Showing posts with label nature. Show all posts

Korea Trip #5 - Seongsan Ilchubong

Location: Seongsan Ilchubong, Jeju Island

This is a must see place if you're visiting Jeju Island. We were a bit worried because on the day, it was foggy, and you can't see the crater from afar. Fortunately, the fog subsides just before we do our climb. The climb (both up and down) can be done within a couple of hours. 

Korea Trip #4 - Sangumburi Crater

Location: Sangumburi Crater, Jeju Island

The location is rather far from the Jeju city centre, and while it is beautiful, it is pale in comparison to (as an example) Seongsan Ilchubong. The fact that we were there at the height of noon also make the colour a bit washed out. 

Korea Trip #3 - Osulloc Tea Museum & Innisfree House

Osulloc and Innisfree are actually sister companies, and the tea museum is just beside the Innisfree Jeju House. We paid a visit to both after we finished the submarine tour. 

Because we had not had our lunch, we decided to eat at the Innisfree Cafe, which specialised in healthy and natural food, created from only what could be found in Jeju. It was the case of either we were very hungry, or the foods were very delicious (I suspected both). The extra point? The foods looked so damn gorgeous. 

Afterwards we took a walk in the tea garden, which is very pretty and scenic, if only we can erase all the people in the background. We took an obscene amount of photos here before we moved to the Tea Museum to buy a lot of (you guessed it) tea! 

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Korea Trip #2 - Soegwipo

After a good night sleep, we visited Seogwipo to join the Submarine Tour. We took a taxi from Jeju city centre to this southern part of the island. Language is a great barrier, and we had difficulties just to explain things to our taxi driver (If you couldn't drive in Korea, getting a driver who could speak english could actually make your trip easier). It was slightly frustrating, but also add certain spice to our experience.

Our taxi driver, despite the fact that we couldn't communicate well, was trying his best to understand us, and, even with this big obstacle, manage to book us the submarine tour (it involved a lot of google translate, a call to someone who can actually speak a bit of english, and a lot of guess work). 

Seogwipo itself is a good place for a bit of hiking, however, as we have only limited time before the tour, we didn't have the chance to explore most of it.

Flowers and Us

"Just living is not enough, one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower"
Hans Christian Andersen

Flowers symbolise a lot of thing, life, love, beauty, purity, and other meaning that we attached to them. You'll see ton of them in many wedding party, many valentines, and many other occasions where words fail to capture the sentiment. They have, to some extent, allow us to be lazy in saying what we meant. It is easier to give a bouquet of flower to say you're sorry, than talk about it. Or to say you love your other half, without the needs of rearranging your thought in poem, well-written letters, or whispers before the two of you go to bed.

But ain't them pretty?

Kawah Putih - Bandung

Kawah Putih gives a surreal feel and looks, with all the sulphuric fog that rises up from the lake. It is slightly poisonous, and therefore you shouldn't stay longer than 15-30 minutes. Once you experienced difficulty in breathing or any discomfort, just leave the location as soon as possible.

To reach Kawah Putih, we had to travel for about 2 hours from Bandung. Avoid weekend, as you might get trapped in Bandung's notorious weekend jam due to the visitors from Jakarta. Once you reached the first gate just below the Kawah Putih area, you will be able to drive up, or park your car and get on the public transport available (at a cost). If you rent a driver in Bandung, the driver will not be keen on going to the top, as a solidarity for these public transport operators.

If you have the time, it is a must-visit place, just avoid the holiday timing as best as you could.

Shirakawa-Go Under the Snow

IMG_8134 If you want to visit Shirakawa-Go,  it is better to book your bus ticket as early as possible (which would be 30 days before your travel date). We almost missed the trip because there were no available ticket from Kanazawa. Fortunately, there were still some tickets left from Takayama, and we finally were able to visit the place.

It was snowing lightly the day before, and we arrived to a spectacular view of the Gassho-zukuri under the snow. The house's roof was designed in a way that it let the heavy snow slides down naturally. 

Strolling at Kanazawa


Kanazawa might not be as popular as Kyoto, Tokyo, or Osaka, and it really has different atmosphere compared to the big cities. However, if you one day put Kanazawa in your travelling list, there are several things that you might want to consider visiting.

Firstly is the Ohmi-cho Market. Just like every other market in Japan, it is crowded and filled to the brim with good food. We tasted some grilled squid here, and you can feel the freshness by the sweet taste and crunchy texture. The bountiful sea of Japan surely demonstrate its kindness here.

The next one should be the Kenroku-en garden. A cloudy and cold day might take the colour and beauty away, but if you come in spring, you are in for a treat. Once you are done with this vast and beautiful garden, you can opt to visit Kanazawa castle just beside it.

We chose not to visit the castle, but go straight south to visit the Ninja-dera temple, and Nishi Chaya district. Unfortunately, Ninja-dera temple can only so much people as everyone has to follow the compulsory guided tour, and they don't have any more slot to accommodate us. For your information, the tour is only conducted in Japanese.

Miyajima Island


The giant torii (the red gate) at Miyajima island is world-famous, and has been the island's main attraction, but we found that the island offers so much more than just the giant torii.

When we landed, we were pleasantly surprised by the welcoming committee, the deers of the island. They are curious and will try to nibble at everything, including your paper map, so keep them stashed away. 

