Travel Diaries

Your Beautiful Adventure #MyMarianasPH #Blogapalooza

“Not all who wander are lost,” so goes the oft-quoted line from JRR Tolkien’s poem “All That is Gold does not Glitter.”

Marianas Islands, a lush Micronesian paradise made of tiny tropical islands in the Pacific sandwiched between the furthermost edges of Japan, Hawaii, New Guinea and the Philippines and currently classified as a US Territory, elicits a feeling of adventure for travelers lucky enough to discover and wander throughout the islands. Tolkien might have been referring to the many lucky travelers who managed to set foot on the Marianas — intrepid wanderers, discovering new sights and experiences: definitely not lost, but definitely Wonderfully Lost and definitely on an adventure.

300px-Map_Mariana_Islands_volcanoes

Credit to Wikipedia

This is the same premise behind “Your Beautiful Adventure” – a tagline that, for me, best describes setting foot on the many islands of The Marianas. I imagine that any traveler setting foot on the islands for the first time must have the same thought in mind: “Hello, My Beautiful Adventure…”

With its lush, unpoilt natural beaches, the mysteries of its many islands, the biggest and most notable are Saipan, Tinian and Rota which is often classified as the Northern Marianas Islands — the opportunity to see this beauty is a dream come true for a traveler like me.

Co1HgeRUkAARQi3

From the #MyMarianasPH Instagram Page 

CoGiEKXUkAAoYVu

A reminder of the intense fighting during World War II (Photo Credit MyMarianasPH Instagram Page)

Of course, there is so much more to Marianas Islands than beaches, beneath the many lush forests and dense woodlands lies ruins and archeological sites, rich flora and fauna that can excite my Indiana Jones-wannabe heart. There were dive sites, untold history behind its many beaches and woodlands and sumptous cuisine that is an experience in itself.

 

Your Beautiful Adventure in History 

I am a history buff and the biggest nerd ever. History excites me and my idea of a good time is discovering ruins while learning about the history (and the secrets) behind it. So, if I am chosen to go to the Marianas (of course, along with my sister, my hubby and another lucky friend) — they better be prepared to put their Indiana Jones khakis! One of the entries in my bucket list is to go diving and see interesting sights beyond what the land can offer. 

One of the best dive sites is the Maritime Heritage Trail in Tanapag Lagoon, Saipan. Within this trail are Japanese shipwrecks, aircrafts and landing craft, as well as two US aircrafts and a landing craft. These are a somber reminder of one of the most intense battles in the Pacific and also holds significance to other nationalities who took part during the war, including us Filipinos.

Japanese_Merchant_Vessel_-Chinsen-.jpg

A Japanese merchant vehicle off Tanapag Lagoon (credit to owner, from Wikipedia)

While my swimming skills (more so, my diving) leaves much to be desired, the many in-land wrecks like Sherman Tanks, discarded vehicles and many points of interest within the Heritage Trail are a must-see: not only as a tourist, but also as a history buff who would like to pay her respects to those who lost their lives during the deadly Battle of Saipan.

Your Beautiful Adventure to Wellness 

Another bucket list item I’d like to tick off is to have time to recharge and replenish my body, soul and mind. One of the places I’d like to see is the Taga Beach in Tinian Island and the Managaha Beach in Saipan.

Managaha Beach, with its crystal waters and endless stretch of sand is a paradise for those who love spending day at the beach (like me!) while Tinian offers a glimpse of both the languid, beautiful beach life and the rich culture and history behind the island.

For someone as overworked like I do, an opportunity to just lounge on the beach, with yummy tropical drinks in hand, the wind of my face and the smell of sea on my skin — that already is the very definition of heaven.

Who knows? I might be able to make this dream a reality — thanks to #MyMarianasPH and #Blogapalooza everything is possible.

 

 

This post is my entry to the “Get Wonderfully Lost in the Northern Marianas Islands” contest courtesy of #MyMarianasPH and #Blogapalooza.

Standard
Travel Diaries, Uncategorized

The best sneakers will take you places

I love shoes. No – the better term would be, “I am crazy for shoes.”

I am the type of girl who can go on without gems or precious stones but I can never survive without a good shoe on my feet. On my social media accounts, I am the girl who post photos like these:

As you can see, I have a type when it comes to the shoes I wear: I love brogues and oxfords; and would favor flat ones as opposed to heels (because I am a klutzo). I don’t own any corporate shoes (i.e. the type best worn in the office) and would instead insist on wearing what I want (regardless of the look – please note the gold beauties shown above from Zalora) when I want it.

