Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sparkling Korea

Finally! The time has come! I've been waiting for this moment for a long time, which is to go to Korea for holiday. Even though at first my friends want to join, but the declined it due to some matter.

Day 01 - Kuala Lumpur / Saigon

We transit at Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam for several hours before we headed to Incheon International Airport, Seoul. In Saigon, we had a quick city tour with our guide, Miss Erra. We toured around Saigon, and went to several interesting places. We went to Handicapped Handicraft factory, mosque and then dinner at a Muslim restaurant. Then, we headed back to the airport to continue our journey to South Korea.

with my mom at Saigon

with my cousins

Day 02 - Incheon / Namiseom / Ski Resort

We slept in the flight last night. It's kind of waste of time because it took such a long time to reach Korea. If there's no transit, we might had been there a day earlier. However, the meal in the flight wasn't bad at all.

Incheon International Airport

Our first destination today was Nami Island which was famous for Winter Sonata filming location. The weather was damn cold. Even though I wore thick clothes, gloves and snow cap, the cold still managed to penetrate my skin. This place is very stunting and beautiful. The tree squirels also were very cute.

Nami Island

We had our lunch at a vegetarian restaurant just before we went to Nami Island. I also had the chance to taste the kimchi. However, the taste was weird. I wonder why Korean loves kimchi very much.

tofu steamboat

Later, we went to the ski resort. The hotel room is like an apartment. It contains 2 rooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen and also living room. However, only one room has bed. Therefore, as the youngest ones, my younger brother and I slept in the empty room. We took the mattress and pillows from the cupboard outside.

That night, snow started to come down. We all were very excited about it because it was our first time watching snow coming down except for the fake one in Snow World, Genting Highlands.

Day 03 - Ski Resort / Everland / Suwon

After breakfast, we were given chance to ski at the nearby hill. My brothers went to ski but I decided to become their photographer instead. The cost for the ski equipment is USD 50 which is quite expensive. Outside the hotel, all places become white due to last night snow. It was such a very beautiful scenery. At the ski place, the snow started to fall down again, but this time, like a heavy downpour. I could barely open my eyes for a long time. This place was very packed with people, some of them were beginners and some already expert.

with Won Bin

It's snowing this morning


At noon, we continue our vacation to Everland. It took about 2 or 3 hours to reach there. During the way, we watched 'The Host' in the bus. Then, we stopped for a while at the R&R to have a quick snacks because today, no lunch was included in our package. I bought some hot drinks and then ate breads with sardines outside because inside was full with hungry people. It was very chilly and cold. I could hardly move my fingers and it was very difficult to eat.

Everland is a theme park. It is a very huge place compared to any other theme parks in Malaysia. The sets were also very beautiful. Here, we played several rides and watch some shows. First, we boarded the mini train, then watch the Christmas performances on the big stage, then we headed to the Safari ride, and later we play Snow Slide. We didn't get chance to play roller coaster and other extreme rides because it's getting dark. The day has become shorter in winter.


We stayed at Hotel Castle, Suwon tonight. My friend, Minu was already there by the time I entered the building. I asked him to wait for a little while and after that, we went for a quick stroll outside. We went to a restaurant to try some kimbab and ramen. It was very tasty.

Day 04 - Suwon / Seoul

In the morning, we visited Kyongbok Palace and also passed by the Blue House which is the President's house. I got the chance to watch the guard exchange in the palace. The guards were all stand still like statues. We also went to the Folk Museum.

Folk Museum

Then, we went to Itaewon. Here, there is a mosque in this town and also many Muslim restaurants. Our lunch was Indian cuisine. Many Muslims live here because of the availability of many halal food. Then, we had a quick shopping at the Hamilton Plaza. I bought several cd album of my favourite groups which are Big Bang and SNSD. I was hoping to buy more like Super Junior and Wonder Girls but I didn't have enought money. I had to save my money a little bit for the future shopping places.

Itaewon Mosque

In the evening, we went to Lotte World. It is an indoor and also outdoor theme parks. We were given 5 free rides to try. Since it's Sunday, this place was packed with people. We tried out Sinbad Adventure, Pharaoh's Fury, French Revolution, Jungle Adventure and Flume Ride. Even though it was only 5 rides, it consumed 3 hours because we need to queue for the rides. The French Revolution which is a roller coaster was very amazing. I enjoyed it very much.

Lotte World

No dinner today, therefore I ate instant noodles in hotel room to fill up my hungry belly.

