Korea 2011 – Baby1 20 August, 2011Posted by dear1dear2 in Baby, Dear2, Travel & Discovery.
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Dear1 and Dear2 can’t bear not to bring Baby1 along if we go on holidays. 7 days is a long time. What if she misses us during this period? What if she can’t sleep without mummy and daddy around? So, when mummy and daddy goes on a holiday to Korea, Baby1 comes along.
But Baby1 is a fussy baby. At 18 months, she sleeps less and wants to do more things rather than just stay still. And at 10.4kg now, Beco-ing her along is not a light affair anymore. Hence Dear1 decided that this Korea trip will be more free and easy – Dear1 listed down all the possible attractions that we might want to visit, but which day do what, we’ll decide accordingly on the day itself.
First, let’s talk about the flight. We took the bassinet seat for Baby1. Yes, she can sleep better in the bassinet, provided that it is not during take off, landing and when the seat belt sign is on which happens quite frequently. And having the screen right next to the bassinet on the Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight means that we cannot watch any movie during the 6 hours flight, cos we don’t want the flickering screen to disturb her. No movies is fine actually, except that Dear2 don’t dare to sleep either. What if Baby1 gets abducted while I have my eye shut!? I’d better keep an eye on her! So it was taking turns to sleep for Dear1 and Dear2….
Next, on the hotel. Cleanliness and spaciousness is really important, and here I am very pleased with the Ibis Seoul Ambassador hotel which we stayed in. Plenty of storage and table space in the room, and the shower area in the bathroom is spacious enough for Dear1 and Dear2 to comfortably bath Baby1.
Now, on sight-seeing with Baby1. During our Taiwan trip, she slept quite a bit in the Beco as we went sight-seeing on foot. She practically fell asleep everytime we put her in the Beco. We attributed that to the weather being cold, and she was only 1 year old that time. On this trip, she slept quite a bit again. Hmm… Was she bored by the walking? When she woke up, I made sure to let her walk about a bit so that she gets enough circulation and breeze.
Being a fussy girl, Baby1 has never let us eat in peace in restaurants. Usually before the food is even served, she’ll start crawling out of the feeding chair already. This was one big problem that we already foresaw before the trip. To get around this problem, we either (1) take turns to eat while the other parent brings out her to walk, (2) eat while she fell asleep in the Beco. Interestingly, we had some restaurants that have bench-style seats, even with cushions, or the typical floor style in Korean restaurants, so Baby1 was able to have some nice sleep and mummy and daddy enjoy our meals in peace, or (3) eat cup noodles or buy take aways to eat in the hotel. :(
Seoul is a rather baby friendly place, unlike Hong Kong. Here, baby wearing is very prevalent, maybe because some of the pavements are not exactly wheels friendly, and also because there’s so many stairs in the subway stations. Strollers are commonly available for rent in the malls though. We exchanged our passport for free rental of the stroller at COEX Mall and at the N Seould Tower Observatory. At Lotte World, it was rental at 3000 won for an Iglesia. We wanted to rent one at the Baby Fair too, but alas we found out too late, and the queue for the Iglesia was so very long because of overwhelming response.
On taking transport, this again is a headache for our fussy one. She hates being still, so it was MRT once she hits slumberland so that she don’t fuss in the train again. On buses and taxis, pray that the vehicle continue motion, else it was very much “uncle drives” and “almost there” to stop her fuss. Haiz…
Baby1 fell sick on day 5 of our 7 days holiday. We wanted to bring her to see the local doctor, but the nurses can barely understand English to attend to us, much less the doctor. And even if we manage to see the doctor, do we dare to feed her the medicine or allow a jab? So it was a scramble to return to Singapore as soon as we can so that she can see someone familiar. Meanwhile, I had packed 2 pieces of the cool patch (and left the remaining 2 more at home), and a new bottle of paracetamol. This experience taught me to bring all available medication and first aid in preparation, because it was so hard to get that 1 more pack of cool patch because the Koreans in stores can’t speak English!
The flight to and fro was a near disaster too, so one lesson that I’ve learnt is “never take over night flights if you don’t want to chance into wailing babies to disturb your sleep”. Before the plane takes off, Baby1 will usually keep her eyes wide open, be it already 12 midnight, long past her usual bedtime. She can even spot the far away mini playground in the boarding area of T3 while waiting for boarding! We took the experience from the first flight and keep her entertained with stickers from the toy pack provided by SIA. Phew, it was hard to make her keep sticking the stickers on mummy, den on daddy, den on herself and over and over again during the 30min descend. But we made it. :)
We love Baby1. Though she is fussy, but we still love her nonetheless, and it makes all the hard work more worth it when she smiles at us.
Korea 2011 – The Sights 19 August, 2011Posted by dear1dear2 in Baby, Dear2, Shop till you drop, Travel & Discovery.
