My Autumn-Sonata in Nami Island

When Winter Sonata became a hit and people start noticing about Nami Island (南怡岛), I had to admit that I have yet to watch this drama, up until today. Nevertheless, being someone crazy about Korea, the words came to my ears pretty quickly. Yes, I have been to Nami Island twice, though not in the winter. Back in the year 2012 and 2013, during the same season in the Autumn, we find our way to the island by ITX train and taxi. It might sound difficult and troublesome to transit and catch a taxi, but never let these fool you. In my opinion, it’s probably the easiest place to visit out of Seoul on your own.

We woke up early that day, puffed eyes and drowsiness swarm in without hesitation. We took a subway to Cheongnyanni station and transit to ITX. Hoping to catch the first train to Nami, yet we were slightly too late, so, we bought the tickets for the next train that leaves at 8am plus.

Note to readers: Follow the ITX sign when you leave the subway train (see the walls for the signs if you couldn’t find it on the top), it will somehow lead you to the entrance for ITX, buy your tickets from the vending machine, if you aren’t really sure, you can always ask the staff whom basically stationed right beside it.

Ticket to Nami cannot be bought using T-money. You need to tap out if you’re using T-money on Seoul subway when transiting to ITX line (there’s a device beside the ITX ticket vending machine to tap out).

Camera 360 Camera 360 The train usually waits around for 15 minutes before departing right on time, not a minute late. Therefore, do your business before it arrives or you can do it on board as well. You don’t wanna miss the train you know. DSC_1124 Camera 360 Camera 360 It was a pleasant autumn morning, our eyes were drawn towards the soothing sceneries outside, running passed us, until we saw the ahjummas beside us and their seats were facing each other. We tried to look for the leveler to turn our seats around, but failed. But the ahjummas were kind enough to help us turn the seats. We thanked them and continue chowing down the snacks we bought earlier while chit-chatting throughout the way.

It felt like my fingers aren’t mine anymore, I can barely move it and when I did, it hurts so bad.

Journey took around 45 minutes before we set foot at Gapyeong station. We caught a taxi to the jetty, cost about 3,000 won as listed on the fee table that the driver showed us. I think it’s rather cheap, and also safe from being charged unfairly. DSC_1546 As usual, packed with tourists, we bought our admission tickets (8,000 won for foreigners, remember to carry your passports or ARC), hit the ferry and arrived at Nami island. It was slightly colder than it was in Seoul, so do bring gloves and wear a little more layer if you plan to visit this place on Autumn or Winter. My first experience taught me the lesson since there are not many, more like no information about this. It felt like my fingers aren’t mine anymore, I can barely move it and when I did, it hurt so bad. Can’t be happy enough that they are functioning well right now. Camera 360 wpid-dsc_1760_1.jpg Pine trees and maple trees lined neatly along the sidewalks, though not as yellowish red as the first time, but the greenish trees still carries a different aura and beauty to the whole surrounding. It has a fresher ambiance than when they changed colours. A more back-to-nature-feel. wpid-dsc_1407.jpg wpid-dsc_1384_1.jpg wpid-dsc_1332_1.jpg If you wish to see the fiery red leaves, I recommend you to go around end of October to early of November. Any earlier than that you might only see green and yellowish leaves. Trust me, since I have experienced it before, one week could make a huge difference. wpid-dsc_1872-1_1.jpg wpid-dsc_1836_1.jpg My less favorable tree, the Gingko. In my previous post, I slightly mention that it carries an awful smell. Maybe it’s just my nose being too sensitive or the scent just irritates me, but they smell like poop when the fruit is crushed! You didn’t read it wrong, it’s poop smell that makes you have to take a peek at your sole. DSC_1860 Camera 360 I can practically spend my days on this tiny island although there isn’t much here, but the serenity, calmness and everlasting beauty of this whole place makes me doesn’t want to leave forever. wpid-dsc_1459.jpg wpid-dsc_1356_1.jpg DSC_1288 wpid-dsc_1312.jpg Camera 360 DSC_1751 DSC_1556

DSC_1566
Spotted this lovely sky colour

As a bonus, can you guess what this lady was selling? DSC_1261

Continue Reading

Breathtaking view at Jeju Sunrise Peak.

Volcanoes plays a big part in Jeju Island, as the island is dominated by Hallasan at it’s center, an extinct volcano 1,950 meters high and the highest mountain in South Korea. The remainder of the island is formed by about 360 smaller “Oreum” cones surrounding the Hallasan volcano.

