South Korea Adventure 3.0

Hello there! I’m back from our family retreat of which you can see on my Instagram account @nicagerona. Today is my last post of our South Korean trip *sighs*, and the last video will also be posted here at the end. For our last day, we went SHOPPING! My grandparents were quite eager to shop, they can manage to walk all day as long as there is shopping involved. Haha

We were supposed to go to both Myeong-do and Insa-dong, but we only managed to visit one. It was because of the cold weather that I honestly couldn’t stand. So we chose to roam around Insa-dong and shop there. My grandparents had a blast and truly enjoyed every moment. There vendors were quite kind and gracious to give us discounts and she even gave us freebies! One thing I noticed is that Koreans have deep respect and love for the elderly. My grandmas enjoyed the freebies and gave lots of hugs and kisses too.

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Lockers for luggages
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Cute art.

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We also visited the Ssamzigil shopping center in Insa-dong and there my grandmothers bought their handbags. The kind store lady offered warmed bean bags to seat on and to put on the neck. They were concerned of them as they were bundled up tight due to the cold weather. I loved those bean bags and even sat on one while grandma was busy shopping. Haha.

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Quite a rainy and chilly day!

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Ssamzigil Shopping Center

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Korean Pancakes

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Those warm bean bags!!

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Oddblanc: Handmade Korean jewelry

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Seal the moment.

On the upper floor, we bought some silver jewelry in a store called, Oddblanc. All their jewelry are handmade, with a 92.5% silver chain and 99% silver pendant. I wanted the thumb print with printed words of I love you, but those customized necklaces will need 7 days to prepare. So, I chose a traditional Korean Chilbo necklace to pattern with my Mum’s. It was beautiful!

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Then we walked to another shopping store, where we bought my brother some souvenir shirts, my grandmothers bought chocolates and grandpa bought a belt. After all the shopping and coupled with the drizzling rain, we went to have our tax refund and headed back for our last dinner in the two ajumma’s place. We also prepped our belongings for tomorrow’s flight.

The next day, we just ate our last breakfast there. It was a sad and heartfelt goodbye and we’ll surely miss the two ajummas who became close to my grandparents. We picked up our baggages back at the guesthouse and decided to wait in the airport for the flight as it was freezing cold. I could feel my snot freezing as well. Eew! Haha.

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Hongik to Incheon Airport

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The train transfer. It was the longest 6 minutes of my life!

So we rode the direct train from Hongik to Incheon Airport. However, we didn’t hear the announcement that the train will only be up to Gyeyang Station. So we had to transfer and my goodness, it was so cold! My legs and hands hurt badly everytime the wind blows. It was a relief to get back inside the train and stay warm.

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The strawberries here are uber sweet!
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My photographer taking a selfie. HEEHEE

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I always look for charging ports at the Airport
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Classy!

At the airport we stayed and ate strawberries while we waited for the check-in. Our flight was at 9:35pm and we had time to nap and roam around the spacious, clean airport.

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My masterpiece: “Shading”

We also did some last minute shopping  at the Duty Free and even toured the Museum of Korean Culture which was located inside the airport. We even had some cool souvenirs, made and sealed by yours truly! HAHAHA.

This trip was indeed our shortest, but a fun-filled one. I am happy that even in my grandparent’s old age, they managed Korea’s cold weather and enjoyed the wonderful surprises it has to offer. I hope we could travel with them more, and if my dad would read this, I hope it’ll be Japan. Haha. Thank you Papa for bringing us all here. To my brother, thank you for being my photographer and meeting your model’s (ehem) demands. To my bestfriend Chen, thank you for encouraging me to make a video out of this trip. To the Lord Almighty, for all of these.

Here is the final video I made:

 

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

P.S. Look out for my other adventures this year, 2017. 

