Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Seoul Day 4

29 October 2007 @ Gyeongbokgung [경복궁]

Here we are, the last day to visit Seoul. First stop, Gyeongbok palace. It was the main and largest palace of the Joseon Dynasty and one of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty.

When we got there, there was a guard changing ceremony. Then, we waited for a Mandarin-speaking Korean tour guide to lead us through the palace.

This is where the king sits

The building behind me appears in the 10,000won note

Can you figure out the four chinese words there?

How about this one? [there're 4 chinese words there too]

29 October 2007 @ Myung-Dong

This is another shopping district with shops and stalls all around. We walked and shopped and had our lunch at VIPS. We took the Salad Bar Buffet which costs us around 20,000won.

Unlimited salmon~!

Wanted to try the 37cm tall ice cream, too bad it's not open

After that, we were separated into two groups. DeYan and ChauLun wanted to go to the Technomart while ShinKeat, ChinNam and me went to Insa-dong for our dinner at a restaurant which is famous for its deok [rice cakes]. We ordered some different flavoured rice cakes and a plate of fried rice cake [deokboggi].

Then we three head back to Hyehwa and walked around that area. Then we went to shop to eat a Pajeon [파전]. The shop sells a lot of different flavours of Pajeon [seafood, kimchi, vege, etc] I quite like the taste of it.

After eating, we got back to our room, bathe and pack our stuffs as we have to leave early in the morning. Billy, out.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Seoul Day 3

28 October 2007 @ Kraze Burgers

We woke up around noon time [as we just got back at 7am] go right out for lunch. We looked around and decided to fill our stomachs with Kraze Burgers.
Kraze Burgers was the first premium gourment hamburger restaurant to open in South Korea. As the name says it, it sells all sorts of burgers. [Duh!] All the burgers shown below are priced around US$8.

28 October 2007 @ Coex Mall

After lunch we took a train to Gangnam district to meet Jimmy [MMU lecturer studying PhD in Seoul] at Coex Mall. Coex Mall is the largest underground shopping mall in Asia and the largest shopping centre in Seoul. There isn't any malls like 1Utama or Midvalley in Seoul, so most people will just crowd in the Coex Mall. We had dinner in one of the restaurants and then head off to Soongsil University.

28 October 2007 @ Soongsil University

This is the oldest university in Seoul. [more than 100 years old now] This is where some of our lecturers from MMU came to study their PhD. So we went there to see the rest of the lecturers with Jimmy guiding us. Thanks Jimmy!

Ms. Soon, Ms Lee, Ms Chua, Mr Jimmy and 5 MMU students

28 October 2007 @ NamDaeMun [南大门]

We just dropped by this "huge southern gate" because it's only nearby from where we were. Snapped a few photos and went back to our guesthouse as it's getting late already.

It was a short day as we started off late and thus not much time to go around. Tomorrow will be our last full day in Seoul and we will go to the famous Gyeongbok palace! Billy, out.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Seoul Night 2

[continue from previous post]

Midnight, 28 October 2007 @ Streets of Seoul

So, we came out of Everland around 10.30pm to catch a bus back to downtown to take the subway back to our guesthouse. We realized the last bus we’re supposed to take has taken off. So we had no choice but to take another bus to another area of the city.

We arrived downtown at around 11.50pm and found out that the subway is closed. [Subways in Seoul close its operation at 11.30pm on weekends] From that moment onwards, we don’t know what to do.

If we take a taxi back, it’ll cost us quite a lump sum because it’s quite far and we need 2 taxis for 5 people. [The Koreans are quite firm on the rules] Not only that, SuHan is staying at another place, her friend’s house, which is not so convenient for her to go back alone by cab. So, we wandered around the streets… thinking of a solution…

wandering around.. cluelessly...

[1am] We ate something light to keep ourselves warm in the cold weather while we look at the map of Seoul. We saw Renaissance Hotel not far from where we are. So, we walked for 30 minutes to this hotel to check in pretend we want to get a room. Our intention is to just sleep at the lobby. We pretend to check out the maps and doze off after that. ZZzzzz…

The 5 star hotel where we slept for one hour

[3am] 1 hour later, I was awaken by the noise of some people talking. I open my eyes to see some staffs of the hotel asking my friend “Are you staying in this hotel?” After my friend answered “No”, he said “Please leave”. So I wiped off my saliva, rubbed my eyes, carried my backpack and walk towards to door. Once again, we drifted along the streets without any direction.

[3.30am] It was really cold outside. So, we stopped at one of the convenience stores to buy some cup noodles. We eat them inside the shop to keep out of the cold and we’re trying to eat as slow as possible [even taking turns to eat] so that we can stay as long as possible in the shop. Nevertheless, we all finish eating and we have to leave. Sleepy, tired and cold….

[4am] We thought the subway station would be a warm place to get some rest. But there’s a problem, we can’t find any chairs as the waiting area was locked up. We walked for a while and found that one of the waiting areas has opened. We sat down to get some rest.

