Monday, 29 August 2016

My Happiest Memory in Seoul (II)

My Happiest Memory in Seoul (II) | by Meheartseoul
This was my second trip in September 2013 after the successful and memorable first trip in Korea. I was more confident to bring my kiddos along with us knowing that nothing to worry as Korean people was so helpful and welcoming us. Check out our best ever family trip here~!

 We felt guilty that didn't get to join us and missed them so much
though we did call them every night...

Without further ado, let me share our happiest memory in Korea. Actually, I would love to go through each and every places as if you're traveling with us, but it'll be endless~~~!

Arrived at Incheon airport we directly went to Dragon Hill Jjimjilbang in Seoul as it's late night. It's the first time for kids to experience Korean jjimjilbang. Though my hubby and I visited jjimjilbang in Gyeongju after tired walking, but it's our first time to stay overnight.

Dragon Hill Jjimjilbang
But, it's kids' first experience of Korean bath house...

Keep Calm and Have Awesome Birthday Celebration~!
The next morning was the highlight of this trip. Actually it's my birthday present from hubby, though I'd do to all the homework to plan the itinerary including how to celebrate it in The Land of the Morning Calm.

Actually, my birthday is just another 11 days later, and I really wish to be there again...
Goguan Studio - Giseang Hanbok make-over
Goguan Studio - Giseang Hanbok make-over.

From Jjimjilbang, we had a bit of hiccup as most of the taxi drivers didn't know our hotel location, some resisted because they need to make U-turn. And worse was we didn't have internet connection as I reserved Wifi egg with "S-Roaming" but it closed its business without informing us. Then, I couldn't searched for the address in Hangul or texted my friend to ask them for help.

We waited opposite the road with lesser taxi passing for more 40 minutes, but no taxi willing to take us there. Luckily the Ahjumma who was suggested us to wait across the street saw us after no more  morning crowd waiting in front of Yongsan station. She crossed the road and helped us to tell the taxi driver how to go there. We really appreciate for her kindness and assistance.

After put our luggage in the hotel, we headed to Goguan Hanbok Studio. I'd booked the package which consist of renting Gisaeng Hanbok + make-up + hairdo. If you're interested to experience wear Korean traditional dress and snap these lovely photos with Korean-style furniture and background props, please check out my separate posting here

Korea in Motion Festival
 Collected 'Fantastick' performance tickets as I won them from Koinmo contest.

Since the booth was in front of KTO HQ at Cheonggyecheon, we went in to check where others "S-roaming" collection points. Then we only found out that they'd closed the business. 

Then we also checked whether D'maris at Gangnam need to have reservation for lunch buffet. The officer called and confirmed that we could have lunch there. She was helpful to print the map with the address in Hangul, so we could get the take taxi there smoothly. (Seoul Trip Blog) 
 D'maris Seafood Buffet (드마리스뷔페).

D'maris is a premium buffet restaurant serving more than 250 variety dishes including fresh seafood, Teppanyaki, Sashimi, Sushi, Salad, Korean Food, Mediterranean food and variety of dishes from around the world including desserts and fruits.

Happy and satisfied to have such a sumptuous buffet lunch to celebrate my birthday~!^^

FYI, if you wish to have a meal in D'maris, please check their other branches, because now this place change to 'Ashley QueensWorld Gourmet' which is chained buffet restaurant. Please click this link for the food review. 

To be frank, we're handicapped as no internet connection. We couldn't use google map to guide us where to find the place we want to go. But fret not, because Korea is very tourist friendly where you can find Tourist Information Centre (TIC) and even Tourist polices patrolling in the touristy area that ready to assist you.

ID Hair Salon
 After we got the map from TIC, hubby and kids dropped me at
ID Hair Salon to have my hair cut and permed.

However, after the hair stylist checked, it's not suitable to perm as it's too dry. Too bad I only can had it cut and styled.

Trick Eye Museum and Ice Gallery

They went to Trick Eye Museum and Ice Gallery and had 
fun snapping unbelievable photos to show me.

The highlight of the day supposed to be Hangang River Dinner Cruise, but not sure why that day they only Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain cruise available.

Romantic Night Cruise along Hangang River.