I am also a bit OC where I shop when it comes to footwear: it’s usually at H&M, The Ramp or Forever 21; online — I am a disciple of Zalora and Lazada — but more of Zalora because they have really cool brogues in stock. I seldom buy shoes in any specialty shop or boutique unless I really have to.

My relationship with my shoes is best defined by one of my favorite sayings: “The best shoes will take you to the best places” (This is a line which I first heard while watching “Meteor Garden” — yes, the one with Dao Ming Zi and  Shan Cai — and it stuck ever since) and I would like to believe it’s true.

Some of my best projects at work was effortlessly achieved while wearing some of my most wicked footwear. Somehow, knowing that I am wearing any of my so-called “f*ck ’em” shoes gave me the needed boost of confidence. Unsurprisingly, the best footwear was also with me whenever I travel to new places and discover new sights:

 

Unfortunately, the one time I tried to bring one of my prized Oxfords while on travel – it ended in disaster.

waiting for the plane

My silver Oxfords promptly disintegrated after I have used it going around Taipei last November, shredding also my feet to pieces in the process. What I need actually, more than boots because it won’t be raining or snowing every time I travel, are good sneakers that can take me places without compromising on style.

While visiting Seoul two years ago, I became fixated on getting New Balance shoes – preferably one that is color Pink with a lime green “N” emblazoned on it. Blame it on seeing South Korean millennials–particularly couples–wearing it just about any where. I see it in the train, at temples, while at castles and most especially in the airport. The men usually pair theirs with ankle-length pants, cardigan over button-down polos with a soft blazer completing the look  while girls looked so cute wearing the adorable trainers with their dresses, coat and black leggings or stockings.

A quick trip to ZALORA confirmed my suspicion that they have the best sneakers brands like New Balance available online. I immediately zeroed in on this pair:

new-balance-7598-343854-1(1)

It’s so pretty and stylish while looking undoubtedly comfortable enough for long trips and just walking around the city. I am actually considering getting one in time for my planned birthday sojourn to Lego Land.

What drew my attention to New Balance is the ability to mix form and function, producing comfortable pairs without sacrificing the pair. The price points are not prohibitive too — like the pair above which retails for PHP2,995 only. It’s a great buy and a good investment — especially if you are a traveler that loves to roam around. Believe me, your feet will thank you.

 

 

 

Standard
Taiwan, Travel Diaries

Eating my way through Taipei 

 Taiwan is one of the places that I have come to love  – there’s something about the country and its people that I have come to love. 

I’ve been to this beautiful island nation twice, but I have yet to see a lot especially in the provinces. In a way, it’s a blessing because it’s a sign that I should keep going back. 

One of the things I love about Taiwan is the food. They have the abundance of crisp vegetables, the sweetest fruits and the best grilled meats. Obviously, bubble tea and milk teas are everywhere as well as huge chicken fillets that are bigger than my face. 

We stayed in Ximending where it doesn’t matter if it’s 10PM or 2AM, you’ll be sure to find something to eat according to your liking: matcha Japanese cake, soft tofu, hot noodles, flavor shaved ice, little strawberries encased in syrup – there’s something for everyone

Japanese cake with matcha and red bean

 

shaved ice, condensed milk and tapioca

  
  

 

Combini shopping is one of the first things I do when I travel to check the merchandise – the 711 in my neighborhood in Ximending has tea eggs, fresh salads, sushi and milk. Nothing  beats the Life Supermarket in Tokyo where there is an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, salads and fresh produce. 
 

Like before, we found the time to go to one of Taipei’s neighboring counties. This time, I went to Jiufen, home of the famed neighborhood which was one of Hayao Miyazaki’s inspiration for “Spirited Away.”

   
 With its steep stairs and winding alleyways, looking for the famous “tea house” was an adventure in itself. This was also the surest way to get famished – perfect for the many treats I found along the alley ways of Jiufen

   
    
    
 
There were mochi, grilled mushrooms, ice cream wrapped in rice paper sprinkled with ground peanuts, hot red bean soup and many others. The problem was which one to eat first. 

