The Huwon – Changdeokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung rings many bells especially tourists’ and visitors’, and I can’t deny the beauty of it. However, today I’m going to write about Changdeokgung Palace instead. Maybe more towards the Huwon.

So, why Changdeokgung?

It is true that Gyeongbokgung have stunning scenery surrounding the inner part of the palace, with refurbished architectures. However, Changdeokgung has a more Korean looking ambience preserved, so one could see the historical side of the palace.

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Changdeokgung is the second palace to be built after Gyeongbokgung under the reign of King Taejong in the year 1405. King Taejong, who settled at Changedeokgung avoided going to Gyeongbokgung because he had killed his half brothers there just to be enthroned as a King of Joseon. Later on, King Seonjo expanded the palace grounds by about 500,000 square meters, including Huwon (후원) (Rear or Secret Garden) and was listed in 1997 as a UNESCO world cultural heritage site.

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CLOSE on Mondays, the main palace is accessible by anyone after purchasing an entrance ticket (3,000 won for adults, 1,500 won for kids). However, the ONE AND ONLY Huwon,will require a guided tour from the palace staff (additional 5,000 won to Huwon + tour for adults & 2,500 won for kids).

We booked the Huwon tour through this website, what’s even better is that the fees were paid only when we collected the ticket on the day itself. Since there are only a LIMITED number of visitors allowed on each session, I strongly advise you to book them in advance.

Claim your tickets 1 hour before the tour or it will be forfeited.

The 78-acre Huwon which was originally constructed for the use of the royal family and palace women. The garden incorporates a lotus pond, pavilions, and landscaped lawns, trees, and flowers which are over 300 years old.

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Which is the best season to visit? There’s no definite answer. It depends on you actually, as every season has it’s own natural beauty.

In Spring, flood your eyes with the view of blossom flowers that bloom all over the palace. In Summer, expect green bushy trees, you can also take a rest under one of these huge trees. While in Autumn, leaves starts turning yellowish red and fall, which in return creates a calming view. Last but not least during Winter, where layers of thick white snow makes everything so romantic and reminds you of those sa-geuk (historical dramas) romance drama. As for us, we went during the fall.

Entrance to Huwon
Entrance to Huwon

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The Huwon tour usually takes 1 hour and you may explore it freely as you like, as long as you don’t go anywhere prohibited. Don’t try to sneak in!

We went our own way since we couldn’t catch up with the group. Tee-hee~ we were busy taking pictures while exploring the garden. It’s not only huge, it also have lots of different roads & paths, so don’t get lost! Follow the crowd if you’re lost!

One of the prohibited entry route
One of the prohibited entry route

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This peaceful building is known as Juhamnu Pavillion, a 2 storey building built in year 1776 under the reign of King Jeongjo. Lower level served as a Gyujanggak (Royal Library), while the upper level served as a King’s reading room. Those gates leading up to the pavilion are known as Eosumun, built in a unique structure, where the bigger gate was used by the King while the smaller ones used by his subjects.

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Uiduhap Pavillion was constructed by Crown Prince Hyo Myung for studying and meditating. Unlike those rich-looking buildings with fancy designs, it is rather small and simple like those houses of the citizens.

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Overall, it was a great experience during this palace visit. Being able to see how the royal chamber looks like, a real-life garden where the Queens used to walked around, and imagining the Kings of Joseon fishing at the pond… Though it would be more enticing if there were some traditional royal games which the Kings & Queens used to play duringJoseon Dynasty..

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Getting There:

Anguk Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 3. Go straight for 5min.
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Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Subway Line 1, 3 or 5), Exit 7. Go straight along Donhwamun-ro Street for 10min.

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What winter looks like in Korea?

I tend to get lots of queries about autumn in Korea, and indeed Korea’s autumn is really beautiful. I can never deny that fact. But do you know that Korea is also beautiful during the winter? Except the fact that snow get stuck on your shoes and icy winds blowing harshly at you.

I used to think that winter is filled with snow everywhere (thank you K-dramas), until I personally visit Korea and found out it’s not quite true! Depending on two factors if it piled or not, one will be if it snowed heavy, another will be if the snow stays and doesn’t melt.

When we were there, it didn’t snow a lot in the city, thus, there won’t be any white cold looking Seoul in the pictures here. Though it snowed densely when we were at Nami Island. Cough cough, it was planned.

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Pardon me, I’m fascinated by the shape of snow flakes.

