Monday, November 7, 2016

How to get to DMZ (Korean Demilitarized Zone)

I went to South Korea with no itinerary in mind -- even when I was already on the plane going to Seoul from Manila! All I know are these facts:
  • Winter Sonata's shooting location was in Nami Island
  • My seatmate in the office and her sisters weren't able to visit Le Petite France when they traveled to Korea
  • Myeong-dong is a shopping district area, so I booked my hostel there (although shopping was not my intention!)
  • Korean peninsula is divided by DMZ
I planned out my itinerary on my first day right after I woke up. I pulled out Lonely Planet's Korea Travel Guide book, some travel guide brochures I got from Incheon airport, and my Ipad. I was bound to DMZ on that day, my 3rd day. It was October 1st, and I left my hostel at 6AM.

I got lost so.. delay on my arrival at DMZ imminent.

So this is How to Get to DMZ (The Korean Demilitarized Zone) from Seoul for only a few bucks!
  1. Take the Gyeongui Line to Munsan Station
  2. From Musan Station, walk your way to a bus station
  3. Take the bus no. 058
  4. Sketch given to me by very helpful staff of Musan Station whom I paid a bow upon my successful return from DMZ on my way back to Seoul^^
  5. Get off at Imjingak
    You will not miss this point because it stuns from all the rest of pick-up/drop-off points.
    Walk your way from the entrance of Imjingak to DMZ Ticket Booth.

I have arrived at the ticket booth around 1PM when I purchased my ticket, I was scheduled for 2PM tour. The ticket to DMZ tour cost ₩9,200. Last schedule of the tour is 4PM, I think, I think, I'm not so sure now, just make sure to arrive early.

I was very lucky to be sat beside a young Korean man who translated every Korean instruction of our bus driver/tour guide. The driver gives instruction in Korean to its tourist to get back by certain minutes in every DMZ Tour stops. My translator by the way called my attention to stop taking pictures while we were crossing this bridge! 

The DORASAN STATION in DMZ which has no scheduled trains for now. No more direct trains from Seoul to Dorasan at the time I made my trip.
This got me teary-eyed and hopeful.

The North Korea

Right after my binoculars have turned off, there was an old Korean man who tapped me and pointed his binoculars and by that he meant "Take mine, I'm done here!!"
Yes, I walked through the stiff tunnel and back! But pictures weren't allowed folks so, there, no pictures.

What I enjoyed the most are the very warm and helpful people I encountered. From the train staff in Seoul when I can't find the right train. To the Musan train staff who went the extra mile by sketching my way to the bus station. To the old Korea man who have cheered me up from bus station from Musan up to when I found him (or he found me again) on the bus station going back to Musan from Imjingak!! He even high-fived me when we meet again^^ And also, the guy sitting beside me on the bus who didn't even waited for me to ask what the bus driver was saying but instantly translated every instruction along the way.

I am now back in the Philippines corporate slavin'. Follow me on my next adventure in Cambodia this December!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Say You Won't Let Go lyrics

So I haven't been emo lately, here it goes:

cute ghosts
Cute Ghosts
I met you in the dark
You lit me up
You made me feel as though
I was enough
We danced the night away
We drank too much
I held your hair back when
You were throwing up

Then you smiled over your shoulder
For a minute, I was stone cold sober
I pulled you closer to my chest
And you asked me to stay over
I said, I already told ya
I think that you should get some rest

I knew I loved you then
But you'd never know
Cause I played it cool when I was scared of letting go
I know I needed you
But I never showed
But I wanna stay with you
Until we're grey and old
Just say you won't let go
Just say you won't let go

I wake you up with some breakfast in bed
I'll bring you coffee
With a kiss on your head
And I'll take the kids to school
Wave them goodbye
And I'll thank my lucky stars for that night

When you looked over your shoulder
For a minute, I forget that I'm older
I wanna dance with you right now, oh
And you look as beautiful as ever
And I swear that everyday you'll get better
You make me feel this way somehow

I'm so in love with you
And I hope you know
Darling your love is more than worth its weight in gold
We've come so far my dear
Look how we've grown
And I wanna stay with you
Until we're grey and old
Just say you won't let go
Just say you won't let go

I wanna live with you
Even when we're ghosts
Cause you were always there for me
When I needed you most

I'm gonna love you till
My lungs give out
I promise till death we part
Like in our vows
So I wrote this song for you
Now everybody knows
That it's just you and me
Until we're grey and old
Just say you won't let go
Just say you won't let go

Just say you won't let go
Oh, just say you won't let go

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Exploring Taiwan : Maokong Gondola, Taipei Zoo, and Shilin Night Market

Before the Holy Week of 2015, two of my office mates and I are already booked to Taiwan in November.

I wanted to document every moved we made in Taiwan from arrival to departure! So I used my smartphone which is a Cherry Mobile Alpha Style that I bought last 2014.Using Microsoft's OneNote app on my phone I captured photos, jotted down notes, and even recorded random interesting audios while exploring Taiwan!

