Sunday, August 14, 2016

Summer never ends

Here I am back in Singapore after a long 1.5 months that flew by in a blink of an eye. I am saying this with a very heavy heart that has parts of it left in Korea. A part of me missed Singapore like crazy, and another part of me struggled with the fact that I was finally leaving Korea on the last day. It was difficult to bid goodbye to our airbnb apartment that has been our home for the past 6 weeks, difficult to attend the graduation ceremony surrounded by people hugging and crying, difficult to have our last meal (and bingsu) in Korea, difficult (physically) to get to Incheon Airport (because of our heavy luggages and having to transfer lines), and definitely difficult to return to our homes in SG and face the reality of starting school in 2 days. But yes, it's time to face the reality but please let me reminisce one last time in an attempt to write this blog post. 

For those who didn't know, I was away in Seoul (Korea) for summer exchange in Korea University. I took up 3 modules there:
0900-1040 Physics in Living Systems (6 weeks)
1050-0120 Introduction to Marketing (4 weeks)
0200-430 American Foreign Policy (4 weeks)
I got Bs for all my modules which was good enough, considering the fact that I barely studied (cos nobody studies during summer school) and I wasn't vying for a scholarship. In Korea University, the passing grade is 70, so you need at least a C to pass, which to most people sounds crazy but I found the lecturers quite lenient. I mean, they'll be quite a sadist to let people fail their summer school. The difficult part though, was 70% attendance, especially for my morning classes, which I believe I did not meet the requirement, but there was only 6 students in my class so it was quite impossible for my professor to fail anyone in my opinion. Oh and school was from Monday to Thursday and I freaking love this system. Having that one additional weekend really made going to school less of a chore. 

Jae, my first friend from Politics class!
Every morning, I wake up at 730(ish, sometimes 8) to get ready for school. I will make sure to check the temperature to decide what to wear that day, because the first 3 weeks were the monsoon season and the temperature dropped to about 24 degrees whenever it rains. The rain in Seoul lasts for days, so I'll make sure to wear leather shoes and jeans and sweater. But, if it doesn't rain the temperature is just like in Singapore. In fact, in the last week the temperature was 35 degrees and I almost died. Ok moving on, my apartment is in Dongmyo/Sindang and it takes me about 20-30minutes to get to school which is in Anam. Upon alighting at Anam, I'll go to 7-11 to get a tuna kimchi gimbap (sushi roll that surprisingly filling) and coffee for breakfast cos I can't stay awake for 9am classes without food. I only get to have lunch after my second class at 1:20pm, and I'll meet my friends at the next building. After class at 4:30pm, we meet at the smoking shed outside our lecture building and decide where to go that afternoon.

I figured I can't possibly make a record of my activities every single day by writing since I was there for 6 weeks and I did go out almost every single day, so that'll take forever to jot down but I did take snaps on my snapchat every day so stayed tuned to the end of this entry for a video compilation of my snaps during the trip. Sadly, I forgot to save some snaps from Carribean Bay and my hiking trip but well, both experiences were gold and kinda hard to erase from my mind anyway.

Ok I'll first talk about the interesting places I went to ok! Or at least places worth mentioning ah, cos I don't think I can list down every single place I went lol.

OK not gonna say too much about this place because everyone knows about it. Best shopping area around for beauty products and also for the best food. Not the best place for guys to go unless you're looking for sports or shoe stuff, or planning to have a meal here, or go to a cat/dog cafe. The streets here are also lined with OVERPRICED street food that you probably can find elsewhere (for instance, Ehwa) for a fraction of the price.

Fried icecream yum!
I did go to Myeongdong a lot, in fact I think I came here most of the time when I had nothing planned because there's many things for you to see and eat here and also cos it's really near my place. I went to the dog and cat cafe here as well, basically I just followed the dog/cat mascots along the streets (you'll bump into them somehow).

OK here are some cat-obsessed selfies:

This cat is heterochromatic so I had every reason to be obsessed ok
Nessie and I being absolute cat lover spent quite a bomb there getting food and drinks for ourselves as well as for the cats...but for all their love and attention it was WORTH IT HAHA. 

OK some warning, I think it's best not to enter the dog cafe that the dog mascot was promoting in Myeongdong. I am not sure if they all promote for the same one, but I guess you should go to Dog Cafe Perpet @ Apgujeong that I went on a separate occasion instead, or just go to the damn famous Bau House or something. This dog cafe that I went in Myeongdong was probably the worst I've seen...I mean dogs are dogs and they are cute no matter what but these dogs are not potty-trained, so they shit and pee...EVERYWHERE. It's quite a nasty sight and it honestly made me feel quite grossed out cos we were sitting on the floor, and the dogs are peeing and shitting all over the floor. The dogs were interactive all right, but there were some dogs we apparently had to stay away from because they get aggressive when irritated (or not, they're just always aggressive and we should stay away from them at all cost) which is just no fun. BOOOOOO

Also haha, this reaffirms my love for cats cos they are so much cleaner compared to dogs. 

