Saigon Loves Me Not

saigon loves me not

My love for Vietnam is no secret.

When I first visited Hanoi in 2013, I instantly fell in love with the chaotic streets filled with hundreds of motorcycles and the cheap Vietnamese coffee you can buy anywhere. Aside from the fact that I obsessed over the food, I met quite a lot of nice people in Hanoi.

I recently went back to Vietnam, but this time I visited Ho Chi Minh City. I had a great time roaming the city and nearby provinces with Aika and Mariel. But we can’t possibly expect everything to always turn in our favor, right?

Luckily, I don’t encounter much misfortune when going on trips. Well, there’s that one time I had to climb Pico De Loro with broken shoes. Then another time I got sick while camping in the beach. Then there’s my recent Vietnam trip. Continue reading

Seoul Food Diary: Four Days of Nomnoming

korean food blog

First, a disclaimer. I’m  not a foodie. I just happen to love food, and Korean cuisines are some of the best I’ve ever tasted. We didn’t dine in any fancy restaurant during our four days in Seoul, but we devoured plenty of amazing Korean food. Just thinking about those four delicious  days makes my mouth water. Eating is seriously one of the best activities you must indulge in Seoul (and everywhere else!).

After watching the Korean drama Let’s Eat, I went to Seoul with a list of must-try Korean food. Sadly, I didn’t get to cross out everything from my list. Though they have delicacies like octopus and blood sausages, there are simpler and more common ones, simply prepared the Korean way. And with ban chan (반찬) present in every meal, the dining experience is enough to make a satisfying impact on our palate.

You’ll leave Seoul with a ridiculous love for Korean food that you go home craving it every day. Well, that’s the case for me. But it can also be because I watch dramas everyday and seeing them eat kimbap and samgyupsal in every episode doesn’t help. Continue reading

Seoul Day 3: Hello Kitty Cafe at Hongdae

 how to get to hello kitty cafe hongdae seoul

South Korea is the home of aegyo, BB Cream, KPOP, and a lot of themed cafes. The Hello Kitty Cafe is one of these themed cafes, and it has a couple of branches around the country. In my previous visit, we went to the Hello Kitty Cafe in Hyewa near Sungkyunkwan University. This time, my family and I opted to visit the one in Hongdae which was pretty near Trick Eye Museum.

Prior to the trip, Gian and Gabby didn’t want to visit the cafe because Hello Kitty. Haha. But Gianna really wanted to, and I promised that we’d visit the Hello Kitty Land in Malaysia, but we ended up going to Korea. So despite the two boys’ complaints, we trooped to the cafe for a quick coffee run. Gianna was ecstatic when she saw the cafe and wouldn’t enter as long as she hadn’t taken a picture.

Doesn’t the cafe look adorable even from outside? Continue reading

Seoul Day 3: Trick Eye Museum and Ice Museum in Hongdae

trick eye museum 3

Trick Eye Museum is located in the conundrum of independent clothing stores and themed cafes in the student district of Seoul: Hongdae. Though it’s underground, it’s not easy to miss because it has a pretty striking signage outside. Also, there’s always a trickle of visitors going in and out.

It’s a relatively new establishment but from the looks of it, it’s now one of the most frequented tourist attractions in Seoul. It’s clear why, because kids, teens, adults and oldies can enjoy this attraction. It certainly doesn’t matter how old you are because as long as you have a good sense of fun and silliness, you’ll have a grand time posing next to the 3D paintings. We sure did enjoy it!

The place was packed when we visited on a Saturday, but we didn’t really have to wait too long for our turn. I definitely enjoyed it, and one of its most popular paintings is the one above! Gianna looked like a giant while I ended up looking like a tiny bean. It’s all optical illusion but it’s still pretty amusing, right?  I seriously can’t choose a favorite because I loved most of it!

The museum basically worked on the premise of taking the shot in a right angle to achieve the maximum effect of optical illusion. There are tons of attractions like this in South Korea. There’s the Alive Museum at N Seoul Tower and there are even 3D paintings in Lotte World. So you may ask, why did we choose to go to Trick Eye Museum in Hongdae. Well, I believe the resulting pictures below are enough reasons why. Continue reading

Seoul Day 3: Changdok Palace

changdokgeung palace 7

Changdokgung is one of the palaces found in Seoul. It’s one of the most beautiful palaces and definitely well-preserved. It’s the one with the Secret Garden, which you can enter for another price. On my first visit, we didn’t know that this one’s a UNESCO Heritage Site so we opted to visit Changgyeonggung and Gyeongbokgung and skipped out Changdokgung. But we did have a photo taken outside since it’s one of the shooting locations of Rooftop Prince. Heh.

Before the trip, my cousins were so eager to visit the palaces in Korea. Whenever I asked them what they wanted to do in Seoul, all they answered was to visit the palaces. But I knew that kids aren’t so keen on sites where they don’t really get to do anything, so I only included Changdokgung and not the other palaces in our itinerary. My hunches were right. One palace was enough for them. After 15 minutes in it, they wanted to leave.

Anyway, remember to either say Changdokgung or Changdok Palace. I once had the mistake of saying Changdokgung Palace and that’s redundant! The Gung/Goong (궁) in Changdokgung already means palace. Continue reading