Born and grew up in a tropical country, I’ve always wondered how it’s like in countries with four seasons, I’ve seen red crimson maple leaves on my first Korea trip, and it left me with unforgettable memories. But what winter’s like? How it feels to touch the snow or when it lands on my face, is it cold? How does it feel like? Is it soft?

We were supposed to head to Ski resort until we aren’t able to catch the bus. So, we planned to take a walk around DDP while waiting for the snow to fall. It was cloudy enough for a rain to fall when I suddenly spotted some flakes in the air as we turn around looking for some food. Can I assure you that the weather forecast is damn accurate?

That was my first encounter with snow. It felt as light as a feather, as cold as ice on my face (ok it IS ice), on my nose, in my mouth!! We were extremely excited. Though it is not dense enough to pile the ground with any snow.

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My niece was hyped up instantly, also influenced by Disney movie “Frozen”. She was happily enough to run in rounds, endlessly. Chasing snow flakes after snow flakes, just anywhere she could run, not even afraid of getting lost.

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A sudden snow fall in Sinchon. Look at my niece!

Me, my sister, and my mom basically stood in the open in front of Doota mall, like some crazy women, and take cover inside when it was too freezing to even bare the cold for another second.

Yes, that was our very first winter experience.

What’s worse, my winter coat has a hole at the pocket and I had to get myself a new one there.. Fortunately, it wasn’t that expensive, only costs 20,000 won (The one I’m wearing in my header image). Quite a good bargain for a winter coat, and light weighted too. Hmm!

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It wasn’t that freezing cold until the wind starts blowing, then it feels like knives piercing into your skin. Every exposed inch of it.

And though there is sunlight, but it only gives light, and no warmth. Somehow I cursed it during that very moment when I needed its warmth so badly.

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Ice pond in Gyeongbok Palace..

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Insadong in December 2015
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Winter on December 2015

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Watch out for icy paths too!
Watch out for icy paths too!

How is the winter at your place?

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Things I know after living in Korea

Hell has been let loose, and I’ve fulfilled my dream to stay in Seoul. Do I like it? I couldn’t say no, but I can’t say yes confidently too.

It’s been 3 weeks since I lived in Seoul, and being around something new is what I need to adapt myself to. It’s true that I’ve dreamt of being around Koreans, surviving in between them, ride the bus, take the subway just like them. But me, as an introvert living in another country is like struggling hard to control myself not to freak out in all these new situations which I need to cope with. All the people around me are like bombs that I’m afraid they might explode right beside me anytime.

I still need to say thanks to all my friends cum co-workers for helping me and taught me so many things while I’m here. And these are the very few things that I have found out after living here.

  1. Anyone can sign on your behalf when paying with credit / debit card – Yep. ANYONE!
  2. Actual signature is not required for credit / debit card – I only draw a line.
  3. Wet tissues are for cleaning, except dishes and cloths.
  4. Housemates doesn’t sleeps until it is 1am or later – They will think I’m in depression mode if I sleep early.
  5. You pay for garbage. Wait, what? You need to buy garbage bags, with correct DISTRICT printed on it. You can’t just use those you got from markets.
  6. Bus is better than subways – At least I have a place to sit everyday.
  7. Daiso and/or E-mart is your life saviour, things are pretty cheap at these marts.
  8. Free wifi is hard to get – Everyone knows this… So use Wifi-Korea! Sounds like I’m promoting them too hard.. 😛 But they are reliable though.. 🙂
  9.  It’s way too hard to find oats in Korea, except in Cotsco.
  10. Rain in Korea is annoying. It just rains, erm, more like drizzles the whole freaking day! Most times!
  11. Creepy crawlies are just even uglier – They need plastic surgeries badly.
  12. Watching movies in Seoul is EXPENSIVE – It’s 10,000 won for a movie (exclude pop-corns & drinks), which I can watch at least twice back in Malaysia!)
  13. If you see Korean girls (or guys) scream when they see pigeons, like they came in contact with a T-rex, don’t freak out. They say pigeons are the dirtiest animal in the world. Seriously?
  14. Sam-so – It’s short for Sam gyup sal + Soju. Soju is a must when eating sam gyup sal.
  15. When you expect to cool your body heat in the subway station after a LONG HOT walk in the sun……… They got no central aircond system in there. Duh!
  16. Winds just came from nowhere, every directions, out of a sudden. I hate it when I’m with an umbrella.
  17. Koreans brush their teeths after EVERY meal. Even in the office. Hmm…..
  18. Even if you don’t pay electricity, you still can use it, with limited capacity. In Malaysia, it’d be dark until you paid the bill.
  19. Deposit for houses starts from 1 million won, and rental will depends on the deposit. For 1 million won, monthly rent will be around 500,000 won. Rent reduce if deposit is more.
  20. Electricity & water bills are bank transferred to an account specifically for that unit.

