Jeonju 2019 Day 6 – Drive to Jeonju, cheese theme park and Jeonju old town

2nd morning at Yeosu and I made another attempt to check out the sunrise, this time much more prepared. Suited up and got out of the room at 6am and walked over to the elevator to the cable car only to find it inaccessible.

Went to take the stairs instead and after much panting, I finally reached the pavilion overlooking the islands coinciding with the time that the sun started to peek over the islands. There were a few people there also for the same purpose. After taking a few shots, and much less for my camera which would always die in the cold, I made my way back to the room for my usual morning activities – backing up memories on my phone.

Sunrise Panoramic
Pavillon to view the sunrise.
Pole full of heart shaped messages.
Pathway up to the viewing pavillon.

Mommy woke up and had me ordered a Korean breakfast set in room service for 34k and we all shared the breakfast that was pretty filling even for all of us, as it was a meal that looked more for lunch! Left to check out at about 1045 and we were off to head northwards to Jeonju.


Made a stop at a Hwangjeon service station about an hour into the drive. The place was a little hazy and so mommy and K donned their masks that they brought from Singapore although I thought it smelled ok.

Used the bathroom and then went over to take a photo of the view that the hippiest Dunkin Donuts building was overlooking. It wasn’t a fantastic view unfortunately.

Hwangjeon service area
Some sort of a monument
Dunkin Donuts
Place to take photo
Panoramic view from the service area

Then a further 30mins we exited to Imsil for a visit to the Cheese Theme Park, paying a toll of 4.7k. Parked at the almost empty lot and walked around to find that this theme park didn’t require entrance tickets! There were just buildings that looked like Swiss buildings all around and a couple of items here and there to take photos with. We didn’t know what the buildings were for as we couldn’t read Korean. There was a palace like building that had a food court and on the 2nd level there was a museum that we went around quickly.

Theme park map
Grand entrance
Like a palace
Clock in front of the palace
Inside the museum
Colourful display
Interesting to look at though in Korean

Then we walked uphill to find some Smurf statues to take photos with before climbing to the top where there was a long roller slide and a playground for K to play. There must have been a school outing as there were many kids around but K didn’t find an problem playing there.

Cheesy displays to take photos with
Long roller slide
Super long slide

The roller slide was interesting and K went on it twice, the 2nd time on his own. Then we squeezed past the barricades to the entrance of the playland for K to run around the playground that had a couple of places for him to climb around, including a pirate ship and a treehouse amongst them. He was unwilling to leave until much persuasion later and as we walked back uphill from the playground, we entered an area where there were some farm animals kept that, including chickens, rabbits and a pair of pigs.

Pirate ship

Our last visit was to the round cheese building that sat atop the hill. 3rd floor was a viewpoint of the entire area while the 2nd floor featured a wall that illustrated the cheese making process that I used it to explain to K.

Cheese building
Map of the cheesy world
Cheese making process
View from the cheese building

Then our tummies were rumbling as we went back to the car after a short visit to the store to see if we could get any cheese products to try. Couldn’t get any refrigerated ones as we didn’t know if the next accommodation had refrigerator or not and worried that these would spoil and become a waste. Settled for some cookies before getting into the car.

Mommy suggested that we have lunch at Osu service station as it was claimed to be one of the best service station. There was also the delicious cheese bimbimbap that combined the cheese from Imsil and the bimbimbap from Jeonju. 15mins drive and we would arrive, I thought. Then as we hit the road, we took more than the 15min that I initially thought we would need as I kept getting lost, first Navi didn’t get me to the right exit, then mommy giving the wrong direction to turn and I also took an early wrong exit. This cumulated into a 30mins drive and some multiple toll fees of 1.3k each exit.

We arrived finally at the service area close to 3pm with K almost falling asleep. Quickly parked and entered the eating place to find that Bimbimbap was sold out. We settled for Udon and Tonkotsu rice for lunch and free plain water.

Osu service area
Inside the food court

From Osu it was a 50mins drive to Jeonju and we entered the town but I was only brought to some location on the Main Street even though I had set the end destination inside the old town. Tried to drive into the old town unguided as I roughly knew the direction and then realised that it was actually possible to drive in. Went to location that was supposedly a carpark but it became an open space for something else so I had to let mommy and K alight as he wanted to go to the loo urgently while I tried to find parking on my own. Upon exiting the old town, I spotted a secured parking and drove there to park, the daily parking fee was 12k.

