If you are holding a DSLR, you are prone to unnecessary attention. Is it cute girls asking you to take their photos? Neh.. not that kind of attention but people tend to have a bias views on you.
It is rather hard to hide your skills especially when people thought that you are paparazzi, private detective or maybe you are a nerdy photographer. Not knowing the real you, they will just stopped you and said, “Sir, you are not allowed to take photos in here”.
Hello, I have not even turn on my camera or open my lens cover yet. Duh.. Should I laugh at their ignorant or appreciate their courtesy? This is not a joke, k? This is based on true story that happened when I was in Golden Lounges in various countries.
To avoid superfluous embarrassment, my wife a.k.a iPhone will normally come very handy. What I normally do here is sneaking around all “business” men and catch them with their silly stunts . Some caught sleeping with drooling effect
Beside free food and drinks, free internet, free bla bla bla, there is a spot which I fail to take photos, the massage room. I really wonder if there is a pretty masseuse on action or just a robotic massage chair?
Remember all long queues before boarding the plane? It is not happening this time. Lucky me because I get to go through the priority lane like any other aging man, pregnant lady or those with kids. Yea I am pregnant and still like kids
Not to mention there was an air stewardess stopped me and said, “Sir, you have to queue up in economy lane” and stunt later after saw my ticket. Before the plane board, I managed to camDUCK myself in golden class.
Yea.. I didn’t dress up smartly when I travel, normally with only t-shirt and jeans. Sometime I didn’t even comb my hair or with my unshaved moustache. Why need to dress up? I thought we suppose to travel comfortably? Besides, I have no one to impress as well!
Why I like to travel? Free food! And in-flight entertainment. Before they served me with appetizer, an air stewardess approached me and asked for my age. She claimed that I am very young.
That conversation is not related to this post but would like to emphasize that she claimed “I am very YOUNG” hehe..
There is nothing much to talk about in-flight appetizers. Why? The portion is too small and I finished it before it can activate my taste buds.
But the main course is different! Absolutely different! Most of the time, you get a few choices, Western, Asians or local food. I managed to capture all main courses that I took from all the flights that I board recently.
Of all, there is one special one. Bim Bim Bak. This is a traditional Korean rice with mix vege, meats and pickles (see photos above – the bottom one). I called it “rojak” rice as you need to mix everything in on bowl before you dine it.
All taste equally good but a meal is never complete without dessert. Strawberry Haagan Dazs was served as dessert. Once I tried it, I want more.. hehe.. ice cream always makes me happy and that is why I label it as happy food.
What I do next on the plane? Watch movie and sleep laa.. What else I can do, right? Err.. Ok.. I was disturbed by a group air stewardess as usual.. Not I disturb but being disturbed instead.. wonder why but I am going to censor that in here.
If someone is celebrating your birthday, slap them. If it is a surprise, slap them harder. Why so brutal? What is there to celebrate when you get older? We get older everyday, right?
Aging is imminent unless you have Holy Grail. Since we cannot do anything about it, why not we treasure all the old folks as sooner or later, we will become one too.
Treasure? How? Frame them up.. lock them up.. or maybe freeze them up..Make them a national treasure! Well, that is how they do it in Korea. National Old Folk Museum was built for this purpose.
This museum displays diverse materials and artifacts related to the lives of the Korean people from traditional time to the present. Various scenes have been created to illustrate how life changed over time.
History lesson is good to see and not so good to read, at least not for me as I find it challenging to read something from the past. Nostalgic is never me but I love museum. I love to see how they present history in various ways.
Sculptures are the common way to tell 1000 histories. Replicating some of the artifacts in creative manners do attract me much beside high tech audio visual aids.
While happily snapping photos, I nearly get heart attack when a real person was demonstrating the traditional way of making Gat (Korean traditional hat made from horsehair and bamboo frame). I never expect a real person on fake stage MOVED!
IF you say all museums are the same, I can tell that you are very very wrong. This museum is good in replicating the ancient world (Although I thought China is good with imitating ).
They rebuilt the ancient city in modern world. Yes, literally with wooden hut, ancient home, charcoal stove, historical streets bla bla bla. I can feel that I was travelling back to time. That how amazing it is.