Day 05 - Seoul


Today was our shopping day. All places we visited today are for shopping. First, we went to National Ginseng Outlet, Dewin's cosmetic shop, Amethyst Factory, Namdaemun Market and also Dongdaemun Market. I didn't buy much because the things are very expensive in Korea. I just bought some souvenirs and a couple of t-shirts.

In Korea, I managed to watch Korean Drama, You Are My Destiny which I also watched in Malaysia. Even though there is no subtitle, I just watch it just to keep up. The episodes in Korea was way far away from the episodes in Malaysia. The episodes in Malaysia was a little late.

Day 06 - Seoul / Saigon

It was snowing on the day we left the hotel.

I didn't realise that our tour in Korea had come to an end today. We were going to Saigon today before we went back to Malaysia tomorrow. We had a noodle breakfast at the nearby restaurant near the airport. Some of us also did last minute shopping in the duty free shop there.

After saying goodbye to our bus driver whom I didn't know his name, Mickey (photographer) and Billy (tour guide), we boarded our plane to Saigon.

we were leaving

In Saigon, we were welcomed by Miss Erra again and we continue our tour at some shops. Then, we went to Ben Than market. I grabbed a t-shirt, slippers and also souvenirs. We had our dinner in a Malaysian restaurant, Four Seasons. The food here were good, tasty and delicious. Finally we could eat our local food after having vegetarian, seafood and Indian food in Korea.

Day 07 - Saigon / Kuala Lumpur

Bye bye Saigon and Seoul.


It's very cold in Korea especially in Nami Island and Seoul. Even though snow barely came down in Seoul, I really didn't like the cold weather.

It's very expensive in Korea. The things are just expensives. The clothes, the souvenirs the bla bla bla.. All expensives!

I feel very satisfied with my Korean favourites albums! Even though I had downloaded all SNSD's songs, I still bought the album. This album is very beautiful, with many pictures inside. Big Bang album also is very well created. It contains stickers and also many photos.

I bought very many souvenirs. It's kinda excessive. My RM300 just walked away like that.

I also bought 2 t-shirts with Korean printing and also a pink Sony earphone.

The scenery in Korea is very beautiful. More beautiful than Malaysia. The city is also more modern than Malaysia. The toilets are mostly clean, even though in market. The city itself is very clean.

The theme parks are like heaven for youngters. They have many interesting rides, exhibition, shows, events and also very huge.

Hmm.. My 6-months holiday nearly come to an end. In less than 2 weeks, I will continue my study in IMU. Wuuu.... Nak cuti!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

4 Days 3 Night Padang - Bukit Tinggi Package

This was my third time I went to these places. Therefore, I was quite used to these places and knew a lot of things about them.

This trip also was joined by my grandmother, my whole family, my uncle, my aunt and my cousins.

Day 01 - Bukit Tinggi


the beautiful scenery in the sky

As we arrived at the Bandara (stands for Bandar Udara) Minangkabau International Airport, we were welcomed by the tourist guide named Ali. After we finished settling our baggages, we boarded the bus which was parked about 500 m from the airport. The airport was located in Padang and our immediate destination was Bukit Tinggi which is located approximately 150 km from Padang.

at the Minangkabau International Airport

Along the way to Bukit Tinggi, we passed by Lembah Anai which is famous for the beautiful and refreshing waterfall. The waterfall is said to have power of 'awet muda' which can maintain a person's youthness. My uncle and I went near the waterfall to take several shots but my parents remained in the bus because we already had been here before this, last year I think.

waterfall and me

After that, we went to Pusat Dokumentasi Kebudayaan Minangkabau in Padang Panjang. Here, we were given a briefing about Minangkabau tribe. Minangkabau tribe consists of many small tribes and some history about them was told by the presenter. The atmosphere in the rumah gadang was very cool and pleasant. It was natural, without the presence of any air-conditioner.

After having our lunch which was nasi padang at Restoran Pak Datuk (or Datuak in Minangakabau language), our journey was continued to Kampung Padang Sikek to watch the process of weaving songket and wood carving. We went to many shops selling embroidery clothes, telekung and many more. Here, embroidery and wood carving were the specialities of the Minangkabauians.

After quite a tiring day, we checked in Hotel Pusako to had a quick rest before dinner. Unfortunately, my brother was having fever due to exposure to rain before this. He rested in the room instead of going out for dinner. As usual, we were also having nasi padang as our dinner.

Day 02 - Maninjau Tour

Today, we were going to Tasik Maninjau which was located about 2-hours drive from Bukit Tinggi. To reach the lake, we must went through Kelok 44 (44 sharp bends) first which is quite dangerous. I slept along the way to the lake. Therefore, I didn't feel the dizzyness in the bus. There were also monkeys at te roadside waiting for tourist to throw food.

