Private tour by This is Korea

I don’t quite remember the kind of feeling when I travelled without kids. Should be the first couple of years when I got married and went for honeymoon.

Nowadays, traveling means having having to pack for 4, preferably within 1 big and 1 cabin size luggage plus 1 stroller, at least to keep logistic more manageable. Hubby would also bring his parents along since it’s a family trip. So that means more luggages plus transportation issues.

Train transport would be a bit tiring for the old folks and too challenging if we had to handle the luggages, stroller and the kids. We don’t always get a seat and the grandparents can’t stand for long rides.

Normal cabs won’t take 6 people unless jumbo cabs or split into 2 cabs especially in places like Hong Kong where jumbo cars are virtually non existant? The problem with 2 cabs is sometimes 1 cab goes to the right place, the other goes to the wrong one and we would have to coordinate a meetup.

We had no problem getting around in Jeju. Car rental was inexpensive, parking places were plenty and cars on the road were few in some areas. We always have a problem when it comes to Seoul.

On our previous trips we managed to hire an International jumbo Taxi to ferry us around we managed to communicate with them as they can speak some English.

For this trip, we didn’t manage to book 1 as our stay in Seoul was longer than previous, and the International Taxi was limited.

Hubby did some research and asked around for quotations and we finally settled with This is Korea. They are currently ranked #1 on TripAdvisor so it’s not hard to find them.

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With our Travel Specialist (TS), Michael

I was a bit skeptical before the trip when hubby said the reviews on TripAdvisor were fantastic and we should give it a try. My idea was that we could flag/call for cab when we need, or take shuttle buses or trains on non peak hours if required. Probably a cheaper alternative.

In the end we settled for a 2 day self-drive and rest of it with This Is Korea. We were very pleased with their prompt response and they really gave us a welcoming feeling with their responses.

After a few days with our travel specialist, Michael, this was proven to be a right decision! There are many benefits of travelling with them… Of course there are areas of improvements too… Ok, about the good points first!

Our ride. A spacious Hyundai Starex 12 seater!

Our ride. A spacious Hyundai Starex 12 seater!

Michael speaks fluent English and we had no problem communicating with him. He was soft spoken and had a keen listening ear and was able to plan out our itinerary based on what we wanted. He was definitely patient and helpful. Our group moves slower compared to a group of carefree singles or kidless groups. Sometimes the kid wants to go to the toilet just as everyone was ready to set off but Michael was totally cool about it and didn’t stress us to come back as we are late on schedule.

He was always ready to help us take group photos with his cool Sony Nex 6. Group photos was something we hardly have as it was not so convenient to get people to help us take all the time.

Taking photos of the kids

Taking photos of the kids

While we were too busy to take photos..

While we were too busy to take photos..

Having a car around was also much more convenient. On some super cold days, the grandparents had a choice to stay in the car while we go explore. For example, on the day we went Insadong, I remember the wind was icy cold and they preferred to stay and wait in the car. Michael would then stay there with them until we return. We also got to eat some really authentic Korean food which is not the usual tourist eateries, which was why I had some difficulties trying to locate and document down those places after coming back. Wish I had taken photos of the shop name.

Michael’s service did not stop after the last day of tour with This is Korea. We told Michael during the trip that we really wanted to experience snowfall badly for this trip as the likelihood of snow was quite high this month. So he made some calls to the weather station and told us that the forecast says that there is a high chance of snowfall just 1 day after we were supposed to fly back. After some discussions and planning, we extended our stay as we did not want to miss out the snow if it’s just a day difference.

And so, it did snow the next day. And it snowed heavily.

Heavy snow

Heavy snow

In fact, it started with very slight snow late that night when we were supposed to fly. Michael called us up and told us about the snow, knowing we would be very excited to know. And we really were. Late as it was, we dressed the kids up and went out for some snow. It was slight snow but we were thrilled enough. Little did we expect, the snow lasted through the night and the whole of the following day. It was so heavy that  thick snow started to accumulate outdoors. And there we build our first snowman with the curious kids.

