After months of hiatus and delayed, finally this article is out. LOL
I received a call from my usual VIP customer late last year. He asked me :
“where can I go for an entertainment tour for my client?”
He inquired me about Australia and New Zealand, but I was not keen on the idea of going somewhere that is currently going through summer. Well duh, I live in the tropics we have sun and rain all year round. Then suddenly South Korea came into my mind. I gave a shot and proposed the idea of having a winter trip to Seoul. He loved it and said:
“Okay! On! Please prepare everything and let me know the details”
I was thrilled and jumped full of joy when I knew that I will be flying to South Korea. Well, for your information, I started to get into all this Korean thingy back when I was young and studied in the UK. For some of you who might not know, we have
lovely weather back in The UK. With dark clouds, windy, cold and gloomy, I guessed that sums it up for you. LOL
Back then, my classes was just twice a week, so what would be a better way to kill all the time that I had in the world other than going out in the cold? Yessss, I spent it all doing a Korean Drama Marathon (Dramathon), I could watched 8 or more episodes in one day and fyi one episode is one hour long. Let just take it as I went to a Korean language and culture classes everyday. From that moment onward, I was so into everything related to Korea, from its language, foods, music, boy / girl bands and many more.
Thus, when I knew my next assignments was to fly to Korea, what do you think I should feel? LOL Finally, the day that I have been waited finally came. Our flight was scheduled at 11:59pm. So I departed from home at around 6pm and arrived at around 7 plus. As always it is my duty to arrive earlier than my customers. However, it seems that everybody was rather excited that day and most of my guests were already at the airport despite knowing that there is still hours till the check-in counters open.
Anyway, after having a cup of coffee and a light dinner, we went to Korean Air (KE) check-in counter and then to the gate. During check-in my guests were greeted and assist by a friend of mine who happen to be an executives in Korean Air Malaysia Sales Office. They were pleased by the personal touch that I had prepared for them for this tour.
After passing through immigration, custom and security check, we went to the Malaysia Airlines (MH) Golden Lounge before boarding. Despite being in a difference alliance with MH they had an agreement of sharing facilities in KLIA. Finally after a quick break in the lounge, we arrived at the gate. Boarding was rather smooth this time compared to my previous post about TG. The plane was full, they have 56 Business Class seats on this 777-300ER and not a single one was spared. Flight KE672 from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) – Incheon (ICN) was supposed to depart at 11:59pm but it was delayed for about half and hour. As I said before, I’m used to all these delays. But this time around, I was surprised when the lead stewardess / purser came to apologised and bowed at every single one of us in the business class section. Wow, I was definitely amazed at their service.
Anyway, 6 hours plus went by just like that with all the special treatments given by the KE crew. Lie flat bed is the star of them all for a long haul flight, with a generous seat pitch it definitely gave us the good rest that we needed to arrived fresh the next morning. Here’s a sneak into the fab and glamour of flying with KE Prestige Class or so they call it for their business class :
We arrived at around 7:30am the next morning. After clearing immigration, baggage reclaim and custom, we made our way out to the arrival hall. We were greeted by a lady and a man with my VIP’s guest name written on a piece of paper.
First impression of Korea, Wow! they really do have good looking guy and girls here. Fortunate enough this two fine people were our tour guide (TG), Ms. Angie and photographer Mr. Phillip. I properly introduce myself as the the tour leader to them in Korean. They were really surprised that I can actually speak the language. Well not to the extend of being fluent, but fair enough for a day to day conversation, nothing too serious or formal. Still trying to learn it properly though. LOL.
As we exited the airport terminal, we were welcomed by the cold Korean weather, roughly around -4 if I remembered it correctly. Hopped on to the bus we were then transferred to our first destination of the tour which was Petité France, it was approximately two hours journey from the airport. Thank goodness most of us had a good rest on the flight the night before, so most of us were really excited and eager to hear the stories told by our TG Ms. Angie.
But as Malaysians, it is in our gene to normally sleep in cold condition. Don’t you agree? Especially when it rains in the afternoon with or without the air condition on, we would find it best to get a shut eye, right? So, our excitement was not for long. Most of us were happily sleeping throughout the journey to Petité France. I even have a picture of someone sleeping with their mouth wide open and I knew someone had mine in the same manner. So lets not start a WWIII by posting one here shall we. LOL
FYI, Petité France is the shooting location for numerous K-Dramas but the famous recent one would be My Love from the Stars. Most of the tourists here are KPop / KDramas lover. They tend to take pictures at the exact location in the exact posture as in the drama. I find it rather amusing as some of them were taking it too seriously as they have to get the perfect shot before continuing with the next one.
Petité France, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Next on the list is Nami Island. I’ve knew this place since the days of Winter Sonata (WS). To the younger generation some of them might not know of it much. But for my group, as most of us are in the range of almost 30 to 60 years old, the drama is indeed in our memories. So when the tour guide started singing the OST of the drama, a few of us were not hesitant to join along. We even sang it in Malay, as one of the OST were adapted to Malay and was sang by Hazami during the days.
Nami Island is an actual island on a lake. The journey to the island took roughly 10-15 minutes by ferry which can easily fit in around 100 to 200 pax in one journey. There are no proper seating provided, so most of the passengers have to stand along the way. However, if you are a daredevil, you may opt to go to the upper deck open air, for a breezy ride, take a couple of pictures along the way, how about that? For me, at that time, I was not too fond on the idea of being on the upper deck with the temperature being -7, no thank you.