Dog Cafe Perpet @ Apgujeong

Ok this cat cafe was much much better compared to the one I went to in Myeongdong. Also, their dogs are so much cuter. They also separated the big dogs from the small dogs, so for those who are scared of dogs but wanna go to a dog cafe (people like me lol) they can just chill in the small dogs area. They have a puppy corgi and pomeranian!!! You just got to buy a drink to enter, and if you don't wish to enter, you can just chill outside, which is also filled with little dogs you can play with. Personally, the big dogs are just too active and scary for me. The small dogs are calmer and cuddler cos you can actually hug them! We spent an entire afternoon here being sluts to the dogs cos they took turns cuddling with each of us HAHAHA. Ok I'm kidding but if you have no idea what to do for an entire afternoon just go to a dog or cat cafe cos you can definitely spend a long time there without even realizing. Plus, all of us spent a long time trying to get the perfect cute shot with these cuties as well. I think these cafes are a must-visit in Seoul because they are so rare in SG!

Line Friends Store & Cafe

I know it's weird that this is one of the interesting places to name, especially for me who is not a fan of stuffed toys but really, just walk into one of these stores (they're everywhere). First of all, the place is massive. Second of all, the stuffed toys are massive. Third of all, they have a freaking cafe with buns in the shape of the characters?! I died inside cos I was just too overwhelmed by their cuteness. I swear my friends and I spent at least 30 minutes inside taking photos with all the stuffed toys. We were in complete awe. Also, not to mention, these stuffed toys are actually pretty famous in Korea so this is considered an attraction over there. Oh oh oh, and they have a photobooth!!!

Sinsa is an area near Gangnam (or part of, I'm not really sure), but basically you shop there. The clothes are not as cheap compared to Ehwa or Express Bus Terminal but you can find some local brands there or other high end brands at probably cheaper prices. My friends and I found Cheap Monday at 40% discount storewide, so a pair of jeans was 40$ wow! I didn't buy any though cos I have so many jeans already and I don't even wear jeans that often lol. Ok actually you can give this place a miss if you don't really have time cos I honestly didn't do much here anyway. 

This mall is massive, like probably about 4 times of Vivocity, or even more actually cos I didn't even manage to walk the entire area. But anyway, if you wanna get Stan Smith or some popular shoe model and you can't find your shoe sizes anyway, just go to COEX Mall cos there are so many stores that sells branded shoes and the stores are huge. And I got my Adidas Superstar at a 20% discount, which was the only store I know then (after walking around and checking prices at so many stores) that offered discount for that shoe model. I will definitely go back to this mall again the next time I'm in Seoul because I gotta finish walking the entire mall man. I got quite a bit of stuff after walking only one small section so I can't imagine what the entire mall actually have to offer.

Seven Luck Casino
Whoever has the sharper jawline wins more money?
LOL he win 
Since you're in the Gangnam area, and probably have your passport with you to do tax refunds, you might as well head down to Seven Luck Casino just to check it out or maybe to really gamble. You gotta walk through COEX Mall to get there anyway. It was my first time entering a casino cos I just turned 21, and yes I did try to gamble and lost about 100$ pfft. Ok fine, but it was for experience. I think I prefer gambling for fun cos everything at the casino is way too serious for my liking. Like people actually get offended when you call for an additional card in blackjack and shit like nah man I can't deal with that I iz out. HAHA, and also you can sign up to become a member for free and get 10k won for the slot machine. With the member card, you get (I think) two free meals in the casino but you gotta play a game to activate the card but still better than nothing. I thought it was not bad lah. I mean considering the money I lost, at least the casino made sure I didn't starve to death on the streets and stuff. LOL

Express Bus Terminal
If you're around Sinsa or Gangnam area and you're done with whatever you're doing there, you might as well head down to the Express Bus Terminal since it's nearby. Or, if it's raining and you can't shop along the outdoor streets, then this is the best place to go for shopping. This place kinda reminds me of Platinum Mall in Bangkok. Anyway the clothes here (and phone casings) are like 5k-10k won, real cheap, but thing is I find all the clothes relatively similar here so I didn't bother walking the entire place. And also cos of all days I didn't bring enough money to shop that day LOL. If you're into Korean style of dressing then I think this place is good for all the cheap clothes you can get! Personally, I really like how comfortable Koreans dress, cos they are always wearing loose clothes and all but there are some conservative style of dressing that does not really appeal to me. For instance, wearing a shirt underneath a bralet HAHA it really just doesn't make sense to me but well everyone has different opinions.

Ehwa Womans University

LOL BB looking at his beancurd skin fishcake with so much love in his eyes. Not my fave though cos I'm not a fan of beancurd skin so I only took a bite.
For more shopping, you can head down to Ehwa Womans University (I googled to see if there was an 's' behind woman and there was ok I know it's wrong but that's how it's spelled there). I got my contact lenses from Ehwa, even their watsons sell contact lenses. The cheapest I found was 10k per pair cos they were selling it for 1 + 1 for 20k won. Anyway, I think Ehwa is the best place to pop by watsons or guardian cos the beauty products are cheaper compared to SG. Sometimes the difference in beauty products pricings make me feel that SG doesn't want us to be beautiful LOL (kidz but yeah). I think there's only one small street along Ehwa that actually sell clothes, and after walking for awhile you'll get quite lost because all the clothes look the same and you don't know if you've already entered this store or not HAHA it's quite funny.

Most importantly when you're in Ehwa, please try pork belly at Mister Bossam (I'll mention it later in this post about food).

