Hong Kong 2019 Day 14 – Seoul to Hong Kong

Transition day for us and so slept in late as usual while I had to wake up slightly earlier to pack. The transport that we booked was for 10am, giving us 3.5hrs to get from Seoul to Incheon Airport for the flight to Hong Kong scheduled at 135pm.

I had to dress K in this sleep and then turn on YouTube to automate the rest of the morning process. Soon he was already up and ready eating bread and having his milk.

We made it to the ground floor to find a black vehicle waiting downstairs but of a different vehicle number. Whatsapp the driver who helped with the booking and found that the vehicle was not the right one even though he thought that the vehicle had arrived. It wasn’t too long before our vehicle came.

This Chinese driver helped with the luggage as we all loaded up his vehicle, this time more spacious for us as my sister’s family had left on an earlier vehicle to Gimpo for their extension to Japan. The journey was a 1 hr drive to Incheon and it was spent with K chattering most of the time and playing with imaginative scenarios of ice cream making and trying to shoot some last photos of Seoul from the vehicle with my phone.

Leaving for the airport…many bridges around Seoul
Interesting looking building.
AREX train
Incheon Airport

We got off the vehicle, paid the 70k and as I wanted to whip out my phone to see if I could place some Pokémon at the Seoul gym, I found it missing. The transport! With all the contacts being made thru my phone, I was in a very difficult situation but thankfully I remembered that I got a name card from my first driver and was taking photo of it just in the morning in the vehicle with my camera. Found it in the bag and quickly called him. Though it was frustrating, he managed to call the driver who brought back the phone to me.

We carried out the check in at the self check in machine assisted by the staffs there and it was a breeze. They even helped with attaching the luggage stickers and we were off to dropping off the luggage at the counter. We were informed to stay back for 10mins to clear the luggage Xray in which we just visited the toilet and then left to queue to clear security and immigrations. It wasn’t too long before we were at the departures and granddad who was holding bags of goodies that we bought informed me that my strawberry jam from Pocheon strawberry farm was confiscated because it was not checked in!

Did some last minute shopping for mommy who wanted something from Nature Republic and then again to spend off some of the Korean Won, I bought more goodies to bring home while the rest of the family were having a small lunch of Udon at the Saboten outlet in the food court.

Robot at the charging station
Airstar Avenue for last minute shopping needs

We walked towards the gate with 15mins left and upon reaching found that we were last passengers to get on. Made it to our seats and then the plane was seated there for almost 15mins before it took to the skies. But this was not a problem as K was thoroughly entertained by the entertainment games. This plane was a new one, different from the ones we took from Singapore, and the entertainment system was new too!

There was time for me to watch 2 movies which I caught Into the Spiderverse and King of Comedy. K just played his Mickey Mouse game throughout and a little bit of Angry Birds. He was even lamenting why the plane landed so quickly before I had to pull him away to disembark.

I love the new screens
For the boy, pretty sumptuous

Clearing immigrations and customs was quick, even our luggage was out the moment we arrived at the belt. We met our Hong Kong relatives at the arrival hall who was there to pick up my aunt to return home. They then escorted us to the taxi stand where we separated and went on our way to Lanson Place hotel, the accommodation where mommy was staying for her business trip.

It was a one hour drive where we all slept and upon reaching, the kind bellboys just took over all the barang barang and we could just go to the 1st floor for check in. Did a check in for my parents since mommy already checked in for her room and as we requested for the same floor, there wasn’t one. They gave an upgrade to my parents which was twice the room size but when they looked at the place and found too many mirrors and felt uncomfortable, they were given a room at the much lower level instead.

TV and a desk
Queen bed
Small pantry with stove
Rain shower



We got out for dinner and visited a Wing Kee noodle store and joined a queue that already formed. The noodle store concept was like Yong Tau Foo and we ordered 2 bowls with 4 and 3 varieties and a bowl of vegetables. Shared mine with K who loved this place as he loved noodles and could take the Tau Pok, fish cake and even the vegetables while mommy gave him some pork. I found the soup base really good and that complimented the other food that had a good texture. Worth the queue that didn’t take too long and the affordable price of 114HKD.

Wing Kee noodle store with its queue
Yummy noodles

Proceeded to Yee Shun Milk company to have some desserts and ordered the steamed milk with red bean for mommy and chocolate flavor for me while my parents had the original and lotus seed one. The staff had to confirm the order so many times that we wondered why she didn’t bother to just write it down. The dessert tasted good, the same that I remembered it to be the last time I tried, which explained the always fully occupied seats in the store. Paid 155HKD for 4 desserts.

Yee Shun milk company at Causeway Bay
Red bean

Spent the night walking around the streets and taking photos. There were big movies displays for photos and we got some photos with the Avengers at Hysan place and another with Dumbo at Lane Crawford.

