Sunday, May 21, 2017

Winter in South Korea (Day Three)

Previous post: 
Winter in South Korea (Day One)
Winter in South Korea (Day Two)

I spent half of my third day at South Korea still in the outskirt of Seoul and the next half day then I got the chance to explore Seoul. On my last day enjoying the outskirt of Seoul, we visited Seoraksan National Park at Gangwon Province.

1. Seoraksan National Park, Gangwon Province, admission fee: Adult 3,500 won

Warm Cafes on Mount Seorak

Seorak comes from the word "Seoul" which means snow and "Ak" which means big mountain. They named it like that because the snow in this area would not melt for a long time after it fell. This area is designated as a biosphere preservation district by UNESCO so I believe you already can imagine how close to nature you will feel once you spend your time here. 

Hiking maybe is not really my main interest but of course I can not deny the beauty this national park got to offered. As I entered the main gate in a cold morning I can see the range of mountain covered in snow standing so tall in the background of some warm cafes offering warm foods and coffee.  

Going to The Top of Mount Seorak by Cable Car

We can go to the peak of Gwongeumseong Fortress by cable car which cost 10,000 won for return ticket and took five minutes one way from Sogongwon Park to Gwongeumseong Fortress.  Gwongeumseong Fortress located at the peak of Dolsan Mountain of Sogongwon area. It is a site of a castle ruins which was built by the 23rd King of The Goryeo Era. 

If you're not a castle ruin sightseeing or a casual hiking activity person, I will still suggest you to take this round trip on the cable car because the trip itself is one experience not to be missed. Along the five minutes journey up to the peak of the mountain you can see the beautiful surroundings of Seoraksan National Park high up from above, just like a bird point of view. My experience, I got it on the winter so it was even more beautiful because the land was covered in snow.

At The Top Station of Mount Seorak

Dress (Cotton Ink), Coat (Zara), Thermal Tights (Marks and Spencer), 
Boots (Marks and Spencer), Scarf (Zara)

At the top station, before reaching Gwongeumseong Fortress by foot, you will be welcomed by cafe selling ice cream, coffee, chocolate, and churros facing a beautiful surrounding of mountain. You could also find an observation deck here in the station, so if you do not feel like hiking further to Gwongeumseong Fortress you could might as well just stay here and enjoy yourself. 

I was planning to continue my journey up until Gwongeumseong Fortress that day, but I wasn't wearing the right shoes, my bad of course. My shoes are good in a fresh snowy road, but on a freezing snow with an icy texture, I will easily got slipped and that day the path to Gwongeumseong Fortress was covered in an icy snow. So after hiking half of the journey, I decided to turn around, for the sake of safety.

So, if you planning to hike into Gwongeumseong Fortress on winter, be sure to wear the right shoes to handle the icy path!

2. Lotte World, admission fee: Full day adult: 52,000 won; after 4 pm adult 41,000 won 

The Indoor Part of Lotte World

This theme park is divided into two main areas; indoor Lotte World Adventure and outdoor Magic Island. They say that this is the largest indoor themed park in the world. The indoor and outdoor park then again divided into districts representing different countries. 

Just like the other themed park you will find many many attractions from roller coaster to carrousel, food vendors, souvenir shops, and of course parades! Once I enter this park, I find my self got amused by the colourful ambience, but I have to admit it that I do not feel as excited as when I am in Disneysea the last time I visited Tokyo. It was not because of the theme park itself, but because I think I do not really familiar with its character and I did not grow up with them, just as how i grew up with Disney's character.

The Outdoor Part of Lotte World

The outdoor part is more beautiful then the indoor one, though, for me.  Maybe it was because of the castle which get even more beautiful as the night crawls in. Because they lit up the light at night. And there were trees and lake and not to mention the freezing temperature in the winter days, it kinds of bring my mind to think deeper. It was the perfect time to spend by exchanging warm words with your loved one as you walk around the area. 

Warm Tteoppokki and Chicken & Cola on a Freezing Amusement Park

It is not perfect to spend a day at an amusement park without enjoying a comfort slash unhealthy but delicious food! And since it was in Korea, it was time for tteoppokki and chicken and cola! I guess you have heard the rumour of how delicious chicken in Korea is and it surely is true!