This is just my personal experiences and opinions.

 

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Thoughts about MERS in Seoul

I was excited when I came to Korea on the 27th May but after a couple of days arriving in Seoul, MERS epidemic has popped out of no where when some guy came back from the Middle East and fell sick, naturally those came in contact with him got the virus.

As the time I wrote this post, it has been confirmed that 4 deaths had been arisen and 50 people has been confirmed to have transmitted with the disease. However, those who passed away are quite elderly and had previously diagnosed with respiratory problems.

Update as at 01/07/2015 – Confirmed cases: 182, deaths : 33, discharged from hospital: 97. There has been NO new cases reported for the pass 4 days and virus obviously stabilized.

Update as at 20/6/2015 – 0 new cases & 0 new deaths (death toll 24) as of this date. Virus is subsiding.

Update as at 15/6/2015 – Confirmed cases increased to 150, while death toll rise to 16 (mostly elderly).

It is true that the virus spread at a relatively quick pace throughout Korea and there’s at least 1 death everyday due to MERS, as of now they are all 50 years and above. It can be seen that there are a few more Koreans who have their masks on recently compared to when the virus first spread. However, it is still not as scary as medias reported. Although the amount of Koreans having masks on increased slightly, it is still a very small number (5% maybe) compared to those who don’t have it on. MERS is actually not air-borne, as per experts.

As an evidence, the guy who first caught with MERS traveled back to South Korea in a plane, and if it was spread by air, he should have already transmitted the virus to all the passengers on board. But as of today, it can clearly be seen that the virus are spreading through the hospitals and not by air and public.

I first thought that the virus spread fast due to Korean’s common food sharing culture. But it is a fact that it did not spread through this method.

However, my advice is still not to share food with people and keep your hands cleans.

Of course if you felt threaten by the virus, you could always put on a mask. Note that mask are really expensive now in Korea, and most of the place are out of stock. Please bring your own so that you don’t need to struggle finding for masks.

Update 15/6/2015: MERS did not spread publicly as of today and only spread through hospital visitors and patients, and some of their family members had it too. Avoid HOSPITAL at all cost.

The number of people infected are increasing quite rapidly, however, the government is barely doing anything to actually try prevent the virus from spreading even more. Try avoiding hospitals too if possible as many of these confirmed cases are spread through hospital visits.

Update 15/6/2015: Government had been disinfecting the subways every now and then.

Due to this outburst, business in Seoul took a direct hit as well when people starts cancelling trips and bookings they have made prior to the outbreak. From a report from Korean Tourism Organisation, 7,000 people are said to have cancelled their trips to Korea, while visitors who are in Korea during this period too have decided to shorten their trip and return to their country earlier.

Visitors to Insadong and Myeongdong can be seen to have decreased by a huge number too.

If you’re wondering, it is actually STILL SAFE to visit Korea, though my advice is to anyhow keep a hand sanitizer with you at all times, and wash your hands before eating. You can also visit the MERS map website for MERS affected areas in Korea (Korean only though).

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Seoul’s Sky Park – Haneul Park

I’m in a dilemma choosing between Hanuel Park and Noeul Park, both are located side by side, or should I just visit both? But I decided to go with Hanuel Park, and I have no regret visiting there.

Although, this isn’t a season for the tall silvery grass nor the season for the egoistic sunflowers to be in bloom, however, without the grass obstructing your view, you get a clear sight across the vast fields.

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I was there during March 2015, Spring was just peeking through after the cold winter, most of the grass were chopped down, though at some places you may still see Eulalia grass standing as tall as a person, but gently moving along as the wind blows.

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Wandering alone in the busy Seoul city, even though I may speak some Korean but not to the extend to engage in a full conversation, therefore I tend to depend highly on navigator maps (ie. Naver Maps for me) and wifi connection. With the rented ESP wifi device from Wifi-Korea, I made it to Haneul Park without any difficulties.