Avengers Endgame exhibit
4D Dumbo experience
Dumbo exhibits to take photos with

After this short walk around the streets that were still crowded with people brightly lit with colourful lights, we returned to the rooms for the night. Mommy had some time to catch up play time with K on his whack-a-mole before we all turn in for the night.

Streets of Causeway Bay at night

Seoul 2019 Day 12 – Dongdaemun and Lotte Outlet

This day was planned as a break in between to rest the tired legs for everybody. At the same time, mommy would be flying off at night while my niece was celebrating her birthday and thus their family wouldn’t be joining us until dinner.

We initially planned a trip to COEX and the aquarium but changed our minds because of the fatigue. We decided to go Dongdaemun instead.

Everyone woke up later than usual and slept in till we had enough. I went to get some breakfast for everyone as our loaf of bread had ran out. I reached Lotte Mart only to find out that the Mart only opens at 10. With 30mjns to spare, I went to Seoul Station to find other choices in which I bought what looked like butter cake from a shop called Ding Dong for 14k and some pastries from another shop.

Ding Dong Cafe
Kiseki cake

The cake was pretty tasty and wasn’t really butter cake as it was quite sweet. After breakfast, we then got dressed and got out of the apartment by 11 plus. 2 stations later we arrived at Dongdaemun station and we got lost for a bit trying to find the toys and stationary wholesale street. Finally got to Exit 4 and turned in at the second street, the shops that lined this street was selling tons of toys and stationary to choose from.

Cheonggyecheon Stream at Dongdaemun
Toy street
Full of toys
Store full of stationeries.

We were searching for a toy for our niece but ended up buying one for each (K got his whack-a-mole tiny arcade machine) and even granddad bought 2 toy parrots for his grandsons. From the stationary store we also managed to get some cartoon themed item and I bought K a pair of learning chopsticks with Pikachu pictures and a container to keep them for 8k.

After this visit that effectively ended at the 2nd store, we tried to search for Korean bbq as mommy wanted to try that before flying to Hong Kong. From TripAdvisor I managed to get a location that was about 600m away and not too low in position. We crossed the Cheonggyecheon stream and ended up in a building that didn’t seem to be opened at that time. Took the lift up to the ninth floor and seated down with a nice view and 2 tables with burners inside Dachai Dongdaemun store.

Dachai Dongdaemun store

We ordered the pork meat for BBQ and a grilled fish, together with a bowl of cold buckwheat noodles and steam eggs. Vegetables was buffet style self service and there was 4 varieties of rice, including normal, brown rice, barley rice and porridge. There was also 2 types of soup.

BBQ goodies!
Slightly spicy but delicious cold noodles.
Saba fish.

It was pretty filling for all of us as the portions were quite a lot. This cost us about 64k for a really full lunch.

Mommy left for the plane to Hong Kong after 330pm while I brought the rest around to see the wholesale market there. I couldn’t remember which was the building with the wholesale clothing and went to the Dongdaemun shopping complex first. Entering the huge building we found the stores selling mostly material for clothes making and this was the same for the 2nd level.

Dongdaemun shopping complex
Clothing material for sale.

We decided to walk over to Pyoung Hwa clothing market instead and took an elevator to the 3rd floor but the entire floor was dark and shops were all closed. Went to the 2nd level and it was the same! We were surprised and 2nd guessing if the opening time was supposedly much later. Went to the first floor and saw that the shops here were opened. We walked through the length of the building and saw shops and shops of hats and caps. When we reached a section where there’s access to the upper levels, we went to the 2nd floor and this level was for clothings. My parents continued to walk while I brought K to the toilet that only had 3 cubicles, one of which that was in used had a toilet bowl while the other 2 had squatting ones. Was reprimanded by the user when he came out pissed because K was making a fuss outside the cubicle but I couldn’t really care less as K really needed to poop and he couldn’t do so squatting.

DFWM mall
More clothing for sale here though not all fully opened.

When we were done, my parents were also done exploring and said they couldn’t find anything to buy so we got out of the building and boarded the train to return back to the apartment.

A 2nd hand book store
Interesting 3D advert on a building.

My parents wanted to go Lotte Mart to get something and so I brought K to the Lotte outlet to use the toilet and took the opportunity to have a look too. Went up to the 3rd floor, there was a toys and a small Lego section and spent some time browsing. K also tried a Gacha machine. Before anything, I had to set his expectations first to avoid disappointment if he didn’t get what he wanted and fortunately, that worked well.

There was a North Face section but we didn’t get anything there too. There was a Hatson section that carried the popular Elstinko caps that we often seen worn by the Running Man celebrities and K took a liking to a black Ironman cap. Bought for him for 32k after a 30% discount.

3 floors of Lotte Outlet.
At the 3rd floor.
Cute milk kids tees.

We returned to the apartment to find that we were earlier than our parents! They came back a few minutes later and after a short rest, we were out again to Myeongdong, meeting my sister for dinner.

Classic looking theatre.
Back to crowded Myeongdong.

