Tulipmania!

So I finally managed to visit Garden by the Bay for some Flora and Fauna before the Tulips disappear! 

The tulips are just breathtaking with the vibrant colours! I didn’t expect so many different types and colours! Nor did I expect them to be in good condition since Tulipsmania will end by first week of May. 

So many colours and I can’t decide which one is the best! I feel pretty with all these “stars” behind me! 

By the way, this years Tulipsmania is inspired by Vincent van Gogh but to be honest… his pictures are beautiful but the above doesn’t do justice to the Tulips nor the artist himself. It just look… half done and dull? Maybe it’s just me.

Other than Tulips, the flower dome also showcases other Flora and Fauna. This time round we really took sometime to explore a little and I’m not into plants but I’m just overwhelm to know that each flora and fauna have different variations! 

After spending more than an hour in the flower dome, we stroll our way to MBS rather than taking a SGD$3 shuttle ride since the sun was hiding behind the clouds. Cloud dome wasn’t in my list since many people told me it was a waste of time. Maybe next time? 

Being crazy is seriously a norm for me. After “murdering” my butts and legs on Friday with my 3 hours Pilates, pump and kickboxing classes, here was I jumping and walking around on my off day. πŸ˜‚ 

But, it’s all worth it for a no nonsenses but peaceful off day. Afterall I only have 1 precious day per week. I shall make more effort to make sure time outside my working hours will be well utilized for rest and myself since no one will care for your wellbeing except for yourself. Loyalty and hard work don’t always pay off you know? You will only be disappointed because you won’t be judge fairly but will only be scrutinized and penalized for the mistakes. Never appreciations but only grumbles.

Signing off,

Essa

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My Korea Trip Part 4

Alright! Time to do a little (just a little) breakdown of my itinerary. It’s gonna be short! πŸ˜„ Since food post can be found in Part 2 and 3… i shall skip it!

Thursday, 23rd March

I’m by no means a fan of SIA air crews (typical stuck up crews somehow…) but SIA had something very attractive that made me chose it. SIA allows a baggage limit of 30kg WHICH is very much needed for a trip to Korea. And seriously… 30kg is not a lot! I prefer flying with Korean air or Asiana because the customer service for both are unbeatable. But they both only offer baggage limit of 23kg. 

Anyway checking in early is better than later. You get to enjoy the facilities of the airport! I mean… how often do you get a chance to do so in the transit area? 😝

P.s. No makeup for a overnight flight!


Friday, 24th March

Midnight flight is good if you do not want to waste your day in Korea. We arrive at Incheon Airport at 7+am. The sleep was terrible beyond words. I actually strained my back just a day before so… that whole 6 hrs in the seat was “painful” for me. 😨

1st meal on flight: Breakfast at non-human hours

Korean Bibimbap! It’s yummy and I know many people will disagree with me since it’s flight food. 😜

Upon arrival, I was quite surprised that I had to take a shuttle train to the main terminal. That’s new for me! Oh… noticed that my specs are gone? Please forget about washing up on the plane in that teeny weeny space. We took about 10 minutes to freshen up and change (or add on clothes) in the airport toilet before heading out to the main terminal for our luggages.

Once we got out (*freedom* 😜), head down the escalator for the train to the city! Since I bought the discounted non-stop tickets beforehand, I just need to redeem it at the AREX counter and they will hand you the tickets for the next train!

As it was still early, there wasn’t much passengers. We slept our way to Seoul station which took less than 60 mins to reach. Now here’s the thing. You do not need to exit from station to transfer to the Seoul subway. I already pre-purchased the T-money cards in Singapore so I could just go ahead and transfer to the subway line to Myeongdong. (As long as you get the “transfer” done on the card at a counter somewhere between the AREX train and Seoul subway when you arrive at Seoul station)

Say hello to the hotel that I stayed for 7 nights. Creto Hotel wasn’t my first choice. I was planning to stay at Casa Myeongdong but eventually chose this as my friend wanted a place with a safe. This place was booked via booking.com which by the way, is an awesome website that allows me to book hotels before paying it at a later date or during the stay! I paid 1,042,000won in total which is it around 400+SGD per person.

Pros:

  • Conveniently located. Just about 5 mins walk from Myeongdong subway exit 10.

  • Just enough room for 3 pax and 5 luggages. πŸ˜‚ *tight squeeze but workable
  • Daily housekeeping (I’m super impressed because no matter how messy my bed was, they always tidy it up beautifully with my jumper folded nicely on top of my pillow. *guilty)
  • Friendly and helpful staff
  • Cafe at the ground floor that serves good coffee/tea/juice
  • It’s at Myeongdong!

