Korea : I Seoul U 【Part 2】

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, most of our daily routine got affected including mine. However, Life goes on and I have decided to take these 14 days to complete all my pending tasks at home. One of them is to finish writing my Korea trip since 2019 lol.

National Museum of Korean Contemporary History

My last post was sharing about my Suwon trip and I still have the remaining few days to spend in Korea. So on Day 5, my friend Trang and I went to visit the
National Museum of Korean Contemporary History by bus.

“National Museum of Korean Contemporary History is the largest museum in Korea and houses precious Korean cultural assets that tell the story of Korea’s fascinating history, from ancient times to the modern era.”  -VisitKorea

During our visit, there was some local performance rehearsal and we spent about 30 minutes time enjoying the performance there. Got attracted by the music👇

They have nice view surrounding the museum

The War Memorial of Korea

We just had a quick look at the museum before we heading to the next museum visit, The War Memorial of Korea.

I always have a high interest in visiting the War Museums (including the war museums in Vietnam, Cambodia and also Penang, Malaysia which really caught my attention.) By visiting the war museums, you get to understand more about the history of the country, how many people were sacrificed and suffered during wartime. Every time after visiting the war museum, I always grateful that I was born in the post-war century. I could not imagine how and what was life looks like during the war period (despite we are implementing the 14 days lockdown in our country at the moment and most people are complaining).

Always amaze with Korean’s videography skill, even it’s just a military video it takes till like a movie – video credits to The War Memorial of Korea : 👇

I remembered I chose to pick Korean history as part of my research during my study time. It’s impressive to see how South Korean developed its economy after the Korean War to become one of the developed countries in the world now.

Did you know,

“As of 2017, South Korea had the fastest average internet connection in the world at 28.6 Mbit/s. South Korea’s speed is four times faster than the world average of 7.0 Mbit/s. -according to the report State of the Internet published by Akamai Technologies. “

The staff in The War Memorial of Korea requires some tourists to provide feedback and feelings after visiting the setup at the museum. It was a fun experience though.👇👇😅

Outside View of the War Memorial Of Korea

After The War Memorial of Korea, next, we continued to explore the N Seoul Tower by walking up to the hill. It was a relaxing walking tour and we stopped by to have a quick lunch at some neighborhood area.

N Seoul Tower

Trang helped to take tons of pictures of me before and after reaching the N Seoul Tower. Here are the ones:

It was a long day walk and as always thanks to Atlanta Malaysia, who always supporting and provide me the great quality shoes to walk around during my travel time.

We saved some energy and rest at home in the late afternoon before started our nightlife at Itaewon. It is always fun to hang out and travel with Trang as she enjoys both parties and relaxing trip. It never feels bored to spend time with her.

ITAEWON

Our nightlife starts at 930pm and ends at next day at 5 am. Pub crawling session started from Bar to Pub and finished at the Club.

itaewon

After taking a few hours napping time, another friend of mine drove me to Chuncheon, the capital city of Gangwon Province on the next day. It takes about 1 hour ++ journey from Seoul to Gangwon Province.

Our first stop was at 어스17, which is one of the nice cafes where you get to enjoy the greenery view while enjoying your drink. It was a relaxing and chilling afternoon and it was a great time to take a nap over there.

As it was already evening time when we about to leave the cafe, I’ve made an impromptu decision to stay overnight at Chuncheon. Hence we went to the local shopping mall and bought some basic necessities for our overnight stay.

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Specially mention to TonyMoly Korean skincare promoters were kind enough to offer the samples of their skincare products for my 1-day use. And I like both of their toner and emulsion!

We spent the night time by preparing the Korean noodles.

Having drinking and chit-chatting sessions at outdoor together with some local snacks. This is the life I was asking for.

The next day, my friend brought me to try out the Traditional Jijimbang. More details: click on my instagram post

After the Jijimbang session, it is time to heading back to Seoul and time to say Goodbye to my Korean friend.

Miheongdong

Since I still have left one more day in Seoul, I did the last minute shopping at MiheongDong. Please remember to buy as many skincare products as possible in Korea, it is way cheaper and more varieties as compare buying in Malaysia.

Last day in Seoul

So it came to the last day in Seoul, and I decided to visit the Gangnam area, which is Seoul’s upscale, modern center.

Starfield Library

Starfield Library, located in the center of the COEX mall. It is an open public space and one of the spots that you should not miss out on when visiting Seoul. Despite most of the books are in Korean Language but the structure and design of the library are impressive indeed.

