Showing posts with label Travel Guide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel Guide. Show all posts

Friday, December 15, 2017

Local Delicacies in Pyeongchang

" First we eat, then we do everything else." 
- M.F.K. Fisher

One of the joys of traveling is the opportunity to taste and appreciate local delicacy. Korea is surrounded mostly surrounded by the sea and 70% of the land is mountainous. Regions within Korea are bounded by steep mountain ranges and rivers. Thus, climate conditions vary within these regions and hence, there is a great variety of natural produce. During our winter trip to Pyeongchang, we got to taste and enjoy the various local delicacies as recommended by our pension hosts. 
Hwangtae (Dried Pollack)
Pyeongchang is the birthplace of yellow dried pollack. The fish is left to dry for weeks under the winter sun and it can get as tough as cowhide. In fact, dried pollack is considered the national delicacy. Our pension host recommended this place and even drove us to the restaurant. This place must be very popular for there is always a constant stream of diners walking into the restaurant. 
Hwangtae contains almost twice as much protein as fresh pollack due to the lengthy freeze-dying process. It is also a high-nutrient, low cholesterol health food. It is rich in amino acids, which is believed to aid the liver to recover from heavy drinking. 
Hanwoo Beef
Hanwoo is one of the four indigenous Korean breeds and it is regarded as a premium beef because of its high palatability and desired chewiness. Hoengseong County in Gangwon-do is best known for its hanwoo cattle, where the environment is well-suited for cattle farming. 
You get to choose your own meat from the butcher or buy from the pre-packaged section, then head to a table and grill the meat for a small table fee, which includes an assorted variety of banchan. 
The meat literally melts in your mouth, yum!
Osam Bulgogi 
Osam bulgogi is a dish made from squid and pork belly, marinated in a blend of seasonings and then cooked over a grill with vegetables. This dish is well-known for its texture, hence making it the ideal dish to eat with rice and/or goes well with wine. In fact, according to this report, a new food alley for this dish will be developed near Alpensia Resort, the main venue for the Winter Olympics. 
Dakgalbi (spicy stir-fried chicken) is not only a representative dish of Chuncheon, but also famous across the entire nation. Listening to the sizzling sound made from stir-frying the marinated chicken in gochujang-based sauce within the cast iron pan will make you salivate! Nothing goes to waste in this dish, for the remaining sauce is used for making fried rice after devouring the grilled chicken. 

These are just some of the Korean cuisines that we tasted over winter in Pyeongchang. I will be back with more local cuisines as I sort out our Korea adventures, stay tuned!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Ski Resorts in Korea

There is just something magical about winter. It could be the smell of holiday season lingering in the air; it could be the snow-covered pavements; it could be the warmth from the cup of coffee that you hold in your hands. Winter season in Korea typically lasts from December to early March and with temperatures falling to sub-zero degrees, it is the best time to head to a ski resort and enjoy the winter activities. Gangwon-do province is surrounded by lush mountains and pristine waters. Due to the wet winter winds across Taebaeksan Mountains, the province gets a lot of snow hence a lot of ski resorts are located in the area, making it the winter sports capital. Boasting beautiful snow-capped views, Gangwon-do is an ideal winter getaway.
YongPyong Resort
Opened in 1975, YongPyong Resort is the birthplace of the development and popularization of skiing in Korea. It has hosted various international events and is currently one of the host stadiums for the Winter Olympics Games. With a ski area of 16,200,000m², the resort has 28 slopes and 14 lift facilities. The main slope, "Rainbow Slopes" will be there the Alpine Skiing competition is held for the coming games. 
On one of the 14 chairlifts, which took us to the start of the slopes.
Address: 715 Olympic-ro, Daegwallyeong-myeon, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do
*image credit to KTO
Phoenix Park 
As the venue for free-style skiing and snowboarding events of the Winter Olympic Games, this clearly shows that Phoenix Park is equipped with world-class facilities, particularly those that address the thrilling need for speed of ski and snowboard enthusiasts. Of the total 21 slopes that allow skiers to experience dynamic speed, 12 have been officially approved by the FIS. The beginner course "Panorama" is 2.4km long and reaches the top of the mountain.
Address: 174 Taegi-ro, Bongpyeong-myeon, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do
*image credit to KTO
High1 Resort
High1 Resort offers 18 slopes, including a 4.2km beginner slope that starts at the peak of Jijangsan Mountain at an altitude of 1,345m. Three gondolas and 7 chairlifts knit the slopes like spider web to maximise your winter sports experience. The facilities have been designed to ensure safely for everyone, including those with disabilities. The resort also has extensive accommodation facilities with a variety of convenience facilities, as well as a casino and golf course to make your stay even more enjoyable. 
Address: 265 High1-gil, Sabuk-eup, Jeongseon-gun, Gangwon-do
*image credit to KTO
Alpensia Resort
As the main venue for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics Games, Alpensia Resort is often known as the "Alps of Asia". Situated 700m above sea level in Daegwallyeong, Alpensia offers 6 slopes of various gradients allowing visitors to enjoy thrilling rides. The "Foxtrot" and "Echo" slopes are advanced courses certified by FIS while the "Bravo" slope is designed for beginners. 