 

South Korea Adventure 2.0

We are now on the Day 2 of adventure and this time it’s Everland wonderland! My dad chanced upon a poster in our Guesthouse that sells discounted tickets to both Everland and Lotte World. Both are known theme parks in South Korea, the difference is that Everland is more of an outdoor park while Lotte World is more of an indoor park. Originally, Everland sells their one day tickets for 52,000KRW for Adults, and for children it is 41,000KRW. While Lotte World sells 52,000KRW for Adults, 45,000KRW for teens, 42,000KRW for children and 13,000KRW for infants.

But the Guesthouse is tied up with the park and they offer a discounted price of 37,000KRW per person. My dad in all excitement told me and my brother, and so off we bought the tickets at the reception. They just phoned the park and asked us to pay in cash. After 10 minutes, they handed us 7 tickets. We were told that Everland’s Shuttle bus is available in the Sinchon area and that it leaves at 9am.

We were tempted to grab the bus option. But we sleep in a bit and the fact that we couldn’t walk in a hurried pace with our elders in tow. Plus we wanted to eat a hearty meal in the two ajumma’s place, we then chose the train option. This is however the longest train ride I ever had in my life. I will share the routes we took going to and back at the end. Also another vlog is posted at the end and linked on Youtube.

Here is how our day began…

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Right after a hearty breakfast from the two ajumma’s place, we walked to the station with my grandpa held my grandma’s hand and they walked along. So sweet!
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Awwww

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The everyday train ride. Haha
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My readers, behold my impromptu photographer and annoying brother. Heehee

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Such view!
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Just one more train ride!

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The usual photo op
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And selfie!
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Free Shuttle Bus

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Here we go!

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I regretted this ride ever…

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A must try ride here in Everland. The T-express, the only roller coaster made of wood and the steepest in South Korea.

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This is it!

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Look at those beams!
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Almost all the walls in each ride have some sort of vandalism in it. 
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*Gulps*

That ride was the most scariest but enjoyable ride of my life. I cannot say exactly or explain how, but it was one unforgettable moment to try the T-express. My brother wanted to take another swing but the line was too long. So we went to another area of the park.

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Right after this ride, it started drizzling, at this point my grandparents were all freezing and we had to go home. My grandma Ruth had to change jackets with my mother to stop her chilling. d0367471-0cd3-4883-a78a-39353c7ee9aa

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And here we are at the station, all bundled up. The park closed earlier too due to the rain.

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Of course, vanity strikes!

When we arrived Hongik Station it was pouring, Dad had to buy us umbrellas and we all walked hurriedly in the the two ajumma’s place for a warm dinner.

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Ramen so good!
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Gimbap! Yum

That day was fun and chilly. My grandpa complained of the cold as it was windy and rainy at the same time. It poured the whole night and some in the morning after which made this last leg of our trip, extra cold. But they sure enjoyed the scenery of the mountains and the colorful remaining leaves on some trees.

How we got there:
Hongik University Station (Line 2-Green Line) => Seolleung (Line 2-Green Line) change station to Bundang Line-Yellow Line => Giheung (change station to Light Green Line-Yongin Everline) =>Jeondae-Everland Station

From Jeondae-Everland Station go down to the Parking Lot and there is a free Shuttle going to the Everland Theme Park. The last bus leaves from the Park to the station at 10pm.

25 stations from Hongik to Seolleung + 22 stations from Seolleung to Giheung + 14 stations from Giheung to Jeondae-Everland Station

How we got back:
Jeondae-Everland Station (Yongin Everline) => Giheung (change to Yellow line-Bundang line) => change line Suwon Station (Dark Blue line-Line 1) => Sindorim Station (change to Green line-Line 2) => Hongik Station (Line 2-Green Line).

14 stations from Jeondae-Everland to Giheung + 8 stations from Giheung to Suwon + 15 stations from Suwon to Sindorim + 5 stations from Sindorim to Hongik.

For more details click the link provided:
Everland Theme Park
Lotte World

And here is the video for the Day 2 adventure!