Cons:

  • Basic room that have limited space. E.g. we had to eat our takeaway chicken on the bed with plastic bags under as a cover.
  • Power sockets. Make sure your universal plug is round with the correct pin. If not you will have a hard time. My multi-international plug was totally.. useless.
  • Not enough hangers
  • A tad noisy as opposite the hotel is a bar

Anyway, if you ask if I will still stay here the next time… my answer is YES! Worth the price with the location. Not the cheapest but the advantages win it all! 

One thing to note: Myeongdong station do not have lifts. Soooo… be prepared to physically carry your luggages up the steps. Which gave me bodyache the day after and with my strained back… best combination ever *sarcastic* πŸ˜‚

We took the cable car up to N Seoul Tower. We walked over from Myeongdong, and up some slope (and tried to follow a tour group which we thought was heading up but… πŸ™Š) and more slopes before we reach the cable car centre. It’s actually just beside the China Embassy. 

We spotted this pretty wall on our “climb” to take the cable car centre. Oh well, it was worth walking a longer path. πŸ˜…

I lost all the photos that I took at the the tower so here are just some of those that I still had during the exploration of the whole place. Hello Kitty land is small but if you are crazy over it, why not? And it was part of package that I bought. (N Seoul Tower + Hello Kitty Land admission)

When we got down via cable car, we walk down to Myeongdong from the other side which had a elevator down the slope. Best thing ever after walking for the whole day. πŸ˜„ And this was where we captured a beautiful tree blooming with flowers!

One last jump before we head off for food!


Saturday, 25th March

Nothing much for Day 2 as it was more of a shopping day! Ehwa, Sinchon and Hongdae. 

These 3 are located side by side soooo either you walk or you take a train from Sinchon to Hongdae. Most of the shoppings were done in Ehwa and Sinchon. You can find affordable accessories and clothes. There is this 1 shop in Sinchon which my friend went that is quite a must go for anyone who wants to stock up on your beauty products. It is cheaper than Myeongdong. Unfortunately… I can’t recall the exact location nor the shop name… you will have to try your luck! Sorry! *I only remember that it is somewhere near some cafes and restaurants.

Hongdae flea Market was closed due to some renovation of the park? Sort of defeated the purpose of putting this itinerary of Saturday. 

Sunday, 26th March

Another shopping day! This time at Garosugil (Sinsa) and GOTO mall at Express Bus Terminal! So… the only photos I had for that day was just food and those taken at Line Friend Cafe! 😍

GOTO mall is a must go underground shopping mall! I picked this out of the many underground malls after reading reviews from a few bloggers. 1 of the best place to get clothes/shoes/accessories and even furnitures at a lower price! But… it’s extremely crowded. Will i go back again? Yes! I was super tempted to buy a clock back! πŸ˜‚


Monday, 27th March 

Ztages Tour Day! This was recommended by my friend and eventually I picked this over the package I saw from Seoul pass or Changi Recommends because it is inclusive lunch. 99SGD per pax excluding tips for the driver/guide. I chose the Petite France/Nami Island/Garden of Morning Calm package over the one with the Railbike. Why? I don’t want to freeze myself to death in this weather riding the railbike. It was raining! And I believed that the temperature went below 10Β°. Even with my 4 layers of top and two layers of pants… I was not prepared for the chills that went straight to my bones. My main goal was the first 2 and the latter, it was just part of it. 

Worth going with this Ztages tour again! Fast to reply to enquiry and confirmation. And so far my impression of them is good.


Tuesday, 28th March 

Lotte World and Dongdaemun shopping day!

Lotte World tickets were bought in Singapore at a discounted price. I wasn’t expecting so many people on a Tuesday so I didn’t get to ride a lot of the rides eventually. All the good ones had a long waiting time and since I was the only one who is daring enough… I decided not to waste my time or waste their time. I did went for a good one though, the one ride that brings you high up and drop you down abruptly. Good to scream it out once in a while! The other rides that we took together were the hot air balloon ride which was boring, the bumper car which was the best thing ever (bumping into each other’s car and i don’t even know them!) and that stupid Sinbad adventure that I hate the most cause it’s dark with loud noise. 

Best part of Lotte world was when we found a trickart museum inside and we had lots of fun taking photos of us in awkward poses. πŸ˜„

Lotte World is a good choice as it’s both indoor and outdoor. So in event of bad weather, at least you won’t waste your trip! 

Dongdaemun shopping was not as exciting as compared to the last trip. The crowd were not there and its way more expensive now. I think the retailers are quite affected by the lack of tourists from China. Its so quiet! 

I chose Myliore first as it is one of the best mall in Dongdaemun. All the malls there are good actually, you just need to find your right fit. For this, we decided to split up again as my travel buddy shops differently from me. I’m quite a no nonsense and straight forward kind of shopper. At least my mom was with me… I lacking in the bargaining skills department which is why… never mind.

My dinner at Myliore’s food court. Japchae with rice. So so only and… too much rice. 