Lotte Mart
This is a must-go place as well because this is where you'll be able to get all the Korean noodles and snacks to bring home! In fact, you can buy all the make up products here as well cos they are all of the same price anyway. The biggest advantage of buying all your stuff here is the immediate tax refund you'll be able to get on the spot. This means you don't even have to do tax refund at the airport anymore, which can be quite confusing and troublesome because you gotta keep all the receipts and fill in all the forms in the receipts and so on.The only disadvantage of shopping here is that they do not provide plastic bags so you'll have to pack all your shopping stuff into recycled boxes provided and carry it all the way home. Honestly, the boxes are quite a hassle to carry back home and we insisted on not taking the cab because it would mean we didn't save anything on tax refund at all. We died, and we were just so so glad we made it back home.

ok I'm done talking about all the shopping stuff (finally), and I will move on to sightseeing places!

Hangang River
Also known as Han River. Sadly, I only went to this place once in the night but either way this place is beautiful. I drove past this area several times when I was in the cab and every single time I was in complete awe. People usually do picnics along the river and under the bridge. I definitely want to do it the next time I come to Seoul. I love picnics! I also know that in the afternoon you get to rent bicycle or segway to ride along the river, which sounds super fun as well. The river is really beautiful!

Ok also, from what I heard from my Korean friend, many people commit suicide at the Han River. So along the river at the pavement on the highway, there are actually public telephones and motivational/encouraging quotes to prevent people from committing suicide. And because of this, Han River is also called 'The River of Hope'. In fact, when I left Han River the night I was there, my friend and I actually witnessed someone attempting to commit suicide there while we were driving past the highway and there was a police car present.

The night I was there, my friend and I did tarot (just for fun) for 15k won for the both of us. It's not cheap but well, we were bored and it was a good way to kill time. It was during the tarot I realised Koreans can actually write in Chinese characters but they can't speak Chinese? It's weird, I mean I know Chinese used to be their national language before the Korean war or something, but I didn't know they still learn to write in Chinese.

Gyeongbokgung Palace & 
Gyeongbokgung Palace Folk Museum

I wanted to take so many more pictures but I made the wrong decision of going to Korea with only boys and they refuse to take pictures for me, which is damn lame but nevermind got over it because I'm a magnanimous person. 

Ok to start, this palace is massive. Way to massive to finish exploring every room, which there was no need to as well because every room looked the same (because they are all freaking empty) and you can't enter them anyway. The only difference is probably the little plaque outside the room explaining the significance of this room and so on. The only interesting thing I found out about was probably the assassination of the queen or something like that. 

The Palace Museum was interesting though, like I got to see the floor plan of the palace (which is damn insanely huge). And I also learned how Koreans get their make up products then - red beans. Yeah this explains their obsession with red bean related food products even up till now LOL. I won't say this is a must-go place, but honestly I find that it's worth a visit because it's beautiful but you probably won't spend an entire afternoon there unless you're super ambitious and insists on walking the entire palace (which I will wish you good luck to that). Oh ya, you also get to rent hanboks there and walk the entire palace in your hanboks (traditional Korean costume) so you can get the perfect insta shot! But of course I didn't do it...because the hanbok doesn't really go with my fashion style. LOL my friends tried persuading me to wear it but.. nah sorry no thanks. 

BB and Yongli mocking my laughing candid shot

Bengs unite
I should also mention that if you exit the museum via the main entrance, there is a beautiful patch of grass that you can take really nice photos at! I did take some but they didn't turn out too nice cos it was already dark. But the palace looks beautiful from the outside at night as there were lights lining the entire palace, but also the lights ruin the shot in photos HAHA. Well, I guess some things are really just for your eyes to see and remember in the moment itself. We can't capture every golden moment, but we sure can remember them.

Korean War Museum

Outside this museum is the perfect place to take photos. The statues are really beautiful and carefully sculpted. If you stare at their faces long enough, I think you can see their story flash past in a second and feel your heart aching for a bit. Ok I'm being overdramatic but seriously, I think trying to feel myself in that situation then is the reason why I love history and looking at photos and portraits from the past. It's like, so old but been through so much. The same as looking at old people. Is it just me? HAHAH I'm not weird right. 

Anyway I went to this War Museum twice, once with my friends and another time with my politics class. I should also just mention that the entire class is very pro-American because half the class were Americans and the other half were South Koreans, and I'm a little Singaporean here who never speaks up (because I know nothing about the history of America and also cos I'm literally the only one in class without an American accent). Ok back to the museum. 

Besides these statues, there is also an entire area lined with war transport and machines which is super cool and perfect for taking photos. My friends and I have a typical vogue shot and normal shot. Forgive us but we gotta give the cool vibes la. 

who win at dimples?
Ok that said, the museum itself (inside) was quite disappointing. I mean I did get more insights on the war and especially on North Korea but the interior wasn't as nice as I hoped I guess. I also felt like I already know most of the things from politics class so it was kinda boring for me. But still, the museum is huge and they have many different rooms to explore different aspects and timeline of the war so if one room was too boring or not as insightful for you, you can just move on to the next.

Hwaseong Fortress

Kenneth, Seo In, Vivian and I made it out of the house (the rest didn't cos we drank the previous night) one afternoon to make a road trip out of Seoul to Hwaseong Fortress! It was supposedly a 2 hour journey but I think it turned out much longer than that because this happens when you let a Singaporean drive in Korea. HAHA ok but still thankful that he drove because that means we girls don't have to worry about driving and can just gossip away the entire trip. My throat also felt a little sore after the trip cos guess whose been talking non-stop all the way LOL. Kenneth and Seo In were like Vivian and my parents cos they called the shots and worried about directions, while Vivian and I sat in the backseat completely oblivious to an incoming toll ahead. HAHA the road trip was really fun though, jamming to old songs and of course a thousand miles by Vanessa Carlton (cos white chicks).

