29 March 2009

My Winter Sonata Experience

The final choice was between a trip full of adventure, searching for the Lost Horizon - The Shangri La or the romantic breakaway of Winter Sonata. The trip was actually planned almost a year in advance and I was so keen to go for the more adventurous one, with breathtaking landscapes, ancient towns and kingdoms, silk road and colorful tribes for my photography escapade. But due to my back problem which is still in the healing process, we finally decided to go for a relax and leisure kimchi experience. And it turned out to be one of the coolest (and coldest) experience ever.

To start with, the itinerary was so packed with sightseeing and stopovers, I felt as if we were one of the participants in the popular TV program - Explorace. Daily wake-up call was at 6.30 a.m local time (GMT +09:00) and the program finished at 9.00 to 10 p.m at night before we retired to our bed. Since there were so many places and so much interesting stories to share withing that span of time, it is quite impossible for me to put everything down in this limited space, thus only the highlights of the visit will be featured here for your viewing pleasure.

The 8 days and 6 nights trip started with a very pleasant Spring weather in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. Upon departing from the flight, our tour guide straight away brought us to the first itinerary of the day (Chandeokgung Palace and Namsangol Hanok Village) before we boarded our next domestic flight to the scenic island of Jeju-do.

I was told that Jeju Island is a paradise for newly married couples and a very popular destination for honeymooners. With so many natural beauties, magnificent landscapes and local attraction surrounding the island, no wonder the place is a real magnet to locals and foreign tourists. Since Jeju is actually a volcanic island, the shore lines are made up from vast area of lava. Lava tubes and special formation of lava called tephra making the place a World Natural Heritage site by UNESCO. Hallasan (Halla Mountain- 1,950 m) in Jeju is the highest mountain in South Korea. Locals got their water supply from this area and also honey from special flowers that is endemic to this region.

We spent 3 wonderful days getting around this spectacular island and headed back to the mainland for another interesting experience.

The next three days were spent travelling north to the mountainous and magnificent place of Nami Island (the original place where the popular TV drama Winter Sonata were shot), breathtaking beauty of Seoraksan National park (it was snowing when we arrived at this park!), visiting museums and orchards and back to Seoul for the final leg of shopping spree in the many street markets lining the urban street.

In short, Korea has presented us with many nice and remarkable experiences. The people is very nice and polite. The place is super clean. There is no beggar at all. A very safe place to travel even at night. The local food however is a little bit out of our league and kimchi (fermented vegetables) is a must in almost all meals, even though quite tasteful but has really upset my tummy.

Korea - a wonderful honeymoon escapade and one amazing trip to be remembered for years to come.

Gamsa Hamnida!

One of the hanoks (tradional Korean house) resemble houses during Joseon Dynasty in Namsangol Hanok Village. White is a very popular color in Korea as depicted in this house (so as the car).

The Throne Hall is one of the villas in Chandeokgung Palace. Built in 1405 during the Jeosan Dynasty. Changdeokgung was the principal palace for many of the Joseon Kings, and is the best preserved among the five remaining royal Joseon Palaces. The Palace was added to the UNESCO world heritage list in 1997.

Behind this majestic palace wall was 78 acres of Huwon (rear garden) which was constructed originally for the use of the royal families and palace women. The Secret garden was also in the vicinity. The garden is now open for the public. As it was early spring, there was not much colorful vegetation can be seen in the garden.

A calm river along the landscape trail toward the Cheonjieon waterfall in Jeju Island.

My significant half laughed at me when I took this pop yeh-yeh pose in front of Cheonjiyeon Waterfall. Cheonjiyeon, meaning "God's pond", derives its name from the legend that the seven fairies serving the King of Heaven came down to the pond on stairs of cloud and bathed in its clean water. The waterfall is 22 m high. The pond is renowned as a habitat of Mutae eels or Marbled eels.

Magnolia is among the few flowers that can be seen during this time as it was only too early in the Spring.

It may looks like a cherry blossom, but this one is the flowers of an apple tree. We were a bit early by only few weeks to witness the spectacular view of cherry blossom that is abundant in this island.

Black lava rock surrounding the coastal lines of the Jeju Island.

