A couple of years ago, when I decided to feature more of Korea in my travels, I would have been satisfied just getting by using English and Mandarin (yes,some Koreans can speak fluent Chinese if they chose to learn it or Japanese as their second language instead of English ;) ) for my trips there. It was easy because of the various Tourist Information Centers all around the popular areas and the wealth of useful information online (in English) thanks to the Korea Tourism Organization. There was a point though when I wanted deeper conversations with newly found Korean friends and I wanted to understand things in their original context (like actually watching telenovelas the way they were written) instead of relying too much on translations and subtitles. This year, I've taken that step to diligently learn the Korean language Hangeul - first at the Pusan National University for the K-CLIP 2014 Program and at the Korean Cultural Center of the Philippines now that I'm back in Manila. Want to learn basic Korean language or Korean culture in Manila (classroom type with Korean teachers) once or twice a week? Why don't you read below to see if it's what you're looking for ;)
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 convincing you to try different cuisines - and I'm so glad I was introduced to organic food through this blog), a time traveler (I love telling you to revisit the places that my elders talk about and encouraging you to remember the lost places you used to enjoy as a child) and a repeat traveler (I love filling you with experiences of places that I love over and over because the world changes with time). I want to leave a legacy and a trail that you can continue in your own journey - to live this life without regrets.
Soon, you'll get to know the beauty of Manila, the Philippines and the World.
Homestay in Hongdae Seoul Korea and the Yummy Sandomi Beef Bulgogi Restaurant 산더미 불고기 in Seogyo for Dinner!
Have you read my Homestay Korea 101 post yet? If you're ready then check out this post about my Eunni and our bulgogi journey one day in Hongdae =) She was my Busan homestay host and she just moved to Seoul! I met with her around a month ago and got to check out her new apartment. It feels like the one in Busan and I trust that she'll take care of you as I know her personally and have had her as my wonderful host before ;) I might be staying in this Seoul apartment next month so that I can provide you with more details and tips based on her location. For now, this is the space available and a quick sample of her space & generosity hehe. She showed me a number of recommended restaurants and cafes in Hongdae (walking distance from the high-rise condo) on this day! Please feel free to contact me for more info on the booking. Kindly indicate the country where you're from, the number of people, ages and dates.
After that filling Weekend Dimsum Buffet from Crystal Jade Dining IN BGC (which is still ongoing) comes another Dimsum Buffet Plus from its sister Crystal Jade Shanghai Delight here in Greenhills (yey)! Just think of it this way, you go to BGC for the unlimited hakaw (shrimp dumplings) for afternoon snack on the weekends while you go to Greenhills for unlimited xiao long bao (pork dumplings) for weekday dinners ;) I'm so glad I was brought up enjoying Cantonese food and dimsum haha. With the CJ Shanghai Delight Dimsum Buffet Plus deal this month, I was able to reminisce my student times in Beijing too for some reason because the some dishes.
Which is Better - Airport Limousine Bus or Airport Express & Subway from Incheon or Gimhae International Airport? Why I Like Taking the Airport Bus to Seoul or Busan
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.
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 =)