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5 Things Photographers Should Know about the PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018

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I got the idea for this post as I sat in the lobby of the Seamarq Hotel in Gangneung, South Korea. With most of my editing done, I just started to people watch and listen in on people’s reactions to my second home. I was shocked at how little people knew about Korea. This country is one of the hidden gems of Asia and it is often overlooked by vast majority of travel and landscape photographers. With that being said, there are a ton of people coming to view and photograph the games. Here are a few things that you should know.

1. It’s Out in the Country

One of the challenges of these games are the locations of the events. During the ’88 Olympics the bulk of the games were in Seoul. This made it a lot easier to reach the sites and get around. Now, you have to take in the fact that Seoul is not the city that it was in 1988 and these games are the winter games.  Having the games in Seoul is an impossibility.  However, having the winter games in one of Korea’s premiere ski destinations might have seemed like a great idea on paper, it is now causing  a bit of a transportation headache. Not to mention that the games are taking place over Seollal, the Lunar New Year holiday when transportation usually is a nightmare.

So keep that in mind when you are travelling out to the games. There are shuttle buses running during the day time but few after the later events. Plan your trips accordingly and make sure that you have a plan b if your events runs until late. I was shocked to find out that the hockey game I recently attended did not finish until 12 am. Fortunately, we had secured a bus to get us to and from the venue. For others, especially tourists and others wanted to photograph the games, you should double check your schedules.

The positive side of things is that it is bringing people out to a part of the country that many tourists would have normally skipped. The issue is just the intensity of the games and the possible toll that it might have afterwards. With all of that being said, in my opinion Gangneung is a great place and I am happy that there is more infrastructure to help with future tourism projects. The infrastructure that is now in place could bring more people out to the area which could help local businesses. To get back to Seoul, use apps like Korail Talk to book your tickets in advance. It is available in the app store and on google play.

2. Corporate Meets Sport

The games themselves are interesting as the eyes of the world and their cameras have descended upon Korea. They games are a spectacle but sadly corporate on many levels. With regards to photography, many of the events have controlled photography down to basic snapshots and selfies.From the time that you walk into the games, you will see a spectacle of lights, sports and pageantry. Yet, companies like Getty Images are doing everything in their power to limit photographers from making any creative and/or quality images beyond snapshots and selfies. Leaving only accredited and/or Getty photographers with tripods and lenses capable of capturing the games from anywhere they want.  While I understand their position (they want to make money) they shouldn’t be going after people who followed their rules. Perhaps I was mistaken in the fact that I thought that the games were there for the people to enjoy and capture memories of the games.

That being said, I was pleasantly surprised that there was a certain level of mobility which did yield some great shots of the venue. So if you are willing to push the limits a little bit, you can get some decent shots but not like the ones that the accredited photographers are getting. Many of the guys that I have talked to from local photo clubs seemed to have an idea that they can get top quality photos from the stands. With the restrictions in place, it makes it pretty tough. Although, a 70-200mm would be a good choice if you are wanting to try. Just keep in mind that at the olympics, pro photographers are there to do a job and that is the reason they have the sleeves and the accreditation. Spectators are there to watch the games. Interfering with either of those two groups will get you into a bit of trouble.

After  having a the cinemagraph from above removed due to copyright violation, it makes me wonder about how corporate the games have gotten. What I saw from the stands and from reading the material provided to me was that companies like Getty Images are actively clamping down on non-accredited photographers. We all know that shooting from the stands will not yield anything better than what the photographers along side the events are getting. We also know that live streaming footage is also not cool. However, combing through instagram and removing images and cinemagraphs is just petty. So do be aware of that when posting video clips of the games in whatever form you choose.


3. Gear Restrictions

One of the things that shocked me the most was finding out that tripods are banned pretty much everywhere. From the Olympic Park to the venues, if they see you using a tripod, you will be asked to leave. When my gear when through the scanner at the gates, I was warned (in a very friendly manner) that I couldn’t use my tripod. I had it in a bag and thus promised not to take it out. I had a mini tripod that seemed to go unnoticed and I managed to get so ok shots with it. Using a platypod or some other type of plate that will stabilize your  camera and not make a huge footprint would be optimal at the Olympic sites.

The other thing is that you are limited to lenses under 300mm. So that idea that you had of renting that giant white canon lens and shooting from the stands might not go over as expected. Again, I feel that the 70-200mm would be a great choice. I brought my 34-105mm because I knew that from where we were sitting, the shots like the one above would look off. Also, I did not want to carry that beast around for the whole day.