Had to take photos by the castle because we made it bitches! I'll safely say that this castle definitely looks way better in the night than in the day. But of course, it can be quite tricky to get a good shot in the dark. Just to add, I won't say this is a must-go place as well because there's nothing much to do besides finding a nice spot to take photos, but I really enjoyed the road trip cos we had like a mini bonding session and a few good laughs. We didn't sleep during the journey at all! Also, we made sure to stock up a bit on water and snacks so we don't have to starve ourselves on the way back like we did on our way to the fortress. 

Lotte World

Korea University kindly sponsored all the summer students free entry to Lotte World on one of the weekends so the entire school went. I was initially with Derrick and BB but they weren't as excited as I was cos they've been there before and they didn't really like it there. Whereas for me, it was my first time and I was super psyched. I mean, I'm always happy no matter which theme park I go to! Thankfully I have this bunch of friends that are just as excited as I was, but some of them a bit the xiao scared to take rides. 

I'll say my favourite ride is Gyro Swing, which is a little bit like Viking Ship but it spins while going up and down, and of course it goes way way higher than that. Also, the ride was situated by a river so when it goes up, the view was amazing. I took the ride twice hehe. I also took Gyro Drop, which froze my heart for a solid 6 seconds when it went down, but there was only one drop so it was kinda easy to get over. We queued for French Revolution for about 2 hours and it was a complete waste of time, cos the roller coaster goes up but there are no freaking drops. It's a popular ride because I think that's the main ride at Lotte World, but nah it sucks. Thankful for the group of friends I went with that made queuing so much less torturous than it actually is. 

Guess you can get our flow in photo-takings now - normal shot, cute shot, and vogue shot. HAHAH, we stayed at Lotte World the entire day and believe me, you'll want to because the castle lights up at night and it makes you feel like a pwincess. Or at least, that's what I felt even in baggy jeans and sneakers LOL. Best thing about the theme parks in Korea is that they close at 10pm instead of freaking USS in Singapore that closes at 7pm. 

Caribbean Bay

Our initial plan for Caribbean Bay and Everland was to be on one of the weekends so we could book an airbnb nearby and conquer both theme parks in one weekend. Unfortunately, it rained on that particular weekend so we forwent our airbnb apartment and just went to Caribbean Bay and Everland separately. The journey to Everland is super super tedious. If you took the train it'll take about 2-3 hours. So the four of us just took a cab to Gangnam and took a bus that goes straight to Everland. This takes about 1-2 hours instead. You can go google about the different ways to get to Everland.

Ok back to the rides!!!

Caribbean Bay is probably the best water theme park I've been too. Like every other water theme parks, you get the tsunami pool and lazy river and all the very typical rides. The best ride there was probably Mega Storm, which is also the highlight ride there. The queue is super long, but if you go with the right company they can make the queuing process less tedious. And unlike water theme parks in Singapore or anywhere else I've been to, you don't have to carry the floats up many many flights of stairs at Caribbean Bay which is awesome. Also, at Caribbean Bay, I took the scariest ride I've ever taken - Aqualoop. There was zero queue at this ride, I think partly due to the very strict checks. You have to remove all your piercings, so I removed my belly stud. Like even the material of your bathing suit matters. Anyway only Derrick BB and I passed the checks and after reaching the top of the platform, we realized like "shit there's no queue". Basically each of us gets a cubicle, and the cubicle door closes then they will echo "3..2..1.." and the freaking floor opens up and you freefall for like 5 seconds before you hit the waterslide and like whizz through the tube. The speed of the ride is pretty fast if you ask me and water theme parks have always scared me more because there are no safety harnesses unlike normal theme parks. Swear I died after Aqualoop, T-express was nothing compared to this LOL.

If you do your research, there are actually a lot of things to explore at Caribbean Bay. If I'm not wrong there's an Aquatic Centre or something but we stayed outdoors most of the time because we went there for the rides. But overall it was a pretty chill day for us, we only took a few rides but it was a good day. Oh and most of the people there wear rash guard and tights, so if you show up in bikini you get a lot of stares, and eventually you'll feel uncomfortable lah or at least that was how I felt. 


On the last day of our trip, Nessie and I woke up late but we made our way down to Everland anyway. We probably didn't explore the entire area considering the size of it, but we took the T-Express (highlight ride) twice so that was awesome. In case you didn't know, T-Express is a roller coaster that goes at a speed of 110 or something, and it has a 77 degrees drop. The ride is also super long, with many many drops!! Nessie and I sat at the front seat and we raised our hands at every drop it was insane and super fun, and we also had sore arms the next day HAHA. 

Another super good ride that we accidentally ended up queuing for was the Amazon Forest. YOU HAVE TO GO FOR THIS. Basically you queue for a shuttle bus that goes into the tigers, lions, hyenas and bear exhibition. You get to be super close to the animals, like without the glass windows on the bus you can touch them and they will bite you and you die that kind of distance. I was freaking out the entire time cos we were so so close. Like a bear stood up right in front of me and it was huge. And we also saw baby lion cubs! This entire ride was amazing and I am so glad we bumped into this ride by pure luck. I'm sure there are many amazing rides at Everland as well but because we didn't have much time to spend there we didn't take every single ride there was. Anyway, I'll definitely come back to Everland again on my next trip. 