We had fun trying out ice fishing (and getting a free fish that we didn’t fish from the kind Oppa there), seeing the Blue House, picking strawberries and visiting the Garden of Morning Calm. All that we didn’t plan to go. Only destination that we went with some regrets was the Kojinam snow resort. We wanted to visit a snow resort that was toddler friendly as we couldn’t possibly do snow ski or snow activities, except at most sledding or just snow play. But there was none at the Kojinam resort. The sledding area for the kids were too far away and inconvenient to get too, with lots of staircase around. The grandparents were freezing cold and we couldn’t make it that far. So we left the resort without really doing anything, except experience real coldness. This was one area that we felt Michael could have researched and done better… He was aware that we were looking for a ski resort that could let the kids have fun with snow but there was none! Lucky the real snowfall during our extension made up for that and we brought along our very own ski gloves instead of waiting to rent at the resort. So in a way, he made up that mistake with constant updating us of the snow.. 🙂

Maybe because he is younger, there are some areas where he could have been more attentive, especially with the elderly.. There were few times whereby he parked the car very far away and the grandparents had to walk and carry their bags a long way to the car in the shivering cold… Perhaps he thought that the walk was good which was true for the younger us… heh…. but definitely not for the grandparents.

Overall, the benefits greatly outweigh the areas of improvement… And its always good to have areas of improvement… It is an excuse for us to go back and use their services again and see if the areas have been addressed! Excuses… :p

Thank you This is Korea for the great service… And we look forward to another trip together with you in the near future !

 

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Seoul, Korea – Shop and Eat

Our time for shopping and scouting for good food to eat wasn’t as much as we would wish for, but we did manage some of it. And ate some really nice food over there.

I spent several nights getting this map up, showing the places where we went for food and shopping. Why don’t Google Maps have an English version of map for Korea? Arggh! *Pulls hair!

Korea - Shop and Eat

Korea – Shop and Eat

Most of the shopping places that we’ve been to, are already famous place that I think most people already know by now.

1. Dongdaemun

Great for midnight shopping and it’s crowded even until 2 or 3AM! The problem with midnight shopping at Dongdaemun was how to get a cab back home after shopping. There are lots of cars parked by the road side, shoppers hanging around, and people trying to snatch cabs around you. On our last trip, we cut short our shopping trip as the little one was fussing back at the hotel room with the grandparents, maybe detected that the mummy and daddy had sneaked out for some fun without them! In a desperate attempt to get back to the hotel room we board a killer cab unknowingly. Ok, the cab driver did try to tell us the cost but we couldn’t understand a word. It was only 5 minutes later that hubby decided to alight the cab, on the spot! The meter had jumped to an incredible price of 20 SGD! In 5 short minutes! And our hotel was 1 hour away! As we alight at some rather desserted area, we took some time to get another cab to get back to the hotel. Scary!

Jumbo Deluxe Taxi (not the same as International taxi)

Jumbo Deluxe Taxi (not the same as International taxi)

Jumbo Deluxe Taxi (not the same as International taxi)

Deluxe Taxi (not the same as International taxi)

2. Namdaemun

The opening hours here are quite short. By 5 PM, most stalls are preparing to close and shopping here with kids and strollers are definitely not an option. Best to come without strollers. You can get lots of interesting stuff inside those cramped buildings so you won’t want to miss that if you can. The outdoor shopping all looked the same after a while.

3. Shopping at Lotte

The Lotte DFS is where we got all our Korean skin care stuff. Forget about getting at places like MyeongDong. There’s no tax rebate, unless for special items. The prices at Lotte is direct tax free price so we don’t have to go queue at the tax rebate counters at the airport just to get some refund and risk missing our plane back.

Korean skin care products

Korean skin care products

However I did buy imported items like LongChamp (on 40% discount!),  and only get to collect the items at the airport at a specified counter nearest to where we would board our plane. A bit of a hassle as we need to make sure we arrive at the airport way earlier than our flight time.

If you shop at Lotte, there’s usually Lotteria for some fast food and Lotte Mart to get some groceries. The Lotte Mart was 1 of our favourite shopping place. Everyone gets to buy something. Seaweed, kimchi, fruits, beverages and biscuits for the kids. I even got items like leggings, cloth masks from there as there were really cheap! Cheaper than at Qoo10 or those fashion shops. For the kimchi, we originally intended to hand-carry on board the plane then we saw the signboard at the baggage check that we were not supposed to bring kimchi on board! Lucky we saw the sign early and checked in the kimchi instead.

This Bulgogi burger is a winner!

This Bulgogi burger is a winner!

4. Cath Kidston (Special mention)

I have no idea why, but I see loads of Koreans bringing Cath Kidston bags. Is it in the hot trend now? Anyway, I’m a fan as well and couldn’t resist getting my hands on this one especially when it was on 40% discount too! Happy!

Cath Kidston

Cath Kidston

5. Provence Village, Paju Premium Outlet

Provence Village

Provence Village

Provence Village

Provence Village

The Provence Village is this nice little western theme village near the Paju Premium Outlet. Each shop here is nicely renovated with different theme, designs and colours. We saw some shops selling paintings, artistic display works, accessories and even bakeries and cafe that look nice enough to hang out and laze around for a while, especially in the cool winter weather. The accessories looked like they came from the Namdaemun wholesale market though. But I guess if we didn’t have time to go there, we could just buy it here too.

There were cafes and bakeries there too but we just had our lunch of bbq beef, handpicked by us at the counter before bringing it to the table to barbecue so we couldn’t really do with a tea break right after. The beef was really yummy!

BBQ Beef

BBQ Beef

BBQ Beef

BBQ Beef

The Paju Premium Outlet was quite a nice place and it’s not crowded that time we went. We didnt have a lot of time there but managed to get some stuff there. The kids were napping, so they missed out all the fun

Carousel to entertain the kids and Daddies while Mummies shop

Carousel to entertain the kids and Daddies while Mummies shop

Paju Premium Outlet

Nice Garden

Nice Garden

There's even kiddy train ride!

There’s even kiddy train ride!

6. Authentic Korean Food at San Dul Hae

Food at San Dul Hae

Food at San Dul Hae

Hubby’s friend brought us here a few years ago and we still miss the food. So here we are again. Still as yummy! I learnt that the rice was cooked in the stone pot itself so it was extra fragrant. There were lots of side dishes and each one was so good that we ordered extra servings. The kids had rice and seaweed soup and the whole plate of fish where, of course, made the poor mummy very busy deboning it. It’s located near the Olympic park in Songpa area, not too far away from where we stayed. They also had the clever idea of presenting the dishes in a whole tabletop and just pulled it over our table for easy serving and clearing.

7. Ka Oon Beef soup noodle

Ka Oon

Ka Oon

We had white kimchi here (Cant really see though)

We had white kimchi here (Cant really see though)

Rich and thick beef soup

Rich and thick beef soup

We had this rather late at night and all of us were almost famished, after we failed to eat something filling at the Hongdae Hello Kitty Cafe so we didnt really take much photos.

8. Another famous korean dish we tried, was the dakgalbi (stir fried marinated chicken with cabbage). It was supposedly famous in the area nearby

Spicy Dakgalbi

Spicy Dakgalbi

Non Spicy Dakgalbi

Non Spicy Dakgalbi

Nami Island. So we popped by 1 of those eateries to try it. We had both the non spicy (for the kids) version and the spicy version. Verdict? The non spicy one wins. The sweet tasty marinate, stirred fried with fresh cabbage was a match in heaven

9. Lastly, the hotpot that saved us from freezing in the super cold winter at Nami Island. Our favourite! We order this everytime we come!

seeking shelter

seeking shelter

Hot pot of soup

Hot pot of soup

 

Seoul, Korea – For Us

There are a few reasons why we love travelling to Korea. Japan would have been great, if not for the situation it’s currently in. Radiation leaks? How serious is it exactly now? We are not too sure, but we are not ready to expose our kids to the uncertainty of the impact the radiation leak will have on the kids.

There are 4 seasons in Korea and it’s interesting to go there in different seasons to see the different sides of Korea. We have been to winter and autumn and I think we still prefer Autumn. We went for winter again this time as my mother-in-law really hopes to see some snowfall and Korea is a good choice as it is not too far away from Singapore. So here’s what we planned for ourselves, after settling the itinary for the kids.

