January 10, 2012

Late Fall in Seoul

As always, I apologize for being incredibly slack with the updates. Since we got back from Seoul, I have been in such a rush to complete the macarons tower and few baking orders for my sister's engagement. 

Then came the so called new year celebration which I usually don't celebrate. On the eve of 2012, all of us including our close relatives gathered at my parent's house for a pot luck dinner. This year, my dad insisted on having a hotpot instead the usual BBQ. I don't know what's going on with him. Part of his healthy diet resolution I guess. :D 

The peak event of the night was to watch the fireworks display. FYI, my parents house is quite near with the A Famosa Resort. They usually launch a spectacular fireworks to ring in the New Year at midnight. According to my sister, we could view the fireworks at home. We waited, ate, waited, ate, and I fell asleep right before the fireworks started. Great...

Okay, let's talk Seoul. 
They say the best time to visit Seoul are during the fall. That is when the country is turning red, orange, yellow, purple and brown. Too bad, the trees were only seen in red shades and almost naked when we were there. Except for the ones that remain green through winter. It was freaking cold then. The lowest temperature was -9deg. Brr.. On the day we went back to SG, the snow began to fall. We were already on the plane by then. ceh 
Since the flight incident, Adam refused to do anything except playing with his toys and iPad. He didn't care to eat or drink his milk. He also had restless sleeps at night and taking him for a shower was...a pain. 

I don't want to sound bitter..but handling a  little toddler literally 24/7 is a bit tiring. I was beginning to think that the whole trip was a bad idea...but, towards the end of our trip, he began to enjoy himself and overall he was good as gold. I really thank to those who left comments on my first Seoul post here. It lifted me up. Thank you.. 
Adam caught a cold on second day. Luckily, he didn't make any fuss when I wanted to wipe his nose. Runny nose and rosy cheeks. See that cement mixer truck he's holding above? We made a deal with the little guy. "Wear you gears, and mommy'll buy you toys". 


Bad deal.


He agreed to wear the hood....Only... I should have known better. 

On the fourth day, Husband's colleague invited us for an authentic Korean Temple dinner at Sanchon. It's located in the back alley of Insadong and 100% vegetarian. A minute after the appetizer served, a Korean lady started to perform a Korean folk dance for almost half an hour. Interesting...and loud..err.. FYI, a Temple food is simple food which focused on preserving the authentic taste of the main ingredients. So less seasoning and spices are used in preparing the dishes.
I love the Hanok architecture and the interior design of the place. It feel so warm and cozy inside. We were served with assorted vegetables dishes including kimchis and whatnots. Haha.. I don't have much time to google the food names. There were more than 10 kimchis served. 

As for the photo, we could only snap the appetizers, then our little guy started to whine about getting out from that place. He he I had to quickly dig my bowl and entertain him after that. Despite that, Sanchon did give me a truly unique dining experience with a great taste of Korea. That was the only Korean dining we've ever encountered. The rest of the restaurants we went after that were either Middle East, Italian or the fast food.
Before we left that Sanchon, Husband's colleague told Adam to wear his cap and jacket as it was really freezing outside. and just like that, Adam agreed to wear his cap and put on the second jacket. Confetti.
Anyway, we stayed at Myeong-Dong area. Cafes, restaurants, street food, bakeries, you-name-it, everything are just distant away. I ordered Caramel Machiato almost everyday. Crazy. The weather is so freaking cold and a dose of sugared caffeine is a must have every time we went out.
Myeong Dong is a shopping district; from high class branded stuffs like LV, segala-mak-nenek-brand-I-dont-wear etc down to Uniqlo, Zara, H&M, etc, and to the street labels. 