   
    

steaming hot rice topped with stewed ground pork and paired with chinese sausage

 
There are a lot of themed restaurants in Taipei like the Modern Toilet (which I visited once and vowed never to return again unless for am eating for free), Jay Chou’s series of restos, the famed PS Bubu for Meteor Garden fans (two thumbs up), among others but for this stay, we decided to eat more of the street foods being offered. If you want to try fast foods, I recommend you go to MOS Burger: 

   
 
On our last night in Taipei, we splurged a little and had a quiet dinner in this nice hotel bar inside Ximending’s many alley ways. 

   
 
With its hipster vibe and laid back atmosphere – it was the perfect way to end a fun visit in Taipei. 

Standard
Taiwan, Travel Diaries

Review: Diary of Ximen Hotel – Ximending

I will be very honest. Diary of Ximen is not our first choice after it has been confirmed that we are going back to Taipei. 

Our heart belongs to City Inn Plus Hotel Ximending, a boutique hotel who captured our loyalty with first class, five star service and personalized approach to guests. However, City Inn Plus was fully booked on the week we were supposed to visit. With our heart set on staying in Ximending district, we had to look for alternatives. 

Diary of Ximen, located on the 11th floor of an aging building a block away from the exit 6 of the Ximen MRT station, served as a good alternative.   



  • Location 

To get to the hotel from the Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, you have two options: 

A. Convenient transfer: If you are arriving on a late flight (or God-forsaken early morning) courtesy  of Cebu Pacific, you have to arrange for transfers from the hotel. Their transfers rate is 1,500NTD for two persons with two luggages (roughly 2,100 Philippine pesos). A bit expensive but worry free especially since the airport Terminal 2 where Cebu Pacific is assigned is unusually quiet and abandoned by midnight. 

B. Cheap transfer: take the KuoKong bus from the airport to the Taipei West Bus Terminal. From the bus terminal, take the MRT ride to the Ximen station. Take exit 6, make a small u-turn to your right, and walk straight heading to the direction of the high way. You will go past 2 Ximending side streets, a Converse and Doc Martens branches. The 12 story building beside the department store is where Diary of Ximen is located. Take elevator to the 12th floor where reception and check in is located. 
Diary of Ximen  shares the building with two other hotels: Muzik Hotel and Diary of Taipei(which occupies many floors), while Ximen has 10th,11th and 12th floor. 
Beyond the reception is an extensive dining floor where the daily breakfast buffet is served: 



  • Food 

The meals can be repetitive sometimes (in a course of 4 days) but the selection is strong and varied – there is bread, choice of spreads, various Taiwanese dishes with heavy emphasis on use of fresh veggies, a salad station, wanton noodle station, congee and fruits. There’s also choice of coffee, juices, tea and water at the many vendo dispensers on the beverage section. You get your money’s worth and you will have a full stomach when you go or to sight-see. The hotel will issue you food stamps which you have to present per day during check-in.

 

   

  • Hotel premises: 

Hotel is situated in the fringes of Ximending – exit 6 where most of the crowd are is just a 5 to 10 minute walk away. It’s along the highway so it’s safe – we usually go out even at 2AM for a 711 or a FamilyMart run and it’s safe and quiet. 

  • Security 

You have to tap your room access card in the elevator in order to get to your floor. So it’s safe and you still get a certain level of exclusivity even if the hotel shares the building with other establishments. 

  • Room Specs 

   
    

  

The room is big enough for two, with enough space to move around and even for me to lie on the floor to rest my very tired feet after a day of roaming around Taipei and the countryside. 

The bed is big and comfy, with enough space for two; pillows are soft and comfy as well as the sheet. Aircon is cold and can be adjusted based on preference. 

Bathroom is situated in an elevated area near the bed; encased in frosted glass. The hotel provides free shampoo/conditioner and body wash plus the usual hotel amenities of comb, toothpaste and toothbrush, shower cap, soap, cotton buds and free bottles of water and tea which came in satchet. 

  • Sound quality 

Our room had no windows so we are pretty much isolated from the craziness of Ximending. There are instances when we can hear people talking outside our door but maybe it’s because our room is so near the elevator. 

  • Transfers 

We arranged our hotel transfers through the hotel and found that we were quoted NTD1500 when it was promoted as NTD1000 on the dining floor. Maybe because we arrived very late  at night? 

  • Cost of stay 

We paid PHP13,000 for four nights stay – roughly PHP3,200 for two people. This already includes buffet breakfast for four days. Considering we were in Taipei right smack in the midst of the Holiday season, this is already a steal. 


My verdict 

Diary of Ximen is a good alternative and good option if you want to stay in the Ximending District. Sure, it sharing a building with other businesses (including an office!), but the safety measures the business has put in place makes up for it. 