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

P.S. My third and last post for South Korea will be delayed from the usual one day apart posting due to our family vacation/reunion in my Mother’s hometown. 

South Korea Adventure 1.0

Annyeonghaseyo everyone! We are now on my third post about our Korean Adventure 🇰🇷. My first blog, was about how we procured our visa, my second blog was about our stay at the Kimchee Sinchon Guesthouse. Today, is a post of our adventures in the famous Gyeongbokgung Palace 🏯 then to the National Palace Museum of Korea and down to the Bukchon Hanok Village. At the end of the blog is a video, I made for to show you our trip. The video is also uploaded in Youtube, in case you want to check it out.

Let us start off, with this series of photos of our flight going to South Korea…✈️

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Touchdown South Korea!
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Cool toilets for the elderly and disabled!

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When my grandma asked me to accompany her to the toilet, I brought her here. It was hilarious, as I didn’t first see the buttons for close and open. I just closed the door with all my might and the door wasn’t locking. Haha! I’m just glad in the end I figured it out before granny was done peeing.

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Mon papa et mes grand-meres
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Train directly from Incheon International Aiport to the station near our guesthouse
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Of course, selfie is a must!
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Sinchon Area
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Our very first Korean dinner. Haha. We got there late.
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You know me and my IG-worthy photos. Haha #vain
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The following day

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These two ajummas kept us fed and were very kind to both of my grandmothers. We ended up eating here every meal.

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Always start with a good breakfast!

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Deposit your subway cards after use to refund 500 KRW back!
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Always prepared!

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Koreans are very polite to the elderly. They would stand to let them old seat.

Travelling throughout Seoul is a breeze due to their well-connected subway system. Download the app Seoul Subway from the App Store or simply ask from the Tourist Information for a map. 🚈 🚊

Gyeongbokgung Palace
Built during the 1300s and was known as the Northern Palace. It is the largest and most grandeur from all 5 remaining palaces in South Korea. (Source: english.visitkorea.or.kr)
*Note: They are closed during Tuesdays, for more details, click the source link above*

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Always look for these exit signs to find your way out.

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Ginormous!

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Beautiful.

You may notice the few pictures we have that is because we forgot to do a thorough research and came on a Tuesday. Nevertheless, we enjoyed what we saw.

How we got there:
Hongik University Station (Line 2-Green Line) => Euljiro 3-ga (Euljiro sam-ga) change to Line 3 or Orange line => Gyeongbokgung Station (Line 3-Orange Line)

National Palace of Museum Korea
The museum was built on September 1908 and was first known as the “Korean Imperial Museum”. Originally it was in the Changgyeonggung Palace, but in 2005 it is placed in a modern building up until today near the Gyeongbokgung Palace. (Source: Wikipedia) Entrance is free and you may take photos (without flash) within. Free wifi is also available. For more details click this link.

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Yes, I am feeling it!

 

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Behold! The Iron Throne, I mean the King’s throne.
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Portrait of the Joseon Kings
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Sorry, my hand was shaking with excitement.

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Wedding Bands

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The Queen!
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The Imperial Car

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Self-striking Water Clock that chimed in just in time we were there!

 

How we got there:
The Museum is just across the Palace.
Bukchon Hanok Village
This village is known for its traditional houses called “hanok”. It is also within the surrounding of two palaces and a shrine. Some of the houses are offered as guesthouses to tourists or cultural workshops. (Source: english.visitkorea.or.kr)

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I was tempted to enter here!
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They place this on the sidewalk to guide tourists.
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Here we go!
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There are tons of hanbok rentals across the area.

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Obligatory shot

How we got there:
Gyeongbokgung Palace (Line 3-Orange Line) => Anguk Station (Line 3-Orange Line)

On our way home, we chanced upon some famous Korean street foods and got to have some tteokbokki! Yum!

