Where to shop in Seoul, Korea?

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Shopping can be really enjoyable in Seoul when they have all the latest fashion trends there!

Here are some places to share and I am ranking these places based on my favorite. I am price (I like cheap stuffs! Haha) and quality conscious.

1. Express Bus Terminal (Goto Mall)



(Credit: Eastasy)


If I only have a day to spend in Seoul, the first place that comes to my mind will be Express Bus Terminal. It is like Singapore’s Bugis Street but with better and faster fashion trend.

Even the clothes quality here are so much better! Best of all, the prices are even cheaper. You can get a very trendy pair of jeans for $20 or a jacket for $10!

2. Hongdae (Hongik University Street) and 3. EHWA Woman’s University



(Credit: VisitKorea)

I enjoy spending time roaming around the university streets because of the atmosphere there. The people are younger, happier and chattier! It may not carry as much stuffs as Express Bus Terminal but you will be able to spot some men’s apparels here. James got himself a few outerwear at Hondae.

Be sure to try the street food here too! It is half the price of other shopping districts.

4. Myeong Dong shopping Street


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(Credit: VisitKorea)


Even though Myeong Dong is one of the most famous shopping street in Seoul, I find their items OVERLY priced. Yes, including those pushcarts. They sell almost the same stuffs that you can find in Express Bus Terminal and university streets but at double to triple the price.

However, if you are looking for beauty related products, Myeong Dong has one of the most varieties to offer. I also love shopping around their ABC Marts (which you can also find in Taiwan). Sneaker lovers anyone? Catch some good deals there! You can also find designs that are not available in Singapore.

Street food? EXPENSIVE.

5. Dongdaemun: Good Morning City, hello APM


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(Credit: VisitKorea)


Mmmm.. Even though this is a wholesale place, I personally do not enjoy shopping there unless I have some spare time to waste. Otherwise, it will just be another late night shopping option for me since they open till late.

However, there are a lot of food places around the area. Quite a good place to chill actually! Oh, Common Ground is another hipster place that you should visit too (not for shopping though)!

I have of course, been to more than just these 5 places but I am only sharing what I love most. Hope this post will be useful for you ūüôā

Join me onboard Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas with a special price!

Mariner of the Seas Open Exterior

I know I have been traveling in Aug and Sept. You will be even surprised to find me traveling in October again! Haha. Lucky me! How can one with a full time job travel once a month? Just make full use of the Public Holidays or take a Friday off and travel out for 3D2N!

This time round, I will be travel out of Singapore from 20 October to 23 October 2017. You can also hop onto the ship with your family members at a special price!

These special rates are exclusive to Maybeline¬†readers ‚Äď please email your particulars to carrie@alvinology.com and you will be contacted shortly for booking.

The first 25 cabins to be booked will receive a swag bag (worth over S$100), so it’s like another $100 off! Haha.

Promotion is only valid until 22nd September 2017.

More details on the cruise:

3 Night Kuala Lumpur Weekend Cruise

Dates: October 20 ‚Äď 23, 2017

Itinerary:

Day Port Arrive Depart Remarks
1 Singapore ‚Äď 1700 HRS Docked
2 Port Klang 0700 HRS 1900 HRS Docked
3 Cruising ‚Äď ‚Äď Cruising
4 Singapore 0800 HRS ‚Äď Docked

Special rates for twin-sharing staterooms*:

  1. Balcony stateroom is priced at SGD489 per pax (before taxes & gratuities of $123pp)
  2. Oceanview stateroom is priced at SGD389 per pax (before taxes & gratuities of $123pp)
  3. Promenade stateroom is priced at SGD389 per pax (before taxes & gratuities of $123pp)

*Terms and conditions apply:

  1. These special rates are valid only till 22 September, 2017.
  2. Please note that single guest in a stateroom will be charged a single supplement for the cruise fare, and guest under 18 must be accompanied by another guest 18 or older in the same stateroom.
  3. No cancellation, refund or changes allowed for cruise, shore excursion and specialty dining once confirmed.
  4. More terms and conditions are found in the booking form.

