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Seoul Trip 2016. Annyeonghaseyo! (안녕하세요)~!

It’s the first time that me and my sisters + brother in law to travel outside PH and SG. First Destination…. HELLO, SOUTH KOREA!

Travelling to South Korea is in one of my bucket lists that I just ticked off (YEY!). It has been my dream to travel to Seoul since I was introduced to KPOP. I enjoy watching K-Dramas and amazed by how beautiful the Country is.  Korean skin care, food and most importantly – WEATHER! (These are only slice of the pile of reasons why I longed to travel to South Korea.)

It all started when my Sachie or third sister invited me to join their 6D5N trip to Seoul lasting from December 23 to 29, 2016. I booked a separate flight tickets with my sisters since we don’t live in the same country, I’m coming from Manila while they’re coming from Singapore. :p I booked my flight from 3 airlines (AirAsia, Asiana & Cebu Pacific) because apart from Korea, we visited Taiwan as well (please check my Taiwan blog, Thanks!). Unfortunately, the amount wasn’t the best at that point of time. My AirAsia ticket costs ₱5,958 for a one way trip MNL-ICN, my ICN-TPE one way trip at Asiana costs KRW278,000 equivalent to roughly ₱12,000 and lastly, my TPE-MNL fare ticket with Cebu Pacific costs ₱5,411.78.

I’ll be posting my itineraries, accommodation, Visa processing for Filipinos and some of my expenses (as I remembered :p)

First off – Visa Processing

I’ve read a lot of blogs before I applied for a Visa for me to know the “HOW-TOs”. You need to download the application form at Korean embassy website, prepare all the documents needed then submit to Korean Embassy.

I heard that South Korea is very lenient with Filipinos. In my case, since I’m a new hire, I wasn’t able to submit my ITR. I think a ₱50,000 savings would be enough to get a Korean visa(not sure, though).

How to get to Seoul

Since I have different flight with them, I arrived at Incheon Airport around 1:00pm (they arrived at 2am. meh!), I immediately bought my AREX ticket for around KRW8,000 at AREX booth. It’s cheaper if you buy at self-service machine near the entrance of the station, cost around KRW7,500 I think. Since I’m not familiar with that and haven’t read in other blogs, I purchased at AREX booth. I alight at Seoul station and grab a cab (KRW16,000) going to our hotel. Note: Some hotels have FREE SHUTTLE from Seoul station so don’t forget to check with the information desk if your hotel is covered by the free shuttle. Mine is not. 😦

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AREX Ticket

Also, I got a FREE EG SIM CARD at AREX booth because my sister (Achie) informed me about the leaflet she saw in SG but haven’t use it as we rented a WIFI egg (sorry i don’t have a photo of it 😦 but my sister rented it in Changi Airport, Singapore because it’s way cheaper than Korea.)

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EG Mobile Free Sim Card

Oh, you should also get a T-Money, it’s like a beep card in Manila or top-up card in Singapore. You can use it in trains, buses, convenience store and even cabs. We wasn’t able to use it that much in our case since we often took cabs. It’s the same or sometimes cheaper if you take the taxi if you’re group of 4. I’m not sure how much it cost because my office mate, Bianca is so generous she let me borrow hers, while my sisters got it for free from Korea place/village (I forgot how it’s called) in Singapore.

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How cute are they, right? 

ACCOMMODATION

My sister booked at Kyungnam Tourist Hotel via Agoda. It costs around SGD336.12 roughly PHP11,983 for an entire stay. Pretty cheap, huh. It is decent for hotel as cheap as this. I haven’t took any photo because I’m a bit tired (feels of someone traveling straight from work. nah!).

PROs:

  • Cheap
  • Free Drinking Water
  • Friendly parking attendant/guard
  • In front of chicken restaurant (yum! yum!)
  • Nearby Restaurants and Convenient stores

CONs:

  • Nearby bars (you can hear noises at night but not so loud in your room)
  • A lot of cigarette butts on the streets
  • Front Desk can’t understand english (I think there’s one who can speak english but he’s not around during night)
  • Phone lines are always busy: housekeeping, room service, etc.

tip: It’s best to ask for the hotel’s business card so you can show it to the driver if you’re getting a cab. As most of the cab drivers only know a little of english language. 

