Saturday, October 28, 2017

Wondrous Wonders

In the blink of an eye, the dust on my blog seems a few metres thick, hahahhaa..

Just got inspired to blog after my recent awe-inspiring trip to the Great Wall of China, which has been one of my dream places to visit. Really need to blog about my trip to Beijing - Xi An when I have the mood and time.

Anyways, just to remind myself once in awhile how lucky I have been so far, I wanted to list out some of the places that I have visited to stem my saliva flow from looking at recent trip posts of some of my friends. Need to tell myself from time to time to be patient and there is still time to keep collecting trips, miles and memories. 


The Great Wall of China (Construction believed to begin in 771–476 BC)
You really need to see it to believe it! Winding through the sloping mountains, a really amazing structure that makes you admire the tenacity of people of yore. Wow!

Colosseum in Rome (Built in 70–80 AD)
Didn't think much of this place when I visited as it was the latter part of my Europe Trip and the weather was hot! I may appreciate it much more if I visited now that I have read up more on it as a wonder of the world.

Leaning Tower of Pisa (Completed 1372)
The weather plus the architecture allowed me to capture a picture nicer than my skills deserved. The white marble was really really pretty =) 

Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England (Believed to be constructed 3000 BC to 2000 BC)
No longer a complete circle when I visited and tourists were no longer allowed to get up-close and personal. It did have a mystifying aura that made you wonder who made it and for what purpose and it seemed to attract the little puff of cloud that was directly above it, haha. I remember hoards of locals jamming up the road to the landmark. 

Ha Long Bay in Vietnam
Misty and cool when I went in early March with nice views and nice food, a very relaxing place! Currently listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature and a UNESCO World Heritage Site~

 
Angkor Wat in Siem Reap (Built in the 12th century)
Hot hot hot! My only memory of Siem Reap is that it was super hot, until I couldn't fully appreciate the splendour of the place. This picture was taken at 6am and the 8am sun was equivalent to our 12noon, go figure! Lol

Terracota Army in Xi'An (Constructed in 210–209 BCE)
Okay so I know this is not what people would expect when they hear the words Terracotta Army. I have pictures of the actual army too, but this was my favourite in the exhibit, Horse Chariot No. 2 that's made out of high quality bronze. It also has the meaning '平平安安' or safe and sound as it was located behind Horse Chariot No. 1 which protected the master riding in the covered compartment of No. 2 (plus any animals just tickle my fancy XD)

 The 12 Apostles in Victoria
Located along ocean road, there are less than 12 and they don't really look like apostles so I don't know where the idea for the name came from. One highlight of this place was that this picture was taken from a helicopter, woohoo, super fun ride!

Jeju Volcanic Island 
Also one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, every corner is beautiful and a must visit place for nature and seafood lovers! Nice food and friendly people can also be found in abundance, well worth a visit (or more)!

Can't wait to expand this list further!! 

Some other dream locations of mine (dream dream dream...):
The Dubai Desert, Christ the Redeemer, Machu Picchu, Icelandic Northern Lights, Petra in Jordan

Friday, January 1, 2016

UNESCO World Natural Heritage site - Seongsan Ilchubong

Technically, we only spent 1.5 days in Jeju Island, not including our arrival on Saturday night. The itinerary for the full first day as recommended by our friendly Airbnb host, Eugene, was:

Seongsan Ilchubong - Seopjikoji - Seongeup Folk Village - Sangumburi - Jeolmul Forest

FYI, the optimal Jeju trip would be at least 3 days to cover all the major spots. Since we did not have the luxury of time, our itinerary was quite tiring as we also managed to squeeze in Dongmun market at the end of the day. According to Eugene, the spots she recommended were some of the best places to experience the natural beauty of Jeju and since the largest amount of time was spent at the must-go UNESCO heritage site which is Seongsan Ilchubong or Sunrise Peak, I will dedicate this entire post to it~ XD


We started our trip at 9.00am in the morning, with the ominous question from our friendly driver, Mr Kim, about the contents of our breakfast. When told we only had bread and juice, he immediately stopped and got us some rice rolls for 'more energy', he said. We would find out the reason why a short while later...


Jeju is so awesomely beautiful, there is some sort of greenery at every turn. Tree-lined roads are the norm here~~

Spotted this ship by the side of the road on the way to Sunrise Peak and we stopped to take pictures, but I can't find any information on this structure in the middle of nowhere, weird...


First thing I wanted to do when we arrived was to take a picture with the Dol Hareubang statue that I had been eagerly waiting to see, found out later that the entire island is littered with them, hahaha..