Hangang Cruise is getting more and more popular because of Korean drama 'My Love from Another Star'. Neb, it's the where Do Min Joon and Cheon Song-yi shared their first kiss! Omo~ Omo!!!

Romantic Night Cruise along Hangang River. 
Love is all around this Banpo Bridge.

   Let my hair down and showered by Banpo Bridge light show
made my heart dancing~!

My kids voted Hangang River Cruise is one of the best attractions in Seoul, and according to them Hangang has such good 'qi' (energy) as they suddenly stop coughing when they reached there!

Love is all around this Banpo Bridge
See my life in a different light and thankful to have a wonderful hubby 
and lovely kids to celebrate my birthday in Korea. Love you all so much! (Vera Lee)
To summarize it, these were the places we went. However, it's already
 exceeded 500 words, if you want to read our fantastic adventures 
please click the following links below:

Everland and Caribbean Bay 

Gwanghwamun, Gangnam & Garosugil
Jumunjin, Gyeongpodae, Seongyojang, and Ojukheon House
Day 4 - [Gangneung] - Jumunjin, Gyeongpodae, Seongyojang, and Ojukheon House.

Samcheok, Jukseoru Pavilion, Chotdaebawi Rock,   Mureung Valley, Samhwasa Temple & Seongyojang.

SBS filming us experiencing Tea Ceremony & playing Yutnori   at Seongyojang before we headed back to Seoul (Gyeongbokgung).
 Day 6 - SBS filming us experiencing Tea Ceremony & playing Yutnori 
at Seongyojang before we headed back to Seoul (Gyeongbokgung).

Bukchon Hanok Village, Hongdae, Myeongdong   and watching 'FantaStick' Live Performance before bidding goodbye!
and watching 'FantaStick' Live Performance before bidding goodbye!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

My Happiest Memory in Seoul

My Happiest Memory in Seoul| by Meheartseoul
In case you’re wondering why I named my blog 'meheartseoul'. Yes, this blog was started after my first trip to Korea in 2012. It was a DIY trip after the travel agency canceled the tour as they don't have enough participants. So disappointed because they only informed us less than 7 days before the traveling day. We couldn't find other agencies that could match the date as they suggested later date which it's impossible for my hubby to change the applied leave from his company.

Desperate me decided to plan and travel on our own. Lucky that I have few kind and helpful Korean friends to checked through my whole itinerary and transportation especially from one province to  another one.

Our 9 days of amazing virgin trip covering some parts of...

  Seoul (Cheonggyecheon, Gangnam, N Seoul Tower, Myeongdong).
  Seoul (Cheonggyecheon, Gangnam, N Seoul Tower, Myeongdong).

Met the private tour guide that supposed to accompany our nine days trip in Gangnam. However, we ended up travel ourselves because of calculation error and ended up it's a lot more expensive than our budget. Nonetheless, he's helpful and kind to assist us in booking interesting accommodations such as minbak in Udo Island, Caravan glamping at Jaraseom, and also flight to Jeju and back. 

When he refunded us the balance after deducted all the payments, we even asked his suggestion where we could find authentic Hanjeongsik, and he even assisted to call and reserve the table for us at Samcheonggak on our last day in Seoul. 

Jeju Seogwipo (Yakcheonsa Temple, Jungmun Beach,   Cheonjeyeon Waterfall and breathtaking Jeongbang Falls).
Jeju Seogwipo (Yakcheonsa Temple, Jungmun Beach, 
Cheonjeyeon Waterfall and breathtaking Jeongbang Falls).
 Udo Island (ATV ride to scenic spots of this beautiful island  and lazying at Seonbinbaeksa beach to catch sunset).
 Udo Island (ATV ride to scenic spots of this beautiful island
and lazying at Seonbinbaeksa beach to catch sunset).

Awesome experience and right decision to stay overnight in White Castle Minbak. Halmeoni, the owner of the minbak was kind to invite s inside her house and boil hot water for our ramen and we'd some fun chit chat. I think Halmeoni had hard time to understand because of my poor grammar.

