As mention in my earlier blog; I brought a total of 3 camera system for my South
Korea holiday. Some may think its mad. At times I think its mad too. But when I
am presented with the beauty of South Korean cityscape and landscape; I am glad
I had what I had in my hands. Below are the gears that I brought. A total of 4.81kg.
Of course only at times when I am mad I will have everything with me.
Before we start and if you prefer to watch my holiday video instead which is shot with
iPhone 6S + OOWA lens + Osmo Mobile. Here is the You Tube link :
It’s a 10 days holiday trip. And it’s also our first to South Korea. After a 6 hours
flight from Singapore we landed in South Korea late. We check into an airport
hotel and stay for a night together with our six-year-old daughter; Summer. Ora
Hotel is ultra modern looking hotel. I love the standard room that have another
extra bed. It’s an actual bed and not those fold up bed!
After breakfast we waited for our english speaking local guide. His name is Sky.
After a couple of minutes we manage to squeeze all our luggages into his white
KIA sportage. Our first stop is a strawberry farm about 45 minutes drive from ORA
hotel. We were ushered into a huge tent structure. Once in, we are greeted with
the fresh aroma of rows and rows of strawberries.
Summer; was so happy to see so many strawberries. The fee is about
USD$12 for a KG of strawberries. Summer was given a pair scissor and a
box to start picking the strawberries. The strawberries are not grown on the
ground for this farm. They are grown on a row of long pots maybe a meter
above. Its a delight to pick your strawberries without hurting your back for
middle age man like me. You could also request to have your handpick
strawberries to be made into strawberries jam.
After spending about 45 minutes we left for Woongjin Snowdoci. Since its
way into Spring and there are no more snow in South Korea, this is the
best we could offer for our little daughter. Woongjin Snowdoci is problely
South Korea largest indoor ski slope theme park. I was told its 150 meters
long and the man-made snow are refilled 4 times a day to give the
guest; the best snow experience.
Coming from the tropics; none of us could ski. So we only spend our
time at the snow sledge area, don’t wanna break a bone on our second
day of our trip. From there we ended our day at Four Seasons Seoul.
Our home away from home for the next 6 nights. Woohoo!
As summer dietary is so limited; or in layman term, she is a picky eater.
But my wife and I know breakfast at Four Seasons Marketplace Kitchen,
she should be well fed! Summer found many of her favorite food. What
a relived for us! At least for the next six breakfast. The only headache
is deciding what to have for breakfast. Another unique feature of
Marketplace Kitchen is the ruins that is peeking through the glass floor.
They were discovered during the hotel’s construction and a great place
to share with Summer some Korean history over breakfast.
Just before Sky came and catch us for the day, with my X100F I took a
5 minutes walk to Starbucks to get a cup of Mocha for my wife. Along
the way I walk into a small peaceful protest. This is something new to
me. There are 6 laborers on the roof of a building on hunger strike.
In front of the building is a huge inflatable pillow just in case one of
six protester might just take his life for the cause. The protester wanted
the abolish unnecessary layout, revision of the labour law and so on.
Do see the below photo for their cause.
Our itinerary for the day, Anseong Farmland. The journey took
us about an hour and a half. When we got there; there aren’t many
cars at the car park but at least 20 huge school buses. Which means
there are gonna be heaps of school children. Anseong Farmland transports
one into an European farmland feel with rolling hills of Tuscany.
There are many things for kids to do inside. Tractor rides, horse ride,
playground, carousel and also kidding train rides. Kiddo could feed goat,
pigs, horses and even sheep. I even saw two ostriches. Anseong Farmland
is actually the best farmland I ever brought my daughter to. I would highly
recommend to urban parent with young kids.
By evening Sky alighted us at Myedong. According to Carmen Low
of Fujifilm Singapore, there is a Din Tai Fung restaurant at Myedong.
