Haeundae Guesthouse in Busan, South Korea

I always wanted my trips to be organized but sometimes I have to let nature take its course and just enjoy the moment and veer away from the norm. This is my second time to go on a trip without making any prior reservation for accommodation. Our Busan trip was a spur-of-the moment decision so it was a good thing that I have read about Haeundae Guesthouse while preparing for our trip last year. Continue reading “Haeundae Guesthouse in Busan, South Korea”

How to Travel from Seoul to Busan by Bus

There are other options to travel from Seoul to Busan. While KTX remains the first option that I have often read in other blogs, traveling by bus is cheaper and convenient as well. Continue reading “How to Travel from Seoul to Busan by Bus”

Mr. Dakgalbi Korean Restaurant

While I was planning our autumn trip to Korea last year, I asked some of my friends who usually visit Korea for their recommended Korean dish because I mostly ate street food during my spring trip since I was traveling alone and was always on the go. This time since I am touring friends who have never been to Korea, I want us to experience and try as much authentic Korean food as we can.  One particular friend highly recommended that we try dak galbi when we go to Nami Island, so that’s what we did before we headed to Nami Island Ticket Office.

Dak galbi is a Korean dish which is a combination of stir-fried marinated chicken as well as sliced cabbage, sweet potato, scallions, onions and rice cake on a hot plate.  It is known to have originated in Chuncheon County in Gangwon Province, South Korea. Continue reading “Mr. Dakgalbi Korean Restaurant”

Myeongdong Global Hostel in Seoul

For my first trip in Korea last April 2015, I originally booked for one bed in a dormitory room at Zaza Backpackers Hostel one month before my trip through their website and I received a confirmation the following day. To secure my reservation, I was asked to email them twice, 15 days before and 5 days before my check-in date. Upon my arrival, I was informed that I will be staying at Myeongdong Global Hostel which is just one corner apart from Zaza Backpackers. Continue reading “Myeongdong Global Hostel in Seoul”

Goodbye 2015…Hello 2016!

Every year I feel both sadness and excitement as I let go of the past year and welcome the new year. Very thankful for all the blessings from the past year and feeling hopeful that a better year will come.

Happy 2016 everyone! Last year had been great for me and I want to share my 2015 highlights with you! :-)

“Do what you love, and you will find the way to get it out to the world.” – Judy Collins

TRAVEL

It is a fact to those who know me too well and those who have been reading this blog for quite some time now that even though I am Filipino by birth and I love the Philippines with all my heart and soul,  I have also fallen in love with Korea for more than a decade now. In 2014, I started leitbloomer.com and became one of WOW Korea Supporters chosen by Korea Tourism Organization in Manila.  In 2015, I was able to fulfill my ultimate travel goal and that is to visit Korea, not only once but TWICE! A dream come true indeed! :-)

Autumn 2015 Korea LeiTbloomer
Autumn 2015 at Gyeongbokgung Palace

Continue reading “Goodbye 2015…Hello 2016!”

CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe

Part of my one-day K-Pop tour is to visit celebrity-owned restaurants. Since CNBLUE is one of my favorite K-pop band, Hwang’s Eel Restaurant which is owned by Min Hyuk’s father and Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe are on top of my priority list. After I went to K-Star Road and Korean Entertainment agencies (Cube, JYP, FNC and SM) in Apgujeong and Cheongdamdong in Gangnam, I went to Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe to celebrate my successful K-Pop tour and to have my very first bingsu as well!

Bingsu is a Korean dessert that is quite similar to our very own halo-halo which comprises of shaved ice, milk and different varieties of sweet toppings ranging from chopped fruits, beans and syrup. Sulbing is a Korean dessert cafe which specializes with different kinds of bingsu but rather than using shaved ice, it uses frozen milk instead. Since it is springtime, I opted for berry cheese sulbingo at ₩7300. This is a bit pricey but it is so worth it!! The blueberries and raspberries are fresh, the cheesecake and yogurt ice cream are delicious, and the frozen milk yogurt melts perfectly with the rest of the toppings. It was cold outside since it was in early April when I went here but I still managed to enjoy each spoonful of my berry cheese bingsu without needing to mix the ingredients altogether as what you would normally do when you eat halo-halo.

CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Berry Cheese Sulbing
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Berry Cheese Sulbingo

Aside from the bingsu, their menu also includes coffee, smoothie, bread toast, cake, porridge and sherbet.

CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Menu
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Menu
CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Dessert Cafe also offers cake, toast bread, and other Korean snacks in their menu.
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Dessert Cafe also offers cake, toast bread, and other Korean snacks in their menu.

While eating my sulbingo, I was able to observe and take pictures of the restaurant. The restaurant is big and has a modern contemporary interior design. There are pots of plants from CNBLUE fans and there are various pictures of Jong Hyun. I also saw a picture of Kim Woo-bin which was taken when he visited the cafe (they were both in Korean Drama Gentleman’s Dignity). Jong Hyun also filmed an episode of We Got Married by MBC Entertainment here with his virtual wife Seung Yeon.

CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Dessert Cafe
CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Interior
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Dessert Cafe
CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Interior 5
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe Interior
CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Interior 7
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe Interior
CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Interior 11
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe Interior (this is where Jong Hyun and Seung Yeon filmed one of their episode in We Got Married).
CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Interior 12
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe Interior
Pictures of CNBLUE Jong Hyun while playing the guitar
CNBLUE lead guitarist and vocalist, Lee Jong Hyun

CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Interior 8

CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing Interior 9
A photo of Kim Woobin whom Jong Hyun co-starred with in Korean Drama “A Gentleman’s Dignity
Gift from CNBLUE fans (Boice) are on display too :-)
Gift from CNBLUE fans (Boice) are on display too :-)

Directions to Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe:

1)  From Sillim Station, take Exit 6. From Exit 6, turn left.

CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing_Directions (from Sillim Station Exit 6)
CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing_Directions (from Sillim Station Exit 6)

2)  As you turn the corner, you will see Sillim Department Store and a street sign of Sillim-ro 65 gil (신림로 65길). The department store was still under construction when I went here in April so it’s probably open by now.

Look out for Sillim Department Store (which was still under construction when I went here in April).
Look out for Sillim Department Store (which was still under construction when I went here in April).

3) Walk straight ahead until you see this building. Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe is located at the 2nd floor. The stairs is on the left side.

Directions CNBLUE Jong Hyun's Sulbing
Directions CNBLUE Jong Hyun’s Sulbing
Jong Hyun's Sulbing in Sillim near Exit 6 is at the 2nd floor of this building.
Jong Hyun’s Sulbing in Sillim near Exit 6 is at the 2nd floor of this building.

4) Here’s the entrance to Jong Hyun’s Sulbing Korean Dessert Cafe. Enjoy your sulbing while listening to CNBLUE’s songs!

Entrance to Jong Hyun's Korean Dessert Sulbing Cafe
Entrance to Jong Hyun’s Korean Dessert Sulbing Cafe

Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower

I stayed in Myeongdong area for the whole duration of my trip but I only decided to visit Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower on my last day.  Instead of trying to fit in my itinerary other tourist spots in Seoul that I have not visited yet, I opted to explore these famous landmarks. I followed the detailed directions posted on the wall near the stairs on our hostel. Though the road was steep and it did made me a little breathless, the view was worth it. It was so close to our hostel, I regret not having my early morning walk here.

P1170864 Continue reading “Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower”

Petite France

I originally wanted to go to Gapyeong to visit Petite France, Nami Island and Garden of the Morning Calm but scratched it off from my itinerary since it is far so I can just concentrate on exploring Seoul, but then I changed my mind AGAIN and went on with my previous plan. Ohhh the perks of travelling alone, you are your own boss and no one will scowl if you kept on revising and just do what you feel like doing. It was a spur-off-the-moment decision so I arrived at Gapyeong station quite late. I went straight to their tourist information center, grabbed pamphlets of the bus schedule, Petite France, Nami Island and Garden of the Morning Calm (I will save Garden of the Morning Calm on my next visit, perhaps autumn this year or spring next year).

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Back in high school, we read about  The Little Prince by ‎Antoine de Saint-Exupéry so I am curious about this place aside from the fact that a lot of my favorite Korean TV dramas such as Beethoven Virus, Secret Garden and My Love from the Star and the variety show such as Running Man were filmed here.

P1170649 Continue reading “Petite France”

Bukchon Traditional Culture Center and Hanok Village

My interest about Korean drama has piqued my curiosity about Korean culture and history which in turn have a major influence in their architecture too. They featured their grand palaces and traditional villages in their historical dramas and even in modern-day TV drama, they continue to feature Hanok which are Korean traditional style houses.

After taking a walk around the expansive Gwanghwamun Square and exploring the majestic Gyeongbokgung Palace, I walked towards Bukchon Hanok Village. Since it is situated in the middle of Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung palace, most of the families of high-ranking officials used to live here during the Joseon Dynasty.  This village remains a residential area where majority of the remaining Hanok can be found.

As a Korean drama fan, I wanted to see the film locations of my favorite Korean dramas and I was fortunate to have come across Bukchon Traditional Culture Center while I was looking for these locations. This center was a former residence of the Min family who was in charge of finance during the late part of Joseon Dynasty. It was converted and reopened in 2002 as a place which offers information and exhibit to share and experience Korean traditional culture.

P1170089-001 Continue reading “Bukchon Traditional Culture Center and Hanok Village”

Gyeongbokgung Palace

A trip to Seoul will not be complete without visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace, the first royal palace built by the Joseon Dynasty which is the most beautiful and grandest among the five royal palaces (the others being Changdeokgung PalaceDeoksugung PalaceUnhyeongung Palace and Changgyeonggung Palace. Gwanghwamun Gate is the main gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace. On both sides of the gate, there are mythical statues called Haetae which is said to protect the palace from fire. On the entrance of the gate, there are royal guards whose expressionless features and gallant stance portray the importance of their role in protecting the palace.

Gwanghwamun Gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gwanghwamun Gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace

Continue reading “Gyeongbokgung Palace”