Hits and Misses South Korea and Jeju 2016

Once again I am back after a super duper long break. So long that I almost forgot I have a blog to vent stuffs on. My last blog entry was August 19 and since then I have been out and about and the highlight for that 2 months was probably my ‘sneak away’ to South Korea and Jeju! (Mummies would totally understand why it is a ‘sneak away’ and not getaway) Despite the super short ‘sneak away’ – 6 days 5 nights – and a really really short stay in Seoul – probably like 24 hours max- I definitely had a really good time (trying not to be too guilty) despite, ahem, falling sick. So here I am with my mandatory hits and misses after my every trip (can’t remember if I did one for Japan last year).

Hit #1

The BIG KOREAN WEDDING!

THIS, of course, must be the TOP HIT! THIS was the reason why I ‘sneaked away’! My bestie Miss Lui is officially and Korean customarily married! Of course I teared! I cry at weddings most of the time….though recent years a bit lesser. The supposedly Autumn wedding turned out to be a little more ‘Summery’ and the cosy family and friends only affair turned out to be a rather public affair due to it being in a Minsuk Chon  in Suwon (an hour bus ride away from Seoul) aka Folk village. Not forgetting the lovely bride got to don on the super thick and heavy outfit in the heat and the number of kneels the couple got to perform. DESPITE ALL OF THIS, I am still so glad that we flew in for this. Certainly a rare experience and nothing beats seeing your best friend happy! 

Hit #2

A NEW Favourite Travel Pal

Miss Yeo was the most wonderful travel pal! For the first time, my travel research and prep was kept to the minimal because I was travelling with a super resourceful and experienced traveller. Not forgetting her superb map-reading skills, amazing stash of medicine and medical supplies and great appetite. Oh, and the stamina to shop, of course. We had quite a few memorable moments, the crazy night of masks and mahkoli, the endless laughters over the super-on driver plus the ridiculous poses we got to do for photo-taking, that memorable room 444 sleepless night and the climb up Seongsan with barely 2 hours of sleep. Honestly, I super don’t mind another ‘sneakaway’ with her hahahaha…if only I can because the girls have been having their eyes superglued on me since that trip. especially the little K who said that I have to bring her along everywhere I go 😦

Hit #3

SHOPPING IN KOREA!

I am a skincare buff. South Korea was a haven for me. Period.

Some of the must-buys are:

  • Nature Republic’s masks
  • Aloe Vera Gel – super value for money and do look for those with higher concentration
  • SAEM products — their Secret slimming patch and their Urban Eco products especially the the ampoule (which is soooooooo good and it is way better than Innisfree’s Green tea Serum).
  • Look out for special edition of character products. This trip we saw Gudetama x Holika Holika and Pokemon x Tony Moly. We also saw Disney x FaceShop which we did not step our feet in.

Other than skin care, the underground shopping streets also offer many bargains for fashion items. We bought very nice Made in Korea bags for less than SGD 20 and despite clothes being out of the shopping list, we managed to grab good quality clothes at 10000 won per pc (about 12 SGD).

Pokémon products at Tony Moly


Gudetama + Seo Dae Yong = money money hom at Holika Holika


Feet Mask! Amazing stuffs!


My loots

Hit #4

MARKETS!

THESE would be THE REASONS if I were to step into South Korea again! I will just market hop! We went to Gwangjang market at night and were already amazed by the street food offered, considering most of the shops were already closed by the time we visited. Then we went to the  5-day Traditional Folk Market in Jeju and I was completely wowed! WHY OH WHY did we only have 1 hour and WHY OH WHY my luggage was already overweight? WHY!!!!!???????? From the dried produce, to the fresh Ginseng and the fruits, I wanted to bring everything back! The markets are simply culinary heavens!


We dabao back to apt to eat


Five-Day Traditional market! Dried Goods section


Very very cheap and good-looking fruits


Fish section


Huge Chestnuts


Kimchi Section


Fresh Ginseng

Hit #5

The People

I know this part is going to be a little of a surprise to many. I visited South Korea about a decade or so ago and my impression of the people was not fantastic. I remember jostling ajummas and unsmiling service staff. But this time round, I saw lesser, almost zero pushing and a lot more order in public transport.  We also met interesting people like our two guides in Jeju. We also encountered friendly service staff, like the lady in Saem, Gangnam branch. Not only that, when we did our mad dash to the airport to catch our flight, two ajussis actually helped us carry our heavy luggage down the flight of staircase. I love to travel because I like to see and experience society and I must say for South Korea, I experienced humanity….I know, there are many who encountered the opposite.