This time we navigated to the Myth Jokbal restaurant that my sister recommended. We got ourselves a table as we arrived first and sister’s family joined soon after. Ordered a large portion of the garlic jokbal, a steam egg and rice ball set and orden soup. The jokbal was cold pork which I thought tasted nice and the rest of the other items were ok too. The total damage was 72k.

Myth Jokbal restaurant.
Salad and pork trotters.
Steamed egg.
Some soup.


The return to the apartment was arduous journey with the kids but we managed to return to my sister’s unit for a quick birthday celebration. After the cake dessert, we went back to our own apartment. Prepared K for bed as he played a couple of times on his Whack-a-mole but he went into dreamland pretty quickly, as it was nearing midnight. I spent some time on my journal note before knocking out.

Night time Myeongdong.

Seoul 2019 Day 11 – Nami Island, Ganchon rail park and Garden of Morning Calm

It was a tour day today as I have booked a driver through Klook to get us to Nami Island and it’s surrounding. Had agreed on the meeting time the day before to change to 930 instead of 9 because it seemed impossible to get the family out by that time which the driver had agreed through whatsapp.

Everyone was awake and preparing early except K that slept in till 9 as we wanted him to get rested as much as possible. The driver had arrived early and sent a picture of the location where he was parked. By the time we got to the ground floor, it was 935, still late! I sent a picture of where we were and he drove there to pick us up. It was a mad rush to get everyone into the Hyundai Starex as there were 10 of us but it worked out fine and soon we were 1hr40mins to our first destination.

Our ride

As the journey was long, the initial lively conversation with the Korea born Chinese driver didn’t last and everyone was dozing off. We arrived finally at the restaurant for lunch as I have preferred that we ate first before going to the island as there might not be food choices there.

Chinese speaking driver
Saw an Olympics stadium during the journey

This restaurant served stir fried chicken and we had 3 tables in which 2 had spicy and one not, for the kids. The chicken was fried by the staff and had vegetables in them too. When the chicken was done, the rice was then added in and fried on the same plate to absorb in the sauce. It was quite delicious but K didn’t appreciate the food and was almost puking at some point. Maybe the food chunks were too big. The driver paid on behalf and we left for Nami Island in which the driver also helped to get tickets on our behalf (as he had an additional 5% discount) and helped take a photo for us before bringing us into the island.

Parking lots for visitors to Nami Island
Where we had lunch
Before complete cooking
The spicy version
Can choose to zipline into the island
Cruise boarding to Nami Island

We were left to roam the island as he left with the instructions on where to meet up. Following the map, we walked towards Winter Sonata filming location. It was a 500m walk there which but it took a while as we stopped by here and there to chase squirrels, play at playground, see ostriches and Merlion and tried pumping ground water out from the ground using an old pump.

Arriving at the disembarkation location
View after gettiing off the cruise
A choice of taking the bus or train or walk for free
Many water bodies on Nami Island
Ostriches on the island
Playground for the kids to stop and play
Very tall trees lined in parallel
Close up shot of a squirrel near the playground
A Merlion?!?!
A wild bunny
Panoramic view of a village in Nami Island
A pond within the village
Steamed bun over traditional log fire
Plain bun

When we finally arrived, we had to jostle with the many people there that came in a tour group before my parents could take a photo in front of the photo (think the actual shooting location was further down as we didn’t get there). Walking back to the ferry after our 1.5hrs there was way faster since we didn’t stop but there was already a huge line of people waiting to board the ferry back.

Left Nami island the same way we came

Returned to the vehicle after a restroom visit, we travelled about 30mins to the Gangchon rail park for the next destination. K fell asleep on the way there and thus we left mommy and K while the rest took 2 rail bikes of 4 persons each to ride. Again there were quite a lot of people despite the poor weather and we had to queue here too. The driver was very helpful to get the tickets and helped us with the tickets and even a video of us going off. Later he drove the vehicle at the end point to meet us with mommy and K.

Gangchon Rail Park
Display inside the park
Many rail bikes parked and ready

This rail bike experience was unlike the previous one I had in Yeosu. This was 8km in length according to the guide and had 3 tunnels and pretty good scenery along the way. Longer distance meant that I had to paddle more and it was indeed a workout for my thighs as I was seated with my parents and my aunty! But it felt great anyhow as they get to experience something different, heard them laughing a great deal along the way. The ride here made the one in Yeosu looked like a kids ride, as we made thru 3 different tunnels of different displays, one with bubbles, one with slow music and lights and the other with heart thumbing disco music!

A much longer journey than the one in Yeosu
One of the tunnels with dancing lights

After riding about 40mins, we disembarked at an intermediate platform to take a slow romantic train back to Gangchon train station. The train arrived after some time while people were going to the toilet, getting something to eat from the cafe, taking photos of the surrounding or simply just seated in an enclosed tentage. The train had 2 sections, one closed off from the elements with windows and the other was opened. We took the closed off ones to avoid the cold and the train rolled slowly to our final destination. Upon arrival at the end point, I managed to snag a few photos for my sister before the staff chased us out of the area.