What to do in Hiroshima

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So… We were¬†back from Hiroshima less than a month ago! Our latest wanderlust took us to the city¬†which encountered the world’s first ever nuclear destruction. Nonetheless,¬†what we encountered during this trip was anything but terror in this modernized, beautiful city!

PS: Good news to share for those who like to fly via SilkAir – from the 30th Oct there will be flights from Singapore to Hiroshima and vice versa!

In our opinion, here are some of the must-visit places:

1) Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum & A-Bomb Dome

It is one of the UNESCO Heritage Sites in Hiroshima and knowing James will never give UNESCO site in any country a miss! If you planning to go to this site, I would recommend spending a good one day there to learn of the destructive power of an Atomic Bomb & immense in the history of Hiroshima.

We stayed at ANA Crowne Plaza which is just a 5 mins walk away.

More importantly, we were there on the 6th August too! Make a guess what’s the significance of this date? It is the fateful day which the Atomic Bomb ‘Little Boy’ was dropped and to be exact, 8.15am in the morning.

Apparently, this is the only structure that survived the bomb blast and still standing till this very day. It stood there to consistently remind the future generation that nuclear power should never be used as a form of deterrence.





You won’t see much laughter or merry-making around this place even among the tourists. The mood is mainly sombre around this vicinity; It is as though the tragedy just¬†happened the day before.





Nonetheless, we did not hesitate to break our first smile when we saw these beautiful paper cranes near the site. Folding paper crane is a form of respect and culture near the site! Be sure to fold one when you are there in memory of the victims.

We did our part and learnt how to fold paper cranes at the Orizuru Tower nearby. Best time to go to the tower would be close to evening time as you also get to enjoy the entire Hiroshima city landscape.





2) Miyajima Island (Itsukushima Shrine & the Iconic O-Torii Gate)

Ever seen the famous O-Torii Gate floating in the middle of a sea?

This is exactly where we decided to spend our second day! One can never miss out Itsukushima Shrine when they are at Hiroshima Prefecture. Take a 30-minutes boat ride near the A-Bomb Dome site to Miyajima Island!





You can take some nice photos at the back of the boat. Be sure not to miss this instagram-worthy moment!




The first impression you will get of¬†Miyajima Island¬†is that of¬†Nara Park because of the wild deers roaming around freely. Sadly, the only difference is you are not allowed to feed the deers here ūüôĀ

Be sure not to walk around freely with a paper in your hand. In fact, that was what happened to my map as one of the deers ripped it apart thinking it was food!




Well, the deers stole my map but did not have the chance to steal the limelight from….the iconic O-Torii Gate in front of the Itsukushima Shrine!





The are so many interesting cultural practices e.g. Praying, Ward of Bad luck, Reading your luck etc within Itsukushima Shrine. So be sure not to miss exploring every part of it!

3) Kin-taikyo Bridge

A very iconic Bridge which is broken into three sections. It was said that they made it this way to reinforce against the strong tides of tsunami/flood.


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It is so long we only manage to capture one section of the whole bridge. But, you got the idea right?


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4) Shimanami-Kaido Bridge

If you are a cycling enthusiasts, do a day trip out of Hiroshima for this! Just to share the distance we cycled that day; from one end of the bridge to the other.





It is approximately 6-7km. The good thing is you can return the bike at the station situated on the other end of the bridge.

Just look at how much we are sweating! I would say it is not so much from our exertion on the bike¬†but instead the weather! The summer in Japan is definitely no joke! I would say even the hottest day in Singapore couldn’t be compared to the heat there!


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4) Hondori Shopping Street

This is the biggest shopping street in Hiroshima! To be truthful, don’t expect to shop heartily¬†here. I feel the shopping scene in Dontoburi is far more vibrant compared to this one! Nonetheless, it is still worth a visit if it is your first time there.