Me and my brother stopped by at one of the food stall which displayed its tteoppokki and it looked so tempting I did not know how to refuse it. We finished it while walking around and enjoying the outdoor area. I have to say it was a half day well spent at this park. 

Tips: If  you have a limited time in Korea and have already went to Disneyland or Disneysea, you can as well skip this theme park and explore another part of Korea, because in my opinion it was not as magical as Disneyland or Disneysea. But if you have plenty of time, it was worth the visit, though.

The Oh-so-famous Dongdaemun Design Plaza Designed by Zaha Hadid

After Lotte World and dinner, we stopped by at our hotel, Best Western Arirang Hill, to drop our luggage and it was still 9 pm. Me and my brother still can't get enough of strolling around Seoul, we still wanted to see more of it. So we decided to find places which still open until morning in the winter days. Then we chose Dongdaemun area it is! And also, our hotel was still in Dongdaemun area and it took only 2 station to go to Dongdaemun shopping complex by subway. 

We chose to stop at Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station so we can stopped by at the oh-so-famous Dongdaemun Design Plaza designed by Zaha Hadid. As we exit the subway station, we were welcomed by the magnificent architecture of Dongdaemun Design Plaza, with the lights goes on and off in a beautiful pattern at night. 

The building is now used for arts and design exhibitions. It is comprised of five halls: art hall, museum, design lab, design market, and Dongdaemun history & culture park. The park extends into the rooftop of the building so it was beautiful! I enter this place in a hurry for it was already late night so I haven't got the chance to take a decent photo inside. But, really believe me, it is so beautiful you have to put this place in your must visit list once in Seoul!

Enjoying a Slow Late Night at Hollys Coffee

After satisfied of strolling around Dongdaemun Design Plaza, we moved on to the market area. There are a lot of shops, malls, and street food stalls which open until morning here in Dongdaemun so I say that this is the perfect place to spend on your late night wander.

My Ibu asked me to buy a medicine so we stroll around the area while looking for pharmacy and lucky me I found one O' Sulloc cafe which is famous with its delicious matcha latte. I ordered one hot matcha latte and then we continue our late night stroll while sipping on it and it was so delicious, really. It was hard to get the perfect combination of matcha and latte which could satisfied my tongue but it was perfect! It wast bitter and creamy with the perfect hint of sweet!

Then my brother wanted to close the night in an easy and comfortable way, by spending our time drinking coffee at a cafe facing Dongdaemun Design Plaza, so then we stopped by at Hollys Coffee. It was almost 1 am but this place was still so lively. How would you expect to end your day here in Seoul at 9 pm?  I could not think of one. I guess 24 hours is not enough to fully experience Seoul. Can I have more time in a day, please?

To be continue, on fourth and fifth day at Seoul!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Gogirl Pop Up Writing Class (Speaker: Gogirl Managing Editor)

Today I joined a pop up class presented by Gogirl magazine team and Dermatix which so far has been held in Jakarta, Bandung, and Malang. They held not only this writing class which I attend but also another interesting classes like fashion photography, photo editing, until brush lettering. But  such one kind of a thinker I am, I have no interest in another classes just as how my heart lit up as I heard the word "writing class". Moreover, the class will be coached by Esnoe Metha, Gogirl managing editor. Although nowdays I no longer read Gogirl regularly for I have moved on to magazines for older ladies, I still am a fan of Gogirl and its writings.  

I love the way Gogirl and its team and of course the Moran sisters, put a hint on self and women empowerment in almost each of its article and movement. Hence, once I read Gogirl's article not only that I got fresh information but also mostly I got my mind intrigued. 

Today, the class is about how to make a good feature. Here are some highlights I catch from what Mba Metha taught us today:
  • Feature is a descriptive article which consist of facts, opinions, and have to be able to challenge one's mind. 
  • Know who is your reader, it is important to set how you should do your writing. 
  • Feature can be about anything, from something deep until one which is lighter, for example it can be about biography, how-to-do, until fashion. One thing which I would very like to highlight here is: it does not have to be a deep or hard one, a lighter one is always welcome. Because most of the time, I think too much about what to write, I forgot to have fun.
  • For a web or digital content, a catchy title is a must, then we have to repeat our keyword so it will be easier for search engine to display our article, it has to be sweet, short and simple, and if it is too long it is better to make it partial. 

