Swing Perfection Video at Bukit Batok Driving Range

I almost forgot about this video until my dad showed me a tiny picture in a Golf newspaper publication that has me in it!

Here’s the video that was shot then.

I kinda missed my drive, I can’t seem to hit as well as that day anymore!

Korea Trip 13 – 20 May, Day 5

After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, we went to the Daegu Spa Valley for my virgin hot spring experience. Of course, their culture there states that no clothes are allowed in the hot spring, hence naturally there wouldn’t be any pictures to show you all as well. It was quite a big place with an entire floor of lockers and another floor for the hot springs. The lockers there don’t have benches or rooms for you to change or put your stuff down, so it was pretty weird because they smartly allocated all of us males to lockers that are way too closely adjacent to each other.

They had a hot pool of about 40-45 degrees and a ice cold pool of about 0 degrees, and the proper way to enjoy this experience is to soak yourself in the hot pool for about 5-10 mins and then take a dip in the freezing cold pool for about 3 mins. After that, you can go back into the hot pool again for a longer period of time like 15-20 mins before alternating with the cold pool of 3 mins. All these must be done after a good shower because they are very particular about hygiene in the shared hot spring pool. I tried this method but after a few minutes in the freezing pool I started to feel a bit dizzy, so I quickly got back into the warm comfortable hot pool.

They also provide a pink color cloth to scrub yourself to get rid of the lou nai or gao gei (depending on your dialect) or simply, the dirt/dead skin on your body. The tour guide says that all the Koreans will go to hot springs and their primary aim is to scrub out all these dirt after their pores opened up. It’s also a tradition as well for the dad to crack an egg on the child’s head for no reason whatsoever..

Anyway, after a relaxing spa experience, we headed to a fancy traditional Korean restaurant to have a 13-course lunch! The food just kept on coming and coming until the table was so full we had to hurry up and finish some plates or there would be no space for the new dishes to come. Some of the nicer dishes are below…

Actually their food is just overwhelming in quantity of dishes but I don’t really find it very spectacular. I did like the coffee machine outside that dispenses free coffee FOC! As proud Singaporeans, we all rushed to get a cup of coffee once we knew how it works.

Next up is strawberry picking! Did you know – strawberries are very sensitive to heat and physical contact. Therefore, all the Korean strawberries that are supposedly very sweet that you see in the supermarkets are actually not from Korea! The tour guide says that it was nearing the end of the strawberry season and therefore we were allowed to pick however much strawberry we want to fill up a plastic container he gave us!

The Singaporean nature in us surfaced again and many of the other uncles and aunties came back with overflowing mountains of strawberries that the container can’t even close. I already had my fair share gobbling up the big ones while plucking so mine was something like this!

Omnomnom. I look like an uncle with the camera pouch attached to my belt.

After we finished picking all the strawberries we could fill, we left to see the Maisan Provincial Park with a horse eared mountain (which I don’t see) and some stone structures built by Yi Gap Yong that is called the Stone Pagodas. He constructed all these by hand, rock by rock. This is a picture of the old guy and his rocks.

They all end off at the top with a lot of tiny stones precariously balanced on top of another, as if to tempt some itchy hands or the accidental tourist to knock down one of them and have cursed luck for the next 3 years.

I didn’t knock anything down =D

We then proceeded to the famous Hotel Tirol, Muju Resort and we stopped by on the way for a Spicy hotpot chicken dinner! The temperature then was about 8 degrees or so, and this warm soup really helped =D

The 6-Star hotel is Austrian themed and it’s supposedly very popular during the winter seasons for its ski mountain just behind the hotel. The architecture is indeed pretty.

I especially loved the part where we strolled along the empty streets at night drinking ice cold (literally) beer and eating ice cream as well. Basically as it wasn’t snowing, that place really wasn’t that fantastic. There was no air con at all I don’t know why and the person who came to fix it can’t really speak English and so we slept in a stuffy room the whole night.

At least it was a King Sized Bed!

Oh fun fact: Michael Jackson wanted to buy over this entire resort last time!

However, my verdict was it really isn’t worth a 3 hour bus ride just to come here to stay for the night, and another 3 hour bus ride back to Seoul after this.

Korea Trip 13 – 20 May, Day 4

Our last meal at Jeju was the hotel buffet breakfast! It pretty much pwnz the abalone porridge we had the previous day. I love the spread here but we didn’t really take a lot of pictures. Something that was worthy of mentioning was the something something dumpling that looks like this! Totally forgot what it’s called.

Anyway, we took another domestic flight to Daegu and then another long bus ride to the Applease Winery! At first they said we’re going to make our own Apple Wine and I got pretty interested. In the end, it’s just putting the cork into the wine bottle and sealing the label that we’re doing. Quite disappointing but at least we get to bring it home. Below is a video on the process that we went through!

We then went to watch some guy make apple pancake for us which was pretty pointless really. Bought some pomegranate wine there as well because it tastes slightly better than apple wine!

Our lunch was at the Applease winery as well. It was chicken with vermicelli and the servings of chicken was damn pathetic. Luckily the generous and nicer tasting vermicelli made up for it.