The last remaining Haenyo (female divers) in Jeju Island. I think meeting these women was one of the highlight in our trip. It was during our visit to Seongsang Ilchubong peak (the volcanic peak) that we found this unbeaten path that lead us to this discovery. We had our first delectable encounter with mouth-watering turban shells and ascidians here.

Mystery road in Jeju Island. Experience climbing the hill in a vehicle that has been switched-offed the engine.

Nami Island - original site where the popular TV drama Winter Sonata was shot.

Having a Winter Sonata moment with my significant half.

Snow bestowed on us with this beautiful sight when we arrived at the peak of Seorak Mountain with a cable car. We considered ourselves lucky as we actually got a 2 in 1 package - spring and winter package at the same time. It turned out the Siberian wind was knocking on the door and the temperature dropped drastically close to the frostbiting coldness.

A gigantic sandhour near Jeongdongjin Train Station (the train station closest to the sea - in Guinness book of world record). The wheel will turn upside down when it complete its one year cycle.


Yang Benar, Kakak Perkara Rawak said...

dulu aunt pegi sane..
tapi sebab die tak terer amek gmbar kot,so,tgok mcm bosan je..
tapi ni...
CANTIK SANGAT2!!!!!!!!!!

Fly said...

Salam Sohabat..seronok sangat melihat gambar 2 di korea itu, cantik doc. Bilalah kami sekeluarga akan ke sana ye :)

MariaFaizal said...

Ahhh.....sweet,sweet trip!
Did you get taste of Kimchi?How was it?

Those shots amaze me specifically the Gigantic Sand Hour which will turn upside down when it completes its cycle (ONE YEAR ? Oh wow...you need to imagine my jaw dropping at this moment :).

I think it's magical for you to experience these wonderful moments with your darling dearest ("Hi sis Zayda..")in one of the most beautiful lands on earth!

And, those magnolias!!!Arghhh.....so SWEET, I wanna grab them all!

PLUS...I see the model in YOU standing & posing at the beautiful fountain. Work it out baby! :D

Welcome back DrSam & Sis Zayda.

dr itu! said...

besh nyer jalan2!

JohnJenin said...

Welcome back DrSam,

Very very wonderful experience.

How much the trip cost? Will you recommend your tour agent? Easy to get halal food?

and take your time to answer my question. i know you need rest. Jet lag kan... :D

DrSam said...

memang banyak ambil foto. sampaikan setiap malam kena 'charge' bateri kamera. Nak masukkan semua memang tak muat kat sini.

Tahniah cikgu kerana dikurniakan cahaya mata! Semoga kehadiran Nur Dayana Insyirah menjadi penambat kasih sayang lebih mesra bersama Catlina. Mana tahu rezeki budak, sampailah tu ke sana.

I think after this I won't have even a slightest look at:

1. pickled vegie
2. anchovies
3. sticky rice
4. Seaweed

because everyday is a kimchi day! The first day, I was so excited and it was quite tasteful, I wallop kimchis like there is no tomorrow. Later that day, the effect kicked-in and other members of the group have to endure waiting for me spending time in the loo :)

Yes, that was actually a sandlass commemorating a Millennium. And the beautiful seaside train station nearby (not in this blog - so many photo shots but so limited space) was a location for a popular Korean TV drama 'sandhour'.

It was one of the very odd moment when a photographer has to pose for the camera :)

Rezeki sekali sekala.

DrSam said...

Alhamdulillah pakcik, semuanya selamat .

I will email the details of the price and the tour agent(pls give the email address).

You can easily get halal food from the many halal restaurants in Seoul, but it is going to be quite difficult (probably impossible) to get one outside the city center. You can choose the Muslim tour which will cater specially for this purpose (more expansive as the cost for halal food is quite pricey - when I asked the travel agent the price difference was RM800), but even then, they will serve you with non-pork and non-meat meals when you visit the other places (outside Seoul).

So most of our diet during the trip consisted of vegetables, seafoods, taufu and sticky rice (and of course kimchi). The only meat we got was a halal ginseng chicken specially ordered from a halal restaurant during one of our last day in Seoul.

