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Things to Do in Korea

Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

April 4th and 5th, 2015 marked the peak weekend for cherry blossoms here in South Korea, which meant it was time to travel with Enjoy Korea to the small seaport town of Jinhae for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival! The roughly $30 registration fee provided us with timely and convenient transportation that dropped us off, and picked us up, right in the middle of the action. And the tour schedule allowed for everyone to just do their own thing for the whole afternoon once we arrived! I’ve booked tours with Enjoy Korea twice now, and will do so again for the Mud Festival in July. I highly recommend them!


Six Things You Need for a Korean Picnic

Is the weather not glorious right now?!

In sunshine like this, I refuse to be inside for any longer than I absolutely have to. This includes for meals. In fact, one of my favorite things to do in this weather is picnic. And with all the great green spaces the city has to offer (like Naksan Park, the Han River and the Dream Forest), a picnic can be had just about anywhere.


Jindo Sea Parting Festival

Jindo Sea Parting FestivalOn March 21st, 2015, waygooks and Koreans


Busan Shark Dive: Up Close and Personal with Jaws

When I was a young gal, I had an ungodly fear of sharks. Perhaps it was the animatronics at the Jaws ride at Universal Studios, or the threat constantly reiterated by the warning signs on the beaches of Destin, a beachside town in Florida where my family and I spent our summer vacations. So, it came as a surprise to me that I had an extreme desire to swim with them when I learned of the opportunity offered by the Sea Life Aquarium in Busan.

So, I left my nerves (and inhibitions) in Seoul and headed down to the southern coastal city to take a dive with Aquatic Frontier, a foreigner-owned and -operated diving company based just outside of Seoul.

Crawling Through Windows

IMG_1889Without a doubt, art is one of the most defining elements of any culture. It captures the spirit of people, places and time, and expresses mood, opinion, and thought, in such a way that transcends even the greatest of language barriers. Whether it be a song, play, dance or a visual composition like pottery, painting or drawing, every piece of art is a window into that culture’s world. When we attempt to learn about and experience other cultures, sometimes it’s enough to remain on the outside looking in; to go to a museum or a gallery, or attend a concert or production.


Grab Your Traveling Spoon and Get a Taste of Korean Culture

Some of the best memories of my travels involve sharing a meal with the local people. From slurping up chanko at a sumo wrestling championship with a Japanese couple in Tokyo to picnicking with Tibetan monks in India to chowing down on tajine with Berber nomads in the middle of the Sahara Desert, the experience combines the very best two ways to get to know a country's culture: conversing with the locals and eating the food.

Such experiences are often spontaneous, as getting a chance to interact with the local people isn't always easy. After all, it's kinda difficult to walk up to a stranger and invite them to share a meal, without looking like a crazy person, that is.

Have Yourself a Korean Little Christmas

IMG_1782Merry Christmas from Korea! Besides a few twinkling roundabout decorations and lights hanging from windows of major shopping malls, Ulsan unfortunately doesn’t offer much in the way of holiday spirit. However, Busan is a whole different story!


Wash Away the Winter Blues at Seoul's SK-II Boutique Spa

If the recent drop in temperatures and merciless wind are any indication of what's to come this winter, we're in for a long, cold season. And if you're like me, this weather is anything but enjoyable. Between the incessant time spent inside and the pain endured in the frigid outdoors while in transit, coming down with a case of the winter blues is almost always inevitable.

Contrary to popular belief, however, there is a cure which does not require a prescription. All one simply needs to do is to head down to SK-II Boutique Spa for a truly healing experience.



Vlog Entry #7: Busan International Fireworks Festival


Busan, You’re A Firework

busan ffI don’t consider myself a pyromaniac, but I will say I do love me some fireworks. The way they sparkle and shine against the dark night sky. The elongated screech they produce as they’re released into the air, and the extra half second it takes for that final BANG to reach the ears. And there’s something about the collective experience of standing in a crowd with your neck craned high, saying “Woahhhhh!” along with everyone else.


Vlog Entry #6: Lantern Festival – Jinju, South Korea

During the first weekend of October I went to the Lantern Festival in Jinju! To read more about the festival, view the related post here!