Btw! For both Everland and Caribbean Bay, remember to bring your boarding pass cos there might be a discount for your tickets. Nessie and I only paid 30$ for our tickets to Everland, which I thought was pretty cheap. They offer a cheaper price if you enter the theme park after 5pm.

Noise Basement 2 (NB2)

NB2 is in Hongdae (Hongik University) which is probably my favourite area in Seoul, because you can find eat there, shop there and club there. Basically, your entire day's itinerary can be settled in Hongdae. Bonus, they have sulbing there and they sell the best bingsu around Seoul. Ok back to NB2.

If I should warn you first, this club is is small and squeezy and the toilet is filthy as hell. But for some strange reason, this club is the favourite for my friends and I. In my 6 weeks, I came here 3 times, and 2 of those 3 times were on consecutive nights HAHA. Oh and this club only plays Hip Hop music which is the best thing ever I love it. The entrance fee is 10k won on weekdays and 15k won on weekends. We tried to enter before 11pm thinking there might be free entrance, but apparently it's free for locals but foreigners strictly have to pay, which is damn ridiculous in my opinion but we paid anyway for all the clubs we entered. AND (BONUS) CLUBS OPEN TILL 10AM IN KOREA!!! So we clubbed till daylight every single time (unknowingly) and it feels like Zoukout! Pre-drinking in Seoul happens at the convenience store cos everyone just buys soju for 2$ and down the entire bottle cos we ain't wasting no time WE BLOODY PAID FOR ENTRANCE SO WE GOTTA GET OUR ASSES IN THE CLUB ASAP. Also trust me, one bottle's enough to get you there (I mean, provided you down the entire shit in one shot la). 3 bottles to be dead drunk if you ask me.

Oh ya, and you don't really have to dress up to enter the clubs. I wore a t-shirt dress with sneakers and I thought I looked quite dressed down but turns out the girls there just wear shorts and t-shirt and everyone wears sneakers there.

Ok on to how the guys are inside the club because everyone talks about how aggressive the guys are in the club in Korea amirite!!! So to answer this, yes the guys are aggressive, and every 5 minutes some random dude will have his hands on your shoulders or waist from behind you. Once you enter the club and going down the stairs, probably two or three dudes will block your way to offer a drink or give you some sweet compliments. While dancing, if some dude comes behind you just say no he'll just walk away casually, not even embarrassingly cos to him it's just "oh on to the next target". And if no guys come to can try going to the guy!!! HAHAHAHAH they'll take you without hesitation no worries. Just make sure he's cute ok, because cute guys in Korea is seriously not hard to find. I think this is the best thing about clubbing overseas because no one will recognise you and stir shit that will mess up your reputation and all (that is if you even have one lol HAHAH ok kidding), I mean not that I did anything because half of Singapore was in Seoul when I was there, and also because I'm innocent as hell, but you get what I mean.

After clubbing we'll cab back home, and in case you're wondering cabs here are just as expensive as it is in Singapore. In fact, everything here is more expensive especially food and transport. The only exception is probably Korean beauty products, but other than that nah.

ok photo was taken in SG but it was in a club so close enough HAHA
Octagon rank 5th in the world, one rank higher than Zouk Singapore, so duh we had to go check it out. First of all, it's huge, definitely bigger than zouk eventhough it only has two dancefloors. Basically one plays HipHop and the other plays EDM. And you gotta pay 5k won for the locker, on top of the 30k won entrance fee you paid to get in. It added up to quite a sum and all these didn't even include drinks or transport. Pfft, but ok the club was alright I guess you definitely get a lot more space to dance compared to zouk and the music is good. It's still not my favourite club though, NB2 was still better in my opinion HAHA. Oh also, octagon is located all the way at Gangnam which is pretty far for most people. If you take the train, you gotta climb up a hill, cos octagon is located on a hilltop so it'll suck a lot if you're wearing heels that night hahaha.

I also gotta mention that the first time I went to octagon, I misplaced my phone in the toilet and it ruined my entire night cos I ended up crying and going home. Of course I was no longer in a mood to party right. So I got home and continued crying and my friends came back at 5-6am saying that the club found my phone, and I woke Kenneth up to go back to octagon with me to retrieve my phone. LOL such a brother *crying eyes*. And yes I know I am too damn lucky. 
The Fountain (Arcade Bar)

Favourite bar right here!!! The Fountain is located at Itaewon, which is an area that is famous among foreigners for their nightlife. I think during my 6 weeks in Seoul, I've been to the arcade bar 4 times cos I love it there. First of all they play awesome music, it's not all the recent top 100 hits kind. At some point, I remember vividly they were playing backstreet boys HAHA. Best thing about this arcade bar is definitely all the arcade games and cheap drinks. Basically you can get a bottle of beer for 3k won or you can get a glass of liquor for 5k won, and play pool, shoot basketball, arcade games or table soccer for free. There's also darts that you gotta pay 1k for 2 credits, which is about the same as it is in Singapore. I also don't think Koreans play darts very well LOL.

Anyway if you decide you don't like it at The Fountain, which is impossible because this bar looks so freaking gorgeous with all the lights and everything there is literally nothing to not like about this bar, but ok just maybe if you happen to not like it there, you're in Itaewon and you can easily hop into another bar or club nearby in the area. There are plenty of clubs and bars around. I also learned that anyone below the age of 19 are not even allowed to be in Itaewon, and that's why there are so many policemen and cars patrolling the area.