Since there is only a one hour different between Seoul and K.L I don't have that jet lag problem. Only a bit sleepy!

Anonymous said...

DrSam pg korea..
btl2 jeles ni.

*SiRibenMerah said...

welcome back Dr Sam n family..
syioknye tgk sume pic tuh.. while u resting ur mind kat Korea, I tgh serabut ngan segala document kat Shah Alam tuh.. jelesssssssssss nya.. Since u'ols dapat 2+1 weather, semua orang sehat ke da balik malaysia yg panasss tapi tetiba hujan neh??
apepon, thanks for the lovely meeting at Sis Maria's home sweet home.. kem salam Sis Zayda and a big2 hugs n kisses to The Youngest handsome boy..

Anonymous said...

salam Dr.Sam..

uwaaaaax3... jelesx101.... nyer terasa dihati ku lalalala..

best la Dr.Sam... tak per sabar2 nanti kita sama2 melancong yer...

patungcendana said...

hey doc...nice to see u again...macam 4 tahun tak jumpa kan...hehe...

korea sounded fun...will go there one day...

so...next trip...errr...sg lembing???...:-)

Anonymous said...

this is so cool!!!!!!!!!!
wish i had the opportunity to visit korea too..hehe..
good holiday, good adventure..

CaBaiKeRinG said...

no wonder u went missing for long!!

oh my... gi honeymoon rupanya!

anyway.. happy for you guys! wish u much more beautiful trips like this in the future!

take care!


Anonymous said...

Hey bro. Welcome back & glad that you have a cool trip!

I always impressed by this country - Korea, Among the countries that were impacted by the 1997 Asian crisis, South Korea has demonstrated the fastest recovery and show another miracle for their strong economy!

I know they have the faster Internet connection EVERYWHERE. Even grandmas have faster connections than most of the Internet providers in Malaysia. the speed of Internet in Malaysia is a JOKE!

Gotta love this country and people man!

btw, Cool pose!

x said...

Lawanya Korea... Nak pi sana jugak! :D

Teja Suraya said...


xbli buah tgn untuk we ols ke??hehe..

Memorable trails... said...

Hi doc, welcome back.I ve read about these women divers in jeju island and they still exist heh..
Those Sonata moments..how romantic doc.

Zareda Norman said...

Kora adventure.. besnya tengok gambar? Apa temperature kat sana sekarang ni yer?

gman said...

hijau sebab jeles okay...
you're killing me!

a.b geldofg said...

jauh bjalan luas pmandangan.....

cantik Dr....

DrSam said...

Doakan semoga satu hari nanti ada rezeki kesana.

Alhamdulilah kami berdua sihat. Cuma hari pertama sahaja perut tak berapa sedap sebab teruja makan kimchi. Memang betul - terkejut badan sebab masa 3 hari disana cuaca agak sejuk. Pakai 4 lapis pun masih tak cukup. Baru seminggu bersejukan, bila sampai Malaysia kena panas sikit pun berpeluh seluruh badan :)

fahmi latiff,
Insyaallah jika ada rezeki. Kita sama-sama berdoa.

Ha..ha...baru aja seminggu tutup kedai. Memang teringin nak melawat Sg. Lembing yang bersejarah tu. Kena cari 'timing' yang betul.

Al-Muallim Shah @ Dino,
Yes it was one good holiday. Hope one day you have the opportunity to visit that country.

MIA for one week - things back to normal again.

DrSam said...

Daniel Ng,
Even now I can see Korea is hit again, very very hard by the turmoil. Japanese flocking to Korea buying Japanese goods. But with their good attitude and working etiquette, i won't be surprised if their country will stand strong again sooner that any other Asian countries.

Yes, you are quite right. Internet is quite fast over there and they are cheap as well.

Si Penconteng,
Dah kena mula bukan tabung khas untuk percutian dari sekarang - Namakan Tabung Winter Sonata.

TuN TeJa,
Kalau senang tu singgah-singgah le ke rumah ye :)

madam gold,
I think that was our best experience ever through out this trip, having to meet these endangered species. Their number is dwelling very fast and as you can see most are almost in their 70s or 80s.