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Those J-shaped ice cream cones.
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They all look tired. Aww
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But first, dinner in the two ajumma’s place. Bibimbap!
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Udon
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Spicy Seafood Rice

Our first day of adventure might seem short compared to our previous trips. However, to my grandparents, it was a long one. They needed leg massages as soon as we got back to the guesthouses and smelled of menthol ointments to soothe the pain. But they definitely enjoyed the memories and culture to cherish.

As promised, here is the video I made. Hope y’all enjoy it!

 

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

I also want to thank my bestfriend, Chen who encouraged me to do a video out of this trip and my brother, Nick for being my impromptu photographer.

This is the first time, I would be requesting this, but if you find my blog posts interesting at all, kindly share or subscribe, it would mean a lot to me! Je t’aime mon cher lecteur.

Kimchee Sinchon Guesthouse

Last Sunday, I shared how we got our Korean Tourist Visa and today, we are going through our 4 day trip in South Korea 🇰🇷 by 3 parts. Plus, I’ll be posting a 2 part video 🎥📽linked on the next blog post and in Youtube of our SoKor fun, which I painstakingly made via iMovie. Haha! I hope y’all would at least like it👍🏼. This is actually the shortest trip we ever had since I started the #LesVoyagesdesNica in Instagram. Not that I’m starting some “movement” but I’d just like to categorize my IG travel posts, so you can easily find them too. Heehee.

Shortest, because there were 7 of us travelling, which means it’ll be more expensive and the 3 who would be joining us are my grandparents. If you have read my previous travel posts, you probably noticed that we love walking and taking the cheapest routes and places to stay as much as possible. Being with my grandparents means, we couldn’t walk as fast paced as before, since we need to assist them and be mindful of them as well. Another reason is the winter season in South Korea, in which we all have to prepare well. Staying more than those 4 days, might get them sick, since we all aren’t used to -2°C and below.😱🤧🤒😷

In this blog, let us talk of the Guesthouse we stayed in Korea. We stayed at the Kimchee Sinchon Guesthouse, which was the cheapest place we scouted from both Tripadvisor and Agoda.com. Kimchee Guesthouses are budget-friendly places to stay for travelers and backpackers alike. They have 5 branches in the areas of Gangnam, Hongdae, Sinchon/Edae & Busan. They offer dormitories and private rooms, free internet, a common lounge, laundry, kitchen, shared bathrooms and such.

We stayed in the Sinchon branch, it is considered their largest branch. It is also near the Hongkik University Station and Sinchon Station. It is at the center of trendy cafes and youthful vibes surrounding Hongdae-Sinchon. From here we booked online a 4 bed private room with a shared bathroom. This meant we’ll be using a public bathroom with the other guests, but we’ll be staying in a private room. We got mixed up thinking it was our own private shared bathroom. But it’s okay, we can adapt to changes. Hehe. ☺️

Right after booking with Agoda.com, the Kimchee Sinchon Guesthouse, immediately sent an email to confirm our stay, indicating that this is a book now and pay later reservation. The payment will enter on December 16, which was a month long time to think whether you would push through. But of course, we didn’t cancel, hehe.

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‼️*Note: Take a screenshot of your Hostel/Hotel’s address and phone number as it is needed in the Visa Application form and the Arrival Card before entering Korea*‼️

We arrived pretty late in South Korea and catched the last train leaving going to Hongkik University. Thankfully, Incheon Airport has a direct route there. From the station, we walked and even had a minor accident of my grandma slipping face forward. 😱Thank goodness, she wasn’t badly hurt, though she did scraped her knee. Outside the station, we used the map given by Kimchee Sinchon (as seen above) to locate the place, as it was late and quite dark already. We were also starving and had to buy instant noodles for our first “Korean” dinner.

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Arriving in Sinchon, we were expecting the reception to be 24/7 open. But it wasn’t, we all thought we were going to end up sleeping on the street. But they do leave your key number along with the guest’s name on the counter. Just pick it up and off you go to your room. But then you have to show up by 9am the next day to pay for the key deposit and complete your check in.