2014 Jinju Lantern Festival

Located in the south central part of Korea, Jinju is a small city of just 300,000 people. But for ten days a year, nighttime traffic is bumper-to-bumper and walking the streets means shuffling, wading and weaving through crowds of people. Why? The Jinju Namgang Yudeong (Lantern) Festival.


Vlog Entry #5: 2014 International Mask Festival – Andong, South Korea

This video takes you along with me as I travel to Andong, South Korea for the 2014 International Mask Festival! To read more about my experience, check the related post here!


2014 International Mask Festival – Andong, South Korea

Masks:  Pretty cool!

Food: Pretty good!

Performances: Okay.

Location: Okay.

Overall: Pretty…okay.


Sundays in Ulsan

It's been so long I almost forgot I have a blog. I only have half of the summer program left, Kimchi boy just celebrated his 29th birthday, the news have been depressing with all these reports of air disasters (I have a serious fear of flying now but the fact that my maternal family is from Taiwan and my boyfriend is Korean is not helping)...

Before I came to Korea, I thought that I would blog regularly while in Korea. But now that I am here, I've been so lazy and my daily life consists of eating, sleeping & watching Korean drama (Hotel King, anyone?).

The only day I look forward to is Sunday. Because on Sundays, I go on dates with Kimchi boy.

Top 10 Attractions at Everland Theme Park

Everland is, without a doubt, Korea's best amusement park. Modeled after Disney World- albeit on a much smaller scale- the theme park consists of plenty of fun attractions that draw in more than 7 million visitors a year. With those attendance numbers, one can only imagine what the weekend crowds are like, particularly at peak times, such as summer vacation.

Which is why I was happy to learn on on my most recent visit with my blogger buddy Ken that the park is actually delightful during the week. In fact, we weren't even bothered by the scorching summer temps, as there were practically no lines for the rides. This allowed us to see a lot of the park comfortably and at our own pace. Additionally, the shuttle bus we booked with Funko made getting there easy as pie.

(Ulsan) An Afternoon in the Bamboo Forest

Exploring the Bamboo Forest is one of the must-dos in Ulsan City. I've been in Ulsan for almost a month and in my opinion, Ulsan is nothing but mountains & lakes.

Today, I spent the whole afternoon with Kimchi boy in the Bamboo Forest. Bad choice because it was scorching hot (~33degrees) today. I would have enjoyed this place much better if the weather was cooler.
 


Temple Stay in Gyeongju City

As part of the summer programme (SPIKE) at UNIST, we went for a 2 day 1 night temple stay in Gyeongju City. Temple stays are getting more and more popular as a tourist activity in South Korea. We did not get to sleep in a real temple but we had to eat vegetarian food for the two meals there and we had to attend the evening and morning prayer sessions.

All the happy faces.. not knowing what they will be facing the next morning...

SPIKE @ UNIST 2014

I am currently in Ulsan city, participating in a summer programme called SPIKE at Ulsan National University of Science & Technology, UNIST. I never thought that I would participate in any summer programme because I am already in my last semester.

Ulsan really looks different from other cities in Seoul. The university that I am staying in is surrounded by mountains. I think we ARE on a mountain.

NUS is not a partner university yet, so we have to pay for school fees and dorms. Students from partner universities like Uni of Michigan, HKUST etc do not have to pay for this programme.

It is a growing university so most of the facilities are still new. It is conveniently located less than 30minutes away from Ulsan KTX Station and there is a bus inside the school.

(Daejeon) Camping at Gyeryong Auto Campground

On one sunny day we decided to go camping with my friend from my university. She came to Korea because we are participating in a summer programme at UNIST (Ulsan National Institute of Science & Technology). Kimchi boy's father fetched us to the camping site, helped us set up the tent and left. He is a really sweet father! The camping site (Gyeryong Auto Campground) is not far from where we live.

Muuido Island: Sea and Sand for the Weary Waegookin



Maybe it's just me but the weather has been especially pleasant here in Korea for this time of year. The rainy season is starting a bit later than usual and the temperatures, particularly in the mornings and evenings, have been enjoyable. Hope I'm not jinxing anything here.

