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My January 2018

It’s almost the end of February and here I am, going to talk about how my January went and flew by. Another late post, yikes!

To kick off the year, I unearthed my still usable but old undated planners. My relationship with planners is that I always update them at the start of the year but then I would lose the momentum and stop planning around April or May. I have collected Starbucks planners since they started issuing that around Christmas time but stopped in 2015 because it’s just a waste of money since I don’t get to fully utilize them. I spent thousands to get a Hobonichi planner for 2016 and a Passion Planner for 2017, but my story didn’t change.

Now for 2018, I just got a cheap journal from Miniso so that I won’t feel guilty about splurging on a planner when I have this tendency of not fully using it. Then I started using my old undated planners as notebook/organizers for my businesses.

Read more about how my January went by below.

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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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Korean Winter Specials

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In cooperation with Trazy, Korea’s #1 online travel resource, I’m sharing with you their top Korean Winter Specials! The list is a combination of their best-sellers and newly launched packages that you are sure to enjoy. I have compiled their best of the best for your easy reference and the best part of it all: DISCOUNTS! Think of the best discounted travel activities in Korea, curated by real Koreans, based in Korea. Can’t get any better than that!

Ski Resort Only

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Here’s the list of the popular ski tours that cater to various needs of ski tourists to Korea. The popular Vivaldi Park is especially loved by young people and is known as the hippest ski resort in Korea. Oak Valley & Bears Town accommodate family visitors with their wide and gentle slopes. Yongpyong and High 1 are the largest ski resorts in Korea and are perfect for advanced level skiers and snowboarders.

Ski + Sightseeing

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Trazy has also combined skiing and sightseeing tours for this season. Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival is where you make a hole in the frozen lake, catch mountain trout and get them cooked on site. Chuncheon has a beautiful landscape in winter and recently gained more popularity for being the filming location of K-drama “While You Were Sleeping.”

Other Winter Specials

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Trazy also offers tours and activities that are only available during the winter season. Their winter specials are some of the best and unique activities out there.

Just to tell you a little bit more about the Winter 2018 Special Korail Pass (KR Pass), it includes the new express train (KTX) from Incheon Airport all the way to Pyeongchang and Gangneung, the new Gyeonggang Line Seoul – Gangneung. This winter special lets you ride the Korail for unlimited times in 6 or 7 days and aside from that, you also get to enjoy discounts to participating hotels, restaurants, and certain tours and attractions. It’s a great value deal available only this season from Trazy!