Sunday, November 27, 2016

Autumn in Korea, Jeju: Yongduam Rock + GD Cafe + Bomnal Cafe

The GPS was set for a cafe as we drove out from the car park. Shortly, we reached a traffic junction and got honked for stopping instead of turning right, ha! It's left-hand drive in Korea and they do practice right turn on red. However, be careful of walking pedestrians, so do keep a lookout before making the turn. You can still proceed at flashing amber lights. With the various scenarios, Leecher adopted a monkey-see-monkey-do approach. As we drove further, I suddenly remembered that Yongduam rock is located near the airport. Hence, we should make a quick stopover before heading to the cafe. However, the next question came to mind: eh, rock got phone number for navigation? Since we didn't purchase any data card and stingy me refused to activate my data plan just to check, we relied mainly on the road signs since Yongduam is a tourist attraction. We got lost halfway (either their road sign is not easy to follow or we are unfamiliar with the road) and ended up along the coast line. 
We took a walk along the path, trying to locate the location of Yongduam. I came across the bus stop, looked at the map and realised that we have to back-track. So, we explored the surrounding first before heading there. 
Father and son enjoying their moment :) 
We sat down at the nearby beach, enjoying the breeze while watching a couple of guys fishing. Our hearts skipped a beat each time they pulled up their rods with the prized catch. We then went to Yongduam, which was a short drive away. The place was crowded with tourists (of a particular nationality) and I got a bit "turn-off" by their actions so we decided to revisit the place again on the last day before returning the car. 

** fast forward to the last day **
We arrived at Yongduam early, hoping to escape the crowd. Alas, I can't believe the number of tour buses parked at 8AM. The viewing terrace was bustling with life and if you're lucky, you can see the Haeneo women divers at work. Geographically, the rock was created by strong winds and waves over thousands of years. However, as with many naturally-created structures, there are also plenty of folk stories on how the rock existed. One legend has it that a dragon had stolen jade from Mount Halla and was shot down by a magical arrow from the mountain deity. As he fell on Yongduam, his body sank into the ocean while his head froze, looking at the sky. 

No matter how Leecher looked at it, he couldn't fathom why the rock is known as dragon head. He had to put on his best imagination and finally saw the similarity after numerous attempts to describe it to him. In fact, most visitors crowd at the viewing platform for an elevated view of the rock. The best way would be to take the stairs down and you will then appreciate the rock in full glory, thus relating to the legend on how the rock came about. However, we didn't have time for the journey so we stayed at the viewing platform instead. 

Being civil-minded individuals, we queued up for our turn for pic-taking but some of the you-know-which-nationality tried to cut my queue hence, triggering my bitchiness. I told them to queue up but they gave me some lame excuse that their tour bus is leaving. I snapped and said sarcastically, "巴士要开走了,你还拍什么?" These people have zero manners and I felt a social obligation to knock some sense into them. 
Yongduam Rock (Dragon Head Rock) 용두암
Address: Yongdamroteo-ri Yongdam-2dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Tel: +82 64 728 3198 
Admission: Free 
** rewind to the 1st day **