The basalt-and-lava island was formed entirely from volcanic eruptions many many centuries ago with only minor volcanic activity since. Jeju-do’s location in the ocean, south of the mainland of Korea gives is a subtropical climate, warmer than the rest of Korea, with an annual mean temperature of about 16°C, and four distinct seasons.

Image taken from Jeju Tourism page.

Probably one of the most popular volcanic crater among tourists & the locals is the Seongsan Ilchulbong (성산일출봉) also known as theSunrise Peak“. Situated on the eastern seaboard of Jeju Island and said to resemble a gigantic ancient castle, this tuff cone is 182 meters high, has a preserved bowl-like crater and also displays diverse inner structures resulting from the sea cliff.

Though it is the best to visit the peak at sunrise, instead our tour guide brought us there during a breezy afternoon. The first thing to hit your mind is that the breathtaking beauty of Seongsan Ilchulbong as soon as you step foot at the entrance.

DSC_0190
Seongsan Ilchulbong.

DSC_0193

Along the way up, you will definitely be awed by every sight you may see. There are these Jeju horses, which kids may sit on it and take a picture, the horses are slightly different from those you see most of the time. These Jeju horses are slightly small yet it’s very masculine.

Jeju horse
Jeju horses with big round tummy.

DSC_0199

Take your time to climb up to the peak, as there are many steps, some are steep too. You may take a break while enjoying the breeze and the remarkable stunning sceneries.

DSC_0211
Take a break & look to the side.
DSC_0219
At the peak

DSC_0225

In Jeju Island, the female divers, also known as Haenyeo (해녀) dive to gather clams, octopus, seaweed etc and sell it to earn some profits for their living. Women worked for 6 or 7 hours a day in the sea and spent additional hours tending to the family farm. Walk down to the cottage near the sea and get a glimpse of the Haenyeo.

DSC_0232

 

haenyu-jeju-island-korea-women-divers-2
Haenyeo at work – picture credit to Prafulla.net

Never underestimate anyone by their looks & age. These Haenyeo might looks slightly aged, but they are healthy & strong. They dive without the help of any diving equipments other than a pair of goggles, a round ball-like tube to keep her balance, and a basket to put their collections in.

haenyu-jeju-island-korea-women-divers-4
Picture credit to Prafulla.net

Seongsan Ilchulbong has been designated as a Natural Monument of Korea in 2000 and as a UNESCO’s World Natural Heritage site in 2007 at the UNESCO World Heritage Committee summit held in New Zealand.

Continue Reading

Life time experience – Krabi, Thailand

This was actually the first time I heard about Krabi. The place was SPECTACULAR!!

Krabi is typically an island, hot sun, beautiful & lovely islands – a good place for you to visit if you plan to escape the winter.

AK862, flight to Krabi
AK862, flight to Krabi

on the plane

On the other hand, if you love shopping, this might won’t be a shopping heaven for you as there are not many shopping areas, all they have were some stalls beside the beaches. But you won’t be disappointed with the sceneries.

stall

We stayed in Aonang Paradise Resort, the room was clean & nice, ambience in the room was great too. As for the toilet & bathroom, it looks very island-ish!

Click here for  the reviews about the Resort at Trip Advisor.

aonang paradise resort

aonang cups

toilet

There is also a swimming pool in the hotel, although it is not very big, but it is clean and quite a nice pool. You will be able to see green hills, trees surrounding the pool area, a great place for relaxing.

tree

tree1

2594_58860642667_2312340_n

Sea water was really clean & clear.
Sea water was really clean & clear.

tub island boat

Apart from the beautiful sea, you will LOVE this if you are up for an unforgettable challenge and experience! Bring extra water and a face towel if you decided to hike it! It is called “The Tiger Temple”! Along the way up you might see some signs about beware of monkeys snatching your things, well, I didn’t see any monkeys the other time when I went up. But, better keep all your important items locked safely in your bag or pockets. (updated information on 2013, I do heard some people said that there are monkeys roaming around now)

stairs

stairs1

view

My experience was I hiked it all on my own, it took me almost an hour plus to reach the top. There’s more than a thousand steep steps and the weather was really really hot. I met 2 elderly couple while on the way up and they told me to join them along. Very friendly couple!

Not to worry if you finished your water, there’s a water dispenser for you to refill your bottles once you are at the top.

buddha

2594_61097082667_3455333_n

 

Our dinner, salted egg squid
Our dinner, salted egg squid

Sunbathing, island hoping, stairs “hiking”, having some nice food…. really an unforgettable experience…. It is really worth visiting and experiencing the awesome landscapes at this wonderful place.

You can check out Simple Travels video for a better view here. They actually recorded the footage from the very bottom of the temple, to the very top!

Continue Reading