The shopping crowd was crazy during nights and weekend. I don't bother sardine-ing myself with them. I went shopping right after the lunch break. The crowds are quite calm during that hour. There were sales at H&M, Zara, and few local boutiques but no size fit the giant me :( I can only shop bag and hats. Pity. Some people said you have to shop in Itaewon area for American/UK sizes. Unfortunately, we don't have time to explore the area.
I'm not that disappointed anyway..Pottery, dining wares and baking stuffs excite me more. I bought few dining wares and potteries at Namdaemun Market and Insadong. 
If you plan to visit Myeong-Dong, the closest halal restaurant is just at the back of Ibis Hotel lobby. There's an Arab-Pakistan restaurant called Saffron and the food is good. We dined in once and tapau twice. So AliaaRoslan, take note eh..he he There's also a RotiBoy shop nearby. I'm not sure when was the last time I ate Rotiboy. I had 2 buns in one go. Blame the weather and the Rotiboy itself.
On the fifth day, we dined again with Husband's colleague and this time he brought us to Kervan in Itaewon. There are lots of Halal restaurants in this area, and most of them served Middle-East food. 
The next day we went to Lotte World early in the morning, just to beat the crowd. It's a theme park with all kind of rides for people of different ages. Too bad, there are limited activities for kids at Adam's age. He had a bad flu during that day anyway. So every answer I've got from him was a NO, or a head shake. He even refused to ride his favorite carousel ride. 
We went to Gyeongbok Palace a day before we went back. We choose to walk from our hotel in Myeong-Dong, instead of taking a cab. We strolled along those small shop alleys, had a stop at Insadong and continued to walk to Gyeongbok Palace. I bought a pair of Mickey Mouse gloves at Namdaemun Market a day before that and Adam agreed to wear on them. Confetti. He finally wore everything.
Above: Insadong area
Above: Gyeongbok Palace. It was so windy and cold. We saw the guard changing ceremony. 
At Bukchon Hanok village
                  Doors at Bukchon Hanok Village. 

Bukchon Hanok Village is a Korean traditional village with a long history located between Gyeongbok Palace, Changdeok Palace and Jongmyo Royal Shrine. The traditional village is composed of lots of alleys and is preserved to show a 600-year-old urban environment.-Wiki
     Had a coffee break at local cafe in Bukchon Hanok Village. 
Above:Strolling along the Cheonggyecheon Stream. I was alone, and  busy snapping around with my camera. Suddenly, a local Korean girl came up to me, and asked if she could help me take a photo of myself. Aww..The local here are so friendly..  
Seoul gave me different kind of experiences compared to Europe trip I had two years ago. I fell in love with the people. Seoulites are so helpful and friendly. I really wish some local people here are more like them. Grr.. 

The city is quite clean compared to some Europe countries I've been. [I was a little put offed by Amsterdam and Paris. It is one of the dirtiest, most crowded, unpleasant cities I've ever been so far..ade je bau urine and dog poop kat celah2 alley.. cit.] Seoul might not be on the list of the most beautiful cities, but Seoul has everything travelers are hoping for. A four season city, exotic cuisines, warm-hearted people, rich cultures and historical places to explore and it's only 6 hours away from here. I'll definitely return to Korea. Definitely. 


22 comments:

  1. RC
    Tak freaking cold pun kat singapore.. i still need my dose of caffeine fix every single day hahaha

    Ty for sharing ur experience and beautiful photos.. :o)

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  2. Ribbon:
    Beauuuuuuuuuuuuutiful pics.

    And yes..Paris, so much for CITY OF LOVE it is more of...errrr city of urine and poops..lol.

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  3. Fabulous photos!! Love them all!!
    xoxo

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  4. K Rima,

    It told you to sleep.. Sempat left comment at my blog lagi.. Haish..Haha

    I'm not a coffee person k rima.. Tp kat sana hari2 I kena minum.. Just to keep me sane and saje nak masuk the local cafes.. Cafe nye menu lg familliar.. There's a few tea shops, tp tak tahu nak order ape kah kah kang cam ckp ayam ititk kang.. Letih.

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  5. Mak Piah,

    Haa je dia comment..hehe kan kan kannnnn... Kotor kan.. Fening.