We also stayed at a hotel in Yongpyong for a night. Instead of going back to Seoul the same day, my sisters just decided to booked at Kensington Flora Hotel via Agoda, about 20-30 minutes taxi ride (KRW28,000 – KRW30,000) from Yongpyong ski resort. It costs around KRW88,000 for a night. It’s a 4 star hotel no wonoder it’s expensive. But the place is nice and relaxing. Unfortunately, it’s very icy so no one wants to try the pool. meh!

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Kensington Christmas Tree & Lobby

The Chistmas-sy feeling you get at places when you travel on December ❤

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3 sisters + big bear!

Goofy + stolen from sisters20161226_103615

Snow pose for bro-in-law!20161226_103627

Places we visited:

  • Gyeongbokgung Palace

It’s a very famous tourist destination in Seoul. (Please see itinerary on how to get there). I think this is the palace where Park Bo Gum dances bombastic. Nyahahaha! Awesome!

There are a lot of tourist when we went there so my photos are composed of us and some people I don’t know. nyaahaha! The palace is so huge and there’s a lot of things to see While walking within the palace, I’m thinking whether Jang Geum (Jewel in the Palace) is doing her task here or in another palace. :p

When you want to get a solo picture but someone photobombed. -_-

I wish my sister could take better photos of me. meh! -_-

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Took a picture with my animal sign!

When I wanted to have a solo picture again but this couple photobomb. meh! -_- (did I photobomb on your picture? nyahahaa).

  • Bukchon Hanok Village

We got lost looking for this village and been walking for about 1-2 hours, I think. -_- So we just ate along the way. Eating fish cake on these pictures! GAWD! it’s so yummy! I don’t know but it fades all the icy feeling I get due to the weather. Winter food it is! Fish cake costs KRW1,000. The owner/seller is so nice. Hehe.

I think I have a good photo of this place but in my sister’s old-aged digital camera. haha! She haven’t uploaded yet. So, still can’t grab. meh again!

  • Insadong, Myeongdong, Dongdaemun Market

These 3 places are the shopping district in Seoul. Good place to shop for pasalubongs and eat! Haha.

Insadong

You can buy korean kitchenware, figurines, etc. at Insadong. Achie is fond of collecting figurines/displays from the countries she visited so this is our first stop. I bought korean cutlery & korean honey candy (I have no photo so I’ll just grab from the internet. hihi)

Image result for korean cutleryImage result for korean honey candy

The mistake I did was I forgot to place the honey candy inside the fridge so it’s as hard as rock now. haha. but it’s yummy! The cutlery price is around KRW3,000 while honey candy cost around KRW6,000 to KRW8,000. Buy 7-13 boxes for a good deal.

Dongdaemun

I must admit, we wasn’t able to tour around dongdaemun because we went there around 10pm or 11pm and most of the stores are already closed. But the fish cake is cheaper here. It’s around KRW500/stick. HAHA! yummy! You can find electronics, RTW clothes and so on. It’s like a 168/Divisoria Shopping Mall. Maybe some of the korean clothing in the Philippines are from here. Just an assumptions, tho.

Myeongdong

We went here twice. The first time was to have dinner and guess what, it’s jam packed like everyone is going to this place which is not enjoyable. So we just bought few korean skin care products for us and for pasalubong then eat.

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Myeongdong @ night
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Meatballs!!! (Ddeokgalbi)

We ate at the first restaurant we saw in Myeongdong. I wasn’t able to take a picture of the restaurant cos I’m to tired and hungry. HAHA! But the food is great and tasty!

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Pork Bone Soup (Gamjatang)

My sister got drunk after drinking 1 shot glass of Soju. Really, achie? 20161224_195818

  • Yongpyong Ski Resort

We had a tour bus going to Yongpyong, located at Daegwallyeong-myeon. I think it’s a 2-4 hours drive from Seoul. It’s my first time skiing and I love it? haha! I haven’t enjoyed much since I’m scared but hopefully I can do better next time. I admire sachie’s ability to ski & Ahya Jernie’s perseverance in skiing. HAHA! They’re good for first timers. :p

And it’s snowing! So lucky! It’s my first time to experience snow and I’m glad I did!

tip: Make sure to bring medicines / painkillers or muscle pain spray especially if it’s your first time skiing. I wasn’t able to sleep because of discomfort due to muscle pain and there are no pharmacies nearby. Good thing the hotel has muscle pain spray, it somehow reduces the ache.

  • Everland – A place to be!