We were initially taken aback by ads offering three hour stays for a different hotel in the lobby (its proximity to Ximending where people meet must be a factor) but considered it irrelevant to our stay. 

Honestly, we had the foremost pleasure of staying in Diary of Ximen and will not hesitate to recommend it to friends. 
Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. My stay in Taipei is a personal expense. 

Standard
Taiwan, Travel Diaries

Spirited Away in Jiufen: An adventure in Yubaba’s Land 

The first thing you will notice upon reaching is the cats. There’s a number of them: lazing away on the village generator while giddy tourists take tons of pictures of them; there are cat posters and cat painting and little ceramic figures made up of cats. 

In a tourist town made famous by a drama (City of Sadness starring Tony Leung) and a legendary animated film Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away – the cats, without a doubt, are the resident queens of Jiufen. No offense to Yubaba. 

    

When I finally had the chance to return to Taiwan, on top of my list was to see Jiufen, a small town on top of the mountains of the Ruifang District of New Taipei City near Keelung, Taiwan. 

Jiufen (or “nine portions” from the nine families who first settled in the area) used to be an old mining town from the late 1800s to the decline of the gold rush by the 1970s. When the mines was shut down, Jiufen faced decline, with the town possibly going the way of forgotten settlements. That is until it was featured as location of the seminal movie “City of Sadness.” The interest came after the release of the movie saved Jiufen from being a forgotten town. The interest only further intensified after the release of “Spirited Away” by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki. Jiufen was credited as the inspiration for the winding steep roads, the lantern laced alleyways and the magnificent bath house owned by Yubaba as seen in the animated film. 

 

Chihiro looks for hef parents in Spirited Away


 

Trying to find my way in the many alleys of Jiufen

  

How to get there 

There are two ways to get to Jiufen. First is you take the High Speed Railway going to Riufang county. From there, you can either take the cab to Jiufen or contract a fan who will serve as your tour guide to the many sights of the province, Jiufen included. Prepare to shell out at least NTD3,500 to rent the whole cab. 

Or you can do it my way, courtesy of mad research skills: 

Here’s a cheaper and more painless alternative to the option above. From where you are staying, take the MRT to Zhongxiao Fuxing Station under line 1. Take MRT exit 1, as you come out of the stairs, make a U-turn heading to the direction of the elevated walkway. The large SOGO Department store should be on your right hand side, with you facing the elevated MRT. 

Take the first left to the immediate intersection which you will reach in less than 60 seconds. Walk a few steps and you should see the pick up point for the 1062 Keelung bus headed for Ruifang and Jiufen. 

  
During weekends, expect a long line of local and foreign visitors waiting for the bus as Jiufen is a popular weekend destination. Ignore the touts offering their contracted service by saying there’s no bus going to Jiufen. Have your EasyPay tap card ready or NTS90 to cover the fare.

Eventually, the highway will melt away to reveal a rustic and peaceful rural scenery. 

   
    
 
The mural above celebrates the heritage of Jiufen as an old mining town. When you passed this, you are less than five minutes away from reaching Jiufen Old Street where you should alight. 

  
 As soon as you see 711 and the marker – this means you’ve reached Jiufen. It’s now time to explore the inner bowels of this town. 

The best way to enjoy Jiufen is to get lost and just enjoy the little nooks and crannies of the town, then marvel at the little discoveries you have along the way: 

Note: photo heavy post

   
    
    
    
     

And then you start seeing placed which remind you of  of Spirited Away:

   
   an old tunnel used by miners before   

   

    
    
    
   

Of course, the piece du resistance was the Ahmei Tea House, which bear a striking resemblance to the Spirit Bathhouse being ran by Yubaba. 

  

Here is the Ahmei Tea House in Jiufen: 

  
   
    
   

To say that I squealed when I found it was a gross understatement. I was so happy to find it (thanks to the hubby) after walking to the many windjng streets of Jiufen. The only let down is that dining inside the Ahmei Tea House is quite expensive: they expect diners to order a tea set for NTS300 or if it’s lunch, have the lunch set at NTS400. There are no Ala Carte order or an English menu. We chose to take our lunch elsewhere. 