There was a short shopping session after lunch, by then it was about 3.30pm already. By now we sort of got the hang of how to speed-shop because we were only given 2 hours or so to finish walking some huge shopping district, and we all know that’s impossible. Managed to buy some shoes and shorts and polos there. There’s a shop called Who.A.U. a South Korean brand that’s selling California lifestyle clothes that got me spending. The clothes are perfect for Singapore I think, and beachy places.

I was also exposed to the myriad of shops selling facial and beauty products there. Michelle recommended Tony Moly and although it’s my first time hearing it, I bought some foot cream there for my very cracked feet.

This picture just screams, “WE ARE TOURISTS”. Who else takes pictures in the middle of a random street.

Our last stop for today was the Donghwasa Temple. It’s more than a thousand years old and the whole place there was serene. They also have a lot of cute cats there. Anyway, we were supposed to drink some water for some reasons which I happened to forget as well.

Firstly you must pour some water for the ground gods, then drink some for yourself, and then pour the remainder for the sky gods. While doing so, you might want to take care not to touch the ladle because hundreds of other people have used that ladle to drink the water too. Below is a video on the process! (Although I’m definitely not saying the correct things while doing so)

drinking special water from Michelle Law on Vimeo.

They have a lot of colorful lanterns here. Don’t ask me why.

We continued walking in that premise for about an hour or so to see this Big Buddha.

The good part of the stroll was the flora and fauna and beautiful scenery I guess.

It was cold that night at Daegu and we were brought to a restaurant that served tofu soup with truffles! It was really the perfect dinner in that chilly weather and the soup was super tasty! That little piece of mushroom like thingy is the treasured truffle. Honestly, I didn’t really like it. Tastes too much like wild mushrooms to me.

An example of the generous portions of appetizers that comes with every Korean meal here.

That marks the end of our day! It wasn’t very exciting because of all the travelling but it was a good day to rest and unwind.

Michelle and I decided to chill in the cool night air outside 7-11 with snacks because it was still pretty early but there was absolutely nothing to do near the Daegu Hotel Inter-Burgo Exco. It was all convention centers around us and hence all the shops close after office hours. Nevertheless, it was a lovely night chilling. Singapore should have these tables and chairs outside the 7-11s as well. But then the weather is too humid and we have coffee shops here to do that already.

Next up will be Day 5!

Korea Trip 13 – 20 May, Day 3

Today we had a full day out at Jeju Island! We started the morning early with some pictures outside the Jeju Ocean Suites Hotel. I honestly think it was one of the nicer hotels we stayed in during the trip, with the big ocean just outside our door step.

This was followed by some minuscule abalone porridge (From more experiences later on, I would gladly prefer the hotel breakfast buffet)  that didn’t taste very nice. I like the seaweed and kimchi that goes with every single meal though.

Our first destination for today was the Yongduam Rock formation. It’s supposedly shaped like a dragon’s head returning out to sea. It’s kinda funny how people personify natural elements and even go to the extreme of making up stories to explain such phenomenons. Makes for good story telling during tours I guess.

My happiest moment there was when I finally got to taste street side Korean fare! I’m eating some char siew on a stick here.

Jeju Island also has two prominent 土地公 that you can see almost everywhere and on many products as well. It is also a legend/myth that if you rub the nose of the 土地公 with the higher right hand, your wife will bear a son while the higher left hand will bear you a daughter. Looks like it’s gonna be a boy here ^_^

We soon departed that place to go to the Seongsan Sunrise Peak. It’s a very beautiful place with awesome weather! This is actually an extinct volcano and the cap became a caldera filled with green grass.

We didn’t feel particularly healthy to climb up the mountain but if we do, the top view would look like this!

Instead we chose to camwhore a lot at the base of the mountain heh heh.

If you pay a bit of money, they could take you on a speed boat ala Taio Cruz style to zoom around the island but we didn’t have the time to do so.

We bought some ice-cream to eat in the cold breeze and it was perfect.

prefere ice-cream making from Michelle Law on Vimeo.

Satisfied.

Lunch today was delicious and super filling because the pork was free flow buffet style! Singaporeans love buffet and we ate many many many portions. Here’s a short video on how we were taught to eat the shabu shabu bbq lunch.

shabu lettuce ball making from Michelle Law on Vimeo.

After lunch, we went to the Jeju Folk Village where we learnt about how they traditionally live in Jeju. It was also mentioned that because of the Korean war, there was a major shortage of men in Jeju and there was a time when 5 or 6 women will be courting a man for his hand in marriage. As such, a typical man have a few wives and he will not be working but sitting at home all day to be in prime condition to have coitus and produce off-springs. His wives will have different roles such a woman divers to catch seafood or shellfishes as a living and there is also another wife whose primary job is to go to the mountains everyday to fetch water. One significant feature about Jeju is that they have no water beneath the ground, hence you won’t see any wells there and the wife therefore have to take on the role as water fetcher.

This brings rise to the statue below where men will want to touch the woman’s face for good luck and etc.

They also have torture equipment in the old days, but somehow along with modern times it evolved into a form of venereal entertainment instead, as can be seen below.