Ancient barber shop, coffee house, restaurant, living room and photo studio were rebuilt to educate the younger generation about the beauty of past which make them who they are today.
Comic fans? Back then, with no iPAD or computer, they only have hardcopy comics. Too bad all in Korean language but the museum successful re-construct this comic shop which I find it impressive.
Some of the ancient architectures and sculptures were well preserved. Few monuments are actually age more than few centuries. Imagine the first person that built it was very long long ago and you are touching it after a few few few hundred years later.
Did last photo catch your attention? What do you think it is? Yes it is exactly what you think! You pervert
It is called Phallicism. It is a natural stones or geographical features shaped like female – male sexual organs as objects of praying for the birth of a male baby (what about girl baby?), protection of villagers, productiveness and complementary measure against geomatic problems.
Phew… what a long history lesson.. Now you know why I don’t like reading history? Photos is excited reading is bored. OK.. enough of your pervertive mind right now and stop your fantasy
Do you know what is the difference between King and Emperor? Emperor is a ruler of an empire. King is a ruler of a Kingdom. Then the question is what is empire and what is kingdom? Empire is a domain ruled by an emperor while kingdom is a country with a king as state.
In other words emperor is the ruler of all kings. If king has one wife, emperor should proportionately have 1000 wives..hehe.. Staying behind the fortress is a symbol of power and authority. That is how I felt when I was in GyeongbokgungPalace.
Nonono.. I did not feel “the” 1000 wives but I felt the POWER! The power of becoming a ruler (tho it sounds like a measuring stick )! As usual, nothing is free and 3000 Won is the price to pay for the ticket.
Paying to feel sound a bit dodgy but experiencing the grandness of ancient architecture is definitely worth the money.Gyeongbokgung Palace is the survival of many invasions in 1592 but later restored to preserve the originality of it in 1968.
Does this look familiar? Yes.. you are right this is another Changing of the Royal Guard. This really comes with surprise as I didn’t know that the Beloved Residence of Later Joseon Kings also have this event.
It is very rare that you get to see the cultural event in the middle of colorful and vibrant city. One thing that I don’t quite understand, why all the guards are using fake moustache and fake weapons? AND they don’t smile at all .. is it a requirement to maintain the “cool”?
If Changdeokgung Palace was built in harmony with nature, GyeongbokgungPalace is known for its scale and architecture beauty, particularly the symmetric central part connecting the gates of Gwanghwamun, Heungnyemun and Geunjeongmun.
Ohh before I forget, this is the first palace that was built inKorea(est. as early as in 1395). So, please expect it to be slightly “newer “ than others.. Newer? Oh yea.. thumb up on the preservation team. I hardly spotted any spider web at all.
From the photos, you might notice that this place is like a deserted land. The place is always full with tourists but I spend a long time there to capture all those shots without homosapien. That is the beauty of photography.
Before you get to the rear garden, you will pass through a series of palaces, emperor and empress residence, Their “hangout places” etc. That is the beauty of spacious compound.
I’m not sure if you notice small sculptures on the roof top! That is the “guardian angels”. Is it true? Well, I am just quoting from the tour guide. The importance of the building is indicated by the number of guardian angels on top. 9 is the max number and normally are on the main palace.
“I read books in my spare time, away from the 10, 000 things I must do”. That is what King Jeongjo said when he in this rear garden. It is a site of Joys and Sorrow. I can understand on Joys but Sorrow? Hmm.. I think that is applicable to boy-king Danjong who was forced to abdicate the throne in favor of his uncle King Sejo.
When I was there, “I eat in my spare time, away from the 10, 000 calories I must burn”. If one day I get famous, I think all my quotes/sayings will be big jokes of the century.. No wonder, I am not born to be emperor but a civilian instead.
Relaxing? Yes. Nice scenery? Yes. Tired? Absolutely! The touring of the palace can take a whole day but of course that is depending on your walking speed too. Try to bring some lifesavings suppliers such as energy bars, drinks, Oxygen (if required) as you have a very big place to cover!
Starbucks, Coffee Beans, San Francisco Coffee are all the famous hangout places for many. Have you ever thought where will be the emperor hang out places? If I tell you it will be in Café Shop, do you believe it? No? Why not?