Wednesday, 29th March

Titled as Suay to the max day. The unfortunate day that I lost my phone. For this day the idea was Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon and Insadong. Initially I wanted to go for the hanbok rental for the palace. But, due to my big boots, I had blisters underneath my feet and the thought of walking back and fro from the rental and palace and Bukchon… I gave up. 

We saved on the entrance fees to the palace cause it was free for all on that day! And we managed to catch the guard changing ceremony in front of the gate!

No photos for the rest of the day cause the it was a blur after the cab from Bukchon to Insadong. Why cab? Cause I got lost in Bukchon and couldn’t find the main place.

Anyway… it was an interesting experience to step into the police station (lost and found area). It’s even more interesting that the police actually made the effort to use a translator apps for some things he wanted to ask me. It’s extremely NOT interesting that they do not have a central broadcast for cabs in Seoul because are more than 60 companies!!!!!!!!!!!! The chinese phrase of ζ΅·εΊ•ζžι’ˆ has to be used here. Till now, I’m still hoping for some miracle but seriously… I think I’m doomed. 

The suay-ness lasted till… night where all 3 of us heard the price wrongly for the Alaska Crab and got a little shock from the bill when it came. But… i think it was till worth it. You can’t get this super fresh crab for this price in Singapore. I think the crab was around 200+ Thousand won which is around 300SGD. πŸ˜‘ This was why we were so poor for the next day. P.s. i was basically stoning after the lost phone so nothing get through my head. 


Thursday, 30th March 

Last day in Korea (sort of) so I decided that life has to go on! Gwangjang Market, Lotte Mart and Hanbok photo taking! Let the pictures say everything? 

While waiting for our Bibimbap at a random store! Say hi to my mom! ❀

Gwangjang Market is a must visit place! Food heaven and you can buy some traditional stuff as well! I made up my “zero money spent” Insadong trip here where I managed to buy some souvenirs and snack for my colleagues.

Lotte Mart at Seoul station is a no brainer place. Just BUY! But my advice is to just buy things that aren’t available in Singapore unless you plan to ship back the items or if you have extra spaces in your luggage. Unfortunately I don’t! 

Some of the must buy. The Pringles are good! Especially the Honey butter and the Butter Caramel ones! 

Lastly, Goguan Hanbok Studio

There are different packages available so you can check up the website. This is more fuss-free but pricey than renting the hanbok near the palace area. I wanted to dress up in Hanbok the longest time and I mean properly with the correct hairdo. We took it at Myeongdong (How convenient it is to stay in the prime area!) 

Some of the outfits are slightly overworn but mostly were fine. Some of the props are spoilt as well but just make do with it! Not the prettiest hanbok choices as compared to some other studio but good enough for an experience. I picked the Gisaeng hanbok and i have to say… the moment the lady tied my hair up. I looked more like a Japanese than korean. πŸ˜‚ But, I love it! Service were good and the lady actually went an extra mile to put on lipstick for me even though i did not top up for make up to be done! πŸ–’

There are a few photospot for you to play around with and there wasn’t any time limit! Would i go back again? Maybe! Anyway if i ever get married, I want to dress up in Hanbok! πŸ˜†

Friday, 31st March

Sad day cause it’s back to the hot and humid Singapore day! I’m super kiasu. Just in case the airport limo is full, I dragged everyone out of the hotel by 10+am to queue for the airport limo bus to the airport! It’s super near (5 mins walk from the hotel) as the bus stop is located in front of another hotel/bank and thankfully the bus that came along wasn’t full! πŸ˜₯ 

After paying 15,000 won per person, we were on our way to Incheon airport. It took less than an hour so we were super early and couldn’t check in. So we went for brunch and tea at their food area. Many choices available but we can’t leave without more Korean food!

Checking in was a breeze once the counter finally opened around noon. All i did was pray that my luggages were within the limit *phew

Similarly to Changi airport, do check in early at Incheon airport so you have time to do some last minute shopping in their dutyfree area! You can get some of those things that you wanted to get from Lotte Mart but yet you do not have luggage space because… duty free items doesn’t count! 😜 Within the transit area they will also have this Royal ceremony where the King and Queen parades around. While everyone else are taking photos with them… I took a photo with a not too bad looking Oppa aka the guard. πŸ˜„

To be honest, after we head off to our gate which is located off the main terminal again via the shuttle train, we concluded that being early was good as… time flew past quickly in the airport. There wasn’t any need to do tax refunds as all the things we purchased had been “refunded” on the spot. Something new and very much appreciated by us!

Sad me! At least this flight back was better. The air crew on my aisle seems to be a Korean and she is super good! Smiley and friendly throughout the flight. Sorry, the Korean SQ girl beats most of you hands down. 

One last flight meal! I regreted not choosing the bibimbap. This is good but… not filling! πŸ™Š i had to eat supper at Heavenly Wangz at t3 before heading home in a cab where the driver literally exclaimed grumpily when he knows the location. 

