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Lee Seung Gi's Return

Am I the only one who's crying when watching Return music video (MV) for the first time?


I like the MV more than the song itself. 'Return' is the new song of Lee Seung Gi (LSG) in his new mini album that came out last month. It became number one in many music charts. Well done, Prince Seung Gi! You made a successful Return. He also appeared in Running Man episode 120 and 121, and Gag Concert shows recently. He is also election ambassador for last week Presidential Election in South Korea. I wish I was in Korea at that time, because there were many banners and posters of him in the whole country haha. Rumors say his new drama will also air soon. So excited!

It has been 2 year, and I am still a big fan of him. I didn't come to his Hope Concert (it's still a mystery to me why he named it Hope Concert. Anyone know?) this year, but I hope to watch it and see him again next year.

And it brings back memory to LSG Fan Meeting event in Jakarta last month.

Transportation in Jeju Island

These are some remarks regarding public transportation in Jeju.
Buses in Jeju Island accept Seoul's t-money card. You can buy and top-up it in convenience store, like GS25 and Family Mart.City buses normally charge 1000won for cash, or 950won for t-money card. If you pay by card, tap it to the machine when you aboard and when you alight. If you transit between 2 buses during a certain times, fee for the next bus can be 0won, or free.Intercity buses vary depends on the distance, usually between 1000-3000won. There's no different fee paying with cash or card. When you aboard the bus, tell the driver about your destination, he will tell you how much it is, and you have to pay there directly. If you pay by card, no need to tap it again when you get off.There are 2 bus terminals in Seogwipo city. The main bus terminal is in the south-east of downtown, near the Jeongbang Waterfall, which is also the old one. The second one is to the right of the E-mart in front of the World Cup Stad…

Accommodation in Jeju Island

Last time I shared about places to go in Jeju Island. This time I am going to share about the accommodation I stayed there.


Jeju Island is divided into 2 si (cities): Jeju-si in the north and Seogwipo-si in the south. Going from one city to another would take about 1 to 1.5 hour. If the places you want to visit are mostly in Seogwipo-si, then look for accommodation in Seogwipo-si. For me, I decided to spend first 2 nights in Seogwipo-si and the rest 5 nights in Jeju-si. Why not half-half? Simply because accommodation in Jeju-si is cheaper. And it turns out that staying in Jeju-si is easier in terms of public transportation.

There was this hostel chain offering cheap price and good place to stay around South Korea: Hostel Korea (HK). It has 3 branches in Jeju Island: HKJeju I and HKJeju II in Jeju-si, and HKJeju III in Seogwipo-si. I booked one bed in HKJeju III for 2 nights, and one bed in HKJeju II for 5 nights, via email (see Booking a Hostel post). I got 15,000won per night in HKJ…

Booking a Hostel

These are tips from me about booking an accommodation, especially a backpacker hostel. This is what I usually do.

First, I search list of hostels available for my traveling dates in HostelWorld and HostelBookers. For each hostel listed that comes to my budget, I search its website. If there is no website, remove that hostel from the list, because.. who the hell doesn't have a website these days?!

If there is a website, find the location, rates and email information. Sometimes, the price stated in the website is different, even cheaper, than the one in HostelWorld or HostelBookers. Some hostels also accept booking via email without booking fee or down payment. Like a hostel I stayed in Jeju, the price in HostelWorld was 18,000won per person per night, but when I email-ed them directly they said 15,000won per night without any down payment and booking fee!

Sometimes, hostels do not update their status immediately to external booking sites. So, I usually email-ed them directly if it…

Jeju Island in 3 Days

Jeju Island, the Hawaii of Korea, where couples usually go for honeymoon, and the place of many UNESCO Nature Heritage sites, is really beautiful and romantic. Some people say we need to spend at least 1 week to explore and experience the most of this island, but in my opinion 3 days are enough. Trust me, many places in Jeju only look good in advertisement, they're good at selling it. There are no interesting places in the North and West part of Jeju Island, so you can focus on East and South. East and South parts are amazingly naturally beautiful! Here's the itinerary I recommend.