At the end of the class, we are all urge to make an interesting feature about Dermatix, our today's sponsor. We were given 20 minutes to finish and submit our writing by email to Mba Metha. I write it on Bahasa Indonesia hence it was sooo hard for me hehe. Since I start to regularly write in this blog from back then at 2009 with the intention to exercise my English, when it comes to speak up my opinion, the voice in my head has it on English. It is hard for me to express precisely the way I want it to, in Bahasa Indonesia. But I made it anyway, yay! And only for 20 mintutes where I didn't even had the time to recheck the facts I wrote. 

After our feature have been submitted, Mba Metha chose the top 3 writings and guess what? I made it to top 3! Hehe. It might be not much but oh I am so happy! 

With Mba Metha, Representative from Dermatix, and the other two "top 3" 

What is inside the goodie bag

Here is my writing, pardon me if there are some minor errors, will you? (Notes: If I am not mistaken in the era of Queen Victoria, the UK Parliament consist of all men, so my choosen word "majority" in the article below might be wrong, because not before 1918 does a woman allowed to stand as parliamentary candidates.)

Empower What is Outside as Well as What is Inside

Mungkin women empowerment mulai jadi isu yang panas akhir – akhir ini, dimulai dari Emma Watson dengan forum Our Shared Shelf-nya di Good Reads dimana dia berusaha menciptakan cara yang asik untuk menanamkan pemikiran dan memulai gerakan yang massal namun menarik untuk memperkuat peran perempuan hingga dukungan perempuan-perempuan dan tidak menutup laki-laki untuk calon presiden perempuan pertama Amerika, Hillary Clinton. 

Namun jika melihat lagi puluhan tahun atau hingga beberapa abad ke belakang, gerakan dan pemikiran mengenai women empowerment sebenarnya tidak terlalu asing. Mulai dari Queen Victoria yang bisa dengan hebatnya menangani UK Parliament yang mayoritasnya laki-laki hingga R.A. Kartini yang bisa mendirikan sekolah di jaman dimana untuk bersekolah saja merupakan hal yang sulit bagi perempuan. 

Ada satu hal yang tidak berubah mengenai women empowerment  dilihat dari beberapa abad yang lalu atau dari jaman millenial ini. Semua figur perempuan kuat tersebut pasti tidak jauh-jauh dari pemikiran hebatnya mengenai what is inside and outside. Selain kuat di bidang akademik tentu mereka juga perhatian dengan penampilan luarnya. Karena mereka percaya bahwa penampilan luar adalah apa yang dilihat orang pertama kali dan tentunya harus mewakili pemikiran hebat di dalamnya.

Tidak jarang, kita perempuan, tidak percaya diri karena hal sekecil bekas luka. Untungnya di jaman dimana science berkembang pesat seperti sekarang, banyak produk-produk hebat yang bisa membantu kita, salah satunya Dermatix. Diketahui sebagai scar guru, Dermatix mengandung CPX Technology dan vitamin C yang dapat membantu meratakan, menghaluskan, dan memudarkan bekas luka. Tidak perlu biaya mahal untuk operasi atau laser di klinik kecantikan, dengan Dermatix kita bisa mengatasi masalah penampilan yang membuat kita jadi tidak percaya diri!

 Jika kita sudah percaya diri dengan apa yang kita tampilkan di luar tentunya tidak sulit bagi kita untuk mengutarakan apa yang ada di pikiran kita. Begitu juga dengan lawan bicara kita pasti akan lebih mudah bagi mereka untuk memiliki respect terhadap kita jika we mind what is outside as well as what is inside. So, tidak ada alasan lagi untuk tidak percaya diri dan tidak berani menyuarakan ide-ide hebat kita di jaman women empowerment ini, kan?

Thank you Gogirl for today's experience and thank you Mba Metha for reminding me the core keys in writing, which I more often than not, usually forget.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Winter in South Korea (Day Two)

For a clearer information you could go to the previous post Winter in South Korea (Day One)

Here is my whereabouts at the second day of my trip in South Korea. Still in the outskirt of Seoul until day three, for your information. So if you are looking for information about Seoul, hang on a little bit longer! 