Well at least for retail pleasure, they have our favourite Uniqlo and GU there! If you are thinking of getting some LifeWear, you know where to head to.

Oh! Do not miss out the super famous I-chiran Ramen there too! You have to queue for it in Tokyo and Osaka, but I promise that there is no queue here! It was so good we had it for supper on two consecutive nights!

5) Sera-kogen Farm (aka The Land of Sunflowers)

You will surely smile at this place if you missed smiling at A-Bomb Dome site! Just look at this picture which is a small subset of the whole sunflower farm!

Unfortunately, due to a tight schedule, we did not get to spend much time there. I shall leave you guys to explore this place on your end and take multiple pictures!


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Some other places that you may want to include in your itinerary includes Ota House, Iwakuni (Yamaguchi Prefecture) & Kikko Park (Samurai Living quarters on one end of the Kin-taikyo Bridge).

[Bali] Our Stay In Holiday Inn Express

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You guys know that I just came back from Bali right? I am very very grateful to HolidayInn Express for hosting us during our stay in Bali.

 

We took the 7am flight and camped at the airport since 3am for some Duty Free shopping and breakfast so we were VERY VERY VERY tired when we arrived in Bali at 10am. Nonetheless, that did not dampen any bit of my mood and excitement in visiting Bali! As soon as we hit the plane, only ONE letter came into mind: Zzz.. 2 hours plus later, we reached Bali (Depasar) Airport!

 



We were greeted by the beautiful and peaceful looking interior of the hotel and the check-in process was quick because the friendly staffs were all very experienced. From the lethargic look on our faces coupled with those unavoidable Jia Jia & Kai Kai eyes of ours, I bet they knew how tired we were after the SUPER DUPER early morning flight.


In terms of their front desk customer relation, I must say they deserve 2 thumbs up !! Not only were they prompt in replying our requests, you hardly see a tinge of frustration on their faces despite our interminable requests. They even went the extra mile to help us with some of our hotel planning and recommended us on some of the activities we can do.




My very first photo in Bali!



You don’t find the usual hotel glitteries around Holiday Inn Express. And it is basically because of this, i feel much closer to home with their simple & clean layout.

Don’t expect to see hotels in Bali to those skyscrappers sort like some in Singapore. In fact, this is already one of the tallest around town. You will see why I say that from the roof pictures below.




After checking in, what we did next immediately was to explore the room and the facilities!

First up, the room…




To some people, the word “Express” does lead to some form of skeptism. But to be very frank, the hotel room does not have the likes of an “Express” hotel room. The room¬†is clean with a super comfy¬†king-sized bed!





Room is spacious, definitely enough for two to roam around without knocking into each other!





Our room overlooked nicely into the courtyard which end up being a hugh perk as we could easily check if our tour guide/drivers have arrived at the lobby even before the reception can call us!




Next to the facilities!

We headed straight to the roof and was pleasantly greeted by the pool which J eventually did swim a couple of laps on the last day of our stay! My baby can be quite a clean freak and judging from the fact that he did not even make a noise over the pool water, i guess it passed the cleaniless test! ūüôā







A nice little hangout area, particularly useful at night for a group of friends where they chill around and admire the nice starry night in Bali.





After exploring, we went back to take a quick shower and rested for 40 minutes before heading out to explore Bali.


40 minutes of rest and it took less than 30 seconds for this lazy bum to climb into bed! He absoultely have no idea I snapped this!





Shortly, I also joined in to enjoy the comfy bed..




*4o mins passed*


See those REJUVENATED face of ours and all ready to hit the Bali streets!





This brings me to the other benefit of staying in Holiday Inn Express! That is once you get out of the hotel,¬†all the¬†supermarket, malls, art markets so on and so forth are within a stone’s thrown away distance! In fact, you are already at the Heart of Kuta itself!





