Spring 봄봄봄

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Botanical Garden, Penang

Somehow, this year the mood for spring can be felt everywhere. What I mean is that, usually over here, people will keep going on and on about the sakura in Japan. But this year, it felt closer to home. There seems to be a lot of sakura-lookalike flowers blooming all over Penang, some parts of KL and I read, Singapore as well. Looking at all the random pretty pink flowers sprinkle here and there, it just automatically spring (pun intended) a smile on me while driving around.

While I was in Korea last month, we knew it was just too early to see any cherry blossom. However, lucky us, we manage to see some.  I was talking to one of my friends there on how beautiful they are and also how the Japanese love their hanami. Then she shared with me that, during the olden days, when the local decided to end their life, they do it beneath a sakura tree because they wanted to end their journey here on/with a beautiful thing. Hence, when the flower bloom, the family will picnic and all while reminiscing their love ones while making small offerings to the trees because we don’t know which one is a “spiritual” one.

Wouldn’t you now say a sakura tree is hauntingly beautiful?

Eerie isn’t it? I know she wouldn’t bullshit me as she has stayed in Japan and all that. Come to think of it, Hanami season also coincides with the Chinese Tomb-sweeping(Cheng Beng) tradition that shares the same foundation. Maybe nowadays its more about gathering with families and friends since cheng beng time most people will be back to their own home town. But anyhow, seems like it’s a way of nature telling us, it’s time to move on, life is nothing but a big cycle everyone have to go through. What may seem dead in winter, now is full of life and hope for the times ahead.

How did I wind up sounding so serious and moody ? -_-   I just wanted to share the little story my friend told me and also feel that to enjoy the beauty in spring (or anything), one need not travel to anywhere specifically. It’s all in-front of us, if only we want to see it.  I shall end this post with a korean song that I quite like titled -Spring, Spring, Spring :)

Photos of sakura when I was in Tokyo here and at Yoyogi Park. Also sakura during night time at Tokyo Tower

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April
09
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Coob Coffee Club, Penang

I’ve heard much good things about this small place at Komtar Walk. But for the past 4 years, there’s many times where I tried to patron the shop, it’s always a failed mission -__-

We went there on Friday night for dinner but was told everything was sold out by lunch time already :(  So after driving without direction, we ended up in town and decided to try out luck again.

It was a lovely shop which reminds me of those in Japan, maybe it was the ambiance, the interior and how cozy it was. We ordered a Katsu Curry as it’s the signature dish and a chocolate cake to share.

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For RM18.90nett, it comes with a drink and I upgrade it to a cappuccino. The Katsu Curry was probably one of the best I had in Penang. Totally enjoyed it.

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It’s also worth mentioning that they do have good coffee here. I will definitely go back to try their other dishes as I saw they have my favorite katsudon and some other pasta dishes.

Seems like I found another good Japanese place in Penang and now if I can find a good Ramen shop, my life is complete !!

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April
06
14 1 Comment

Day 1 Jeju – Hyeopjae Beach, Backpacker’s Home

For better understanding of my plan, I’ve included a rough sketch of it on the Jeju Map. As most of the attraction are on the south side of the island, I decided that we should stay at Seogwipo-si and return to Jeju-si on the final night as it’s nearer to the airport. The red line – Day 1, blue – day 2 and fuchsia is day 3 route. In a way, I hope to cover all of the Island coast drive in our 3 days there.

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I’ve prepared some routes we could follow while heading towards Seogwipo-si which is about 1 hour from Jeju-si. Since we have sometime before the sun goes down, we decided to visit Hyeopjae Beach (협재 해수욕장). One shouldn’t leave Jeju Island without visiting one of the famous beach, even during winter. The journey was about an hour and a pleasant one as we were soaking in the view.

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Most of the places have free public parking and for those that charged its about 2,000KRW per entry. Turns out, that day weather was super cold even for the local. As we were at the beach, it was SUPER cold due to the wind and probably we have yet adjust to the coldness.

It was a really nice stretch of beach with super clear (and freezing) water. Apparently one of the best in Jeju after Gimyeong Beach. I would imagine it be super nice place to hang out when the weather is a little kinder.

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After taking a few photos, we couldn’t bear the cold any more and decided to hide inside a cafe. The one we went to was just right across the street and apparently quite famous for their huge herb burger.

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Me and K spend 2 night at Backpacker’s Home in Seogwipo City (si) while the girls chose Yilin Pension about 15min drive away. It was a very comfortable stay and clean even though we took the mixed dorm. The bed was warm and great to sleep in. The only problem we had was snoring roomies -_- but for me, K snores sometimes too so it will be problem for me even if we took a private room Lol~~

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They have this bbq pit infront and you can ask the staff to prepare if for you if you like. Our roommate was having bbq that day and it actually look really nice. Location wise very convenient as its walking distance to the town center and the Jeju Olle Market.

