Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Winter Sonata's Nami Island and Myeongdong Shopping in Seoul

Welcome to Nami, a tiny half-moon shaped island located in Chuncheon famous for its tree lined paths and where the famous koreanovela Winter Sonata was filmed.

Situated 63 km from Seoul in the middle of Han River, Nami Island looks like a leaf floating gracefully on top of Cheongpyeong Lake. 

The Island has an area of 460,000 m2 and a circumference of 5km. Formed with pebbles and sand, there are no mountains in the island, but there are trees tall enough to touch the sky. It was named after General Nami, a notable figure in Korean history who courageously fought in battles but died at the age of 26.

Banish the thought that coming here would cost you an arm and a leg. It is incredibly affordable to go here and our do-it-yourself tour was 100% successful. We took the ITX Cheongchun Line from Yongsan station in Seoul to Gapyeong station. Fare is 4,800 won or $4.80 usd. The ITX Cheongchun is a highspeed train that travels upto 180 km/hr and is the country's 1st two-story train. 

Cheongchun has attendants on board from whom snacks and drinks may be purchased from and has several facilities and conveniences including nursing rooms, restrooms and power outlets. The ITX-Cheongchun is the fastest train in Korea after the KTX.

From Gapyeong Station, we hailed a cab towards Nami Ferry Terminal and fare was 3,000 won or $3 usd. 

Entrance to the Naminara Republic costs 10,000 won or $10 usd for adults. Foreigners ( like us! ) gets a 20% discount, so we only shelled out 8,000 won or $8 usd. A special rate of 4,000 won or $4 usd for kids aged 3-13 while those aged 36 months under gets in for FREE. The entrance fee covers the round-trip ferry fare and taxes as well.

A guide to all the themed gardens, stages, restaurants, exhibition halls and seminar/ banquet facilities inside the Island.

The backdrop of the Koreanovela Winter Sonata first kiss scene still exhibits two snowmen in the image of the two characters. 

It has wide grassy gardens where deer, ostriches, squirrels, ducks and countless types of birds flourish. A place where not only nature but also human beings can coexist.

Sometimes a beautiful view in the middle of nature is the best refresher from this fast-paced world

In 1965, thousands of trees were planted by Mr. Byeong-Do Minn. Enjoy a leisure stroll at Nami. With its laid-back vibe, get to enjoy such wonderful sights and commune with nature!

OOTD: Zara Trench Coat

The most wonderful momento you could take with you, is a souvenir photo amidst the two rows of Korean pine tree lanes with the gorgeous sunset beaming at the back. I would definitely love to be here come Autumn to see leaves turning bright yellow. That would be soo romantic!

And various souvenir shops abound!

These are the cutest Nami snowman souvenirs ever!

Pretty hanging wall decors

I wish Nehemiah and I had bought Monopods or selfie-sticks with us. Anyways, amidst the language barrier we finally found a good soul to take our pic together.

Seasonal rain used to transform this land into an island, and with the construction of Cheongpyeong dam, it is now an island all year long. 

Oh! and if you are a fan of The Little Prince, you might as well visit the nearby Petite France. A spectacular and charming little European Town. Bye for now Nami. 

With Nehemiah and Marian  at Doota ( Doosan Tower ) a popular shopping mall located in central south Seoul.

Seoul is amazingly bursting with vibrance at night!

Seoul's Cheonggyecheon stream has become one of the city's most popular icons since the 6 km waterway was restored and reintroduced to the public.

Eeek! I think I just died and went straight to korean dress heaven. Such dainty and trendy finds! These and more at the subway underground shops.

Myeongdong is Seoul's no.1 shopping district. Think luxury big brands in fashion, skincare and the works!

To a Korean woman, beauty starts with healthy skin. A good skin care regimen is far more important than cosmetics.

Korea's skincare boom goes back to its famous beauty regimens, which, for the average Korean woman, includes roughly 18 products per day. Bright skin meant that you came from a noble family. The concept carries on. 

Some of the well loved Korean Skincare brands includes The Face Shop, Etude House, Tony Moly, Lainege, Skinfood, Nature Republic, Too Cool for School, Missha, Innisfree and a lot more!

Items are usually on sale and free samples are automatically given after each purchase!

Seoul is one of the fashion capitals of the world and Myeongdong is it's shopping paradise!

