Showing posts with label #NXTraveller. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #NXTraveller. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Taekwondowon, Muju

Our next stop was Taekwondowon at Muju. We left Suwon in the evening to arrive into the night at Muju. Dinner was a simple affair and a quick one, we soon checked into our accommodation at Taekwondowon. My first impression was that, the grounds looks like a University campus, it has building blocks with school halls, dining area, administration office and rooms for boarding students.

We got given our room key and headed straight to bed as it was getting late. The rooms were like a hotel room with private en suite, a large flat screen telly and there was a modem for wifi hotspot. My room has a balcony that opens up to view the mountain behind us.

In the morning, straight after breakfast, we boarded the campus bus to head up to the Observatory for a photo session. The group hiked up to the top. I stayed behind on lower ground. The hike was too steep and taxing on me. I was very disappointed with myself for failing the hike, and that the funicular car was not operating that day. I would have love to get that shot from the stop. Just to give an idea of the place we visited, here is their promotional video from YouTube channel. Hours and operation are on this link

We were invited to view the Taekwondo performance after our photo session. It was heart stopping and mesmerizing! It was such an incredible performance. I got a bit teary eyed! I have never experienced such intense pride and happiness till now. I am not Korean, but at that precise moment, I wanted to be one after witnessing such passion and pride in the moving performance. This is an experience not to be missed if you are visiting Korea.


After Muju, we ate an epic Bibimbap lunch in Jeonju. We also stopped in Gwangju, to make our own traditional writing papers and made our own Korean crafts. We continued on to Juknokwon, to the Damyang Bamboo Forest. That place reminds me of Sagano Bamboo Forest in Kyoto. Till my next post, Kimchiiiiiiiiiiii!! Keep smiling!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Korean Folk Village and Everland

The next morning was spent in a Korean Folk Village at Yongin. The light rain had come on and off that morning, so it pleasantly cool and a nice day to wander off on my own to take some photos.

The place was breathtakingly beautiful, it was so serene and tranquil. My thoughts drifted off to one of the many Korean historical dramas I had watched previously and I imagined myself in this little village during those period. What a simple way of life, it was then. The morning air was crisp, I found myself walking along the river, listening to the water trickling. The houses and cultural display around the village were authentic, they have been well preserved, it's like I am walking in the streets of a Joseon period.

Far away, I could hear the echoes of the drums beating. There is a performance going on in the marketplace. It's beckoning to me, pulling me towards the old market. I didn't want to leave the Pavilion where I had sat down for a rest, the painted ceiling was beautiful in vivid colours.

I looked further down across the river and my gaze was transfixed on the rushing water over rocky bridge path. I was imagining being a child playing and running loose in this village, throwing pebbles into the water. Sigh. It was a wonderful experience exploring this village.

Still in Gyeonggi province, we visited Everland later that afternoon after a Bibimbap lunch at the Korean Folk Village restaurant. I needed to walk off that big, hearty, generous portion of Bibimbap, what better way to do this, than to explore the beautiful Everland resort.

I spotted this and wished myself a Happy Birthday. This trip was the best pressie ever... I will not be telling you how old I am... I will just say this though, that I am very happy to be finally living my Korean dream trip with the most awesome group of photographers from all walks of life! They have so much to teach me.

Eric Ooi, one of the mentor on this tour, took time to show me how to compose and plan a shoot. I am just amazed that there was so much to learn, prior to this trip, I was just a crazy trigger happy snap crazy auntie! Now I have to think, as well before I click :) Oh dear!

On a serious note, I am now more aware and I am determined to be a better photographer and will continue to learn everyday. Yup, even when this trip is over! Surrounded by beautiful vivid colours of Tulips and evergreens, how does one not feel blessed? I am thankful everyday that I am alive to appreciate the beauty of this world.

Now can we have a tea party? Oooh yummy flower cake, just the way I like it!

Ermmm, please don't spit at me, Mr Giraffe!
Some of us decided to go on the rollercoaster ride after the safari at The Lost Valley. I, on the other hand, chose to go back and immersed myself in Tulip land for some colour therapy :)

To be continued....