Ewha Womans University

Next was taking some time to walk around the university area. It is also worth to visit this university for its special designs and history. More pictures: click here

Ewha Womans University

“Ewha started out with a single student in 1886. Many thought it was impossible but Ewha opened a new era of Hope…”.
“It was no miracle, no myth, but a historic achievement made by challenging prejudice by staying of one’s time by sheer determination”

There were many shops to walk around the area of the university. Last but not least, went back to meet Trang and decided to have dinner and Jijimbang together at night.  How and What we have done during Jijimbang session, I have shared it at my Instagram post: click here

Jimjilbang

Trang and me had our last meal in the Hongdae area. Hongdae is known for its urban arts and indie music culture, clubs and entertainments. This place was indeed a happening place, expenses were reasonable here. I liked the place 🙂

There goes to the end of my Korea trip. Moral of this trip, I got to know more about real-life Korea as compared to the one that I watch on K-drama. Of course, not everyone looks like Oppa Hyun-Bin, people were living a normal life there and it’s a must to shop a lot of Korean skincare products whenever you are there. Hopefully, we could overcome the COVID-19 together as soon as possible. During this quarantine period at home, read more books and keep learning from different channels to improve yourself.

We will be stronger after the quarantine time. Stay at home and check out more of my updates and do not travel during this crucial time. Peace.

Next Post: 2 Weeks trip back to Thailand, which part of Thailand? Stay tuned for more posts 🙂

Korea :

Seoul Part 1: click here

Suwon: click here

Other destinations: click here

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Siem Reap, the famous tourist spot in Cambodia

After 2 days 1 night in Phnom Penh, my journey continues to Siem Reap by sleeper bus. This was my first solo sleeping bus experience and the overall bus journey was considered quite comfy.

However, I did not sleep tight as I have read some of the other travelers’ blogs stated that we have to be aware and be alert when taking the night bus. Because some of the “pickpocket” / thieves would take advantage to steal your stuff when you asleep.  Luckily, throughout the whole South East Asia trips (about 9 solo bus trips from one province/country cross over to another province/country ) I’ve only lost one of my favorite scarfs in Cambodia.  🙁

<Double-decker sleeper bus

To cut a long story short, it is possible to go to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh by a road trip and it takes about 8 hours to arrive (by overnight sleeper bus). The road was smooth and not as bumpy as from my journey Hanoi Vietnam to Vientiane, Laos (will share it next time)

The bus stopped at the bus terminal and if you arrived as early as me (around 6-7am), there are many tuk-tuks awaiting there to send you to your hostel.However, within a short distance (less than 10 minutes) to my hostel, it costs me USD3.

Where did I stay?

I chose The Hostel Mekong after comparing most of the accommodations in Siem Reap:  the cost + the total people I need to share in a room. This was the most reasonable and affordable stay.

In overall, I gave 4 out of 5 Stars for this hostel. Here are the reasons:

  • A mini swimming pool is included
  • The hostel has a spacious area to chill and relax
  • Bar and breakfast are available
  • A pool table is available
  • The female dorm room with a private toilet is available
  • The check-in time was in the afternoon and I have arrived earlier. At least I could chill in the living room, using Wi-Fi and took a shower.

Book here: website

 What have I done here?

Everyone comes here for Angkor Wat. If you did not visit it, it seems it’s pointless that if you tell someone that you have been here before.

Entrance Ticket: 1 Day / 3 Days / 7 Days? 

My answer is 1 Day. Unless if you are really interested in all temples’ architecture/ designs.

Because the weather was rather hot and to visit all the temples you have to take transport from one to another which considered quite exhausting. My Angkor Wat trip starts at 430am until 12 pm noontime which is more than enough for me.

Most of the hostel /hotel would provide the tour to visit Angkor Wat. I booked the transportation arrangement with Mekong Hostel.

Suggestion: Try to ask other travelers [in the same hostel] to visit Angkor Wat together in order to share the transportation cost.

In the early morning, a Tuk tuk driver will pick you up to buy the entrance ticket around 430am.

Credit

Entrance Fee (Year 2017):

1 Day: $37 

3 Days: $62

7 Days: $72


What have I seen in Angkor Wat?

Sunrise. All the tourists gather in the early morning just to witness the sunrise. Yes, it was impressive. I took many of the sunrises pictures and found this is among this best (what to do you think?) 🙂

And many pictures from different Wats :

Since I came alone, most of the pictures I was asking strangers to take it for me.  And some local people might “standby” at the temple and offered the service to take the photos for you (they only asked for tips after they took the pictures).

PUB STREET 

As you can see from the street name,  it is the street full of clubs, bars, and restaurants.

Famous Bars:

Angkor What? Bar is the very first bar to open on Pub Street back in 1998

Temple Club & Temple Balcony – another favorite and popular club for tourists on Pub Street

Credit: 

Angkor Night Market 

Opened in 2007 and apparently, it was the FIRST night market in Cambodia and it is just next to Pub Street.