Upon exiting World Cup Stadium station, Exit 1, you will walk by Homeplus, World cup stadium, a parking lot before arriving at the zig-zag stairways, or could be call as stairway to heaven as Haneul means sky in Korean. After 200 over steps, you reach the top and walk for a slight distance (there’s only one way) before arriving in front of a cliff, walk up, and Haneul Park will appear right before your eyes.

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Oh! Did I mention that there’s an awesome panorama view of the Han River at the top and end of the park? So stunning that I didn’t want to leave from that spot.

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I apologize for not taking much pictures of the park as I was immersed in the relaxing surrounding and enjoying my alone time at this peaceful place.

I personally thinks that visitors should come on a gleeful weather in Spring or Autumn when the sun isn’t as hot as summer, while allowing the cool air to take your tiredness away from all the climbs.

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All pictures shot with Olympus E-PM2.

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Winter at Nami Island

This was my third time visiting the tourist-packed Nami Island, which is well known for its wintry white scenery! If you were to read my previous blog post, I have already been there twice during autumn, and it’s definitely a very huge difference when most of the trees became leave-less and everything became white.

Being a guide during this trip, my family were asking me why have I not bring them to Nami Island. But little did they know, I was waiting for the correct time and moment. What would it be? A snowfall, of course!

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Although weather forecast are quite accurate 2 or 3 days before the actual day, but a snowfall can be very much unpredictable, it could just snow out of a sudden or not! You’d never know! After confirming that it will snow, I made the plan to visit the island the next day and it snowed the whole day. Definitely worth a little wait.

To be honest, it’s my first time being a guide, although they are my family, I am still afraid that I will get lost somewhere. Anyhow, they easiest way to reach the island on your own is always the ITX train. Once again, we bought the tickets from Cheonnyangni Station (adult 4,000 won / child 2,000 won) and board the train to Gapyeong.

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Follow platform 1 or 2 if you are heading to Gapyeong.

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Just select the number of persons, time, station that you will be going to (for Nami Island, it will be Gapyeong station) and pay the total amount that will be shown on the screen. Remember to “tap out” your T-money if you’ve used it to head to Cheongnyanni or Yongsan station (machine just beside the ticket vending machine).

It was already snowing at the time we arrived Gapyeong Station. Since I was from a tropical country with just only 1 season throughout the year, it was quite exciting to see snow piling up on the ground.

However, it feels like I was forcing myself out of the station. Stepping out from there is like heading into a giant freezer, it was terribly cold. I have 4 long sleeved layers on me (1 cotton shirt, 1 light wool shirt, 1 knitted sweater and the winter coat), but after getting used to the cold, it feels much better except for my hands which almost turned numb.

DON’T even wear winter leggings in this kinda weather, unless you have a layer of heat tech on the inside, else you won’t be able to enjoy your winter sonata experience when you’re busy keeping yourself warm.

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We caught a taxi outside of Gapyeong station, which supposedly only cost 3,000 won, but the driver charged us extra 200 won. A new lesson learnt, always check the taxi meter when you get on.

Upon arriving the jetty, the sight that greeted us looks cold and freezy yet it was breathtaking, it was so cold that most of the water became frozen. I felt that my pictures did not do justice to that beautiful place.

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The lonely panda waiting for a train that would never come.

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Snow fall became more intense and most places became white in a short while. It was rather irritating to me since I was carrying my cameras and stuffs. And since it’s my first winter experience, I didn’t know that I would need something to cover up my camera (I thought snow wouldn’t melt that easily!).

Maybe I should carry an umbrella? Nope, imagine holding a DSLR in your hands when you need to focus your lens while holding the umbrella.

Second lesson learnt.

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During the cold seasons, people flock to this stall that sells steamed red bean bun. It only cost 1,000 won each and when you have it in your hands, especially in the winter, it just feels so warm and nice! Imagine your freezing numbed hands have something hot to hold on to. Not only that, it taste good too!

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A stall selling hot steamed bun..

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As I have said earlier, everything just looks different when the place is blooming with colors and when it was covered totally in white. Here are some pictures taken during my trip in the autumn and some during in the winter. You be the judge and say which one looks better. As for me, I would say both have its own charm.

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And here are few more pictures taken during this trip..

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This fire pit is heaven!
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Failed snowman attempt.