You will see quite a few familiar brands in Kuta square such as Rip Curl, Havianas, Polo RL etc. Best part is you will find the prices there much cheaper than in Singapore. Take for instances, a Havianas slippers cost easily 15-20% cheaper there!





Apart from shops, you will find many fast food restaurants eg Mac, KFC so rest assured you are never ever gonna starve in Kuta, Bali regardless how picky an eater you are.

Because Kuta Beach was also near, we walked over for a stroll and to dine by the beach for lunch.





Less than 15 minutes walk, we were already at the famous Kuta beach where surfers like to visit!

Not just a good place to surf but also a good place to do #OOTD & #photooftheday!






More OOTDs at the back alley.




Putting the back alley for even better uses apart from OOTD: *Opps!* -> *Ooo La La!*


Tofu eaten!




Rayban fans caught in a candid moment!




Our first day in Bali was pretty much spent combing the streets of Kuta and the beach. Surprisingly, there are so many things to buy and shop there and I spent almost one third of my IDR there!

Apparently, after one day of shopping & exploring, we were all pretty dead beat! We had a quick shower with the well-equipped amenities eg body wash, shampoo, toothbrush etc before heading for bed. Both of us were soon sound asleep without much external disturbances or noises.

Stay tuned for the next post, you will see what the hotel has to offer for breakfast and we we did in Bali!

Taipei Day 1

We took the 8.30am flight and reached Taoyuan Airport at 1.15pm. By the time we retrieve the luggage and all, it was almost 2pm. Cabbed from the airport to our hotel at Xi Men Ding straight. I have no idea why, when people told me that the cab fare in Taipei is much cheaper, I thought it would cost about 20-30% lesser but hell no. Our cab fare from the airport was SGD50. The distance is like our Jurong to Changi Airport (slightly further up). It would only cost SGD25-30 for that distance in Singapore though.

After checking in the hotel, we roamed around Xi Men Ding for lunch. Settled comfortably in a Japanese Restaurant. Each bowl of ramen only cost about $6. The portion is slightly smaller than what was served in Singapore.

And not wanting to waste any time, we took the metro (MRT) down from Xi Men Station to Hou Shan Pi Station where you can find Wu Fen Pu wholesale market.

The MRT fare is fairly cheap. SGD0.80 for a ride. And single ride journey tickets are in the form of a token. So cute!!

Wu Fen Pu is one hell of a good shopping place! It is so huge that it took me 3 hours to comb the entire place twice. I spent $200 on clothes for me and J within that 3 hours. My brother managed to grab quite a bit of male clothing too.

What to buy in Wu Fen Pu: Mostly clothes. Shoes are not exactly cheap here. You can get it cheaper at other parts of Taipei.

Station: Blue Line – Hou Shan Pi

After 3 hours of shopping, it was already 7pm so we walked over to Rao He Night Market. There is no direct station (Hou Shan Pi is one of the nearest) here so I would suggest you to cab there or walk over from Wu Fen Pu after shopping.

Rao He Night market has very good street food!! They do sell clothes, shoes and accessories but I would prefer the clothes at Wu Fen Pu instead. You can find cheap female shoes at NT200 (SGD8-9) where my mom and I got 2 pairs each. Male shoes are cheaper here. My brother got 2 pairs of loafers at NT500 (SGD22) each. Male loafers usually cost about SGD40-50 even in our Bugis Village.

My dad had Stinky Tofu there, although he insisted that it was good, I wanted to vomit at the smell of it. EWWWWW!

After all the street food and little shopping done at Rao He, we cabbed back to Xi Men Ding for more.

Xi Men Ding is very lively at night! I also realised from the Superdry Store in XMD, the stuffs here cost more than Singapore! A tee here cost about SGD90 when we could get it in Singapore for SGD70.

I love the people in Taiwan because they are dog lovers!!! You can see them everywhere!! Oh ya, pet clothing are cheap in Wu Fen Pu too!

Loot for first day.