Midpoint waiting for train.
The toilet was at the end.
Panoramic view of the scenery at the midpoint.
Train to the end point.
Disembarkation point at the end.
A bridge at the end point.

Boarded the drivers vehicle parked next to the road and found K still asleep with mommy. We then proceeded to the next location while the drizzle started to increase in intensity.

It was about a 40mins drive from the rail park to the Garden of Morning Calm and the drizzle didn’t stop even when we finally arrived at the carpark. We opted to skip this to go for a great dinner instead since it would be too cold to visit without an umbrella and the view will be quite dreary too. We requested for a place with good Ginseng chicken and the driver knew where to bring us.

Plants at the entrance
Not going further then the entrance of the Garden of Morning Calm

After a toilet break and some eating of some snacks bought from the stores, we were on our way, 2hrs drive back to the samgyetang restaurant.

The journey was long due to traffic jam probably contributed by rain and peak time traffic. K, who had slept too much, couldn’t go to sleep and was moving so much that he got road sickness and was puking a few times.

We had made it to the Tosokchon Samgyetang restaurant, still drizzling and the driver helped get everyone off and into the restaurant before going to park his vehicle. We ordered 8 portions to share and a seafood pancake. There were also ginseng liquor available for purchase. I thought the soup tasted pretty good, and the chicken with the glutinous rice was delicious. The pancake wasn’t fantastic though. The free ginseng alcohol was quite flavourful and tasted even better after the dinner. The total costs of the dinner was about 166k.

Tosokchon restaurant
Ginseng alcohol for sale
Thich broth of the Samgyetang
Ginseng alcohol

The drive back to the accommodation was a quick 30mins and after the driver parked just under the block, we paid the driver who had taken care of the entire day’s spending for the meals and the tickets by paying in advance. That came up to about 527k inclusive of the discount already but it was a surprise for us as we didn’t prepare a lot of cash. My mom paid off first with 500k and the rest I topped up but now we were left with not much cash. Should have paid with credit cards for the meals at least.

We returned to the accommodation tired from the days’ activities and night proceeded as usual. I dozed off for a bit while mommy and K was spending time with granddad and then lights off happen some time later.

Seoul 2019 Day 10 – Lotte World Adventure theme park

It was a day for the kids as we planned an outing to the popular Lotte World Adventure theme park. Initially wanted to get out of the apartment early so as to maximize the time at the park. The plan to meet at 9am became 945 instead. Plus we had to pack our luggage for a shift of units because of unavailability the first 2 days, and that also took up some time.

The inertia faced in the morning was the same as the day before and as we made it to the subway, we spent a lot of time searching for toilets.

After managing to get up the train, it was then about a 40 mins ride to Lotte World with the nearest station as Jamsil. Decided to have lunch upon arrival as it was almost 12 already so proceeded to the Urban’s Court food court just opposite the aquarium to eat.

Huge Lotte World Mall next to Lotte World theme park
Totoro Shop
Cute cat vehicle that can be boarded for photo
Where lunch was

After lunch, we went towards adventure land while our parents would spend their time at the malls and the cherry blossom festival outside instead.

Walking to adventure land was a little confusing within the huge mall and after trying to follow the signs and the asking the staff, we thought we found the entrance but because we bought the tickets from Klook, we had to go to the South Entrance instead. Then we had to go to the overseas tickets office to exchange for paper tickets and have that registered on the app and the magic pass.

Lotte World Adventure theme Park
Directions to the theme park
Not easy to navigate to the South Gate without asking around
Tickets to be redeemed here if purchased from Klook

The great thing was with the app there were 3 magic passes that were given. We bought the tickets with 3 magic passes so that meant 6 magic passes in total. There were differences as well, for the app magic passes these were utilized by reservation of time slots that we would be using at the ride whereas the tickets ones gave us instant access when handed over to the staff at the line.

Using the app and the hard copy map, we could identify the rides where the kids could ride tabulated in a table with clear limitations. The app gave live details on the waiting times so we planned the usage of the magic passes on the longest waiting time while the rest we just queued.

As we were mostly taking rides for kids, eventually we didn’t get to fully utilize the magic passes, and probably because it was a Monday, the lines were pretty manageable. This also meant that the kids got to play 2 to 3 times per ride as once the ride was done they quickly queued again for another round. The adult rides however were just full of people.

Our tickets
Schedule of shows and parades
Map of the entire theme park
Panoramic view of the indoor theme park

The indoor area was already huge enough and we had watched a parade at 2 pm amongst a few more scheduled shows for the day. Even then we had also ran out of time because there were 4 floors of rides to explore and an outdoor one called magic island.