When in Jiufen, you will be assailed by the delicious smell of cooking meat or the sweet aromatic smell of herbs anywhere you turn. It is a foodie’s haven and there is something for everyone, regardless of their meal preference:   

   
    
   
Our sumptuous lunch: rice with meat topping (NTS30) and a stick of sausage (NTS35)   

   
   

Jiufen is a good place for a day trip. However, there are also those who choose to spend the night here. There are many guest houses or home stays in Jiufen. All one needs to do is ask. Like the rest of Taiwan, the people of Jiufen are unbelievably nice. 

I can’t wait to go back to Jiufen someday. Maybe stay a bit longer? I hope it retains that authentic and quaint little town vibe that-in spite the hoard of tourists – makes the town a sweet place to live in.
  
 
 

 

Standard
Travel Diaries

How do you know when it’s time for you to travel?

How do you know when it’s time for you to start booking flights and finding new destinations? Do you feel a particular itch, a particular sense of longing — of wanderlust, and that sense of getting lost?

the de facto battle cry for all wanderers (image credit to owner)

the de facto battle cry for all wanderers
(image credit to owner)

Does the time come when you see a seat sale and you start having panic attacks, uncertain if the credit card has been paid and thus, eligible for online purchase. Do you save all year, bits and pieces…bits and pieces…until you go away and spend everything in one glorious blaze of travel lust?

I wonder what makes people like us itch for the next adventure. New places yet unseen? Longing for a place you once been?

In my case, it’s the familiar strain of feeling like I was stranded on dry land. Nothing seemed to catch my fancy and I’d rather keep my money in a travel fund jar than spend on much-needed new shoes for the office. It’s when Sky Scanner is front and center on my iPhone app — as I furtively take a peek if there’s something worth going crazy for via Manila to Osaka.

And because we are on the subject: Return plane fares from Osaka to Manila is currently at PHP11,617 per person via JetStar (Direct flights); it’s PHP19K via Cathay Pacific (with a quick stop via HK) and PHP20K via ANA with a quick stop at Haneda. Just saying.

It’s when I started staying away from Facebook because all my friends are going somewhere and I am stuck on my desk; furtively playing for a lotto windfall so that I can travel everyday of my life and not regret anything. It’s when I start driving myself mad from working long hours just to save enough to fund another travel. It’s when I start visiting travel sites and threads repeatedly–reading tips, taking notes and being mad envious at the same time.

Someone once told me how I manage to always go somewhere — when traveling can be so expensive. I tell them that the secret really for my budget travels is research. Tons and tons of research — the kind of thing that rivals thesis dissertations due to the amount of time I spend online. It’s time to travel when you feel the need to refresh, to pause — to momentarily get off life’s mad roller coaster.

Matador Network has a more fun list to know just when it’s time for you to travel:

19 Signs it’s been WAY too long since your Last Vacation
By HAL AMEN

1. You view it as a badge of honor.
“I haven’t taken a day off from work in five years.” There are correct and incorrect inflections for this sentence. If you’re using the same tone of voice you would bragging to your friends about how much you lifted at the gym yesterday, your priorities may need readjusting.

2. Your sunscreen has actually expired.
Does sunscreen even go bad? You aren’t sure, but you’re definitely not going to trust whatever squeezes out of those gnarly-looking bottles at the back of your medicine cabinet. Thanks to a series of bitter-cold winters, paired with summers when you were “just too busy” to emerge from the cocoons of home and office, your skin these days is several shades lighter than it was when you were a kid.

3. You’ve come to think of squirrels, raccoons, and pigeons as “wildlife.”
There’s more to fauna than trash scavengers and mangy birds. You can interact with Earth’s creatures in ways other than desperately trying to trap that squirrel in your attic. Think swinging through the rainforest canopy with howler monkeys, diving with dolphins…

Read more at the Matador Network. Click here.

Standard
South Korea, Travel Diaries

Seoul on a Budget Day 03: Palaces, Secret Gardens and Shopping

On our third day in Seoul, we decided to travel back in time and learn more about South Korea’s rich history. We woke up on the third day to a rainy, cold weather — the kind of cold that creeps up to your bones, forcing you to consider hibernating on the warm room (courtesy of the ondol heating). But we were in Seoul and just outside the door, if we attempt to go beyond the bone-chilling rain, awaited another day of adventure.