    I think that I’m more or less done writing! Just some extra stuff that would be useful!

    First up! Changi Recommends

    One of the best initiative that made everything right for Changi Airport. How should I name this? A one stop counter/website that save me some trouble and money. 

    1. Wifi Router at $5 per day

    I got 2 of this and it was a right decision as any point of time we break free from the group, we still can stay connected. You just need to make a reservation on line and collect it from the terminal that you choose. $1 deposit will be made on your card upon collection and you are ready to go!

    Inside the pouch you will receive:

    • Router
    • Charger wire
    • International plug
    • A guide card with contact number (whatsapp number as well) for troubleshooting

    The routers can last a day or more but I charge it every night. Downside, the international plug is useless. Eventually I have to use my own to charge it. Easy to use and much stronger than the ones I had for the previous trip which by the way, was from Korea.

    Once you are back in Singapore, you can just drop off at the counter and pay the remaining amount.

    I paid a total of $99 for both for my trip which includes a optional insurance. *I rather be safe than sorry… πŸ˜‚

    Anyway this is the step by step guide to get the router from Changi Recommends. Photo Cr: Changi recommends

    2. Discounted admission tickets

    Airport Rail Express  (From Incheon Airport to Seoul Station): $10 each

    • Exchange at Incheon airport AREX counter

    Lotte World 1 day pass: $41 each

    • Exchange for tickets at Changi Recommends counter first
    • Exchange for admission at Lotte World

    T-money card: $11 each

    • Bought on the spot from Changi recommends counter. There is already a value of 5000won inside the card. 

    Made my life easier than scrambling to purchase tickets in Korea. T-money card was a plus as from Seoul Station, we can just transfer to the subway to Myeongdong easily. Note that AREX and Subway trains are 2 different thing.

    Anyway, regardless of where you are going for your vacation, this will be useful as…

    They have discounted stuff for attractions and tours to many countries! They also provide travel insurance, prepaid sim cards… etc!

    Seoul pass (App)

    Another useful and highly recommended app. You can purchase discounted admission tickets or even tours and more on this app and you get to save quite a bit of money as well.

    We purchased the N-Seoul Tower tickets with Helly Kitty Land admission from this app. Simple and straight forward. There are alot more but I compared between Changi Recommends and this app, each have different discount so it’s up to you to choose.

    Anyway, you can just use for phone to scan the code if there is one, if not they will guide you on how to redeem the pass. πŸ–’

    Next I’m going introduce you to another app that makes my travelling in Korea very pleasant. Korea Subway

    This allows me to plan my train route everyday. It can also tell you which is the faster way to your destination. I’m so dependent on this app throughout my whole trip!

    Not just that, they provide recommendations as well to nearby attractions.

    That’s all! Took me a long time to finish this post and… maybe along the way I will update again!

    Now it’s time to sleep because Monday blues is back! And I have to deal with some @*&÷€÷ stuff at work. Never ending but it’s reality. And difficult people… it’s just not my favorite thing.

    Hope to sleep my worries away,

    Essa

    My Korea Trip part 3: Food~ On the Street and everything else!

    Everything else that couldn’t fit into the post I did last night! ^_^ You won’t go hungry in Seoul with the abundant of street food, dessert/coffee shops and markets. I have to say, their coffee/tea places are much more affordable and easily available as compared to Singapore. Since the day I got back from vacation, I have yet to step into those “atas” places for coffee or tea.

    Anyway let’s get start!

    This joint is near towards the “edge” of Myeongdong street and their snacks are really good! We will pop by this place nearly every night. The fish stick (Eomukguk) is something that I can’t stop munching on. This place serves 1 of the best as the fish cake is cooked to my liking. Not too mushy and quite chewy! Each stick is 1000won so you can imagine how much I have to restraint myself from getting more. A small cup of complimentary soup is given and this peppery yet refreshing soup is what you need for the cold.

    This is one of the must have if you like chewy seafood. 5000won per stick and *guilty* I ate quite a few of these as well.

    Photo credit from here.

    Another 2 must try is tteokbokki and soondae. Tteokbokki is straight forward, rice cake and fish cake cooked in this red spicy yet sweet sauce. Could be quite filling so advised to just order 1 portion to share. I can’t recall the price for these 2 but it’s not expensive at all. (Correction: It’s 3000won each!) Beside it on the right is Soondae. If you are feeling adventurous, this is similar to Tteokbokki but the main ingredient is this blood sausage. 

