Tag Archives: winter trip

Snapshots from Seoul: Nami Island

16 Apr

NOTE: Nami Island/ Namiseom is not actually in Seoul but in Chuncheon (the capital city of  Gangwon Province, in the northeastern part of South Korea) but for the sake of uniformity of my travel accounts in Seoul, I’m keeping the same heading.

After our quick stop at Provence Village, we headed to Chuncheon for lunch. Chuncheon is popular for dak galbi, it is a dish which consists of chicken, cabbage, rice cakes, potatoes, and scallions with gochujang, a red pepper sauce, cooked on a big pan in the center of the table.

dak galbi

And off we went to Nami Island, after our hearty lunch.

Nami Island or Namiseom is a “tiny half-moon shaped island located in Chuncheon that was formed due to the rising water of the North Han River because of the construction of the Cheongpyeong Dam.”

We had to ride the ferry, Nami Maid, for a five-minute ride to reach Nami Island.

Nami Maid – queue to the ferry – five-minute ride – winterscape

Welcome to Naminara Republic

Naminara Republic is an imaginary country where a “passport” is issued to gain entry into Namiseom. It declared itself a self-governing contry in 2006; it has also invented its own passport, currency, stamp, and telephone card”.

I actually did not see the “passport”, perhaps it was with our tour guide? I remembered just holding a Namiseom pamphlet (in Thai) when we boarded the ferry. I’m not sure about the currency, stamp, and telephone card either. I did not stay long enough to observe these things. I bought a steamed bun when I was there but I used the “regular” Korean won.

winter wonderland

Winter Sonata memorabilia

Nami Island is also one of the filming locations of the hit South Korean drama, Winter SonataTourists from far and wide, especially the avid Korean drama fans flock Nami Island for this very reason. But the time when we were there, there were also many Korean families with small children and groups of young adults or university students even on a Monday.

There were also art galleries, outdoor exhibitions, museums, shops, and small stalls selling food and coffee.

outdoor art sculptures and exhibitions

 “I see trees of green…”

Natural beauty abounds in Nami Island even in winter. I just cannot imagine how awesome it can get when flowers bloom in spring or when leaves turn red in fall.

I was not able to explore the whole of Nami Island but from what I have seen and experienced, the place is not only a feast to the senses but it also enables you to be attuned and appreciate the beauty of nature. Nami Island is a dreamy paradise that is definitely worth visiting especially with every season change.

Have you been to Nami Island or to a similar place that left you a lasting impression? Care to share?

Cheers 🙂

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Snapshots from Seoul: Provence Village

15 Apr

NOTE: Provence Village is not actually in Seoul but in Gyeonggi-do (a province in South Korea) but for the sake of uniformity of my travel accounts in Seoul, I’m keeping the same heading.

map of the village

Hi everyone! Munching on some Korean strawberries brought me back to Korea and I reminisced all the beautiful places I visited on my winter trip. It also made me realise that I haven’t finished my posts on my travel to South Korea almost two months ago. So, here is one of our destinations…

Provence Village is the very first place we visited after going out of the airport. I was really excited because I thought we will be going to Petit France. I was the first one to excitedly get off the bus to look for the Little Prince-inspired landmarks and I realised we’re at the wrong place (Our tour guide was speaking in Thai so I couldn’t understand what he was talking about most of the time).

Anyway, Provence Village is a themed village to probably resemble a little charming French village. The area is not really that big and the whole “village” comprised mainly of quaint cafes, restaurants (I saw a shabu-shabu and French restaurants, among others), and shops selling trinkets, souvenirs, candies, and more. The shophouses and cafes are uniquely painted in bright colours, too. There is also a nice garden and a pond in the center. While there is not much to be done in Provence Village except for some casual dining and eclectic shopping (I espied on a Zara warehouse, too), there is plenty of opportunity for cam-whoring. I did, too 🙂

Here are some of the pictures… Enjoy!