Secured car park at Jeonju Hanok village
Jeonju Hanok Village
The space that was indicated as a carpark on Navi
Accommodation compound

Returned to look for mommy and K and was informed that they couldn’t find anyone at the Samlockhon accommodation to check in. We had to call (also suggested by one of their guests there that we met at the entrance) the number on one of their flag to inform that we had arrived before the staff came over.

K was adamant not to stay in this accommodation as he thought that it was boring but upon entering the room, he immediately took a liking to the dual floor concept and that he could sleep on the second level. After some korean Disney channel, we went out to explore Jeonju old town, armed with the map that the staff had shared with us the most popular places to go.

Small dual floors accommodation
Shower and sink
Bedding on 2nd floor

We walked along the Main Street of the old town and found the PNB store that was famous for Choco Pie and we bought some to try (couldn’t bring home as the expiry was 7days). Then we headed towards the gate at the end of the street to take a photo of it before walking to the recommended bibimbap store, Hankookjib.

Beautiful traditional buildings
Water wheel from another angle
Small roads that allowed cars access
Famous choco pie bakery
Panoramic view of Jeonju street

Old church within the village
Gate at the northen end of the village

Map of the village

The historical store was recommended by Michellin as it served the original bibimbap. So we ordered one with the stone bowl (Dolsot) and mommy got herself a spicy bean sprout soup as she doesn’t take beef. The food was pretty delicious and the side dishes were really refreshing. There was also tiny crabs marinated with the spicy sauces that was different from the usual side dishes. All these for an affordable 18k.

Hankookjib restaurant


Pots on display
Inside the restaurant
Dolsot bibimbap
Bean sprout soup

We returned to the room and prepared for bath. The room was thankfully not too cold, as the floor was also heated. I got K to bath quickly worried that he might get a cold. After that it was a bit of TV, some books, some arguments with K on who sleeps where and off to bed.

Lighted up buildings at night

Yeosu 2019 Day 5 – Rail bike, Aqua Planet and Teddy bear museum

First morning at Yeosu and I was intrigued by possibility of a beautiful sunrise and so I got up pretty early. But it was so cold outside that I tried to find a viewpoint that kept me warm. So I took the elevator up to the highest level, 26th floor to try my luck at the sky lounge but was disappointed that it was closed at this early hour. Then I left for the 5th floor where there was an open air space where I could take a picture but by then the sun had already risen. Went back to the room to rest and jot note.

Sunrise from the 5th floor of MVL

The rest of the family started to wake at about 830-930am, sleeping in in a sleepy town. I went downstairs to the in-house pastry stall to get some croissant and pastries that costed about 10k for 3. Had our breakfast before taking the car to drive to the Yeosu ocean rail bike, about 20mins drive away. Found that our hotel carpark had free parking.


Parked in the huge carpark and headed towards the rail bikes after visiting the loo. Approached a photo stall thinking that there’s where we would get a ticket only to get a confused look and a direction to the obscure ticket office next to a mini restaurant. Paid some 31k for 3, and some simple information about the return trip on the rail bike that would happen at the end of the tunnel.

Carpark at the bike rail
Ticket store
Bike rail tickets

Then we went to the bike dispatch whom had a good amount of English vocabulary and he explained the details on how to operate the bicycle. Then we were on our way, mommy and me pedaling away as K enjoyed the ride since his legs couldn’t reach. Going towards the tunnel was easy since it was downhill but back up took a bit more effort. The tunnel had some lighting decorations but that was about it. The scenery was ok, summing up pretty much of this experience.

Yeosu mascots at the dispatch point
Going into the tunnel
Static lights
Dancing lights
View on the way back
Surrounding area

We returned to the photo stall and found the photo taken rather nice and paid 10k for it, which came with a photo frame. Left for hotel which was a 20mins drive.

Back at the hotel, we started to explore the port area on foot, walking about 15mins to Hanwha Aqua Planet. Upon reaching we went to the ticket counter to get tickets and found out that there were some packages available. Big3 meant all 3 attractions of Aquarium, AR trickeye museum and 5D movie but we took the Big2 giving AR museum a miss.

