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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Korea Trip 2012 Part 1

Just two months ago, I took a trip to Korea. It's my second visit to Korea. This time round, I took SQ600. It departs Singapore at 8:35AM so I need to wake up like 6AM.

"I definitely need caffeine on board!"

"Telling myself... I'm reaching...."

Not much complaints about the flight except the passenger in front of me who slammed at full speed into reclining position. Passengers should be considerate regarding the person who is sitting behind. This always happens to me. Reclining seats should be eliminate altogether. 

"Incheon International Airport 인천국제공항"

So, I arrived Incheon International Airport. Probably the best airport in the world (according to various rankings). 

So, it's already 3:35PM (Seoul time). Incheon Airport is pretty far from Seoul. So the journey took more than an hour. Since it's late autumn, the sky is already dark and it's time for dinner! 

"Won Halmeoni Bossam 원할머니 보쌈"

For those who are familiar with K-varieties, I remember watching an episode of "We Got Married 우리 결혼했어요" and the two foreign idols - Victoria and Nichkhun went to have Bossam at Won Halmeoni Bossam, which means Won Grandmother Bossam. Bossam are steamed pork and you have to eat them with kimchi and other wraps. There are many branches of Won Halmeoni in Seoul. 

"Le Steamed Pork"

"Le Wraps & Kimchi"

Anyways, I was actually taking picture of the food and the restaurant manager a.k.a 점장님 actually thought that I have no idea how to eat this. He came to me, wrapped the pork and fed me! 

Next up, Myeongdong! Korean cosmetic haven. It's always so crowded and the place is getting very touristy. 

Next day, I went to Jeonju! This is the best place to try Korean cuisine. The birthplace of Bibimbap and Taeyeon of SNSD! 

Jeonju is located in Southwestern Korea. The journey from Seoul will take you approximately 3 hours. This is the rest area called Jeongan Service Area, halfway between Seoul and Jeonju.

This is the view from the bus... reaching Jeonju in 30 minutes! 

Jeonju Hanok Village! It's quite a bad day as it was raining heavily and the weather was cold. I'm unfamiliar with this place and just wanted to find my accommodation first. Fortunately, I approached a young lady who told me how to get to my accommodation, a hanok house. 

And guess what, the hanok house was closed! A helpful uncle who saw my lost look helped me by calling them. I have already paid for the accommodation through Agoda.com and apparently, the Hanok house is no longer in operation. There was some miss communication here and there. I managed to find myself a place to stay, a friend of the closed hanok house owner who brought us to her hanok house. 

Next, I was walking and a lady approached me and asked me where I wanted to go. I told her in my basic Korean... "I want to have the best bibimbap in Jeonju (전주의 가장 유명한 비빔밥 먹고 싶어요)." She showed me the direction. Jeonju has really nice and helpful people just like Kansai, Japan! 

I was quite surprised when I ordered the bibimbap because this is not the "Jeonju Bibimbap" I read about online. This is called the 산야초비빔밤, which means wild vegetables bibimbap. To my pleasant surprise, it actually tasted good!

You know you're in Jeonju when you see generous side dishes! Awesome!

The interior of the restaurant is traditional style, where you sit on the warm ondol floor!

This is the name of the restaurant - Cheon-nyeon-nu-ri-bom 천년누리 봄". Good service. Good food! 

"Korean medical tea"

The rain actually stopped when I was at the restaurant. However, it rained again, heavily! I have no choice but to enter a tea-house. I ordered this hanbang(한방) tea for 10,000 won (SGD12). Taste a bit like those tea eggs. 

"Hanok House"

Back to my hanok house. The interior looks pretty good.


Next, I took a taxi to a place called Martyrs' Hill, in honour of  Catholic martyrs of the Joseon Dynasty on the very same spot they lost their lives because then, Christians were persecuted in Korea. Today, Christianity is the second largest religion in Korea!

 Even if you're non-Christian, you can also admire the beauty of the place.

I shall end my post here first... to be continued... 

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