Anyway, it was quite a big island, you have to do a bit of walking to go around it. But fret not as you have the option of hopping on to the sightseeing mini train with a minimal fee. Highly recommended if you were travelling with an elderly, young children or just not fancy walking. The train will take you to see some of the main highlights of the island. For us, we opted to slowly walked so that we can stop along the way to take pictures. Unfortunately for us, it was not snowing that day. If it was, it will definitely be a cool picture that resemble the scene of the WS drama. As the day goes by, it is time for us to head to our hotel so that we can called it a day. But before that, we had an awesome local seafood base dinner. For some of my guests, it was their first time having Korean meals. Most of them took it well, not so sure whether it was because they were hungry or because they literally liked it. But good for me there were no complains. So its a good sign. LOL
Most of us was rather knackered from the previous day, so we opted to go out a bit late, I opened the window blind and noticed that the streets are covered with snow.
“OMG! It snowed last night? I gasped”
I took my time slowly to get ready, the thing that I liked about winter is that I love to wear winter fashion with all the jackets and boots thingy, but at times it is quite troublesome, especially when you are in an Asian country, where some of the restaurants or shops, requires you to take off your boots. just imagine someone as my size wobbling and jumping trying to take my boots off and have to wear it again afterwards. Damnnn
But coming from the tropics, its not like I have to wear it all year round. So just have to suck it and deal with it for a couple of days.
“Well beauty is pain dear”
that’s what I normally said. Anyway, got to the lobby half to 9 in the morning. I thought I was the first one to got up and ready. But it seems that some of my guests were up earlier, because they were too excited to see snow for the first time in their life. Well can’t blame them, I used to do it too back when I was a youngsters in the UK. I even tried going out of the house just wearing a thin short pants, a shirt and a flip flop. Those were the days. LOL
I took a couple of pictures with my guests and before long, our beautiful tour guide and handsome photographer came to greet us good morning.
On the left is my happy customer and on the right is a snap of our handsome photographer 😉
For some, the places that we will be visiting was not that exciting. But not for me, I’m thrilled to be able to finally set my foot to one of theese places at least. After a couple of minutes bus ride, not that far from our hotel, we arrived at the N Seoul Tower. A famous destinations for lovers to come and locked their love forever. In hoping that they will stay together for life.
The bus drove half way up to the mountain to a point where all of us have to get down and then do a bit of a hiking on a very steep road. It was snowing lightly on that day, rather freezing I might say. But for the sake of a good picture, I pushed myself up to the top. Due to the snowfall, you can’t really see any view of the city from here. So, my VIP decided to bought padlocks to tie his love in Seoul forever. I accompanied him and took a couple of pictures for his memories. While watching most of the tourists doing all these locking their loves kind of thing, I can’t help but to ask myself, what will happen if they broke up? Do they come here and cut the padlock off? Cause fyi, once you’ve locked your padlock of love. You have to throw the key away. Oh well, let’s just hope non of them have to come here to cut it off. Sorry, but I can’t help to wonder. My level of curiosity is high. I can even ask who is the first person to ever tasted chilli and decides that it can be used in a cooking. LOL
Day two ended with a bit of shopping in Myeondong street market. Was busy shopping myself so didn’t took any picture of the place.. LOL
Another day had passed, day 3 is continued with another journey of the city. On this day, the theme was rather historical and traditional. We did a couple of things and visited a couple of places that brought us back to the roots of the Korean people. To be honest among all of the days, this can be considered as my favourite one, this is because I’m finally going to be seeing the palace live in front of my eyes. FYI, I’m a fan of Korean historical dramas and at that moment I was really into the latest drama called “Love in the Moonlight / 구르미 그린 달빛” starred Park Bo Gum. ;D
It snowed heavily the day before, as we entered the palace ground it was rather magical, with the white snow covering the ground as well as the building. Here you can see a lot of locals and tourists alike will be wearing the Korean traditional dress called the “Hanbok / 한복” it added to the feeling of being in ancient Korea or they called it as Joseon / 조선. I was shouting in my heart feeling happy to finally be here. The inner K-Drama fan in me was jumping and shouting in happiness, joy and disbelief at the same time.
Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul
Well unfortunately I was the only who was super excited about this place, while the rest was not as excited as I am. I was asked by my guests to continue on with the next on the list for that day tour. I was sad as there’s still so much to see, well it’s ok. I’m sure that I will come again soon hopefully on the next tour. The tour then resume with a visit to the Kimchi making school. It was rather exciting as most of them had never tried a homemade kimchi before.
Upon arriving we were greeted by the school representatives, she briefed us with the history and origin of Kimchi and the different types of Kimchi from different parts of South Korea. We then proceed to the seaweed production line and they gave free sample of the seaweed for us to try. A few minutes later we were asked to try out the traditional Joseon Royalty Hanbok, all of us were excited as we got the chance to be King and Queen of Joseon for a few minutes.LOL
After all of that were done, we were finally lead to a room. Here, aprons, gloves, as well as ingredients to make the Kimchi were given to all of us. The staff then showed us how to properly make the Kimchi with the ingredients given. So it began, it was kinda messy but all of us had fun making our homemade Kimchi for the first time. We were informed that this Kimchi need to be fermented for a couple of days/weeks thus we can’t take back our own Kimchi, but all the Kimchi that we made will be donated to the local charity homes. Oh well, lets just hope they like our Kimchi. LOL
Kimchi Making Class
Anyway, these are some of the bits and pieces that I can share with all of you for now. The rest of the days were used to visit some factories and all, it is rather dull and boring to be shared with all of you. I hope that all of you like what I shared here and hope to see you all again in the next entry. ;D