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Alternatively, you may choose to drive by the Mt Halla via 1100 Road(1139 Highway).
Route: Jeju-si⇨Mt. Halla⇨Seogwipo-si

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April
02
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Driving in Korea (Jeju Island)

We knew we have the option of driving around when we decided to head over to Jeju -do.

Apart from self-driving, you can either hire a taxi or take the bus around. After much reading, we decided to go for a self-driving experience. Here’s just some reason why:-

- renting a car is considerably cheap versus hiring a taxi 8hours a day. Think 58,000krw for 3 days vs 180,000krw for a day. Hmmm
-there’s certain route you have to follow if you are taking the bus and you will have to consider the schedule too.
- I believe I read somewhere jeju island is 9x the size of langkawi so going from 1 place to another takes an average of 45 mins or so therefore we rather have a flexible schedule.
- it’s fun !!! We can just go anywhere we want and stop at random places to take photos as we fancy

For some reason, the driving direction from Google Map was switch off for S.Korea, therefore making it very difficult for me to plan the schedule for Jeju as I couldn’t estimate the driving time required. So in the end, I just read up alot from forums, blogs and travel websites to estimate the distance.

In order to drive legally in South Korea, you will first need to get yourself an international license which basically is an expensive piece of cardboard. To get one:-
1. Prepare a passport size photo and RM150
2. Go to any nearest JPJ office with your IC and driving license with validity of at least 1 year, filled up the form, queue and pay

OR

Pay a runner and get it done for RM250+ within a week.

I obviously went to JPJ myself and just to get this cardboard, the entire process took me 2 hours. Kudos for efficiency!  -_-

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After that, you can choose to rent your car from several website available in English. We chose KT Kumhoas it seems to be a popular choice. If you browse around the internet, you will see that many of the blogs mentioned it comes with a free internet device but from March 1st onwards they ceased doing that :(

Upon arrival, go straight to the KT counter at the arrival hall and they will direct you to an exit where a shuttle bus awaits to bring you over to the car rental office. Car collection was swift and fast and during that time, they will ask if you would like to add on about 30,o00KRW for insurance.

The car that I chose purely base on the cuteness was Kia Ray comes with an English GPS. As I’ve read online that you just have to key in the phone number of the destination and it will be searchable, I’ve prepared my  itineraries complete with phone numbers :D Most of the time it works but some time we just find that searching in Korean words are much faster and accurate.

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For 3 days of usage, we easily drove more than 200km and used up about half the tank. I super love the car for the cuteness and how spacious it is. The seats even came with heater!!! Best invention since slice bread for winter weather!!

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Expenses :-

KT Kumho Car Rental                     66,600KRW
Car Petrol                     52,000KRW

As you can see, petrol in S.Korea does not come cheap :(  Anyway, you may wonder if it’s easy to drive on the left hand. Well, it actually alright but need a little time to get used to it. K was constantly reminding me that I was going too much towards the right or driving in the middle of the road. The road are wide and well maintained so it’s easy to drive around. The only thing that annoyed me alot during the driving was there was like a gazillion speed trap in the whole of Jeju.. Every time you go near a school zone, you have to drive like 50kmph? And on average the speed limit is 80kmph. So sometimes it took us quite a long time to go from A –> B because of the speed limit!!!

I hope I answered most questions about driving in Jeju in this post. At least most of the answers I seek for prior to my trip :)

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March
13
14 1 Comment

Bad March

The title pretty much sums up March since late last week till today. March sucks pretty much till now.

What’ with the banned of a cartoon character (???), the disappearance of justice on Friday, the mysterious case of MH370 that is in international spotlight since Saturday. There was just so much speculation everywhere and people should REALLY just verified the news before sharing it irresponsibility. If not sure, just DONT share it. If you absolutely must, share it with your close-knits and not to the public. -__- Also, the many jokers that appears soon after which are just pure embarrassment. Doing nothing but more harm.

Sunday, I discovered that the rear windscreen of  my BELOVED CAR was smashed by unidentified object  12187274364_94bedc6a13_t12187274364_94bedc6a13_t12187274364_94bedc6a13_t12187274364_94bedc6a13_t12187274364_94bedc6a13_t Somehow when the insurance was due back in February, I just had a hunch to add on windscreen protection which I never did in my 10 years of driving experience.. Thank you my lucky star ??

Monday, the sentencing of another politician. Like wtf

Tuesday and today generally was just bad ~~~ Frustration ! I do not wish to record it now so I dont need to remember it in the future…

Let’s hope for a better tomorrow as I’m off to a new adventure! Woo!!

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March
12
14 1 Comment

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