Monday, 21 May 2012

South Korea Fast Fact

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{Fast Fact}
Capital: Seoul 
Population: 50 million
Language: Korean
Religion: Buddhism, Christianity, & Confucianism

[Specific to Malaysians]
Time Difference: 1 hour ahead of Malaysia
Visa: No Visa needed for visits within 3 months
Currency: Approx. 1 Malaysian Ringgit = 370 Korean Won (as of May 2012)
                 Approx. 1,000 WON = 1 USD

Voltage: 220V, 60 Hz 
Electrical sockets in South Korea are one of the two European standard electrical socket types: The "Type C" Europlug and the "Type E" and "Type F" Schuko.
International code: +82

There is a wet monsoon season in the middle of the year and a dry cold winter from November to March. During the winter, the average temperature is around -2°C, and begins to warm up in the end of March. The coldest month is January.
Weather from September to November is beautiful and sunny with mild temperature & a little rain. The spring season, during April and May temperature falls between 15-27°C during the day and 10-15°C at night.
Summer is hot and prone to typhoons. The warmest month of the year is August. Average temperature range is 25-28°C.

{Immigration & Customs info}
Passport & Visa
Malaysians have a visa exemption for entering the South Korea for visits within 3 months.

Passengers who have no articles to declare should use the "Nothing to Declare" channel and declaring non-duty-free articles should use the "Good to Declare" channel. 
Take Note: If passengers declare their non-duty-free articles voluntarily, the declared amount will be accepted and the clearance procedure will be expedite.
Customs Declaration
Duty is imposed on goods purchased outside of Korea and brought into Korea (this does not include personal items), except for the following duty-free allowance:
  • USD 400 worth of goods may be brought into Korea duty-free. This sum is over and above the following alcohol, tobacco and perfume allowances.
  • 1 bottle of Liquor (one litre or less), worth under USD 400 (travellers over age 20)
  • 200 Cigarettes, 50 Cigars or 250 grams of tobacco (travellers over age 20)
  • 2 ounces of perfume
Duty rates very by items, but for most products they are 20% to 55%. For specific information could refer to the Customs offices in Incheon International Airport.

Incheon International Airport info
Business centre: (032) 741-3437
Customs Declaration: (032) 740-3333
Lost and Found: (032) 741-3110
Airport Website: www.airport.kr
Tourist Information Center: (032) 743-2600 (KTO)

Reasons WHY Korea is a Great Family Tour Destination
#1 Gift of Nature: 4 Beautiful Seasons
Korea has 4 distinct seasons, each season has vivid & unique characteristics which leaves you  no room for boredom! =D
#2 Past & Present
You can see history anywhere you go in Korea! =)
Modern skyscrapers stand next to the 600-year old palaces and 40 royal tombs of the Joseon Dynasty, which were all registered as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites, provide a relaxing area for the busy people today. In Korea, ancient culture & tradition is not only exhibited in Museums but it also exists in the Modern Society.
#3 A Wide range of Performance & Experimental Programs to Choose from not to mention the Theme Parks here are awesome
#4 The Light Never goes out in Korea
Especially if you are living around Hongdae area. The place comes to live after way-pass midnight! It's clubbing time! =)

~~Back to the main page~~

Air Asia~~Now Everyone Can Fly

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Air Asia Big Promo!
Why don't you take this opportunity to travel. =)

Air Asia BIG Promo

Bet most of you are already planning on your exciting trip,so I like to take this chance to share with all readers on the know-how to Korea! =D
Hope it helps ease your trip there! 
So why wait, book your tickets now!~♥
The promo is only from 16-20 May, So for those who miss out on this promo
Don't fret! There's always a next time! =)
For those who already got their hands on the flight tix
♥♥Have Fun♥♥

Enjoy the trip! Here's all the additional info. Hope it helps! 

Top 10 destination in Gyeonggi-do [coming soon]
Top 10 destination in Jeju-do [coming soon]
Useful Korean phrases [coming soon]
How to shop duty free in South Korea [coming soon]
Korean Cuisine [coming soon]

Visiting Korea by Theme:
Okay face it not everyone has the same agenda in mind, but you could plan your trip base on your prioritize places in mind.

UNESCO World Natural Heritage [coming soon]
Experimental Programs & Exhibition Halls [coming soon]
Theme Parks & Performances [coming soon]
Korean Drama and Movie Filming Locations [coming soon]
Shopping [coming soon]

Friday, 11 May 2012

BackPack to Korea! Part 5 - Olympic Park

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How to get to Olympic Park?
Just hop on Subway Line 5 and get off at Olympic Park station. The park will be at the corner once you came out of the subway station.

