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Vlog Entry #22: Get Wet, Go Wild

Drift with me through the streets, hillsides and waters of northern Vietnam on the “Get Wet, Go Wild” tour, offered by Vietnam Backpacker Hostels! Catch a glimpse of Hanoi’s top attractions: Quan Thanh Temple, St. Joseph’s Cathedral and the West Lake. Then hop on board a junk boat to cruise past the cliffs of Ha Long Bay. Throw in a bit of swimming, kayaking, rock climbing and beach volleyball for good measure. Lastly, journey inland to the rural Mai Chau Valley, home to breath-taking, emerald rice paddies and towering, dramatic peaks.

Mission Improbable – The Trouble with Traveling to Improve your Country

From February to June 1787, with all of his necessities packed in a single trunk, Thomas Jefferson traveled “incognito” by coach, barge, and sometimes mule across most of France and Northern Italy. Reading the extensive diary he kept of the trip, one encounters many passages like the following.

In the boudoir at Chanteloup is an ingenious contrivance to hide the projecting steps of a staircase. Three steps were of necessity to project into the boudoir. They therefore made triangular steps, and, instead of resting on the floor as usual, they are made fast at their broad end to the stair door, swinging out and in with that. When shut, it runs them under the other steps. When open, it brings them out to their proper place.

Korea Through the Eyes of Foreigners (through the Eyes of Koreans)

The Pros and Cons of Hiring A Tour Guide in Siem Reap

Floating Villages, Sinking Feelings

IMG_2703Out of all the activities I had planned for myself on my 5 day adventure in Cambodia, one that I was especially looking forward to was visiting a floating village along Tonle Sap Lake. In my head I envisioned weather-worn bamboo huts skirting the edges of the water, boats that have seen better days sputtering by from time to time, and people living in tune with nature. That’s what I was expecting, and it’s pretty close to what I found. But what I wasn’t prepared for was to feel like the biggest, guiltiest voyeur ever.

Low Blows in Shanghai

Pudong International Airport

Pudong International Airport

It was 9:00 on a Thursday morning and I had just landed in Shanghai, the largest city in China by population and the largest city proper by population in the world. I was ultimately headed to the temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. However, before I could bask in the tropical temperatures and dubiously bathe myself in sunscreen, there was one thing standing in my way: a 9-hour layover.

Beomosa Temple Stay


When I got asked to shoot Beomosa Temple for an upcoming article in Seoul Magazine, I was really excited. Mostly because I love Beomosa and the other reason was that I really wanted to see what goes on at a temple stay which was the focus of the article. Temple stay programs are a unique way to experience temple life. However, most of the people that I asked about these programs either hated them or did them as a one off thing.


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.

Pyongyang Racer – Having a Gas in Virtual North Korea

An Old Fisherman’s Advice


We were walking around Jumunjin Harbour on an early April morning. The sun was warm and the docks were busy with tourists and workers. Underneath the carpark the wharf was busier than usual. Long gone were the fish sellers, moved to another less in the way location of the port, so to see so much coming and going was unusual. While not regulars in Jumunjin port, we would be more regular that most and seeing a flurry activity as such was something reserved for the height of the squid season, and it was not that time of year yet.

We edged closer, hopping over river sized puddles and landing on tiny atolls of uneven concrete, until we came to what was of so much anxiety and interest to the workers and curious visitors. On the concrete were nets and nets full of fish. They were litterally exploding with them. To see nets this full in a small port like Jumunjin, where even in their tourist markets they mostly sell farmed fish, was a delight. There were wheelbarrows full to bursting being shoved past, and nets being stretched long for cleaning and recasting. Of greatest interest though was the a stocky greying man, sitting on a plastic chair pulling the fish from the nets.

The Big Chunky Charlie: Tourist Guilt in Maya Bay

I’D HEARD that the place was going to be busy. The weird moronic western dude behind the desk at our hotel told us as much when we enquired about the place. “It’s even busy during the rainy season,” the words stumbled in slow motion out of his mouth. “We went there in October during the rainy season and there were still, like, 40 boats in the bay.” It was probably his thick birth-control glasses, nervous demeanour, monk-like bald patch, and slow, slightly scouse – but also kinda german – accent that, at least for me, rendered his opinions worthless.


"Bitter, Sweet, Seoul": Korea's Capital City Through the Eyes of the World

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the premier of "Bitter, Sweet, Seoul," the Korean capital's first ever global crowd-sourcing film project.