4. Travel outside of the Games

Korea has a lot to offer and thus, I would highly recommend taking sometime to check out the sites around Seoul and the Olympic sites. While many people come only for the games, I truly feel it is a missed opportunity to only see the games. There are so many places for you to check out around the the area. The coastline and the pine forests are great. Use your Korail Talk app to get a ticket down to Busan and see what the rest of the country is like. The thing is that from the blogs that I follow, it seems many photographers are not that interested in anything outside of the games and that is a shame.

Also, I found that the area around Pyeongchang and Gangneung to be very steeped in the Olympic spirit and to truly get a taste of Korea, you have to get away from the games a bit. One of the things that makes Korea awesome is the fact that you can get pretty much everywhere by bus, train, or KTX (bullet train). This means that you can plan some day trips to some great spots without sacrificing too much time. Not to mention that the coastline is perfect for sunrise shots. head even down the coast line a few hours to Pohang to catch some cool sites.

5. Photography. Connected.

One of the best things about South Korea is the speed of their internet. Why I bring this up is that when I talked to many people about coming to the games, they were worried about connectivity and how fast the internet was. They must have been mistaken because South Korea’s internet is second to none. This means that when you are upload images, you will not even break pace. To add icing to the cake, many cafes and restaurants have free wifi. Meaning that you can get you work done as you eat some great food. As I travelled up to the games, I noticed even the train stations had small “business centres” that had a desk and a scanner of all things. So make use of the public spaces to get those shots edited and uploaded.


Bonus Tips

Talking with visiting photographers and tourists alike, many were struggling with the language barrier and taxis. Two of the best apps to get around this are Papago for translation and Kakao T for taxis. The reason that I recommend these is that they are both native apps to Korea and have a preference for Korean. Meaning that many Koreans have them on their own phones and are familiar with them. Kakao in particular is extremely popular in Korea.

KakaoT (apple  google ) allows you input your destination into the app and it will assign a driver to you. Thus, making sure you get to where you are going without any confusion. Here is a great guide to get you sorted out on the ins and outs.

Papago (apple google) is a translation app owned by Naver (Korea’s google). This app is perfect for translating all things Korean (and Japanese too!). The power comes from one of the features design to hand off your phone to a Korean speaker and back again. Meaning that the screen is separated into two sections one for the English speaker and one for the Korean speaker. It can translate voice, text and images. This is perfect for getting around and I have found that while the image translate is not that great, the voice translation is usually spot on.

The post 5 Things Photographers Should Know about the PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018 appeared first on The Sajin.

Why You Need To Take A Visually Orientated TEFL Course

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Now are you thinking of taking an online TEFL course? One of the problems with online education is that many courses are not engaging. They are boring.

One of the reasons why these courses are boring is that they are predominately just text based with knowledge check types of questions. There's a lot of textual content and very little context.

The problem with text is that people don’t typically read much online and they don’t remember much of what they read because it’s boring.

"All I have is an online TEFL that I forget most of." - thedan633

"I finished the entire program in 3 days and retained like 5% of the information." - woobv

Think about it.

How often do you read a whole article online from beginning to end? If you are like most people then you only skim and scan for answers to the questions or whatever it is you are looking for.


People typically only read 20-28% of a page online

According to some studies people only read 20-28% of the words on a page. So if you only read that much then how much do you think you will remember?

If you are new to teaching and you haven’t done it yet then many of the concepts that you would learn in an online course will remain abstract unless you can see them in action.

The best way to remember what you learn is through visuals and not with just words that are spoken or read.


If I say the word “monkey” what comes to mind?

Do you imagine the letters m-o-n-k-e-y? Probably not. You probably imagine something brown and furry that looks like a monkey.

They remembered 70% of 10,000 images

Here’s another example…

There was a famous study done by Lionel Standing in 1973. He took individuals and showed them 10,000 pictures for 5 seconds each for 5 days. 5 days later he wanted to see how many people could remember.

He showed the people images they had seen and ones they hadn’t. People remembered 70% of the images they had seen.

One of the basic findings of this study was that…

In terms of memory images were superior to words spoken or read.

Certainly there are times when text can be helpful. Text is not without value. However, in my experience it’s way easier to learn how to teach English by watching other experienced teachers.

