Jeju Island: A nature lover’s paradise¬†

A world heritage destination. A place where you can be one with nature.

I came across Jeju Island from Korean drama locations. Upon watching it, it was totally unlikely that the views and landscapes were only beautified with the power of technology and so I decided to witness it with my own eyes.

Jeju Island sites weren’t marked as UNESCO world heritage for nothing. For a nature lover like me, this is heaven here on earth. 

1. Sunrise and Sunsets

Chasing sunrise and sunsets? This place will keep you from running!

Golden hours in Jeju Island will not disappoint you. As soon as you open your eyes, a stunning sunrise will greet you. When your day is about to end, it will reward you with an exquisite sunset.

2. Beaches 

Looking for sand in your toes? 

Jeju Island is famous for its beaches. Along with its crystal clear waters, just choose! This place offers you white, black, rocky and fine sand beaches.

3. Hiking and Trekking

Up for long walks or climbing mountains instead? Get your feet ready, you just got lucky!

Jeju Island has walking paths that will lead you to its best destinations. I am calling this island a walk-all-you-can place. It has a famous mountain, the Mt. Halla, there are several hiking trails for beginners to experienced climbers. Some can even take you to a good view of the crater in less than half a day!

4. Cliffs

Wanna take a selfie sitting in an edge of a cliff? You got a location!

Mostly a result of volcanic eruptions, Jeju Island will let you walk along edges of a cliff

5. Water Falls 

Famous tourist destinations in the island includes strikingly expressive water falls. From calm, small water falls to raging ones! 

6. Rock formations 

Wanna go sightseeing? 

Jeju Island has sites like these. You can just take a snapshot or muster up your courage and go near the rocks!

7. Island Hopping

An activity that some wouldn’t miss for the world!

Less than an hour away by boat from Jeju Island, it also offers great waters and picturesque destinations!

Jeju Island provides almost everything for you. These are only few samples of the destinations that you can visit. The island also have interesting museums, Korean folk villages, and tea plantations that are worth exploring.

A place of complete bliss, peace and delight. Truly a nature lover’s paradise! What more can you ask for? 

Here are few more of my snapshots of other destinations in the island:


8 Strange encounters in Seoul, South Korea

Planning a trip in Korea? Have an orientation, you will never know if these could happen to you!

Don’t get me wrong, I love Korea. I’ve been there thrice. I did my first out of the country solo travel there. I had my first glimpse of the magnificent beauty of cherry blossoms in Spring and my love and hate relationship with snow in Winter.

These perhaps are my unaccustomed experiences in South Korea:

1. The Public Baths

Public bath is literally an exposed public bath! 

When you are a K-drama lover, you would know that spas are famous in their country. We booked our accommodation in one of the famous spas in Itaewon, famous, I mean that a lot of dramas were filmed there. Little did we know that their toilets do not include shower room in it, instead you are free to use the public bath which literally means that it is open to public, no cubicles, no division! Male and Female areas are separated though, but still if you are not comfortable showing off your entire naked body to others including your friends you travel with, skip this one!

2. The Towels

It can’t wrap your body, it can only cover your head!

Of the three times that I’ve been to Korea, for a budget traveler like me booking to an affordable yet a nice place to stay are my only options. I’ve stayed in a spa room, a backpackers quarter and a guesthouse. All of them provide the same small bath towel, small, I mean those kinds of towel we used to put on our backs when we had our PE classes or those we use to wipe our sweats in the gym. 

3. The Shoving

Do not take it the wrong way, you won’t get an apology from them!

You might have read about this one from other blogs, it just turned out to be true. Mostly, ahjummas and ajeossis do this. When you are in line for the metro or taking the escalators or even when walking down the streets, don’t be surprised if you get shove of out of the way. Apparently, this is not a big deal for them but might get you annoyed if it happens.

4. The way you eat

They will take your chopsticks away from you and show you how to eat the right way!

Apparently, they are keen observers specially at foreigners. If they see you having a hard time with flat chopsticks they will give you spoon and fork. If they see you putting the food in the wrap wrongly they will literally take your chopsticks away from you and will show you which and what goes into it. If you don’t seem to know when to flip your samgyeopsal they will do it for you.

5. The Plastic Bags

They have those huge plastic bags that could fit 4-5 handbags in it.

This happens mostly in Samgyeopsal restaurants. They will approach you and take your handbag away from your lap, put it inside the huge plastic bag then leave it on the floor beside your table.

6. The Buses

The forward door for entering passengers and the back door for exiting passengers!