Alpensia is also an integrated tourist complex that is open all year round, featuring european-styled accommodations, a convention center, water park and a 45-hole golf course. You can enjoy skiing in winter or golfing during spring/autumn. Nearby the resort, there is also a marvellous National Park and other tourist sites that will make your trip even more interesting. 
Address: 325 Solbong-ro, Daegwallyeong-myeon, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do
With the opening of the KTX Ganggyeong Line, visitors can reach these resorts within 2 hours. Remember to get your Pyeongchang KORAIL pass to explore these areas!

Monday, December 4, 2017

KTX Ganggyeong Line: Bringing you to Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

Times flies and now, we are fast approaching the last month of the year. It is now less than 70 days away from the opening of Pyeongchang Winter Olympics! During my winter trip to Korea, I shared on how you can travel to Pyeongchang from Incheon Airport via the express bus, which took us 3 hours to reach Alpensia Resort. Then, it was announced that a new KTX line - KTX Ganggyeong Line - will be constructed to facilitate visitors who are travelling to Pyeongchang from Incheon Airport or Seoul, reducing the journey time to less than 2 hours. With this new service, Pyeongchang is now more accessible. The trains will stop at Pyeongchang Station, Jindu Station and Gangneung Station near the host city. Now, I am happy to share that KTX Ganggyeong Line is now open for booking! 
KTX Ganggyeong Line: Ticket Purchase & Fares
Tickets can be pre-purchased from KORAIL Talk (코레일톡), KORAIL website or at the ticket counters of the railway stations. Those who purchase a ticket during this period may receive 20% discount. That is not all - for ticket holders, you are eligible to board the free shuttle bus service from the KTX station to the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games venues. 
image credit:
International visitors also have the option of purchasing the PyeongChang KORAIL pass, where the pass can be used unlimited times on the KTX and other KORAIL-operated trains throughout Korean between 1st Feb till 25th Mar 2018. 
KTX Ganggyeong Line: Journey Time 
image credit:
Incheon International Airport → Pyeongchang (Jinbu Station): 1h 38 minutes 
Incheon International Airport → Gangneung Station: 1h 52 minutes 
image credit:
Gimpo International Airport → Jinbu/Gangneung Station: within 1.5h 
(transfer at Seoul station is required)
image credit:
Seoul → Jinbu/Gangneung Station: 58 minutes
KTX Ganggyeong Line: Frequency & Time Table
A total of 51 trains are expected to run daily during Games time. Each train is able to accommodate up to 410 passengers. During Pyeongchang 2018, KTX will transport up to nearly 21,000 passengers each day from Incheon Airport to Jinbu and Gangneung stations. 
image credit:
KTX Ganggyeong Line: Stations
Jinbu station is only 10 minutes away from Alpensia Olympic Park and Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, where the opening and closing ceremonies will take place. Meanwhile, Gangneung station is 15 minutes ride from Gangneung Olympic Park, where all of the ice sports will take place. 

Last but not least, the new KTX train will make its first public journey on 22nd Dec. There isn't much time left, so grab your tickets soon! 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Pyeongchang Korail Pass

Visitors to Korea are no strangers to the KORAIL pass, where each pass can be used within the designated duration period. We bought the KORAIL pass during the last summer visit, where we travelled on the KTX from Seoul to Busan on one of the trips.
Arriving at Seoul station bright and early for the 3-hour journey. If you are overwhelmed by the number of tracks/trains, just approach one of the staff and they will guide you to the right platform. 
The trains are well-maintained and clean. The train journey was so comfy that I fell asleep without knowing it. Before we knew it, we arrived at Busan for our adventure. Since we are at the topic of trains, let me bring you another exciting news as part of Pyeongchang Olympics Games shout-out: PyeongChang KORAIL pass! Read on to find out more. 