    Sundae or Korean sausage is a Korean dish made generally by boiling or steaming cow or pig’s intestines that are stuffed with various ingredients. It is a kind of blood sausage and believed to have been eaten since long ago. Cr: Wikipedia

    It isn’t as bad as it looks but… πŸ˜… maybe just once is enough. I wanted to try the soup version but I couldn’t find it and my travel buddies aren’t that keep to eat too much of this. 😁

    Jokbal or in English: Pig trotters is also something that I was hoping to eat after watching how much the return of supermen twins enjoyed it but I had to make do with the street version of it. WHICH… have a strong smell 😨 but still acceptable to a certain extend. Can’t recall the price but it does have the melt in your mouth texture due to the skin and fats. Maybe… I really should have gone to the restaurant instead as this is πŸ–“.

    Expensive shrimps on stick

    Self explanatory. Tasty no doubt but expensive for 4 shrimps. Don’t get me started. The lobster that every must try post raves about has an unreasonable price tag to it. Please do yourself a favor and visit the seafood restaurant or even Noryangin Fish Market for it.

    Rose shaped Yogurt ice cream 

    Surprising tasty for something that I thought was just over-hyped. Pricey for an ice cream cone but the yogurt flavor ice cream is good. 

    This store is at Myeongdong and look at the different colors they have. Right beside them is this Castella cake!

    I’m not a fan of cakes but 1 or 2 small pieces of this is fine. Opps for the ugly look if it but it taste better than it looks. πŸ˜‚ 

    There are two types, we got the original ones and it was recommended that it taste better after chilling it. So this was our breakfast for a few days (unfortunately for me…). Recommended to just get 1 as it is really big.

    Price: I can’t remember! 

    Hotdogs!

    We found this along Ehwa Women’s University shopping street. It’s quite interesting but you would have to wait as it is fried on the spot.

    I tried the one with that is covered with ramen. To be honest, not that interesting. Recommend that you try the ones with cheese and even squid ink. (All in the picture above). A little pricey for hotdogs but worth trying.

    Twister Potato 

    This is famous enough that I don’t need to introduce at all. Available everywhere and even at Singapore’s Pasar Malam. πŸ˜„ And nah… I’m sick of this thing. I will stick to potato chips instead.
    Gwangjang Market food

    There are only 3 items that I ate from here. There are just too many foods to try! And I only have 1 stomach! πŸ˜“

    1st up! The 1 thing that made me travel all way to this place. Note: it doesn’t matter which stall. They all sell the same thing so choose whichever that looks good to you.

    I chose this stall cause… I’m to hungry and it’s the first one I saw.

    Bibimbap

    This is different from what we ate in Singapore. I’m no vegetarian but I’m so in love with this simple dish. Barley rice with wild vegetables and sauce. A miso-alike soup to compliment it. This is why Koreans are so healthy… 

    Mandu noodle soup

    There are two types of mandu inside. The red one has kimchi in it and taste nicer as compared to the normal ones. Noodles as per their standard, chewy and not overcook with flavourful soup!

    Lastly, Mungbean pancakes!

    This is from another stall and one of the recommended food by this Korean Guidebook. 

    Bindaetteok is a made by grinding mung beans and made into pancake with vegetables added into it. Oily but tasty when dipped into their sauce with have garlic in it.

    Other foods that are worth mentioning:

    Squid stew at the airport

    Seriously, where do you ever get to see a whole squid in a stew in Singapore? Rare… all you get here is teeny weeny bits that barely exist. The soup has a smokey burnt smell but the squid is delicious!

    Naengmyeon with Bulgogi at the Airport

    This was the 2nd cold noodle I ate in Korea. Only 1 thought, the noodle seems endless! However this tasted better than the one I had in Myeongdong. 

    Alright. I missed this from the previous post. BBQ. Actually, it’s the same regardless where you choose. Meat is still meat. We were pulled into this place by the many promoters on the street of Myeongdong. We took the cheaper options of pork belly and pork collar. Beef is just… too ex! Just the right portion for 2 with a rice. Usually these places will throw in freebies like beanpaste soup so you don’t have to order extras. BBQ is paired with… soju!

    The fruity taste Soju is nice but the original ones, sad to say it tasted like antiseptic solution. πŸ˜‚

    The rest that I tried but lost all the photos (unfortunately…). Still, worth trying if you are in Korea!

    • Korean fried chicken: Ate at both Hongdae and Myeongdong. The spicy sauce is just… burning! Verdict: Busan’s fried chicken is much better. 
    • Grill chicken on stick: πŸ–’ Street food with some standard.
    • Chuncheon chicken: It tasted the same everywhere. Maybe cause I’m not a fan of it. This was inclusive in the 1 day tour.
    • Japchae with rice: Not too bad if you like carbs with carbs. Tried this a the food court of Myliore
    • Soft tofu stew: Much better there as the tofu is really smooth! 
    • Cheese stick wrapped with the spring roll skin: Ate this at Lotte world and it is good! 

    • Japanese food: This is rather random but there is some standard to the Japanese food I had at Lotte World. Tried their tempura during the previous trip as well at Hongdae and I’m impressed.
    • Jajangmyeon: I tried the one on the street. Big mistake. Please don’t bother and make your way to a restaurant or food court that serve a nicer version of this korean black bean paste noodle.
    • Dried Squid: Warning! Very addictive!

