Friday, July 15, 2016

My Summer in Korea 2016 (Day 2)


Day 2: Gangchon Rail Park ➡ Nami Island ➡ Myeongdong

I have been wanting to go to the rail park since I saw Running Man did their shooting there. So when I saw Maliha's post on Instagram, I asked for her assistance straight away. Did some intense research along the way (me and researching... I might be better off in R&D sector -_-"). I decided to book the ticket beforehand via online as the tickets might sold out if I were to buy the tix on the day itself.

Cuba bayang kalau tak beli tiket online, dari Seoul ke sana je dah 2 jam setengah. Tetiba tiket habis tak ke haruuuu? Menangis doploh hampat jam aku di situ. Membazir masa saja kan? After some research, I decided to buy the rail bike ticket through an agent: Funtastic Korea. (You can click on the link I attached there. You are most welcome.) It costs ₩25,000 for 2-seater bike, NOT per head. Got the confirmation email, settle satu benda.

Since it will take 2 hours plus from Seoul to Gimyujeong station in Chuncheon, we started our day early. Woke up at 5.30am, had our breakfast and off we go by 7am. Transferred several lines (3 times!) and we finally reached Gimyujeong station by 9.35am. Just in time for our rail bike session at 10am.
Isn't the station's building beautiful?

Fell in loveeeeee with the rail park! Just look at that wall! Books and books! *starry eyes*

The safety instructions was delivered in Korean. Thankfully saya ni peminat tegar drama Korea kan, haruslah saya faham sedikit & terjemahkan untuk ummi. Buat malu mengaku drama addict kalau tak mampu nak faham. Basically-- jangan lupa pakai seat belt, beg letak bawah seat, handphone & kamera jaga jangan bagi jatuh, lepas tu kalau jarak dekat sangat dengan orang depan, jangan lupa tekan break.

Alhamdulillah cycle session pukul 10pagi, matahari pun masih malu malu so tidaklah kami macam udang kena panggang atau ketam kena masak (kemerahan maksudnya). 8km of cycling along the abandoned train track with exceptional views. Subhanallah!

The bridge that will lead to the shuttle bus back to Gimyujeong Station. 
Habis cycling, sampai tempat rehat, makan aiskrim 10 minit, then sambung naik Romantic Train for 30mins to reach Gangchon Rail Park. But since we started our cycle from Gimyujeong station, we have to return back by provided shuttle bus. Tapi nak ke tempat menunggu shuttle bus tu pun kena menapak dalam 15 minit. Kaki dah kalah SNSD (berangan).

Now off we go to Nami Island. It takes about 20 mins from Gimyujeong station to Gapyeong station. From Gapyeong station, we took a cab that costs us ₩4,000 to the Nami Wharf (ferry terminal to Nami Island).
The entrance ticket for Nami Island is ₩8,000 for foreigners (ferry tix included). One thing that I noticed about Korea, they are really accommodating to foreigners. Koreans have to pay ₩10,000. I mean, don't usually a country would give benefits to it's citizens?

The famous Namiseom! 

As it's already afternoon, we decided to go for lunch & pray first before exploring the island. Formerly, I considered the famous Nasi Goncang at Drama Cafe, but later I found out that there is another Halal-certified eatery right here in Nami Island; Dongmoon: Asian Cuisine.

I chose Bulgogi Kimchi Bibimbab & my mother had Nasi Goreng Kimchi. It costs ₩20,000 if I'm not mistaken.
The prayer room is at Level 2F at the next building (Picture Book Library) from the restaurant. Very convenient!
Exploring Namiseom begins soon after that.

Winter Sonata was the only Korean drama that my late beloved grandmother watched. I watched it through DVD that I bought after SPM. Those were the days. Sekarang ni download or streaming online saja ma... A picture with my ex-housemate's first love. My first love is Seol Gong Chan, acted by Lee Dong Wook ❤

Along the famous trees in Winter Sonata.

We left the Island around 4.50pm and reached Seoul by 7pm, which my mother later decided that she wanted to go to Myeongdong street. Bought several things and we walked back to our apartment. More exciting places on Day 3! Gahhh, I can not wait. 

Love, N

Thursday, July 14, 2016

My Summer in Korea 2016 (Day 1)

Assalamualaikum wbt. 

Day 1: Incheon Airport ➡ Apartment ➡ Lunch at Yoogane, Myeongdong ➡ Namdaemun Market ➡ Dongdaemun

Taking the 1am flight the night before, we arrived at Incheon Airport around 7.50am, 30 mins earlier than scheduled. We took our own sweet time at the airport as we could not check in early at the apartment anyways. The check-in time is at 4pm. Plenty of time so we sat down at a cafe, had coffee and bread. 

The arrival card and Declaration form. I was so nervous about the declaration form when I read about it on someone's blog but turns out... meh. Easy peasy.

Updating social medias using the airport free wifi (Korea and it's free wifi is lahv) and I bought the T-money; a transportation card that work wonders. Bas, train, some taxi pun boleh guna T-money. Similar to Oyster Card and Istanbul Kart. You can buy it at any convenience store at the airport Arrival Hall (7E / GS25 / CoU). 

Kept thinking to myself the whole freaking time; AM I FINALLY HERE? IN KOREA? IS THIS A DREAM? SOMEONE PINCHED ME. Turns out that my dream since I was 15 years old came true at 25 years old. I waited patiently 10 years for this :') Alhamdulillah. 