If you didn’t know some people criticize online TEFL courses and think that they are worthless. Why is that? Well, there are different reasons, but one of those arguments is that there is no observation and you are not in a classroom.

Now online you can’t sit in the back of a classroom and watch other teachers, but you can watch instructional how-to videos that basically mimic doing that.

And if the students in the videos are similar to the students that you will be teaching then you will be better off compared to if your students are actually pretend students like yourself which is very common in classroom based TEFL courses.

Now does that mean that all videos are going to be good?

No, of course not.

It depends. Essentially you want to watch other good teachers teach the same or similar students that you are going to teach. So short and sweet instructional videos will be much better than long boring lecture videos.

For example, if you are going to be teaching kids in Asia then don't watch adults teach other adults.

Reading online vs. reading a book

In regards to reading at least one study 2013 in Norway shows that students who read on paper remembered more of what they read. 

Your brain can process images and video faster

According to a study by MIT your brain can identify images seen for as little as 13 milliseconds.

Images and visuals are faster. The reptilian part of your brain can process images in an instant. As a baby you could process visuals with your eyes long before you could process language.

Language is learned and it’s not fast it’s slow. So while it’s possible to read and learn online it will probably be slower, less fun, and you’ll remember less.

Visually engaging TEFL courses

ESLinsider’s courses are visually engaging and you’ll learn practical teaching tools for the classroom. You’ll be able to see right into both public and private school classrooms in East Asia.

Online content should also be in bite sized chunks for optimum retention. You should be able to engage and interact with it.

Some things you need for a successful online TEFL experience:

  • Video so you can learn by watching.
  • Interaction so you tune in.
  • Bite-sized chunks of information (text and media).
  • Feedback
  • Context which is an environment that is similar to or the same as the one you will be teaching in.

Content is delivered in bite sized chunks so you won’t be overwhelmed with information. I recommend the advanced course. You’ll learn a lot more because you’ll actually remember it.

You’ll be better prepared for your job, you’ll have less stress and since you’ll enjoy teaching more you’ll have a better year teaching abroad. If you are already teaching abroad then you’ll find that teaching becomes easier and more fun.

Things You Probably Didn't Know About Teaching English In Asia, But Should Know

Korean Test Practice with Billy [Ep. 11] – Beginner Korean (Listening Practice)

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Are you preparing for the TOPIK test, a government Korean test, or a Korean test at school? Then let me help you prepare with my video series focused on Korean test questions and explanations.

This episode will cover an example of an beginner level listening question. More episodes to come soon!

And feel free to send me requests for videos you'd like to see. There are also higher request priorities through my Patreon page. Thanks for watching~!

Don't read below if  you want to try the problem on your own first.

Here is the listening example from the video:

오늘 해야 할 일 중에서 빨래는 아침에 했고, 설거지는.... 아직 조금밖에 없네? 저녁 먹고 하지 뭐. 그럼 이제 해야 할 건 강아지 산책 시키기랑 시험공부하기인데.... 강아지 산책을 지금 시키고 시험공부를 나중에 하면 되겠다.

Here's the English translation:

Among the things that I have to do today, I did the laundry in the morning, and as for the dishes… there are still just a few? I’ll guess I’ll do them after I eat dinner. Then what I have to do now is walk the dog and study for a test, so I can the dog right now and study for the test later.

The post Korean Test Practice with Billy [Ep. 11] – Beginner Korean (Listening Practice) appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

 Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean





Booby Blog #4: What Happens After Breast Augmentation Surgery in Seoul, Korea?

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Motiva Breast Implants Fat Grafting Liposuction Boob Job in Seoul Korea Before and After Breast Augmentation Plastic Surgery

What Happens After Getting a Boob Job?

I had a pretty unusual breast augmentation surgery experience in Korea.  Seoul is the Plastic Surgery capital of the world.  Leaving Korea without fixing my wonky-ass breasts would have been a mistake.  Even though I always prided myself on changing my body for the better naturally, this was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up.

Why Was My Breast Augmentation Surgery Different?