Not all emperors love to see beautiful girls’ performances, operas, traditional musical etc. At least not the emperor that used to reside in Changdeokgung Palace.
In this palace, there is a very classy and modern café shop. Ops..maybe this shop is only build when the palace is made public. Poor emperor.. hehe.. Less one hang out place
Summer in Korea can get really really warm. Touring in Changdeokgung Palace during summer can make you feel like you are in Sahara Dessert. To satisfy your thirst and prevent you from getting sunstroke, this shop have both drinks and air condition.
This shop is not just an ordinary café shop. The shop also sells a lot of souvenirs at reasonable price. Souvenirs? That is a girly stuffs but I am attracted to the antiques, keychains, potteries and many others Korea specials.
Many decided to take a break here before resuming their tour in this palace. Sometime this shop can get really congested but it is a good thing for me as my “Eye Washer”! Google Korean Girls and you will know what I meant.
What special about this shop are the traditional teas. They serve Sikhye, Sujeonggwa, Citron Tea, Chrysanthemum Tea, Mogwa Tea, Saengang Tea and Jujube Tea. Also they serve some common beverages such as Iced Coffee, Americano, Moca Coffee, Coke etc.
To be honest, I have no clue at all the traditional teas but I think it is worth trying as it only costs about 3000 Won/cup. Just be prepared to use your pointing skills as they might not understand your language.
No point for me to go for common drinks. So, I have decided to go for Sikhye and Jujube Tea. Don’t ask me what it is because I have no clue. I just thought that selecting the first one on the menu board is the easiest and the last one is the easiest to point.
I have to admit that both of the teas are “not my cup of tea” but if I am to visit this place again, I will order it again for sure because the name is kind of cute.
Now you know, sometimes, I am luckier than emperor because I am a freeman that can go anywhere I want and I have an additional place to hangout !
Mr. Albert believes that if you can travel the speed of light, you can travel through time. That sounds close to impossible for the technology today. The best record in the history of MANkind is to travel the speed of sound by SR-71 Blackbird (It is a jet and not a bird).
What if I tell you I can bring you back to 17th century when Joseon Dynasty was founded? Not literally of course, or I will be the first in the history of MANkind to have time machine (Apple’s Time Machine is not counted).
I am not a super genius who cans teleport but just a simple MAN that lucky enough to be in Ghangdeokgung Palace, a place that first constructed in 1405, a place that survived multiple invasions and a place that listed as UNESCO World Heritage.
Phew.. AND it is not free though. 3000 Won is the price you need to pay for the ticket to enter this Palace. I will not use money to rank this place as this is the only Palace that is in harmony with its natural surrounding and an example of traditional architecture and garden design.
If you have been to Forbidden City in Beijing, this palace is not as grand as that. That is how the Korean Kingdom is all about, a humble kingdom. If you are an assassin, you need quiet a good stamina to sneak to main hall.
The assembly area is quite spacious to accommodate for officers with various ranks. I know many will die to be the first rank officers but if I get to choose, I would rather be a normal civilian. Why? At least I get an aircond room rather than standing under hot sun.
Map can get you to the desire destination. Dumb dumb as well. In this palace, the tourist map is a must. Luckily all the rooms are closed else I will definitely mousing around the whole palace.
If you pay 3000 Won to get enter the palace, what will you get if you pay an additional of 5000 Won? You just earned a passage to secret garden. Secret? Is it like if I tell you I have to kill you kind of thingy?
Not that secret. The secret here means only the royal blood get to enter the garden. What is so secret about this garden? The garden is actually a forest that was converted to a harmonize garden with best elements of feng shui.
Beside nice sceneries and calm resting place for emperors, this palace is also a survival place for Chinese Juniper which is believed to be 750 years old, 12 meters height and 5.9 meters in circumference.
Power + Wealth + Girls are what everyMAN want but too bad the emperor no longer exist in the modern world. Else, maybe TikkoSS can seek some emperor’s advices to be a “better” MAN
Genghis Khan used to travel thousand miles with horses. In ancient world, horse was considered as one of the fastest means to move from one location to another. Horse riders were considered as elite, who are mostly royalty, high rank generals, tycoon bla bla bla.
