Travel Thru’ The Lens: Autumnal Colours of Korea

After watching numerous Korean dramas and witnessing their food and landscapes, what can a foodie and a photographer do? Yup plan a trip to Korea and what’s the best time to visit but during the change of season to Autumn?  However being the first time to Korea and wanting to have a taste of what it is going to be like there, I decided (against good judgment) to go with the budget tours one would see at NATAS – National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (spell it backwards folks!)- fair. Those fairs give super cut throat prices so as to entice people to sign up so as to waste more time at those souvenir shops at sky high prices and so it evens out in the end.

Well, I have a fair share of such practices mainly because these people need to earn money. It didn’t matter if you paid a high price or a low price for a trip, when you are with a tour guide that is paid commission, they will bring you to such places to shop no matter what. If you are ok with it, then do support them but go with eyes wide open. I have tour guides bringing to some office buildings in the middle of Hong Kong to buy tit bits that are 3x more expensive than those that sell at street level. There is even those jewellery shops that has mirrors everywhere that confuses you and make you part with your money easily (yup in HK too!). Fortunately for Korea trip, at least they brought us to some cosmetic shops that are not expensive at all though you would question the brands on sale.

In any case, Korea is the land of plastic surgery and cosmetics. For a people who are really in tune with how they look, it is partially due to the landscape that they are in. The trip did bring us to a lot of beautiful places that I will share in this blog post.

For this trip, I brought along my Fujifilm X100 and my Nikon D200 with Sigma 18-50 F2.8 as backup.

Arrived in Shanghai for the transit to Korea. Another long wait. Boy I hate transits now!
Mr and Mrs Koh
Korea’s Touristy Drink: Banana Milk (as opposed to Taiwan’s Papaya Milk. We should have Durian Milk)
Ah Ken our Tour Guide
The first Korean meal of the journey. Bibimbab.
On the way to Nami Island: Fruits. Truck load of it.
On the way to Nami Island: BBQ Pork out on the streets!

Our first stop in Korea was Nami Island or Namisum is a tiny half-moon shaped island located in Chuncheon, South Korea, formed as it was inundated by the rising water of the North Han River as the result of the construction of Cheongpyeong Dam in 1944. It was known as a location for a tear jerker drama serial “Winter Sonata”.  Because of this show numerous girls from Korea to Singapore to Japan wanted to Pak Tor with their boyfriends in sub freezing temperatures. Really?!?  

The entrance to the Island on the mainland.
Yup. It is shaped like a curry puff. It is really the top a hill.
Check out the splendor of the yellow leaves. It would be awesome during the day.
One of resting stops on the island lit up by the rear lights of a car.

Gosh. Bronze Statues because of the show? Really?!?
A resting point with photos from the show itself. The drama series that put Korean on the map (along with Jewel in the Palace).
Wood Fired Stove with steam coming out…
…heating up the red bean paste buns. The wood charcoaled smell lingered with every bite. Heavenly!
Chicken hotpot stir fried with cabbage, spicy sauce and sprinkled with seaweed. Hungry!!
Danyang
Hiked up the mountain behind the resort
The River at Danyang. The city rest between 3 national parks and is the top travel destination for landscapes.
Rest Stop at Danyang’s Park.
Our resort. Nice place and I really enjoyed sleeping on the floor as it is good for the body.
A shot taken of the leaves red hues while waiting for our bus to arrive.
The Husband, Wife and Mistress Rock. According to legend, the wife was not able to give birth to a son, so the husband found a mistress to produce a son. The wife was upset, which is why the wife peak is farther from the husband than the mistress. If you look at the wife from a specific angle and use a bit of imagination, you will see that the wife was so angry that she turned away from the husband.
Let the shopping begin! The Korean version of the Premium Outlets. Has the exact same look as those in Johor. Price wise not very enticing.
We got bored of the Outlets and went to the other village just across a small valley via a bridge.It has more stuff for youngsters including outdoor gear.
Always nice to shoot a scooter in a street setting.
Putting up at the next Resort Hotel. That’s the god of the land. Reminds you of the stone head of Christmas Island doesn’t it?
Subdued Sunrise peeking through the clouds.
Stonehenge in the middle of Korea? At our resort hotel.

Seoraksan is the highest mountain in the Taebaek mountain range in the Gangwon province in eastern South Korea. It is located in a national park near the city of Sokcho. After the Hallasan volcano on Jeju Island and Jirisan in the south, Seoraksan is the third highest mountain in South Korea. The Daechongbong Peak of Seoraksan reaches 1,708 metres (5,603 feet). The Taebaek mountain chain is often considered the backbone of the Korean peninsula.

