Extraordinary Jeju Island

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Jeju Island is arguably the most beautiful place in Korea. It’s not called the “island of the gods” for nothing. Jeju Island was created entirely from volcanic eruptions that happened some 2 million years ago and is considered as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. The island contains the natural World Heritage Site Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes.

It’s the largest island and is a preferred holiday destination in Korea. It has gorgeous beaches and lush countryside, the hiking routes are well-mapped and have clear signages, there is an efficient bus system that connects the whole island, food is great, hotels and resorts offer top-notch service for rest and relaxation, and because it is Korea after all, there is wifi everywhere. What is there not to love about Jeju Island?

In this post, allow me to make you fall in love with Jeju Island even more. Below are my suggested activities that you can do while in Jeju Island that will make your vacation not only memorable but truly extraordinary.

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Where to Stay in Seoul: SAMCHEONG-DONG / BUKCHON

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This is the second location for my Where to Stay in Seoul series. The first location I wrote about was Myeongdong and you can read it here. As most of you know, Myeongdong is the ideal place for tourists specially those who are into shopping and street food. And even if that’s not your thing, it is still a good location to be at because if you have nothing to do in the evening, you can just cross over to the shopping streets and find yourself entertained by how busy that area is.

Now moving on to this post, you may ask “Where is Samcheong-dong?” or “What’s there to see in Samcheong-dong?”  For those of you who don’t know, Samcheong-dong is one of my favorite places in Seoul. If only 126 Mansion is still there, I would not be recommending any other guesthouses in Seoul nor in this neighborhood.

So, why Samcheong-dong?

It’s a great place to stay in if you are into culture and history. That’s where you should stay if you want to see Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Insadong, Bukchon Hanok Village, Gwanghwamun Square, and even Seochon. That’s where you’ll find museums and art galleries. And that’s also where you’ll find an abundance of local cafes and shops. Imagine walking along the alleys of Samcheong-dong and smelling freshly roasted coffee beans from one of the cafes you pass by. The vibe there is hip and trendy.

I love Samcheong-dong because it has a unique charm that harmonizes tradition with the fresh youthful vibe of the present. I already said this before in my post about Samcheong-dong that the artistic appeal of the place comes from the fact that there is a beautiful integration of the serene and antique beauty of traditional houses and the hip vibe of chic galleries, resaturants, and cafes that have sprung up in the area.

I really encourage you to read up on my previous posts about Samcheong-dong and Bukchon so that you’ll have an idea of what to expect there. I have written about this place twice in 2012: you can read it here and here. And I also wrote about it twice in 2014: you can find it here and here.

Now for this post, I will only recommend guesthouses, mostly hanok guesthouses. It’s because I want you to experience something unique while in Seoul if ever you decide to stay in Samcheong-dong. Besides, staying in hanok guesthouses is only possible in this area so I am really recommending that you stay in a guesthouse rather in a another corporate chain hotel.

Here are my personal choices:

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Where to Stay in Seoul: MYEONGDONG

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I’ve been getting a lot of questions about where to stay in Seoul. The thing is, there are many districts and neighborhoods in Seoul and each has its own charm. There is no single best place to stay at because there are many good options out there and the answer to the question really depends upon where you will stay, what you will do in Seoul, and how much is your budget.

I am going to do a series on this topic but I will only cover, in the meantime, the areas of Myeongdong, Samcheongdong, Hongdae, and Gangnam in Seoul, and Nampo and Seomyeon in Busan. And my series will start with Myeongdong.

In making suggestions and recommendations, I am considering my experience, i.e., whether I stayed in, visited, or have seen the place personally. Whether it is a guesthouse, a low to mid-range hotel or a luxury one, my top criteria is location in relation to distance to the shopping streets of Myeongdong and more particularly, Myeongdong Station. I am not considering their proximity to other places of interest in Jung-gu or Central Seoul. The shopping streets and Myeongdong subway station are my points of reference because those who frequently ask me about where to stay in Seoul are first time visitors and I am suggesting these places for their convenience.

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Seoulful Encounters [Busan/Seoul 2017] – SIM CARD, POCKET WIFI, PREPAID WIFI, OR FREE WIFI IN SOUTH KOREA

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Nowadays, it has become almost an indispensable part of any travel to stay connected. This is not just to remain reachable by people back home but also to be able to be contacted by your tour-mates especially when traveling in a group. It appears that renting a pocket WiFi is the most economical and convenient option  when traveling in a group because it can be used by up to 5 people sometimes and then you get to share the cost. But what if your group splits up because you have different areas to visit? In my case, I will be going ahead and then my family will just follow. Then, is a pocket WiFi  still the best option? Should we get separate WiFi eggs or separate SIM cards instead?

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