      I guess there are more but whatever that was recommended, it’s up to us to see and decide if it’s worth eating. Before I end this, do stay hydrated with lots of drinks that is available everywhere. My top recommendation (people will “chey” at me!) Is….. cold pressed GRAPEFRUIT JUICE! 😜

      With love,

      Essa

      My Korea Trip Part 2: Food~ Restaurants & Cafes

      Drool time! ^_^

      Back to work is no joke. Nope, the teaching part is just as easy as 1, 2, 3. It’s the other part of my job scope that is a killer. It kills brain cells. Ok, let’s stop here, if not I will continue to whine about whatever negative stuff that has been going on… which is why! I’m gonna talk on FOOD today! 

      The 8 days in Korea is just pure DELICIOUS! From street food to restaurant/cafe food that I source out from past blogger reviews!

      Let’s start from Restaurants and Cafes!

      Jogabi Seafood Restaurant and Bar

      This is my favorite seafood place (not the cheapest but the most convenient for a lazy me who have low tolerance of the smell from wet markets) where the seafood is just yummy! Steamed, BBQ, Alaska Crabs… etc are all available here. 

      I Believe they have 2 shops in MyeongDong. Whichever is fine. 

      Steamed Seafood! I wrote about this before and I’m doing it again. Because… it’s so fresh and good! There’s all the shells and not in the photo, similarly to the layers seafood, there is soup at the bottom with more shells and you can add noodles in which we did! 

      We also ordered the squid! The wiggly tentacles that look gross and scary but actually… it just taste like Ika sashimi. πŸ˜‘ And… YOLO! Tried once and nah… I will stick to Ika sashimi. πŸ˜‹

      On a seperate day we came back for the BBQ seafood and the huge and expensive Alaska Crab.

      Now, if you want to try BBQ shells, please just get it here. It taste way better than those on the street at a much reasonable price. I can’t decide whether I like the steamed ones or the BBQ ones after eating this. Anyway, the shop assistant will do the BBQ-ing so you can eat in peace.

      The highlight of all: CRAB! 

      The thing about this, we misheard the price thinking it is 1 less zero but… oh well, once in the blue moon, its good to treat ourselves something that you don’t get to eat easily. And, I was in a terrible mood that day… so! The crab is steamed and you get to taste the original flavor of it. The shop assistant will actually cut it for you so you don’t have to struggle with it. Totally worth the price!

      This place is not difficult to find especially with Google Map.

      Would I go back again? YES!

      Address: South Korea, Seoul, Jung-gu, Myeongdong 1(il)-ga, 38-1 1 μΈ΅ μ‘°κ°€λΉ„

      Masan – Ganjang Gejang

      OMG! This is like the best thing ever! My friend had actually mentioned about this yummy yet addictive thing in Singapore. So I decided to give it a try (feeling a little skeptical as it is raw blue crab) in Korea. After googling around, I found this place from this blogger.

      Basically, Ganjang gejang is a dish where raw blue crabs are marinated in a special soy sauce. It is freaking good! 

      I’m just blown away with the taste of it! And no kidding, rice is a must as the sauce is so tasty! 

      We also ordered a egg roe bibimbap! 😲 Daebak! And as usual, they are very generous with their side dishes and they threw in a steam egg for free! πŸ–’

      This place is located in Sinsa at their Ganjang Gejang Alley. There is alot of choices but I picked Masan and it was the right decision. 😁

      Would I go back again? YES!

      Address: 10 Gangnam-daero 99-gil, Seocho-gu | Masan Halmae Agoojjim, Seoul, South Korea

      Myeongdong Kyoja

      Been wanting to try this since I the last time I went to Korea but everyone kept telling me it’s not nice lah. Don’t want lah. πŸ˜‘

      Let me tell you this now: It’s so good! Eat from the right place before you discredit the food!

      I had to get my hotel receptionist to guide me to this place. They were nice enough to print out a easy to read map and direct me to this place. Since I stay in Myeongdong, it’s nothing difficult for me at all. 

      Look at the juicy looking Mandu! It is filled with meat and with just the right texture of skin. 

      We also order two noodles to share and the Kalguksu ‘chopped noodle’ soup is very nicely done. Noodles with the right chewiness and the soup just warms you up! As for the other noodle; Bubimguksu spicy noodle which is cold soft wheat noodles tossed in this special spicy red pepper paste sauce… it’s not that fantastic based on my opinion. Maybe cause the weather is cold so it doesn’t taste as comforting as the hot stuff.

      Anyway, the food is served as soon as you order and you have to pay first which is good as the queue for this place is long!

      Would I go back again? YES!