I arrived at the premier at Seoul Cinema not knowing what to expect of the film. I was aware of the "Seoul, My Movie" campaign, as it was heavily promoted throughout last year, but I was skeptical of the final product.

The Unknown Gyeongju

Cherry blossoms? Who gives a damn? I’ve been to Seokguram. I’ve seen Bulguksa a thousand times. I’m going to have a seizure if I even glance at the tumuli again. The idea of wandering inside the Heavenly Horse Tomb fills my heart with bile. To hell with Gyeongju! I’ve seen everything worth seeing! I’m going to Japan!

There are already green buds on the trees here, and warmth is flowing through the air: the cherry blossoms are coming, and when they arrive in the first few weekends of April the city is going to be so mobbed with Korean tourists you won’t be able to stick out an arm without knocking off someone’s poker visor. On top of that, you’ve probably already come here a few times by now, and you undoubtedly think you’ve extracted every last drop of fun from the palpitating fruit that is the city of Gyeongju, but you couldn’t be more wrong. As one of my friends said, in Gyeongju, there’s so much to Gyeong-do!

Railbikin' It in Samcheok

Not many would know what to do with a set of abandoned railroad tracks, useless mountain tunnels, and a stretch of coastal scenery.  Yet, the folks in Samcheok, a city located on the eastern coast of Korea, found themselves with these seemingly purposeless components and turned them into a clever tourist destination.  Leave it to the Koreans to create something from nothing.  

The Samcheok Ocean Railbike offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the beautiful vistas of Korea's eastern shoreline and the East Sea (or, to the rest of the world, The Sea of Japan).  My friend Marie and I were scheduled to take a ride on the railbikes while filming "Railroads" for Arirang TV's "Top 10 Korea" last month.

Outdoor Tourism in Korea : Featuring Photography of Seoraksan (Seorak Mountain)

Seoraksan Post-7

Tourism in Korea will explode because of one untapped resource – nature.

When foreigners (non-Americans) think of New York, they think of uncompromising skyscrapers, broad avenues, plush shopping and a city that never sleeps.  They, like most Americans, forget that New York is a massive state that offers much more than a singular city.  New York is a state of nature, mountains, and a beautiful drive on the Mohawk Towpath.

Osaka January 2011

Recently I spoiled myself and paid for a pro flickr account so that I can take full advantage of the service. I take a lot of photos and I’m always looking for somewhere to put them, and with the limit flickr has on 200 hundred photos, it kind of forces you into paying eventually, that is if you don’t know another service that’s free (please don’t suggest one in the comments section until at least a year from now).

With this, I’ve began to go through my various folders of photographs which I never got around to organising and sifting through. These are photos I’d always meant to go through, but for whatever reason they got the old reliable and famed long-fingered treatment that is my modus operandi.

Ancient Cities: Uxmal

In folklore El Adivino (the Magician’s Pyramid) in Uxmal was built in one night by a
dwarf who hatched from an iguana’s egg. The story goes that the King learnt from a
premonition that his kingdom would fall to a little person.
Not wishing to relinquish his throne he sentenced the dwarf to death. The dwarf’s mother
hearing this, pleaded with the king until he showed leniency and gave the dwarf three
near impossible tasks to spare his life.

One of the three was to build the pyramid in a single night.

Best way to enjoy a 10-hour layover in Seoul


This is what my "crazy" sister made for my sister-in-law who is laying over in Seoul, Korea for 10 hours. My sister-in-law decided to go with the option 2 and she thoroughly enjoyed lay over in South Korea!

Two Options Recommended

1) If you are tired, stay in the airport. You can still have fun.
2) If you want to go out and experience both local and tourist areas + local shopping, take the option 2.

Option 1: If you are tired, stay in the airport

1. Spa on Air
Since you are tired from the flight, you can first rest at Spa on Air (B1, East side) It costs 15000 won (about $15) and extra 10,000 won ($10) for private sleeping room.


Whatever Happened to Snow Castle?

In Thailand…

I have just returned from a splendid eleven day holiday in the Thailand. Whether or not I deserved it at the time is neither here nor there, I certainly feel like I deserved it now. Which is what’s important, right?