1. Nami Island

Looks more like autumn than winter

Looks more like autumn than winter

Nami Island is our must-visit place each time we go. Although it’s a bit far and not that convenient to reach, but we really love the romantic atmosphere the place brings. Maybe the mind is still strongly influenced by the scenes in the Winter Sonata drama? We hoped to see Nami Island covered in snow for this trip. The last winter trip, the snow were melting and there was not much to see. Unfortunately, it’s the same for this trip but it was much much colder this time. We were told that the weather was particularly cold that day.

We took this buggy ride to quickly pass through the island and get some warmth in the buggy as well. It was really a good choice just that it could only take us around the outer perimeters of the island

Warm ride in the buggy

Warm ride in the buggy

We would drop by this place for a hot soup everytime we come to warm up our body in the cold weather. The soup is really good!

Hotpot of soup at Nami Island

Hotpot of soup at Nami Island

Conclusion? Autumn view beats winter view hands-down.

Winter

Winter

Autumn

Autumn

2. Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village

Along 1 alley

Along 1 alley

 

I heard about this place from a colleague and was awed by the scenery there. Unlike other Hanok village there where they are mainly display houses, this Hanok village is occupied by residents and we can’t actually go in the houses. But the exterior design of the traditional Hanok houses are already amazingly beautiful.

The residents here must have had a lot of disturbances here. :P

The residents here must have had a lot of disturbances here. 😛

Nice quiet village

Nice quiet village

In the mood to jump!

In the mood to jump!

 

3. DMZ and Provence Village

That's North Korea behind us

That’s North Korea behind us

We have been thinking of visiting this place for a long time. But reviews of it did not interest us that much. Seems like nothing much happening here. Plus our kids would be bored, bored bored. We finally decided to come here, just to satisfy our curiosity. Having been able to see part of North Korea from this point, really makes one wonder how people in there pass by the years being so closed to the world. And we really wonder whether there will be 1 day where you can really travel into North Korea from South Korea by the train that was built to get ready to transport people to and fro anytime.

That's North Korea behind us

That’s North Korea behind us

The train tracks that's supposed to go North Korea

The train tracks that’s supposed to go North Korea

We were here!

We were here!

 

The provence village was an unplanned destination. It was nearby the DMZ so we dropped by to take a look. It’s really a nice place to just walk around and popping in the shops there to get some really interesting stuff.

Cosy swing at our lunch place

Cosy swing at our lunch place

Very country style

Very country style

Very country style

Very country style

Posing against the nice blue sky

Posing against the nice blue sky

Shopping for accessories

Shopping for accessories

4.  Hello Kitty Cafe  and Hongdae street.

Hello Kitty Cafe

Hello Kitty Cafe

Cosy cafe

Cosy cafe

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I saw a lot of photos of people visiting the Hello Kitty Cafe and looked like a really cute place to be in. Turns out, it was a little overhyped. The food was not that good, and there was only mainly snacks for desserts. We stayed there for a short while before we drove off to look for dinner that can actually fill us up.

Latte

Latte

Cake

Cake

Cheesecake

Cheesecake

We passed by Hongdae street and man, my eyes couldn’t stop wandering around doing window shopping until I almost walk off from my family. My hubby was calling me when I realized I had started to drift off. Ok, Hongdae, next time ok? I will be back.

5. Insadong

Insadong

Insadong

Insadong

Insadong

My friends in Singapore told me this place is similar to Arab Street of Singapore. You will see many shops selling artsy stuff, cultural stuff here. We dropped by for a quick look. It’s really quite a nice place too. Interesting stuff to see, interesting food to try.

 

6. Garden of Morning Calm.

Garden of Morning Calm

Garden of Morning Calm

Every winter, there will be some lights display at this place. It doesnt look that great during the day, but come evening, this place becomes a romantic and beautiful place to hang out. It was really really cold that night and we were almost freezing. We had the kids strapped in the stroller, armed with heat pack and stroller cover to block out the wind and their little hands were still icy cold. My elder daughter fell asleep in the stroller and freaked out hubby, thinking she had passed out from the coldness.

Garden of Morning Calm

Garden of Morning Calm

Garden of Morning Calm

Garden of Morning Calm

Otherwise, it’s really nice and romantic. Good place for a Valentine’s Day date.

7. SNOW!

Heavy snowing

Heavy snowing

Heavy snowing

Heavy snowing

Heavy snowing

Heavy snowing

Finally, the highlight of what we came for. Snowfall! We were hooked on the weather forcast page everyday a week before we went to Seoul and were quite disappointed that we may not see snowfall for our entire trip. Suddenly, on the 2nd last day of the trip, the weather forcast a high percentage of snowfall just 1 day after we were supposed to leave. Major dilemma! We quickly made some enquires and assessment on extending our trip and lucky enough, we would not have to incur extra cost, other than lodging. No extra leaves to be taken as well. So we decided to extend our stay since this was what we came all the way for. Fortunately, the weather forcast was right. It did snow and it snowed heavily! Much to our delight.

Thick snow by night

Thick snow by night

The staff clearing the snow shoved the snow over for us

The staff clearing the snow shoved the snow over for us

We quickly got the kids and my mother-in-law out for some fun in the snow. Turns out everyone was feeling too cold to enjoy the snow fully. Duh.. But we did manage to get a snowman up and have some photos in the snow. We really felt mission accomplished after that.

 

Seoul, Korea for Young Kids

Ever since we had kids, all our holidays were with our kids, since they were infants. We know many parents find travelling with kids a hassle and activities were restricted so they would rather leave the kids at home and travel out by themselves. It’s a tempting idea. Imagine the cost will be lowered, you can go trekking in the mountains, skiing on the snow or rafting in the rapids, without a worry that it’s not suitable for the kid. Not to say, the travelling speed will be doubled and it’s really a holiday.

But the dilemma is, it won’t be long before the kids grow up and decide not to travel with the Mummy and Daddy, but with the friends, the boyfriend or the girlfriend. Plus, we thought about how the holiday can be enjoyable for the kids as well. Those activities that we think we couldn’t do it now because they are too young, can always be done later on when the kids grow up. We decided that we wanted the kids the enjoy the holidays as much as we do. So we planned the holidays really carefully, making sure everyone have some fun. For example, play time for the kids, shopping time for the Mummy, for Daddy… I think he’ll be happy enough just to see us being happy.. 😛 Ok maybe some good food for the the Daddy

Here’s what we planned for the kids for this trip. Some activities are fun for the grown ups as well. Killing 2 birds with 1 stone

1. Pororo Park (Lotte World and DCube)

Bouncing castle at pororo park

Bouncing castle at pororo park

Pororo show

Pororo show

Sand play at Pororo Park

Sand play at Pororo Park

Carousel at Pororo Park

Carousel at Pororo Park

You definitely cannot miss this when you are in Korea. Pororo is the President of kids here in Korea!

2. Strawberry Picking (Winter season)

Making strawberry jam

Making strawberry jam

They love to eat only because they picked them

They love to eat only because they picked them

Picking out big fat strawberries

Picking out big fat strawberries

Get the kids who maybe usually doesn’t eat strawberries, to eat strawberries after their hard work picking out the strawberries by themselves. If you haven’t already know, Korean strawberries are deliciously sweet and juicy and the fragrance of the sweetness can be smelt even before you see them.

3. Snow Play!

Improvised snow slide

Improvised snow slide

Usually for making sand castle

Usually for making sand castle

Making snow man

Making snow man

Playing in the snow

Playing in the snow

For our kids who live in a Tropical country, it’s really an eye opener!

4. Ice Fishing.

First time ice fishing

First time ice fishing

Ice is really slippery. Do be careful

Ice is really slippery. Do be careful

Ok this is hard. Kids don’t have the patience to wait out in the cold for a fish to get on the hook. But it’s really an experience for them

5. Cat Cafe

This cat bites

This cat bites

They even went inside the stroller! 3 of them!

They even went inside the stroller! 3 of them!

Feeding the cats

Feeding the cats

The cats prefer the sleeping baby

The cats prefer the sleeping baby

Petting the cat

Petting the cat

I’m a cat lover. This is definitely for me.. and the kids. The kids can get really close up with the friendly cats in the cafe. Just be careful of the Do’s and Don’ts set by the cafe. For example, cats with yellow scarves bite, so be careful not to pet them

6. Everland

Feeding and petting giraffe

Feeding and petting giraffe

Feeding hamsters

Feeding hamsters

Animal watching

Animal watching

Take photo with characters

Take photo with characters

Just like Duck tour

Just like Duck tour

If the kids are big enough to go for the rides, it’s definitely worth it. If they are not of age yet, there is always the Petting Zoo and the Safari where you can get upclose to the animals like the friendly giraffe.