From Yongduam, we drove for about 40 minutes to Cafe Aewol Monsant, more famously known as GD Cafe since it was rumoured that G.Dragon (of Big Bang) is the owner of the cafe. The cafe is located near the coast line, with an unblocked view of the ocean. A lot of Kpop fans will come to this cafe, some attempting to catch a glimpse of GDragon as it was reported that he will (sometimes) appear at the cafe. 
The Monsant followed an industrial theme, but the full length reflective glass panels are the main highlight of this building. It is nearly impossible to take a picture without being photobombed by people taking a selfie in front of the gigantic glass panels.
We sat outside for an unblocked view of the ocean. Leecher ordered some nibbles for sharing since we wanted to have the famous Jeju black pork for dinner. I was pleasantly surprised that the beef bagel was really tasty: bagel was toasted and the mixture of beef, mayo, vegetables and cheese was simply delicious. In contrast, the coffee was just average.
This place is great for picture taking, so we also act 一个 model. I wonder how those models do it, posing but not looking at the camera, hmm ..... 
Pardon the no-makeup face, I was too tired from all the travelling and decided to just let my skin rest. 
The stairs make a good backdrop for pictures, but we couldn't climb further up to explore. Leecher insisted that I capture the trees behind, which he claimed will frame the picture, well, your wish is my command then (^^)
Jumping on the bandwagon, we also took a welfie in front of the glass panels for remembrance sake before we left. 
Cafe Aewol Monsant 카페 애월 드 몽상
Address: 2546 Aewol-ri, Aewol-eup, Cheju, Jeju-do, South Korea
Tel: +82 64 799 8900
Opening Hours: 10AM till 9PM (daily)
Bomnal Guesthouse and Cafe is also worth checking if you are in the area. Located right in front of Handam Beach, this cafe is considered one of the best place in the area for chilling out and you will pass by this cafe en-route to Monsant. Unlike Monsant which was more industrial-focused, Bomnal display a more chirpy and warm atmosphere. 
Can't miss the gigantic coffee cup perched on top of the cafe. 
Mega-love this red mail-box!
Order for a drink first via the counter before you can enter the compound. The place is filled with such a positive vibe that I wished we had time to linger but alas, we need to head to our accommodation before it gets darker. There's always next time .... right?
Bomnal Cafe 카페 봄날
Address: 25 Aewollo 1(il)-gil, Aewol-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
Tel: +82 64 799 4999
Opening Hours: 12Noon till 8PM (daily)
🍃🍃🍃 Navigation for Jeju 🍃🍃🍃 

I have inserted a table that lists down the phone numbers for the various attractions. Simply enter the numbers in the GPS and viola - the places will appear on your map. Have fun driving in Jeju (^^)

Attractions Navigation
Yongduam Rock 용두암 (Dragon Head Rock) 7283918
Cafe Aewol Monsant 카페 애월 드 몽상 (GD Cafe) 7998900
Bomnal Cafe 카페 봄날 7994999
Accommodation Navigation
Citrus BnB N.A
Tangerine Pension 7646002

Psst ... more links will be added. Click on the links to read on our adventures!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Autumn in Korea, Jeju: From Singapore to Jeju

I thought I was given a lifetime ban from Korea, given that we visited the country 3x within a year. Thus, imagine my joy when Leecher mentioned Korea as our holiday destination. Well, specifically he said Jeju but I'm OK with anywhere as long as it is Korea. However, this was a rather last minute trip as I was swamped with work and didn't have much time to plan. After confirming our leaves, I was frantically searching for tickets during my pockets of free time and only made the AirBnB bookings 10 days before departure. Leecher is quite useless at planning thus, car rental & changing of currency naturally fall under his department. 
Our tired faces on board before I started to feel uncomfortable. We departed from SG via Cathay, with a short transit in HK. I wasn't feeling too good on this flight and I blamed it on the nasi padang that I had earlier at the lounge. I didn't touch any food from SG to HK, which was pretty rare. The flight from SG to HK was slightly delayed hence we were escorted by ground crew for transiting. During transit, I held up the line as I had issues with my e-boarding pass. Paiseh to the max but hey, it wasn't my fault. I was then pulled out of the queue and made to walk the "path of shame" alongside with another ground crew. She had to fill up some forms and tadah, I was "free to go", ha! Again, she had to be "witness" at the boarding gate since I had to scan the same bloody e-pass. Feeling exhausted, I was thankful I had the chance to lie down and sleep better while we cruise to Korea. We finally arrived at Incheon airport, only to be greeted with crowded immigration and took us 1h to clear. With our luggages in tow, we began the journey to Gimpo airport for our next flight out to Jeju. 
Finally located Jeju Air counter at the end of the wing. Well, you can't possibly miss it given the vibrant orange logo. Our flight was scheduled for noon, but we could only check in 2h before departure time and we can't head to the lounge without our boarding passes. Mental note to self: for the next trip (if any) to buy tickets with earlier departure time. Hence, we sat on the chairs and tried to catch up on sleep.
After checking in, my hunger pangs struck much to Leecher's delight as I hadn't ate anything since the meal at SG. Lunch was just udon topped with oden and plain gimbap. Perhaps I was hungry, so this set was extremely tasty. The kimchi was spicy and crunchy (me like) and I paired it with gimbap to add some flavour to it.
Someone can't wait to start, ha!
Tired face after the long journey, SG > HK > Incheon > Gimpo. The last leg of our journey to Jeju, can't wait for the plane ride
We arrived at the gate and was informed that our flight will be delayed :( The initial scheduled departure time has now become the boarding time instead.  
 Our plane arrived and we started queuing for boarding. 
Don't you love Jeju air logo? I loved the wink and not to mention that the K-idols I adore were endorsers of the brand. #powerofKwave There are several domestic airlines that departs for Jeju, namely: Air Busan, Eastar Jet, Jin Air and T'way Airlines. I went with Jeju Air because they have more flights/timings as compared to the rest.
Hello Jeju! 
The last to-do item before we begin our Jeju adventure: picking up the rental car.You will not be picking up the rental car directly from the airport. Instead, all rental car companies are located a few minutes drive away from the airport. At Jeju airport, head to the rental car counters located near Gate 2 and show them the booking confirmation. We were then given a slip of paper to wait for the shuttle bus which will bring us to the rental office.
There was a long queue for registration. Fortunately, all counters were open so it only took a while before our number was called.
After completing the paperwork, we were shown to our car which came with Korean GPS. While Leecher familiarise himself with the mechanics of the car, the technician showed me that navigation can be done using phone numbers - which seemed relatively easy at this point. BUT, we encountered problems with it - more on that later.
With our luggage loaded, we are ready to go! 