My breast augmentation surgery was unique for a few reasons.  Apparently I had something called “tuberous breasts” or “constricted breasts”.  As you can see in the above images, I was as flat as a board, but I didn’t realize that the surgery would be any more challenging than normal.  My surgeon essentially had to pop my breast tissue out before inserting my 300 cc (left) and 320 cc (right) Motiva teardrop implants.  Since I had my appendix removed in 2013, I also had some liposuction and my fat was grafted underneath the breast.  I’ve seen other posts about fat grafting in Korea.  One woman who was about 5’1″ had 1,600 cc extracted via liposuction.  I only had 100 cc removed.  The liposuction definitely helped with the area where my appendix had been removed through laparoscopic surgery, but the grafting didn’t really stick.  I was back to the gym pretty quickly after surgery, so I worked it off fast.  As you can see in the image up top, I was left with some serious bruising!

What Happens After Breast Augmentation Surgery in Seoul, Korea?

Click the play button above to check out my experience coming out of anesthesia at TL Plastic Surgery in Seoul, Korea.  Mona and Dean from Seoul Cosmetic Surgery  (a medical tourism service designed for foreigners) were there to help me every step of the way.  Mona even came with me to stay in my hotel overnight.  The first night is definitely the toughest, so it’s awesome to have someone around to help you in and out of bed and with any errands or even bag carrying.  Once we got to the hotel things were pretty easy and I was maneuvering pretty well.  Once it was time to sleep, however, breathing became tougher, getting comfortable was impossible, and getting up to go to the bathroom was a scene and a half.  It definitely didn’t help that I had my period, either!  For questions to ask your doctor before surgery, click here.

The Worst Part of Boob Job Recovery

Before surgery I made a promise to myself that I was going to get through the whole process easily and without complaining.  I had my surgery Friday October 20th at 12:30 PM, and by Monday October 23rd I was back at work at 9 AM.  What was the worst part of my breast implants recovery?  The pressure was the worst part of the whole experience!  I had a giant soft cast situation around my abdomen I had to keep on for several days after the itty bitty liposuction.  I had several balls of rolled up cotton and gauze shoved around my new breasts and a band wrapped around several times to keep it all in place.  I also had to wear my compression garment (a bra-like situation which looked like a costume out of some 1970’s bondage porn) for the first 2 months.  The first night it was just a bit too much to handle.  I couldn’t move properly in the bathroom.  I couldn’t naturally pull myself out of bed.  Even just breathing was absolutely exhausting.  Let’s not talk about how bloated I was after anesthesia…

How Long After a Boob Job Can I…

  • Boob Job Recovery Day 2: Went to my first follow up appointment at TL Plastic Surgery.  Slept by myself in my own bed.  Had a friend over.
  • Boob Job Recovery Day 3: Back to work!
  • Boob Job Recovery Day 4: Flipped my head over and washed my hair by myself.  I removed all the gauze and bandages and actually felt like a human again!
  • Boob Job Recovery Day 5: Rocked the compression garment and a loose top.  Showered normally.  Two very grateful thumbs up!
  • Boob Job Recovery Day 11: Went to the gym and walked at 6 km/ hr for 30 minutes.  Took it nice and easy and built back up to 5 km in 28 minutes over the next few months.

Are you considering plastic surgery in Korea?  Make sure to reach out to the team at Seoul Cosmetic Surgery ( for the most transparent Q&A and easiest consultation experience.  For more information about getting my breast implants in Seoul, check out the Booby Blog Archives!

The post Booby Blog #4: What Happens After Breast Augmentation Surgery in Seoul, Korea? appeared first on That Girl Cartier.

The Toronto Socialite
That Girl Cartier


An Open Letter to Newbie Myeonuris on Seollal

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Dear Newbie Myeonuri,

               You must be feeling nervous, uncertain of what tomorrow is going to be like. You’ve probably heard from other myeonuris what a pain in the arse Chuseok and Seollal are for us married women in Korea. I’ve been a myeonuri for eight years now, and let me confirm what you’ve heard from the others… sorry to break it to you, but you’re not going to have a ball tomorrow. You’re going to wish you had the ability to teleport, so you could be somewhere else… not in the kitchen, enslaved by incessant housework a.k.a. myeonuri duties. I’ve been there, and I survived it.

I don’t loathe Chuseok and Seollal as much as I used to. You’ll survive it, too. Just think of it as another gloomy day of your life that shall soon pass. You might feel like you’re wasting a decade of your existence every time piles of dishes are being brought to the sink, but there will be an end to it. Your hands might go numb from cooking jeon and preheating food from breakfast until dinnertime, but don’t you worry, the numbness will fade away with some mentholatum lotion that you can purchase from any drugstore. You’d better buy it now, and remind your husband not to get too drunk on Seollal, so he can give you a well-deserved massage when all the work is over. You might sulk over the bogus machismo you’ll witness and question why men get to enjoy the day while women do all the work, but remember… every country has its own culture. You married into this culture when you married your man.

