December 14, 2010

My Korea & Shanghai Trip Dec 2010

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We booked a Korea-Shanghai tour with some friends. The tour was 8 days - 2 days on Cheju island, 4 days in Seoul, and 2 days in Shanghai. It seemed exciting on the itinerary but in the middle of it, we were so tired of flying from one airport to another we said next time we definitely would just stay put in one location.

Cheju is a volcanic island south of South Korean. Cheju-do, the city of Cheju is a special autonomous province of South Korea. The island was made entirely by volcanic eruption and it constituted the highest mountain that contains the only crater lake in South Korea. Due to relative isolation of the island, the people of Cheju or Jeju has developed a language and culture that distinct from those of mainland Korea. The most distinct cultural artifact is the ubiquitous "dol hareubang" ("stone grandfather" or "earth god" to the Chinese) carved from a block of basalt - Wikipedia.

A friend (Siew Chin) who was on the tour with us summarized the activities we were put through during the eight days of tour:

Day 1: Touched down at Shanghai Pudong Airport, with 4 hours till check-in time for the next flight to Jeju, we were treated to a foot massage and free lunch at the airport. Reached Jeju Island in the evening, dinner was piping hot nutritious ginseng chicken soup served ...

Day 2: The ardous climb up Seongsan Ilchubong peak. Next, a "health talk" by ahjumma at Dae Jang Geum Village. While at the Nature Farm, we watched black piglets performing some cute stunts, followed by a visit to Automobile Museum. The children got a free test-drive around the road circuit and earned their first "driving license". Teseum means Teddybear Museum, this you have to see it for yourself...

Day 3: Flight to Seoul, we went to the Kimchi-making School, had hands-on experience applying the kimchi paste onto cabbage leaves. That night we had one night stay in the traditional Gui-zhu Chun, here we slept on beddings laid on wooden floors, no tv or other simple luxuries, even to get to the lavatory you had go out of the bedroom and walk across the small front yard...

Day 4: To the ski slopes, Joseph had so much fun there but got a little sunburnt on his cheeks because it was sunny. While at Everland amusement park, we watched bears, tigers, and giraffes upclose while seated in our special safari bus, and ended the night with a riveting march-past parade and spectacular fireworks display...

Day 5: It snowed! We were very excited as it was the first time some of us experienced snowfall. It stopped for a while and snowed more heavily in the afternoon. The children ran out to feel the snow falling around them. At Sea-lala Water Park, we had a chance to get wet and shiver in the shower after we were done....

Day 6: At the airport again, to go back to Shanghai. At Shanghai, we took in the night scene before heading to the hotel..

Day 7: Visited Singapore's invested industrial park in Su Zhou, "Ou Yuan" (an ancient garden fit for the rich) and Gusu Silk Factory. That night we watched "ERA" – Intersection Time, a musical/cultural/acrobatic presentation a-la Cirque du Soleil style. It was a skilfully thought-out piece, with the different segments artfully meshed into a one and a half hour show to astound the audience…

Day 8: Guide took us to Cheng Huang Miao 城皇庙- a touristic shopping belt with traditional Chinese heritage buildings. Guide took us for a foot massage at Tong Ren Tang 同仁堂 by their practicing Chinese medicine interns while the physicians felt our pulses to tell what ills befell us and why we needed to buy their “tonics”. Then to the airport again and Home Sweet Home!

Thanks for reading and having the patience to finish the long post. I hope you enjoy it all. :DD