In 21 century, the world has evolved. Horse race turns out to be one of the famous gambling sports for many walks of life. Beside equestrian and turf club, no one travels with horse anymore and if you do, you are definitely the odd one out.
That is why TikkoSS decided to travel by plane or subway instead of horse. Ancient people only carry a small sling bag but TikkoSS normally carry the whole house to travel. 35 kg of baggage allowance definitely not enough.
Travelling solely by plane of course cannot get me to my destination. Most of the time, I will rely on taxi but in Korea, subway is really convenient. Almost every single tourist attraction areas can be reached by subway.
Call me techy freak but I am so impressed with Korea subway system. Nothing unusual about the subway itself as it is just a merely train but the automated ticketing machines are rather very advanced.
If you have big notes, there is a bill exchanger. If you don’t read Korea language, the ticketing machines are capable to communicate with you in various major languages. After reaching your destination, simply slot the ticket in deposit refund machine and you will get back your 1000 won.
When I travel, I find it challenging to get local subway map. It is either the map is outdated or I have to use my cam cam to snap the tourist map. So, to avoid the hassle, I have included the subway map for future reference.
IF you don’t know where to go, just grab this map and ask the concierge to circle the interesting place. I can assure you that you will find many many interesting places. More than you can ever imagine.
That is not all. Korean Subway Station also full with hawker stalls. What they sell? Finger food of course. I managed to locate this stall that sell mini custard bun. It is almost the same like kaya balls except the filling is filled with custard.
If 10 is good, I will give 11. Why? By just thinking about it, I already started to drool. I can comfortably tell you that the mini custard buns really taste as good as the one I had it in Dragon-i @ Pavillion, KL.
If you bump into me in Korea Subway, don’t be surprise as I am always there to harass the ticketing machines and ease my mini custard bun crave..
Yesterday I had a dream, a dream of visiting Japan (one of my dream country – that why it only appears in my dream) and drinking Miso soup. Today I asked my best buddy “W” what is Miso actually?
The answer I get is a type of traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans, with salt and the fungus kojikin. Typically Miso is made with soybeans.
That is probably according to Japanese dictionary but in Korea, Miso is referring to something else. Not food of course (that is the saddest part) but every cloud has a silver lining.
Miso, or Beautiful Smile is an original Korean musical, a series of stage performances in the spirit of tradition, globality and art. Fuyoh… even from the description, I bet you can “feel” that it is going to be super duper awesome show.
Heard about Romeo and Juliet? Never heard of it? OMG. It is ShakeSPEARe (“goyang lembing” in Malay) famous and tragically romantic story. If you don’t know anything about this, I think you should start looking for monastery and your next career move will be a monk.
Maybe Chunhyang and Mongryong are not as famous as Romeo and Juliet but this is a Korean version of an epic love story. You don’t need to looks elsewhere for these two characters as you can catch them in Changdong Theater, 10 min walk from Deoksugung Dauhanmun Palace
Guess where is my seat? Oh yea.. I am sitting in the middle of VIP. For once I feel like VIP because I am surrounded by VIP. Now I understand what people said, “If you shit together with others, you will automatically become smelly”.
The analogy might sound a little yucky but it is “meaningful”. It might be as meaningful as the Miso Musical. The performance that incorporate all the traditional music, romantic play, dancing, conspiracy, fighting, mixing of touching moments and many more!
As you know, I will not suggest you to read the synopsis or tell you the whole storyline to break the suspense. However, in this performance, I can guarantee that you will amaze even after you read the review.
All performers are well trained and talented but I particularly like the lead female actress. She is the one that shows to all that the facial expression and body language do carry a weight of 80% in communication.
Luckily, I have a chance to snap a group photo of the Miso performers at the very end of 80 minutes show.
Traditional Korean Arts Stage, MISO
Changdong Theater, Seoul
Date & Time: Open Run from 1600 – 2000 hours (Close on Monday)
Min. Age: 5 years old
Duration: 80 minutes
Prices: R seat 50 000 Won, S seat 40 000 Won, A seat 30 000 Won
TEL: +82 – 2 – 751 – 1500 (0900 – 1800 hours)
E.T or Extra Terrestrial is a term used to refer to alien. What is alien? Alien is not only referring to 8 legged ugly and disgusting creatures but also referring to a person who comes from a foreign country.