Wefie with mr stone statue~

A view of the crowded parking lot so early in the morning. See the buildings behind? My colleagues who had joined a tour group to Jeju just before I went told me that they had explored in that direction which was the direct opposite of the direction we took, and thus skipped a lot of strenuous legwork.. XD

Right at the entrance, with Seongsan looming behind us

We started on the trail which you can see on the right side of the pic, together with our driver, Mr Kim, who came along with us part of the way. Shortly after, he pointed us to the trail proper and told us that we would have 'free time', i.e. we could take as much time as we liked to explore the place. We were happily looking at the view around us and didn't think much of what would be ahead -___-

Spotted some Haenyeo (literally 'sea women') selling fresh seafood

Abalone to be eaten raw, which we didn't try *regret*

Some way along the trail.. The building was where we saw the Haenyeo earlier @@

Before we knew it, we were along the ascending trail with no place to u-turn. Seriously, the only way to go is up. We were still happily taking photos despite the heat (I thought Jeju would be cooler end October and the t-shirt I was wearing is a heat-tech from Uniqlo, urghhhhh, full of regret and sweat).













Still in the mood on the way up

See the steps! About halfway up, my happy expression started to waver, hahaha..

I think I really burned lots of calories and the bf managed to even lose the soles of his shoes during the climb but we finally made it to the top of Seongsan Ilchubong! At that point, we were all sweaty and red from the 11am+ sun, lol.. 

We look so smiley in this pic

In reality, it was so sunny and glaring, we just wanted to hurry and get it over with. No choice, must take a photo with the sign to prove we did actually get to the top.

The awesome view from the top!

Opposite angle, that's the edge of the crater 

This is what Seongsan Ilchubong actually looks like, and we had climbed all the way up to the top *gasp*!!! We're crazy!!!! (Pic taken off Wikipedia)

Some more view of the edge of the crater, there wasn't much to see and I was slightly disappointed actually.. Couldn't wait to go back down to grab some cold drinks or something, lol..

What comes up must go down, sigh....

Scary looking right?! (the steps, not me -_______-)

Can clearly see the beads of sweat on our faces if you zoom in, lol

Cut to some nice view to distract you

At last! The end of the trail! 

Going down was quite uneventful since we were jogging down to save time and we made it down in like a quarter of the time we spent going up, haha.. We had spent almost 2 hours at just one attraction and we needed to speed up in order to complete our itinerary. Didn't even have time to explore the shops in town and then we had to leave to go to Seopjikoji. 

Extra itinerary - shoe buying!~

Poor guy's Adidas shoes died and went to shoe heaven after the staircase climbing session and we had to stop at some shop recommended by our awesome driver (more on him later if I have the time). He then teased us that these new shoes were made in Korea compared to the Adidas that was made in China XD

Champion brand sneakers for KRW40,000, hahaha...

As an afterthought, it was a really good experience, climbing to the top of Seongsan Ilchubong, an achievement, in fact, as many tourists may opt to skip it. I would advise those who seldom exercise think twice before going up though, as it is quite tiring. Our muscles ached like crazy the following day, hahahha.. (and I actually walk quite a fair bit usually, not like I don't do any exercise) =.= I really salute those local grandpas and grandmas who hike up the trail as exercise, and there were quite a lot of them. I was truly amazed... Next stop Seopjikoji~

Friday, December 25, 2015

E.A.T Trip to South Korea (17-24 October 2015)

Exciting.Awesome.Tiring -  a basic summary of our trip to Seoul and Jeju.

We started off our journey with a mad dash at KLIA2 early in the morning.I'll admit, it was mainly my fault due to my bad habit of never remembering flight numbers or boarding times properly. This was actually not my first time experiencing such a boo boo XD

In my mind, we had to reach the airport by 6am but when the bf asked whether it would be necessary to arrive so early, I just went along with it and never bothered to double check the boarding pass. We arrived at 7am just to see on our flight flashing on the departures board. Turns out boarding time was 7am and not 8am as we thought, I had a brief blackout moment where my mind just went blank, but after being told that we could no longer check in out bags and there was only 20 minutes left for us to clear immigration, scan our luggage and reach the boarding gate, we immediately sprang into action. I immediately knelt on the floor and started stuffing everything from the large suitcase that wasn't going to Korea into any nook and cranny available - in my handbag, his laptop bag, sling bag and our one and only cabin sized suitcase, now that I think about it, I really have no idea how we managed to get on the plane, hahaha.. (If you want to know, we just left the 2 other pieces of luggage we brought along, L size and M size, in the middle of the departure hall, for the bf's brother to locate later XD)