So holidays, there a pain in the tender spots for those among us who plan on being productive on them. I’m always making a mess of things by bringing too many books to read and too many aspirations for writing a few hundred thousand words, or something like that… It’s not that I don’t enjoy not doing anything, but holidays for some reason really don’t bring out the best in me in terms of being productive. Miserably cold winters are much more suitable. In fact, I believe that misery (not abject, but mild doses of the extreme first world problem variety) brings out the best in ones creativity.

e-FM Week 36: Love Hotels, Sex and Adultery (Banned)

The english waves come inAbout 'Open Mike in Busan'


It took 36 weeks, but I finally had a script refused for broadcast. When I started doing my weekly segment with Busan e-FM, it was with the agreement that I could be honest about my experiences in Korea, but the question is, does Korea want to be honest about itself?

Free shuttle bus service between Seoul and Busan for international tourists



Busan City has announced a new shuttle bus service that will offer free trips between Seoul and Busan as part of an initiative to boost tourism.

The service, scheduled to start in March, is being offered by the city and the Visit Korea Committee.

The Institution of Bap

Food in Korea is a national obsession. I used to think when I first came to Korea that all people talked about was money, until I learned some of the language that is. Then I realised that a lot of the time when people were talking about money they were discssing how much a particular dish or food cost. Food and eating has even gone to the point where ‘did you have lunch?’ is a greeting. Korea is one of the few places in the world where there will be a television in the restaurant where there will be a television programme on about food from a different restaurant.

Last year I sat in a restaurant in Gangeung with Herself’s family. I was sitting across from my mother-in-law and Herself’s aunt, and throughout the meal both women went through the menu on the wall discussing how each ingredient in each dish could be made to taste more delicious and how you could prepare it to taste better.


Here’s  a new video I recorded and edited using my iPhone4 and the ReelDirector app.

I recorded this back in January when myself, Herself and her thirteen year old cousin all went to the 63 Building in Seoul. I’d never been and if wasn’t for the Picasso exhibition in the gallery on the top floor I don’t think I would have bothered going up. As you can see, it was absolutely freezing outside. In fact, I’m not even sure why there are people outside, let alone taking a tour boat down the frozen Han River

Busan e-FM Week 6: Busan Festivals, Events and Places

About 'Open Mike in Busan'


By the time I reached my sixth week at Busan e-FM, they’d moved from the centrally-based Yeonsan-dong KNN building to Centum City in Haeundae, in the increasingly fashionable Eastern fringe of the city, where KNN are building their monstrous new headquarters.


As everyone knows, there’s certainly always a lot happening in Busan, so for my sixth week on Inside Out Busan at Busan e-FM, I thought I’d talk about some of my experiences visiting festivals, and going out to various events and places here in the city.

Busan Fireworks Festival

[Fourteen] Teddy Bear Museum (Jeju Island Part II)

Dear readers,

I hope that you're having a great day, wherever you may be. 그리고, 좀 있으면 벌써 2011년이네요!
모두들 새해 복 많이 받으세요! The new year is just around the corner! I wish you many blessings for 2011!

I never had the chance to do a part II for my blog entry on Jeju Island, so I thought that I would share some pictures that I took at the Teddy Bear Museum there. It's an amazing place, if you like teddy bears. :)

Becoming Adventure: South Korea Travel Tips

The end of my holiday is coming! Next week I will start working on new videos about China!

South Korea is a great place to travel to! It may not be the first place on your list to go, but you will not regret a trip there. It offers a pretty unique and rewarding experience. It is best to get out and explore Korea. If you are just starting to travel and are looking somewhere you can explore and travel with no plan Korea is a good place to start! It is super safe and the people are really friendly. Also the food is great, I have never had any stomach problems. There are so many great cultural sites to check out. Here are some helpful sites for travel in Korea: Korean Tourism site: More Korea info: Transportation: Trains: Buses: Accommodations:

The Battle of Tsushima

Korean Mother went on a two day trip to the Japanese island of Tsushima – which is called Daemado in Korea. You shouldn't read too much into the different naming – it doesn't necessarily make it another Dokdo/Takeshima/Liancourt Rocks situation.

Rural Korea on the Jirisan Trail

Click to view slideshow.

This article has gotten quite a few downloads so I’ve decided to write a post about it here. The Jirisan Trail in this article is not the same trail that runs up Jirisan Mtn. It is a newer trail that runs through the villages around the national park.

You can read the online version of this article I wrote and photographed for the NOV 2009 issue of 10 Magazine, or take a look at the tear sheets and PDF version below.

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