To some extend, I feel like I am an E.T. in Korea (let me be clear, it is E.T. not E.D.). Not knowing where am I, sometime not even iPhone compass or GPS helps as most places are full with alienated language.
Walking around like a headless chicken also can bring me to wonderful places. The feeling is like venturing into something you never know it exists! I love the feeling of exploring and excited when see some nice architectures.
What you need is just a reference point to begin with. Usually it will be a subway station, hotel, famous places, airport or even a high rise building. Why do I need it? At least you can find your way back especially when you are in twilight zone or LOST!
To learn about local culture, you need to be earthworm (know how to dig into various local hideout). If you follow local tours, all you can see is only the beauty side of everything.
This time, “The Journey to the Center of theSeoulCity” brings me to Nandaemun Market, Dongdaemun market and Chungmuro. I labeled these places as heaven for tourists and ladies in particular.
Almost every 100 meters, there will be cosmetic shops. Facial masks, nail polished, lipsticks, slimming pills bla bla bla.. name it and you get it. I guess the best thing for me is to enjoy the scenery rather than all those artificial thingy
If you are patient enough and have the stamina to walk, I bet you can get the cheapest deal too. Some even offer 50%, 60% and up to 70% discount on all “ladies must have products”.
Although I am not a fan of all these, I spotted Sizuka in Korea, not Japan. If you follow Doraemon Comic, Sizuka is the lead female character but in this case it is a beautician centre.
Too bad my toenails are too shot at that time else I will give a try on the pedicure as it only costs about 30 000 won which is equivalent to RM 90. Is it expensive? I really have no clue. I just think it would be nice if someone working on my toe. Hope he/she will not faint!
Some of the shops really caught my sight. One of it is PiGi Chicken. When I look at it, I am confused. Are they selling chicken or pig? I still haven’t figured it out yet. Then I saw this ABC Mart and I really wonder if they are running out of nicer name.
Soon after that, I saw a bar that is not exactly inTexasbut called Texas Bar. Funny thing is, they hardly speak good English and don’t know who is Elvis Presley.
I managed to snap a photo of cute mascot which I don’t know what is he/she promoting. All I can say is he/she is acting real funny. Still remember Felix the Cat? No? Too bad as there is a big store selling all Felix products.
There are few things that I am impressed or amazed. One of it is nude exhibition during daylight, esthetic building just for visitors to rest, shop that sells fresh fish head and fish bones ONLY and Chinese calligrapher who was performing in the middle of Korean crowds (what is he even thinking?).
My jaw is wide open when I see the rubbish disposal area! I am never felt so impressed with rubbish collector and the rubbish disposal system. I can tell you, this is probably one of the most sophisticated thing in this whole area. Automatic rubbish disposal! WOW!
Missing Malaysia already? I got a cure for you. The shops above look familiar? I didn’t know Bee Cheng Hiang and Rotiboy are inKorea too! I quickly grab few Rotiboy buns and try it. Beside slightly more expensive, I think it tastes the same..hehe
For the fan of Watson and Uniqlo, they are here too! So being an alien in an alien country does not necessary means it is a bad thing. In fact, it is rather a nice adventure by using a silent language or sign language as many would say.
Changing of Guard is one of the famous ceremony in Buckingham Palace, London. If you think that is too far from you, maybe I can suggest you to travel to Korea. Why so? In Seoul, Changing of the Royal Guard is also considered as one of the traditional cultural ceremony.
How did I get to know about it? Erm.. it is rather hard to explain but I purely rely on luck and destiny. As you know, I was staying in Best Western New Seoul Hotel before. Not far from there, I noticed a very congested crowd.
Curious TikkoSS bring him to Deoksugung Dauhanmun Palace. At this place, I can feel that culture and history come to life in the middle of hustle bustle city. You might notice the Chinese characters on the entrance and this is very common in Korea.