For this trip, it's due to my friend *whom is the ultimate Shinhwa fan I ever knew* came Korea for one good reason. That's cause it's Shinhwa 14-year comeback! She ever so excited about it! haha... The concert took place at the Olympic Park Stadium. Eventhou I'm not a Shinhwa fan *Shinhwa Changjo don't get mad at me ya~~hehe* and I've never have the interest to get to know who are they. Maybe I know 3 of their members tops & that's about it out of 6 members. Got to know Andy from We got married korean variety show, Minwoo cause he looks abit like Junsu??Maybe & Got to know about Eric through the Korean dramas I've watch. Ever watch Spy MyeongWol? Yup, Eric plays one of the main cast. Try watch it! It's very nice! =)

Well, I just accompanied her to the Park not the concert..hehe..& would say the place is damn relaxing. You could see people exercising in the middle of the afternoon..Well you see it's Spring, that's why the whether is so-so nice! Not like you can practise the same thing here in Malaysia! You will burnt to death! Haha...
Olympic Park surroundings
If coming by car, the carpark is around that corner
Olympic Park
Shinhwa 14th year Anniversary

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

BackPack to Korea! Part 4 - Namsangol Hanok Village

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It's free to enter the Hanok Village here. So what is a Hanok village? It's a village with traditional houses that can be seen in Korea. This trip I've only have the chance to visit Namsangol Hanok Village. Miss-out on visiting Bukchon Hanok Village thou it was initially where I always wanted to visit.But, there's always a "next-time" right?! =)  It's really pretty here, or maybe I was always amazed by their design. You guys should add it into your list of places to visit if there is any chance you are coming Seoul. Highly recommend it! It's free anyway~~ A nice place for a relaxing walk & what else~~photoshoot!!~~  =)

How to get to Namsangol Hanok Village?
By Subway, just get off at Chungmuro Station and the Hanok Village is 5min walk from the Station Exit# 3 / 4. Don't worry there's signboard pointing the direction to where the Village is. *Even if didn't notice it, you can always ask the locals. They don't speak much English, but they are very friendly & helpful! No fret =)*

The moment you enter Namsangol Village, you are welcome with a very soothing background music that accompanies you when you are having a stroll there! =)
Best time to visit I recommend would be during Spring & Autumn. That would be nice!

Okay, That's just so silly! Ahahaha!!

BackPack to Korea! Part 3 - Gyeongbukgung & Korea Folk Museum

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Gyeongbukgung / also known as Gyeongbuk Palace [English translate as "Palace of Shinning Happiness"]
It's located in the Northern part of Seoul & is one of the main and largest palace of the Five Grand Palaces built during the Joseon Dynasty.

How to get to Gyeongbukgung?

1. From Exit No. 5 of Gyeongbokgung Subway Station (Seoul Subway Line No.3), walk 5 minutes.
2. From Exit No. 2 of Ganghwamun Subway Station (Seoul Subway Line No.5), walk 5 minutes.

Operating Hours:
March ~ October 09:00-18:00
November ~ February 09:00-17:00
English Guided Tour: 11:00, 13:30, 15:30
Closed every Tuesday

Admission fee: 3,000 won (Adult)
Inside it's link to the National Palace Museum & also the National Folk Museum.

You can get an integrated tickets for all 4 palaces (Changdeokgung Palaces (including Huwon, Secret Garden), Changgyeonggung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace) and Jongmyo Shrine too if you feel like visiting all at once. Integrated ticket cost 10,000 won

Source: KTO
Official Website: http://www.royalpalace.go.kr/html/eng/main/main.jsp

Before entering the palace, we did some amateur photo-shooting of ourselves in the front of the palace! =)

King Sejong
When we reach at the palace gates, we were stunned & amazed by the palace guards. Their costumes was so colourful! Imagine how it would feel like a few decades ago right~hehe.. We even got to see the changing of the palace guards ceremony. How sweet! This ceremony is a reenactment of the actual “Changing of the Royal Guards” ceremony ages ago.
Look at how silly I look beside them =P Guess whom I'm afraid of most....yup it's the one with the light blue clothing..his eyes gaze are so intimidating. I'm standing so far away~~ haha...
After entering the gates, I feel like I were in another time space as if I'm transported right then back to the ancient time! =) The building structure were amazing, scenery was splendid as well. Well, as an avid fan of the popular Korean variety show "2 days 1 night", I can't help myself but to find for the strange & funny things that was introduced thru the show. Bet, most viewers & visitors are not aware of it as well. Lets me show it to you.
Secrets behind Gyeongbukgung: 

1. There's a few dragon like creatures protecting the palace, but only 1 of it is having it's tongue sticking out as if it were teasing you. - The sculptures then thought it would be funny having these elements in the palace without provoking the royal family.
2. There's the 12-sign zodiac animals surrounding the palace. - Follow the cycle of the zodiac animals and find yours. I found mine that's for sure.. *wink*

3. Notice the tiles/bricks on the ground. It's not simply added in, but a meticulous calculation were done so that no rain water will be stuck on the palace ground during raining season. - It will flow out to the gates.

