Monday, February 17, 2014

Korean Winter D2: Haneul (Sky) Park 하늘공원

I finally arrived at this dreamy little spot in Seoul I've been wanting to see for myself after seeing its beautiful pictures.

I had to quicken my footsteps because the sun was setting soon and I wanted to see the main park area in the beautiful sunlight.

The road leading up to Haneul Park.

I was a little lost on getting to the main park area with the eulalia and flame grass fields which was supposed to be on higher ground. After consulting a park map, I figured out they way.

Climb a zigzagging flight of 291 steps to get to the top! ^^

Couples are everywhere~~~ in Korea! You can't go anyplace without spotting at least one.

Oh no the sun is setting and I have yet to reach my destination!

Erm. Looks like I took a wrong turn. I had to walk back. (><)

And finally after huffing and puffing up a sloping road..

Haneul Park!

When I stepped in, I fell in love with the place immediately. I love love love wide open skies with stretches of fields in nature with seemingly endless little paths. It's such a dreamy and beautiful atmosphere. I was suddenly reminded of one of my favourite places in Korea, Suncheonman Bay. 

사랑을 찍는다. Capturing love. ❤ ^^
Another romantic place filled with couples~ Do you spot the couple behind taking selfie too?

My official first experience of stomping on snow in Korea. It's a big thing for tropical islanders like me okay~ haha

Sorry but I take crappy photos of sunsets and everything because I just suck at using a DSLR. The smog and haze from China didn't help either.

Crappy photo but I assure you the view was gorgeous in reality. (:

Lovebirds again.

You can climb up this nest structure to get better views of the fields.

This beautiful landscape was actually a landfill in the past! Amazing transformation~ 

Love is everywhere~  

Beautiful hues~

There was this shooting flying object.

I like this photo. ^^

I tremendously enjoyed the me time wandering around the eulalia and flame grass fields, listening to my light indie music and feeling the cold breeze and watching the swaying grass~

By the way these are not reeds. There's a difference!

Suncheonman Bay was reeds which are taller than these eulalia and flame grass. I heard that the Flame Grass Festival during October at Haneul Park is very stunning when the grass turns a golden hue! I will be back! I haven't got to see the Metasequoia path nearby because it was dark already. );

Oh and I just realised I accidentally deleted some of the prettiest photos I took here. And I can't retrieve them..... ㅠㅠ *wails in despair*

Going back down the 291 steps. That's the world cup stadium in the distance.

I ventured to the deserted World Cup Park via a connecting bridge.

It was deserted and quiet except for a few people. I can imagine my parents getting a shock and berating me if they knew I was venturing into deserted parks alone late at night.... 

Came across this mini eulalia maze! Got lost inside for awhile just for fun!

A middle-aged couple approached me to help them take pictures at the maze and I took quite a few good shots for them! They were very cute. And they didn't realise I was a foreigner at all! A mini accomplishment~ (;

Steps leading to the World Cup Stadium, which was closed of course.

I went to explore the Homeplus supermarket below and tried on some of the food samples offered there. Exploring supermarkets is so entertaining~~

And anyway, it was time to find dinner!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Korean Winter D2: Fixing My Hair and Cafe Sukkara 머리 하기와 카페 수카라

I cannot resist getting my hair fixed in Korea because majority of the salons are better than those available in Singapore~ ^^ And my hair was in a horrible state at that time, so I had to make a trip!

하연 언니 and I searched on coupon websites to choose a good salon the previous night. These coupon websites like Coupang offer lots of good deals and bundles for products and services from food to beauty and even travelling~ Unfortunately they require an identification number in Korea for registration, so you've got to have a Korean friend to help you buy stuff if you're just travelling there for a short while without the alien registration number.

After being unable to decide for a long time, we finally picked out one that looked decent in Hongdae. Sorry but I realised I totally forgot to note the name of the salon or take a picture of it. Oops.

It was a morning appointment and so we set off early.

Dreamy 우장산 동네 Ujangsan Neighbourhood~ (:

I miss walking along this street every morning.

Morning subway.

Quiet and calm Hongdae, the lively partying district, a rare scene only seen in the morning!

I wanted to perm my hair again, but I sort of already expected I couldn't because it was spoilt. Yes, spoilt hair, it was that bad. Obviously my hairdresser suggested treatment and coating to save my spoilt hair.