      Address:25-2 Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
       

      Tosokchon Ginseng Chicken Soup

      A little over-rated but anything warm for the stomach in the cold is still good. We went early thus there were no queues. (After we are done, we were shock by the queue outside!)

      We order 1 normal, and 1 black chicken. The black chicken soup have a stronger herb taste but both are equally tasty. There were also free flow kimchi and radish (which I kept eating). The meat of the chicken comes off the bones easily and the glutinous rice inside have more ingredients than some of the others that I tried. Maybe cause I’m just into the soup, all I did was drink lots of soup while munching the radish kimchi. 

      If I have to compare, the Ginseng Chicken that I ate in Jeju when I first visited Korea many years back is still the best. 

      Would I go back again? Nah.

      Address:South Korea, Seoul, Jongno-gu, Sajik-dong, Jahamun-ro 5-gil, 5
       

      Miss Lee Cafe at Samchingdong 

      Cozy little place which I think is think is a fire hazard. πŸ˜‚ Was recommend to this cafe by my many sources (itineraries from friends) but I didn’t really put my mind into looking for it. Found this place by accident. Maybe cause I was hungry after walking around Gyeongbokgung.

      Couldn’t resist ordering their signature lunch box. Oh… I failed the part where you were suppose to shake the tin to mix the rice. Ended up with the sauce leaking out. 😝 

      Quite tasty for something simple. As for the drinks, I chose the omija latte. Sour-ish but very refreshing! Just the thought of it makes me thirsty! 

      Would I go back again? Mmmm… yes!

      Address: Please google as there are many branches. 😎

      Mukshidonna Myeongdong

      This food wasn’t in my plan as I know how to cook it (or should I say my mom knows?) And there is a branch in Singapore as well. But since we were just wandering around with no idea of what to it, we shall this at Myeongdong! 

      You will just need to tick on the items you want and pass them the paper for your order. I chose the ham based and added ramen and glass noodles roll. Yes… I didn’t go overboard although, I was super tempted to order double portion of ramen. πŸ˜†

      Simple dish but not as tasty as the main branch in Insadong. And… the ham is seriously small and miserable. 

      Would I go back again? Nah… I can cook better than this. πŸ˜‚

      Address: 12, Myeongdong 3-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul 04534, South Korea
        

      Line cafe at Garosugil 

      Dropped by here after our yummy brunch of Ganjang Gejang. I finally found a place that serves Earl Grey Latte that is worth mentioning. Singapore’s Starbucks and Coffee Beans… please up your game! The green tea cake is light and spongy that suits my picky tastebuds and the macarons are just too adorable. On the expensive side but it’s a brand so what do you expect?

      This place is a cafe plus shop. Which have this huge bear for photo taking right in front. P.s. Queue up for your turn!

      If you are a fan of Line friends.. you will love this place! 

      Because the photo that was captured at Garosugil branch went missing, my travel buddies help me take this at Myeongdong branch in a attempt to brighten up my lost phone day as well. There are a few branches but I shall just share the one at Sinsa.

      Address:535-15, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea


      Alrighty, it’s super duper late and the initial plan was to put all the food into 1 post. BUT! I don’t think it is possible after all. Soooo.. till the next time where I do up the food~ Street food and others.



      Drooling to sleep,

      Essa

      Beauty time!

      Alright, maybe not so beauty after all? 

      As mentioned way back, I’m a lazy-bum when it comes to pampering my skin. I’m aging afterall (forever 18 not?) and after the trip to Korea, my skin became a little dry. 

      Anyway, just wanna share 3 “new” products that I added into my usual routine. P.s. that is provided if I’m not too lazy or too tired. πŸ™Š And, I’m not a professional beauty guru and stuff so I will only share why I like these products.

      1. L’oreal’s Youth Code

      This was not the one that I started out with but since I bought it, I will just have to finish using it first. But basically it feels similar to me. After this bottle is done, I’m going back for the new ferment pre-essence instead. By the way, I always thought that L’oreal is a brand that is more suitable for mature ladies but seeing many beauty bloggers using it, I decided to try. It absorbs quickly and my skin do feels hydrated and less dry. I don’t really feel a big difference previously but after coming back from Korea, there is slightly more noticeable difference before and after using it. Best part, this doesn’t smell bad at all.

      I hate products with strong weird smell that’s why I’m quite picky over what I use.

      2. Aloe Vera Cooling Eye Serum from Nature Republic

      Budget people! I can’t afford all the “expensive” products in the market. Moreover, expensive doesn’t mean it is good. Cheaper price doesn’t mean it is useless. I got this from Korea and I love it! I have very tired eyes and the eye bags are popping out. This cooling little thing helps me revitalize the skin around my tired eyes! I don’t really have wrinkles around my eyes (*not that I can see!) but it is said that this can help reduce the fine wrinkles as well. I think this is quite useful for me who wear lens everyday and stare at the computer at work. Easy to use as you can just give it a little squeeze and roll it under your eyes. The salesperson did mentioned that it can be use on top of our makeup as well. 