Seoraksan National Park

Seoraksan if I'm not wrong is the 2nd highest mountain in Korea, and the prettiest one. It runs 12km high and evidently we all look super ready to conquer the mountain. I was particularly excited as it was my first time climbing a mountain, I sort of didn't know what to expect and kinda underestimated the mountain I guess. As this hike was a little last minute and I didn't intend to do any sport-related activity here in Seoul, I had to buy sports shoes and attire the day before and also borrow a hiking bag from a friend. We woke up at around 5am in the morning and took the train to the bus interchange, where we will take a bus out of Seoul, and then take another bus again to the mountain before we actually start hiking. Obviously I didn't know shit about directions so I just followed the pack HAHA. 

Here's a few of us having kimbap for lunch in all smiles, completely unaware of what we signed up for but it was also way too late to turn back now
Ok, so how did the hike go for us because I sounded so negative about it right. Basically we booked an accommodation at the peak of the mountain and the plan was to spend a day climbing up and the next day climbing down the mountain. We were rushing to climb the mountain cos we had to reach the accommodation by 6pm. However, while we were climbing up the mountain, the higher we went, more and more people coming down the mountain told us to turn back because it's gonna rain that night. And the rain here in Seoul lasts for days, and that means we would be stranded at the top of the mountain for days without shower and limited drinks and food. So we sat down and discussed at one of the pit stops. I wanted to go to the peak super badly but I was also exhausted at the same time and slowing the entire group down. But if we were to head to the peak, it is unlikely that we are able to head back down on the same day because we had no torchlight as we didn't plan to hike in the night. Each of us had different opinions. So at the 10km mark, we reached a temple where we stopped and rested for a bit. At that time it was 4pm and we were 2km away from the peak.

The boys said they were gonna run all the way up to the peak, which to me sounded absolutely insane because the way to the peak is a lot steeper from the way we came and I was already dying so I definitely couldn't run my way up. Seriously, the hike was insane I cried while climbing cos I wanted to give up so badly. I'm not even kidding and I am a sports player dude (a little ashamed to say that, tho I've been inactive for awhile but it means I'm not entirely unfit and stuff). Ok so basically what happened was the guys went up to the peak and the girls started making our way down and we would meet the boys at the starting point.

The hike down took way longer than expected and soon the sky began to go dark. Along the way, there were strangers who told us to just get accommodation on the mountain but we were quite suspicious cos they were all guys and we were all girls. I mean, ok Koreans are generally really nice and all, but we gotta meet the boys at the starting point anyway. The Koreans kept insisting it was dangerous for us but we went ahead anyway after buying a torchlight from them. We were walking really really fast hoping by sheer luck we will be able to make it back to the starting point before the entire forest becomes pitch black for us, but our hopes get crushed a little knowing we're a few kilometers away which would take hours to complete. Anyway yes, the sky eventually grew dark and the only source of light for the three of us was the torchlight and our iphone light (that was not strong enough but we didn't have a choice). The three of us girls encountered three animals along the way and I was scared out of my wits. I just wanted to cry so bad because I was tired and there are wild animals and we might die. I was really so scared but I couldn't say it out because I know the girls are scared too, and if I were to say it out I might scare them. It was pitch black in the entire forest and I was scared to dart my eyes into the darkness for fear of seeing something I shouldn't. Honestly, the entire experience was soooooo traumatic for me I think it'll take a long while before I can enter a forest for another hike.

Anyway yes finally we reached the starting point at the temple and we asked the guard if we could just take shelter in the temple because it was dark and there are wild animals around and it was starting to rain. He kept insisting no because the bus terminal is closed and apparently we had to hike down 7km to where we can actually get a cab. Upon hearing that I just bawled my eyes out and begged him to let us stay there. He was nice enough in the end and let us take shelter there, I think he could tell we were really traumatised and tired. He even gave us food and water in the end. We contacted the boys and told us where we were, and they got the coast guard to drive up to where we were and get us down. From there, we got a cab out of the mountain area and stayed the night at the nearest accommodation we could find. I barely spoke the entire time cos really, too traumatised I felt like crying talk about how scared I was.

This was the best view I could get without making it to the top.
\2km more up and I'll be above the clouds...damn
I'm just extremely thankful I'm alive and fat and well. It was a scary experience but well, a damn good story to tell I guess. 

Brazillian Jujitsu @ Checkmat

I was extremely glad I managed to step out of my comfort zone and try out a new sport! Of course, I really wouldn't have done it without Kenneth cos he was the one who brought me into this sport, and my coach Minkyu for being so patient! I was initially quite hesitant to continue doing BJJ especially after Kenneth left Seoul, but I'm really glad I continued doing it cos I really learned so much. I honestly never thought I'll be into martial arts cos I've been a ball player all my life. Also, it was really cheap! I paid 80$ for a two weeks course, and there are classes every day. I didn't have a Gi so my coach loaned me one of his! Really, the people there are so nice. I couldn't understand most of what the coach was saying as well cos he can't converse in English very well but the students will translate and other people will explain things to me to make sure I understand the instructions and all. Damn it omg I miss my coach and the people there so much!!! Besides BJJ I also learned MMA that doesn't require the Gi. Basically I'm a pro now ok guys better stay away from me HAHHAA.

Omg yes we are finally moving on to food!!! I know this post is getting too damn long and I am also spending way too much time getting this entry done. Anyway I'm not putting the exact address to the places and everything cos I'm sure you can just google them if you wish to know more!

