Saturday, January 2, 2016

Korea Day 5: DMZ tour!

Day 5 was reserved for our DMZ tour! Previously, I went on the 3rd tunnel DMZ tour, purely because the Panmunjeom (aka Joint Security Area) was fully booked. Made it a mission to get there this time round, and we did!

Before we left for Korea, we went to Korea Plaza to get some coupon booklets. One of the coupons available was a discounted price for DMZ tour with JoongAng Express Tour and we booked them while in SG. DMZ Panmunjeom tours must be booked early because it is very popular. The tour was supposed to be 70,000+won but because of the coupon, it went down to 63,000won.

We head down to JoongAng early in the morning. It's located near MyeongDong.

Our first stop: War Memorial of Korea
All the names of the soldiers who fought for S.Korea during the Korean War.
We were too busy learning about the history to take photos.
Our lunch, which was included in the tour.

We were at Imjingak Village. It is the furthest north point in South Korea that South Koreans can go freely. After this point, you must be granted permission to go any further north.
The railway joining North Korea to South Korea.
The tour was accompanied by a South Korean soldier and they are very strict with their photography rules.  You can only take photos when they tell you to do so.

The Military Demarcation Line (MDL). This is the line separating North and South Korea.
Went over to the North Korean side for a couple of minutes to take this photo! They were really strict with the timing you spent in the rooms. They are in this modified taekwando stance to intimidate the North Korean soldiers.
We were told past incidents in the JSA, how people tried to defect from the North, and a couple of other stories including the Axe Murder Incident, as well as the Soviet Defector incident. 
The Bridge of No Return. It was used for prisoner exchanges at the end of the Korean War in 1953. The POWs were given a final ultimatum - remain in the country or cross the bridge to return to their homeland. Once they choose to cross the bridge, they would never be allowed to return, hence the name.

This was the last photo we could take.

After the tour, we went back to Ewha for a walk!
I love their long escalators :D
Went for dinner at some random shop cos we were craving for budae jjigae! We walked down to Sinchon.
The weather was gloomy the whole day..
At my favourite kimbap chain store for some kimbap ❤︎❤︎
The huge church at Sinchon. The very useful landmark for directions!

Even though it was raining, we went back to Homilbat for bingsu hehe.

Day 6 coming soon!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Korea Day 4: Nami Island + Cecica Hair!

Yes it's been two months since I last said I'm back and I'm terribly sorry. Haha. So much has happened since my last proper update! Can't wait to update everything here. Will continue my Korea trip from March =X

Day 4 saw us going to Nami Island! I've been there during our summer exchange'12 but A did not go, so I took this opportunity to visit the beautiful island again.

We woke up rather early and made our way down. There are a couple of ways you can get to Nami Island eg. taking a bus straight from Insadong (have to book in advance) or make your way over via public transport. 

We decided to take the train over. The route we took was: Ewha > Cheongnyangni Station > ITX 청춘 Train >  Gapyeong Station. It takes almost an hour from Cheongnyangni Station, so the additional trip from Ewha to Cheongnyani was about 20min. Total time taken: 1hr 30min (adding in waiting time)

Do your homework in advance and check out their train timings so you don't have to spend time waiting!

We took a cab from Gapyeong to Nami Island. There's a bus which could take you but it took a while and the cab fare was about SGD6+ so we just took the cab to save time.
The last time I came, I regretted not taking flying fox into Nami Island. This time round, it took me a while, but I finally persuaded A to try it. Guess what. There's a bloody 2 hour waiting time! It cost about 35SGD to take a what, 1minute trip into Nami Island and I have to wait 2 hour?! 

Did not go for it because waiting for a ride in for 2 hour is ridiculous, and we had a hair appointment scheduled for the afternoon.

Took the ferry instead..

Yes the rows and rows of trees <3
 And Nami Island became popular thanks to Winter Sonata.
 We picked a weekday so that there will be a smaller crowd.
 Still, quite a lot of people. 
 Korea | Singapore
 Because the flag won't stop flying, we made it look like A has super powers lollllll
 Spotted a familiar figure in Nami Island!
 There was a huge field, so why not take some self-timed photos? Lol.
 Wall made of crushed cans.
 It was very nice to just walk hand-in-hand, enjoying the weather and having a nice chat.
 Hello to our snack!
 Made our way back to Ewha for our hair appointment at Cecica Hair!

I've been to Cecica Hair back in 2012 and it was a random visit. Ces, Yilin and I were looking for a place for an haircut. Juno Hair was everywhere and we wanted to try something different. We spotted Cecica Hair in Ewha, looking very quiet. Without doing any research, we just walked in for their services. Loved it so much, that I told myself I'm going back to them when I go back to Korea.

Fast forward to 2015 and I totally forgotten what the salon is called. I only know where it is. Best still, I did not take photo of the exterior of the salon in 2012. Did a search and found its name, only to realize it's actually a very popular hair salon! 

Since my hair is so straight that even my mom thought I went to rebond my hair, I decided to go for a perm. It was about 130SGD for my mid-shoulder length hair. The service was awesome like before. Felt like a queen when the 3 of them were helping me :D Back in 2012, I had a haircut with the lady on my right. They know what kind of hairstyle I was looking for even though she did not really speak English.

Most of the customers in the shop were ladies. Okay, I think all of them were ladies except for A. He was a bit zzz when I booked him a slot too because he wanted to go back to Juno Hair. But he was very satisfied with his haircut! We were both served by the boss so all's good!

That's the boss, and he was the one that I was liaising with via emails before I went over. 

I emailed them in both English and Korean, and he replied with Korean. My minimal Korean couldn't help me so Google Translate saved the day.
Apparently, after 3 hours of perming, my hair is too darn straight for any curls to happen! >.< Despite that, I was still very very happy with my makeover, so was the happy boy next to me. The boss very very kindly offered a second perming session FOC just for me. I was very touched by his actions. He said that he wanted to try again and he was very apologetic even though it wasn't his fault! (Darn you hair, why you so straight?!) We arranged for a second session on Day 6.

Cecica Hair 쌔시카헤어
서울 서대문구 대현동 37-22 1st Floor Seoul, Seo Dae Mun Gu, Dae Hyun Dong 37-22 1st floor
Tel: 02-313-8956, 1455
Opening hours: Week days (11am – 9pm), Weekends (11am – 8pm)

Dinner was at a random HOF that we walked past in Sinchon. It was very crowded and noisy, but there were a lot of small cozy rooms available. Most rooms were occupied by either students or office people chilling after work.

 In Korea, nothing can go wrong with fried chicken and soju!