A myth claimed that Chinese characters are very complicated and only royal family get the privilege to learn it. I guess I am not that royal afterall as I see no Chinese
The changing ceremony starts at 11:00, 14:00 and 15:30 on daily basis and the patrol ceremony only happens at 11:25 – 12:15 (Bosingak) and 15:40 – 16:10 (Gwanghwamun). I consider myself as lucky as I get to experience both. This ceremony is open for public to witness it without any charges.
If you are heading to Dunkin’ Donuts (just right beside it), I suggest you to be more patient. I know hungry man is an angry man but I can tell you, it is worth to wait.
After globalization and modernization, the changing of guard is as simple as swipe the punch card or they just left. I am referring to the security guards in our housing area. If you rewind to few hundred years ago, changing of guard is not as simple as that.
The sequences are as below:
i) Granting Military Password: once a new password within three letters has been approved by the king, it is conveyed to Soomunjang and Soomungoon.
ii) Password Check: the procedure whereby the 1st and 2nd line Soomungoons ask for and give the password to establish each other’s identity.
iii) First Drum (Cho-Eum): a case containing the key to the palace is handed over.
iv) Second Drum (Joon-Eum): Bushinhapoo and Soonjangpae are handed over.
- Bushin: a voucher that opens and closes the palace gate; it is used to confirm the thruth of the order.
- Soonjangpae: an identification tag of Soomunjang
v) Third Drum (Sam-Eum): changing shifts of Soonmungoon.
vi) Yepil : announcement of the ending of the ceremony.
vii) Patrolling Ceremony: Sumungun, who finished the changing of the guard ceremony, patrol the outskirt of the palace. They march to Bosingak in the morning and to Gwanghwamun Square in the afternoon
Rather than detailing every single step, pictures tell a thousand words. All I can say, there are a lot of people involves in this event mainly guard, traditional band, warrior, messenger, drummer bla bla bla.
My favourite part is the drummer and I can tell you, it is not an easy task.
First, he need to dress up nicely as all attention will be divert to him (literally thousands of eyes staring at him), he should maintain his “cool” (no nose digging or sneezing) and ultimately performing some martial art stance before he can hit the drum.
Accompany with traditional orchestra, the guard will start their march and Yepil is the announcement of the ending of ceremony.
As you know TikkoSS is an outgoing person, so he decided to blend into traditional culture by cam-ducking with all the guards in his very modern clothing.. t-shirt and jeans..
Sauna is a confine place to experience dry or wet heat sessions. It can either use the conventional method that warms the air or infrared that warms the object. Whatever that means, the primary function is to get someone to sweat like pig.
If you like to eat steam chicken, sauna can also helps you to experience what the chicken has experienced before it end up on your dining table. If you are claustrophobic, I just found you an alternative…
Stop guessing! KOREAN BBQ is the right answer! OK, I know many might not buy this but the best policy is to try it yourself. I don’t believe it at first and that is why I ended up in Jin Shabu Shabu & Roasted to try out my hypothesis.
The restaurant is rather spacious and cozy. To control the “sauna” temperature, the place is equipped with state of the art air ventilation and aircond of course but the main heating element is just few centimeters away from you! Sadly, heat radiation is still unpreventable.
One good thing about this restaurant is they have a pictorial menu and they are super expert in sign language. Acknowledging that I am a foreigner there, they showed me all the best dishes they have.
At first I contemplated ordering pork and go for beef instead.. but but.. a strong desire urged me to go for pork, lamb and chicken at the end. “Never say never to try every new thing and always go for full throttle especially when food involve”.
It is disgusting to say that every time when I go for BBQ or steamboat, I will end up having a big time stomachache but definitely not this time. How can I be so sure? Well, all my food was barbeque by a special chef. No more uncooked food.
The chef even thought me how to dip and eat the meat in Korean way. Wrapping the meat with vegetables is nothing special but the homemade dip sauce is extraordinary. It is hard to explain the taste unless you try it yourself.
The sauna was working well indeed. I was soaking in sweat right after I finished consuming in this meal. I am not surprise if a Korean girl approach me and say.. wow, you smell like a real man!
Saunas for claustrophobic is never free. Initially, I was very concern about my “already bleeding” wallet. Luckily, I did bring along my “SOS plastic” a.k.a. credit card with me that day.
This meal costs me about 59400 won at which I considered it as reasonably cheap for this type of food and great services.