4. Notice the middle path? Yup that's only for royalties to walk upon. Sides are for peasants. - But nowadays if you wish to become one of the royals, try walking only on the middle. =)
5. See those tiles like pieces on the ground? That's the position of the generals would be standing according to their ranking. - My lucky # 7, that's why I took a pic of it. Normally ppl would be chasing after the One right?? hehe..
Pics credits to Stephen Bay

Ever notice that there are no chimney on any of the buildings within the palace grounds?? That's because it was beautifully captured as part of their decorative buildings.
6. On your right would be the chimney to their main halls. 
7. The empress would have it differently , top right is seen Jagyeongjeon Chimney with ten longevity symbols. Bottom right: The Jagyeongjeon wall is decorated with floral designs. (Because she a lady that's why..^^)

Top: Gyeonghoeru Pavilion overlooks a large pond at Gyeongbok Palace
Bottom: The grounds of Gyeongbukgung where the royals have their stroll
I was so happy to have the chance to see the emperor walking thru that time. Not that it was the actual one, but still~~hehe...
Half a day was definitely not enough for you to enjoy the scenery there, not to mention cover the whole Gyeongbukgung. Overall it was fun learning about their history & culture background.
After the stroll at the park, it landed us at the Korean National Folk Museum within the palace ground. Again, I can't help it but to take a pic with it when I saw my "rabbit-general" =P
Inside the museum, you would have learnt alot from 3 main halls featuring the major collections thru their artifacts: History of Korean People features materials of everyday life in Korea from prehistoric times to the end of the Joseon Dynasty in 1910; Korean Way of Life, which illustrates Korean villagers in ancient times; and Life Cycle of the Koreans, which depicts the deep roots of Confucianism in Korean culture and how this ideology gave rise to most of the culture's customs.

That's what those little Koreans kids would be wearing. Aren't the socks cute >.<!
All these shows the actual rituals during their wedding, your parents 60th Birthday, & their pharmacist drying herbs.
PIC 3 
Process of making KIMCHI! =)
From harvesting of cabbage to persevering it, it's all so fascinating. Look at all the Kimchi they have here.. 

PIC 4, 5, 6
Miscellaneous artefacts from their currency, literature, home appliances & everyday wardrobe like shoes and hats. 

Before I sign out, here's a passage that captures my heart during my tour at the museum =)

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Hiking to Monkey Beach Penang

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It was truly a "labour-intensive" day for us yesterday as we had our off-day all thanks to Labour Day! Went hiking at Penang National Park situated in the North-Western coast of the Island. It's situated near Teluk Bahang. The place is also well known as "End of the World" as it's the only route/way uphill till you reach a point where there is no other road connecting to be found. Teluk Bahang is the entrance for the Penang National Park. Previously it was known as the Pantai Aceh Forest Reserve. 
First you have to register (just your name will do, no registration fees what-so-ever..*not like you need one to hike isn't it..LOL!) and then you can go into jungle to visit beautiful beaches, like Monkey Beach or Pantai Kerachut.There's 8 beaches near the park: Teluk Bahang, Teluk Tukun, Tanjung Aling, Teluk Duyung (Monkey Beach), Teluk Ketapang, Pantai Kerachut, Teluk Kampi, Pantai Mas. 

Well, definitely we can't go all places in a day! haha...
Our main purpose is to hike, & hiking is what we will do! Our destination: Monkey Beach. The best access to Monkey Beach is from the main entrance of National Park where you have a choice of a short boat ride (5 mins) or a 1 hour 30 minute trek through one of the park trails to reach the beach. But do bare in mind, it's gonna be a tough hike in the jungle (not so suitable for little kids). But, it's all worth it when you reach to a pleasant view of what mother nature has install for us. Monkey Beach is one of the few pristine beaches left on the Island because it is not as exposed to the pollution found along the West Coast of the Island.
Monkey Beach Penang
 What's so special at Monkey Beach?? It's the sea shells! It's so damn colourful! =D
Colourful sea shells


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