South Korea Travelogue 4: Seongsan Ilchulbong, Udo Island, Manjanggul Lava Tube and Kimnyong Maze Park

Similar to the day before, we woke up early, at around 3.30am, to climb Seongsan Ilchulbong also known as Sunrise Peak to catch the sunrise. The climb was made in the dark with many others hoping to observe the sunrise. A large number of people have groused about the climb, but in comparison to the hike at Hallasan, this was peanuts. It took us only 20 minutes to reach the top.

Seongsan Ilchulbong is a tuff cone-steep, with a wide crater-formed by a volcanic eruption over 100,000 years ago. It is located on the eastern side of the Jeju Island. Other than being famous for the view, the peak is indeed a sight worth seeing in Spring when it is surrounded by bright yellow rapeseed flowers.

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The pictures above were taken using the Panorama function of my iPhone 6. We were afraid we could not catch the sunrise as the weather forecast was cloudy, however the sun did not disappoint!

The admission fee is 2,000Won (SGD$2.40) per adult, but we did not pay it as the ticket counter was not opened when we got there. In fact, it was on our way past the entrance/ exit that they were beginning to set up the ticket counter.

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If you are interested to see Haenyeo (diving women of Korea) perform, you can head to the bottom of the cliffs on your climb down the peak. The performance times are 1.30pm and 3pm. The women will also be selling their daily catches there later in the day.

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Being really hungry, we went to Paris Baguette at the other end of Seongsan Ilchulbong carpark. I was surprised that they were opened so early!  We got a bit of everything: banana tart, egg sandwich, traditional rice cake bread, macarons, strawberry latte and grain latte. The staff recommended that we dined on the second floor as it had a lovely view of the peak.

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South Korea Travelogue 3: Hallasan on Jeju Island

Let me give you a brief introduction about Hallasan, so you can see where I am coming from later. Hallasan is the highest mountain in South Korea and a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. It is a massive shield volcano and forms the bulk of Jeju Island. The peak of the mountain is at an elevation of 1,950m (6,400ft).

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(Source: http://www.hallasan.go.kr/hallasan/map/english.html)

There are seven trails up the mountain, but only two to the summit: Seongpanak Trail (9.6km) and Gwaneumsa Trail (8.7km). The time to the summit for the two are pretty similar since Gwaneumsa is shorter but steeper. The trails are opened in the daytime and entrances are closed by a certain time so that hikers are able to climb down the mountain before sunset.

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We woke up when it was pitch-black, at about 4.30am, so that we could start the climb early. Daylight started to appear as we pulled into the carpark to Seongpanak Trail.

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Do not believe the trail grading of ‘easy’, ‘normal’ and ‘difficult’. It should have been ‘difficult’, ‘more difficult’ and ‘most difficult’!

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South Korea Travelogue 2: Jusangjeolli Cliff and Museums in Jeju

We woke up bright and early, so early that nothing was opened! Hence, we decided to walk around the area and take some pictures while waiting for breakfast places to open.

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We went to Starbucks at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum for breakfast. I decided to have a Croque Monsieur and Chocolate Banana Ice Blended for 9,800Won (SGD$11.70). Did you know that they have really interesting flavours here in Korea like Avocado Yoghurt Frappuccino, Lemon Meringue Frappuccino Light and Cranberry Fizzio with Grapefruit Foam?

After breakfast, we headed to Jusangjeolli Cliff (entrance fee 2,000Won), a cultural monument of Jeju, for some sightseeing. The rugged cliff formation was formed when lava from Hallasan Mountain erupted into the sea. The hexagon rock pillars reminded me of the Giant Causeway!

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I got myself a Peanut Butter and Peach Ice Cream J Cone (3,000Won = SGD$3.60) from a store at the entrance/ exit of Jusangjeolli Cliff. Initially I was worried that the cone would no longer be crisp as it was just hanging there, but it was still good. The ice cream was more icy than creamy, therefore it melted really quickly and caused quite a mess.

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Crystal Jade Prestige Weekend Champagne Brunch @ Marina Bay Link Mall

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It was a bit confusing getting to Crystal Jade Prestige because it is not exactly located within the underground Marina Bay Link Mall. Rather, the private lift to the second floor where the restaurant is located is situated at Ground Plaza outside the mall itself.

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Once we got there, we quickly ordered and enjoyed the champagne. The 10 course weekend brunch costs $58  for adults and $28 for children. It is an additional $40 for free flow of exquisite Veuve Clicquor Yellow Label champagne. Also, you may also opt for their Signature Tea Smoked Roasted Duck for $48, instead of the usual $78.

We had a choice of five Dim Sum:

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Poached Beancurd Skin, rolled with prawns in superior broth.

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Steamed Shrimp Dumpling with Black Garlic.

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Steamed Shanghai Xiao Long Bao. The XLBs were really juicy!

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Baked Abalone & Chicken Pastry. I really loved the pastry, which was buttery and flaky!

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Steamed Pork & Shrimp Dumpling, topped with caviar.

Following that, we had a choice of appetiser:

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Deep Fried Cod Fish Cube with Passionfruit Sauce. I found the sauce lacking as there was not enough flavour.