My T-Money card. The pink thing behind my phone is the T-money card holder. I bought it at ArtBox store in Myeongdong. I attached it to the back of my phone as it is easier to tap the subway gate that way. Too much hassle to get it out of my pocket / purse every time I needed it. Convenient, yes? So comel also. Hiks. They have a lot of other designs.   

It costs us ₩4,000 with top-up of ₩40,000 for each card. We later top up another ₩5,000 each, to the end of our trip. Total for T-money: ₩98,000 for 2 pax, lasting for 7 days. 

From airport to downtown Seoul, it took around 1 hour 15 mins via All-Stop train (the fare is ₩4,350 with T-money). Airport limousine bus also available at ₩15,000 if its too troublesome to ride the train with your luggage(s). Just follow the sign to AREX (Level B1) when you are at the Arrival hall. 

Then we reached Seoul Station (the last stop for AREX and so busyyy), transfer to Line 4 for Chungmuro. Sampai depan T-Mark Hotel, telefon host and few minutes later, he came to greet us. Macam terus terjatuh cinta terus lepas terpandang studio apartment tu kat website airbnb. Paling best tentulah sebab apartment tersebut datang bersama portable wifi PERCUMA!

Chungmuro Exit 6. Stairs everywhere, but this is still bearable. Anguk station has the worst amount of stairs, EVER. You will need to go there if Bukchon Hanok Village is in your itinerary.  
Our heavenly apartment. All the things we need in one room! Kettle, microwave, fridge, stove, toilet, washing machine, iron, and most importantly, a bed. :') I love our apartment so very much! Rindu dah omaigod.  
As the kind of person who likes to update my Instagram pictures live on site, having portable wifi is happiness indeed. Lol). Very convenience to have wifi throughout our trip to search for exact location of places (to avoid unnecessary waste of time by being lost). Time is gold when we are travelling, yes? Sebenarnya boleh sewa portable egg wifi tu di airport, dengan rate harga ₩5,500/day and security deposit of ₩100,000. The other way to get internet is... spend your time at coffee shops or wait till you reach your guest house (almost all guest houses provide free wifi at their premises).

So off we go to have lunch. I fixed us to have lunch at Yoogane Restaurant, Myeongdong. They have several shop lots across Myeongdong. Just ask around from the promoters of beauty shops for the location, the girls will gladly help. We ate at the one along Exit 8 of Myeongdong station. Just walk straight ahead from Exit 8, you will soon find this bright signage. 

The only menu that us Muslims can order is Marinated Seafood Fried Rice (₩5,500 for one portion. This is two). So fulfilling, alhamdulillah. Surprisingly sedap pun sedap! I would not mind to eat this again when I return to Korea in the future (Aminnn ya Rabb, moga ada rezeki lagi). I do not know about other people but food is never the problem for us when we were in Korea. Not every place has Halal certified by Korea Muslim Federation, jadi kuncinya adalah yakin. :) 

Kalau ada rasa was-was kat satu satu tempat tu, adalah lagi baik dielakkan. Contohnya macam kes Restoran Gosame. Saya yakin je tapi nak mengelakkan kontroversi dan fitnah, saya elak untuk masukkan dalam itinerary sebab banyak lagi tempat makan boleh pergi. 

You know you are in Myeongdong when you see this big building of Nature Republic! All the beauty products are so cheap here I THINK I'M GOING CRAZY. Imagine the Aloe Vera gel is only ₩4,400 = RM15. It costs RM30 in Malaysia. The Nature Republic's face mask; ₩20,000 for 40 pieces, which means ₩500/piece = RM1.70. If this doesn't excite you as a girl, I do not know what will. 

Lepas lunch, pusing Myeongdong se-round dua, terus bawak ummi ke Namdaemun Market (located at Hoehyeon station, Exit 5) sebab kat situ syurga membeli belah kerongsang tudung dan baju. The price varies according to sizes and designs. Pin bawah dagu ₩1,000, besar sikit ₩2,000, ₩3,000, ₩4,000 and so forth. The place is E-lengdang market, greenish building, go up to the second floor. 

TIPS: Look for shop No.172! This shop offers beautiful brooches with similar or lesser price than No. 209. 

Opening hours of Namdaemun Market is from 7am - 5pm. Make sure you arrive there before they close for the day. Kalau tak, rugi! The market also close on Sunday so take note, okay? 
Returned to apartment, solat, refresh and we decided to go out again for Dongdaemun this time. The actual plan was to return to Myeongdong street for more shopping but my mother decided that we should go to another area and explore. I agreed and grateful that I went with her plan. 
You'll see this East Gate when exiting Dongdaemun station, Exit 8. There is a famous seafood eatery around this area, Honam Sikdang but unfortunately I wasn't able to include that in our trip. More reason to come back! ;p  

We walked along the serene Cheonggyecheon stream, (the river is 11km long!) then headed to Doota Mall for considerably cheap souvenirs at Arirang Shop, Level 6.
This mall opens at 10am - 5am. Yep, you read that right. The first time I knew about late night shopping in Dongdaemun was from a Korean drama entitled Romance that I watched when I was 16 years old. Even bought the original DVD some more. That was how I spent most of my monthly allowance during high school. *tutup muka*  
Ada dua handsome oppa(s) fluently speaking in Indonesian here. Hiks.  
Dongdaemun Design Plaza, designed by the late Zaza Hadid. You can also reach here directly from Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station, Exit 1. 
The perks of summer is that, the day is long (Maghrib is at 7.57pm) so there are a lot of places to explore! Alhamdulillah for a fruitful and smooth first day. I honestly could not wait for the rest of our trip! 

Love, N