People then used to play games such as throwing the arrow into a small cylindrical object. Despite being juxtaposed as if I’m throwing an arrow at the boy’s head, it was quite fun actually.

Our next destination for the day was the Teseum, short for Teddy Bear Museum!

I tell you there are so many stuff toys and teddy bears there. A lot of the bears were personified and amongst them were the wonder girls! Damn ugly right.

My inner child.

Van Gogh with Starry Night over the Rhone and Mondrian were present too, as was Da Vinci with the Vitruvian Man.

Lovely place it was but too bad the souvenir shop didn’t really have affordable bears to bring home.

Our day ended with Ginseng Chicken for dinner! It’s one of the first few things people think of when they go to Korea but if I were to choose my meals, this would not be high on the list. It’s not exactly nice and I was kinda kiasu and put too much ginseng wine into the soup and it turned out REALLY alcoholic.

We went out in the late evening to take a stroll and we ate the Korean Rice Cake. We didn’t take any pictures but if we did it would look something like this! Yeah it’s pretty spicy.

Kunjip rice cake

I think I also bought a bottle of Soju that night to drink because the tour guide said that it’s a staple part of their diet to drink Soju with meals. Trust me, it tastes just like watered down vodka and the alcohol content was 20%. The bottle looks something like this and costs $2 there.

In Singapore, I went to Seoul Mart and a similar bottle here costs about $14!

Oh and their cigarette smoking nation can be partially explained by the cheap cost of a pack of cigarettes, just $2 a pack! Therefore, almost all the men there smoke like chimneys.

With that I conclude Day 3 of my Korea Trip. Will be blogging about Day 4 really soon!

Korea Trip 13 – 20 May, Day 2

Alas, I shall start blogging about my wonderful Korea Trip from 13 – 20 May 2011. It was a tour by Chan Brothers and there were a total of 16 of us and a Mandarin/Korean speaking tour guide.

I don’t know if you all know about this but one of my favorite things when sitting on an aeroplane is that I love eating on a plane. I know right. Weird eating fetishes.

Anyway, I had Chicken Set as they ran out of the bibimbap set.

Couple with beer because I gian to drink for very long already but still haven’t satisfy that craving yet.

My version of a Happy Meal

After a 5 and a half hours journey, we finally arrived at Incheon Airport, Seoul! It’s supposedly a close competitor of Changi Airport and it was certainly quite a nice place. Happy faces all ready to kick start the tour despite close to 2 or 3 hours of sleep on the plane.

Our first stop is to go to Nami Island, which is the place where they filmed the kissing scene in Winter Sonata. As someone who does not watch Korean dramas at all, I don’t know the significance of this place but apparently a lot of other people do because that place was super crowded! Patriotic me with the Singapore flag =D

The scenery there is beautiful. It’s like a gigantic island park that’s shaped like a crescent moon and it’s a perfect place for a picnic on a weekend.

We had our first Korean meal shortly afterwards, which means it’s the start of our diet that consists of kimchi with every single meal! Not that I’m complaining, because I kinda like kimchi.

The tour guide then gave us 2 hours for shopping at the Dongdaemun market and honestly, it was nowhere near enough to shop finish the huge malls there. We went to Migliore and Doota as they were the more fashionable ones according to our guide. I personally think Doota is pretty good but actually the clothes in Korea are pretty pricey. Almost everything here costs about S$30 so you’re really just looking for nice designs that can’t be found in Singapore instead of looking for cheap bargains.

After the mad rush to shop, we headed to Gyeongbokgung Palace which is some palace for some emperor some time in the earlier days. As you can tell, I’m really not a history person. Here’s a picture of the entrance/exit that is opposite the empress’s throne.

One learning point is that I can recognize that the buildings with no spine at the top of the building means it’s for the emperor. Notice the roof of the picture below is different from the one above? That is because the emperor is the spine of the building already and hence they do not need anymore spine to support the building. Or something along those lines.

Our dinner was at a Boat restaurant floating on the Han River that cuts across South Korea. It was a pretty place and we had our one and only bibimbap meal there.

We took some pictures along the river and here’s one with me and Michelle’s family.

They also have a fitness corner underneath the flyover, so I gymed ha de ha ha.

Our last activity for the day was a domestic flight to Jeju Island to spend the night there. We stayed at Ocean Suites Jeju Hotel and we bought baked potato fromage biscuits for supper. I tell you, it is one of the nicest biscuits I ever ate. If anyone sees it in Singapore do let me know!

owjorg.jpg

I also bought something that looks like milk because our tour guide said Jeju milk is very delicious. So I happily went into the convenience store and bought this, which I then realized is not milk but alcoholic something. It tastes so bad man.

iugpe.jpg

And with that, we called it a night for our very first day in Korea =)

Heading off to Korea on 13th May

I am so excited about my trip to Korea in less than 30 hours! First morning of post exams and it was raining so heavily, making it so comfortable to sleep in and catch up on my much needed sleep.

My Korea trip itinerary is below and hopefully there’ll be more free time for us to roam the streets/markets at night to do more extra shopping!

Korea Trip Itinerary

I will leaving at 2240 13th May and be back at 2145 20th May.

Till then, bye Singapore!