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Korean Royal Cuisine

After spending a week in South Korea, we shared a lot about ourselves, our passion, our experiences and love for photography and among other things, a whole lot of Korean food.

Our hosts, Korean Tourism Organisation and Samsung has certainly outdone themselves. The group of people on this photo tour came from the Phillipines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Australia. It is not an easy task catering to everyone's culinary taste and preferences. Some of us may have religious reasons, for not being able to eat certain things, others simply have allergies and then there's me, whom through personal choice, prefers not to eat pork.

I like that we were taken to International buffets when not having traditional Korean food, where we could indulge in the various dishes on offer. This allows for everyone to choose what they they would like to eat. As for me, I was eating kimbap, sushi, sashimi, prawns. There were crabs too. However, one must make room for lots of Korean Fried Chicken when possible. I think I overdosed on Kimchi on that first day and had to go on sorethroat medication the next day. Once my sorethroat was cleared, I was back on the Kimchi bandwagon again. Better hide your Kimchi pots!

There were an abundance of seafood on this trip as we travelled south towards Busan. We feasted on food of the land when we were inland up in the mountains, there were mostly vegetarian meals with some pork. I love the vegetarian meal. I didn't eat the pork but I am sure the others would have love it. I enjoyed the bean paste tofu soup. It was warm and delicious on a cold and wet windy night up at Taekwondowon.

On our last day, we were treated to an epic Royal Cuisine before we headed back to Seoul. These are similar to the meals one would served to the King during the Joseon period. So lucky!

I see lots of kimchi in the pots

I was fascinated by the amount of side dishes that were served with the mains. Unlike western meals that comes out by the courses, these Korean food are served out in a communal way for us to share, where all the dishes came out, all at once, to the table and it was surrounded by so many little side dishes called banchan.

The banchan could have ingredients from the land or the sea. We had raw veges, salad leafs, preserved root vegetables, fermented veges like kimchi, raw crabs, sauteed clams, chilli sauteed stingray etc. Dessert were mostly freshly cut fruits, flavoured rice cakes, similar to Japanese Mochi balls. There was also cakes when we had International buffet.

Mealtimes are always the happiest times for me, I like seeing people eat heartily, and be happy and satisfied. During that one week we spend together, we would have shared conversations, as you would in a large family gathering. It was a lot of fun, sitting together and eating and joking about our day. It was good to see such kinship.

The photos are a summary of a whole lot of eating going on that week in South Korea. I feel like my job here is done, when I saw people snapping away food photos before they ate :) because the camera always eats first, right?  Catch you on the next blogpost!

Samsung Innovation Museum and Hwaseong Fortress

Shortly after the lunch, we boarded our bus again to travel to Suwon. In the afternoon, we visited Samsung Innovation Museum. Along the way, we stopped to take some photos of the cherry blossoms in season.

Samsung Innovation Museum is an interesting place to visit. It's an exhibition of Samsung's history of electronics and their vision for the future. We were not allowed to film the video presentation due to copyright issues, but we were allowed to interact with the devices, and to take photos of the display.

I was impressed with the video presentation and would love to live in the futuristic home in that video. I couldn't help but think to myself, whilst watching the presentation, "Hey, I want that.... oh I thought of that too, should have patented it :) .... they are making that already? Ingenius, oh, it so clever, how innovative!"

Some old TVs

Our gorgeous model Stephanie Lim showing us the tiny cam keychain :) 

After the visit with Samsung Innovation Museum, we checked into our hotel and walked to our dinner restaurant which was nearby. Dinner was a delicious seafood buffet. I will be blogging about the Korean food eaten on this trip in a separate blogposts. Shortly after dinner, we hopped back onto the bus again, this time, to drive up to Hwaseong Fortress for some night shots of the fortress. It had begun to drizzle a bit.

As we armed ourselves with umbrellas, all rugged up against the bitter cold and wind, some of us with our scarves on, coats and beanie, we huddled together for some warmth and took lots of photos of the fortress and surrounding areas. 

My night shots were pretty bad, lots of noise in the background due to the high ISO. Oh well, I am still learning. I will get better at this.

To be continued....
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