You might not like tomorrow’s experience at all, but believe me, you’ll get used to it. As time goes by, your workload will be lessened. Just pray that a new myeonuri will come and that she won’t be your senior. No matter how overworked (and annoyed) you are tomorrow, keep smiling. You’re not alone in this battle. If you can, be nice… be polite to everyone… even to your husband’s most annoying family member.

Don’t throw your wrath at your husband for letting you toil the whole day. Talk to him today, and urge him to help you when work seems too much. When Seollal is over, do something for yourself. Take a rest, go shopping, treat yourself to the spa… make it your day! ^^

Good luck! Myeonuri, fighting!

Lots of hugs,

From a fellow myeonuri


Note from the author:

Before this letter gets negative reactions from myeonuris who claim that they have an awesome life and are not subjected to any distressing housework on Chuseok and Seollal, let me reiterate what I have mentioned in my previous posts (one in particular that was shared in an expat group without my permission and wasn’t received well by other readers: Things You Should Never ever Say or Do When Your Korean Parents-in-law Are Around)… not all myeonuris go through the experiences I have described in this letter. Not all families in Korea follow the antediluvian tradition of enslaving women to housework during family gatherings. Nowadays, more and more families practice equality in their households. Many younger Korean men help around the house. My husband and my brothers-in-law are some of them… but my husband’s older family members and a number of families I know still have a long way to go.


From Korea with Love




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Valentine’s day 2018 in Korea: outfit and makeup idea

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Hello everyone! Although my today’s post is for ladies, but I wish you boys a wonderful valentine’s day with your loved one’s! So, in this post I have two makeup tutorials and one outfit suggestion for you. The outfit suggestion is even more suitable if you live in Korea.

The first makeup tutorial is a peach makeup, which is a halo eye makeup using the color combination of the fruit(peach).

For this makeup I used the following products-

-MAC Cosmetics #prepplusprime
-maccosmetics #studiofixfluid foundation #nc42
-maccosmetics #studiofixpowder #mediumtan
-MISSHA 미샤 pro touch face powder no 23
-missha.official under eye brightening concealer in natural biege
-missha.official perfect concealer in natural
-missha.official colorbeam shader in crystal
-missha.official the style liquid sharp eyeliner
-missha.official salon de lash

-eBay eyelash
-Makeup Revolution ultra contour palette
-It’s skin 잇츠스킨 babyface petit mascara
-itsskin.socialog babyface creamy lip liner 01
-itsskin.socialog life color lip crush matte 04, 03
-토니모리 – Tonymoly cheektone powder p05
-tonymoly.official lovely eyebrow pencil
-BH Cosmetics #takemetobrazilpalette
-CATRICE cosmetics ultra black luxury lashes volume mascara

You can find the tutorial here-

For this makeup I chose a different outfit, modern hanbok or modern version of traditional Korean clothes.

I bought this dress from Gmarket. Actually it was a surprise gift from my husband, not sure about the price but should be around 40,000KW.

The second tutorial is about easy and classy smoky eyes. So, long I’ve been busy with creating halo eyes or cut crease, I forgot my first love, which is smoky eyes! ♥

This tutorial is only about eye makeup and here’s the list of the products I used-

-Beauty Glazed glitz glam eyeshadow collection
-MISSHA 미샤 color beam shader incrystal
-Missha salon de lash glue
-더페이스샵 (THEFACESHOP) pencil eyeliner in newyork black
-It’s skin 잇츠스킨 babyface petit mascara
-eyelash form eBay

And here’s the link of the tutorial-

This palette that I used here, is also a gift from my husband, Beauty Glazed glitz glam eyeshadow palette which is the dupe for the palette with same name by Glamierre. I was literally speechless by these gifts from him, I had no idea my husband can choose makeup palette or dress (specially when it is a hanbok) for me, all by himself. This man keeps making me falling on love with him more! ♥ Although the palette is a dupe, and a lot cheaper than the real one, but it’s quite pigmented and easy to work with. You may notice some fall out but you can easily swipe them off with a brush!

Hope you enjoyed the post!