Summer favorite Chinese restaurant. Actually we were back there 3
days in a row for dinner. After dinner we did the tourist walk around
Myedong shopping belt. As I navigate my way back to Four Season
Hotel we walk into Cheonggyecheon stream. This 11 km long modern
stream runs through downtown Seoul. Created as part of an urban
renewal project. If we were to have dinner at Myedong, we will
definitely look forward to a lovely evening stroll at the stream
before heading back.
Summer is all dressed up! I love her look for today, thanks to her
personal stylist; her Mama! Took this shot of her in our hotel room.
Our room is located on the 25th floor and have a lovely city view
with N Seoul Tower on Namsan.
Our first stop today, the Children Museum. (https://www.seoulchildrensmuseum.org/eng/main.do)
As the name says it; its for children. I will let the photos do the talking.
I would think it worth a two-hour visit.
Common Ground is Korea’s first pop-up store made with 200 large
shipping containers. If you looking for cool stuff from local designer
and youth culture, this is a must stop destination. There is a lot of
buzz in this place. Stylishly Chic. Common Ground not only offer
shopping but there are also many cafes on both on the roof tops
and ground level. As my wife brings my daughter for some
shopping inside; I spend some time shooting the youth. As I
approach them for the picture; they are all very spontaneous.
Next stop, Namsam Tower. Or also know as Seoul Tower. We were
told it takes about thirty to forty minutes to reach the top of Mount
Namsan by foot. For weaklings like us; we took the easy way out;
the cable car. The ride took less than three minutes. As we walk
toward the base of N Tower, we were greeted with thousand of
locks. These love lock trees is where couples would lock their
padlock and throw the keys away to symbolize that their love is
locked forever. I wonder how many of these locks are locked
Built in 1969 and standing tall at 1,574 above sea level, Namsam
Tower offers an awesome 360 degree view of Seoul. There is also
a souvenir store and a cafe on the observation deck; where
having a cuppa is mandatory to fully enjoy the view.
After a hearty breakfast our first stop was Hongdae. Hongdae
is “university town” because of it proximity to Hongik University.
This town is known for its youth and underground culture.
Cozy galleries, fashion shops, street performances and cool cafes.
Speaking of cafes; the main reason why we are there is because
Summer wanted to visit a Raccoon Cafe. Its highly “raccoommended”
by a friend. When we finally arrived at the cafe and I could see
the 3 cute little raccoon on the ground of a enclose area together
with some dogs. Just as we are about to removed our shoes to go
in, Summer says she is scared and didn’t wanna go in! Welcome to
parenthood! Having said that I would still recommend everyone
to go to this cafe. Its worth a visit. There is a lot of energy along
the street of Hongdae. We had a nice time and had a yummy
Korean BBQ for lunch. One could easily spend 2-3 hours there.
Yesterday along the way to the base of the cable car ride to N Tower
we saw Seoul Animation Center. As its not too far from Hongdae we
decided to visit before heading to Garoso-Gil for dinner. If your
kiddo is into Korean animation this is the place for a 2 hour visit.
Outside Seoul Animation Center one will be greeted with many cartoon
character statues like Pororo and Robocar Poli. Inside this three-story
complex building house many colourful murals of cartoon characters,
include a library, cinema and exhibition hall. Summer also spend
some time making a bunny doll. Beside Seoul Animation center is The
Cartoon Museum. we didn’t have the opportunity to visit as it closed
when we got there.
If there is one place I would like to visit again in my next trip to Seoul; it
has to be Garuso-gil. I didn’t really have a lot of time there because it
took us a while to look for a Japanese cafe; so that my dear Summer
could have her udon for dinner. I wish I could have pasta for dinner
Garuso-gil is charming and hip. Maybe the hippest that I have been
in Seoul. There are many cool cafes and shops. Instead of the touristy
Myedeong or Gangnam, I would highly recommend Garuso-gil. There
are many people but never too crowded. Its gives space to enjoy,
shop and people watch. Everyone looks like some celebs there.
Maybe I did walk pass a few that I don’t even know.