PyeongChang KORAIL Pass
This pass is specially introduced to commemorate the Olympics Games for foreigners/visitors going to Korea. Like the KORAIL pass, this pass can be used unlimited times on KTX and other Korail-operated trains throughout Korea (between 1st Feb 2018 till 25th Mar 2018). The pass is available for 5-day or 7-day (consecutive), which is a decent period of time you will need to explore the various regions. Ticket sales will be open until 10th Jan 2018. Purchase your pass through 3 simple steps: 

1. Visit the official website at
2. Select the type of pass - either 5-day or 7-day
3. Select the pass start date (date of first use)

Seats can be selected up to 30 days in advance. Please print your ticket and bring along with your passport when using the train. You may be asked to present these items while on the train and/or when collecting your commemorative travel card. 

Pass Types and Cost
Available in 5-day or 7-days.
*image credit to KTO
If you are travelling in groups of 2-5 people, you can purchase the "Saver" pass.

Benefits of PyeongChang KORAIL Pass
That is not all! If you purchase the pass between 10th Oct 2017 to 10th Jan 2018, you will get to enjoy the following benefits:

1. Commemorative reloadable prepaid transportation card value at KRW5,000. This can be collected at designated locations when purchasing the pass. 
2. 10% discount luggage storage and shipping through Airport Railroad.
3. Various discounts with affiliated partners. See this link for more details. 

Recommended places to visit in Gangwon
The famous Dragon Peak at Yongpyong Resort, which is also the filming site of K-dramas such as Goblin and Winter Sonata. This place is really beautiful during winter, where you will see a thick blanket of snow covering the area. 
My favourite place, Nami Island. Check out the cute snowman dressed in Xmas coats. I have recommended this place as part of Gangwon Autumn series, but you can always make a visit during winter too. I tend to make a trip here every time I'm in Korea. This place is just too beautiful to be missed! 

Since winter is coming, it is still not too late to start planning your winter adventures in Korea. Hurry and hop over to and start clicking away! 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Gangwon: A Journey Through Nature

Gangwon-do province is gifted with nature's riches: to the east lies the azure blue waters of the East Sea and along the mountain range, the backbone of Seoraksan, Odaesan and Taebaeksan mountains each showed off their splendid beauty. Surrounded by lush mountains and pristine waters, the region is often referred to as the "lungs of Korea" for clean air, peaceful valleys and breath-taking views are scattered throughout the region. It is a place to experience true relaxation and revitalize the tired body and mind in the untouched natural environment of Gangwon-do. No wonder that Gangwon-do is the most popular holiday destination for all! Let me take you through the 5 places to visit for a journey through nature in Gangwon-do. 
Seoraksan National Park 설악산국립공원
Seoraksan is the most iconic mountain of Gangwon-do and stretches through 3 counties of the province. With Daecheongbong Peak at its summit, Seoraksan Mountain (whose name literally means "mountains of snow and rocks"), features unique rock formations such as Ulsanbawai Rock and Gongnyong Ridge. Every fall, it is one of the first mountains in Korea to be coloured with autumn foliage, with mid-October being the best time to view this splendid scenery. Also referred to as the "snow-like white rock", the mountain is especially spectacular in winter when it is entirely covered in snow. 
Nami Island 남이섬 종합휴양지
Well-known as a filming site for the ever popular Korean TV drama Winter Sonata, Nami Island boasts an unique and romantic atmosphere. One of the most famous locations on the island is the tree-lined roads, which greets visitors with different colours throughout the year. You can relive the memories of the drama by walking along the path, otherwise there are also many interesting activities and facilities on the island. 
Jeongdongjin Sunrise Park 정동진 해돋이 공원
Jeongdongjin liternally means "due east" and was named so for being located directly east of Seoul's Gwanghwamun Gate. Crowds of people flock to this seaside park every New Year to watch the first sunrise of the year. A view of the coast can be seen immediately upon exiting Jeongdongjin Station, which holds the Guinness World record  for being the station closest to the sea. Not far from the station is Haslla Art World, which is an art garden located on a hill overlooking the green waters of the East Sea. 
Woljeongsa Temple 월정사
The most beautiful fir tree forest trail in Korea leads to the 1000-year-old Woljeongsa Temple, which is surrounded in the natural environment of Odaesan Mountain. This is especially ideal for hiking due to its trails lined with fir trees. At the entrance leading to Woljeongsa Temple, visitors will find restaurants serving set meals featuring over 20 side dishes made with mountain vegetables. A great opportunity to cleanse the body and soul! 
Hwanseongul Cave 환선굴
Hwanseongul Cave is the largest cave of Asia which formed an estimated 530 million years ago. The cave measures 6.2km long, of which 1.6km is open to public. The cave has a complicated structure, full of uniquely-shaped stalactites, stalagmites and is inhabited by many cave creatures. Visitors can take the monorail that departs from the ticket booth to the entrance of the cave, which offers a beautiful view of Deokhangsan Mountain that sits on top of the cave. 

