I’m a member of Wander Women, a meetup group set up for female travellers in Singapore. Had the chance to do a sharing about visiting Korea (focusing on Jeju Island and Suncheon Bay) to the group on 30 May. Thanks to the Korea Tourism Office in Singapore for providing us a space at Korea Plaza to hold the session. Thanks as well to Melody, Wander Women founder, and fellow speakers Wendy and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was our star speaker for the day – she is a travel ambassador for Korea under the KTO Global Seoul Mate programme and has blogged extensively about her trravel exploits on https://polkadotyyann.wordpress.com/. In the spirit of sharing, below are the slides that I prepared for the event. (Wave to those who were at the session! Do leave a comment below to say hi :))
Saw Korea in spring and autumn last year, so hv planned a summer trip this time round. Bought my air tics yesterday.. Flying out to seoul on 7 Aug and returning on 16 aug. This time I hope to do much more cycling compared to my autumn trip when I just did some sections along the han river in seoul.
Just haven’t decided whether to do Jeju Round Island, or tackle (part of) the Seoul-Busan route. Also vaguely wondering whether I should try and find a travel buddy this time round, cos the thought of cycling alone is scary!! Dun think any of my friends wld be keen to join though 😦 I have heard of a group cycling trip for foreigners starting from seoul, but I think tt will be in June.
Anyway, at least my flight is sorted!
Seoul is well known for its street food, as K-drama or K-variety show fans would know. Unfortunately, most of the snacks are not suitable for Muslims due to non-halal ingredients or cross-contamination with non-halal ingredients.
One of the street snacks that I really looked forward to, which I was very sure is OK to consume is hotteok. It is a deep-fried “dumpling”, with brown sugar and nuts encased in dough. Sounds yummy already right? I looked around for it over the several days I was in Seoul and finally found it one morning on a side-street along the way from our hotel to Jongno-gu 3-gil. It only cost 1000 won (around sgd 1.20) and the ahjussi uncle selling it is a smiley genial man. He must be used to tourists ‘cos even though he didn’t speak English, he guessed we didn’t know the drill and gestured to us to pick-up the folded white paper cup from in front of his stove and hand it to him to fill in the piping hot hotteok. My first bite into the pillowy soft dough, followed by the burst of flavor from the sweet and nutty filling was unforgettable.
Unfotunately, we didn’t see the ahjussi again and I didn’t manage to get more hotteok on the other days. Saw some at Namdaemun market on my last day there, but the queue was long and I didn’t have time to wait cos I only had a short time there before my flight. Recently, I came across this video at Seoulistic, and was pleasantly surprised to see the hotteok cart I’d bought from featured in it. (Ahjussi’s cart appears as the first of four hotteok places introduced)
Check out the original post on Seoulistic for maps to all the places mentioned. Ahjussi’s cart is the first on the list.
After the eventful morning, it was a big relief to touch down in Jeju and arrive at the guesthouse without any big hurdles. Got my first glimpse of the public bus in Jeju when I boarded one (bus no. 100) from the airport to get to YEHA Guesthouse (City Hall branch). That wasn’t the best decision since the buses were not designed for lugggage – I had to haul my heavy bags up some steps when boarding and found that my bags blocked half of the narrow aisle. Luckily the locals who boarded from the other bus-stops along the route were very tolerant and didn’t give as much as a peep or a squeak nor a glare as they squeezed their way past my bags to the back of the bus.