Today is special. Its my wifey’s birthday. Its a holiday to celebrate her
birthday! As Four Season Hotel is not very far from Gyeongbokgung
Palace. Been seeing the palace view from the hotel but nothing beats
seeing it upclose. A lovely 15 minutes walk get us to the grand entrance
of Gyeongbokgung Palace. If you love history and architecture this is
a must visit place.
We headed back to Four Seasons Hotel for a Birthday lunch at Yu Yuan
Chinese Restaurant. This intimate restaurant has a modern chic and
traditional theme infuse into one. As the staff knows it was wifey
birthday and they were kind enough to offer us a private dining room.
Yu Yuan is awarded one Michelin Star by the first edition of the
Michelin Guide Seoul 2017. Its mandatory to order a Peking Duck
as its their signature dish and wifey’s favorite! Was told they even
imported an authentic oven for it! Yu Yuan specialized in Cantonese
cuisine; we have had Dim Sum too. Best of all Summer had her
favorite steam Cod fish. There is another unique thing worth
mentioning; one could order Dim Sum by a single order instead
of 3 in a basket! Finally a restaurant that understands customer’s
When the Chef was serving us the Peking duck; he saw my GFX and
was curious. Chef Sunho is also an avid photographer. From this
picture you could tell he liking the GFX.
After lunch its certainly not a good idea to head to the pool with a full
stomach. So we decided to bring Summer to visit the Kids Club instead.
And boy, were we are glad we came here. At kids club; this is where parents
take a little break while the friendly Four Season staff conducts art and craft
session for Summer.
In the evening we walk to Myedong and had dinner at Ding Tai Fung.
Yes; again! After dinner Summer and I went walking around looking for
a cafe to buy a cake to celebrate Mama birthday. But we were not
successful. We decided to go back to Four Season Hotel Instead. As
Mama headed back to the room; Summer and I went to Maru Bar and
hopefully we could get something there. It was rather late and they don’t
have any chocolate cake left. Why Chocolate cake? Its Summer’s fav,
not mama!!!!! The staff went down to the kitchen and brought up the
3 different kind of cakes that was currently available. As we are not sure;
so we took all 3 slices. Everything was pack perfectly to the tee.
Candle; knife and match sticks.
Nothing beats having a quiet little birthday celebration in the comfort of
your well appointed hotel room. Happy Birthday Baby!
Left the hotel at 630am to DDP, Dongdaemum Design Plaza. When I finally
see it live; its all worth waking up for. Spend a good hour shooting before
heading back to Four Season to have brekky with my daughter and wife.
Summer had udon for breakfast this morning. You can tell she is enjoying
it. After breakfast we contacted the concierge for transport to MMCA, National
Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. As a hotel guest of Four Season
we get free complimentary transport to anywhere around a 2KM radius. When
I see the playlist inside the Mercedes S-class “girls day”. Its a sign that today
must be Summer and her Mama’s day!
We spend a good 2 hours at MMCA. At the open courtyard Summer found
her first dandelion and she was really excited. We had lunch in MMCA’s cafe,
and also did some shopping at the Museum shop. Next stop, Bukchon Hanok
Village; which is about 10-15 minutes walk from MMCA. Bukchon Hanok Village
is home to hundreds of traditional houses and some are dated back to the Joseon
We spend our late afternoon at Four Season Hotel indoor pool. I love this 3 lane
lap pool and how its being design. There is also a sauna, jacuzzi, kids pool and a
juice bar at the side. After dinner at Myedong we headed to Lottemart supermarket.
We decided to stock up some snack for our first Glamping trip tomorrow. And for
those who don’t know the term Glamping; its basically means Glamorous and
It was a wonderful 6 nights stay at Four Seasons Seoul. My wife sums it up when
she says : Only Four Seasons understands me! I got a feeling we are coming back
to this hotel by end of this year. After spending a couple of minutes putting all our
luggages in the SUV, we are off to our Nami Island.