Meat-ing BBQ Buffet

I think this buffet has several outlets but we went to the one in Hongdae. You can find really good food in Hongdae because it's the best place in Seoul (ok I've said that alr HAHA but I love Hongdae!). This BBQ buffet costed each of us about 11k won only, and we could only stay for about 2 hours which was more than enough. I got full quite fast (as usual) but the meat was really nice and they came in quite a wide variety as well. Of course, as you can see from the pictures, this place is not a good representative of the tradition Korean BBQ but it's still a really good place for feeding large groups of people with huge appetite LOL. 

There are many pork belly buffets around. My friends and I frequent this particular restaurant that serves pork belly only with free flow sides and it costs us only 10k won per person. Unfortunately, I have no idea what the restaurant is called, all I know is there are outlets in Mangwon, Myeongdong and Hongdae cos we went to all these outlets. The restaurant name was in Korean, and there was no way for me to remember it or even google about it. Opps sorry haha, but as I said there are so many pork belly buffets around. We tried many different kinds even those cooked over charcoal instead of just fire. Charcoal definitely taste so much better but they are also really expensive! Honestly, when I went to Korea I didn't even follow food recommendations. I just went to wherever looked cheap and nice and just explored new places on my own. So don't worry about not being able to find the best deal cos you're overseas and it's an adventure!!!


You haven't been to Korea if you haven't tried Bingsu at Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe. This cafe is everywhere, and they sell bingsu at only 10k won in a huge portion. Usually 4 people share a bingsu, cos it comes in a very generous serving with ice cream, cheese cubes and multiple layers of fruits. I insisted on trying more different flavors but my friends are just too hooked onto blueberry cheese bingsu, which I admit is my favourite as well. It comes with yoghurt icecream, with milk shaved ice, many cheese cubes and a generous amount of blueberries. You can also ask for condensed milk (as if it's not sweet enough). Also I realized i have a stupid habit of blowing onto my spoon of ice (thinking it's hot soup) before eating it I have no freaking idea why but I unknowingly forget that I'm not supposed to be blowing on it?! Anyway yes, please do society a favor and stop eating bingsu in Singapore cos they are freaking overpriced and disgusting and go eat them in Korea instead. 


11. Mister Bossam
Boiled pork belly
Roasted pork belly

A must-try when you're at Ehwa if not I feel so so sad for you because they serve the best pork belly in the world. I will not give up pork for anyone anymore because seriously this is just so good I don't know what kind of pork they use or how they boil or roast it but it is just so damn good. Anyway if you're deciding between the boiled or roasted one just get the boiled one, it tastes a lot better for some reason I have no idea why. I came to Mister Bossam twice because hehe too damn good. They have free flow side dishes as well, a bummer they don't serve kimchi but oh well. They also gave us a big bowl of cold noodles that tasted pretty good. Of course this entire meal for 4 girls is too much, but we finished every last piece of pork belly. Please try this when you're in Seoul and you can thank me later for the recommendation ok.

I don't have a photo of their milk green tea paste but you have to get this eventhough it's a little expensive. It's about 8.5k won for a bottle of the milk green tea paste, which you basically just pair with bread or biscuit but promise you will have no regrets because it is so good. I first tried it at my friend's apartment cos me being a glutton I'm forever hungry and I asked for food. One bite, and I kept pestering them to tell me where they got this from. I initially planned to get so many bottles back to Singapore but it was really expensive so I only got one. Also if you're getting this, remember to check this into your luggage cos it's considered solid.

And also FYI, bread in Korea is so freaking expensive it pissed me off so bad. I'm a huge fan of bread like I love bread I need to eat it in the morning, but convenience stores don't even sell bread loafs for me to make my own sandwich and shit. If any convenience store happens to sell them, they'll cost about the same price as Paris Baguette so you might as well get it from paris instead.

Taco Bell
Yeah suaku me tried my first taco bell in Seoul and I freaking love it. Only got to try it once, but damn it was so good. Singapore please bring taco bell in!!! For those who have no clue at all, taco bell is basically fast mexican food. Wooooo what can be better than that right!!!!

Noh Chef & Pane Chicken

Lost count of the number of comments I got on snapchat for snapping this beautiful dish right here in slow motion while the waiter pulled the bread bowl apart. We went in a big group of 7 so we ordered other dishes as well, like carbonara chicken and fried chicken with fries. This entire meal was just an overload of chicken for us. I felt that having other non-chicken related dish would have balanced the meal out. Like somehow I was quite sick of chicken halfway through HAHA. We had this as a main course, but apparently to the koreans it's just a side dish to pair with beer. 

'The Bomb' Pizza
I don't have a photo of this but you can check out my snap compilation for this bombz!!! Basically Korea has this crazy trend of setting their pizzas on fire and we tried it! Pizzas there taste very different compared to the ones in Singapore because they don't put the pizza sauce. But their pizza is really the bombz - always loaded with cheese and the bread is super tender and soft. They also always have some sauce that you can dip your pizza in!

Gamjatang (Pork Spine Soup)
My friends and I call this Kimchi Bak Kut Teh HAHA. Our favourite place to have this is in Mangwon, which opps I also forgot what the place is called but I remember how to go to this place. HAHAHA you'll find this around I'm sure. This is the best food to cure your hangover after a night out partying! I have no idea how to describe the taste of this food but it's just really so good, like kimchi bak kut teh. Try to imagine that. This will definitely be the first food I get when I return to Seoul again. We went back to the same outlet so many times that the people could remember us. And every single time we went there we were in sleeping clothes. Literally just wake up with a hangover, brush teeth and head out for this yummy soup HAHAH.