So, start planning your next trip to Gangwon for an experience through nature! Have fun :) 

Images from Korea Tourism Organisation are credited with their watermarks. 

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!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Melbourne 2015: 8 essential items for your road trip in Melbourne

Now that we are back in Singapore, I'm missing the weather in Australia. No doubt that it was chilly, it was way better than Singapore. Last year, we had fun driving down the scenic Great Ocean Drive route, stopping at certain points to admire the vast coastline. We then crossed over to Yarra Valley and drank to our hearts' content. Having survived our 1st solo road trip in Melbourne, here is my pick on the top 8 essential items:
1. Trusty and Reliable Car
Leecher gets to select the car since he'll be the one behind the wheels. For this trip, he chose a SUV - huge, comfortable and stable. We had so much space to ourselves, dumping stuff on the back seats. Most importantly, Leecher wanted to have a feel on driving a SUV and the best way to test-drive this? 8 days of road-trip! 
2. Music List
A good road trip music list which consists of the songs that you can sing along to! We tried to go local and tune in to Kiss FM(101.9) but got tired of the songs. With our data card, we tuned in to internet radio of YES933 and Kiss 92 for a mix of Chinese and English songs. We also got our K-pop dosage from my iTunes list.
3. Shades & Sunscreen
The sun in Australia is really no joke. Be sure to slap on sunscreen and wear your shades for extra protection. Furthermore, you'll look like a fasionista when taking pictures too! 
4. Drinks & Snacks
Stocking up on drink/snacks is a must to curb your hunger pangs during the long drive. I found my favourite indulge at Coles supermart - this is absolutely yummy! 
5. Data Card
Definitely a must in today's world. We depended on the card for playing the internet radio, keeping in touch with families/friends and not forgetting navigation for the drive. A tip: always download the respective telco app on your device to check data usage/allowance. We paid for 4GB but was only given 1GB. Thankfully, the kind SA helped to resolve the problem and we were credited with our allowance. 
6. Overnight Bag
We were shifting accommodation almost every other day. Hence, we opted for overnight bags to contain our clothings/essentials for the night(s) instead of lugging our luggages up and down the car. 
7. Wet Wipes
 To give your hands a clean wipe before/after eating.
8. Mini Trash Bags
We exercised basic courtesy so all rubbish went into the thrash bags then into the bins. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Malacca 2015: 5 things to do in Malacca

From a simple fishing village to a UNESCO site, Malacca has come a long way since 1377. Malacca is also a popular place for weekends getaway with both Singaporeans and locals. Within the span of 1 year, I headed to Malacca twice - once with the Jitches and most recently, with the in-laws. Here's the 2015 edition of 5 things to do in Malacca: 
 1. Ride on the rickshaw
P7180617 copy 
Hop on for a ride in these elaborately decorated rickshaws, which even came equipped with a stereo system blasting the latest songs. Top marks for the amount of effort taken to dress each rickshaw, which has now become an icon of Malacca.
 2. Stroll along Melaka River
P7180610 copy
Evening is the best time to stroll along the Malacca River, which was once a vital trade route during the heyday of Malacca Sultanate in the 15th century. Restaurants, bars and shops are scattered on both sides of the river, so you can hop in for a rest or a quick bite before continuing the rest of the journey.  
3. Nadeje Mille Crepe 
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Before Lady M invaded our shores, Nadeje was the to-go place for mille crepe. They pride themselves for using quality ingredients to make their crepes/cakes, which probably explains the ridiculously long queues for both dine-in and takeaway.
4. St Paul's Church
Catch a glimpse of St. Paul's Church, the oldest church building in Malaysia built in 1521. Located at the summit of St. Paul's Hill, this roofless church was originally a simple chapel before it became a burial ground. 
5. Shop at the Malls
Escape the scorching sun and head to the malls instead. Shop at either the iconic Mahkota Parade, which was recently refurbished to embrace a younger crowd or Dataran Paulawan, home to some of the most exciting entertainment, such as the cinema, skating rink or archery. 

Psst .... detailed posts will be linked once completed, stay tuned!  
Read our Malacca adventures here:
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