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What we didn’t know was that the Guesthouse only had stairs, they had no elevators. So we had to go in two groups (remember we have 3 senior citizens, 4 baggages plus 7 hand carry bags) 😩. My dad and brother carried all baggages from the 1st to the 5th floor. Yes, our room was on the 5th floor. While I stayed up to place them on the respective rooms and guard them as well. My mom had to assist two grandmas and my grandpa in going up, but right after dad and my brother were done, they helped as well.

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It was teamwork indeed! Haha. The private rooms were placed on the highest floor, so we really had no choice. Anyway, it was good exercise! Haha. Right now, I’ll be showing you the rooms we availed and other amenities involved:

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The elders slept on the lower bunks, while we took down the mattresses on the floor to sleep on. It was way better! 😪😴

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The common area, where a smoking room is also available. Kitchen, utensils and plates are free to use, just wash them after. They have a laundry and the lounge area. The shelves are where the residents place their food. Kind of like a food storage. They clean the shelves every week though.

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Shared bathroom. Each floor had two toilets and two shower rooms. Male restrooms are on the 1st and 4th floor. The female restrooms are on the 2nd, 3rd and 5th floors.

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Information, a list of house rules and a discount promo for bloggers.

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Be sure to buy a universal adapter for your devices. You may buy at the reception and it costs 5,000KRW.

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Airconditioners are turned off during the cold winter months. But you may use their mosquito repellant provided in each room.

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The Guesthouse during the day.

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The street across the guesthouse by day.

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Reception by day.

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A selfie from the whole fam! Off to a day’s adventure.

Overall, our stay in the Kimchee Sinchon Guesthouse was comfortable 👍🏼👌🏼. Even if we had to climb the stairs daily and use a common bathroom, it was fine by us. We adapted and even had good nights of blissful rest. Plus, their staff were really accommodating and assistive to our questions. Special shout out to Jay and Johnny! 🙌🏼🙌🏼

If you ever need a budget-friendly place to stay in South Korea and won’t mind sharing a bathroom then Kimchee Guesthouse is the place for you.

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

P.S. The next blogpost will contain the video of the part 1 of our trip. 🎥📽

My Experience: Korean Tourist Visa

*Disclaimer: This post will not guarantee your visa approval as a tourist to South Korea. But this will give you an insight of what you need to do and what could possibly happen.*

Hello there! We just got back from our South Korean Adventure and our shortest but fun filled trip! South Korea 🇰🇷 is the first country we ever visited with the requirement of a Tourist Visa for Filipinos. This trip is also our first with my grandparents from both sides 👴🏼👵🏻👵🏼. This makes this trip extra fun and challenging, considering the visas we need to procure and the winter weather we all should face. 😨☃️❄️

So let us begin.

The Korean visa requirements are displayed per category in the Korean Embassy’s website. There are 19 categories, but the most common are:

1. Businessmen
2. Student 
3. Housewife/Househusband
4. Employee
5. Retired Senior Citizen
6. Workers

We took the four categories of housewife, self-employed, student and retired senior citizen. Under each category is a specific list of requirements that you need to strictly follow. Arrange your paper according to the list of requirements in the site. It is important to take note of the “and/or” conjunctions.

Be sure to provide PHOTOCOPIES of the NECESSARY documents indicated in the website. Make sure that all your documents are not more than 3 months old. Apply at least a month before your preferred date of departure. Also make an advanced “pay later” booking of your hotel, or place to stay in as it is needed in the application.

Fill in all the boxes in the application form provided on their website. Write N/A for the blank boxes. Use only black pen and write in CAPITAL letters. When you are going to fill up for someone, (e.g. Your grandma or a young child) be sure to indicate it in the slot at the end of the form. Print it in A4 paper.

