Monday, March 29, 2010

Travelog: Day 3 - 7D Charm of Korea [15/3/2010]

Wake-up call: 7.00am

Breakfast: Buffet at Korean/Western Restaurant, Hamilton Hotel
As this is a non-halal restaurant, the manager however went an extra mile by putting up a picture of piggy on top of the dish name so we know which one to avoid. It must be because this hotel always caters Muslim tourist. A genius way though, benefit those who can't read Korean or English. 

It was raining when we went out. Brian changed the itinerary for today (with our consent of course) instead of going to all outdoor theme park - Everland, we opted for Lotte World which has both outdoor and indoor rides. Brian said because of the rain, most outdoor rides will be closed anyway, why waste our time at Everland when we can have fun at Lotte World, right? Indeed we do! We arrived around 10.30am and were given up to 5.00pm to spend times there, wheee! Nearly 6 hours of fun!

Indoor attractions consist of 4 floors. Everyone zoomed to The Conquistador (also known as the Viking to some Singaporeans, you know that large ship swinging up and down. This ship swings like crazy! Nearly up to the ceiling!) Before we separated and begin our rides-marathon from upper level: Pharaoh's Fury - set in Egyptian style, exhibits of Egyptian culture along the way to the ride. Our cameras never stop clicking ;) It is a multi-motion dark ride weaving thru in and out of Pharaoh, Spinx and lots of smoke plus a sudden, unexpected drop. 

Aeronauts Balloon Ride - I like this! We had an eagle view of Indoor Lotte World from the roof! It's like riding a real hot air balloon. Cool!

3D Dynamic Theater (Toy Factory Story) - exactly like cinemania but boring!

Third floor: Jungle Adventure - We went on this ride without knowing what we're in for. It's also a multi-motion dark ride. Not that scary, went thru rapids of water only.

World Monorail - Going around Lotte World with middle view of everything. Can't beat the Aeronauts Balloon though.

Second floor: French Revolution - a  360 degrees roller coaster at full speed! Kak Noorul and me dare not to ride it, ah huh, no way! Daredevil Iza game for it. On the way there, we met the young couple and luckily Mdm Sal wants to try it too. She got guts, that lady! While waiting for them, we chit-chatted with Pakcik Jailani. He gave us a lot of travelling tips! Komapsumnida ahjusshi!

We stop for a quick meal (packed lunch of chicken kebab from Foreign Restaurant) at the seats of Garden Stage and performed zuhur/asr prayer, our duty as a Muslim. There is no prayer room available here. We found a quiet, secluded place near the 3rd floor staircase. 

After that, we went down to the basement towards the Star Showcase where Korean Hallyu stars await us :) We get to take photos wearing clothes from drama set (we all chose Hanbok and traditional bedroom setting - KRW5000/S$6) and a poster of us among other artistes like Big Bang, Kang Ji Hwan, Rain and many more (KRW6000/S$8)

Although photography are not allowed on certain exhibitions, the three of us had fun posing like celebrity. The only minus side is no Junki and Geun Seuk otherwise me and Iza will not stop jumping up and down haha.

When we went up again, we were greeted with sounds of rides from the Magic Island (Outdoor Lotte World) just by looking at them, my heart jumps out!!! No way I'm going to be on any of it! It's way too scary!!! So is kak Noorul. Iza gets on alone - Gyro Drop and Waikiki Waves. We kind of sorry to disappoint her. Sorry gal!

We headed to Ghost House - Kak Noorul and Iza wants to compare the fright scale here and at our home. We lined up around 3.05pm and have to wait for 15min more. Because of my overactive imagination, I'm not following them. I have no intention of not sleeping for several nights. When they both went in, I wait and wait and wait for them nearby the exit door, battling with cold and being stared at by almost everyone passing by. After 20min to 25min (but feels like much more longer) they finally came out and guess what? They were giggling! It turns out inside is a 3D theater with absolutely no ghost at all! And it's not even a ghost story but a cartoon! hah! All my waiting time wasted, if I have known; I would calmly go in too.

Anyway, after had enough of the cold outside, we went back indoor and took Flume Ride - same as wet and wild at Escape Theme Park but less water splashing.

Final ride: The Desperados - again we went in without knowing what's the ride are. As there's only few minutes left before 5.00pm, we hardly had time to stop and read the board. Inside are lines of horses and two sets of jeep in front of a big what? Are we supposed to sit on these horses? Young locals from behind us quickly choose their horses for the best view of the screen and we took their lead. There's a pistol on the horses too! Then the hall went dark and the screen shows an animated cowboy speaking in Korean, perhaps giving instructions on how to play. Not quite understand the rules, we just grab our pistols and keep shooting whatever we saw on the screen. Iza and me ended up being in 2nd and 3rd place! hahaha!

Next, we continue to N Seoul Tower at Namsan Mountain. Our bus can only bring us halfway thru the mountain and we have to WALK (!) the rest of the way, uphill.

The long, uphill hike to the tower with biting cold wind

Not to be daunted by cold and tiredness when we arrived at the foot of the tower, we quickly bought a package ticket to Teddy Bear Museum and Observation Deck (KRW12000/S$15) as we were only given 1hr to spend around there. The Teddy Bear Museum is separated into two section 1) Historical Era and 2) Modern Era. Bears are clad in traditional and modern clothes depicting historical and contemporary events that took place in Korea. Very cute!

View of Seoul, on top Namsan Tower
Dinner: Pakistani cuisine at Evergreen Restaurant
The most delicious of all. I love all the dishes they served especially the chicken in tomato gravy and the dhal, superb!

Back to hotel, the rest of the night is free and easy. Veronica called us, asking whether we want to go to Namdaemun Market, definitely we say yes!!! Who would want to miss it! We took a cab, no more subway please! Can't bear to take the stairs!!! Most of the stores were closed when we arrived around 9pm. It supposed to close at 11pm. Maybe because it's Monday and lots of places here close on Mondays. Not much there, same as Itaewon, only cheaper. We bought a pack of strawberries; huge, thumb-size strawberries at KRW10000/S$13. We thought it was expensive due to the size and freshness. The ahjumma also throws in three free tangerines! Walking towards at the end of the alley, we saw the same size strawberry selling at KRW5000. That ahjumma marked-up twice the original price!! And we're guillable enough to believe her. At least, the strawberries were indeed fresh and really sweet. Rezeki you la makcik!

Like a scene from a Korean Drama. Too bad, there are no halal-friendly stall available

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