Siem Reap Art Center Night Market

Location: Right across the bridge from the old market (Psa Chas), 5 Minutes walking from pub street

It is one of the newer night markets in town and as you can see from the street name “Art Center”, you can find various and a range of souvenirs and handicrafts over here.

WAR MUSEUM CAMBODIA

It is the Biggest War Museum in Cambodia. What I liked here was they provide a free guide (a war veteran) and you can examine and hold the small arms.

Entrance Fee: USD 5  (Year 2017)

More info: check here

It was a short trip for me. I stayed there for 3 days 2 nights and heading next to Sihanoukville, which is a province in southwest Cambodia known for its beaches. Will share next post soon!

Cheers.

Ho Chi Minh City Itinerary: click here

Other Posts: Home Page

 

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Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia

Phnom Penh, the busiest and biggest city in Cambodia. It is located at the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap river.

From the local street food stalls, Royal Palace, local temples to the nightlife, pub, clubs, fine dining and five-star hotels. It covers both historical attractions and modern city lifestyle.

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How to go Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City

From HCMC Vietnam,  it is possible to go to Cambodia by bus. The bus journey takes about 6 hours to arrive at Phnom Penh.

Alternatively, from Saigon, you may go to Chau Doc town in Mekong Delta (there is a daily direct bus of Futabus/Phuong Trang from Saigon and the bus journey is about 6-7 hours) then travel by boat/ferry to Phnom Penh (about 5 hours).

Cambodia Visa

The nationals of Malaysia, Philippines, Laos, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar do not need a tourist visa and may stay in Cambodia for 21 and 30 days respectively.

For other national’s requirement:

Check out more about Cambodia visa

Recommended Bus Company

I took the bus company of Giant Ibis Transport

The bus provides complimentary WIFI, electrical outlets, and snacks for the whole bus journey. It is absolutely an affordable luxury.

The cost is $18 per trip and you can purchase the ticket online in advance.

HOSTEL in Phnom Penh

One Stop Hostel  It is just 5 minutes walking distance from Giant Ibis bus stop to the hostel and it is convenient to access to many tourist places.

What to see in Phnom Penh

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum a.k.a S-21 Prison

…more than 35 years ago |3yrs 8months and 20days| the Genocide in Cambodia…

A former high school before it was turned into a killing and tortured place for over 17,000 Cambodians/ victims. It is a heartbreaking place where each of the classrooms was the place where the victims got tortured and killed.

Most prisoners were then brought to the Killing Fields which is just outside of Phnom Penh.

Highly recommend to pay a visit. Entrance fee: USD 5 (year 2017)

The Royal Palace of Cambodia

It is one of Phnom Penh’s most splendid architectural achievements. The palace was built in 1866 by His Majesty Preah Bat Norodom, great grandfather to Cambodia’s current King. This site was specially chosen by a Commission of Royal Ministers and Astrologers because it had great geographical significance in relation to the King, who was regarded as a direct descendant of the gods, whose role it was to live and govern on earth under the influence of heaven.” – source: tourismcambodia

Entrance Fee: USD 10 (year 2017)

*Remember to wear appropriate dress code – no sleeveless shirt/ short pants, otherwise you may need to purchase the t-shirt on the spot (USD 3) in order to enter

Central Market (Phsar Thmey)

In the Khmer Language, Phsar Thmey means “New Market”. From outside, you can see the unique colonial-style building of this market.

The building was built and constructed in 1937. It is also considered one of the landmarks in Phnom Penh.

Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 18:00 Address: Street 130, Phnom Penh

The Killing Fields of Cheung Ek

It is situated 15 km south-west of Phnom Penh. A place where more than 17,000 Cambodians been killed and buried in mass graves.

Many of the victims were brought to this place after been tortured in Toul Sleng.

PRICE: admission including audio tour US$6

OPENING HOURS :  7.30am-5.30pm

Credit

Independence Monument aka Vimean Ekareach

It was built in 1958 to celebrate the independence from French in 1953. The independence monument is designed in Angkorian’s style and it now serves and known as the monument to Cambodia’s war heroes.

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National Museum of Cambodia

One of the world’s largest collections of Khmer art including sculptural, Khmer ceramics, bronzes, and ethnographic objects

Opening hours: 8.00am until 5.00pm daily. Last admission tickets are sold at 4.30pm.

Admission costs :

  • $5 for foreigner ages from 10 to 17 years old
  • $10 foreigner ages from 18 years old and above
  • 500 riels for Cambodians. Children and school groups are free.

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Conclusion:

I stayed for 2 days 1 night in Phnom Penh which I think it’s more than enough to discover the tourist places in Phnom Penh.