Day-1: East of Jeju Island

Manjanggul / Manjang Cave
Spending time: 30-45 minutes
Hallasan, located in the middle of Jeju Island is the only volcanic mountain in Korea. It created several small volcanic mountains throughout Jeju Island, called Oreum in Korean. One of the biggest Oreum is Geomun Oreum, famous with its large lava tube system and designated as a UNESCO Natural Heritage site. It has few l…

Seoul Fortress Wall of Bugaksan

This was my first time hiking in Korea. I always admire Korean mountains from a far, but never actually climbed it (if you don't consider walking up to Namsan Tower for 20 minutes is a hiking :P). I will start with the easiest one first, until later I will (hopefully have a chance to) hike in Seoraksan or Hallasan.

Bugaksan is a mountain located on the back side of Gyeongbokgung and Cheongwadae (Blue House: president's house), and one of the mountains that passed by Seoggwak Pass or Seoul Fortress Wall, along with Inwangsan, Namsan and Naksan. So, it is special because you can walk the trail with the ancient Fortress Wall, and you can see the amazing view of Gyeongbokgung, Gwanghwamun and Namsan Tower.


Seoul Fortress Wall was constructed during King Taejo's ruling period, after he built Gyeongbokgung and Jongmyo, and had been always maintained by the kings after him. This wall surrounds the capital area, Jongmyo, and all royal palaces: Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changg…

MBC Dramia

MBC Dramia is a shooting set made by MBC for their historical/sageuk dramas such as Jewel in the Palace, Queen Seondok, Jumong, Isan, Dong Yi. At first I thought the place name was typo, instead of Dramia it should be Drama. But no, the name combines Drama and Utopia words. I've been dreaming to visit this place since I fell in love with Korean drama Moon Embracing The Sun, because it is also one of shooting locations of that movie. Finally I got a friend to travel together to that place.

We took bus 8.30 from Nambu Bus Terminal. You can buy the ticket directly with the lady in ticket box, or using automatic machine, or tap your T-Money card when you aboard the bus. There is no seat number in the ticket, so you can sit wherever you like (available). The fare to Baekam Terminal was 4,200 KRW, and it took about 1 hour to get there. Show your ticket or tell the bus driver in advanced that you're going to Baekam terminal, or listen carefully the announcement in the bus.

Don't…

Hadong Green Tea Festival

Do you know Kongbubang? It's a community in Seoul that offers free Korean language classes. For more info, you can see in their website and facebook group page. I never came to their classes again since last year, but they still posted me about new classes and... field trip!

I love field trip. Recently they had a free trip to Hadong Green Tea Festival (one of Spring festivals in Korea), only 35 people or something, and I managed to register myself and my friend. Hadong was located in Gyeongsangnam-do. Do you know where it is? It is far.

Our meeting point was in Seoul Sports Complex subway station. We met a lot of new friends there. Most of the participants were foreigner, only Songsaenims (teachers) are Korean. Some people were not new for me.

We arrived in Hadong around 1.30 PM (5 hours journey!). We had 30 minutes to have lunch. We heard the famous food for green tea was Nokcha Mul Naengmyeon (green tea cold noodle), but we couldn't find it there. Everywhere only selling Bi…

Around the World

I've been around the world and I've seen it all

How to visit UK, France, Austria, Italy, Spain, Germany, Russia, Greece, Egypt, Jordania, Tanzania, Iran, Turkey, Morocco, Peru, Mexico, Australia, US, China, Japan, India, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Korea all in one day? Come to Aiins World, Korea! It is a theme park which displays miniature of famous buildings in the world. Here are some pictures to compare between the real one (on the left side) and its miniature in Aiins World (the right one).

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain
Twin Tower in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Sacre Cour in Paris, France

Things I don't Like and I Like About Seoul Subway

Things I Don't Like
Train is coming not so frequently, sometimes 10 minutes!Train often waits for another train passed by, with a lot of stops in the middle of nowhere. The rails should not be connected, right? Why is it difficult for 2 trains walking together on different way?Because of the above facts, there are too many people queuing at the station, especially in Line 2.Most rails often located in the middle, so the passengers need to go up/down the station if they mistakenly go to the wrong way. Worse, some stations required us to go out first to go into the other direction which means our t-money is charged for unnecessary ₩1050.There are street sellers and beggars inside the train, same like Indonesian KRL. Sometimes they forced foreigners to buy his products as the tax for living and visiting Korea.There are not so many escalators available. Elevator is not easy/visible to reach, very old and scary, and sometimes not working. Well I don't mind using stairs, it's als…

List of 2012 Spring Festivals in Korea

Spring has come!

