Korea 2019!

Last April 17-21, I went to South Korea with family. It was my first time in Korea, and I was excited to explore a new country—at least, a small part of it anyways, haha! Going into this trip was refreshing as I didn’t really know what to expect from the trip. I did the research and planned the itinerary alongside my aunt and this is what we did during the five days we had in Seoul. (Brace yourselves for a picture-heavy post!)

Day 1

We made our way to the airport in the morning and flew using Asian Airlines (another first for me!) and it was a pleasant experience over-all. The in-flight Bibimbap meal they served was fun to “make” and delicious—a great meal to welcome us to Korea.

The in-flight bibimbap came with sides + instructions on the side.

Fast forward to a few hours and we finally landed. We claimed our luggage and our rental wifi device and hopped into the express bus to Myeongdong. The views during the ride there was beautiful and the lengthy bus ride allowed me to catch some Zs.

We stayed at the Ibis Ambassador Myeongdong Hotel, which was located right beside the famous Myeongdong shopping + street food area.

View from the lobby.

After we checked in and dropped our things off in our rooms, we went down to the streets and had a variety of street food for dinner. I tried to take as many photos as I could during this portion, but it’s hard to simultaneously stuff your face with food and take good photos, hee hee.

Some mini gimbap—selling at a set of 6 per order. Yum.

A variety of sausages on a stick—also yum.

Large dumplings? Yes, please.

Finally got to try Korean banana milk—it’s so good! One sip and I’m hooked.

As expected, the entire area was flooded with stalls and people. It was overwhelming, but not in a bad way.

So many people!

Out of all the things I’ve eaten during the first night, the most memorable bite was the Korean Egg Bread (which I now learn is called gyeran-ppang)—my goodness, it’s sooo good. I wanted to hoard several pieces and bring them home.

Don’t mind me; I’m just here drooling just looking at this picture.

With stomachs full, we walked back to our hotel and called it a day.

Continue reading “Korea 2019!”

Japan 2019 (Part 4: Hiroshima + Osaka)

We’re finally at the last part of my Japan 2019 adventure! (Click here to read part 1, part 2, and part 3.) It was so much fun writing and editing all the photos (all 140+ photos)—it’s as if I’m traveling back there again through my writing. I hope you guys enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it!

Day 9: Hiroshima + Miyajima Island

Out of all the places we’ve visited so far, I admit that I was most excited about Hiroshima. It was an entirely new place for me, and I’ve been wanting to visit the area for a long time. So after nine hours on the night bus, we finally arrived at Hiroshima Station:

The bus conveniently announcing our arrival.

It was another cold morning when we got down the bus; it was like an instant wake-up call for us! We walked to Hiroshima Station’s streetcar platform and headed for our hostel, J-Hoppers Hiroshima. We freshened up quickly and had a light kombini breakfast before heading for the Motoyasu Pier to board the ferry going to Miyajima Island. (While it wasn’t the cheapest way to get there, it was the most convenient way for us as our hostel was within walking distance to the Hiroshima Peace Park.)

We got seats on the ferry that face the windows!

What a peaceful sight.

What’s cool about this ferry is that it cruises slowly on the river, letting us enjoy the calm views, before speeding into the sea!

The Atomic Bomb Dome.

Forty-five minutes later, we reached the gorgeous Miyajima Island. We didn’t have any specific plans except to eat, take lots of nice photos, and walk around enjoying the sights. We were welcomed by a few deer friends:

Oh, deer!

Trying hard to blend in?

After saying hello to the deer, we spotted our first eat of the afternoon: curry oyster buns! Man, I love oysters and curry, and to see the two of them combined into one heavenly pouch made me really excited. I immediately bought one with no hesitation.

The verdict? I would gladly go all the way back to Miyajima just to eat another one of these. Delicious!

Continue reading “Japan 2019 (Part 4: Hiroshima + Osaka)”

Japan 2019 (Part 3: Kyoto)

Part three of my Japan exploration trip is here! (Click here to read part 1 and part 2!)

