Upon arriving via plane in Korea, I've often been in conflict whether to take the airport limousine bus or the airport express with subway (Seoul) / the (Busan) light rail with subway to and from the airport. Not sure which to take? Which one is better? Well, I always end up being reminded of the things in this post and I almost always take the airport bus to downtown Seoul or Busan (even in Hong Kong). During my recent trip to Seoul and Busan, I've delved deep into the reasons, encountered several things while taking the bus/subway and sought out the best possible ways given my situation. I want to share with you some pros, cons and warnings before you even go there so that you already know what to do when you land. The international airport nearest Seoul is in Incheon City while the closest to Busan is in Gimhae City. It takes around 45 minutes to get to downtown Seoul and Busan by airport bus. To each his own but I think some will apply to you guys and you might find my tips handy. I'm a luggage kind of gal, I have weekday flights mostly, I overpack at times, I go home with more stuff, I travel by myself sometimes and I usually have a whole day scheduled for the flight & getting settled in the hotel or homestay or guesthouse.
Here, you'll find some samples of Guiltless Getaways. This is where my love for travel, adventure, culture, language, music, food, arts, history and having fun come together.
I am inviting you to see the world and its people in a different light. I am not the expert but the people I come across are. My goal is to share my experience and what I saw. I consider myself as a willing road tester (so that I may get lost first before you and gladly show you the way), an eager foodie (I love to try different cuisines and I'm so glad I was introduced to organic food through this blog), a time traveler (I revisit the places that my elders talk about and the lost places I used to enjoy as a child) and a repeat traveler (I experience places I love over and over in a world that changes with time and without regret).
Soon, you'll get to know the beauty of Manila, the Philippines and the World.
Where to Exchange Money in Busan and How to Find the Underground Art Street, Yummy Tteokpokki Place in Bupyeong Market and Cool Stores Artbox & 8ight Seconds near Nampodong Station!
During our free time in Busan, most of the people in our K-CLIP program end up going to Nampodong. The area gets quite busy from the afternoon until late at night. I've been there thrice myself in just 2 weeks this year during the K-CLIP 2014 and each trip had a different purpose - one of them was to exchange some money USD on a weekend (no banks are open). By far, the latest trip I made is my favorite time next to that Nampo-dong date with J I told you about yesterday. So for this post, I'm gonna show you where to exchange your USD or other currency in Busan (2 ways), my all-time favorite Korean store for cool items and where to find that yummy tteokpokki place that's already open in the morning near Nampodong station. Hehe. I have spent around 2 hours there. Of course, it's very easy to lose track of time shopping, walking or eating. This time though, I walk at my own pace and go home on my own when I got tired ;)
Photo from our Busan City Tour
One Day in Busan Itinerary - Underground Shopping Mall, Yummy Bulgogi Lunch Feast at 큰집 Keun Jip Restaurant, Busan Modern History Museum,The Road to Busan Tower, Sunset and Night Scene in Nampo-dong!
I've been meaning to write this post for a while now. It was a beautiful date with J in Busan more than a year ago. I'll be doing a Nampo-dong series in the next few posts since I visited it again around thrice recently during my K-CLIP 2014 trip. Consider this my first (and super memorable) time and a short yummy food guide in that area. We didn't want to just go shopping with the others at Nampodong (has subway stop, we were there by 10:30 a.m.). So we went on our own around the area after a yummy bulgogi feast and had a blast exploring from late afternoon to sunset to early evening before meeting the others again for dinner! Of course, there's always a long route and we took that then found the shortcut after haha. Sometimes, it's the journey, the memories (sadly no couple photo LOL) and who you're with that make up a great adventure ;) ♥
Does Korea Have Tax Refund on Stores and Hotels? Yes! Here are My Tips on How to Get a Tax Refund in the Airports, Seaports and Downtown Seoul Korea!
If you're going on a shopping spree or staying in a hotel in South Korea (especially Seoul, Busan and Jeju), I suggest you read this guide on the proper procedure and some tips on getting your tax refund from the time you enter a store/hotel up to your departure at the airport ;) The VAT (value added tax) and luxury tax can be as high as 10% minus fees (~8%) so if all your purchases add up, you might just get some cash back for your next trip or use it to buy some food while waiting for your flight =)
Los Banos and Calamba Laguna Hot Spring Overnight Trip Itinerary - 88 Hotspring Resort & Spa for Adults and The Health Walk Foodie Adventure in Laguna
When I was young, I used to love going to a place called Crystal Springs (somewhere in Laguna). To a mini me, it was my perfect swimming pool because they had a hotspring pool with that perfect height and size for a short kid. I had forgotten about that place until recently, when I was invited to an impromptu hotspring getaway in Laguna. When my mom said I was going to Pansol, where so many hot spring resorts are, I said I was going to Laguna and not Pansol. Many Google searches later, I obviously didn't know that Laguna is considered the Resort Capital of the Philippines and they had barangays with a lot of hot spring resorts called Pansol, Bucal and Bagong Kalsada... Haha. Ah, I needed that age old wisdom and constant reminder that not all destinations and cool places are far far away from Manila. I only have to talk to the elders, dig deep in my memory, rediscover and remember some of my childhood moments it seems.. Anyway, I was so glad that I went on this trip! The official address of the 88 Hotspring Resort & Spa where we stayed was at Bagong Kalsada in Calamba, Laguna while the awesome restaurants where we ate were at Los Banos, Laguna =) One restaurant was part of the Health Walk movement of the people of Los Banos. I've never heard of it before this and you know I'm interested in organic and healthy stuff now due to my organic agri journeys with the ATI (Agricultural Training Institute of the Philippine Department of Agriculture). So I'm posting it here for future reference and for you guys who want to have a healthy food trip adventure near Manila ;) Here I was below all refreshed and waiting for food at Herb Republic haha.
Sit long. Talk much. Laugh Often. =)
Overnight Itinerary at the GK Enchanted Farm in Bulacan - a Farm Village University and a Disneyland for Social Tourism
If you're looking for a farm activity near Manila, why don't you head on over to the GK Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan? Here's a sample overnight itinerary that includes a mix of experiences involving white cheese, chocolates, eggs, plushies, farm animals, veggies, bamboo, locally produced products and many more. The Social Business Summit will be held there on October 2 to 4 if you're interested =)
Meeting Pinoy Social Entrepreneurs at the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm in Bulacan - a Silicon Valley for Social Entrepreneurship in the Philippines!
What do you do on your weekends? For some of us, we cherish this moment away from work and spend it on a getaway. For me, it is usually a day for blogging and more things to be done because I love scheduling my solo trips on weekdays ;) These young social entrepreneurs at the GK Enchanted Farm spend their days working on their dream projects and being with the community they now consider as family.
It was a great overnight experience in a sense (except for the lodging...but you can just do a day tour) because I got to meet some of them (and we're more or less in the same age group) and they chose a career path that they are passionate about like me.