Do you know there is one cute little restaurant selling lunch boxes on Nami Island? If you have yet to try the food here, I’d highly recommend you to this place. They called it fried rice, but I would rather call it “shake-it-to-mix-it-rice”. Put on the glove and start shaking the lunch box until everything is all well mixed up, and bon apetite!

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While having lunch break with my family, we updated our own personal social network accounts using the rented wifi device from Wifi-Korea. Strong signal even in Nami Island, just spot the middle icon to believe. And that was how I made my friends jealous of the sights I was looking at that moment while they were sweating at their end. It’s Malaysia!

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At the end of the day, see how much snow had fallen during that few hours! Here’s a before and after shot basically at the same spot, just from a different angle.

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And last but not least, our family portrait..

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Have you been to Nami Island before, and when was that? I would definitely want to visit again during Spring and Summer too.

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Wifi Korea Everywhere Speed Pack Review (评介)

I was quite satisfied with the service of Wifi-Korea on my previous trip, therefore, I chose to use their service again. Me and my family stayed for 10 days this time, so I have opted for Everywhere Speed Pack pocket wifi which cost only USD 3.99 per day and it covers ALL places in Korea. (If you’re wondering, no, Seoul doesn’t have free wifi throughout the city, only very few places have)

You may select to pick up at their office at no extra cost, or pay USD $5 (each way) to enjoy the hassle free delivery service to your Korea accommodation doorstep.
Note that delivery service is only available if you book it at least 2 days in advance before your arrival.

You don’t need to provide passport details like some required, instead you only need to fill in this form and you’re done reserving the device. Rather than picking up at the airport like before, I visited them at their office, chose to pay the deposit by cash (100,000 won) and got the device on the spot!

Little cozy office, friendly staffs, it feels like meeting up with an old friend at their home. Oh, did I tell you the guys are good looking too? kkkkk.. Don’t worry about language barriers, I can assure you that they are FLUENT in English.

Located in Insadong, right across from the huge calligraphy brush sculpture, just come out from Anguk station, Exit 6 and walk straight for around 200 meter, you will see Bread & Co bakery, and look up! Spot their office on the 3rd floor!

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Arrangement slightly changed (updated on Mar’15)

So what is in the bag?

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  • Instruction manual
  • A Pocket Wi-Fi egg (ESP wifi router is in red, or dark blue)
  • Charger
  • An instruction card about having all auto-updates off, so that you wouldn’t go over the limit
  • Another instruction card on installing Eco Gate to check your data usage

I’m glad that I chose ESP pack! It is definitely the best choice that a blogger and social-network-in-need person like me have made. Besides, I wasn’t staying together with my family. Of course, a mom would always say the same thing to their kids, contact me once you reach the house! Yes m’am. This is how I stayed connected with them whenever I drop them off at their hotel and go my own way.

Signal and coverage

Running on LTE network, there’s no need to doubt its speed, and signal was great everywhere. This includes the place I stayed at, Eunpyeong-gu. As compared to the Urban Data Pack which I used in the previous trip, the signal there was very weak, but ESP gives me great coverage all day long. I even took it on a trip to the popular Nami Island and I could easily connect to my social network accounts without any disruption.

Battery Life

To charge it, plug it in to a power outlet using the adaptor provided.

My ESP router battery lasted more than 10 hours, which somehow surprised me as I had a not so good experience with the battery life on my Urban Data Pack router. I leave it on throughout the day, even on a cold snowy day in Nami Island, I thought it would had died off when I return to Seoul that evening, however, it was still on although the power level has dropped.

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Dosirak lunch box at Nami Island while updating my social network accounts.

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Chilling nearby Gyeongbokgung Palace.

What about the size?

Same size as Urban Data Pack router, a palm’s size.  Being a guide to my family, I needed a map to navigate to the place I was going, no doubt that I need to depend on wifi. I’m glad that the router isn’t a bulky one where I could easily chuck it into my bag or pockets and carry it everywhere I go.

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This is UDP version, ESP router is in red / dark blue.

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During my 9 days of using the pocket wifi, not once I am anywhere near the 500MB limit (per day), even with my mom and sis connected to it at the same time, and a heavy user of Facebook, Katalk and Whatsapp messenger, with an average usage of navigation map, I have not hit the limit. Just keep in mind to turn off ALL auto updates to prevent from exceeding the limit!