Now, let’s talk about the misses. Quite a few actually but oh well, the trip was short so can’t be helped that I got to let some things go.

Miss #1 

The Food

Before you go ‘WHAT?! HOW CAN THAT BE A MISS? KOREAN FOOD IS SO NICE!’, I ought to share with you my unfortunate predicament. Well, yours truly fell sick on day 1 of the trip. I reached the apartment with a sand-papered throat. But thank goodness for my personal dispensary aka Miss Yeo, I kept the flu was under control till the last day of the trip. Nevertheless, I controlled what I put into my mouth the whole time and that explained the lack of gastronomical exploration throughout the trip. In addition, I think due to the potential onset of full blown flu, my appetite and taste buds were not at its best. Honestly, not many foods we tasted impressed me. Well, despite excuses, the foods we took were good but just did not make me go WOW! Except for that side dish, marinated pumpkin, we took in some secluded little town in Jeju and the pancakes and mandoos in the markets.


Found my favourite mochi donut! And it is just below our apartment


Abalone porridge which was highly recommended online but sadly disappointed us


The wedding reception

My obssession with black beans


Black Pork BBQ. This was good but still not WOW enough


This one WOWed miss Yeo


Ossulloc tea time. Ice-cream and drinks were good…but the roll…hahaha I think mine is better


Abalone lunch! The Spicy seafood pot is gooooooooooood


The kimchi black pork pot we travelled the distance in the dark to find. Was good but not wowed…


BUT THIS SIDE DISH WAS SOOOOOOOO GOOD! The ajumma saw me raving about this that she was so happy! We had 4 plates of this, I think.


Sides for our abalone stone pot rice…


Main dish…abalone rice but quite disappointed…anyway this was not the first choice restaurant, the original one was closed on Tuesdays  and our itinerary only allowed us to have it on Tuesday.


This Japchae pancake is sooooooooo yum!


Too clever to pack the japchae in this. The Hotteok is something like this too but it’s sweet.


Yummy sweet melon


Famous Issac Toast! Last meal in Jeju. Well did not impress me.

Miss #2

Jeju

Can’t quite say this was a complete miss because many of the funny and weird experiences we had was during this leg of the journey. So, the memorable parts of the trip certainly happened in Jeju. Let’s just say that it’s just the place and the attractions. 10 over years ago, I went to Jeju with my family during the tail-end of Autumn. I could only remember rocks, oranges (in season), grey and brown (the colour because of the volcanic reasons). This trip was supposedly to be an Autumny trip, but all we could see was green, rocks, grey and brown, no oranges because we were a little too early so oranges were still green. Not only that, the weather was not fantastic. The weather that was supposed to be windy and cool ended up hot and humid then sometimes chilly.  I think because of that my flu kinda worsen. Personally other than the market and the Jeju-si, I find the place very tired-looking and too touristy due to tourists from you-know-where. The teddy bears in both the real and copycat museum looked pretty tired and worn out, even the Ossulloc green tea farm was a little disappointing. BUT having said that, we created our own experiences. The endless stairs and a little venture our to the Cheongjiyeon Falls, the laughters over the professional photo-taking by our taxi guides, the climb up to Seongsan, that night adventure to look for kimchi pot, room 444 etc. So, it’s more like a mixed hit and miss.

This is one of the cooler fun when we arrived in Jeju


Scary looking bear at the copycat teddy bear museum


Soap making -Should do at the rather boring Osulloc to make it a little more fun


The little venture out to the rocks to snap a nice pic


Our Seongsan ‘expedition’


This is what I mean by green, grey and brown

Miss #3

SEOUL!!!!

This is where I wished I could stay longer and the reason why I want to go back. We stayed 2 nights in Seoul but probably spent at most only 24 hours physically in Seoul including sleeping. only spent 2 hours (approx) in Myeongdong. We did not wear hanbok or visit any place. We did not go Insadong nor Ewha Woman University. Netiher did we go Dongdaemon. Even Gwangjang market, we only went it was already half closed. Yep…that’s why it’s a miss. Now I working on convincing the man that we should go there for our next holiday. Not quite working in my favour but it’s work in progress. (Honestly, I think the place is not quite  a typical man’s ideal holiday destination other than the street food and some sightseeing. Kids would have a slight problem liking the place as well. It’s great for girls’ trip or for men who are into skin care) However, having said that, if we go again, it will be with the girls, the whole idea of going markets and shopping will probably need to be throw out of the window.

Oh well, we shall see if we will see South Korea soon.

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