So, after layering and procrastinating — we were finally out the door and into the ticket booth of Changdeokggung Palace. If you plan on spending a day palace-hopping in Seoul, I would suggest that you get the Integrated Admission ticket (4 palaces: Changdeokgung with entrance to Huwon (or the Secret Garden), Changgyeonggung Palace, Deoksugung Palace and Gyeongbokgung Palace) only for KRW10,000. This is a steal already, considering entrance to Palaces is usually pegged as KRW3,000 each plus a separate entrance fee for the Secret Garden at KRW5,000.  Since, we’re really not sure if we can visit all palaces during our stay due to the maddening rain and I really don’t want to commit myself, we ended buying the separate entrance rates (KRW3,000 + 5,000). We also availed of the English tour, which was offered at no extra cost.

I know I mentioned in one of my post that I am the type who shun away tours but I think for historical places like the palaces, it’s important to see the place through the eyes of someone who knew its history. If I were to go around the palace on my own, a bed room is just a bedroom, but joining the tour gave me perspective of how, one bedroom was used by the Widow Queen when her husband the King died. When he died, she moved out of her shared bedroom and went to another house nearest the Secret Garden because she can no longer stay in the room she once shared with her husband. Our tour guide was also kind and interacted well with her group so the tour was never boring.

??????????

??????????

??????????

??????????

At the end of the tour, we were asked if we have separate tickets to the Huwon (Secret Garden) tour. We were then ushered to another part of the palace where another tour guide was waiting for us. Note — you can’t go on a tour of Huwon on your own. You have to be in a group in order to navigate the winding areas of the garden.

??????????

A visit to the Secret Garden is a must-do for me. If you are in the Garden at the height of Autumn and Spring, expect a riot of colors out of the many flowers and trees inside the 78-hectare property. Originally conceived and developed for the pleasures of the Royal Family and the Palace courtiers, the Garden was originally off-limits to the public.

“The garden incorporates a lotus pond, pavilions, and landscaped lawns, trees, and flowers. There are over 26,000 specimens of a hundred different species of trees in the garden and some of the trees behind the palace are over 300 years old. The garden for the private use of the king had been called ‘Geumwon’ (금원, 禁苑, Forbidden garden) because even high officials were not allowed to enter without the king’s permission. It had also been called ‘Naewon’ (내원, 內苑, ‘Inner garden’). Today Koreans often call it ‘Biwon’ (비원, 秘院, Secret garden) which derived from the office of same name in the late 19th century. Though the garden had many other names, the one most frequently used through Joseon dynasty period was ‘Huwon’.” (WIKIPEDIA)

??????????

DSCN6271

The tour throughout selected areas of the garden can be a bit punishing, especially if you are like me who had bad knees and is an incurable klutz. Didn’t help that it was raining and some areas of the trail was slippery, but it was worth hiking through the forest.

DSCN6279

Because we were soaking wet by the end of the tour, we went back to Stay-in-GAM to change clothes and have a quick cup of coffee. The fact that their waffle, coupled with Matcha ice cream was delicious also helped replenish our energy.

DSCN6305

Re-energized and refreshed, we walked to Gyeongbukgung Palace where we decided to explore the palace grounds on our own. We were momentarily distracted by a cute guard who was dressed up in ancient warrior garb.

DSCN6315

DSCN6337

We then went on a tour of Gwangwahmun Square and the King Sejong statue then raced to Myeongdong where we had hoped to have our pictures taken wearing Hanbok at the Seoul Culture and Tourism Office. Unfortunately, unlike my 2012 visit where I just dropped by and immediately accommodated, we were told that we had to set an appointment before we can have our pictures taken. We ended up hearing the 6PM Korean mass at the Myeongdong Cathedral and having early dinner at one of the chicken places in Myeongdong.

And then, we went shopping:

1422641_982359101779627_4986157311619280083_n

I ended spending around KRW40,000 (about PHP1,600), including tons of beauty products, candies, socks and even a really cool bag which was on sale for just KRW10,000. If you plan on shopping in Myeongdong, it can be a bit of a stretch for your wallet, but again the trick is to know what you want and stick to a budget (if you have any). The numerous beauty shops lining the streets were offering a lot of good deals (70% from Nature Republic and about 50% off on selected Innisfree products).

Expenses: Palace Tours:
Tickets to Changdeokgung Palace + Hawon = KRW3,000 + KRW 5,000 = KRW8,000 (PHP322.00)
Ticket to Gyeongbukgung Palace = KRW3,000 (PHP120.00)
Waffle + Coffee = KRW8,000 (PHP322.00)
Dinner – KRW10,000 each (PHP403.00)
Pasalubong shopping = KRW40,000 (PHP1,600)

Day 3 total = KRW69,000 (PHP2,781.00)

Get more information about Changdeokgung Palace here

Standard