Munira Chowdhury, 14/02/2018

5 Essential Seoul Restaurants You Must Visit

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If you’re planning a trip to Seoul, the list of things to be excited about is a long one. Whether you’re most excited about meeting new people, learning more about Korean art and culture, or getting your groove on in a Seoul karaoke bar, you have the trip of a lifetime ahead of you!

Arguably one of the best parts of visiting Seoul is the restaurant scene. During your trip, you are going to experience some dishes that are unlike anything you’ve ever tasted, even if you’re a fan of Korean food. Don’t worry — with all the walking around the city you’ll be doing, you can enjoy ordering all the amazing food that Seoul restaurants have to offer with minimal guilt! Ordering at Korean restaurants gets much easier the more familiar you are with Hangul, the Korean alphabet — check out our 90 Minute Challenge and see for yourself how easy it is to start learning!

Sit down, buckle up, and get ready for our top five restaurant picks that are essential to getting the most out of your time in Seoul. You should probably pack a couple of pairs of pants with an elastic waist, just to be safe!

*Ready to learn Korean yet? Click here to learn about our 90 Day Korean learning program!

Bukchon Son Mandu

Seoul restaurants

Photo credit:

How do you feel about dumplings? We’re assuming your answer was positive, because dumplings seem to be a universal favorite no matter who you are! Dumpling lovers, rejoice — Bukchon Son Mandu will be at the top of your list of favorite Seoul restaurants by the time your trip is complete.

Whether you’re a sucker for the steamed or fried variety, Bukchon Son Mandu has a reputation around Seoul for bringing a dumpling game to the table that’s hard to beat. From the perfectly seasoned filling to the sauces that come on the side for your dipping pleasure, a meal at Bukchon Son Mandu will leave you satisfied and craving more delicious dumplings both at the same time.

Make sure you round out your lunch order with a bowl of buckwheat noodles — the flavor contrast is amazing!


Seoul restaurants

Photo credit:

While fried chicken may not immediately come to mind when you think of Seoul, you should venture down to Hanchu if you need a quick meal during your trip for an otherworldly fried chicken experience.

Wildly popular, Hanchu has minimal decor as you walk in, which helps convey that they’re serious about their fried chicken craft — they get down to business right away. Their fried chicken recipe calls for grated chili in the batter itself, so there is a slight inherent spiciness that will keep you coming back for more. The chicken itself is perfectly cooked with an every-so-slightly greasy but very crunchy exterior.

Whether you’re looking to pick up a fried chicken meal to go so you can get on enjoying your exploration of Seoul or you want to chat with new friends over a chilled beer and some fried chicken, Hanku should definitely be on your list of Seoul restaurants to check out!


Seoul restaurants

Photo credit:

If you’re on the adventurous side and you’re a fan of Korean barbecue, consider visiting Doramu during your stay in Seoul. Doramu has a very interesting approach to barbecue — it’s definitely Korean barbecue, but there is also a Mexican influence that makes their menu a unique one in Seoul currently.

At Doramu you’ll find all of the usual suspects at a Korean barbecue restaurant — namely, variations of deliciously seasoned and prepared meats, especially pork  — but the presentation and flavor combinations are fun and inspired.

Rather than the presentation you’d find at any run of the mill Korean barbecue restaurant, your pork will be served atop a tortilla for you to wrap it in, or if you’d prefer, a bit of seaweed. The name of their game is to surprise and delight, and they do just that!

Doramu doesn’t stop with barbecued beef and pork. No meal there is complete without complementing your meat selections with doenjang jjigae or a cold bowl of noodles to provide you some relief from the heat of the barbecue — the intense flavor is not for the faint of heart!


Seoul restaurants

Photo credit:

Although you’ll surely want to venture out to try different types of exciting and cutting edge street food and restaurants while you’re in Seoul, you should make an effort to stop by Hadongkwan for an unbeatable and authentic Korean meal while you’re in Seoul.

Speaking to Seoul residents, there are plenty of opinions as far as which restaurant serves the best Korean food in Seoul. While there are plenty of good Korean restaurants, Hadongkwan is loved by so many because the restaurant is a tradition that celebrates the best parts of Korean cuisine (and does an amazing job doing so).

Hadongkwan originally opened over seventy years ago, and while much of the restaurant’s menu and decor has changed (as well as the location itself), it remains a place where you can go to experience consistently wonderful Korean food.