Comparison between Urban Data Pack and Everywhere Speed Pack

Urban Data Pack

Everywhere Speed Pack

Network Wibro 4G LTE
Data Limit Unlimited 700MB (more than enough)
Coverage Limited to urban areas only Anywhere in Korea
Battery Life Around 6 ~ 8 hours Around 10 ~ 12 hours
Size Palm / pocket size Palm / pocket size
Weight 75 g 105 g
Price USD 2.99 per day USD 3.99 per day

*ESP was upgraded from 500MB to 700MB few months back. UDP from 2GB to Unilimited.

Do you want DISCOUNT?

I recently visited Wifi-Korea to say Hi! and have a small chat with the guys, and guess what? They told me to share a good deal with my readers!

Everyone can get 10% discount off if they rent it through this link! Just fill in this online reservation form! But in return, can I ask a favor from you to select “Elley Jin” from the referred by column (as shown in picture below) when you make a reservation? Please?

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My thoughts on using ESP 

Good:

  • Pocket size
  • Stay connected at just any place with incredible internet speed
  • Easy to locate office in the heart of Insadong
  • Great customer service.

Not so good:

The only bad experience I had was some authentication problems where  I couldn’t connect to the router even though my ID and password are correct. But this problem only lasted for a while, it was alright later on.

Again, I would definitely recommend Wifi-Korea to my friends and family. If you were to ask for my advice, I would recommend you to go for Everyday Speed Pack as it gives you full coverage throughout Korea and battery life lasted longer, you won’t need to worry about being disconnected anywhere you go!

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Global Seoul Mate Mission 3 – My Seoul

It’s time for Global Seoul Mate’s 3rd mission, which is one that I can’t wait to write about! The theme for this mission is: Time Capsule, things about Seoul that we want to remember even after a long time. So here goes mine!

Seoul, the hustle and bustle city that could never stop turning livelier every hour when the sun sets. A city with their delicious sour spicy kimchi stew and ddeokbokki, or maybe a sizzling steaming hot Ssam Gyeop Sal during the autumn and winter. A city that could never resist Soju. This is the Seoul that I have always known, and hope this culture would continue to live up to many more years ahead.

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Seoul, despite being a modern city, one could find traditional architectures in the midst of the huge busy crowd, or take a visit to the royal tomb which located in the middle of Gangnam. And the stream that went through major modification and become a new spot for both locals and foreigners.

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Lastly, of course, the landmark of Seoul, can be seen from most of the places in the city, N. Seoul Tower located not quite far from the crowded Myeondong, became one of the most visited spot in Seoul.

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I do hope even 10 or 20 years later, these great spots and cultures would remain as a part of Seoul, and that will continue to remain in my memories..

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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

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Spotted this lovely sky colour

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

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What Autumn looks like in Seoul

Growing up in Malaysia gave me no chance to see other seasons in this country, only summer throughout the years. No cherry blossoms, no reddish leaves, nor any white Christmas.

Fall foliage, some called it. Better known as Autumn.

It’s finally past summer in Seoul, tree leaves turning reddish yellow, rain clouds cleared off revealing the clear blue sky, leaving the gloomy weather behind.

Fall foliage, some called it. Better known as Autumn. But I would rather refer it as the season of the smelly seeds.

In Korea, Autumn starts around mid – late September to mid November. Recommend to go around late October to Early November when the foliage are at their peak, especially Nami Island.

Since young, I’ve always wondered how autumn looks like? Never for once I would not be envied by someone taking pictures of the fallen red maple leaves, or wallpapers of trees lined along the sidewalks creating an awfully calm sight to look at.

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No doubt, my dream came true. Two years ago I experienced my first fall foliage, in Seoul. That’s probably one of the reason why I fell so crazily in love with this country. Deep beautiful autumn hues imprinted into my mind. They made me gasp in awe. Yes, it’s my very first autumn that I get to see in person and I’m really glad that Seoul had offered more than what we expected. Trying so hard to confine the constant “wow” and more “wow” which were struggling to escape from my mouth, I knew from then on that I would never forget how stunning the views are at Seoraksan and Nami Island.

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Too sad to be true, there are always flaws no matter how beautiful something is. I remember when we came out of the bus, the first smell that hit our nose was the poop-like smell. Of course, we checked our soles making sure we didn’t stepped on any poo until later, only that we knew it was from the Gingko. I personally think it would make a great prank tool.

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Where are you from and have you experienced fall foliage? How does Autumn looks like in your country? I would definitely be happy to see them.

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