From there, I took an overnight sleeper bus (Giant Ibis Transport) and heading to Siem Reap for the famous Angkor Wat.

Overall, the local’s English speaking level is high especially in the city and also at the tourist spots. It is no issue for foreigners like us who travel alone. Bear in mind that Cambodia is using USD currency and Cambodian riel.

It is still considered high expenses to travel here especially for us who are coming from a developing country. On average, one meal is around USD 2.

 
 Upcoming post: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Other Posts: Home Page

 

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Kanchanaburi Thailand Itinerary, close to Bangkok

Kanchanaburi

All of us like to travel to Thailand especially for food and shopping purposes.

Of course, Bangkok (BKK) is in our top priority list, because it is such an affordable, cheap and a food paradise for everyone.

Lately, I just back from Bangkok Thailand. Since I have been to Bangkok many times and I will be there for workaway about a month. I have decided to explore a new place which is near to Bangkok: Kanchanaburi.

Kanchaburi just takes about 3 hours train/van journey from BKK. In the total of 129 kilometres away from BKK to Kanchanaburi.

What is this place about?

It is a historical place where it is known for the Death Railway, built during World War II.
Numbers of Southeast Asian civilian labourers (Burmese, Chinese, Thai etc.) workers were recruited to build on the Burma railway and has been estimated more than 180,000 labourers, sacrificed and died in its construction.

Sadly to say that as a Malaysian, I only got to know about the history after I have visited this place. I know I am a bit outdated but on another note, is it a time to concern and think about our Malaysian education system?

How to go to Kanchanaburi?

From Bangkok

Taking the train from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, it only costs 100THB one way.

I will recommend you to take the old train from Thonburi station in Bangkok to arrive here. Alternatively, you may choose to go by bus or minivan.

There is only two trains to go Kanchanaburi from BKK (per day) :

07:45 am  and  13:35 pm

Check out more here:  Kanchanaburi info

I would recommend you to go by the morning train where you would be able to enjoy the morning fresh air.

Furthermore, the old train is only provided fans.

In addition, the morning train arrives at Kanchanaburi around 11 am morning time.Hence you will have extra time to walk around.

Where to stay?

I chose my accommodation which is close to the train station. It only takes 5 minutes walking distance from the train station. The hostel name is Asleep Hostel.

If you are on budget and a solo backpacker like me, it is a good place for you. You may book from here

home cook kanchanaburi

The host, Mimi from the hostel is very friendly and generous. During my stay, she was invited all the travellers to have dinner at home. It was a home cooked and it tasted good! Home away from home.

Night Market

The night market is just next to the hostel which is way too convenient.

Have you tried foot massage at night market before? 🙂

I always like to try out something new 😛

What to see here?

The Bridge over the River Kwai – I liked this place and recommend you to walk over the bridge

http://www.goodian.space/images/catalog/5633/20180216_15187700889851.jpgPhoto credit: here

DEATH RAILWAY MUSEUM : Very informative, but the entrance fee a bit costly which includes one free coffee/tea during the visit.

You may check out Hellfire pass museum which is free of charge if you happen to go there.

War Cemetery – it is just next to the  death railway museum, a place to give some respects to the heroes and victims

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ERAWAN WATERFALL – I skipped this because I have seen many waterfalls throughout my SEA trip. I heard it was similar to Kuang Si Waterfall in Laos

http://www.goodian.space/images/catalog/5633/20180216_15187724273181.jpgPhoto credit: here

HELL FIRE PASS – this is a bit far from the town, you have to take the public transport to go. During my visited, I was lucky enough to meet a good Irish uncle and he offered me a ride to go together with his friends from Scotland.

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The museum is free entrance.Afterwards, you may start to track the hellfire pass (in the jungle) :
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Along the hell pass fire trek, you will start to relate  and understand how suffered the labourers were (without food and water) when building the bridge.

 

I have visited hell pass fire with the three of them. They gave me a free ride and treated me for free lunch and sent me back to the bus station to BKK.

I was blessed enough to meet them and they did not want anything in return.Nice people are everywhere indeed.

NAM LOK STATION: Taking the train to the last stop, Nam Lok. I did not manage to go this time.Hence there will be some reasons to come back this place?

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Kanchanaburi is one of the places  that I recommended my friends to visit. It is a lovely and peaceful place. If you’ve ever been here before or planning to go soon, share with me your experience and stories.

Planning a trip to Asia? I have been using this website to book for my Thailand trip -Flight, Bus, Train tickets:  click here

Book a flight ticket to Asia with Qatar Airways:

Related posts: why should you own a blog?

Itinerary for Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Other posts: Home Page

Till next time!
Cheers!

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