Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Korea - Itinerary 9 Days 8 Nights, Day 4 Busan


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
To do:
Busan Gamcheon Culture Village
203 Gamnae 2-ro, Saha-gu, Busan, South Korea

We are early for our first pit stop for the day due to our early train ride. We took the 6.30 am KTX train and to get to the KTX station we took a cab. We use our t-money card to pay for the cab ride. Hubby grabbed a bite at the LOTTE fast food and the train ride to Busan is nearly 3 hours. 

We dropped off our bags at hotel and head to Gamcheon culture village. Its pretty simple to get there, just take subway line one to Toseong staion, exit 6 and switch to take Bus 2 or 2-2.
You can buy or not buy the tourist map but its only KRW2,000 and it helps you plan your route. I wasn't eager to finish all the stops anyway so we just follow the main route. 
But hubby wasn't impressed with this place. I guess recent years there are too many copycats using murals as attraction for tourists. 

The most popular icon of this place is the little prince and his friend. Its almost the only place where people need to queue to take pictures. 
The village is built alongside the slopes and painted in colours. Very good for pictures and lucky for us the weather is bright and sunny today. 

Along the way there is a shop selling socks made in korea there. its cheap, cute and size is good (its bigger than the standard size selling in markets).  We left Gamcheon at 12 pm to head to our next destination. 

Jagalchi Market
52 Jagalchihaean-ro, Jung-gu, Busan, South Korea

Our 2nd stop is the Jagalchi market. Its situated next to the port.

Outside the building are numerous tents, there are also some restaurants that display their seafood out front. 
It is interesting to walk through the market and see all the live fish but we are overwhelmed by the number of stalls and the variety. Language is also a concern. 

To eat:

Busan Gamcheon Culture Village Roadside - 3 stars, budget
203 Gamnae 2-ro, Saha-gu, Busan, South Korea

This is along the walk throughout the village, you won't be able to missed it. As our train was early, we bought some bread to eat on the train. This is for our recharge or tit bits as you call it. 

Busan is famous for its fish cake so this is one of the must try food. It quite nice and taste much better than the one we tried at Busan KTX station. 

Jagalchi Market - 3 stars, luxury
52 Jagalchihaean-ro, Jung-gu, Busan, South Korea

This is supposed to be the highlight of the day! The food is freaking expensive! We spent a total KRW 162,000 on all the seafood you see below. 
Worth or not is up to individual. But we went there for the experience. 

The food is definitely fresh and we went there to choose a store randomly. Actually, we went to enquire at the customer service and she led us to this stall. Hub's like the store owner as he felt that he's honest and upfront and say that all prices in this market are similar. And we can communicate in chinese easily.

After choosing the food we are led to the dining area on 2nd floor to the stall owner's affliated cook. Cooking charges are paid separately. That's me waiting for the food eagerly. 
This is the dish i was desperately eager to try. As the tenacles are wriggling all around. I chomp on it and bite very fast for fear that the tenacles will suck on my tongue or teeth. Taste just like what sashimi is suppose to be but not overwhelming delicious.    

Here's of the video of the wriggling squid. You can hear our squeals and excitement in the background. 
Tried the abalone raw which i didn't like as its too tough to bite.  
  Steamed scallops on the house and the abalone steamed taste so much better. Its so soft and succulent. 
 Our fish sashimi from the live fish we bought. We took half the fish as sashimi and remaining is sent for grilling. The head will be used for steamboat later. 

The owner recommended local hairy crab. This is sweet and juicy. Good recommendation but the one we try as Gijang crab market is way much better. 

The Mae Un Tanng after all the meal is completed. Its really nice and sweet. The remaining sashimi fish went into the pot as steamboat. 

Gosh! I was so full from all the food we consumed. Its about time to return to hotel at 3 plus. As our train ride is so early and i am super drained, i decided to simply chill the rest of the time away till dinner.

Kyo Chon - 3.3 stars, mid-range
Busan, South Korea

This place is walking distance from our hotel. And we followed the cute little map from the hotel to get there. Of course, we also did some enquiry along the way but this place is an easy find. 
The shop front is really small with only maybe 6 tables. So if you have really big groups like 10 pax, you will be asked to pack and go. Luckily its only 2 of us. 
  A friend recommended to try the Cass beer and i dutifully tried. Its light and easy on the palate. Likey!
Here's our big plate of wings and drums. I guess you can mix up and order a half half. Too bad we didn't know that and we end up ordering one flavour only. Its still good nonethelss. 

Fried chicken and beer is something you can never go wrong. But i wonder how does Korean girls manage to remain so slim despite all the food they consume. 

To Stay:

Toyoko Inn Busan Station No. 1
12, Jungang-daero 196beon-gil, Dong-gu, Busan  48821  Korea

The location of the hotel is right next to the Busan KTX station which is a super plus since we are coming in from Seoul and with a luggage in toll. 

I like the attention to detail they put in. i.e they have a little cute hand drawn walking map that shows some recommended food places. 

This is good for those who don't do any research on the food. 

The room is a little tight but is very clean and new. The picture shown on their website is a little deceiving and may put off some potential guests but i was really surprised how impeccable everything is. The doors to the room are a little outdated as it uses a key system and guests are liable for lost of keys. 

Bed is super comfy and pillows too. Had a great night sleep and most importantly there is an air con in the room that runs independently. 

Check in times is late 4 pm and they are really strict. Even if you arrive early, they will request to check in at 4 and to leave your luggage at the luggage area. Check out time is early like 10 am.