Who wouldn’t want to go to a theme park? It’s even in Kim Book Joo’s bucket list. haha!

So much panda!!! This is not the first time I’ve seen a Panda since achie took me to River Safari in Singapore, but still excites me whenever I see them. Tee-hee!

I believe they have fireworks during weekends. However, we went there on a weekday to avoid to much crowd. Nonetheless, they have light display at night that makes the place stunning.

  • Nami Island

Whenever I see, hear or talk about this place, Endless Love – Winter Sonata is the first thing that comes into my mind. Haha. Maybe because I’m so hooked with this drama. We took a train, bus and small ferry to go here. I do not know how much is the train ride because it was pre-booked by my sister. The bus fare cost KRW6,000 – unlimited trips. ohh-yeah!

Cute SNOWMANSSSSSSS!

Emote emote the couple! This will be a good poster! NYAHAHA20161228_104430

  • Petite France

Sachie is a huge fan of Running Man and they filmed it here. :p Unfortunately, we wasn’t able to get a discount because achie left the coupon at the hotel. Oh well. Good for Instagram-ing, tho!

  • Korean BBQ & Street Foods in Myeongdong- oh yeah!

This is really one of my favorite part – EATING! We went back to Myeongdong hoping it would be less crowded and it is! So lucky! Street foods, street foods, STREET FOODS!

Oh, ADIDAS & NIKE shoes are cheaper in Myeongdong, so make sure to buy if you like the brand.

We also had our BBQ in Myeongdong since we’re so hungry. I don’t know the name of the restaurant so I took a photo of it instead. Luckily, most of the restaurants’ staff we dined can speak Mandarin and my brother in law is somehow fluent in speaking mandarin, so KUDOS to you, brother! You’ve been very useful during our trip! Nyahaha!

BBQ is pretty expensive in Korea. If my memory serves me right, it costs us about KRW100,000 or so. It comes with unlimited side dishes (which is normal to other restaurants) and samgyupsal.

But it’s good. It fills the hungry tummy!

Lastly, Dessert!! There’s a lot of Bingsu store in Manila but it feels different if you try it in Korea. Nyehehe.

There. That sums up my Korea Trip. Hope you find them useful! Please see below for full itinerary + some of the expenses we had.

Thank you for reading.:)

Itinerary:

Please zoom 🙂

Channeling our inner Katniss at Arrowland by Gandiva SM Megamall

Have you ever wondered how to be like Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games? Nyahaha!

My office friends and I decided to try archery. Our first choice was DMZ Archery because it’s cheaper. ₱199/hr unlimited arrows. But considering our locations, we’ve decided to try Arrowland by Gandiva instead. It is located inside SM Megamall, Fashion Hall, near the ice skating rink & in front of lazer tag. Convenient for everyone. 😉

Rates aren’t that pricey compared to the one in Eastwood (I forgot the name. hehe).

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Arrowland rates. (sorry I just screencap this from my vlog)

Since we are five, we availed 150 arrows for  ₱1,200. Which costs us  ₱240 for 30 arrows each includes basic archery lesson & archery gears. Trust me, 30 arrows would be enough since your arms will get tired eventually. You get to pick your desired target paper for  ₱40 and bring it home with you. But we didn’t avail this. Tee-hee! :p

PS: arrow sharing example: 75 arrows can be shared by 3 people. 

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Smile muna with the Bow. HAHA!
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The real “Katniss Everdeen”. haha.
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“Katniss Everdeen # 2” HAHA.

Rate: 4/5

Questions? Feel free to comment down below!

Please visit my YOUTUBE channel and hit the subscribe button. Also check my ARCHERY VLOG and hit the like button (nagmamakaawa face) . Joke. :p

PS: my channel is still new so expect a beginner videos. hihi. :p

 

 

Hello, 2017 @ Taipei, Taiwan! 你好! 欢迎来到台北.

If you’ve checked my Seoul blog, you might know we went straight to Taipei after our South Korea trip to celebrate New Year (December 29, 2016 to January 2, 2017).

I once dream to live in Taiwan to enhance my Mandarin. Nyahaha! But I don’t think this is the right time, yet. So I decided to join my sisters to visit Taipei. Tee-hee. To be honest, I limit my expectation to this Country as it didn’t look as promising as South Korea. But I was off beam and surprised what Taipei can offer. From structures to cultures and food? – Agh! Heaven! Will definitely go back and travel not only Taipei but other provinces as well. :p

P.S. I really have limited tour in this trip since we only travel around Taipei. Our tour mainly focus on visiting famous structures, waterfall, old village eating at night markets. Taiwan is known for its night markets so I suggest you checked it out. 