🍃🍃🍃 Navigation for Jeju 🍃🍃🍃 

I have inserted a table that lists down the phone numbers for the various attractions. Simply enter the numbers in the GPS and viola - the places will appear on your map. Have fun driving in Jeju (^^)
Attractions Navigation
Yongduam Rock 용두암 (Dragon Head Rock) 7283918
Cafe Aewol Monsant 카페 애월 드 몽상 (GD Cafe) 7998900
Bomnal Cafe 카페 봄날 7994999
Accommodation Navigation
Citrus BnB N.A
Tangerine Pension 7646002

Psst ... more links will be added. Click on the links to read on our adventures!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Autumn in Korea, Jeju: Preparations for Self-Drive Trip

Hello November! 2 months to the end of the year and 1 more to my favourite month. Looking back, we were away on our winter holidays for 2 consecutive years hence we decided to take a break this year and stayed in Singapore instead (for now). Perhaps, I may get to celebrate my birthday properly, ha! 

I pretty much spent the month of October travelling; a business trip before heading for a holiday to my second home, Korea! Yes, I'm finally back in Korea to complete my experience-4-seasons-in-Korea much to Leecher's dismay. This time round, we headed over to Jeju before continuing the rest of the journey in Seoul. We decided on a self-drive adventure in Jeju as this was the most convenient and efficient way to explore the island. Not to mention that we are spending 6 days in Jeju, ha! Our mini honeymoon since Jeju is the honeymoon island for Koreans. In order to drive in Korea, you will need to prepare these beforehand:
1. Obtain your international driving permit
The International Driving Permit is the first thing that they will request to see when we collected the car in Korea. You can apply for IDP via AA, either online at or at their AA offices (Kallang Bahru/Ang Mo Kio). The IDP fee is $20 and the permit is valid for a year from date of issue. For walk-in application, the processing time is within 1h. They will help you to take a picture on the spot and the whole application was relatively hassle-free.
2. Reserve a car online 
There are lots of car rental companies for renting cars. Previously, I used KT Kumho but they have since changed to Lotte. You can sign up as a member to be entitled to discount rates off the listed price. Since car rental is Leecher's department, I put him in charge of getting this done. To think that he actually outsourced to concierge and they provided us with a list of rentals/prices. Finally, we confirmed the car with Hertz. 
3. Request for an English GPS 
We requested for one but it wasn't available. Hence, we survived on a Korean GPS which was pretty difficult to navigate at first (even our AirBnB host said so!) but I soon got the hang of it.

With that, we are ready to kick start our self-drive trip in Jeju! Now, I just need to sort out the pictures across cameras + phones before I start blogging about it. Before that, let me just catch up on the latest episode of Infinity Challenge - 무한도전. Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Work in Progress

Let me tweak some CSS code on the side bar before I start on the next blog post .... will be back soon!
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