Big bad wolf and the pigs
Alice in Wonderland
Peter Pan and Capt Hook
One of the more popular rides
View from the balloon
Kids size bumper car
Theatre shows
Outdoor theme park called Magic Island
Entrance to the Magic Island
Palace reminded me of Disney
Lines everywhere even in the cold
Seoul tower
Boat to cruise on the waters around the Magic Island
One of the rides on Magic Island
Ride brought us around colourful displays
Another parade just as we returned from Magic Island
Paid lucky dip (more hook than dip) to win a prize

As the sun set, the indoor theme park was lighted up and that gave the theme park a magical look. Many people were dressed in rented school uniforms or olden fashion to take their photos there (and we thought initially so many students came from school).

Interesting display
Indoor roller coaster through the indoor park
Huge section for smaller children when the kids played their hearts out
Indoor park lighted up at night

Sis went off in search for our parent first for dinner while we went to get our caricature drawn for total of 35k at one of the store within the theme park. That took about 30mins and then when we met everyone, they were still looking for a place to eat even after coming down from the 5th and 6th floor of Lotte World Mall. We settled in at a Korean food court in 2 separate tables and proceeded to order as the stalls started to close and options became limited.

K fell asleep on my shoulders while walking to the food court and continued sleeping until we woke him up to have dinner. Had to use video to hasten his eating and by the time we were ready to leave it was already 930pm.

Cold but spicy buckwheat noodles
Jjajiangmyeon set

Decided to take a taxi back instead of the train but that was also quite difficult. Tried getting on the first taxi and was told to get off (taxi driver spoke in Korean which made it difficult to understand too) because the maximum number of people was only four while we had 4 adults and one K. Dad reshuffled the group to 3 adults and 2 kids and the other 4 adults and 1 infant and that worked.

Night view of the Seoul Tower
Art installation of a lighted up man

But the second problem was the taxi driver didn’t know where we wanted to go and couldn’t see the phone clearly because he was probably far sighted due to age. So I tried reading out the address and he didn’t know where and we couldn’t communicate because he couldn’t speak English. My phone that had the translator also died. In the end, I asked mommy to call the other taxi and asked for their taxi driver to tell him where we were going.

After a few exchanges he then started driving, made a U turn and stopped behind the taxi where the others were in. That driver then came down and advised our driver before we got on the road again.

About 30mins and 19.1k later, we finally arrived. We went to the new unit that was much smaller than the initial one (of course cheaper too) and proceeded to get ready to bed quickly. It was going to be an early day the next day with a booked driver so we couldn’t afford to be late like these first 2 days. It was very tiring day for me as we walked so much within the theme park that I had no issue dozing off.


Lotte World Mall


Seoul 2019 Day 9 – Yeouido park, Noryanjin Market and Myeongdong

Everyone was mostly awoke by 9ish. The room warmed up pretty much and was even a little too warm that we had to open the door to let some cool air in. We took some bread for breakfast, something that was bought from Lotte Mart the night before. K got ready with the usual routine and soon we were all ready to leave by 10am. Then we realized my sister’s family had only just woken up! Should have informed them we were visiting the Yeouido park in the morning and that we didn’t plan shopping to take the entire day.

Went to their unit for a while before leaving to Lotte Mart to explore a bit while waiting for our our nephew, as he wanted to tag along with us to go to the park first. At Lotte Mart, other than the mega supermarket that we went to on the 2nd floor the previous night, there was also a 3rd floor that had some shops like Muji and Uniqlo and also a toybox by Toys R Us. Didn’t manage to spend a lot of time there as soon enough, our nephew was ready to leave.

Muji on the 3rd level
Toybox by Toys R Us
Lotte Outlet mall just next door

We met them on ground level and walked towards the subway for the train to Noryangjin Market followed by a transfer. We spent quite a bit of time trying to top up our subway cards, first not having enough small notes to top up and later the machines were unable to take 50k notes for top up for anything less than 40k (as we wanted to just top up 10k first). Then it was to the train tracks after clearing the initial confusion of which direction was the right direction.

The ride was pretty quick with 3 stops on the line 1 followed by a transfer and 2 stops to Yeouido. We weren’t sure if the express train actually stopped at Yeouido and skipped that to take the all stops train.

It was a 5mins walk to the Yeouido park but that took much longer with the kids in tow and the grandparents checking out the food stalls along the way. The roads were wide and missing the time to cross meant we had to wait for the next red light. I tried to quicken the pace by charging forward.

Across the street was Yeouido Park

There were a few more food stalls as we crossed the junction and we stop to buy some street food to munch on. K took a liking to the chicken on skewers while I tried one bug like stew that tasted a bit like crunchy cereal and not that bad. By the time we arrived at the center of the park where there was a big warplane on display, we had quite a bit to munch on already.

Street hawker
Tried this…crunchy
Yeouido Park
Warplane on display

There was mini scooter rental and bicycle stalls and we got one each for K and my nephew XJ, for 3k an hour with my passport as collateral until I returned. Then we proceeded to walk further down the park in the hope to see more consolidated and full cherry blossom trees as those that we had seen so far at the park were sparse and far from my expectation of a nice cherry blossom festival. We spotted a playground and left the kids there to play, and while my parents rested, I took a walk to find out the where the real deal was.