Last I left from the previous blog post, my friends and I were in Osaka getting ready to go to Kyoto.

Day 6: Kyoto Exploration + Kichi Kichi

We woke up to a slow morning and eventually made our way to Kyoto from Osaka via the express train. Luckily, our hostel, Kyoto Hana Hostel, was within walking distance from Kyoto Station, so (after a quick stop at the Kyoto main post office) we dropped off our luggage right away and headed to Nishiki Market for a late lunch/street-food-food-trip.

Immediately, as soon as we arrived at Nishiki Market, I found my first bite:

I got this large unagi sushi for ¥300! Yum.

After practically inhaling the unagi, we walked for about twenty steps when I found the next thing to eat: tofu doughnuts!

Six tofu doughnuts for ¥300!

After barely even entering the market and eating unagi sushi AND mini tofu doughnuts, I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t last until we reach the end of the market, haha! Also, we had dinner reservations around 5PM and I didn’t want to feel too full for that later, so I exercised a little bit of self-control after the doughnuts. My friends and I decided to split the next thing we all wanted to try:

I can’t recall what this is exactly, but it’s like a pork pancake?

Moving on in the market, we unexpectedly found a Snoopy Chaya branch! I’m not a big fan of matcha (oops) but I AM a big Peanuts/Snoopy fan, so I went in and looked around.

Happy kid! I also bought a few souvenirs here, hehe.

Look at that Snoopy mochi! So cute!

We went on shopping and eating once every so often (at this point, I forgot to take photos of the fresh sashimi I’ve eaten and others–oops) before heading for Kichi Kichi for our reservations! A little backstory—I literally checked the website every Sunday at 3PM (that was the date and time when the restaurant will open reservations for a specific time when I was reserving) until reservations opened; so I’ve been waiting for this for quite some time, you could say! (I actually got the reservations for this on my birthday, Feb. 10! It was a nice birthday gift hehe.)

Anyways, back to Kyoto! We waited outside the restaurant early and was able to get the counter seats (we were the second group to be seated), which is a big deal for me as the restaurant alone could only seat eight people at a time.

So honored and happy to sit right across from Chef Motokichi Yukimura!

Continue reading “Japan 2019 (Part 3: Kyoto)”

Japan 2019 (Part 2: Osaka)

Part two of my Japan trip is here! (Click here to read part one!)

One night bus later, we arrived at Osaka! This marked my third time to visit Osaka, and every time I go back, it brings me warm memories. It’s the place where I visited Japan for the first time, after all! Every time I go back, I feel bubbly and excited—there’s just so much to do and see!

Day 4: Osaka Exploration

After a comfortable and smooth 7-hour ride on the night bus, we were welcomed by the cool Osaka morning as we got down the bus. We made our way to our hostel, Osaka Hana Hostel, where we dropped off our luggage and went to a nearby Mo’s Burgers for some breakfast:

The hot milk tea and warm cheeseburger definitely hit the spot!

After breakfast, we walked back to the hostel and freshened up for the day. This day was a free day dedicated to shopping and exploring; we didn’t have a fixed schedule, so it was nice to just take the city in. We walked to Dotonburi and enjoyed exploring the shops in the area. Eventually, with all the walking we did, our stomachs went empty once more and we decided that lunch would be a little “treat yo’ self” meal and headed to Daimaru.

So. Good. Everything was cooked to perfection—almost like a melt-in-your-mouth experience!

After lunch, we went to Tokyu Hands and Kawachi for some shopping (yes, my wallet felt particularly light after visiting these two places—HAHA!) Just outside the building, we were lucky to find such delicious ichigo daifuku for sale. Naturally, we bought one each:

Armed with bags of Tokyu Hands goods, Kawachi goods, and strawberry daifuku, we headed back to the hostel and checked in our room:

Futon beds are the best! Continue reading “Japan 2019 (Part 2: Osaka)”