If you happen to ride a bus, take note of this one so you won’t get yelled at. Oh, and don’t forget to tap your t-money card upon entering and alighting if you won’t pay in cash. If not, the farthest charge will be deducted from you.

7. The Metro Railway Trains

There is no designated area for male and female!

If you happen to ride the train and see that there is an area where no one is sitting, that are probably the seats reserved for disabled and elderly. Please don’t take those away from them or you will receive those glares. 

8. The Language

Most of them do not speak English!

Although South Korea specially Seoul has an efficient transportation system and signages in English are available, if you happen to ask them in English they won’t answer you in English.

If you are a DIY traveler, please just do the research on how to get to your destination. Or else, you will have to find the designated tourist information centers!

*I happened to have a chat with a mom of a Filipina who married a Korean guy, she said Korea is a cold country that’s why they don’t use the long and thick bath towels because it will take time to dry those. She brought one with her though!

It was strange but never a bad thing. A traveler must keep an open mind and you will see the beauty in everything. 

10 Helpful tips for a d-i-y trip in Kota Kinabalu

The city of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia  can be explored without spending a lot of money and you can save yourself from the hustle of public transportation.

Here are some of my thoughts that a d-i-y traveler like me should know:

1. Airfare Ticket

Having traveled in Kota Kinabalu for 4 days made me realize that it is a destination that one shouldn’t think about buying an expensive airfare.

Air Asia offers one of the lowest fares and looking out for their promos would be a wise choice. We got ours for Php1200.00 roundtrip!

2. Airport Bus / Airport Taxi

Unlike other asian countries that provide efficient subway system upon arriving at the airport, Kota Kinabalu has two options on how to get to the city.

For fixed rates as of April 2016: Airport Bus is available for RM5 and Airport Taxi for RM30. 

Both have their own booths inside the airport for the tickets.

3. About the Taxi

This is something unusual for me, taxis in Kota Kanabalu don’t have fare meters. You have to give your best haggling talent for the price before riding.

They usually ask for RM15 anywhere you go, even if your destination is only less than 2km away!

  • The cars are right-hand drive and I noticed an “unusual” smell, you might also notice it if you ride a taxi multiple times.

4. City Tour

If you are looking for city bus routes, STOP!

As I was doing my itinerary, I find it hard to look for this. Fret not, you don’t need to! 

You can walk to most tourist destinations you can find from the City. City buses are available that will take you to these destinations but the catch is, waiting time can really consume your day. I wouldn’t recommend riding these.

  • We went to KK waterfront, Oceanus Mall, Atkinson Clock Tower, Signal Hill Observatory, Filipino Night Market and Gaya Sunday Market.

5. Island Hopping

This is the activity that most tourists going to Kota Kinabalu are looking forward for.

Disregard all the prices you can find online. Upon arriving in Jesselton Point, ticketing booths are available for island hopping and water activities. Go canvass for the cheapest price as each of those companies offer different rates. 

  • We visited Sapi Island and Manukan Island. Sapi Island was flocked with tourists while Manukan island was more peaceful but it’s sand is not as fine as that of Sapi.

6. Markets

Gaya Sunday Market, if you have been looking for what-not-to-miss in Kota Kinabalu this maybe is on top of the results. Gaya Sunday market is only open on Sundays from 6am to 1:30pm.

  • Vendors tend to give the cheapest price for the item near closing time. You can wait a little then go haggle! 

Filipino Night Market, this market starts at sun down. If you are looking for grills and cheaper price for seafoods, don’t miss this. 

This is a wet market so expect the typical wet market smell. The food stalls are just beside this market.

7. Food

In my own experience, I can describe the taste of their local food as that of a curry taste but not as strong. If you don’t find the after smell or taste pleasurable, don’t worry! There are other options in the menu.

Average price for a meal is RM6.5 and up.

  • Try Fook Yuen restaurant, they offer one of the best noodles I’ve tasted.

8. Water

There are no service water nor water fountains available in food courts and restaurants and there is a charge if you ask for a glass.

9. Wifi

Wifi are available in hotels and malls but it is comparably of the same speed in our country.

10. Language

Don’t worry, Malaysians speak English language and you will not find it unusual if you hear people speak Filipino language. They have a relevant population there.

  • I recommend trying a cup of coffee in Oldtown Cafe. The cheapest yet the yummiest frap I’ve tasted! (Approx. RM6.5)
  • There are a lot of tourist destinations in Sabah, if you consider out of town trips including a hike in Mt. Kinabalu.
  • You can view a stunning sunset in KK waterfront and outside Oceanus Mall.

Here are some of my snapshots from our trip last April 15 – April 18, 2016: