A Public Library in the Mall – Seoul

 

We got a chance to go south of the Han River to check out Coex Mall near Gangnam. We decided on taking a taxi for time’s sake and surprisingly it only cost $15 from Gwanghwamun to Gangnam.

Coex Mall is a haven from the elements, both hot and cold. I say that because it’s huge! It’s connected to other shopping centers, has it’s own aquarium, movie theater, and is next to the SMtown museum. It gets better. Inside Coex Mall is the Starfield library meant for public use. Definitely check the place out because there’s lots to do.

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Namsan Tower in Seoul

 

Almost every city has their own version of a tower with a 360 view. I thought I had seen it all. Been there done that kind of thing after seeing skylines of Chicago, Seattle, and New York city, but the view of Seoul from Namsan Tower is a must for every visiting tourist because you get to see how big Seoul really is. You get to see what a city of 10 million looks like and it’s a pretty cool view.

Things to consider when visiting the tower:

  • Take a taxi up to the cable car and then take the cable car up to the tower. It only costs $9.
  • If you’re adventurous, walk the Namsan trail up to the tower or at least to the cable car. It’s a nice trail if you know how to find it.
  • There are a lot of stairs. So prepare yourself. But also know that a lot of the elderly make the visit to the tower so if they can do it, you can too.
  • It’s a $10 admission for adults to the observatory.
  • There are several food places in the observatory in addition to the ones at the base of the tower.
  • There’s plenty of restrooms. If you decide to use the restroom up on the observatory, beware if you’re scared of heights because the toilets are next to the window and it’s a scary view down. I couldn’t do it, but luckily there are restrooms everywhere. So I used the ones at the base of the tower.
  • Don’t flush your toilet paper. There are signs to put your toilet paper in the trash bin.

Falling in Love With Seoul

 

It’s been an interesting few days here in Seoul. First trying to navigate through the city with Kakao Maps, learning how to ride their subway, and just experiencing large crowds. It was a bit of an adjustment but we’re figuring it out.

People are so nice though. We’ve been getting really nice service from restaurant owners, convenient store workers, and our hotel cleaning lady. It’s definitely not what we expected, which is why we have grown to love it in Seoul.

Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef And A Helicopter Tour

I’m so glad our friend convinced us to visit the Great Barrier reef.  When I told her of our plans to visit Sydney, Australia, she somehow got the idea in my head to see the reef.  I’m so glad we did because it’s a memory I’ll never forget!

There’s a bunch of tour companies to choose from, and we chose the one that included a helicopter tour, which was a package deal we found on Ozexperience.com.  The boat ride was a rough 45 minutes to the first snorkeling sight and lots of people weren’t prepared for it.  Should you decide to snorkel the great barrier reef, I suggest taking motion sickness pills so you don’t puke on the boat.  As for me, I was fortunate enough to make it through but only because I popped 2 Dramamine pills before leaving shore.

The idea of snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef may sound romantic, but it’s definitely not easy to do.  I mean we did it, but the waters can be somewhat choppy and did annoy my ears.  Let’s just say it’s not like snorkeling the calm waters of Hawaii or at least Shark’s Cove anyway.

There’s also things that you should look out for like sting rays or jellyfish.  We didn’t wear wetsuits, but if you want to take extra precautions when you visit during stinger season, they offer wetsuits for coverage.

So with the boat we chose, we had 2 opportunities to snorkel at different locations.  We snorkeled the first time, got out of the water, forgot our towels, ate lunch, and decided to just dry off instead of going back for a second snorkel.  We only had a 30 minute window after lunch before our helicopter tour so we both didn’t want to miss our chance, and because we didn’t want to be wet and cold on the ride, we just decided to skip the second snorkel all together.

So things to remember:

  1. Dramamine
  2. A towel
  3. Extra clothes to change into.
  4. Don’t bring anything expensive.  There are no lockers.
  5. There’s options other than snorkeling like going on their glass bottom boat.  I kind of wish we did the glass bottom boat, but there just wasn’t enough time.

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London for a Day

My co-worker loves London.  Every time she flies to Europe, her first stop is London before jetting off to another country.  My husband and I went there back in 2011.  We took the Eurostar from Paris and all we had time to do for the day was sight see, but it was great for me because of all the architecture.

We walked so much.  From the train station to St. James Park to Westminster Abbey to the London Eye.  It was a lot of walking.

Below are just some of the pictures I snapped on our walking adventure.  Hope you enjoy!

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Westminster Abbey
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Westminster Abbey
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So many people lined up for a parade.  We didn’t stick around to see if the Queen was coming.
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St. James Park

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Oh the beautiful details
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Big Ben and Parliament
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Having some fish and chips because why not.

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10 Days in Oahu, Hawaii

It was my first trip to Hawaii and my husband’s second time back when we went together in 2010. We went for our friends’ wedding and stayed for 10 days on the island of Oahu.  We rented a car, drove around the island, hung out on the beach during the day, and ate so much Hawaiian food.  It was such a great and fun experience!

For first time visitors to Hawaii, I highly recommend going to Oahu first.  From what my Hawaiian friends tell me, it’s the most commercialized island, which isn’t a bad thing  because there’s a lot of things to do.  Whether you’re into shopping, surfing, snorkeling, or just wanting to lounge on the beach, there’s options.

Places that I recommend:

  1. Kailua Beach – this beach has gorgeous white sands that stretch for 2.5 miles.  This is our favorite beach on the island and we loved coming here to walk.
  2. North Shore – although crowded, we went for the shrimp trucks and Hawaiian shaved ice.
  3. Koko Head – this is a great hike if you want some physical activity on your trip.  For less intensity, there’s Diamond Head
  4. Boots & Kimo’s – banana mac pancakes.  YUM.
  5. Shark’s cove on the north shore – come here for an intimate snorkeling session.
  6. Ted’s Bakery – Haupia pie

Hawaiian food I recommend you try:

  1. Haupia pie
  2. Malasadas
  3. Shaved Ice
  4. North Shore shrimp trucks
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Kailua Beach
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Kailua Beach
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Shrimp truck
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Koko Head hike
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Koko Head hike
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Koko Head
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Shark’s Cove for snorkeling
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Bird’s nest
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Waimea gardens