A Cafe on The Condo's Neighborhood

Entrance of The Room (The bed room is behind the left door just before
 the television, too bad I forgot to take a picture for we arrived there at 11 pm 
and already so exhausted)

Kitchen Area

Living Room

We were staying at Oak Valley Condominium on our first night in South Korea. Because the style is in condominium, they do not provide us full service, welcome drinks or amenities kit like what we usually find in a 3  and up star hotel. Clearly I never bring any soap, shampoo, toothbrush and another bath amenities while traveling, because simply it is unpractical if I stayed in a 3 & up stars hotel. I do not expect that this type of accomodation in South Korea do not provide us basic amenities. My bad, of course, for not research it carefully in advance. Thankfully there are nearby store which open until 12 am so that I can buy some shampoo and soap, which cost around 8,000 won each. 

But other than that, the room is very very spacious! The standard room include a living room, one bedroom, two bathroom, and a standard kitchen. And  I find a very beautiful surroundings around this condominium,what a relaxing resort this one!

Most people which stay in this hotel those time of the year, in winter, is the one who is about to do skiing in the morning. So when I enter the restaurant in the morning to have breakfast, most of people are already dressed in ski clothing. We only stay for a night in this hotel and in the morning  after having breakfast, off we go to the ski resort to enjoy some skiing experience!

2. Oak Valley Ski Slopes, Gangwon Province. Skiing rate (includes ski clothing and ski equipment rent): 500 USD/person (yes, in USD). 

To be honest, that was my first encounter with skiing. So that was also my first time getting to know all of the ski clothing and equipments which consist of a warm pants and jacket, a pair of skiing gloves, helmet, skiing goggles, skiing shoes, a pair of skis and bindings, and a pair of skiing poles. 

What shocked me the most is the shoes and skis & bindings, ones which we wear so that we can slide on the snow. I do not expect that they are so heavy, I barely can even move freely in my first minutes wearing them. But after my trainer teach me how to walk, how to move and how to stop I finally can manage it a little. Yes, a little, because I still find my self out of control most of the time, I slipped and fell three times on my attempts to slide on the beginner slope. 

But all was great though, despite all of the unfamiliar feelings for getting to know something for the very first time. The ski slopes itself have a very beautiful surrounding, a lot of parents stay in the cafe facing the ski slopes while waiting for their children getting the ski course. The beginner slopes tend to be a lot more crowded than the advance slopes, so if you are good at skiing I think you will be able to enjoy this place more. 

Tips: if you never try skiing before like me, although it is rather expensive, it is a fine experience you should try at least once in your life. Let go of the fear of trying something new and a little bit dangerous, push away that thought which tell you that you are too old to try something new. Life is all about a never ending learning, no?

Egg Muffin Picture Taken from Here

After having enough time spent at the ski slope we moved onto the next schedule. Pyeongchang Trout Festival is a festival which is held at Jinbu-myeon in Pyeongchang province every winter. There are a lot of group activities in this festival, some of them are ice and lure fishing for trout, trout bare handed fishing and traditional folk games like sledding and top spinning or snow rafting. 

No I do not participate in the folk games or the trout fishing, I was only just a spectator for we only have an hour in this place. I saw the trout bare handed fishing and it was so exciting! A number of participant have to wear only a short and shirt, yes they have to take off their coat and warm clothes in a cold winter day, and catching trout in a cold water pool! What a challenge, no?

And of course like any other festival, it includes street snack vendors! I tried some muffin, a sweet hot muffin which consist of half boiled egg inside it. So it was sweet and also at the same time salty, I loove the taste! Too bad I do not have the picture for I busy eating them but above is a picture I get from this website

Tips: if you do not like traditional festivals or activities you can as well skip this festival. But it is worth to see this festival once you already in Pyeongchang, in my opinion, so you can see a deeper culture of the place you travel to, not to mention it is a good place to find traditional snacks! 

This is the only farm in Pyeongchang which raises sheep. Span in an area of 195 km2 if you walk along its path it will take around 40 minutes. The scenery along this farm is beautiful! In winter I may not be able to see a green farm covered in beautiful grasses but a vast area covered in snow with a comfortable walking path is also beautiful!

Here we can do a lot of outdoor as well as indoor activities. I tried to give foods and touch the sheep  until they were full and then move onto a cheese and chocolate making activities afterward. After our chocolate and cheese were ready to eat, they served us strawberry natural jam, natural chips, and wine to enjoy along with the cheese and chocolate. The perfect snack in the winter afternoon!

Tips: if you do not like a DIY program such as chocolate and cheese making, you can as well not signing up for the program, just enjoy the walking path along this beautiful place!