7. The Food

Korean food are mostly spicy but they do have non spicy food on the menu. For example,

1. Toufu soup with rice

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2. International breakfast at the hotel (Disclaimer: Not just only bread. But the usual stuff like eggs, milk, cereals etc)

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3. Japanese udon

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4. Trusty Macdonalds nuggets or Lotteria’s no-bone chicken

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And other familiar food

Korea Ja Jung Mien

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5. Fruits and vegetables? They are kind of hard if your kid is picky on this. But there is always the supermarket to get the fruits like apples and bananas which most kids won’t reject?

8. Lastly, a nice hotel room

Playing dress up

Playing dress up

Playing dress up

Playing dress up

Playing dress up

Playing dress up

If you ever bring kids for holiday, did you ever notice that the kids are happiest in the hotel room? Or is it just my kids?

Self Driving in Seoul

My family and I have been to South Korea a few times and everytime we go, we would visit Jeju Island and do self driving there as hubby enjoys the scenic drive. Traffic was good and there were no parking problems over there. Land was in abundance.

This trip, we decided to skip Jeju and just stay in Seoul. Hubby misses the self driving experience so we decided to try self driving for 2 days of the trip just to experience it. We researched a lot and most people advised against self driving in Seoul as the traffic was bad and the parking was horrible. Only 1 or 2 we found, said they tried that in Seoul and it’s really ok if you are not driving around the city centre or the prime districts.

Our ride - Kia MPV 8-seater

Our ride – Kia MPV 8-seater

Our hotel was located at WalkerHill at Gwanjin area and we thought the area looked ‘safe’ enough to drive so we booked our car from Avis for 2 days and just drove.

For trying out, we just did short journeys and out of prime areas. The truth, it really was not as easy as driving in Jeju.

Route from Sheraton Grand Hotel to Lotte World

Route from Sheraton Grand Hotel to Lotte World

1. There were lots of traffic in Seoul.

On the first day, we drove to Lotte World, at Jamsil area, just across the river opposite our hotel location. It was a little confusing and we took a few wrong turns as the GPS system was not that responsive. We managed to reach early and got a good lot at the carpark. It was a different story by the time we tried to leave. The carpark was so overparked, that all the lots were double parked. We had a car right in front of ours and we had to push it away to get out. It must be a common sight as the car did not engage the handbrake/footbrake to allow us to push away to get out.

Back in Singapore, the control was much better. If the carpark is full, the cars simply wait outside the mall until there were empty lots. Suddenly we were grateful for this feature.

2. There were so many roads, highways, bridges, slip roads that they were complicated

I remember on 1 particular route, we were on the way to 1 of the many bridges across the Han River when the GPS instructed us to do a sharp right turn. At first we didnt understand. Then we did, after missing that turn. It was supposed to be like a u-turn so you can get to the road that will bring you to the bridge. We drove a long way before we found our way back to that bridge.

3. The drivers were impatient

We got horned a few times when we were trying to turn right but the traffic lights were red. We learned later on that for left hand drive, you can turn right even when the light is red.  Sorry, drivers behind us..

1 of the times we drove in Jeju, our car got hit by a local driver while we were waiting at the car park for a lot. We had a hard time negotiating with the car rental that it was not our fault due to language barrier. So this time we brought along our handy in-car camera in case of any dispute. Cool eh?

Our car camera that we brought along and the GPS from Avis

Our car camera that we brought along and the GPS from Avis

Luckily the car had 2 power points to plug in both the camera and the GPS.

The next day, we drove to the Children’s Grand Park to take a walk at the park and visit the children’s museum.

Route 2 - Sheraton Hotel to Children's Grand Park

Route 2 – Sheraton Hotel to Children’s Grand Park

We stayed there for some time and had dinner just opposite the park. Here’s the parking charges for nearly 6 hours. Not too expensive. Phew.