1 DAY 

6:00 Decided to leave the airport and go to the city 
  • Bus Ticket to Taipei City NTD125 
6:40 bus left the airport 
7:20 arrived at Taipei Main Station; Walked to Homey Hostel 
7:40 arrived at Hostel to drop bags 
8:30 Open of Homey hostel 
9:10 Left the Hostel to explore the city 
9:30 at McDonald's for breakfast, NTD 71 
9:43 Back on the road off to MRT Taipei Main Station 

10:40 Grabbed Green Tea sundae NTD 80 and Milk Caspy Bar Original NTD 25 at Taipei Zoo Station 
11:11 Queue at Gondola

12:26 Food court for lunch

Oyster omelet NTD 70; Pancit lomi NTD 50; Bottled green tea NTD 30

14:24 Still walking along this long road 
14:50 Taiwan Zoo Bus Station; Traveled by bus NTD 15 
15:00 Entered Taiwan Zoo NTD 60

16:30 Took a bus from Taipei Zoo to Gondola Station NTD 5 
17:00 Maokong Station, tried Spring Roll Ice Cream NTD 40 


18:00 Taipei Zoo Station to Shilin Night Market via MRT 
18:30 Photobooth at Taipei Zoo Station  
19:00 Daan Station transferred to Line 1 for Shilin Night Market 
19:30 Shilin Night Market
Shilin Night Market at 22:00 Still Alive and kickin'

We shopped till we dropped!! 

Meat on stick NTD 25 
Rooster charm NTD 100 
Giordano pants NTD 600 
Adidas running shoes NTD 1590 
Taiwan Beer NTD 100 
Large Chicken (the tastiest Chicken I've tasted!)

23:37 At Jiantan Station going to Homey Hostel to call it a night 
0:56 Lights out

Friday, May 6, 2016

Hosteling in Kuala Lumpur

So I made it to Bikit Bintang from Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2. I followed the directions from Google map which is this :

I was able to follow the walk route indicated in the 2nd image. Of course, I'm excellent with directions! But then, my orientation isn't. I got lost in the heart of Bukit Bintang. I
I found myself in between Lo Yat Plaza and Parkson Sungei Wang Plaza. The sun is out, it was hot, and I'm tired and I'm longing for a cold water. So I sat in the corner of Lo Yat Plaza. After a few minutes of resting my feet, I started walking again to look for my hostel.

I went back to where I started, this time I pay attention to road/street name signs. Just when I thought I was walking to the right direction, which is right, I gave up and asked for the police where Alor Bunker Home is located. Three of them gathered, one of them is the interpreter. She told me to back to the corner where there was a traffic light. But I knew from the spot that I'm close to the place very close since I saw pictures of the surrounding area of the hotel. I could smell it was just in my nose!

But I obeyed the officers who were in the are taking pictures of plate numbers of cars parked in the area. I walked back to the corner where there was a traffic light. This time I walked to the street where major food stalls are located, where they grill and serve local food. Then I reached the end of that street, I turned right and I found myself heading back to Low Yat Plaza. Again, I asked for direction. He said Jalan Alor is the street over there. There. The one that I came from. But I didn't see a Alor Bunker Home hostel in there. So I went back and took the other block, while walking.. something caught my attention. DIMSUM!!!!

I didn't hesitate and ordered 1 siomai and 1iced coffee. Ahhhhh!!! What a good life, even though I still can't find my dang hostel.

I finished my food and proceeded with my mission. Alas! I saw Jalan Rembia street sign. DANG!!! I was just here, I told myself. It's where I found those police officers and asked for direction. Oh meehn. So there, I took another turn, and there it was. My hostel was there : Alor Bunker Home.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Soloist in Kuala Lumpur

I arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport right after midnight. I decided to wait until the sun come up before going to the city or any other destination. Airport is always safer, believe me. Stay there. Sleep. And freshen up.

By six in the morning, the sun is barely up in the sky. It's still oddly dark. Coming from a country where the sun is already in your face by 5:30 in the morning during summer, it's quite blizzard here in Malaysia. I'm ultra lazy, I'd even be lazier to get up in the morning if I'm from here.

Yes, I decided to get my ass off from my newly favorite spot (see previous post), and drag myself towards an information desk.

According to Google, to get to Bukit Bintang area (where I'll be staying at) from Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2, I must go to KL Sentral by bus (metro station where all the MRTs meet, I suppose), from there I must ride a green train to AirAsia Bukit Bintang Station. Ha! Piece of cake, right?


I begun my journey with asking the receptionist how to get to KL Sentral, which is cheaper: train or bus, and how much would it cost me. Bus is cheaper, it's myr 11 (php 130). Buses are located at the ground level of the airport. From arrival, you must go downstairs to get to the busses. Ticket booths are also located there. Very easy to locate. Comfort room in the ground level is cleaner than CR in the  departure/arrival area of the airport by the way.

The bus left from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 past 7:30 in the morning. Go ahead and take a nap, the commute is about an hour and half!! The bus driver is no way in a hurry. Traffic is light, just right considering it is a city and on a weekday. There are no other stops, it will stop only at its final destination in KL Sentral.

When I reached KL Sentral, it is quite confusing, we got off in an underpass. KL Sentral is located upstairs. Take the escalator, walk along with other passengers who know what they're doing. Upstairs the train map is also confusing. There are no train map flyers available in KL Sentral. You will only have to rely on the train map board.

I bought my train ticket (or plastic coin) in the ticket vending machine available around the area. From KL Sentral to AirAsia to Bukit Bintang it cost me myr 2.50 (php  30). I made a terrible mistake by getting to a platform which is isn't the train I'm supposed to hop on. I just waste myr 2.50. To correct my mistake, I approched an MRT guy and asked him where the train to AirAsia Bukit Bintang  is. It was in the other building. A few minutes walk from the KL Sentral. Then, I found what I was looking for: the Monorel MRT line (the green one) that would take me to Bukit Bintang.