Huge pathway to scoot around
Park amongst tall buildings
Spring time
Park had a small pond

Walking towards Hangang Park, the street became jammed with traffic and hordes of people and of course the view became nicer as the roads were lined with cherry blossom trees. Then just at the location on Naver app that indicated cherry blossom broadwalk that I realized that the main location was here, at least another 15mins of walking from the park. Took a few pictures and headed back to the park to show my parents if they were interested but they declined to walk that far, which I thought so as well. We might have other opportunities elsewhere as we had learnt from our earlier exploration.

Hangang Park was location where the real party was

We met my sis at the park when they finally arrived and together we took the train back to Noryangjin Market, to visit the seafood market and to have lunch.

Was easy getting to the market following the direction signs

Once entered the huge building, the entire ground floor was filled with stalls selling similar stuff. They had huge lobsters and crabs and fishes and K were actually frightened by them. At one stall the staff took out the crab to show and weigh to us and quoted 300k for the entire king crab under 4kg, which we didn’t think was affordable. Huge lobster was 120k.

Crowded with visitors with so many seafood stalls

We moved on to another stall and bought the seafood there, 9 abalones for 20k, half a kilo of hum, 8 prawns for 10k and a fish of 20k totaling to 62k. The stall had a recommended seafood restaurant on the 2nd level and so we just followed the staff that brought us there.

The stall that we visited
Restaurant that we went to

We were given a room as we were a big group and made our orders on how to prepare the food. We had abalones made into porridge, grilled the fish and prawn, steam the hum and ordered an additional fish soup.

The food came and to my disappointment, it wasn’t as tasty as I thought it would be. Comparing to the experience I had in Tongyeong market, the food here tasted bland. Adding salt to injury, the food in totality wasn’t cheap at all. We had to pay an additional 94k at the restaurant which meant it costed us almost 160k for a family of 7adults and 3 kids with mediocre food and ended up being not too full. The service wasn’t fantastic too, a lot of times I saw the lady staff showing signs of impatience. I thought this would be my last time in this market.

Hum – very plain
Prawns, looked small

Our next activity after our late lunch that ended at 4 was to visit the Myeongdong shopping street. Sister went to Dongdaemun instead for their shopping and our parents followed us. Once arrived, we entered the busy streets and into a Savoy hotel 2nd floor where there was a Beans bins coffee. Parents wanted to rest and K had fallen asleep on my shoulder so we parked ourselves into that large cafe for some coffee and ice cream waffle while mommy went out on her own.

Beansbins coffee

I brought K around the area as well and we were both enticed into a toy shop. The store owner that introduced some Korea toys that got both our attentions! The toys were so action packed (literally) that I was wowed! Didn’t buy at first instance as these didn’t come cheap and after returning to cafe to reconsider and waited for mommy, we went back to the store to get the dual beast cars for K for 28k. He left a happy boy.

We proceeded to walk the street with mommy and my dad popping into some of the facial products stores to get stuff. Then we headed into the huge MCM Space store to check out the bags there as it was supposedly cheaper to get the MCM from Korea. The staff that was tagged to us was extremely helpful and even made our visit like a tour inside a museum. He gave us time to take photos with the huge bear and helped us with a family photo with the MCM products, my first time experiencing such moments in a luxury store. After being introduced to some the haversacks in the range of slightly more than 1k, we left the store empty handed to visit the street stalls for dinner.

MCM Space store
Rocket display inside the store
Photograph corner

There were a line of street food stalls crowded with people buying from them and also many passerby’s. We got some food along the way, getting egg omelette cabbage for 6k, sweet and sour chicken for 3k, cheese and butter scallops for 10k, dumplings which K loved, 6 small rolls of kimbap for 5k, chicken on skewers. We would buy, eat near the stalls and then left the rubbish to the stall owners who would help dispose them.

Cabbage+egg store
End product
Kimbap store
Grilled scallop store
Sweet and sour chicken store
End product
Mandu store
Still crowded by the time we left

After the dinner, we then returned to the hotel via the train. It felt like a long day after we when we finally arrived. Even so, K still had energy to play with his new toy for a bit before taking a bath and proceeding to bed. After he fell asleep we purchased our Lotte World tickets before we got into bed too.

Seoul 2019 Day 8 – Fairytale land, Chinatown and back to Seoul

Woke up refreshed after getting the sleep that I missed the day before. Gave K his milk before he went back to sleep and I completed my note before realizing that breakfast had ended at 9am, the one where we spent money to purchase for 6k per person during check in.

Morning was mostly similar routine now. The YouTube songs made the activities smooth, from getting out of bed to brushing teeth and then to eating breakfast.

