One of the popular couple hang out spots in Seoul is the Cheonggyecheon. A stream or river that flows through a huge part of Seoul.
To be honest, regardless of the size of the river, it would probably be really popular among couples. I mean, who wouldn't want to go on a date by a river, watch the street lights flicker, the water fountains dance and just let the night pass by, right?
What's romantic atmosphere of the Cheonggye stream is further enhanced with lights behind the main fountain, reflecting through the ripples of the water, and a rainbow light display under the main bridge. As you can tell from the photos, despite it being dark outside, there were still people chilling by the river.
There were families with their kids, friends with some bottles of beer, it was such a lovely chilled out environment.
Strolling along the river makes for a great night time activity in Seoul (if you're, like me, not that into the whole clubbing scene).
With such a pretty view at night, you'd think thats when people would flock to the river. Turns out, it's just as photogenic in the day!
Lined with tons of greenery (it was summer time!), the beautiful tall buildings as it's background, and a long park along the both banks.
This river is the perfect place for family picnics or an afternoon stroll. I'd bet people walk along the river during lunch or work breaks as well.
In addition to the view, walking along the river bank in the day gives you the opportunity to admire the artistic depiction of one of the historical journeys taken by one of the kings in the Joseon monarch. The series of illustration chronologically highlights the journey taken by the king to visit his father's grave.
If you're going to be in Seoul, I would highly recommend visiting the Cheonggyecheon both in the night and day to get the full experience this lovely stream has to offer!
Plus, it's free and super accessible, after stuffing yourself with Korean food, a leisure stroll is the least you could do :)
For more of seoul, watch my travel videos here!
17 September 2016 Cheonggyecheon, Jongno 5(o).6(yuk)ga-dong, Seoul
The Gyeongbokgung Palace is probably the MOST famous palace in Seoul. It is located in the northern part of Seoul against the beautiful mountains, flanked by a crazy road junction and a ton of talk modern buildings.
This is one massive reason why I love Seoul. You have the city, the modern architecture and the old traditional palaces and buildings all in one place, yet the landscape looks right. Everything looks so seamlessly well blended together.
What I Wore
Top - Taobao || Skirt - Forever 21 | Shoes - Nike | Sunglasses - Accessorize
I'm all for visiting castles and palaces are pretty much common whenever I travel. From the Palace of Versailles, to the fairytale like Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany or most recently, the Kumamoto Castle in Japan. I'd never pass on the chance to pretend Im living 150 years ago in a palace or a castle.
We visited the Gyeongbokgung on Culture Day - the last Wednesday of each month, and the entrance to the palace was FREE. All the more a reason to visit.
The palace reminded me so much of the palace in a Korean drama called Jewel in the Palace (Da Chang Jin / Dae Jang Geum). It was a drama that I watched when I was younger and it had a female protagonist (guess I was a fan of those since I was a kid) who was an orphan, worked as a kitchen cook in the palace, and went on to become the king's first female physician.
I vaguely recall the scenes of the palace grounds, the mini courtyards, the palace maids and cooks running around doing chores and hanging out. I guess that was where my desire to be a palace maid (I wouldn't survive being a kitchen cook, so palace maid it was) came about.
I'd say after having visited so many grand palaces, you can tell from seeing the Gyeongbokgung that it doesn't compare. I'm guessing people living in the Joseon dynasty and the reigning family who used to live in the palace weren't as wealthy. You don't see as many gold, the palace doesn't have all the crazy paintings. Thats one big difference between castles and palaces in Asia compared to those in Europe.
2 September 2016 Gyeongbokgung, Sajik-dong, Seoul
Summer in Cambodia is insanely hot.
Hot to the point that the rivers dry up. 38 degrees celsius, swealtering, tons of perspiration, kind of HOT.
I visited Siem Reap, Cambodia for a couple of days mostly because i've always ALWAYS wanted to visit the Angkor Wat Temple. Since the summer is incredibly hot, it is a non-peak period for tourism.
So, despite the crazy heat, I had a fun time!
My Cambodia trip started off with a little miscommunication between agoda and our hotel, and we didn't get an airport pickup! I called the hotel, and they sent over a tuk-tuk, although it was a fun ride, my luggage was swaying side to side with every sharp turn, because it wasn't secured at all. The worry was intense.
Regardless, I spent 4 short days in the lovely Siem Reap, exploring the different temples, looking and observing the way locals live and trying some Cambodian food.
We got to watch a sunrise and a sunset, but they weren't as impressive due to the cloudy mornings and evenings.
Thankfully, summer meant that it was the dry season and so we could make the most of everyday exploring the different regions.