View of the port
Large ships docking
Hanwha Aqua planet
On the inside

Went to the food court to get lunch of Ramen and Tonkotsu rice which K surprisingly didn’t like as it “wasn’t real ramen” (I thought it tasted more like instant noodles). After lunch, we entered the aquarium at around 1pm.

Food court at the aqua planet
Ramen and Don

The aquarium was divided into 3 sections each having a different varieties of sea creatures and even land animals. We were thrilled to see raccoons, our first encounter with such playful animals. Amongst the usual aquatic animals, there was one exhibit that showcased the fishes found commonly in fish spa and you could dip your fingers for an adhoc dead skin removal on your fingers. There was also a show at the main tank that drew the most crowd (the biggest crowd that I have seen in the entire town of almost no people). There was story telling about rubbish in the ocean, some magic show and mermaids. It was all in Korean so we just watched and imagine. Then there was a video about the worklife of an employee within the Aqua Planet, which was also in Korean. The show ended with a feeding session by the divers where all the stingrays would crowd around and that made a good photo opportunity near the end of the session.

Funny racoon
So many of them
Playful sealions
Rainforest section
Fish spa
Monitor lizard
All kinds of acts
Light show
Mermaids and frog
Stingray feasting

We left after walking through the store and walked towards Yeosu expo. We thought we could see some exhibition stuff but was disappointed to find that the entire area was very much empty. All the big spaces within the buildings were empty! It felt desolated and sad, that the modern designed building seemed to only represent an interesting point in history and that was it.

Building with huge empty spaces
One of such buildings there
View of the port from the playground

We walked to the playground nearby where K had some fun climbing around but bumped his head against a railing. Then we walked backwards towards the teddy bear museum for a visit, spending 24.5k for 2 adults and 1 child. The exhibition showed mostly American related destinations with the bears as the actors in the scenes. There were many photo opportunities with bears in different setting as well but we weren’t all that interested except for some big ones where K sat on them to take photo. What I thought was interesting was a huge 8m bear from the story of Gulliver’s travel. There were 2 levels to walk around and we ended off our visit with a photo of donning bear mascots heads for both K and myself. That sure entertained K.

Teddy bear museum was opened
Tickets to the museum
Jurassic theme
Launch site
Elvis concert
Spring blossoms theme
Giant bear
Steven Spielberg bear
Marriage ceremony
Mona Lisa
The thinker
Trying on the mascots headgear

We decided to take a break at the bear cafe ordering a cheese cake for 3.5k and an Americano for 4k. After the short snack, we left to walk to Odongdo island, and check out what we left out yesterday.

Dine with a bear at the bear cafe
Cheesecake with Americano

On the map it didn’t looked far but walking from the expo to Odongdo was actually, and as we were also going to catch a show back at the aquarium at 7pm (the only time slots available was 10am and 7pm) we had to walk fast. Carrying K on my shoulder, we went back to the island and arrived at about 6pm. We took the wooden pathway and had to make a Uturn for the restroom at the same location we visited the day before. Then returning to the wooden pathway, we found the restroom just a few meters ahead! What a wasted walk.

Big O with an empty street

Climbing some flights of stairs flanked by trees, we arrived at a junction that led to the cave of Dragon and went to have a look. Couldn’t see much other than a hole at the side of the mountain and we returned back to the path. Walking further down, the route separated to the lighthouse and the other to the water fountain. We were initially looking for a Camellia flower garden but came to realize that maybe the entire island was full of Camellia but it was not blooming time and thus we didn’t see them?

No dragon in this cave

Walked back to the fountain for K to watch whatever that was still left. Then we walked back to the hotel to take the car so that we could drive the remaining short distance there to the Aqua Planet.

It was almost 7 when we arrived and we found ourselves walking to a building that was nearly closed. The staff standing there were surprised to see us so we explained that we were there for the 7pm show. Showed them the tickets and they allowed us into the small cinema that was projected 360 all around, short of a small area underneath of the roof. We were also given 3D glasses. Since we were the only customers, we had a choice of Poseidon or Dinosaurs. We chose dinosaurs.