Dear1, Dear2 and Baby1 went on a 1 week trip to Seoul, Korea last week over the National Day holidays. We flew on Sunday, and was supposed to return on the following Sunday for our 7 days free and easy trip, but came back earlier on the Friday overnight flight as Baby1 caught the cold bug there. I shall split our Korea experience over the next few posts, so let’s talk about the sights that we have visited there.
There’s a reason why Lotte World gained numerous awards – it’s really cool!! Big, or I would say, so EXTREMELY big is the interior once you enter. You can’t even see the far end of the building. There are hot air balloons cruising overhead, there’s a huge ice skating rink right in the middle below (though this is not part of Lotte World), there’s lots of kids and families, lots of attractions, and a huge stage on the other far side – all seen when you enter. And we have not even went outside for the outdoor park, and inside the various holes for more attractions, and upstairs where there are more rides and even the Folk Museum outside. Lotte World is simply fun!!
However, do note the limitations for the Passport ticket. This supposedly include all attractions, but excludes Game Attractions and rides which indicates that children under certain age needs to pay.
Gyeongbokgung Palace, Insa Dong and Dongdaemun
On Wednesday, we took subway Line 3 to the palace, and after the 1 hour English guided tour which starts at 11am, it was a short walk to Insa Dong. The palace is huge – really like the mock up we saw at the Folk Museum the day before, except for its real stone paths and sand walks. And no jokes about the stairs, it’s really steep. Insa Dong was lively, and we walked the way to Dongdaemun in the hope of getting some lunch along the way. Surely there must be food from all the shops I see ahead? We walked until our legs nearly gave way before we finally found a Korean food eatery. Luckily for us, Dongdaemun was just round the corner after we finished our meal.
Dongdaemun is a market, a wholesale market from what we gather. Shops and shops that sell clothes to metal poles to buttons to plastics, all in various shapes and sizes. The Cheonggyecheon Stream runs up here too, so we took the stairs down and strolled along the stream like the other local Koreans. There was a grateful breeze down here where you can hardly hear all the noise and bustle upstairs.
Baseball Match @ Jamsil Sports Complex
We took a cab from our hotel to the stadium. It was the Doosan Bears (home ground) versus some other team. Dear1 says that watching a baseball match is what a Korean packaged tour will never bring you to, so here we were. We spotted 2 Ang Mos buying tickets, and went up to inquire on the ticketing. First, you need to determine which team you are supporting, cos that determines which side you sit. Then you point to the grid and say which seat you want. Paid, and bingo we went searching for the entrance in the huge complex. Before going in, the Koreans will buy a pair of cheering ballons (1000 won each for the reused ones sold illegally outside, 2000 won each for the authentic new ones sold in the stores) and a box meal for the 3 hour match.
The game was exciting, more so becos of the mood and atmosphere. We left at 4 of 9 rounds, and the game ended only at about 11pm while we watched it live in the hotel room. Keke.
Namsangol Hanok Village and Namsan Park
Next morning, we took a subway to the village. Unfortunately on this day, the rain came back again (the typhoon was still looming on Monday when we reached Korea, and cleared the next 2 days after). Hence a brief tour of the village and we were off to Namsan Park on Bus 2. First time taking a Korean public bus, we were very nervous, but off course you’ll just alight when everyone alights on this tour bus. After alighting, what next? Just follow everyone uphill!! It was a steep uphill climb and we reach the bottom of the Observatory very soon.
The Observatory was just very ‘observatory’. The only familiar landmark we spotted was the Hanok Village which we came from earlier. Then we went to the Teddy Museum. Surprisingly, this museum is very cute indeed with all the animated teddy bears dressed like real people in the familiar palace!
Before we descended the park, we made sure that we leave a ‘love lock’ locked there too, just like the Koreans. :)
From the same bus station, we took Bus 5. This bus stops at Namdaemun (2 stops) and ends at Myeongdong. Ermm… “What if we miss the Namdaemum stop, cos there are 2 stops listed?” Dear1 asked. ”Then we’ll just go right to Myeongdong”, I replied. True enough, the first Namdaemum stop doesn’t look quite like a market we want to go, so we alighted at the next one where some teens got off. This market is quite unlike Dongdaemun; it’s more like the Shilin Night market where there are rows and rows of shops selling clothes and local produce and street food. Interesting!!
From the market, we took a 1 stop MRT to Myeongdong (we learnt our lesson from Dongdaemun, no more walking please). This market is totally mind-blowing. Soooooooo many people, and its extend is soooooooo very huge. Chinatown in KL, and even Mong Kok seems small compared to this. Definitely a must visit if you are in Seoul!!
On Friday, Baby1 started to feel feverish, and so we packed our bags for the night flight home. On this day, we hang around in COEX Mall for the Baby Fair and Aquarium. Though it requires registration and a 5000 won entrance, the Baby Fair was very impressive judging from the crowd already there at 11am. The Aquarium was more disappointing for its 17000 won entrance fee – it’s small and stuffy, though the interesting use of daily household items as tanks for the fishes makes this aquarium different from the rest we’ve seen.
Though a short trip, it was really interesting and eye opening for us. I shall talk about the other aspects of the trip again.