If you will be staying for less than 59 days, you no longer need to pay for visa. For 60 to 90 days is PHP1,800.00. More than this, you may refer to their site on the price, as it may vary in time. Be there at 8:30am-11:00am for the submission. This is a first come, first serve basis. The length of waiting for the visa is around 3 to 5 days. For those who have travelled on OECD countries or in any countries for the last 5 years, list it down on the form. The list of OECD countries is provided on the site as well.

For a family like ours, where we listed my dad as the person who would finance, we provided for each person a document that would prove our relationship to him. For my mom, their marriage contract. His parents, his birth certificate. Me and my brother, our birth certificate. His mother-in-law, my parent’s marriage certificate and my mother’s birth certificate.

One representative per family or group will suffice in the submission. However, be sure to ask whether they would need every member of the family or group to be present when you claim your passport. They will also tell you when to come back and where to go after. We got our visa after 5 days and praise God! All were approved. 🙌🏼 But dad had to prank us, by making us anxious in thinking that one of us was not approved. 😂😩😒 My mum definitely didn’t like that prank. Haha!

This was a memorable trip for my grandparents and for my family as well. It was my grandmothers’ first trip outside the country. My grandfather’s first after soo many years ago.  I hope my rundown of what we did and what could happen helped you. If you need any help, do not hesitate to ask me here on the comment boxes below. 😘

Merci beaucoup et à bientôt

Watch out for the next blogpost for #SouthKorea and the VLOG!! 🙌🏼📽🎥

iMovie + Trailer

Hello there! We are so getting near the #LesVoyagesdesNica series. Yes, another travel blog for you my dear readers. 🙌🏼 ☺️ But this time, I decided to let you know where by making my first ever iMovie Trailer. This was encouraged by my best friend and fellow blogger, Chen from chenesteves.wordpress.com.

She also encouraged me to vlog! 😜  Quite a daunting task for a camera shy (ehem 😝 ) person like me. But I do hope I can make that vlog for our travel. I will keep you guys posted here or in Youtube. Yikes! 😱 Does this mean I’ll venture out vlogging for good? Nah, just trying out new things for the coming New Year. 🎉 Plus, I really can’t commit full time, but I’ll try.

For the trailer, I used the iMovie app here on my iPhone. I was struggling at first but I am glad to pull it through. Though it is certainly not as cinematic as those experienced vloggers or Hollywood cinematographers. Haha. So, don’t judge me, but as always constructive criticisms are welcome. 👍🏼

Enjoy!

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt! 

Watch out for the #LesVoyagesdesNica in my Instagram account. 

 

Israel: Caesarea

Here we are! On the finish line of our trip to Israel. *inserts girl in tantrums emoji* But let us make the most out of this blog. 😭😭😭

On the night of Day 8, we then held a family meeting (cause we’re that kind of family ya’know?). We discussed the probable places to visit around Tel Aviv. Our flight the next day was set on 10pm. And we still have time to roam around.

Day 9
The last day, when dad surprised us that we are going to Caesarea via train. He did a lot of research last night to make sure that we make this last day as memorable as the other days. Since the checkout time in Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv is 11:00AM, we checked out early and leave our luggage on the Luggage Room for free (do check their site for more details).

We then hailed a cab to the Tel Aviv-HaHagana Station and bought tickets going to Kessariya (Caesarea). It was quite a long ride, but we didn’t miss our station. I guess we learned a lot on our first. 😁😁😁

From the station we hailed another cab going to the National Park. As soon we arrived, dad asked the cab driver how can we go back to the station. He handed us his calling card and told us to call, he’ll be arriving in a few minutes.

Caesarea National Park w/ entrance fee
Don’t lose your receipt! Some guards check for it. It is a huge park filled with the ruins from the Roman time.
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Theater
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Columns and other Ruins
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Herod’s Racetrack/Coliseum
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They offer “gladiatorial” shows and horse races too. But we didn’t get to watch it.
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At around 14:00 we then head back. Now, this part of trip really taught us a lesson. Almost all National Parks in Israel aren’t accessible to the public transportation. And so I would advise that if you want to do this DIY, then buy an Israeli simcard to call for a cab. Also, ask for your cab driver’s calling card.

