Thursday, March 23, 2017

Korea - Here i come! 9 Days of Seoul, Busan, Gyongju, Sokcho

I’ve got a trip coming up and I’ve been researching a lot. There is a lack of information on the places I was interested in and some of the blog entries are quite dated and I am concerned that the public transport information ( we are not driving this time) may no longer be valid. Using the Korean tourism board information also mind boggling as they disclaim the information shown on their website (WTH?)

My usual to go to research tool TripAdvisor reviews on food is also failing. Looks like not a lot of people reviewed on Korean food compared to trips in new Zealand and Australia.

To top it off, there is a language barrier! The google browser is not working as effectively as Koreans effectively uses their own browser (naver) for information and its all in KOREAN! Google translate helps but not a lot. My google map also seems to be failing and then I found out that Koreans uses their own maps naver or daum maps which is more accurate for their public transport. The catch to using it is typing the destinations in Korean.
I finally got my itinerary mapped out and I hope that it works as I planned it out to be.
I was really obsessed with getting the locations right and have it in both Korean and English. In case, I got lost and needed help. I hope that I’m not too ambitious with my itinerary due to time constraints I axed out travelling to Jeju this time.

Day 1: Seoul: Namsan Tower and Lotte world shopping mart
Day 2: Seoul: Hanbok dress experience, Gyeongbokgung Palace and Yeouido Spring flower festival
Day 3: Seoul: Changdeokgung (UNESCO World Heritage), Jongmyo Shrine (UNESCO World Heritage) and Buchon Hanok Village
Day 4: Busan: Busan Gamcheon Culture Village, Jagalchi Market
Day 5: Bulguksa Temple and  Seokguram Grotto (UNESCO World Heritage)
Day 6:  Haedong Yonggungsa, Gijang Market and Haeundae Beach
Day 7: Gangchon rail park
Day 8: Seoraksan
Day 9: Shopping and hair salon at Ewha Womans University Station

All the information is from many blogs but the ones that I referred extensively is from the following blogs:
Iamontheroad, Seoulistic (korean food and interesting things to do), Peonykiss (make up) and boundforbusan (busan travels)

I discovered that I can add layers to my map and I’ve divided my locations by layers namely Sokcho, Seoul and Busan. Totally new to this function but I’m not optimistic of the effectiveness of google map in korea.  

I googled obsessively on things to buy from korea and ended up with a pretty long list, mainly food and cosmetics. 

Now is just waiting for the day to arrive and to book my KTX tickets. Yippee! Korea here i come

Monday, March 6, 2017

My dream Korea photoshoot - and the dream came crashing down

Finally got something related to wedding to share on the blog.

The first time i heard about korean photoshoot is probably a year after my wedding and i remember that i was pretty surprised that they only do indoor photography. But the photos are really romantic and have very elaborate sets. 

In korea, they don't call it prewedding. In their own local terms, they call it a wedding rehearsal.

I am not sure if it is to cater for foreigners visiting on short term, but a full photography session can be either completed in one day or two days.

For a 2 days photography, the first day is usually a 1.5 hours gown choosing session. The time is possible as brides can only choose to try 5 gowns within the allocated time frame. The second day is purely a  make up session followed by a 4 hours photography session. Albums will only be ready 2 - 4 months from the time of photography. The album and frame will be couriered to you (charges may apply separately). A package typically includes make up and 4 gowns (2 white gowns, 1 coloured gown, one mini dress and a tuxedo). Shoes and hair accessories are included for ladies, Men need to bring their own black shoes and black socks.

The sample photography showcased for the year is probably the exact shots you are getting. The poses and background are similar only the bride/groom is different. So don't go in expecting something different.

On a smaller scale, its called semi-wedding. Photography session is shorter, maybe 1 to 1.5 hours.

The pricing across studio are also somewhat similar and it also depends on the size of the studio you selected. At the time of writing, I find the pricing on Hello Muse an agent very competitive and all comprehensive. This is the only agency i contacted to get a quotation.

The others, i liaise directly with the studios. The studios i reach out are Roi Studio, CN studio, Sum studio, Bong studio, Studio Wonkyu, Lumiere studio and Cheongdam studio. The general pricing range for these are between KRW 1,450,000 to KRW 3,900,000. I will group the pricing as follows: budget (CN studio, Lumiere studio), mid-range (Bong studio, sum studio, roi studio and cheongdam studio), luxury (Studio Wonkyu).

Things that may or may not include in the package:
- photo edits of album
- photo frame and album
- EMS charges of frame and album
- translator
- transportation

Not sure if it is possible to negotiate for these items as my prime objection is to assess if their package suits my needs and budget for my trip to korea.

I was given a budget of S$1,000 (since we have done a photoshoot before) and below. Based on the above quotations, i won't be able to have my dream photoshoot after all.

Photos are all credits from all the studio listed above.

Tip: For more info and reviews on these studios, its always better to google them on naver.  You won't find any information except from overseas customers.