We have this dish in SG as well but they serve a different kind in Korea, and I honestly prefer SG's one more! But anyway, it's one of the popular dishes in Korea so you gotta give it a try. I am honestly not sure which place sells good jjajiangmyeon, but if you're not that interested you can just get cup noodles from the convenience store just to try the flavour. Usually I can't finish one entire bowl cos it feels too gelat for me.

Also, since you're getting cup noodles from the convenience store, please get jjajambong cup noodles and cook them dry cos they are really the bombz. Nessie and I bought like a dozen back to SG and we ate it everyday when we were in Korea. OK since we're talking about convenience store food, I also really like the red bean icecream that comes in the shape of a fish. I usually buy three at one go cos they sell it for 2 + 1 LOL. I eat it almost every single day at home (no wonder I gained weight?!). I also like to get their greek yoghurt drink which they also sell for 2 + 1 as well. It's a good substitute to my coffee in the morning, cos drinking too much coffee is not good for my pearly white teeth!!! HAHA

Nippong Naeppong (Korean Italian Fusion Restaurant)

This place sells the best sweet potato pizza!!! Now I'm craving for it so badly. We got two sets that includes two pizzas and 6 pastas if I'm not wrong. We basically just tried a bit of each. Each pasta tasted like something familiar and foreign at the same time. It's like having kimchi and carbonara together, sounds weird but tastes surprisingly good. The entire meal only costed each of us 7k won so that was quite a deal. Pls try sweet potato pizza in Korea ok no regrets I promise it is really so damn good.

Budae Jigae (Army Stew)
This is also called Sausage Stew if I'm not mistaken and I was honestly not at all excited to try it because I don't really like sausages or hot dogs and stuff. But this turned out surprisingly good cos the soup is like kimchi soup! It's one of the famous delicacy in Korea so you might as well give it a shot. Make sure to find a good place though, cos some places doesn't sell very good sausage stew.

Dakgalbi (Stir-fried Chicken with Cheese and Ricecakes)
Gotta try this if you're in Korea and get into their entire chicken craze. Basically as the name suggest, it's chicken with cheese and ricecakes and glass noodle. After the meal, they'll add rice in and cook it all together to become a flavored fried rice but we were always too full to make it to that stage HAHA. They serve this everywhere actually, it's quite easy to find it. We frequent the one near our school in Anam.

Gwangjang Market
A cheaper alternative to Noryanjin Market, we tried raw beef salad, Korean pancake and live octopus at Gwangjang Market! Ok the raw beef salad was surprisingly good and I really liked the pancake as well but gotta choose wisely which stall you get it from cos some that I've tried is not as nice? I'm not sure if it's the same pancake or not LOL. The live octopus wasn't as scary as I thought, but it definitely wasn't yummy. There's no taste to it at all, all you taste is the soy sauce. It's just for the experience lah but yeah quite fun.

Omg am I finally done with my blog entry?! AHHHH, that took days I know this entry is not of very good quality cos I could barely remember the store name or exact address and whatsoever but it is just a little insight to what I've been up to during my 6 weeks of summer school. There are still many places that I did not mention in this blog post, because I didn't know how to describe the place and I obviously didn't take enough photos during the trip - a bad thing about travelling with boys. For instance, the photos just above this paragraph was taken at a restaurant in Hongdae that we simply just call it Raphael's because we met a super funny dude called Raphael the first time we went there. That day was definitely really memorable for everyone, as we entertained the drunk Raphael by making up every one of our names and personalities. Like for instance, I was Stacey from China. HAHAHA

There is also this place we went to drink at on one of our last few nights. We planned to go for some liquor buffet but this was the best place we could get. Basically you get one electronic device per table, and you just get a little basket to put all your alcohol in from the fridge and tap it on the cashier or something like that. We had soooo much drinks that night I swear everyone died. HAHA

All in all, this trip was definitely the best holiday I've ever had thus far. And gotta thank my bro - Kenneth - for dragging me to join his group of friends that has become my house mates for the following weekends. Really thankful for the unexpected friends I got to make, and everyone for being so welcoming. I had to be ready to stayover at their apartment everytime I hang out with them because they will guilt-trip me, and threaten me, and do everything within their ability to make sure I cab back home with them. Ugh HAHA

Also these two boys were my roommates for the trip and I guess I gotta thank them for dirtying the apartment cos I'm always the one cleaning up LOL they will kill me if they see this but ok still, thankful for these brothers for taking care of me the entire trip. Eventhough I didn't call them in cases of emergency cos there were none, but I know if I did they would come down for me in a heartbeat.

Damn ok enough of all the sentimental stuff this trip. I always knew going on exchange would be quite an experience, but I'm glad I finally got to really experience it for myself now. This is probably the best decision I've made in uni and I really thoroughly enjoyed my summer school. Korea University is exceptionally accommodating and always first to address any problems we encounter. Also, not to mention the campus is beautiful. 

Ok this post is getting way too long. I'll end it here. If you have any questions for me regarding summer school or the places I went to in Seoul, or just anything at all, you can hit me up on the various social medias listed in my bio. 


I'm sorry this post took so long to be up, but I tried my best to shorten this video as much as I can. I basically just compiled all the snaps I took during the trip so don't expect too much! 

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