So when we were about to go home we asked the Information for help and were pointed to the Payphone booth. Thank goodness, we asked a local on how we can call for a cab. The kind woman volunteered calling for us and gave us the taxi number, where to wait and the time of arrival (w/c will take around 8 mins).

We waited anxiously as we didn’t want to be late from checking-in the airport. But like as always, the taxis were punctual *breathes with a sigh of relief* and we went back for our luggages. We hailed a cab again back to the train station and from there we bought tickets to Ben Gurion Airport Station.
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From there we had a safe flight to Hong Kong arriving at 6:00AM waited for some 6 to 8 hours for our flight back to Manila. It was a great blessing to our family to have this 13 day trip to Hong Kong and Israel. We are looking forward for more. To God Be the Glory!

To Take Note: Most souvenir shops at National Parks offer a tax refund for tourists. Be sure to ask for one. You will claim it at the Duty Free area at the Airport after your check-in and claiming your Immigration exit card. You have to pack your souvenirs on a carry-on baggage as you will need to present it at the Tax Refund area.
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Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

Israel: Negev Desert Tour

Hello there! It’s Day 8 of our tour and we are almost coming to an end. 😭😭😭 Nevertheless, the doors of adventure are always kept open *wink wink*. Since we have enjoyed our Masada Sunrise tour from Abraham Tours. We booked another package, which is the Desert Adventure Day.

This tour includes a visit to Negev Desert, seeing Makhtesh Ramon’s big and small craters, Ben Gurion’s grave, Ein Avdat and a lunch at the Bedouin tent. Important things you need to bring are: HUGE bottle of water, shawl or hat, sunnies, sunblock, some snacks, extra cash for entrance fees at National Parks and souvenirs too. For more details click the link of the Desert Adventure Day above.

Makhtesh Ramon
Our tour begins at 7:00AM. So we woke up early and had our hearty breakfast which begins at 6:45AM in the hostel. Then off we went to a road adventure. I didn’t know how long the trip exactly was but it sure did give me a quite long time to snuggle and nap at the van.

Arriving in the area, we are warned by our tour guide Sassi 🙂 to not take photos of certain places as it is forbidden by the military. True to it, there are signs posted everywhere. So we were really mindful of it. Reaching the place, we had a 20 minute hike up to see the Small Crater. Though, I dare say it doesn’t look small. It was wondrously huge and you can somehow see the Dead Sea from it.
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Then after a few photos taken we headed back to the van and went to Ben Gurion’s Tomb. I would suggest that you drink moderately, as there are no restrooms in most of the places in this tour except for the Tombs.

Ben Gurion’s Tomb
David Ben Gurion, Israel’s First Prime Minister, a Zionist and the founder of the State of Israel. A well-respected man and beloved by the Israelis. His and his wife’s tomb are set separately in honor of what he has done.
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Entering the area takes around 5 minutes to see the tomb and another 5 to exit. After that we headed to pay for our next stop, the Ein Avdat.

Ein Avdat
Sassi told us that Ein stands for Spring and Avdat is the place. In simple terms, Spring of Avdat. Everytime it would rain in Negev Desert, springs and lakes would form out of Ein Avdat. Although it does dry up as the summer passes by.

Before we were dropped off, we were told that it would be a long hike and those with heart, leg or lung problems aren’t advised. My mum had sore feet from our past few days of adventure. She oftentimes experience palpitations too which is why she chose to stay behind. So did my brother, who feared to get more tanned than he ought to.