Make sure you try the dish they are best known for, a beef and rice soup called gomtang — it will be the perfect meal to round out a day full of adventure when you’re feeling a bit low on energy, because it’s meant to be eaten during periods of tiredness. Visit Hadongkwan and you’ll quickly realize why the restaurant has remained open for seven decades!

Hansik Olbaan

Seoul restaurants

Photo credit:

With traveling comes long days exploring new cities and meeting new people, and on especially tired days you’re bound to be starving at the end of the day. Fear not — Hansik Olbaan has got you covered.

Hansik Olbaan is a buffet restaurant that features classic Korean dishes that can be found in most restaurants in Seoul. That being said, it’s so popular due to its use of fresh seasonal ingredients that transform each home-style dish into something elevated.

Whether you’re looking for barbecue, noodles, or Korean ice cream sandwiches, Hansik Olbaan is a mecca that will make sure you leave satisfied — perhaps too satisfied. It’s easy to go overboard at a buffet with a spread like this one, so make sure you pace yourself. You should also probably break out the pants with the elastic waistband you were smart enough to pack for your trip!


Do you have a favorite Seoul restaurant that you think is essential to visit? Let us know in the comments below!

The post 5 Essential Seoul Restaurants You Must Visit appeared first on 90 Day Korean.

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Staying in Sabah – Deal: Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu

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Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu Where to Stay in Sabah Malaysia Borneo Near the Airport

Where to Stay in Kota Kinabalu: Dock In Hostel near KK Airport

When arriving in Kota Kinabalu on a red-eye fight from Seoul, the last thing I wanted to do was take an eternity finding my bearings.  At 2 AM I got a GrabCar from the Kota Kinabalu Airport to Dock In Hostel in under 10 minutes and for only 8 Malaysian Ringgit.  Deal # 1, down!

Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu Where to Stay in Sabah Malaysia Borneo Near the Airport Cafe

Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu Where to Stay in Sabah Malaysia Borneo Near the Airport

Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu Where to Stay in Sabah Malaysia Borneo Near the Airport Lobby

Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu – First Impressions

After booking my flight through Jeju Air, I linked up with the Sabah Tourism Board for their top picks.  My first 2 nights they recommended the Dock In Hostel as Kota Kinabalu was a-buzz with tourists from China and Korea in advance of the Chinese and Lunar New Years.  I knew Dock In Hostel would be clean and upscale.  When I arrived, I saw it was both and had sophisticated and comfortable modern decor.  I loved the lighting displays and the comfy couches.  The long tables in the bar area encouraged communal dining and making new friends.  Above all, I noticed everything was immaculately tidy, thank goodness!

Lockers Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu Where to Stay in Sabah Malaysia Borneo Near the Airport

My Experience at Dock In Hostel

Shoes are not allowed upstairs, so I popped my sneaks into my shoe locker and wore my assigned slippers upstairs.  At reception you’re given a key-card for your room and 2 physical keys: one for you shoe locker and one for your luggage locker.  I was staying alone in a 4 Bed Room so I didn’t use the locker, but it looked pretty big!  I was glad I didn’t have to bring my own lock, too.

Female Only 4 Bed Room at Dock In Hostel

“Dock In provides a safe haven for your downtime, so we also totally get that you need some luxuries of home when in a new town.  Our minimalist-chic rooms are fitted with cushy beds and fresh sheets with your personal space in mind, while shared spaces at the lobby are packed with all the good stuff to fulfill your travel needs.”

Prices vary by room type and start at:

  • MIXED BED 8: From RM 58.00 per bed
  • MIXED BED 4 or 6 (Female Only Available): From RM 68.00 per bed
  • En-suite Bathroom MIXED BED 4 (Female Only Available): From RM 72.00 per bed
  • Large bed MIXED BED 6 : From RM 78.00 per bed (2 people max)
  • Queen bed MIXED BED 6: From RM 78.00 per bed
  • PRIVATE BUNK (2 Beds): From RM 90.00 per room
  • PRIVATE QUEEN (BATHROOM): From RM 100.00 per room
Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu Where to Stay in Sabah Malaysia Borneo Near the Airport Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu Where to Stay in Sabah Malaysia Borneo Near the Airport

My room was exactly as described!  I needed the key-card to supply power to the room.  The air conditioner is pre-set so all you have to do is flick a switch to turn it on.  My bunk was pretty roomy, the mattress was cushy and plush, and the sheets were fresh – just as described.  Even my pillow offered great neck support.  I don’t think I’ve ever had such a comfortable bed at a hostel!  This room would be perfect for 4 gals who know one-another already.  While the bunks are pretty large, the room itself is pretty small.  The 8 bed mixed dorm looks like it has a lot more floor space.

Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu Where to Stay in Sabah Malaysia Borneo Near the Airport Bathroom Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu Where to Stay in Sabah Malaysia Borneo Near the Airport Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu Where to Stay in Sabah Malaysia Borneo Near the Airport Bathroom

En-Suite Bathroom at Dock In Hostel

There’s a pretty big bathroom for the dorms, but my room at Dock In Hostel had an en-suite bathroom.  The en-suite bathroom has a lovely rainfall showerhead and, as far as a bathroom designed for a smaller room goes, it was pretty big!  For 4 girls getting ready for a night on the town I might suggest adding another mirror to the room as the one in the bathroom just won’t be enough.  There was also no electrical plug in the bathroom, so if you want to use a mirror while doing your hair, you’ll need a hand-held.  Considering the humidity in Malaysia, I opted to let loose and frizz out rather than fumble with my hair straightener and no mirror.

Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu Where to Stay in Sabah Malaysia Borneo Near the Airport

Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu Where to Stay in Sabah Malaysia Borneo Near the Airport Free Breakfast

Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu Where to Stay in Sabah Malaysia Borneo Near the Airport Coffe

Free Breakfast at Dock In Hostel

My idiot ex used to book hotels solely based on the reviews of the breakfast buffet included.  Were he to book at the Dock In Hostel I think he might be a little disappointed, however for me it was enough to get up and go.  Coffee, Tea, and Water were offered along with a Malaysian dish (there were noodles the first morning), cereal, and bread with butter and jam.  My coffee was so fresh and piping hot I couldn’t finish it before heading out to my first activity of the day!

Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu Where to Stay in Sabah Malaysia Borneo Near the Airport



  • Free Breakfast
  • Linen Included
  • Free Parking
  • Free City Maps
  • Towels Included
  • Free WiFi
  • Key Card Access
  • Common Room
  • Bicycle Parking
  • Air Conditioning
  • Hot Showers
  • Dishwasher
  • Cable TV
  • Reading Light
  • Parking
  • Hair Dryers
  • Safe Deposit Box
  • Steam Room
  • Internet Access
  • Bicycle Hire
  • 24 Hour Reception
  • 24 Hour Security
  • Housekeeping
Food & Drink
  • Meals Available
  • Vending Machines
  • Cafe
  • Tea & Coffee Making Facilities
  • Board Games
  • Wi-Fi


  • Credit Cards Accepted 
  • No Curfew
  • Non Smoking
  • Taxes Included
  • Check in from 14:00 to 23:00
  • Check out before 12:00 Noon

Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu Where to Stay in Sabah Malaysia Borneo Near the Airport Activities

Dock In Hostel – Last Looks

The Dock In Hostel is what I would definitely consider a luxury hostel.  I would always prefer to book a hostel like this as it’s a great way to meet people.  My first two days in Kota Kinabalu were full of meetings and events.  I was so happy to have a clean, comfortable, and stylish place to rest my head.  If you’re a light sleeper, bring along some ear plugs.  It’s an airport hostel and you can hear flights taking off and landing throughout the night.  My only other noise gripe is that the hallways tend to be quite noisy and the cleaners begin their work before 7 AM.  My head hit the pillow very hard both nights, but I did notice!  Dock In is a convenient location for the airport, the waterfront, and access to resorts.  I felt very safe and comfortable throughout my stay!

Contact Dock In Hostel in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Common Room Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu Where to Stay in Sabah Malaysia Borneo Near the Airport

Thanks to the team at Dock in Hostel in Kota Kinabalu for their hospitality.  While this article has been written in partnership, all reviews are honest and opinions are my own.  

The post Staying in Sabah – Deal: Dock In Hostel Kota Kinabalu appeared first on The Toronto Seoulcialite.

Why Do Koreans Laugh When I Speak Korean?

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When I was first learning Korean, occasionally people would laugh when I tried to speak. I wasn't sure if they were laughing at me ("Haha, that guy's Korean is terrible!") or if I said something wrong, or if my pronunciation was strange, or what the reason was. I've since figured out what the reason was, and wanted to talk about this with my friends Jeremy and Jonson to see what they thought.

I met up with SpongeMind TV and MotivateKorean to talk about this.

The post Why Do Koreans Laugh When I Speak Korean? appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

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