April and May are really good times to travel to South Korea. Why? Because there are many spring festivals going on during these months throughout Korea: from Spring flowers and foods, to cultural and art festivals. Some festivals have already finished since the end of February, but here I am listing the rest of festivals that will be held after this posting (not sorted). I wish I could go to all these festivals, but as you can see there are some festivals held in the same time in different (faraway) locations. I have already decided some interesting festivals I would love to visit. What's yours?


View 2012 Korea Spring Festival in a larger map

Jongmyo Jerye
Location: Seoul
Date: 6 May
The royal ancestral rites, featuring Jeryeak, the royal music, and llmu, the royal dance, are held annually on the first Sunday of May.
http://www.jongmyo.net

Lotus Lantern Festival
Location: Seoul
Dates: 18-20 May
Experience the beauty of traditional Korean art and culture, as light, hanji…

Everyone is Irish on 17 March

Have you been to St Patrick's Day Festival?
This is my first time attending St Patrick's Day Festival. It is not really common to celebrate in Indonesia and Singapore (even though many foreigners there), but in Korea it is a little bit huge. I'd never seen so many foreigners like that in one place. It didn't feel like in Asia at all.



What is St Patrick's Day?
It is a religion holiday celebrated by Catholic Irish to commemorate Saint Patrick, the most famous patron saint in Ireland that brings Christianity to that country. Ideally they who celebrate it will attend service in church, but in some parts of the world (like Korea), it is just a festival to have fun, watch parade, dance to Irish song, wear green stuff, and drink beers.


How is the festival in Korea?
There was one big event in D-Cube Sindorim for Seoul St Patrick's Day Festival held by Irish Association of Korea, with some performances of dances and songs. From there I become to know about BARD, a Korean …

Traveling to Harry Potter World

Intro. This is my project #3 speech in Toastmaster meeting last week. Because my audience might be not familiar at all with Harry Potter terms, I did not want to make them confused with too complicated words. I tried to explain it as simple as I could.

I want to inform you about an interactive reading experience. After hearing this speech reading this post, I hope you will be interested to try this website when it is opened to public. Pottermore.com. Have you heard about it? If you haven't, then you're definitely a Muggle :P

Well, you must have heard about Harry Potter, the legendary wizard story by JK Rowling. The first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was released in 1997, and the last movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was finished last year in 2011. From 1997 to 2011, 14 amazing years for me and for other Harry Potter fans in the world who grew up with Harry Potter. Just when everybody thought Harry Potter was over, JK Rowling suddenly announc…

Gapyeong Tour

Many people may know Nami Island in South Korea, famous with the beautiful tree lanes and shooting place of Winter Sonata drama, but not so many people know about Petite France, which is near Nami Island. Petite France is located in Gapyeong-gun (gun = county), the eastern part of Gyeonggi-do (do = province), and Nami Island is 3.8 km away from Gapyeong, in the border between Gyeonggi-do and Gangwon-do (but it belongs to Gangwon-do). If you come all the way from Seoul (or basically from anywhere) to Nami Island, it is worth it to also visit Petite France in the same day. I call it as Gapyeong Tour. Gapyeong is beautiful with natural views like mountains, rivers and lakes. There are many villas and resorts over there as it is one of the favorite relaxing and vacation destinations in Korea.

View Gapyeong Tour in google map

Petite France

The way to go to Petite France by public transportation from Seoul is to take subway/train to Cheongpyeong Station in Gyeongchun Line. For example, if I …

2011 - Real Adventure

My only one resolution in 2011 was: "Moving out from Singapore". I made it... after so much praying, thinking, debating, and crying. I am really grateful for the encouragement I got from my closed friends, to make this happened, to help me taking the risk. I almost canceled it. It was indeed the hardest decision I made in my life so far.

Now I feel good about it. Even though sometimes I think I am walking on the spot in term of my career, but I don't regret this. I get more in returns. This adventure is irreplaceable.

My highlights of 2011:

Trip to EuropeMoving out from SingaporeLiving and traveling in KoreaJoining ToastmasterEnjoying snowWatching Lee Seung Gi live concertInviting my parents, sister and brother to visit KoreaSnowboarding
Most things happened in the second half of the year. Thank you Allah for everything. I still expect more adventure in 2012, but I hope I will be more focus in my learning and career. Someday this year, I will come back for good.