The giant torii itself was very crowded with throng of people trying to get the best picture of the scenery, and it was near impossible to get a clean shot. It was worsen by the short day-time of winter and we didn't get the best picture at this moment. Instead of staying too long near the torii, just have a stroll in the alley, where you can find a lot of local delicacies, such as the beef bun, and the momiji cake. 

We spent most of our evening in this alley, before getting our dinner in a local okonomiyaki store further down in the village, which that night, only served us and another local couple. The food was great, and she cooked the okonomiyaki in front of us. 

We returned in the morning for the torii, well before the first ferry arrived on the island, and we got much better view. The golden hour definitely helped the vibrancy of the colour. If we have more time, we would love to go hiking on mount Misen, but it has to wait for other opportunity in the future. 

Koko-en Garden


Koko-en garden is located just beside the Himeji castle, and while the castle is always crowded with visitors and tourists, it seems most people did not pay a visit to this beautiful garden.

True to the Japanese garden philosophy, Koko-en is not a colourful flower garden, but more akin to serene landscaping mastery. The garden consists of 9 smaller gardens with their own theme, from bamboo groove, to the ponds. 

When we were there, winter just started, and the garden lost most of its vibrancy, especially the spring and autumn colour. Having said that, it was still such a beautiful place that you need to visit when you have the chance.

Arashiyama, Kyoto

DSCF0802 We spent a whole day in Arashiyama, and it was really cold. The December wind really rattled the bone, and at this moment, I thought the importance of having a good pair of winter gloves. Mine was purchased in Australia, and it's good enough for Australia's mild winter, I constantly looked for a hot beverage vending machine, so I could hold a warm can of coffee in my hand (and spend quite a lot of money for hot tea, coffee, and lemon drink).

Around Hakone

IMG_7261 We arrived in Hakone under a not so friendly weather, with the rain accompanying us for the whole day. Given its altitude, this is translated to cold days that really could make you miserable when your socks get wet and the wind start to blow in your face. 

However, we braved the element, as we only planned a day to explore Hakone. Much to our disappointment, due to some volcanic activities, Owakudani was off-limit, and with it, gone was the Kuro-Tamago! (Kuro-Tamago are eggs that are cooked by the heat of the volcano, due to the sulphur reaction, the eggs' shell become black, hence the name Kuro for black, and Tamago for Egg).

Hakone is beautiful. The lake Ashi could provide you a great view of mt. Fuji on clear day, but given the situation, it was out of the question. To cross the lake, there are several ships, decorated as pirate ship. (E adamantly said that it's a bit to gimmicky, out-of-place against the natural backdrop)

All in all, we spend a great time in Hakone, and when it was time to leave this hilly region, the sun comes out... (expletives & curses here)

Photos by Edwina & Me 

Punggol Excursion, a Throwback


There is (or was, I'm not sure) a tree in Punggol that achieve legendary status due to its popularity as instagram object, and we went there to see the tree itself through our own eyes. Sadly, the tree was hit by lightning and in a bad condition, but we made the short time to take other pictures. The weather was so hot, so we don't really want to stay longer out there under the sun. 

Morning at Botanic Garden


Singapore Botanic Garden is one of the newest addition to the UNESCO Heritage Sites. Having said that, I have not been to the place for more than 1 occasion, so one day, I just asked E to accompany me and take a picture in the garden.

The Pursuit of Maggie Beer's Food, Trail to Barossa Valley

My order, the bread is amazing, and the chicken pie tasted great.

E and I love food, and I'm guilty of sometimes splurging money on delicious dishes. This is somehow the beginning point of this journey. In Australia, Maggie Beer is a household name of good cooking. A renowned chef, she has written several cook book, starred in many cook shows, including a semi permanent fixture in Masterchef Australia (go watch it if you want to see competitive cook TV show, this programme really puts more time on technique, and the masterclasses were really useful).

New Zealand Pt. 10 - On The Road, The Final Installment

There are a few pictures that wouldn't fit into any of the album in my blog, because it was taken along the way, in-between points. I just put it here as a remembrance of what we've encountered in New Zealand. Hope to visit it again one day.

New Zealand Pt. 9 - Franz Josef Glacier


The day of a glacier is numbered, especially in the current climate (yes, I'm judging you who throw garbage in the wrong bin. :p ).

New Zealand Pt. 8 - Queenstown Adventure

Queenstown gets its reputation as the "Adrenaline Capital" or the "Adventure City" due to the fact that you can do a lot of interesting things, year round. Unfortunately, most of these adventures come with considerable price range, especially if you consider your fear of height.

New Zealand Pt. 7 - Te Anau & Milford Sound

Te Anau is the closest city to Milford Sound. This city, just aside the Te Anau lake, is a charming little town, with many options for tourist. If you have enough budget, a flyover on the fjord would be a fantastic experience. Other travelers with our budget could opt to visit the glow worm cave, just a short ferry ride from the town. This is a new experience for me to go inside the cave and see the whole cave ceiling peppered with tiny little glow. Unfortunately, photography is strictly forbidden inside the cave since sounds and light can annoy the tiny worms.

New Zealand Pt. 5 - St. Kilda Beach, Dunedin

We arrived at Dunedin on Christmas Eve, and the city was very busy preparing the day, with all the stores closed early. While it means that we couldn't have any activity in the city, there are places that get deserted, like the beach. We took a stroll near St. Kilda Beach, enjoyed the clear blue sky, soft sands under our feet, with almost no one else.
All posts and pictures by Arnold Hozana. Powered by Blogger.