Sunday, May 28, 2017

Korea - Itinerary 9 Days 8 Nights, Day 1: Seoul - Myeong Deong


Day 1: 

  • Seoul, myeong dong shopping for cosmetics
  • Dinner at Bonjuk at Myeong Dong and Myeong Dong street food
  • Seoul: Ibis Ambassador Seoul Myeong Dong
To do:

Arrived to Seoul safely. What with all the North Korea threats on their trial nuclear tests and china banning tourists from travelling to South Korea due to political reasons. 
Upon alighting from the plan, we need to queue for a shuttle. The shuttle is to ferry all arriving passengers to the customs clearance and the main airport where all the shopping and food is. We only manage to board the 3rd shuttle train due to the long queue.

Did not do much today except for booking the KTX tickets at the tourist information centre. Its quite a distance from where the arrival hall. We also got our t money, its useful as we do not need to get tickets and just top up adequate money and we are good to go.

There is also a queue for the sim card. 

To eat:

Bonjuk 본죽 2.8 stars, budget

65-2 Chungmuro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Even with an address, korea is not the easiest place to navigate. So it all boils down to luck or my dear hubby. Though he confidently proclaims he knows the way to this place. ah ha! Yes, he did eventually lead us to the right place.

I ordered the basic abalone porridge at KRW 11,000. But if you like hong kong style porridge, this is not the kind of porridge for you. As this is thick porridge and you can still feel the rice grains. I love the abalone porridge primarily due to the abalone is chopped to fine but very chewy. Though the porridge is still a bit plain. 

Hubby ordered the crab porridge at KRW 9,000 as it was recommended online and he wanted to try something different from mine. Apparently he didn't like it. He find that it lacks flavour and bland. I didn't try his as he is down with flu. 
There is a huge variety of other porridge to choose from. Unfortunately, someone is no longer keen to try. 

I came with huge expectations, but this place fails to impress me. To placate someone, i agreed to supper along myeong deong food street right after dinner.

Myeong Deong street food 3.5 stars, budget

No address except its along the streets of cosmetics, Myeong Deong Seoul, South Korea

Some of the food is not bad. I love the lobster as well as the fried potato wrapped with hot dog. Both of these are delicious. But the lobster is quite expensive. 

Not very impressed with the egg bun. As its basically just hard boiled egg toasted with bread. 

To Stay:

Ibis ambassador seoul myeongdong, IBIS앰배서더 명동 호텔 

78 Namdaemun-ro, Myeongdong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

The location of the hotel is undisputedly a premium location. Within short walking distance is Euljiro 1 (il) ga (Line 2 green line) or if you're shopping along myeong dong the myeong dong station. Airport express bus #6015 directly stopped in front of the hotel which makes commute between airport and hotel a breeze. 

I was able to shop for beauty products to my hearts content till late as the shops are all within walking distance. 

Service is great from all the concierge/reception. Checking in is a breeze. We left our luggage at the luggage room and we always able to promptly deposit and collect our luggage with ease. 

Being used to soft fluffy beds, the bed is a little too firm for my liking and the pillows too soft. Although we did ask for extra pillows but it doesn't really seem to help much. The furnishing and carpeting is a dated and is due for an overhaul. 
I like the space of the room though. Sufficient to place all 3 luggages i brought. It was pretty stuffy in the room for first few days and upon enquiry was suggested to open the windows if required. Luckily on return trip the air con works fine as i set it to a lower temperature. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Korea - Itinerary 9 Days 8 Nights (Seoul, Busan, Gyeongju, Sokcho)

This is my original planned itinerary. Quite a lot of misses this round. 
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

Full details of itinerary and food below:

Upon returning, i am shocked to find that i spend nearly S$2,000. I was comforted by my facial therapist that she bought more like over $3,000. But still, i felt like i didn't get the best bang for my buck. Seoul itself is quite an expensive city. Shopping mainly for shoes, clothes, cosmetics and titbits. Here are the cosmetics and shoes. 

Here's a day by day for reference. More details in the coming posts. 

Day 3: 

  • Seoul: Changdeokgung (UNESCO World Heritage) and Buchon Hanok Village
  • Breakfast at Paris Baguette @ Myeong Dong,  Late lunch at random food place near Insadong, Tea at random hanok place at Buchon Hanok Village, Dinner at Tosokchon Samyetang at Jongno-gu
Day 4:

  • Busan: Busan Gamcheon Culture Village, Jagalchi Market
  • Bread on train to busan, Brunch at Gamcheon culture village, Lunch at Jagalchi Market, Dinner at Kyochon
  • Busan: Toyoko Inn Busan Station 1
Day 5:

  • Gyeongju: Bulguksa Temple and  Seokguram Grotto (UNESCO World Heritage)
  • Breakfast at hotel, Tea break with Gyeonju red bean bread, Dinner at Bonjeon Dwaeji Gugbap near Busan station
Day 6:  

  • Haedong Yonggungsa, Gijang Market
  • Breakfast at Ops bakery near Haeundae, Lunch at Gijang Market
  • Return to Ibis Ambassador Seoul Myeong Dong
Day 7: 

  • Do nothing day, sleep late and slowly travel to Sokcho
  • Breakfast at Hobong at Myeong Dong, Lunch at random lunch place near bus station at Sokcho, Dinner at Kensington Hotel
  • Sokcho: Kensington Stars Hotel
Day 8:

  • Seoraksan
  • Breakfast at Seoraksan, late lunch at Lotteria, Dinner at Palsaik Korean BBQ
Day 9:

  • Shopping and  head to Juno hair salon at Ewha Womans University Station
  • Breakfast/lunch/dinner at Lotte shopping supermarket

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

SKII @ Seviin Tangs is closing for good

Shocked! I wasn't expecting this piece of news and i was about to try to buy another facial package at the coming 12% rebate.

So upset i was that i cancelled all my other activities for the day. I've been coming to this facial since 2014 and i always enjoyed my session with my therapist Cammie who always make me feel at ease. I am also comforted by the fact that this is a big name brand not those facial salons that could shutter up anytime with no compensation.

So its kind of sad to find out during my facial that it might be my last. SKII is closing by Jun 15, 2017 and they won't be continuing when Tangs reopen their facial counters at level 4.

I am unsure if i will look for another facial place as alot of places don't perform extraction now. Extraction is good to clear the pores and allow skin to absorb the nutrients better. Or i might just rely on all the facial masks i purchased during my Korean trip.

Compensation for the balance of unused package will be carried out in July 2017 for existing customers.