Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ho Ho Ho and a Happy New Year!

Today is already the last day of Year 2008. How time flies.......

Since coming back from our Korea trip, I've been busy preparing for my final CIA paper - not the US Central Intelligence Agency exam but the boring Certified Internal Auditor paper - and the effort will help me to score in my KPI. And most people in my company would not want to miss out in the bonus distribution this year as it had been a fruitful year indeed. God has definitely been good to the company :)

MIL has painstakingly decorated the Christmas tree in the house. A big thank you to her!

And while the presents are being put under the tree, the boys could not resist but opened at least half the presents before Christmas day.

Hubby had a big Christmas present that arrived from the States but even that the boys think that it's their present and had overtaken the huge golf net as theirs :)

A very Happy New Year to all!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 10 : Seoul - Malaysia

Finally, it was the last day of our trip. We packed our bags early in the morning, had breakfast and then went sightseeing again :) Of course, we have to maximise our trip while we were there!

We went to Wolmido via ferry and experienced feeding seagulls on board. Below pic is our trusted bus that accompanied us throughout the trip. The small bus is just nice to fit the 13 of us + bus driver and tour guide (even though the seats behind are really bumpy and can be a tad uncomfortable)

Ryan and Siew Ginn koko

Jaden at the wholesale supermarket

The children at the airport playground.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 9 : Shopping and Seoul Tower

Nearing the end of the trip, the boys have mixed reactions. The younger one was missing home and so he lamented 'I want to go home' while the elder boy loves fun, fun & fun and so 'I miss Korea' - probably influenced by Siew Ginn koko, even though we have not returned home yet.

The morning of Day 9 was spent shopping at Myeong-dong Fashion Street, after which we visited Seoul Tower.

Built on a 262 meter peak in Namsan Park, the tower reaches to 480 meters above sea level. When the weather is good, the observation tower allows you to view the entire city and surrounding areas.

The cable car ride to the tower

Bear X'mas tree?

There is a dedicated area for couples to put their locks together - to signify their relationship. You're not supposed to throw your key away! :p

Back in the hotel room, the boys love to dance in their thermal wear. Ryan nicknamed himself the White Man.

After dinner, we proceeded with Kangnam River Cruise, a cruise along the Han River.

This is Jaden, with his new toy.

A video of the boys dancing :)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Day 8 : Everland

The 8th day of the tour was the day the kids really looked forward to. It was a full day of fun at the theme park! Everland, located in Yongin, is a big theme park (arguably the 4th most famous in the world, but we really doubt it) which includes a zoo, snow sled and botanical garden.

The weather was pretty cold that day and we only went on some kiddy rides. In my opinion, the best attraction there would be the Safari World, which houses many animals, including lion, tiger and a white tiger, bear, elephant, giraffe, zebra, etc....

Safari World tour via a bus

Monday, December 01, 2008

Day 7 : DMZ Tour / MBC Drama Filming Studio

We started our Day 7 tour by visiting the Ginseng Outlet. Korean ginseng is well-known throughout the world and I was particularly interested as it claimed to help with sinus too. Papa J has sinus so now, he's taking two tablets a day. We also bought ginseng powder form for kids, hopefully to improve their overall health.

Later, we proceeded with our DMZ tour. The Demilitarized Zone tour offers a real vivid eye-opening experience of the Korean War and a dramatic sense of tragedy of the separated family members between the two Koreas from the division of the peninsula.

Security is tight around the area and photographs are not permitted in many places. We visited the Dora Observatory, Freedom Bridge, Dorasan Station and the 3rd Tunnel. The 3rd Tunnel was discovered in October 1978. It runs through bedrock at a depth of about 73 meter below ground. Capable of moving a full division per hour plus their weapons, it is evidently designed for a surprise attack on Seoul.

Dorasan Station - the last station stop before North Korea

It was snowing during our visit to the observatory and the kids were thrilled to see real snow for the first time!

After lunch, we proceeded to MBC Drama Filming Studio in Yangju Theme Park, which was the shooting site for the famous 'Jewel in the Palace' (Daejanggeum).

The lil' Daejanggeum in action in the kitchen

Day 6 : Seoul

We had breakfast at the Seoul Garden hotel and while Jaden was happily playing with the ornaments on the Christmas tree, one of the waiters gave him a stare. In general, Koreans are not fond of kids and during our short trip, we experienced a number of discourteous people. People seemed to not give way in lifts (barging from behind when they know that you're trying to handle two active boys) and doorways.

After breakfast, we visited the Amethyst Factory and of course, dh was not spared :)

During the day, we also visited Tiger Hill, Doota Shopping Complex - Dongdaemun Market and watched the Nanta Show. The show is a non-verbal performance integrating Korean traditional 'Samulnori' rhythm with comic and drama - a highly recommended show for kids!

We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant that night.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day 5 : Mt. Sorak / Nami Island / Seoul

Nami Island is 63km away from Seoul and is famous for its beautiful tree lined roads. This island is the location where many scenes of Winter Sonata were shot.

We didn't particularly enjoyed the lake cruise and the leisure walk around the island. Weather was too cold and our hands were numbed. Even the small fountain behind Jaden turned to ice.

After that, we visited the Lotte World Theme Park. As the weather was still cold, we opted to stay indoor.

Day 4 : Vivaldi Park / Mt. Sorak

Vivaldi Park is actually a ski resort but since it's only autumn, the resort is in the midst of making 'snow' for the upcoming ski season. Below, the resort view from our condo room.

Entrance of Daemyung Vivaldi Park Ski Resort

After breakfast, we departed for Mt Sorak to visit the Grand Bronze Buddha and Shinheungsa Temple. We didn't manage to visit the Kwongumsong Fortress via a cable car ride as the wind was too strong that day. The temperature for the day was approx. -7 degrees Celcius!

We also visited Abai Village. The village of Cheongho-dong is now the hometown to many people of North Korean ancestry. Many elderly people fled to Cheongho-dong from North Korea during the Korean War. This area became popular after the Korean drama 'Gaeul Donghwa' (Autumn in My Heart) was filmed here.

Noticed this 'weird' house which has a door on the upper floor.

We had Korean for dinner almost everyday now, below is Korean Bulgogi beef - doesn't taste as good as the Australian bulgogi beef we had later in the trip.

Picture of the boys at the lobby of Sorak Park Hotel.