      3. Honey lip treatment from Skin Food

      I think by now everyone knows I hate products with weird and strong smell. Especially lip products! So, this honey flavored lip gel is good for me! Honey has many properties thus I shall not say much but the smell and taste is not bad at all. Similarly I had to battle with dry lips when in Korea so I just popped by 1 of the stores and found this. Easy to use and not overly sticky at all. 

      That’s all for now as I’m suffering from post holiday syndrome where I feel sleepy all day long. Actually… this is the usual me! πŸ˜‚

      Signing off now!

      Essa

      My Korea Trip 2017 Part 1

      Annyeong! I’m back to writing after so long! I just got back from my long overdued vacation which I must share with everyone. Can’t be greedy and not share the good stuff huh?

      Achievement unlocked for me as I single handedly (with inputs from my travelmate) planned the whole trip! *A round of applause please!*

      The only unfortunate thing out of the whole trip…… I LOST MY PHONE IN A CAB! 😭 Reported lost and found but to no avail! Considered it gone forever and may the phone explode (*too bad it wasn’t a note 7) in the hand of the person who didn’t return it. And my poor SD card. My privacy is so compromised.

      P.s: I will not set up new accts (e.g. FB) nor will I ask you to send me your number via messenger and stuff. So don’t be stupid to fall for it.

      Anyway, back to the topic. I will split the post as it might get too lengthy. Here’s an overview of it!

      Day 0 – Thursday, 23rd March

      • Check in at airport at 9.30pm (At least 2 hours before departure!)

      Early check in at our beautiful Changi Airport has its perks! Some dutyfree shopping or grab a light supper or even watch a movie! πŸ˜„
      Day 1 – Friday, 24th March

      • Departure from Changi Airport with Singapore Airlines: SQ608 at 12.10am

      Overnight flights are the best if you do not want to waste time. BUT, the sleep is terrible.

      • Arrive at Incheon Airport at 7+am
      • AREX and Seoul subway to Myeongdong
      • Baggage drop/Early Check in at Hotel Creto Myeongdong
      • Lunch at Myeongdong Gyoja
      • N Seoul Tower
      • Steamed seafood dinner at Jogabi Seafood Restaurant

      Day 2 – Saturday, 25th March

      • Ehwa Women’s University
      • Shopping at Sinchon
      • Late Fried Chicken Lunch at Hongdae
      • Shopping at Hongdae (Flea Market was closed, seems to be undergoing soon “reno”)
      • BBQ dinner and Shopping at Myeongdong

      Day 3 – Sunday, 26th March

      • Brunch at Masan, Ganjang Gejang
      • Shopping at Garosugil
      • Line Cafe
      • Shopping at Goto Mall
      • Mukshidonna at Myeongdong

      Day 4 – Monday, 27th March

      • One day tour with Ztages (Petite France, Nami Island, Garden of Morning Calm)
      • Fried Chicken take-away for Dinner

      Day 5 – Tuesday, 28th March

      • Lotte World
      • Japanese Lunch within Lotte World/Mall
      • Shopping at Myliore, Doota and along the streets (Hello aPm closed)
      • Dinner at food court of Myliore
      • Supper at Myeongdong

      Day 6 – Wednesday, 29th March aka Suay Max Day

      • Brunch at Tosokchon Samgyetang
      • Gyeongbokgung Palace
      • Shopping at Samchingdong/Bukchon
      • Miss Lee’s Cafe
      • Shopping at Insadong (was, but dropped my phone in the cab from Bukchon and lost all interest)
      • Expensive Dinner at Jogabi Seafood Restaurant (to be elaborated in future)

      Day 7 – Thursday, 30th March

      • Brunch at Gwangjang Market
      • Lotte Mart
      • Hanbok Wear at Goguan
      • Street snacks for Dinner

      Day 8 – Friday, 31st March

      • Check out of Hotel Creto Myeongdong
      • Airport Limo Bus to Incheon Airport
      • Lunch at Incheon Airport
      • Check in and last minute shopping at Duty Free
      • Annyeong Korea, departure at 4.40pm with SQ609

      Above all are just the rough itinerary of my trip. It’s extremely relax but very much suitable for people who aren’t in a rush or with family who can’t walk the whole day or for a lazy me who wants to slow things down.

      My travelmate felt that there wasn’t enough shopping when I felt there was more enough. Maybe cause this is not the first time in Korea and based on reviews I gathered, most places sells similar stuff thus I picked the “best” options. πŸ™Š I do feel a little upset as I don’t want “regrets” but I guess that’s one of the toughest part of planning a trip, to juggle everyone’s needs. But overall, it is still a good trip and I’m itching for more free and easy trips in future!

      Till the next free day where I can have more time to continue elaborating on my trip!

      Signing off with love!

      Essa