French restaurant – signage – drama/ movie poster*

(*I’m guessing that a certain drama/ movie filmed there, but I can be wrong)

charming cafes, restaurants and shops

out in the sun

I think it was only 3 degrees Celsius that time and coming from Thailand, it was a chilly day!

a sidestreet – cafe – more restaurants and cafes

the pond – “Vincent Van Gogh” house – and more shops

We only stayed there for barely half an hour and I have walked the center area thrice (I still didn’t make any friends with my tour group at this time so I was by my lonesome T.T). I guess when you’re with friends or special someone, you’ll see Provence Village differently. Looking at the pictures now, it actually seemed a romantic place.

I will be definitely back next time 🙂 Have you been to Provence Village? Which part/ area did you like? Care to share?

Cheers 🙂

Haul from Seoul: Nature Republic

27 Mar

Nature Republic is one of the Korean brands I was excited to visit when I was in Seoul. There is a Nature Republic here in Bangkok but there are only two branches and are located quite far from where I live and work so I had to definitely check out their products. Although many of their skincare products are raved about, I just picked up a few items. Like what I said in my previous entries, I was really careful to not exceed my luggage’s weight limit.

I went to two Nature Republic shops in Dongdaemun and Myeongdong.

Taken in Myeongdong

In the picture: Jang Geun Seuk, the Nature Republic endorser

Here are the products I got:

 Blackhead Brake Clear Nose Patch, So Big Curling Mascara, Fresh Farm Cleanser – Rice

By Flower BB Cream, Jelly Drop Gloss

Given by Nature Green Tea Mask Sheets

Nail Polishes

And the freebies and samples are…

A box of cotton pads, snail therapy mask sheets, herblier cleansing tissues and some samples

I haven’t tried any of the products since they are (again) presents for families and friends. Have you tried Nature Republic products? What is your experience? Care to share?

Cheers 🙂

Snapshots from Seoul: Incheon International Airport

24 Mar

NOTE: Incheon International Airport is not actually in Seoul but in Incheon (a city on the northwest part of South Korea) but for the sake of uniformity of my travel accounts in Seoul, I’m keeping the same heading 🙂

Incheon International Airport is South Korea’s biggest airport and has been voted as “world’s best airport” for a few years in a row.

Like my other posts, I did not have enough time to explore the different places we have visited and that’s what happened with our airport experience, too. I wasn’t able to see all the wonderful facilities it offers like the spa, skating rink, museum, gardens, and even the duty free shops.

Oh, another good thing about the airport is the free WiFi which is tops! The airport has also a train that connects to the airport’s other boarding gates.

It was also a breath of fresh air to not experience a hassle with the check-in process (I was in a group tour and we check in as a group. It was a long and strenous wait when we departed Bangkok, not to mention the chaotic immigration queue which took over an hour) and the immigration queue was a breeze.

Anyway, I was really delighted to catch the cultural parade in the airport. It was an apt farewell to us, tourists, who were bound to boarding our planes and going back home.

They play the roles of King and Queen from the Joseon Dynasty

I may have only seen perhaps 10% of the airport but compared to all the other airports in countries I have been to, I can say that Incheon International Airport is definitely one of the best!

Which other airports impressed you? Care to share?

Cheers 🙂

Haul from Seoul: Souvenirs

24 Mar

When traveling, it is a must for me to get at least a fridge magnet, keychain and a doll. It was my first time in South Korea so I had to buy souvenirs for family, friends, workmates and my collection.

Since I traveled with a tour group, we always, if not all the time, ate at a tourist restaurant. Yes, there are heaps of tourist restaurants in Seoul. I really didn’t like eating there because all I see are tourists, same groups of tourists even, and the food is set. We have no choice and we can’t order what we like. Anyway, I digressed…

Usually, there are shops or stands outside the tourist restaurants which sell souvenirs, food and what have you.

These are what I bought:

South Korean flag fridge magnets

I got the magnets from The National Folk Museum of Korea.

bookmarks

coin purses

figurines

fridge magnets

keychains

pens

… and the freebies…

long spoon and chopticks set + pencils

I also got two I ❤ Korea shirts (not pictured).

The last, but not the least… these are requests from my workmate and cousin 🙂

Hyun Bin sticker book and Lee Min Ho sticky notes

They are popular actors in South Korea. And yes, outside tourist restaurants, they sell all fan goodies, too.

So, these are my traditional and not-quite traditional souvenirs from South Korea. What do you usually get when you visit a foreign country? Care to share?

Cheers 🙂