The Tour Group@Seoraksan
The place is beautiful with the red and yellow leaves in the middle of the valley.
The mountain.
Cable car ride to the top
Walking up to the peak. As the weather is colder on the top of the mountain, leaves had fallen faster than those at the foot.
The Pano view at the near peak.
The Peak itself. Too windy to try to hike up.
Another look of the range from a lower altitude. Still majestic.
The stream bed with the changing colours.

It literally reads Winter Hell Mountain Temple. Must be darn cold here. I was drenched from top to bottom and it was really cold then. Winter? No thanks!
View of the Mountain from the Temple
Couldn’t get enough of the scenary even when I was wet!
Warm the body up with some BBQ Pork!
A rather miserable day to visit Everland, Korea’s answer to Disneyland.
The main attraction of the whole place: Safari World. Up close and personal with animals.
They have white tigers.
A lion with a nice perm job
If all else fails, how about a Li-ger or a Ti-on? Yes cross breed! The lion must be bored!! The Liger has such a twisted sense of identity that it has a nasty temper (heard it killed three other tigers). The teasing is really bad!
Brown bear asking for a snack.
Ask and ye shall be given! A snack going into the mouth!
At least it stopped raining!
Ginseng Chicken soup…good for the cold soul!
Add some noodles and open up the chicken to have some glutinous rice in Ginseng broth! Warms you up!
More shopping at Dongdaemun
Cheonggyecheon. Is 8.4km long creek running through downtown Seoul. It used to be an road way covering this creek but its redeveloped. Too bad not enough time to walk the 8.4KM!
Dongdaemun. On the right is the shopping district.
At one of the cosmetic shops. Trying on some anti wrinkle patches.
Always nice to have coffee.
Yi Sun-sin. A general who built a turtle shop (Geobukseon) and defeated the Japanese.
Jang Yeong-sil a prominent Astronomer and inventor of the water gauge.
One of the royal palaces dotting the city. This is the Duke’s palace.
The King Seat in the Duke’s palace.

Myeong-dong Street Market. Not just clothings but also good food!
Despite the crowd, the walk is pretty easy.
Middle Eastern Style.

Sausage on a stick
Crazy Burger. Much cheaper and more delicious than Kraze.
A pastry with an egg in the middle: Superb!
Cat Cafe
Buying cosmetics? There are tons like Etude etc.
For the fans!
School food?
Not enough shopping? Then head to Sinchon where you will get a lot of girls stuff on the cheap. I got a nice bright orange square backpack only for SGD30 and a huge canvas bag for only SGD10. Why? Because the girls only university is just next door to the shopping street.

Teaching the Art of Shopping from Young.
Now we are on our way to Jeju
Yup is Jeju. Honestly I very much prefer to stay longer in Jeju because the whole place is whacky with numerous museums including a sex museum and a teddy bear museum. There are also natural formation thanks to this volcanic island.
Dragon Head Boulder. Really?!?
The island’s climate is perfect for fruits. Tangerines anyone?
Sungsan Sunrise Peak. Yup as the name suggests, we should be here for sunrise. If I have my way, I would be up there at 5.30am waiting for the sun to rise.
Seongsan Ilchulbong. Yup Xiong San (means tough mountain)…not fit enough!
Beautiful sea.
The view 3/4 way up on the mountain.
Right at the top with David.
The magnificent view! Sunrise would be perfect!
The hotpot! Yummy!!
The resort for visitors. Nice!
The black pork
The village head’s daughter. Giving a talk about the cultural and history (and later sales pitch about their honey and herb remedies)
The local women…NOT!
Visiting one of the 3 waterfalls of Jeju Island.
Still green. Jeju Island is at the Southern End of the the Korean Peninsula so the cold has not hit them yet.
Cheonjiyeon Waterfall. Wrong time of the day to come but one has to make do.
God light over the horizon.
Moonlight.
Selling Shell Fish at the road side.
Teddy Bear Museum. The streets of London.
Traditional Korean Wedding Ceremony. Cute.
Weird Museums around the island.
Our Dinner at Jeju
Yup the main event!
Just bite and cut and chew and swallow.
And again!
Making Kim Chi
Finished work!
Still on it
A visit to the Mysterious Road. Really is a illusion?
Enough of Korean food, now Korean Influenced Chinese food! Zhajiang Mian
Old Shanghai
Suzhou
Old Street
Nanjing Road. As always full of people.
New versus Old Delivery of Music
Line Dance?
Band in the middle of the street.
The Shanghai Bund.
Full of ugly blue lighted tourist boats.
Just before we left.
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