4 Alternative Destinations To Visit Outside Seoul (Part 1)

You can read Part 2 here.

Everyone who seems to go to Seoul takes a side trip to the DMZ. But if you're looking for a few other places to visit for a day or two a little ways away from South Korea's capital, here are a few destinations you might want to consider.

5 Travel TV Personalities I'd Like To Go On A Trip With

It's probably one of the best jobs in the world - to be a presenter for a travel show. Every time my TV is on Discovery TLC or Nat Geo Adventure I start wishing I could work for a travel show of some sort. I'll make do with this travel blog and making personal travel videos for now, but here is a list of my favorite travel shows, and five (technically six) of their presenters whom I would love to travel with. 

The Sights and Sounds of Hongdae, Part 2: The Hongdae Free Market

I absolutely love the youthful and creative vibe of Hongdae, and could probably spend an entire trip to Seoul just cafe hopping and people watching. While we had a pretty hectic itinerary on our trip to Korea last year, we did manage to squeeze in some time to visit the Hongdae Free Market on a pretty autumn Saturday afternoon. On Saturdays between March and November, the park right in front of Hongik University becomes Hongdae Free Market,where artists set up booths to sell their items - from cute headbands, hand-dyed stockings, stationery to portraits and other works of art. Think Etsy come to life. The place was packed when we went, with many locals and tourists looking through the artists' wares, and a performance happening in one part of the park. It was in the Hongdae Free Market that I chanced upon Qqoogo, the artist I featured in an earlier post.

More pictures (and some songs, as usual) under the cut! If you ever visit the Hongdae Free Market, what kind of items would you shop for?

Gustare Kitchen: Our Secret In The City

I love coming to Gustare Kitchen for lunch, especially if it's been a particularly stressful day / week at work and I need some comfort food. Hidden behind The Goose Station in the relative outskirts of Bonifacio Global City, There are no signs outside W Tower (the building where it is located) to let people know it exists. Which is why I like to think of Gustare Kitchen as our little secret in the city. 

All The Pretty Storefronts In Jukjeon Cafe Street, South Korea

There's something special about walking along the streets in Samcheongdong, Hongdae, and Garosugil in Seoul. I love walking past the many pretty stores and cafes that line these streets. They're just so...quaint. And cute. I know these are terribly overused words in travel writing, but there's no other way to describe them.

Once upon a time, when I was an intern for an ad agency, I heard an anecdote about how our creative director hated the word "cute", because it was an empty word that didn't seem to have any real meaning. What does it mean to be cute, really? Well, I've seen enough KPop music videos to know that if there's anyone who can answer that question, it's the Koreans.

The same is true for their design aesthetic - from little polaroid pictures hung by wooden clothespins on a string, to plush toys and pretty illustrations, cuteness seems to be everywhere in Korea. This works for me, because I have a penchant for tiny cute cafes and boutiques, which South Korea has a lot of. On our recent trip, my friend Ica, thanks to her love for Jang Donggun and A Gentleman's Dignity, found out about this cafe street situated a little outside of Seoul which was featured in the drama. So after lunch in Samcheongong, we took the train and headed out to Bojeong-dong Cafe Street, also known as Jukjeon Cafe Street.    

While it is located outside of Seoul, it only takes a train ride and a bit of a walk to get to Jukjeon Cafe Street (click here for directions), so you can easily set aside an afternoon or an evening to visit its many cafes and boutiques. Prepare to get a sugar rush, however - we might have gone cafe hopping and tried too many a pastry and sweet dish (read: waffles topped with whipped cream and ice cream!) when we went, but no regrets! The autumn breeze made exploring the place comfortable, and even the light drizzle late into the afternoon didn't dampen our spirits. It was a relaxing pitstop in our hectic 5-day Seoul-all-you-can sojourn, and one of my favorite parts of the trip, because I got to take lots of photos! The pretty storefronts of boutiques and cafes really inspired my dreams of having my own cute and quirky cafe someday.

More pictures under the cut, and a song that always makes me want to sit in a cozy cafe (this one is my favorite in Manila!), write, or...people watch.

The 2013 To Go List: 5 Asian Destinations To Visit This Year

In my line of work, I am plagued with to-do lists, and they are both extremely helpful (they keep me organized) but also frustrating (they never seem to end sometimes!). And with this post I come to you with yet another list, but a fun one: not a To Do List, but a To Go List, with five of my top destination suggestions for 2013.

I have fond memories of all the five destinations I've included here - from swimming through a hole under limestone cliffs into secret lakes, enjoying a candlelit dinner on a balcony overlooking a riverside view, to tasting a sumptuous pork dish that could rival the Filipino lechon, these destinations are not exactly off the beaten path, but are maybe just a little ways away from the regular tourist hotspots.

3 Korean Meals Worth Waiting In Line For In Seoul, South Korea

There was shopping, KPop MV making, and a lot of fangirling, but our Seoul trip also had a lot of eating! I don't even know how Ris and Ica were able to find these food places (with diligent online research, no doubt - I love having star student friends) because when I travel, my take on food trips is to (1) skip the Western franchise (until at the airport a few hours before flying back home and I'd be craving for KFC or McDonald's - don't judge me!) and (2) drop by the nearest local food place upon the strike of hunger, without fear or worry of non-English menus and other forms of language barriers. But because Ica and Ris were more diligent in organizing our sources of sustenance for all the fangirling we were going to do in Seoul, we were able to try out these three amazing meals that were definitely worth waiting in line (in the cold!) for.

Trust me - you'll be happy you waited in line for these meals.

Make 2013 The Year You Travel! 5 Simple Tips To Get Your Adventure Started

I reckon it's a resolution on many people's lists: to travel more in the new year. It's easy enough to promise yourself this, but to actually do it - to just pack your bags, book a flight and leave - is a different story.

Now, I'm no travel expert, but here are 5 tips I've found helpful in my few years of backpacking/flashpacking/spending my employer's money on business trips across Asia. They're simple and might even be considered no-brainers, but I'm still putting them out there in case they might help you get your butt off your chair or your eyes off your smartphone while you read this, and out into the world.

So how about it - how do you fancy reading Filipina in Flip Flops on your smartphone/laptop/tablet in an empty beach, or on a sleeping bus en route to a strange new destination this year?

Fancy riding this double decker sleeping bus to Luang Prabang, Laos in 2013? Time to make it happen!

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