The show was a short 10mins show (that’s what I thought) and it was in Korean. It was really disappointing as we expected more than just the visual such as sense of touch. There was none of such and so I didn’t understand where the other 2Ds were about.

All around dinosaurs

We left the building at 710pm and went back to the car. We skipped the fountain show at the Big O cos the timing of the show was at 750pm, guessing from the poster on the gate  but we couldn’t wait in the cold, and there wasn’t anybody around so we weren’t sure if the fountain show was going to be up anyway.

Returned to the room after getting some foodstuff from the convenience store and called in room service for dinner of seafood spaghetti and abalone porridge for 32k and 24k respectively, spent some family time with K and his sticker books, a super long dip at the bathtub since this was the last bathtub he was going to get for the rest of the trip and then off to bed.

In room dinner


Yeosu 2019 Day 4 – Hakdong beach, Windy hill and Drive to Yeosu, Odongdo island

I awoke slightly after 730 and continued on jotting down of the memories for the day before. Had to maintain the discipline as I was getting forgetful and wouldn’t remember some of the details if left too long! As I was thumbing away on my handphone, mommy started to wake up too and soon K also woke up just before 9, surprising as he wasn’t getting his usual 12hrs of sleep. Thankfully I was nearing the end of my note and I started to get ready.

Brekkie for the day

We planned to drive to Yeosu for another 2 nights and so we packed to check out. K was unwilling to leave the huge bathtub and we only managed to persuade him after several rounds. The staff was out there to meet us early in the cold morning before bidding us goodbye with a bow, like the one in Busan as well. Punched in Windy hill and it was a 30mins drive away.

En-route, we went through a small town and parked at the parking lot to go over to the popular black pebble beach of Hakdong, called Hakdong Mongdol Beach. K was excited to see this different kind of beach and we were soon throwing the pebbles into the waters. Stayed for a while before using the nice clean loo and left for the next destination.

Hakdong black pebble beach

The drive to the Windy hill was easy and initially we drove into the carpark (GPS led us there) that was situated below the Windmill. Suspecting that it wasn’t the right place since it didn’t seemed to have a path up to the windmill, we drove back up and ended up by accident at a Sinseondae observatory which had a nice viewpoint of the surrounding. A quick photo shot before we drove back downhill passing a huge parking space near SK station and fortunately slotted into one empty carpark opposite Angel-in-us coffee, facing the Sinseondae cliff.

Sinseondae observatory
Viewing deck
To see this
Windmill above the parking lot

It was a short walk of 10mins across the road to the windmill and a further few meters down to another patch of land to the edge to sit at the chairs for the beautiful photo shoot, of both the bay and the windmill. The windmill couldn’t be visited and it did looked fake as the blades had through holes. I supposed it was just built there as display for Instagram.

Sinseondae cliff near where we parked
Windmill at Windy Hill
Panoramic view of the surrounding
Overlooking the port

We returned back to the main road and went across to find a Korean restaurant and ate there. Language was a barrier and my feeble attempt of using the app ended up with them asking for another lady staff that spoke excellent Mandarin to speak to us. We ordered 2 fried fish and an abalone porridge for 45k, cos after all, the restaurant was a seafood one.

Sat at the short table as the meals were served and it was delicious! The freshness of the fish kept the succulence of the flesh even though the it was fried! K had no problem eating at least half of the fish that was at least 25cm. The porridge was the usual nicely flavored one that I expected it to be, with tiny chunks of abalone that was soft and not rubbery like the one I am used to back home. All in all, great food!

Myeongseung restaurant
Yummy fishes
Yummy abalone porridge

We left satisfied and after using their loo. Got into the car and punched in the next destination Yeosu. It was a 2.5hrs drive! Before leaving Geoje, we returned to the Hakdong Mongdol Beach for another round of pebble throwing as K loved it. Then as we hit the road, we tried to get K to nap first which he did, as I negotiated the bends out of Geoje and soon mommy was asleep too. Driving became easier after getting onto the highway though I still find it difficult to gauge what a good speed should be as cars zoomed past me really quickly even though I was already above the speed limit, trucks included!

