Korean Escapade 2010: Reflections from the Dae Han Min Guk Dream Trip

The trip to Korea was really an adventure of a lifetime. Korea is one country which I think is supposed to be enjoyed and experienced with travel buddies and friends. So it was really a good idea that I was with them during this Korean adventure. I do have some reflections and lessons which I would like to share:

image from theepochtimes.com

1)      If you survived the tunnel, you can survive anything. This is one catchphrase that we invented after surviving the 3rd tunnel at the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone). We really had a challenging time navigating the tunnel because of its inclination/slope. It was easy enough to go down but it was really difficult to climb up. Our muscles protested; our lungs felt like they were going to burst; and we felt like we were going to faint. So after the experience, we surmised that if we have indeed survived the said tunnel, we can survive anything that life would bring us.

A drawing of the 3rd tunnel, DMZ, October 2010

2)      A hotel near the subway is very favorable. Our hotel was about 10-15 minutes from the nearest subway station. We had actually a good exercise every time we walk towards the subway station. However, during the night, it can really be an inconvenience because we were tired already and we cannot walk that distance anymore. So, next time (if we have the chance to go there again), we plan to get a hotel near the subway.

3)      A guided trip is another option worth looking into. We planned our trip according to our preferences: places to visit; food to eat and stuff that we wanted to buy. So we ended up planning the mode of transportation to use or having last minute adjustments or change of plans because of unexpected circumstances. While there are numerous advantages of having your own trip planned, I think a guided trip would be beneficial as well with a guide, transportation, and the like – all taken cared of.

4)      Walking is therapeutic. During this trip, I’ve walked so great a distance than I have ever walked in my entire life. I’m not complaining, the exercise did me a lot of good. But aside from all that walk-out (er work out), walking is a form of therapy for me. While walking, I had the chance to reflect and meditate on things; on life. I also had the time to appreciate the surroundings which I did not have the time to do back in Manila because I was busy.

Walking in Nami Island, South Korea, October 2010

5)    Always be ready with extra cash, otherwise, stick to the budget. One thing I learned from this trip is that it is very important to stick to the budget. Going to all the mall and markets can be really overwhelming most particularly when one sees various and numerous items which one wants to purchase. I have made some impulsive purchases but luckily I was still within my budget. It was a good thing too that I only purchased some stuff prior which I needed; so much so that when I made those on-the-spot purchases, I still had money left.

Korean Won, October 2010

6)      Have Fun. Traveling can be stressful and physically tiring (with all the physical exertions), but it is very essential to have fun and enjoy the moment. In the first place, the main objective of having a vacation is to rest, if this is not possible, then at least have fun – laugh, eat and engage in good and long talks with friends.

That ends my chronicles of my Korean escapade. Until my next adventure!

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Korean Escapade 2010: My Fabulous Finds in Korea

While in Korea, I made two awesome purchases. One is the Beethoven Virus Original Soundtrack Special Edition. It was not a planned purchase but when a friend pointed this out to me, I immediately bought it. I know…I’m such an impulsive buyer!

BV OST Special Edition with the Box cover

3 CDs containing music from the series

Spreadsheet of Kang Mae (Kim Myung Min)

Back panels of the CD cover

The second one is the Hanbok, the traditional Korean dress. It is often characterized by vibrant colors and simple lines without pockets. Although the term literally means “Korean clothing”, hanbok today often refers specifically to hanbok of Joseon Dynasty and is worn as semi-formal or formal wear during traditional festivals and celebrations. I so love my hanbok! But wearing it is really a challenge because it made me perspire more. And to think, I do not have the prescribed undergarments yet!

I'm wearing the hanbok which I bought from Korea

Intricate embroidery of my hanbok

Embroidered sleeve of my hanbok

Embroidered otkorum

Embroidered skirt

 

I would have loved to have the shoes and the headdress but budget was really really tight. Instead, I bought two accessories which can be used for the hanbok. Nice!

Hanbok accessories

I LOVE!

Korean Escapade 2010: Of Bulgogis, Malls, Markets and Shopping

Lunch was a continuing love affair with bulgogi. I fell hard. Really hard with this dish.  The side dishes were also amazing. During this trip to Korea, I forgot that I am on a diet. Usually, my meals consist of no rice but I really forgot about it. Oh well, it is good food so I have no regrets.

Bulgogi Lunch, South Korea, October 2010

 

Yummy bulgogi, South Korea, October 2010

After lunch, we went to a Korean Ginseng shop. Unfortunately, picture taking was not allowed. We got to know the different kinds of ginseng. I bought one bottle of ginseng concentrate for my Mom. I hope that she drinks it. I also bought a bag of rice crispies for pasalubong. We also went to the amethyst store and there we were shown different products made of amethyst. Amethyst is a stone known to bring healing. I didn’t get to buy because it’s really expensive.

Next stop was Namdaemun Market. We only had one hour to tour the place and buy stuff that we needed to buy. Namdaemun reminded me of our very own Divisoria. I did not get to roam the place much for fear that I would get lost. However, I was able to buy some shirts with Korea printed in it for a reasonable price. It was such a good deal.

 

Namdaemun Market, South Korea, October 2010

Merchandise, Namdaemun Market, South Korea, October 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After our trip to Namdaemun, Kuya Hong brought us back to the hotel. Our guided trip has come to an end. We were fortunate that we had him as our guide. We would love to have him in our next guided tour.

We rested for a bit and then proceeded to COEX Mall for some shopping. I did not buy anything from there..again.  I was just content to see and explore the place. Using the subway, we went to Myeondong, another shopping district. However, I was surprised to see billboards of Kim Myung Min in his LIG advertisements. I had to take a photo.

 

Kim Myung Min Advertisements in a subway, October 2010

At Myeongdong, I was just amazed with how Koreans buy stuff. I would see ladies buy several bags of cosmetics, apparel and the like. I was not planning on buying anything but when I saw a special edition of Beethoven Virus Original Soundtrack, I immediately bought it. So much for self control, eh?

Rolling store at Myeongdong, South Korea, October 2010

 

Myeongdong, South Korea, October 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was almost midnight when we decided to go home. We were all dead tired and another busy day is waiting for us so we need all the rest that we can get.

Next stop: Seoul City Tour

US Trip, Day 24: The Outlet Stores Experience

Outlet Stores, Williamsburg, VA, Sept 25, 2010

We went to Williamsburg, VA where the outlet stores are located. We arrived after lunch and we walked from one store to another. It was really a huge area where all leading brands have a store where the merchandize are shown. I had fun looking at the items from the different stores but It was also tiring walking from one store to another. There were 70 stores in that area! Well, my sister bought me one pair of Lucky Brand jeans. It was on sale.  So, it’s worth it. LOL.