes to romance, the french people knows it best since French is the language for love. The iconic Eiffel tower is also a symbol of love, as countless proposals took place within its ground. There is something whimsical about Paris, an irresistible charm that makes people yearn for more. Therefore, here is my personal take on how to enjoy Paris with your love :)  
1. The Eiffel Tower
A trip to Paris is never complete without visiting the Eiffel Tower, one of the most recognizable structures in the world. For those looking for a good workout, simply tour the tower on foot by climbing the 704 steps from the bottom to the 2nd floor. Otherwise, purchase the tickets for lifts in person at the ticketing booths or online from their official website.
2. Louvre Museum
Housing more than 35,000 works of arts including the famous Mona Lisa, Louvre Museum is worth a visit for those interested in arts & history. Pace your way through the different exhibits, ranging from Egyptian antiquities to paintings. While you are mesmerized by the painting of Mona Lisa, do be wary of pickpockets loitering around the area. 
Related posts: Louvre, the perfect symmetry I, II, III and IV
3. Dine at a Michelin Star Restaurant
With over 70 Michelin-starred restaurants, Paris is one of the most foodie-friendly capitals in the world. We headed to Lasserre, a 2-star Michelin restaurant for lunch and boy, it was the most enjoyable experience ever! 
 4.  Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Church always remind me of the movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Decorated with exquisite carvings of French Gothic influence, the cathedral is widely considered to be one of the most well-known church buildings in the world. Conquer the 380 steps up the cathedral towers and see the Emmanuel bell.  
 5. Hop on a River Cruise
Hop on a river cruise to enjoy the sights along River Seine. Fuss-free and easy, this saves you from walking the miles. Head to the upper deck and bask in the sunshine, feel the gentle breeze caressing your hair as you sail down the river.
6. Picnic at the Park
Pack some food, head to a nearby park and have an impromptu picnic.   
Related post: Picnic at Tuileries Garden
7. Watch Moulin Rouge
The famous red wind-mill of Paris, birthplace of the can-can dance. Catch a show at Moulin Rouge and be transported into a world of cabarets, can-can dance, elaborate costumes made of feathers, rhinestones and sequins. 
Related post: Moulin Rouge 
 8. Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles, which has been on UNESCO's World Heritage list for 30 years, is definitely worth a day trip out of Paris city. Spanning over 2,014 acres of land, the Chateau is divided into the Palace, the Garden, the Grand Trianon and Marie-Antoniette's Estate. My personal favourites are The Hall of Mirrors (located in the Palace) and the Garden. You can even rent a boat and row in the grand canal. 
9. Chill out at Laduree Tea house
Enjoy a quiet afternoon at Laduree Tea House, sipping tea over a table full of desserts. Desserts always taste sweeter when sharing it with the other half :) Pack a box of their signature macarons for takeaway! 
10. Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris
Designed by Paul Abadie, the Basilica is situated at the summit of Montmatre, which also happens to be the highest point in the city. The Basilica offers a spectacular panoramic view of the Paris skyline, which many visitors flocked to see. 
11. Shopping
Paris is the perfect shopping paradise, with home-grown brands like Chanel, Hermes and many more. Stroll down Champ Elysee, head into the store of your favourite brand and just hand over the credit card!
12. Street Performances
Being a capital of arts and culture, there are plenty of street performances in the city. Hunt for an empty slot at the steps in front of Basilica, grab a bottle of beer and some snacks from the street vendors and enjoy the show.
13. Drink lots of wine
When the price tag of wine is way cheaper than a glass of water, ordering wine is the best way to go!
14. Shop at their local supermart
Have a go at their ready-packed meals - they never tasted so good! Stock up on a few bottles of wine to drink at the comfort of your accommodation. Oh, grab a couple of their desserts to counter late night hunger pangs. 
Related post: Grocery Shopping
15. Stroll along River Seine
Take a slow walk down the river banks with your love, hand-in-hand and enjoy the wonderful sights of Paris. Head to the Eiffel Tower and snap a picture or two, or watch the sun setting in the horizon - this is the perfect way to end the day. 

Psst .... detailed posts will be linked once completed, stay tuned! 
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