Sunday, June 14, 2015

Seoul, South Korea

June 2015

The main attraction with Seoul for me was I needed a long weekend getaway with a direct flight from Sydney. I was running out of options but Seoul kept popping up. People raved about the food, the culture and weather (early summer escape from a early winter here in Sydney). It was perfect. It was just what I  needed. I'm just disappointed I couldn't see what the rest of South Korea had to offer this time around.

The Plaza, Seoul. In the Business district across from City Hall and about 500 m from the closest subway entrance. The only issue was early morning coffee on the weekend took time to source!

I am not unfamiliar with Korean food (although I am sad to admit I didn't try Korean Fried Chicken until last year and I only try Bibimbap for the first time about 5 years ago!). But Korean food is so much more than that.

Make sure you get your Tcard for easy train and bus travel, just top it up, tap on and tap off and you get to your destination in no time

Visit the DMZ, in particular the JSA

Stroll Apgujeong Street and Garosu-gil

Visit the Noryangjin Fish Markets

 Learn about Seoul's history at the Seoul Museum of History

Eat with the locals at the Gwangjang Markets

Stroll the Women's Street and check out the Pear Blossom Mural at Ewha Woman's University - my favourite part of Seoul

Visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace

Visit at Tea House - I enjoyed the iced Plum Tea at Dawon Tea House

Visit the traditional Hanok's

Try Myeong-dong for Hyper Shopping and eat street heaven

Enjoy the views at Namsan Park at the base of the N Seoul Tower

Visit the War Memorial of Korea

 Visit the Changdeokgung Palace with a tour of the Huwan or secret gardens

Enjoy the Namsangol Cultural Village lit by lanterns at night

Stroll Jeongdong-gil St, and enjoy coffee under the trees or in one of the many cafes - the coffee culture in Seoul is nearly as strong as their food culture

Hike the City Walls - 18 km in total, or do as I did and choose a section

Visit a dog cafe such as Bau House - although due to the strong smell this wasn't my cup of tea (or coffee)

Checkout the bright lights of Gangnam

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tim Ho Wan, Sydney, Australia

May 2015

Tim Ho Wan in the Sydney suburb of Chatswood opened to much fanfare and long lines. The lines during the week are no longer long, and the pork buns are the one thing you should order.

Baked Bun with BBQ Pork $6.80

Vermicelli Roll with Satay $5.80

Beancurd skin roll with shrimp $6.80

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Paddington Reservoir Gardens, Sydney, Australia

May 2015

Quietly tucked away off Oxford Street in Paddington, Sydney, the Paddington Reservoir Gardens is a nice spot for a lazy, sunny afternoon.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Subcontinental, Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia

May 2015

I visited Subcontiental in Sydney's Surry Hills without much expectations, and wasn't overly impressed by the whole experience. While the food was good, I have had better Indian at a much better price.

House made Pappadums with Raita, Date & Tamarind Chutney $9

Spicy tuna croquettes with mango & mint chutney $12

Market fish grilled in banana leaf, mustard seeds, coconut and curry leaves $33

Vegetable biryani - spiced with vegetables, nuts, herbs and saffron $14

Bengali Curry with king prawns, spinach, coconut and turmeric $36

Sri Lankan Black curry with crispy pork belly and pickled banana blossom $32

Daal of the day $9

Pani Puri - checkpeas, spiced potato, cucumber and tamarind water $3.50 each

Coconut & Jaggery Custard, Ginger Crumb, Pandan Puree $12

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Delhi, India

January 2015

Delhi is the capital of India, and home to a population of 11 million people. While not the craziest traffic I have experienced, it was close (think Ho Chi Minh, Beijing). For me the highlight was the Red Fort, which in the setting sun seemed to shine as bright as the sun.

The Qutab Minar makes for an impressive photo, but can be hard to access.

Humayun's Tomb was a pleasant surprise, and I found the whole complex impressive, not just the main attraction, which is the tomb itself.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Jaipur, India

January 2015

I visited Jaipur mainly for the Amber fort, but it was the pink city that really caught my eye and made it memorable.

Located in Rajasthan, Jaipur is known for its architecture and local cuisine.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Agra, India

January 2015

 The home of the Taj Mahal, but home to so much more as well. I have always wanted to visit the Taj Mahal, but to be honest travelling in India always made me a little nervous. This time travelling as a single female made it a bit more complex, but with some insider knowledge, a driver and a local tour guide it was so much more than I could have ever dreamed.

Major tip, visit the Tomb of I'timād-ud-Daulah (or baby Taj) first. Also visit the Taj in the am and pm.

The Agra fort was also impressive and worth an hour or so.