Had to pay a toll of 4.5k at somewhere in between. Then along the highway towards Sancheon, we stopped at one of the service station as I was informed that the service station were really nice. Once parked, I got off to used the toilet which was impressively digitalized, to say the list. There was a information board of the occupancy of the cubicles! The design was nice too as it had an aviation theme to it and models of airplanes displayed.

Rest stop
Hi tech cubicle information board
Toilet with fighter jet theme

Returning to the car from the loo, K awoke and we spent some time at the loo (again) and bought some snacks to eat, including a corn shaped pastry with corn paste called Deli-manjoo and pork dumplings (Mandu). K spent some time at the fighter jet display before I got my vanilla coffee from Holly’s coffee and went to pump gas at an EX brand gas station.

Robots for kids loo
Urinal and toilet too
Space theme near the food court
Life size fighter jet display
Tasty corn shape pastry

I was stumped as I found out that it was a self service station and I couldn’t figure out the Korean words on the automated machine and pumping wouldn’t start without paying. The office was empty and I was almost at wits end when I saw a staff returning and asked in English that I needed gas. Immediately after putting some stuff at this office he came to my station and helped with entering the details into the automated system. He was asking how much fuel I needed and it was my first time so I also didn’t know. He helped looked at the fuel gauge and suggested 30k and I just agreed. Then a quick pump that brought the level back from half to 7/8 and we left for the last 1 hr drive.

After the highway, we entered a slow moving road of speed limit 60km/hr into an industrial zone, one that reminded me of Jurong Island back home. The place was just filled with industrial plants all over the place but it allowed road access to the public. It was a boring place for the rest of my family since I was the only person who could relate to this.

Yeosu mascots

The drive to our hotel was not easy and one of the directions given by the in car Navi brought us to the wrong road. Had to make a few detours and mindfully avoid the wrong road and took the direction for what I thought would bring me to the right road before we managed to drive into the multistory carpark of MVL hotel. The initial impression I had of this 5stars hotel was that it reminded me of the Al Burj Arab, where one building stood out from the rest as it was obviously the tallest one there. Of course it couldn’t be comparable in terms of opulence and luxury but it looked comfortable enough.

After check in, we entered the room to find a view of the port and a rather normal room. Spent some time on the TV before we went to explore the surrounding. We decided to walk to Odongdo island which was about slightly more than 500m away.

Huge bed
View from the room
MVL on the outside
View on the way to Odongdo island

The sun was already setting and winds were getting cold. We made it to the water fountain that coincidentally just started and skipped the walk around for the day since it was getting late. The fountain show had about 4-5songs worth of show before we walked back.

Walking path to the island
Water fountain show in progress
Not many people watching

Then we walked over to the cable car station that had a pavilion with a nice view of the surroundings. It was also a place where there were hundreds if not thousands of heart shaped messages hung on the railings and lamppost.

View from the top level heading towards cable car station
Pavillon lighted up
Panoramic view from the pavillon
Heavily tagged lamppost

We proceeded quickly to the cable car station building that had a nicely designed Korean restaurant and had our dinner there. It was recommended to try their marinated crab on the internet and so we ordered a soy sauce one, a pork dish with rice and another one with chicken. However, we received not one but 2 additional crab as a gift from the restaurant owners, all 3 flavors of the crab! There was also a bowl of mussel soup! I was in disbelief in the amount of food but very grateful for such hospitality. And the food was very yummy!

School Food restaurant
Modern design restaurant
Menu for the raw crabs
and more

The crab was raw and I was apprehensive at first but after the first bite, I just went on and on as it was really delicious! It tasted like raw scallop but much softer so that the flesh could be just sucked out. Loved the one with soy the most. Mommy who didn’t like raw seafood couldn’t appreciate it so I had to finish all them. I was worried about having the tummy runs after this.

3 types of raw crabs

The soup was awesome too and am amazed how they could get such flavors into the soup. The other dishes were fine too. All this for just 39k!

Before leaving for the hotel, K wanted to go see the “fantasy land” that was something like the trick eye museum. It was closed by the time we finished dinner and so we just walked back to the hotel quickly, braving the cold as we crossed the road.

The night was spent in the bathtub, as usual and I went to the convenience store that was within the hotel, to get some water, coffee, milk and yoghurt. Then it was some TV which was showing the Bahrain F1, books and then off to bed.

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.