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  6. Thanks k muna.. Bila nak activate your comment box kak? Hihi tension taleh comment @ gambar food yg sedap2x..

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  7. bestnyaaaaa!!!! semua best! makan, places to visit, strolling down the alleys. can't wait to go there.. :))

    senyum sampai telinga ni kak..

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  8. Aliaa,

    Bulan march kan? Mmg berbaloi gi Korea. kitaorg br gi Seoul je tu.. Blom pushing satu Korea hehe amik gambar byk2 k..

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  9. cantiknyaaaaaaaaaaaaa... waaaaaaaaaaaa plan juga nk ke sana. april kot. eh. hahahahah

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  10. tak pa lama menypi but puaih hati tgk pics semua...ish kalau i pi korea boleh giler jgak lookg at the stuffs tt they have there!

    kalau we mrt hari tu at changi sure muka i terjengoi di sini kan hehe...nxt time!

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  11. RC
    Love this particular entry very much! muah3..

    Been there decades ago atas tugas negara kekdahnya so everything was well taken care of. Seronok.

    Koreans are a bunch of polite n friendly people (Hongkee agak teruk while Japanese at par with Koreans).

    I wish I could bring home one of those doors. Sangat berkenan dihati.

    'Confetti' for Adam .. syabas.

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  12. Anggerik,

    Enjoy ur trip k.. Borong2 byk2 souvenirs he he

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  13. KG,

    hahaha.. lama tul nak edit those pics.. I slowly edit since last month kot hihi

    confirm letak gambar kat sini kalau jupe.. Next time kita jupe kak.. InsyaAllah.. leh you borong lagi wakaka

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  14. Cik Som..

    Kamsahamnida~~ haha

    Never met a Hongkee yet.. tp penah dgr lah cerita2 kurang enak haha psl mereka2.. I blom gi HongKong lagi.. tunggu Adam besar, biar dia paham psl themepark, baru pegi..sbb nak ajk dia gi disney.. Skang kalau pegi buat abis duit je kihkih.. Haritu kat Seoul, kat Lotte World tu langsung x main..turun stroller pun tanak..

    I pun suka sgt2 ng door tu.. ala you carik carpenter, suh buat design camtu.. ;p

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  15. RC,
    U had ur new year kat Melaka and I had new year kat s'pore. Wanted to reach you before heading there but so shy one lah... Sib baik mmg balik msia lau tak nyesal jer tak jumpa:)

    Love love love you story.. love you pictures too. MM lau jalan2 gambar hampeh. Jiwa tak cukup seni. Balik2 gambar laiqah jer bertimbun:)

    Makes me wonder if pegi tempat macam tuh.. sbb aircond pun letak kat 25c. camner? harus2 nanti duduk bilik je...

    Thanks for sharing your story.. :D

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  16. MM,

    Gambar main snap.kihkih tade manual2.. X sempat nk telek camera.. Put on auto mode n click.. Si kecik x nk stay lama2 at one place hihi ikut je lah kata dia..

    Sorry.. I dun get ur q mm..U mean takut x Tahan sejuk ke?

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  17. Hahaha... Me always ayat huru hara :) Yupe, maksudnya tak tahan sejuk. Kalau dulu masa keje org lain masuk studio okay jer.. MM using sweater yang paling tebal tau.. hahaha

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  18. Hahaha.. Tu no pasal. I pun x thn rasa sejuk compare tu my husband.. Winter clothing cukup tuk protect kita.. We all pki long John kat dalam.. So tahan lah.. InsyaAllah.. Make sure segala scart, shawl, gloves segala mak nenek ade.. Hihi better beli kat sana sbb sana byk choice..

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  19. hi, saya sangat suka photography kt blog u. looking at seoul from diff. angle. sangat cool! hope to visit seoul one day :)

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  20. I thoroughly enjoyed your photo tour through Seoul. Wonderful! I would have gone nutty in those stores filled with kitchen ware. Travelling with a toddler can be the WORST..but I say it's better than not going at all!

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