Tornado Potato and Twist Dog anyone? Night shopping is twice the fun when you get to try Korean street foods!

Winter Sonata's Nami Island and Shopping at Myeongdong

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Real Coffee and Tea Cafe's Newest Location in Boracay Station 2

Each year, I look forward to visiting the best breakfast place in Boracay. It used to be "hit or miss" finding this hidden gem tucked in an unassuming place, in an alley somewhere along Station 1. I know I'm near Real Coffee and Tea Cafe when I start to smell the wonderful aroma of baked breads, muffins and freshly brewed coffee. 

Last February, to my delight I stumbled upon its newest location! The same humbly designed cafe in a nipa hut setting had finally gone beachfront! Cheers! It is now located at Boracay beach station 2 2/F Sea World. 

Each meal comes with a free cup of coffee

and my all-time favorite: Jack's Omelette, a whopping serving of three eggs, onions, tomatoes, tuna and cheese ( optional: pesto ) served with toast

Clara Ole's Mango jam never fails to adds an exciting burst of flavor on my toast.

Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air. Beach Love

OOTD: Bea Palm Tree Crop Top by: Apartment8 Clothing

We all dream of far away island! 

Nothing soothes the soul like a walk on the beach 

A glorious day for basking under the sun

OOTD by: Blue Bikini by: Naked Sun Swimwear

Summer came early!

Happiness is the sand between my toes and the sunburn on my nose!

See also my past-related post: 

  • Station 2 2/F Sea World
  • 5608 Boracay, Aklan, Philippines
036-2885340/ 0939-2034436

Real Coffee and Tea Cafe's Newest Location in Boracay Station 2

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wafi Mall, Khan Murjan Souq

Another Dubai adventure awaits. Only this time, no desert safaris nor camel rides involved.

So you wanna play with magic
Boy, you should know what you're falling for
Baby do you dare to do this?
Cause I'm coming at you like a dark horse

That's Katy Perry's song popping on my head as my eyes glistened in bewilderment upon seeing intricate Egyptian pharaohs, pyramids, ramses statue and columns carved with hieroglyphics.

From the brilliant minds of the people behind MKM Commercial Holdings comes Wafi City. A picturesque complex which features a mall, hotel, residences and a night club. Impressive!

The Hospitality branch includes Pyramids Restaurants, Wafi Gourmet, Cleopatra's Spa & wellness, Spa Resources Intl and is complemented by the Wafi Hotels: Arabian Park Hotel and Park Hotel Apartments.

Wafi Mall's splendour is conveyed through exquisite stained glass, intricate mosaics, carvings and sculptures. With over 350 shops, this is luxury shopping at its finest! Think Armani, Christian Audigier, Diesel, Just Cavalli, Chopard, Burberry, Chanel and more...

In between shopping and sight-seeing, something awesome just caught my attention. The idea was fresh and new.  I was seriously contemplating in trying this one out. Salt Cave Spa! The first in Dubai and Middle East. A 45 minute salt therapy session designed to cleanse and rejuvenate the body promote health and well-being. Salt therapy has many benefits for treating conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, cold and flu, allergies and eczema. To breathe the purest air on earth would costs 250 aed. Excited to try this sometime, soon.

Khan Murjan, Wafi complex's large Moroccan style restaurant serves delicacies from all corners of the Middle East and North Africa. Think Lebanese minced lamb meat, stewed veggies from Iran, Moroccan couscous and Turk, Syrian and Egyptian cuisines. As you feast, Arabic music is played.

CarmisCaprice loves all things beautiful, fancy, artsy, craftsy and pretty! And throughout the four quarters of Khan Murjan souk, you'll find 150 shops and vendors from across the Arab world. It literally took my breath away! Allowing myself to be enchanted by the magic of ancient times.

Oooh! Such lovely vases and carpets. If only I could squeeze you inside my trolley. I'd be delighted to bring you all back home. 

Such intricate plates, bowls and decors following the traditional styles of Egypt. The only downside is, prices are a tad bit higher, think Souk Madinat Jumeirah. 

This plethora of swoon worthy stained glass decor lamps still haunts me, even in my sleep. I seriously adore them! 

Gorgeous finds!

That's me and my batchies experiencing luxury living the middle eastern style. (L-R Me, Rizi and KC )

Wafi Mall, Khan Murjan Souq
Oud Metha, Dubai, United Arab Emirates