Jeju City (Just Jeju (Hallim Park, Hyeopjae Beach, Biyangdo Island,      Yeongduam Rock, Geumneung Beach, Jusangjeolli Cliffs, O'Sulloc Museum).
 Jeju City (Just Jeju (Hallim Park, Hyeopjae Beach, Biyangdo Island,
    Yeongduam Rock, Geumneung Beach, Jusangjeolli Cliffs, O'Sulloc Museum).

Visited all of these places was made possible because we found friendly Mr Park Kisanim (taxi driver) to drive and show us the beauty of Jeju Island in 9 hours.

Busan (Haeundae Beach, Haedong Yonggung Temple, Dongbaek Park,   Haeundae Dalmaji-gil, Gwanggali Beach, Mt. Hwangryeongsan).
Busan (Haeundae Beach, Haedong Yonggung Temple, Dongbaek Park, 
Haeundae Dalmaji-gil, Gwanggali Beach, Mt. Hwangryeongsan).

Million thanks to Oppa and his wife, to be frank we only correspondents through emails as I was online seller and sourcing children apparels from Korea. But when he knew that I was going to visit Busan, he insisted to spend their precious time to accompany and show us around... yes, even though he's super busy with his businesses. Thank you so much~!

As we'd to leave early in the morning, Oppa had brilliant idea to drive us up to Mt. Hwangryeongsan, so he could see the whole beautiful Busan from the top of the mountain!

Gyeongju (Bulguksa Temple, Seokguram Grotto,   Donggung Palace, Woji / Anapji Pond and Daereungwon Tomb Complex).
Gyeongju (Bulguksa Temple, Seokguram Grotto, 
Donggung Palace, Woji / Anapji Pond and Daereungwon Tomb Complex).
Jaraseom & Nami Island.
Jaraseom & Nami Island.

 Seoul (Itaewon, Dongdaemun, Hangang Park).
 Seoul (Itaewon, Dongdaemun, Hangang Park).

We're really happy to visit charming places, tasting delicious local delicacies, interacting with locals and experience Korean culture throughout the trip in Korea. But if I have to choose only the Happiest Memory in Seoul, then it was on our last day in Seoul...
Changdeokgung Palace.
 Changdeokgung Palace.

Our first palace visit in Seoul wasn't Gyeongbokgung, but UNESCO World Heritage Changdeokgung Palace. Glad that they provided free guided English tour for us to know more about the palace and functions of the halls as well as where the last royal member stayed. 

King Sejong Story (세종이야기).
 King Sejong Story (세종이야기).

From Changdeokgung, we headed to Gwanghwamun Square where the statues of King Sejong The Great and legendary Admiral Yi Sun-Shin stood. We walked around and found King Sejong Story exhibitions underground it.  

We're so engrossed by his awesome inventions and awesome to find out that how he created Hangul for the sake of his people which enormously contributed to Korean civilization. Didn't notice the time passed so fast and we quickly browsed The Story of Admiral Yi Sun-shin before left the hall.

 Samcheonggak (삼청각).

From the exhibition hall, we walked to Kyobo bookstore at Gwanghwamun as there's shuttle bus provided for Samcheonggak's guests .

Didn't expect that to see such a huge and beautiful Hanok style buildings and charming garden there. We're lost until the staff guided us to the correct building. I was shocked when walked pass the familiar building shown on Korean Drama 'Feast of the Gods'. 

We had  8 course Yuha Sura (Yuha Royal set meal). The menu included Seasonal Porridge & Water Kimchi, Mug Bean Jelly with Beef, Bamboo Shoot Salad with Ripe Persimmon, Grilled Scallops, Assorted Pan-Fried Delicacies, Korean Beef Sirloin Bulgogi Salad, Japchae, Rice Cake, Grilled Pork Neck, Makgeolli, Sikye and fruits for dessert.

They only serve you another dish after you finish the one on your table, and you'll need to wait for awhile for them to prepare it freshly from the kitchen. Do set at least 90 minutes to enjoy these tantalizing and appetizing meal in this calming Korean classical ambience.

Excellent customer service too, as when they knew that I didn't eat beef. The chef came out to check whether I want to change it to pork instead. Was really impressed and it totally matched on what stated on the menu list "A dining table prepared with sincerity for you someone special."