Here are some of my trip details: 

Ticket

Since I went to Taiwan from South Korea and traveled on a peak dates, my plane tickets are little expensive than the usual.

  • Asiana Airline – ICN to TPE ~ KRW278,000 roughly ₱12,000.
  • Cebu Pacific – TPE to MNL ~ ₱5,411.78. If delayed flights isn’t a thing for you, then go for them. :p

Visa

I am not required to have a Taiwan Visa since I have Korean Visa. All I need to do was to fill up the R.O.C Travel Authorization Certificate, they immediately emailed my R.O.C. To check if Visa-Free Entry to Taiwan is applicable to you, click me.

Money Changer

One mistake we did was not changing our money at the airport or change money prior going to Taiwan. My sister had few NT$ but not enough for the 4 of us. We thought that we could exchange in the city since airport money changer wouldn’t give the best rates. But, we had a hard time looking for a money changer and SG$ & PHP is not well known. Banks are closed on weekends & holidays, so there’s no way we could exchange our money. I suggest you bring US$ or NT$.

Accommodation

  • Fun inn Taipei – It’s my bro-in-law’s sister who booked this hotel. Roughly ₱3,000 – 4,000 for 4D/3N. It’s a backpackers’ style inn. Pretty decent for its price. The Lam family is big enough to occupy 2 rooms. 10pax/room. Pictures available at agoda. Rate: 3/5
  • Lacle Hotel – we checked in here for 1 night via Agoda. It cost SGD240 around ₱8,500 for two (2) rooms. Location wise, uh-oh. Pretty far from tourist destination but one bus away from Shilin Night Market. Service is superb! not to mention the food, thumbs up! Rate: 4.5/5 (what I like most is the comfort room. nyehehe!)
    Breakfast Buffet @ Lacle

Places to Visit

Of course, like any  other countries, you’ll be needing their EasyCard (It is like beep, octopus, T-money card) for transportation. Can be used at MRT/Buses/Taxi/Convenience store, etc. It cost around NT$100 and is refundable.

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  • Taipei 101

Alight at Taipei City Hall Station (Exit 2) then ride a free shuttle going to Taipei 101, since it is not connected with the MRT. It is both shopping mall and office building. You can find the conservatory here for NT$500 and the famous & original Din Tai Fung located here.

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The couple’s “reality vs. expectation” photo :p
  • Ximending Night Market

Alight at Ximen Station (Exit 6). You can find Modern Toilet in Ximending located at 2F, No 7, Lane 50, Xi-Ning South Road.

First stop was the HOT-STAR Large Fried Chicken, it has a branch here in MNL but Hot Star in Taiwan is just the best. Try eating at local restaurant esp if you want to try braised pork. Thumbs up!!

Celebrated new year at Modern Toilet w/ Sachie. :p

Food: Entree – 2.5/5; Dessert – 3.5/5; Uniqueness: 4/5

More food. Yum! yum! We also had our breakfast along ximending.

  • Raohe Night Market

Also one of best night market in Taipei. Alight at Houshanpi Station exit 4. Make a turn at Songshan Road, Raohe St. 20161230_193143.jpg

 

  • Shilin Night Market

I bought mostly my Taiwan pasalubongs here. And I found the BEST tasting chicken EVER. Seriously! Really a must try!

  • Shifen Old Village

Write your wish and fly a lantern here at shifen old village. Take the train to Ruifang Station at Taipei Railway Station. Buy tickets at Pingxi Line then take the Shifen Railway Station.

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  • Shifen Waterfall
  • Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
  • Taipei Zoo

I didn’t go to Taipei Zoo since I just had my zoo experience in Korea, but be sure to check this out. My brother  in law’s nephews & nieces enjoyed it. 🙂 I think the entrance fee is around NT$60 for adult and NT$30 for 18y/o & below, you can use your EasyCard to purchase tickets. Open daily from 9am to 5pm. Animal Exhibits until 4:30pm.

There. I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I didn’t include our itinerary because it is basically just the list of places to check while in Taipei. Have fun & Enjoy your vacation!

Please don’t forget to check my Seoul trip here. Questions? Feel free to comment down below! 🙂

Thanks mucho! xx