As for me and dad, we embrace our tan and getting tan skin. So we did the hike. It was a loong path and thank goodness there were signs along the path. You have to look for painted rocks, they guide you on where you should go next. You should also be mindful on where you step onto as you might slip.
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I should say, at least the stairs have handles on them despite the narrowness of the path. I don’t really have that fear of heights but it sure gave me one here.
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Nevertheless, you can find yourself amazed with nature and in awe of the beauty of Ein Avdat. Just be sure that you are up for a hike as there is only one entrance and one exit for the hike.

Lunch at the Bedouins
Finally on our last stop, our growling tummies are quite excited too. I had a bedouin experience before but I was too young then, so I was really looking forward in meeting the bedouins and getting to converse with them.
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They served us a good heavy lunch and I really like their tea. It’s sweet as candy. According to our guide the bedouin’s tradition during meal time is to eat and not talk. Which is opposite to the Filipino culture, but we were all hungry to talk and so we ate heartily. Then our host’s wife and youngest daughter came over and the conversations started.
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Bedouins are known to be hospitable people. They will accept you and even let you sleep in their tents without asking you why you came to them. It is only after three days, will they begin to ask. Some bedouins have adapted to modern society, some build homes and have heaters for winter times. While there are some to prefer to keep their roots.
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I really like talking with them and playing with our host’s daughter who is soo adorably cute. 😍😍😍

After a hearty meal and chat we headed back home tired but fulfilled.

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

Israel: Jaffa Old City-Pesach Celebration

Day 6 of our Israel journey fell on a Friday. So we had to pick the nearest tourist spot from our hostel and walk to it. Friday evening towards Saturday is the observance of Shabbat and that week was the beginning of the Pesach or Passover.

The Shabbat is something you have to take in mind when travelling in Israel. During this times, public transportation such as buses,trains, some taxis and some sheiruts are not on service. It is afterall, a rest day. Also food stores, other boutiques, and money changing stores are closed. It is advised that you either book a taxi early for your trip, stay at your hostel or walk to the nearest tourist spot. Don’t forget your meals as well. Stock up as much as you can for Friday evening and Saturday whole day.

As for the Pesach, it is a week long observance. During this week, bread stores aren’t selling any leavened bread. So for the whole week, only unleavened bread is sold. The Passover is quite known to some Christians other than the Jews as it is mentioned in the Bible. It is first observed on Exodus 12.

Keeping these in mind, we decided to walk from our hostel to Jaffa Old City

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Eilat Road

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Jaffa's Old Clock Tower

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Then to the Market where we bought souvenirs and walked towards Charles Clore Park.
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Museum closed that day

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Then to the beaches of Mediterreanean.
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Beautiful!!!

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Heading straight to Ben Gurion Boulevard, then to Bnei Dan where we saw the Philippine Embassy.
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Then we hailed a cab before 17:00 back to our hostel. Have I told you that the 24 hour clock format is used in Israel? Yes they do. So we ended Day 6 with the long, exhausting, toe-blistering, hip cramping, knee-wobbling but a good exercise walk. 😂😫😂😫😂

Day 7
The Pesach has begun. Our hostel served unleavened bread which they call Matzah. Matzah is quite similar to Pinoy’s Skyflakes cracker minus the salty taste. It is quite a bland cracker but is a good match with the eggs, yogurt, veggies and some pepper.
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Since it is Shabbat as well, I along with mum and my brother decided to rest on our hostel room. We watched movies all day long while preparing for Day 8’s adventure. As for dad, he went to take a dip at the beach where he met fellow Pinoys and Baptists. So that evening, we were invited to church at Filipino Baptist Church Israel under Pastor Aries Paduga.
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It was a wonderful fellowship with our kabababayans and the FOOD was totes uh-may-zhiiiiing. I never thought I’d miss rice, fried fish and sotanghon soo bad. We definitely filled ourselves and had happy full tummies.
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We ended that night blessed and looking forward for another surprise stored for tomorrow.

To my fellow kababayans and to all others who are interested in visiting Israel, you may contact Pastor Aries Paduga (link on his name) for more details of a tour package as he provides and caters to one.

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!