Parking charges Grand Children's Park

Parking charges Grand Children’s Park

Next time we might still consider driving in Seoul but have to do more planning.

 

The Barbie Doll Room at Sheraton Grande WalkerHill, Seoul

I had a hard time picking the photos of the room for this blog entry because the Barbie doll room at Sheraton Grande Walkerhill is simply stunning and the dream room of all girls.

Some space for the girls to dance around the room and play toys

Some space for the girls to dance around the room and play toys

I came across this room while researching for hotels in Seoul. My girl was into Barbie Doll these days and we knew she’ll go crazy if she sees this. Reservation online was not available so I had to call in to enquire. It happens that someone just cancelled their reservation and I manage to get this room for our entire stay! The hotel reservation staff was kind of surprised that I wanted to book it for 7 nights though. But we were lazy to move rooms with all that packing and unpacking.

There is only 1 barbie doll room in the hotel so you'll get your room number even before you check in.

There is only 1 barbie doll room in the hotel so you’ll get your room number even before you check in.

We taught the kids to find the room just by looking for this unique room number plate

The bedroom is separated from the living room by a sheer pink curtain

The bedroom is separated from the living room by a sheer pink curtain

The bedroom looks just like a room for a princess. We booked this package that came with breakfast for 2 adults and 1 child.

There was 1 main bathroom at the bedroom and a smaller toilet at the living room. How thoughtful for a family suite.

Even the bathroom is barbie doll themed

Even the bathroom is Barbie doll themed

All things pink

All things pink

Here’s some details of the bedroom

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Cosy bedroom with sweet decorations

Cosy bedroom with sweet decorations

Next, are the stuff that kept the kids really fall in love with the room that they were contented just staying in the room and not going anywhere.

Barbie dolls and toy kitchen

Barbie dolls and toy kitchen

Glamorous dresses and accessories to play dress up

Glamorous dresses and accessories to play dress up

There's even toy guitar and keyboard and kids sofa

There’s even toy guitar and keyboard and kids sofa

The wardrobe was equipped with toddler sized dresses and even shoes and bedroom slippers to play dress up

The wardrobe was equipped with toddler sized dresses and even shoes and bedroom slippers to play dress up

Brollies for kids

Brollies for kids

A drawer full of DVDs to entertain the princesses

A drawer full of DVDs to entertain the princesses

Room so sweet no girls can resist

Room so sweet no girls can resist

Lastly, the hotel is located at Walkerhill, Gwanjin area. It’s a little far from the city centre but is nearby to Lotte world. Walkerhill is also a famous location for watching cherry blossoms during spring.

Hope to be back again sometime!

p.s. more photos at my Twitter https://twitter.com/babyadventures

TaoBao Purchases – Hits and Misses 3 (snow shoes)

On our previous winter trip we bought some shoes from the Columbia brand and used it only for that trip. It’s still almost brand new but we decided to get new shoes as the shoes from Columbia were

1. Bulky
2. Shoe laced
3. Takes time to wear and take off

This trip, we bought some cheaper ones to try out. Here’s the review

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First pair was meant for the kids, recommended by a friend.

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The price is good and quality was ok too. It’s waterproof, as described in the site. Feet didn’t ache after a whole day of walking so it was comfortable and easy to wash and wipe clean after use. It’s also lightweight so it’s suitable for the kids.
The problems we had with this pair were
1. Wrong size bought
It didn’t really indicate whether it was kids size or adult size or both. So I assumed the size there was the size of the feet. I bought 2 pairs for my 2 and 4 years-old and it ended for me and my 4 year-old. Which was size 29 and 38. I’m usually a US size 7 or 41 for don’t know which chart of sizing. So I could actually fit in a size 38 which was puzzling.

2. It’s slippery on ice
You can attempt to do ice skating in it

3. You have to take them out at the customs during baggage check. That’s kind of tough especially when you are traveling with young children

Second pair was for the grandparents

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This pair have similar features as the above with added advantage that we did not have to remove for baggage check. Great for the old folks.

The last pair was the best buy.

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It was incredibly cheap and still as comfortable and durable. Best part, it had rubbery soles that you can walk on ice easily. Best for winter weather where you might step on some ice here and then and slip if not careful.

But you also had to remove them for baggage check though.