The price was ₩45,000 / person, and it worth the price with the quality authentic Korean food, services for this high-class Korean-style restaurant. 

Lotte World Shopping Mall => Lotte Mart (Seoul Station) =>  KTO HQ => Deodeokbap => Cheonggyecheon Stream.
Lotte World Shopping Mall => Lotte Mart (Seoul Station) =>
KTO HQ => Deodeokbap => Cheonggyecheon Stream.

It's free time as we didn't schedule anything between lunch and dinner. So, we went to Lotte World to buy ginseng, snacks and gifts. But it was super crowded and we retreated to Lotte Mart in Seoul Station. 

Then went to KTO HQ, but sadly the Hanbok Experience counter was closed already and they suggested us to go to Myeondong. But, it's too troublesome to carry big and heavy box around. So we just had fun taking photos with standees at Hanbok and Hallyu Experience Zones.

Kurt came all the way to Seoul just to meet us for dinner. He brought us to Deodeokbap restaurant to have grilled Deodeok set meal. I thought deodeok was ginseng as it looked and tasted like ginseng. It's really delicious and I even asked my other friend to help me buy deodeok kimchi when he came to Singapore. I tried to pan grilled it but it's not as yummy as what we had there ;P

After dinner we strolled along the Cheonggyecheon stream with colorful laser lights displays. As he can speak English, we had no problem communicating and talked almost every topics from Singapore to Seoul, worklife, our trip,... 

I'm blessed to know and have them as my friends. This was definitely unforgettable trip we had.  My Korean friends making this trip possible and memorable one. They showered us with care, welcomed us as if we're their own family. Texted me almost everyday just to check whether we need help, update us on the weather forecast, and host us in their house, guide and even pampered us delicious meals. 

Even Halmoeni, Kisanim, Imo, and strangers that we just met assisted and did their best one way and another to make us feel so comfortable as if we're home. 

 Happiness is when you're surrounded with friendly Koreans.
 Happiness is when you're surrounded with friendly Koreans.
Our Happiest Smiles~!^^

Yes, it's this magic of heartwarming 'Jeong (정)' that keep me wanting to revisit Korea again and again.  많이 감사함니다~!^^

Thursday, 11 August 2016

[Lombok] - Gili Sudak (롬복 길리 수닥)

Energy drained from snorkeling and swimming with the fish for more than 70 minutes at Gili Nanggu. It's time to refill our empty tummies at ...
  Gili Sudak (롬복 길리 수닥).

Tables and chairs set just few steps away from the beach.

  Didn't expect to have beachfront dining...

 Idyllic background although it's simple warung (tavern) setting.

Not sure about the menu here because it's in the package, so we're told to wait for about 15 minutes for them to prepare the food.

That little hut anchoring on the beach captivated our eyes!
 Come~! Let's have some stroll along the beach while waiting...
According to our guide, this homey-look hut is floating guardhouse.

   I thought it's overwater beach bungalow. 

Stunning dreamy sea view from this vantage point.

 The scorching hot afternoon sun toasting my whole body!

Isn't this beautiful scene worth some snaps to fill up your instagram gallery?

Soaking my feet let the soothing waves massaging them...

Seduced by symphony of the sea humming of the wave song of the wave.

The briny air carried some yummy barbecue smell 
that made my stomach rumbled... 

 Finally our empty table spread with yummy-looking food~!!!

Waung food at Lombok Gili Sudak (롬복 길리 수닥)
Grilled fish which was freshly caught by local fishermen.
Waung food at Lombok Gili Sudak (롬복 길리 수닥)
 Indonesian-style Cap Chay (stir fry mixed vegetable), rice and sambal.

Waung food at Lombok Gili Sudak (롬복 길리 수닥)
It's been a long time never had this authentic Indonesian food.
Finger licking delicious and truly satisfying~!

We need to leave the last Gili by 4pm because it takes 3 hours to 
go back to our hotel in Senggigi.

Only can imagine how nice if we could  spend a late afternoon sitting on the beach, drink young coconut while waiting for the sunset and have a romantic dinner there...

FYI, Nirvana Gili Resort is the only accommodation in Gili Sudak.