The funny story about 2 towels:-




Pictured above is part of my Longchamp handbag and the Barry Smith cabin luggage that saved the day. The stars in the pic however, are actually the 2 white fluffy towels that were carried like babies all the way from KL to Seoul and then to Jeju XD. The night before when the bf was packing, he as usual, packed a towel to bring along. I never have the habit of bringing towels since most hotels have them anyway, but this time my itchy mouth told him to "bring one more for me! there's plenty of quota for the luggage anyway since we have 25kgs available for check in!" At that moment, his mum happened to walk past and asked why he was bringing ugly old, thin towels and got us these 2 brand new hotel grade ones that were so fluffy, they couldn't be stuffed any where during our frenzied luggage stuffing performance on the KLIA2 departure hall floor. I ended up hugging them all the way to Jeju. Wasted our check-in quota for both the Air Asia and Jeju Air flights. We were like crazy people with all our carry ons.. T_T


 Half crazy already after our mad dash, with underpants and socks falling out from his bag while we were running (I'm being literal here..). Luckily I was behind and was able to pick up whatever had dropped out. 

Had the mood to take a selfie after we finally settled in, caught our breathes and dried our sweat, we just found everything really funny after our ordeal~ Still hugging the towels until very luckily, the girl next to me changed her seat and we had the whole row to ourselves =D

In flight meal on the way to Seoul, to adapt, we both ordered the kimchi chicken meal, lol


Immigration form, they were out of the English declaration forms so I tried to complete the Korean version and got the air stewardess to check, very proud that I almost managed to guess all the columns correctly, hehehe..

After an uneventful and punctual flight, we arrived at Incheon Airport and it was another slightly crazy time as we had to collect our rented portable wifi device, purchase bus tickets, connect to Gimpo Airport and check in our flight to Jeju.


Extremely useful portable wifi device rented from Pocket Wifi Korea. I'll attach the link in case somebody needs to locate the counter in the airport, which is in an obscure corner that nobody seems to be able to direct you to (personal experience)...

Got our tickets to take the standard limousine bus to Gimpo Airport quite easily

Settled down in the bus with all our bags and enjoyed the view along the way. My first impression of Seoul was that there are many bridges all over the place, in whatever size and colour.. Some of the places we passed looked quite dreamy, though I have no idea where we passed by..












We managed to arrive safely at Gimpo Airport way before our flight at 8pm++ and took the time to explore the airport and have our dinner. Nothing much to see at the Gimpo Airport domestic terminal but we did manage to get some Honey Tong Tong potato chips and the famed banana milk =)



Dinner was at a restaurant that was more like a cafeteria, and the food was nothing to shout about. No matter what, it was our first actual meal in Korea..

Self-service buzzer

Authentic Bibimbap

Authentic kimchi fried rice and pickled radish

One of the reasons why I love Korea, free unlimited drinking water at every single eatery!


Even better when there's a 'waiter' who helps you refill your drink, hee~

You only need to be at the gate 5 minutes before boarding, how awesome is that!



Flying over Seoul at night is a wonderful experience, all the light pollution is really beautiful to look at, hahaha.. Most airports are a distance away from the city so the surrounding area is usually not as bright. All in all, it was a nice 1 hour flight from Seoul to Jeju, with refillable juice and good looking flight steward to serve you *swoon* ( I swear I didn't notice until the bf mentioned it!)

We decided to take a cab to our accommodation from the airport instead of the public bus since it was almost 10pm by the time we made it out from the airport. Luckily we did, as our apartment booked via Airbnb was somewhat difficult to locate even via GPS and the lane leading down to the seaside apartment was really dark and quiet. 

This was my first time trying Airbnb and I found it to be a very good experience and I have already made another booking via them after my Jeju trip. No need to print anything unlike hotels as everything can be communicated with the host via chat apps beforehand. We owed our whole Jeju itinerary to our friendly host, Eugene, who speaks excellent English. She had everything you would need available in her cosy apartment including utensils, toiletries, microwave, fridge, hairdryer, full length mirror, super-speed wifi etc.... It was like going home after a very tiring day. I loved it!

The listing: Spacious room for 2 near beach and airport
 
Breakfast stuff all for us, the milk bread was so addictive!


Okok, so towels were provided as well -______-
 
Bath items well provided for

Just only realised that I actually did not take any more photos of the room, how strange. Anyways, it looked exactly the same as depicted in the listing, maybe that was my reasoning at the time, lol.

I really hope that I have the time and willpower to record my memories during the trip in order to remember the little details in decades to come. 10 years my boy, no mean feat! =P