There are some traffic jam along the way because its also the holiday season in
Korea. The distant on Google map say it’s about 70-80KM away but we took
almost 2 hours to reach. We had a quick lunch at a tourist restaurant before
heading to the pier where we take a 5 minutes ferry to Nami Island.
So what makes Nami Island special? Nami Island is actually an island in the
middle of the North Han River. I may be wrong on this. I reckon one could
walk leisurely around the whole island in less than two hours. There are
many activities for the whole family. From water-sport facilities for
motorboats to water skiing. For little ones there is padding boat that
looks like a swan. On the island there are theme parks with
merry-go-round, shooting range and even kiddo train rides. When you
are hungry there are also a few cafes and even a Korean BBQ restaurant.
There are many different type of transport mode for rental. From electric bikes to
bikes for 4 pax. We took a the family bikes. I would recommend bikes to help
one enjoy the great beauty of Nami island. I also see a couple of chalet like
accommodation on the island. I did take a quick peek and they do look pretty
nice inside. So what makes Nami Island special? If you are into Korean drama,
need I say more? But if you as clueless as me and not into Korean drama, let
me sums up. Along the both side of Metasequoia Road are redwood trees
and this where many of the romantic scenes of Winter Sonata was film.
So I guess its mandatory to have a shot there.
As much as it a very touristy place; I would still recommend everyone to visit.
Do spend half a day there. Just soak up the beauty of nature and you will
be refreshedand its certainly good for one’s soul.
A 20 minutes drives bring us to our Glamping Site. I first read this at Dezeen site;
It was love at “first site.” Started doing research on how to book it. I was looking
for it for almost 3 days without any success. In the end I ask a korean friend;
Hyewon. She manage to find it for me in a couple of minutes!!! The moral of the story,
anything in Korea; just ask a korean friend to help! Its called “On The Rock.” http://ontherock.kr
As there are only 7 tents available. We wanted to stay 2 nights but they are fully
booked. Thankfully we still could have a night stay. There are 2 type of tents options.
Our tents have a nice deck with table and bench and also 2 deck chairs. Inside
the tent there are air-con and also heater. There is a queen size bed and also a sofa
bed. A little kitchen area where you could cook your own instant noodles. The
bathroom is very tiny and it does takes some skills to maneuver around.
During dinner time, we had BBQ at our own deck. I was told there was no
charcoal used but rather a local wood was used. This wood supposedly gives
the meat a better taste. After dinner we went out for a little walk around. Met the
owner, Mr Pak. As he set up a bon fire for us. A few other “ glamper” join in for
this communal get together. Sky gave us some sparkler earlier. Summer
together with her new found friends, Sara and Emma had some fun with the
sparkler under the chilly night sky.
Woke up this morning and spend sometime taking pictures of this lovely Glamping
site. Here are more pics to share.
After breakfast we headed to Eldewiss Theme park with our new found Korean
friends. Its nice little theme park with Swiss influence. One will take about 1 hour
to finish walking this place. I would it recommend it a miss if anyone is planning
to visit. After a quick lunch at the only cafe at the Eldewiss, we left for our last
stop. A 2 hour ride brings us back to Incheon.
Our last night accommodation is at Nest Hotel. I can’t fault this hotel for its
design and location. I did encounter something very unpleasant. My wife
called room service for 2 extra pillow in the late evening. We were shock
to know that extra pillow is chargeable! In the end; we were given the
two extra pillow for free. And was told that its a “service to us”. Other than
this unique encounter; first of its kind for us. I would still highly recommend
this airport hotel unless you are those that needed extra pillow for your
stay. I love the room’s sea view and also a lovely playground by the beach.
Last day in Korea. Link up with a Korean friend who is also an X-photographer
in morning. As there is new lens from Fujifilm and we decided to do a video
review of 2 Fujifilm lenses. Here is link of the video.
After the filming and with only 2 hours left Rami brought all of us to a local BBQ lunch. This is best way to end our lovely holiday in South Korea.