A couple friends and I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and planned a weekend camping trip to Muuido, a small island located near Incheon International Airport. The peninsula's western coast often catches a lot of flak for its less than impressive beaches and lackluster views. As we soon learned, however, Muuido is just as enjoyable as the country's better known coastal destinations and is the perfect place to waste away a lazy summer weekend.

My K-Style Makeover at Jenny House in Cheongdam-dong

Over the past decade, Korea has gained a reputation for being one of the top beauty destinations of the world. Anyone who has strolled the streets of Seoul would probably agree that Koreans are some of the most beautiful, well put-together people on earth. It seems that just about everyone- including the men- has flawless skin, perfect hair and an impeccable sense of style. The world has come to realize this through the globalization of Korean dramas, movies and music and as a result, the Korean beauty business is booming, with global exports of the nation's innovative, multi-functional cosmetics increasing exponentially on a daily basis.

(Daejeon) Jangtae San, 장태산

Yesterday I did something adventurous. By adventurous I meant.. hiking. I am not an outdoor person, I don't enjoy being under the sun or doing sports. But I really wanted to get out of the house instead of just lazing around and doing nothing.  I told Kimchi boy that I wanted to go out.. to a mountain. I don't know where the idea came from, maybe I just wanted to get out, but I don't regret it one bit. Besides the insects, sunlight and heat, I had a great time hiking up the mountain.

We went to Jangtae Mountain, located in Seo District, Daejeon, South Korea. It was not a convenient location for hiking as the public bus (only bus 22 goes there) comes once in every 2 hours and all signages/information were in Korean. 

Behind the Scenes of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines iFly TV: Secrets of Seoul

In January, I had the pleasure of hosting a film crew from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines' iFly Magazine as they filmed a travel documentary on Seoul. When they first contacted me, they requested that I compile a number of destinations that I felt best represented various aspects of the city including great views, interesting local hangouts and landmarks that showcase the contrasts between old and new.

After much deliberation, I came up with a list of places that I felt captured the very best of my Seoul... a Seoul that may or may not be the same city that other expats and locals here experience.  But it was the one I wanted people to see.

Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk 2013

Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photo Walk 2013 Ulsan

 

The day is finally coming up and I hope that everyone is ready. If you haven’t registered yet please do. The reason for registering is simply to be eligible for the prizes from Scott Kelby and that is pretty much it. So, if you don’t feel like submitting your info, you don’t have to. If you are competitive and want to submit your photos into the main photo contest then I believe that you are obligated to. At any rate, What I want is for everyone to come out and have a good time.


Wol-jeong Bridge and the Traditional Village

wol-jong bridge

After seeing this bridge on John Steele’s blog post, I just had to head out there and get some shots. I am little burnt that those guys traveled all the way down here and didn’t even call! (LOL, just kidding guys… but next time…) The Wol-jeong bridge is still under construction at the moment but  they light up most of the bridge for everyone to take a look at.


Peter DeMarco’s 2nd Solo Exhibition

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Recently,  I had the pleasure of being at the opening of Peter DeMarco’s 2nd solo exhibition titled “The Nomad Within: The Wonders of Asia”. I regretfully missed his first one but being as this exhibition is Ulsan, I had no excuses.


Wishing Trees and Rice Chests: Suwon's Hwaseong Haenggung

Once a resting shelter and vacation destination for kings, the grounds of Hwaseong Haenggung in Suwon, South Korea are now a site where locals and tourists can learn about Korean royal history and culture. Despite recent renovations, every inch of the palace has a story to tell.  So much so, in fact, that when I visited there recently, I could almost sense the spirits of Korea’s dynastic leaders luring me back in time for a glimpse into the country’s captivating past.

One of the first things I noticed about Hwaseong Haenggung was that it was quite small compared to other royal structures I have visited throughout Asia.  I soon learned, however, that what the palace lacks in size, it makes up for in grandeur.

2013 Ulsan International Photography Festival

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Ribbon cutting ceremony

With great pleasure I announce that my photos will be a part of this years Ulsan International Photography Festival. This is an event that I have paid money to just look at the amazing photos and now my photos will be there! As you can tell, I am quite excited about this.


Samgwangsa Temple in Busan


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