We completed most part of the packing and left the room for the line of eating places at the promenade to have breakfast. Found one that was still in operations and opened and went in to find a nice decorated cafe, The Caffe Soul, manned by a single senior lady. Ordered a cheese cake, a cheese muffin and a chocolate muffin and a hazelnut latte and an americano for 16k. The muffin and cake was quite delicious!

Promenade in the morning
Heart with wings
Pretty empty in the morning
On the inside of the Caffe Soul
Yummy breakfast

As we walked back to the room, we went past a UFO machine that had some Hachiko dog soft toys. Thought we would try to win one with 1k won per game but the machine wasn’t taking my money note.

We returned to the hotel and checked out. At the reception tried my luck to get a refund but it wasn’t possible. Then we drove to Fairytale town 15mins away.

Found a carpark at the opposite side of the road and was guided in by the traffic warden. I supposed it would get messy later in the day and thus that’s why the wardens were there though it didn’t seem that busy. We crossed the road and found ourselves in a mural village of sorts with wall drawings and models made up by familiar cartoon characters. Had fun taking photos with them though we had to walk up a slope and then down again to see the entire street. There were also shops that that sold stuff like toys and other cute stuff. Mommy bought Pink Fong items that her friend had asked for from one of these shops.

Parking lot near Fairytale town
Fairytale land
Snow White and Rapunzel
The little mermaid shell seats
Stairs painted with giraffe
Noah’s ark
Alice of Wonderland theme design

Just a street away was Chinatown, characterized by the red displays all over. We went over into a really crowded street, I supposed it was very popular tourist destination. We went to a certain Gong Hwa Chun restaurant that was known for its jjajiangmyeon and queued up to get in. The queue thankfully moved pretty quickly and soon we found ourselves on the second floor ordering one jjajiangmyeong, one fried rice and one tangsuyu.

Gong Hwa Chun restaurant

The food was indeed delicious. The black sauce seemed to fit everywhere, in noodles and in fried rice where a bowl of it was given separately. The tangsuyu was really delicious, crispy on the outside and the right size that it didn’t tasted boring after a while. All this was for 48k.

Fried rice
Sauce and side dishes

The street in Chinatown offered other street food that we didn’t try, and there was one food stuff that looked like the traditional Hulu but instead made with a string of strawberries, a healthier version of the original I supposed.

Busy street of the Chinatown
Strawberry hulu

We retrieved the car from the carpark and paid 5.5k for the fees at the exit with a credit card. Then it was a 40mins drive to the airport. Before leaving I read the instructions with pictures on how to get back to the carpark to drop of the car in order to familiarize myself.

The route sent us up the majestically long Incheon Bridge that was a sight to look at even in the hazy weather. The drive however costed us 5.5k in tolls too. From the bridge, it was not too difficult before I pulled into the 2nd basement carpark at Incheon Airport and called the staff with the phone number also on the instruction list.

Incheon bridge

The staff came as I was emptying the car of our belongings and after settling for the fuel that I didn’t top up (as I didn’t see a single gas station along the way, only one in the opposite direction near the airport) for 50k for half tank of fuel. It might be slightly more expensive but heck. The payment was settled at the car itself with the staff’s mobile and I took a photo of the approved payment before we proceeded to Arrivals Hall to meet the rest of our extended family members that were joining us, flying in from Hong Kong and Singapore.

My parents and Aunt from Hong Kong had a delay in flight schedule and coincided with the time we arrived in the airport while my sister’s family had also arrived. In one big group, we then went to take the Arex straight to Seoul Station, after getting over the inertia of moving people.

Paid 56k for 7 adults for the train tickets and proceeded to the platform for the 4:08 train. Seat numbers were given to us and after the initial mess of getting so many big luggage into the luggage storage with so many other passengers, we settled down for the 50mins trip to Seoul. K was sitting with his granddad and yakking all the way with his cousin but at least I was physically resting and took a nap. For the first time, I felt the struggle that a tour guide would face given that he had to manage a group twice or thrice this size!

After disembarking, my sis realized that she dropped her hp and things became disorganized as people started to do things independently. After managing to get a staff via telecom on a top up machine (my dad thought that was easy whereas we could have exited the station and looked for a staff F2F), I brought the group up first to the ground level through 2 elevators. The elevators were very popular and even with a group of us carrying so many luggage, there were still many people who would still crowd around us to get into the lifts too.

After we finally got up the 7 floors to ground level and crossed the road, my sister had found her hp and rejoined the group. The sky then started to drizzle as we tried to find our Airbnb with the cryptic address and the navigation brought us to somewhere that didn’t looked like it had 15floors.

Seoul Station

I went alone to find the building, got up to one of the room and tested with the password and it worked! The rest of the group managed to find the building as I tried to bring 6 umbrellas from the unit to meet them, only to find that they have all arrived at the basement. Brought my sister’s family to the 2nd unit in the same building and settled them in before returning to ours.