Here's a video diary of my journey!
More posts to come sharing tips, pictures of the different temples I visited, so stay tuned!
27 May 2016 Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Apart from that one time I para-glided in Switzerland (one of the BEST in 2015) and discounting plane rides, this is the closest I've gotten to being suspended in mid air.
Some people have the fear of heights and don't enjoy the feeling of their feet hundred meters above ground, but by some odd way, I kind of find that extremely thrilling. Which can explain why sky diving is number one on my bucket list!
What I Wore
Cardigan - Primark | Top - The Box | Skirt - Shein.com | Tights - Uniqlo | Boots - Timberland
Of course judging by the number of reinforcements, you could probably guess that the bridge was extremely sturdy, and despite the perforated flooring in the middle, wasn't scary at all. The view up on the bridge was fantastic. We got and unobstructed view of the the autumn trees, mountains and different terrains.
The strong winds did add to the "shaky" "wobbly" feel of being suspended in air. And since I tear at the slight gust of wind, was having blurry vision the whole time.
Nothing beats a good view on a nice windy chilled day. And going on a road trip is probably one of the best ways to find stops and gems like this along the way.
Of course, being an engineering student meant that I was talking to Jerald the whole time on the concept of redundancy in safety and other engineering concepts which, as you can tell from the number of pictures of me, he was barely interested and clearly not listening.
Suspension bridges like these are definitely a safe way for those who wanna slowly get over their fear of heights, plus with a view like that to take your mind off it, it would not be as scary!
7 January 2016 Japan
If you've seen this video, or if you follow me on Instagram, you'd know that the first place we headed for in South of Japan was Nagasaki.
If you're familiar with the World War 2 or the history of Asia, you'd know that Japan occupied many countries during that time (Singapore included) and they only retreated in 1945 after an atomic bomb was released in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Nagasaki is a beautiful city, with PERFECT weather. And because of their history, the main tourist attractions in the region were related to the World War 2, namely the Nagasaki Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum.
It was a perfect day to visit a park, and so we hit up the Nagasaki Peace Park first. This park was to commemorate the peace in Japan after the war and to serve as a reminder of the importance of peace in today's world. Something I think is absolutely relevant considering all the issues going on in our world now. The golden sculpture above is probably my favourite. It has 7 people holding hands forming what looks like our earth, which symbolises 7 continents living in peace.
- Starts singing John Legend's song -
You can see from the flowers around the park and the way the park is preserved that the Japanese really remember the destruction that ensued with the bombing of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and that it really does serve to say, war = destruction, and peace is something the world really needs.
What I WoreCoat - Coldwear | Top - Shein.com | Scarf - Primark | Shoes - Timberland
After walking around the park and seeing the beautiful sculptures and different symbols of peace, we headed to the hypocenter where the atomic bomb landed, and then on to the Atomic Bomb Museum.
Visiting these 2 locations back to back was one heck of an emotional journey. I reckon my emotions would have been less volatile if we ended off at the peace park, as I was near to tears by the end of the museum journey.
These colourful cranes above were found in several places, and from what I know, they represent wishes of peace.
In the atomic bomb museum, I finally understood the controversy people talk about when it comes to Japan admitting their involvement in the war. The Atomic Bomb Museum started their timeline from 1943 and it showed what happened to the Japanese after the bomb landed in Nagasaki.
Unlike the Germans the Japanese don't really talk much about their tyranny during that period. This atomic bomb museum gave 1-2 liners about the Japanese occupation, and their conflicts with the U.S. which we all know isn't as "simple" as that.
Since Singapore was once under their rule, from the history lessons I've learnt in school, and war stories I heard from my grandfather (he lived through the war), I know that they definitely downplayed the events that happened before 1943.
Still, it was the most heart wrenching thing. I've been to history museums where I've seen the cruelty of the Japanese soldiers in the past during the war, but what i've never seen is what happened to them after the war. And although some people may criticise and say the way they represent facts and how the war came about is slightly dodgy, I think it's merely one of perspective.
Just like how in Singapore, our timeline ends at 1945, and our textbooks/history lessons don't talk about what happen to the Japanese after the bombing, in Nagasaki, they leave out chunks of their involvement in Asia and begin talking about events that caused them destruction. So many innocent Japanese died because of this, and my heart broke reading about the stories and post atomic bomb effects (from burns to mutations of bodies it was horrible).
Regardless, thinking back to the peace park and how that structure symbolises 7 continents living together in peace, I think we all can take a page out of this history book and learn that war NEVER ends up in anything but destruction, for all parties involved.