Tasik Maninjau

Near the lake, there is Hamka's house. Hamka is one of the Tokoh Islam which is popular in Malaysia and Indonesia. In the wooden house, we were given a briefing about Hamka by Pak Hanif. He is Hamka's nephew. It was very crowded in here, with tourists from other groups as well. Last year, this house was quite emptier than this year.

Pak Hanif

After half an hour spending our time there, we went back to Bukit Tinggi. On the way there, we dropped by a small place for some coffee break. Then, we continued our journey immediately because the male had to go for Jumaat prayer. Then, we went to a silverwork house. I didn't enter this house because I was busy sleeping in the bus. Plus, I didn't have anything to buy there.

yum yum.. Tango vanilla wafer

In the evening, after lunch, we went to Pasar Atas which is located within a walking distance from the Jam Gadang (Big Clock). Here, most of us got separated. Each of us had different things to buy here. I toured the market with my brothers. I grabbed a stripe snowcap, a couple of scarfs, and a baju melayu for my friend. Then, we went to the nearby shopping complex. I shopped in Ramayana (supermarket) and bought v-neck vests.


After done with shopping, we waited for others at the Jam Gadang. It's getting dark here and people in the mosque were busy praying. However, there were some youngsters busy with their guitar at that time. They sang songs along with the guitar tunes hoping for donations. My brother gave them some money. While the musicians were singing to my aunt, they were advised by her to stop singing because people were praying the mosque. They should respect praying time. It's quite funny watching the incident and some of us laughed about it. They went quite for some time and moved away. After that, a woman came and sang to us some songs hoping for donation also but we didn't respond to her. Therefore, she walked away. Then, my cousins started teasing the women after she left, imitating the way she sang the songs. It's quite funny though.

Jam Gadang

Day 03 - Minangkabau Tour - Padang

Early in the morning, we headed to Lobang Jepang or Japanese Hole nearby at Ngarai Sianok. It is a historical place built by the Japanese during the colonial time decades ago. I didn't enter the hole, instead I went through the shops there and later to the back to find some monkeys to be feed. Usually, we could see the monkeys in front but they already moved to the back. I knew that the monkeys would be here, therefore I had prepared a bag of peanuts to feed them. My brother and I went to the back and found the monkey on a tree.

5 siblings

While I was busy snapping the photos, then, a man came and told us about the monkeys. Then, he whistled to call the monkeys. I quickly open my bag and reached the peanuts. Then, a group of monkey came around us. It's very simple to feed them. Just put the nuts on your palm and they will come to pick it. They are not so dangerous and quite tame. They are also cute though. However, a naughty monkey grabbed the plastics full of peanuts from my hand and ran away with it. So naughty..

monkey feeding

I bought some keychains from the man earlier. He is one of the shopkeeper there. He told me some information about the monkey also. I also went up to the viewing tower at the back. Then, we went to the front and called my sister and brothers. Later, we went back again to feed the monkeys again. It's quite fun feeding them.

Lobang Jepang

After done here, we continued our journey to Tabek Patah to watch local home-industry which are making pisang salai and traditional coffee. I tasted a cup of tea made from coffee leaves and stirred it with cinnamon stick.

We had our lunch in the middle of paddy field. Pondok Flora Restaurant served grilled fish which was very delicious. We also had durians there. It's very mouth watering. After lunch, something terrible happened. Our bus broke down and we needed to wait for another replacement bus one hour later. During the waiting period, we feed the fished in the pond with buns. The fishes in there were unusually big. I guessed it was the same type of fish we ate for lunch.

After the problem was solved, we headed to our next destination which was back to Padang. We went to Istana Silindung Bulan to take some photos. The earlier replice of this palace was burnt down to earth by lightning last year. Therefore, we just went to the original one instead of the replica. The original one was rarely opened, therefore we just took photos from outside. Different from the replica where we can enter it.

Rumah Gadang

Before checked in to the Hotel Bumi Minang, we had a little shopping at Matahari Shopping Complex. I bought a couple of t-shirts, and a white shirt. My father added some money for us because we had so much to buy tonight since it was our last night here.

After done with shopping, we retired to bed and packing some stuffs to be brought back to Malaysia.

Day 04 - Airport

After having an early breakfast (at 5.30 am), we immediately went to the airport. We handed over the survey forms to Pak Ali and also thanked him for a great service he had given us. He is so informative and the language he used was very easy to understand.

Hmm.. It was quite tiring day. I slept so much at home after we arrived.

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