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Our choice of Roast was Soya Sauce Chicken with Rose Wine. I really enjoyed this, especially with the chive dip that accompanied it.

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Out of the three soups, we went with Chef’s Special Soup of the Day, which was black chicken soup. My sis could not stop raving about this.

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There were plenty of Wok-Fried Dishes to choose from and we decided on Simmered Fillet of Garoupa with Egg White and Sake. It was quite sad that the fish was a bit bland, but the egg white and broccoli were superb.

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Last but not least, for dessert we had Chilled Mango Puree with Pomelo and Sago.

The brunch is in conjunction with the upcoming Fathers’ Day. It is available on Saturdays and Sundays, 11:30am to 3pm, till 26 June 2016.

Crystal Jade Prestige
8A Marina Boulevard,
Marina Bay Link Mall (Ground Plaza), #02-01,
Singapore 018984
Tel: 6509 9493
Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday 1130-1500hrs and 1800-2230hrs
Saturday, Sunday & PH 1100-1530hrs and 1800-2230hrs
Nearest MRT Station: Downtown Station (Downtown Line)
Website: http://www.crystaljade.com

 

Newly Revamped Food Opera @ ION Orchard Has A Lot To Offer!

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Food Opera has finally reopened after an extensive two-month renovation! The 19,000 square foot food court located at the basement of ION Orchard now houses 27 stalls and mini restaurants, instead of the previous 25. The interior reflects British colonial decor, accentuated with brass and earth tones, with light blue and ivory as the dominant colours.

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Food Opera now accepts Visa payWave and other contactless digital payment methods, such as Apple Pay, to streamline the ordering process and make payment so much easier for patrons.

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We started with a bang with this Set C ($30) from Xing Lou Seafood White Bee Hoon, which is a new tenant and also the first outlet in Singapore. The serving of wok-fried vermicelli, laden with wok-hei is good for three. For $30, the amount of prawns, crayfish, scallops and clams is a steal!

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Cerealsly Crunchy Shakes, No Kidding!

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One of the main players in the game of OTT (Over-The-Top) Milkshakes in Singapore is definitely The Benjamins aka Benjamin Browns. This is the go-to place if you would like to indulge in this sinful dessert/ drink. Also, if you have been following my Instagram, you would know that I simply cannot resist their shakes! Both Insta-worthy and deliciously sweet, this is my guilty pleasure.

Now, on top of their OTT Shakes, they have recently introduced a brand new series called Cerealsly Crunchy Shakes, featuring six different types of breakfast cereals, with a brand new tagline “No Straws Needed!”. You are expected to dig in with a spoon! These new shakes are also available from 12pm daily.

 

Chocolate Lava Pillow ($16).

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Charm My Shake ($16).

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Cookie Crisps ($16).

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Captain Nutty ($16).

The six flavours are:

  • Honey Pops (featuring Kellogg’s Corn Pops cereal)
  • Fairy Pebbles (featuring Post’s Fruity Pebbles cereal)
  • Charm My Shake (featuring General Mills’ Lucky Charms cereal)
  • Chocolate Lava Pillow (featuring Familia’s Swiss Choco Bits cereal)
  • Captain Nutty (featuring Quaker’s Cap’n Crunch’s Peanut Butter Crunch cereal)
  • Cookie Crisps (featuring Nestle’s Cookie Crisp)

My favourites Chocolate Lava Pillow and Cookie Crisps! If you love peanut butter, you have to order Captain Nutty!

Benjamin Browns Bistro & Bakery
583 Orchard Road #01-20/21,
Forum The Shopping Mall,
Singapore 238884
Tel: 6887 4117
Opening Hours:
Monday to Thursdays 1030-2100hrs
Friday & Saturday 1030-2130hrs
Sunday 1030-2100hrs
Nearest MRT Station: Orchard Station (North South Line)
Website: https://www.facebook.com/BistroBenjaminBrowns/

South Korea Travelogue 1: Our First Day at Jeju

We took a night flight on board Cathay Pacific and after a short stopover at Hong Kong, we flew to Incheon International Airport, Seoul. From there, we had to take the subway for about five stops to Gimpo International Airport where we would take a domestic flight via Korean Air to Jeju.

However, we had a lot of time to kill before our domestic flight, so we used the time to run some errands and of course, eat.

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The first thing we did after clearing the customs was to collect our Samsung Galaxy Note 5s from SK Telecom, located between Exits 10 and 11 at Incheon International Airport. We participated in the 10th event of Enjoy Mobile Korea Programme by the Korean Tourism Organisation, Samsung Electronics and SK Telecom, where 250 winners are selected each week for a free rental of the latest smartphone. This means FREE VOICE AND DATA services for five whole days! This weekly programme will continue till the end of the year!

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Following that, we grabbed some breakfast from Bonjuk & Bibimbab Cafe, which specialises in congee/ porridge and bibimbab. I ordered the Beef Vegetable Porridge (8,500Won = SGD$10.20) and while I found the porridge healthy, it was lacking in taste.

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