I love the fact they have an independent air con in the room. I had the best night sleep here. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Korea - Itinerary 9 Days 8 Nights, Day 3: Seoul - Anguk, Jongno-gu


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
To do:

99, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Opening hours: 
Palace: 9:00-18:00, Secret garden : 10:00 - 17:30 
Closed on Mondays
Fee: KRW 3,000 (Palace), KRW 8,000 (Palace and Guided tour of secret garden)

The weather forecast for today is rainy and when we got to Changdeokgung its still sunny. We missed the timeslot for english tour so we have to wait till 12:30 pm for the chinese tour to begin. 

I paid KRW 8,000 which includes a guided tour of the secret garden. By itself, the palace is a little boring. But with the secret garden tour, it adds a little new dimension as there are ponds and pavilions and even a tiny-weeny waterfall. 

Its about 45 mins to burn so we just idlely walk around the grounds. Majority of the ground is sand and not stone. So be prepared to be eating sand whenever a strong wind blows. 

Right just about the tour is about to start, it started drizzling and ended pouring. And it rain and rain throughout the tour. 

You can see me in a rain coat and holding on to an umbrella. And all the tourists will hide under a shelter instead of wondering the grounds. 
 This is a very unique pavilion as its not in the usual octagonal shape instead it is shaped like a leaf. 
Towards the end of the tour we are brought to a traditional hanok house to see their living quarters and how people lived. 

*Note: Purchasing a Royal Palace Pass does not guarantee entrance to the Secret Garden (entry requires a reservation made by internet/exchange a voucher at ticket office)
Tour of the secret garden is only guided, we are not free to roam around the garden and will be asked to leave after the tour.  

Buchon Hanok Village
37 Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

At Buchon there are mainly 8 sceneries that are promoted. 
Bukchon 1st Scenery : Changdeokgung Complete View
Bukchon 2st Scenery : Wonseo-dong Crafts Workshop Way
Bukchon 3st Scenery : Gahoe-dong 11 Area
Bukchon 4st Scenery : Gahoe-dong 31 Hill
Bukchon 5st Scenery : Gahoe-dong Alleyway(downward view)
Bukchon 6st Scenery : Gahoe-dong Alleyway(upward view)
Bukchon 7st Scenery : Gahoe-dong 31 View
Bukchon 8st Scenery : Samcheong-dong Stone Step Path

It helps to get at a map from the tourist information centre. Base on my research it will take 2-3 hours to complete the entire course if you wan to see all. In the end, i just decide to go with the flow and just walk see a few scenes and go off for the day. 

Along the trail there are alot of tourist information officers who are around to offer their kind assistance. So you can always ask them if in doubt. 

I highly recommend one of the sights in Buchon Hanok Village and it is the only house that is open to public as its a government gazetted residence.  Its called the Baek In-Je House Mueseum. It free but it needs a little time to locate. So far none of the blogs i read mentioned this place, i might have also missed this if the tourist centre personnel didn't share this with me. Opening hours to this place is 9:00 to 18:00. They do conduct guided tours at this place.

Here's a peek to the hanok house. 
This place is huge and it offers a glimpse of how a hanok looks like. Though in a much grander version. The person who used to own this place must be super rich. 

I don't usually see people mentioning this place when visiting the Hanok village but i really like the tranquil environment and they are actually furnishings in the  house instead of a blank empty space. 

There is also a room showing a videography about the house architecture, structure and unique points of the house. 

To eat:

Paris Baguette in Myeong Deong - 4.0 stars, budget
Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

We head to Isaac Toast again, upon seeing the queue, we walked further down and head to Paris Baguette instead. So no address again. >_<|||

All the packaging here is instant. But the cups are so cute. There is a variety of bread to choose from, cake as well. Bread is nice but just so. 

Random shop in Insadong - 2.5 stars, budget

Insadong, Seoul, South Korea
Again, this food place in unplanned. We entered the place as it looks clean and modern and serves korean food. 

This time we tried tonkatsu korean style. The curry is sweet and not like japanese curry either. This dish on the menu is called King pork cutlet.

I like to try korean Gimbap and this is an item checked off the list. I think i prefer japanese sushi anytime. This is the tuna mayo gimbap i ordered.

Random Bukchon cafe - 2.8 stars, budget

Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

We randomly walked past this cafe while walking around the buchon hanok village. It is a hanok itself. And it may have been a guest house as well.  That's me sitting around in korean style. 
I had a sikhye (sweet rice drink), a traditional korean beverage made with fermented rice. Its a sweet rice drink with ice. I guess you can try this for experience. Hubby had latte. 

Tosokchon Samgyetang 토속촌삼계탕- 4.0 stars, mid-range

No.5 Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul

I told hubby that this is the place i will go no matter what and what better time to eat then now when we are in the vicinity. Hub's mind is full of grilled beef and only grilled beef. Took a bit of arm bending to get him here. Guess, its dinner and there is no queue! But somehow we are ushered to the traditional style korean room instead of the one with tables and chairs. I had a hard time and need to keep changing postures (all the yoga i've done has gone to waste). 
The traditional style table. We are given a tin with plastic bag for us to throw the bones and the usual side dishes for korean restaurants. 
We ordered the Tosokchon Sansam Baeyanggeun Ogolgye Samgyetang. This is black chicken ginseng soup with wild ginseng adventitious roots. This cost KRW 6,000 more than the normal black chicken due to the wild ginseng roots. And in truth, there is not much taste to it. But the entire soup is very flavourful and has so many ingredients - 3 yr ginseng, red dates, pumpkin seeds,  chestnut, sunflower seeds, ginko etc.

Another dish we ordered is the Haemul Pajeon - the pancake if flavourful with seafood food and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. 

I was kinda of worried our order will be rejected as we ordered only one soup and there is 2 of us. Luckily the person never mentioned anything and proceed to take our order.

There is a standard sequence to eating the ginseng soup. And we try to follow this and make it as authentic as possible. I thoroughly enjoyed this meal and was super happy how the day ended with such a yummy meal.