We were given lockers to put our stuff and coats and we put on a sort of gown. The staff gave great service and even tea and snacks were served. Not very common in Singapore!

After a little more than an hour, my hair was done! It definitely looked heaps more alive and healthy than the frizzled mess it was an hour ago. Yay~

I left 하연 언니 who was still getting her hair done to wander around for the rest of the day because she wasn't free that day.

It was time for lunch and I was hungry~ I initially wanted to visit Cook and Book, a cafe with good reviews of their vegan meals and desserts, but when I reached the place it wasn't there anymore!! ㅠㅠ They either closed or moved...

Thus I decided to go to another cafe in the Hongdae area called Sukkara. It's an organic cafe serving healthy cuisine with a few vegan and vegetarian options.

Finding my way there~

I love all the pretty things you can spot around artsy Hongdae. (:

Oh yes, it was Christmas! There were pretty lighted candles in front of the churches I passed by.

Stupid me took forever to find Sukkara because I didn't realise that I walked past the cafe and kept doubling back and hunting around the area. I was wondering if Sukkara also ceased to exist like Cook and Book...

Starving me finally found it!

Well you can't blame me, the only sign indicating that it was Sukkara was that faint tiny printing on the door please~~

The cafe had a very cozy and chill atmosphere with indie music in the background. Open kitchen concept with a bar in the middle where you can see the drinks and some of the simple food being made.

The Menu!

Good thing is that they indicate whether a dish is vegan or not. But the food here is definitely on the slightly pricier side..

I heard that they served delicious soy tea lattes. Didn't get a chance to try it yet!

I ordered the special menu of the day. Requested to take out the cheese to have a vegan one.

Ta-da~ Rice gratin with soy bechamel sauce (12,000KRW)
Winter cabbage, dried mushrooms, root vegetables and brown rice baked in a creamy plant-based white sauce made from soy milk and brown rice powder. Yuzu flavoured enzyme carrot and radish pickle and chickpea salad on the side.

It was a very warm and welcome meal for a cold and starving me. A decent well-cooked meal but in my honest opinion not very outstanding and worth 12,000KRW... ^^;;

Time to fill the dessert stomach... hehe

A little disappointed cos I was hoping to see the Apple with Steamed Grain Cake I saw on Alien's Day Out that had red bean paste but it wasn't there anymore. ); So I had to settle with something else..

I was so tempted by the pumpkin pudding with cashew cream!! But decided to go with the more special Raw Persimmon Cream Pie. Raw cakes in Korea! I wondered if they were as good as The Living Cafe in Singapore.

Raw Persimmon Cream Pie (7,500KRW)
It did disappoint me actually... oops. It came from the freezer I think because the "cream" part had icy flakes in it, not creamy. The nut taste was stronger than the persimmon, in fact I couldn't really taste persimmon... Crust was a tad too sweet and on the chewy side. Conclusion, The Living Cafe in Singapore really produces waaay better raw cakes and at a slightly cheaper price!

My overall verdict about Sukkara is that the atmosphere is really cool, but the 2 items I tried were well, fine, but not that worth the price tag. I still would give it a chance to try perhaps another vegan dish and their soy drinks before I can totally make my mind up about Sukkara? (:

I chilled out for quite sometime after my late lunch and did some research on what I wanted to do the coming days using the free wifi.

Then I decided to check out 하늘공원 Haneul (Sky) Park next! I had to hurry cos I wanted to reach before the sun sets~! It's quite inconvenient how the sun sets around 5 plus during winter. Bad for photography. (-.-)

Ok I complain but the winter sun is really lovely and romantic for photos. It's soft and golden! ^^

I usually use Naver maps to navigate around Korea cos it's very convenient and better than Google maps obviously since Naver is from Korea. I prefer buses to subways where it is usually more crowded and busy~

Waiting for my bus...

Address: 1F Sanullim Bldg 327-9 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
서울시 마포구 서교동 327-9
Tel: 02-334-5919
Tuesday-Sunday 11am-11pm (Last order 10.30pm)
Lunch 11.30am-3pm
Dinner 6pm-8.30pm
Only drinks and desserts available all day.
Closed on Mondays