[4.30am] The gates to the subway is opened! We quickly get down to catch the first train and guess what, the first train is arriving at 5.30am. I’ve never seen the subway being so quiet. All the stations used to be full of people. We found ourselves a bench start snoring away…

6 of us sleeping on the bench at subway station

See the clock? It shows 4.52am

The staffs are not at the ticketing counter yet

Empty on the right...

Empty on the left...

Playing with his white tiger

Hugging her out-of-shape-sheep stuff toy

There’s no one else to accompany us except the stuff toys we bought at Everland. =P

At 5.30am, we caught the first train and head back to our respective sleeping place. It’s almost 7am when we got back to our room. What an unusual and unforgettable experience we had, having to walk around the streets of Seoul, clueless, sleepy and tired all night till the sun rises. We managed to get through the cold night though. Cheers, to the six of us! Billy, out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Seoul Day 2

27 October 2007 @ Everland [에버랜드]

Today is Everland day! We’re going to spend the whole day in Everland! Everland is located in Yongin, Seoul and it’s the largest theme park in South Korea. The gigantic theme park is divided into 6 distinct zones: Global Fair [food, souvenirs, pictures], Zoo-topia [zoo, petting zoo Amazon Express and safari bus ride], European Adventure, Magic Land [rides, restaurants, arcades], American Adventure and Everland Speedway. [adapted from Wikipedia]

SuHan, the only girl trainee who went to Korea with us joined us at the bus station to take a bus together to Everland. Without mobile phones to contact each other, we can just pray that the other party can make it and didn’t fong fei gei. We were late but SuHan waited for us patiently. We thought she’d left to Everland herself.

It was a long journey to Everland and I had to stand all the way on the bus. I was sleepy and tired… [trying not to fall asleep and drop down] After about 90 minutes of bus ride, we finally reached Everland! Yee-ha! We were very excited but at the same time very hungry. Without wasting any time, we quickly bought the tickets and make our way to the huge theme park.

Queueing up at the ticketing booths

It's Halloween theme

The first glance of Everland

A lot of people are wearing different kind of caps [including a pumpkin cap, which looks really ridiculuos]

Quite a number of people with Cosplay

The Mega Pumpkin Boy

The first thing we do is to find a restaurant to have our lunch. There’re many restaurants in there and the prices were not cheap too. We just settled ourselves in the one with the longest queue. Hahaha…

I had bibibap while some of them are having kid's set =P

After lunch we took a cable car to another section and start exploring Everland. [Waiting time to get on Human Skyway: 30 minutes]

Me and DeYan on the same car

Polar bears

My favs: white tigers [but they're too fat and not completely white]

Jackass Penguins

A kind of tree-climbing-creature

Piggie [dedicated to my housemates] =P

After looking at all the animals [there’re also dogs, sea lion, eagles, different kinds of primates, foxes, wabbits, guinea pigs, lambs, geese and many more], we decided to take on the Amazon River Ride. [Waiting time: 1hour] The staffs are very entertaining but the ride is just okay.

Their dance is really entertaining while we wait for our turn [SuHan!! I want the video!]

ChinNam and me on the wet ride

It's a candy shop

We also ride on one of the roller coasters [Waiting time: 1 hour, ride time: 1 minute] and the Flying Pirate Ship [Waiting time: 15 minutes]. As you can see, most of our time is wasted on waiting for a ride. We wouldn’t want to get on any rides any more [wanted to try the log flume ride] but the sky is getting dark. So, we had our dinner at the Burger Café. [The provide mustard and the chips were really nice] Then, we walked around the rest of the park and wait for the light and fireworks show at the end. Not much nice photos are taken cause it's really hard to get a clear shot at night.

Double Flying Pirate Ship

This is where we had our dinner

colourful fountains + ghostly shadows

Group shot with the smiling Pumpkin and gargoles at the side

Sarang-hae~~ [traslation: I love you]

The fire generated heater is the best invention ever! [you'll know what I meant when you're in the cold for a long time]

We're in Holland! [The band in playing the same music over and over again]

Ahh.. A night scene of Everland...

We got quite a good spot for the show as we sat there way before it starts. Finally, the show starts at 9pm. It starts off with some laser light show, then some people dancing with costumes and fighting bad guys and finish off with a beautiful firework show.

A group of warriors fighting the bad guy [looks like Darth Vader]

Wow, the bad guy transform into a dragon that spits fire [We can feel the heat of fire from the floor!]

The show finished at 10pm and so does Everland which is going to close soon. I quickly rush to the front of the park to search shop by shop to buy 2 cute little white tigers, in which if I don’t buy it, I think I’ll regret because I really like them very much. Hehehe… My friends also bought some souvenirs back before going out to catch the bus back. Billy, out.

P/S: The story doesn’t stop here. The night is still young and I’ll continue in the next post. =)

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