The place where we stayed had a nice view of the surrounding but space was quite scarce since we had so many big luggage. Couldn’t open the luggage in full as we would like but we had to make do. There were enough bedding for everybody but only one toilet to share. We had to move to a smaller unit in another 2 days time but I leave that worry later as I sorted out the administrative stuff for my parents like getting the WiFi.

Main beds at the first level
Small side living room.
Kitchen with washing machine
Loft beds
View from Airbnb

We met up at 645 to visit the Lotte Mart just across the street to get some dinner. There was a food court there and we managed to settle our dinner there. Met up a cousin for a short period who was visiting Korea too before we got into the huge Lotte Mart to shop for daily necessities and food souvenirs to bring back to Singapore.

Food court at Lotte Mart
At the food court

Lotte Mart was huge but it was crowded as hell with so many people shopping and people were buying by the trolleys!


After 1 hr there, we paid for the goodies and returned back to the apartment on our own as the rest had all returned.

The night was spent preparing for bed, taking a much longer time as we shared the single toilet to bath. Then we got up to the loft where our beds were, taking care not to bump onto the low ceiling on the second floor. I got into bed last but was soon fast asleep.

Escape Plan to South Korea & Hong Kong March 2019

A brief summary on the itinerary

Escape Plan to South Korea and Hong Kong:

Total duration 18D17N
Singapore is 1hr behind of Korea and same timezone as Hong Kong.
Flight time is 4hrs 5mins on Cathay Airlines from Singapore to Hong Kong, a 50mins transit followed by a 4hrs 50mins time on Cathay Airlines from Hong Kong to Incheon Airport Seoul.

Return flight is 3hrs 55mins on Cathay Airlines from Hong Kong to Singapore.

Friday night flight on 29th Mar at 810pm and arrival in Hong Kong in the morning of the 30th Mar at 1215am followed by a flight at 105am and arrival in Korea in the same morning at 555am.

Return flight from Hong Kong on the 15th Apr at 230pm and same day arrival in Singapore at 625pm.

Day 0-1 Flying and Gamcheon Village in Busan
Day 2 Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival and arrival into Geoje
Day 3 Cruise to Oedo Island, Tong Yeong Hallyeosudo cable car and Junggang market
Day 4 Hakdong beach, Windy hill and drive to Yeosu, Odongdo island
Day 5 Yeosu Rail bike, Aqua Planet and Teddy bear museum
Day 6 Drive to Jeonju, cheese theme park and Jeonju old town
Day 7 Explore Jeonju and drive to Wolmido
Day 8 Fairytale land, Chinatown and back to Seoul
Day 9 Yeouido park, Noryanjin Market and Myeongdong
Day 10 Lotte World Adventure theme park
Day 11 Nami Island, Gangchon rail park and Garden of Morning Calm
Day 12 Dongdaemun and Lotte Outlet
Day 13 Strawberry farm, Pocheon Art Valley and Herb Island light festival
Day 14 Seoul to Hong Kong
Day 15 Sino Center and Hysan Place
Day 16 Hong Kong Space museum and shopping at CHKC
Day 17 Home Sweet Home

This escape plan was the first time in donkey years that we travel with my extended family. It was not an easy itinerary to begin with, having to plan different flights for my wife, my parents, my aunt in HK and for me and my boy, as we were flying different times, for reasons such as for business, for best price and for breaking the trip. There was also trying to plan a bit of something for my parents and for the kids. Glad that everything turned out well.

Budget nature: Rather Expensive 

Costs of living in Korea was quite high especially in the cities, car rentals was expensive too. This was offset by the optimisation of squeezing into Airbnb units in Seoul and getting the better deal through Klook and utilising discount coupons from tourism book brought over from Singapore.

Complexity: High

Due to different flight times (5 different tickets) for everyone, we had to get all the dates and times right before purchasing the tickets. Travel by car outside the city was still fine but met with heavy traffic when in Busan. Thankfully for the Hyundai Sonata in-car GPS, it was a little easier to navigate as Google maps do not work, and Naver app wasn’t driver friendly. Travelling via public transport in Seoul was easy but not so in a taxi as we were easily lost in translation, and getting taxis for a big group was a challenge itself, as the taxis can only take up to a certain number of people.

South Korea 2011 Day 12/13 – Shopping day and Home Sweet Home

South Korea 2011 Day 11 – DMZ tour – world’s most heavily fortified border.

We took a full day tour to the DMZ of the Korean peninsula with TOURDMZ. It was a combined tour package exploring the 3rd tunnel and the Joint Security Area. Not a typical tour, there were various restrictions to adhere to in terms of what to wear and age limit but it’s definitely something worth experiencing while in Seoul.

This was the view from the observatory, where people could take turns to look through the telescope or look at the view.

South Korea 2011 Day 10 – Daepo Jusangjeolli Cliff, Teddy Bear Museum, Sanbangsan and flight from Jeju to Seoul

This was our room view in the day
View of the Yongmeori Coast from the temple
A panoramic view