Sunday, August 28, 2016

Petite France: The Little Prince Village in Korea

Petite France, is a French cultural Village 25-minute ride from Nami Island. It is a unique theme park outside the city of Seoul where guests can enjoy being kids again and enjoy cultural experiences and performances from France...but in Korea ;) 

The Little Prince theme park has 16 French-style buildings where visitors can lodge (with window ceilings so you can literally see the stars at night!) and experience French food, and culture. The place is dedicated to Saint-Exupery, author of the French Novel, Le Petit Prince during 1943. Several K-Dramas were filmed in Petite France such as the "Secret Garden", "Beethoven Virus", "Personal Taste", and Running Man. 

My sister and my boyfriend have decided to visit 2 famous sites in Gapyeong--Nami Island and Petite France because of the picturesque sceneries and because we left the city a bit late already (oopssie!). 
How to get to Petite France from Nami Island?
1. Our starting point was in Nami Island. See my blog post on how to get to Nami here. From Nami, we rode the taxi going to Petit France because the line to the shuttle bus is quite long and it's already getting late (bus arrives once every hour)... Our taxi cost us KWN 11,600 which is about PHP 470 for 25-30 mins ride.

2. When we arrived Petite France, we immediately went to the entrance gate to pay the fee of KWN 8,000 or PHP 320 per person. 

Admission Fee:

Adult - KRW 8,000
Youth - KRW 6,000
Children - KRW 5,000

Opening Hours: 09:00 AM - 6:00 PM
There are daily shows or performances happening in the theme park. We unfortunately wasn't able to catch but the shows such as puppet show, street musician, and the Marionettes performances look interesting and fun!
This is the main facade. When you're standing in front of these magnificent architecture, you will feel as if you were transported to the Little Prince's world :)

Winter Wonderland in Nami Island

Nami Island (남이섬) is one of the most visited tourist spot in Korea because of the popular K-Drama, the Winter Sonata. Admittedly, I haven't watched the drama but I was curious and excited to visit Nami on my 4th visit in Korea because of the beautiful scenery and romantic vibe of the place :) 

A lot of people plans their trip to Nami based on the season because the place transforms into an entirely "different look"! During winter you'll have (snowy trees), spring (cherry blossoms), summer (green leaves), or fall (maple leaves). When we visited last December, it was already winter season but unfortunately we were not able to see snow! booo! but nonetheless it was still amazing :)

Going to Nami Island requires 1 full day because it's quite far from the city. It is located in Gapyeong County in Gyeonggi Province, 90 minutes away from central Seoul.

How to get to Nami Island?
1. There are several ways to reach Nami Island from Seoul. One is via bus and the other is train which is more economical and faster! 

If you plan to travel via bus, there's a bus station at Jamsil (in front of Lotte Mart near exit no. 4-Jamsil Station line 2) or in Insadong (near West Gate of Tagpol Park). The shuttle bus is about KWN 15,000 for round trip or KWN 7,500 one way. It departs in Jamsil/Insadong at around 9:30 am and goes back from Nami at around 4:00 pm daily.

We traveled to Nami via train because we're budget travelers and train is way faster than bus! The train will take a total of 60 minutes to get to the station where Nami is located at and you'll take a taxi or bus from there going to the island. Note though that you'll need to transfer multiple times riding the train but everything is close to each other and you can all pay by using T-Money card.

In order to go there by train, go to Wangsimi Station (Line 2) and transfer to a different line called Kyungchun Line going to Mangu Station.
After arriving at stations going to Kyungchun line (e.g. Wangsimi or Sambong) alight and follow the "Transfer" Sign going to Gapyeong Station.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Noryangjin Fish Market: A place to eat LIVE octopus and fresh seafood in Korea

Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul is a wholesale fish market which is open 24 hours every day. It was established in 1927 and it covers over 66,000 square meters in an open-air warehouse. Early in the morning around 2am, you can experience fish auctions and throughout the day, you can buy and eat your fresh seafood "Dampa style" just like how we Filipinos do it in Manila. Prices in Noryangjin are 30-40% cheaper versus supermarkets in Korea. 

I've visited Korea four times already but it was my first time to visit Noryangjin to eat LIVE OCTOPUS!!! Yep! you read that right! Eating live octopus has been in my bucket list for so long and that's why we really made sure to cross that item once and for all during our December 2015 trip!

How to get there?
Getting to Noryangjing Fish Market is easy! Ride the train and go to Line 1 where you will alight at Noryangjin Station. There is only one exit (Exit 1), so go to that direction and follow these easy steps:
 Go up the stairs and go straight to Exit 1. 
 In front of you, you will see this foot bridge. Go towards that direction and turn right. At the end of the foot bridge, there's a staircase. Turn left and go down. You know you're in the right direction because you will literally smell the fishy smell from afar!
 ....aaaand you're now in Noryangjing Fish Market!

At first, the stalls can be quite overwhelming because the place is really huge! We've decided to do a price survey first by stall to check the different offerings and their price range but later on we realized that the prices are basically the same so we just headed to the nearest stall near the restaurants.
The most common seafood sold in Noryangjin are clams, king crab, abalone, shrimp, sting ray, sea cucumber, octopus, halibut, giant lobsters, eel, sea bass, snappers, sea urchins, salmon, and tuna. Looking at these fresh and alive seafood which is already a feast for tourists like us!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Must See in Macau: The House of Dancing Water Show in City Of Dreams

There's nothing much to do in Macau than to gamble and go Casino hopping. I've visited this country twice and my itinerary has been the same both times! We went around the city via the casino buses which are all FREE and watched different hotel lobby lights and water shows for FREE again haha that's why I highly recommend this place for budget travelers visiting HK because you will only spend few dollars to visit Macau for a day-trip.

On my second trip though, we splurged a bit because we were intrigued by their famous The House of Dancing Water show in City of Dreams, Cotai Macau. One ticket costs about Php 3,500--quite pricey but it's super worth it!
The House of Dancing Water is the world's largest and most spectacular water-based show and it is exclusive to Macau. The theater is a 270-degree theater-in-the-round, with a central stage at about 65 feet. There are more than 239 fountains and 11 hydraulic ten-ton elevators that can hold water for approximately 3.7 million gallons of water which is equivalent to 5 Olympic-sized swimming pools!!! 

The production is really world class--from waterproof costumes with Swarovski, to waterproof cosmetics, renowned contortionist, world aquatics champions, motorcycle stuntmen and a lot more in one show :)
I am not really fond of arts and shows but this one really entertained me! :) I was in awe with almost everything!!! My photos does not do justice at all. You must see it for yourself when you visit Macau.
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