Annyeonghaseyo! Hello to all!
In recent years, the influence of Korean drama (Kdrama) and Kpop created strong Korean wave swept across all over Asia especially in the South East Asia. Being one of the Kdrama followers myself, I must admit I have been longing to visit Korea after watching those dramas.
However, I failed to convince HB to include this country in our travel destinations, as he regarded Korea as merely shopping heaven for ladies, crowded high tech cities with little surprises and nothing much for an adventure seeker. Hence, I had to find other companions to go with.
Finally at the end of April 2014, I managed to gather 2 of my 30+ years’ primary schoolmates Wai and Joyce to join me. With the addition of another close friend of Joyce, LI, we formed the Malaysia A4 Ajumma (Auntie) team. Instead of going with a travel agent, we decided to brave ourselves for an 8 days 7 nights DIY tour to Seoul and Jeju.
Being the main organizer of the team, I started to plan and book air tickets since last year. I was pleased that it was so easy to locate so many useful and detailed Korea DIY travel sites via internet such as Tripadvisor.com and by just reading thru them and I had no problem to come up with our own itineraries. Hostel booking was also hassle free by referring to the famous Booking.com.
I enjoyed the trip very much. However, traveling on our own in Seoul by using public transport, some intensive walking was unavoidable. Even for myself, who was more used to running long distances among the 4 of us, found the walking trips we had in Seoul strenuous, not to mention for the other 3 Ajumma members, who were not as sporty and were so used to travel with travel agencies with fancy tour bus to hop on and off throughout the entire traveling period, these walks were overly taxing.
Every night, when we returned to the hostel, our calf muscles were so sore. Luckily LI brought muscle pain relief gel and it was the life savior to us! I guess, after this trip if I were to organize another DIY tour they would not dare to join me again hahaha……
After completing the tour, I have to concur Korea is one of the safest countries to travel on your own even if you do not speak their language. Tourist information and directions are easily available especially in big cities like Seoul, Busan and Jeju Island.
What follow were some of the highlights of our trip:
The ancient side of Seoul : Palaces and Hanok village
The urban side of Seoul
Spring in Seoul:
The Nature side of South Korea: Jeju Island
Following were the food we devoured during our trip in Seoul and Jeju.
Seoul Signature dish : Ginseng Chicken Soup
Food in Gwangjang Market, one of Korea's largest traditional markets:
Food in Insadong shopping area:
Rice and Noodles set:
Famous Namsan market Noodle:
Seoul Street food:
Seoul fast food
I had to say that throughout the trip, the food we had in Jeju was the best especially the Abalone seafood.
I had to give credit to our Taxi driver cum guide we chartered in Jeju Island, who brought us to local restaurants patronized by the locals to taste the authentic local delicacies rather than the other restaurants catered to foreigners and tourists traveling in packaged tour with travel agencies.
Jeju Abalone Seafood Steamboat
Jeju BBQ Black pig
Jeju famous Sister Noodle house
Check out also the video clip of the Seoul Night Food at Pojangmacha, small tented street food stalls.
Seoul Night Food at Pojangmacha