Actually I got so excited when I stumbled upon them as I have watched Ian Wright in Lonely Planet met these women and dived with them. Lucky....!

Zareda Norman,
Hari Jumaat lepas ketika sampai suhu agak selesa 16C. Namun masuk hari ketiga, salju mula turun di pergunungan dan angin (dari Siberia) menyucuk-nyucuk sekali. Suhu Khamis lepas di Seoul 7C.

jangan jeles, nanti kena jual!

a.b geldofg,
Setuju sangat. Banyak perkara baru dilihat dan dipelajari. Ada idea yang boleh digunapakai juga. Bab kebersihan contohnya, memang kita jauh sangat ketinggalan.

ocw said...


Catch a glimpse at the scenery you captured seemed like you were in China as the buildings like the Chinese Emperor type or some sort of Hans Dynasty. Anyway, next time I want to honeymooon consider nak pergi sana le.......I want honeymoon......I want honeymoon.....Thanks for the strawbeery chocolate. Chao.

Zue said...

macammana?...cantekkan. kalau ada rezeki I pun rasa nak pergi lagi...nak bawa mak pulak. Masa kat Jeju...stay kat mana?..Nanti kami nak pergi lab tengok foto

DrSam said...

Brader Jon,
I am not sure about the china architecture but those buildings were build to resemble the buildings during the Joesan Dynasty Era (Korean). Yes it does looks quite similar on the first glance. If you look closely, especially on the Throne hall photo, you will notice there are several gargoyle-like figurines (11 to be exact) that guard the building.

You have to find your partner first brader Jon, then you can think about having your honeymoon :)

After having a long and stress-free break, I am quite free next week. Will bring the photos to my office.

Mencari Sinar Bahagia @ Tommy said...

Hello DrSam...

Nice trip....
Sorry for not dropping by ur blog long time...Been really busy with work now because I am working part time at night now...Just wanna tell you I won't be as active in my blog now like last time...Will tell you in my email soon..:)

Take care..

Encik Ariff said...

whata nice trip..

DrSam said...

mencari sinar bahagia @ Tommy,
It has been a while since the last time I heard from you Tom.

Hope everything will turn out fine to you Tom.

encik ariff,
nice place, nice weather (in the beginning) and nice people.

Anonymous said...

Salam DrSam,

Wahh Korea is 1st place that i want to visit (i wish..huhuhuu)
Best nyee... Jeju Island!! Jeles sungguh hehehe :D

Btw "Gamsa Hamnida" for sharing the coolest pic with us...love it so much

besi said...

salam dr sam...memang cantik keindahan alam....dr sam kenapa tak mandi kat sungai tu....geram betul tgk sungai tue...rasa nak lompat2 je

cendawanintim said...


oppppsssssss...Subhanallah...cantik banget view..

DrSam said...

Salam. Doakan semoga murah rezeki dan dapat menunaikan hajat dihati.

terjun kat sungai tu? Dahlah dingin, mandi pun sekali satu hari aja. lagipun dalam sungai tu penuh dengan belut (marbled eel)...geli gitu.

Mana tahu, rezeki 'baby' nanti ;)

DrKong said...

wah..happy honeymoon lah DrSam. yang keberapa kali this?

Syed said...

DrSam,... Wow.. cantiknya Korea. I ni suka ambik gambar. Kalau I pegi sana dgn 2GB card cukup tak? Harus I beli 4 GB agaknya :). With cold climate cam tu, how do you take care of your camera ya?

zafi said...

Salam bro
what a nice experience!
wish to be there soon... nice pictures... lovely day!

pal7 said...

seronok dpt tgok tempat org kan..ntah ble ade rezeki nk ke sana..hehe..

thanx 4 follow me..hehe

DrSam said...

Kengkarun Kong,
Honeymoon oversea sekali sekala aja. Tapi honeymoon kat rumah kena tiap-tiap hari :)

Tengok cara dan stail you ambil gambar, bergigabyte memori kad kena bawa kalau kesana :) Subjek menarik ada dimana-mana. memang ada cabaran tersendiri bila ambil gambar masa sejuk beku ni. Tangan sejuk, tak stabil dan kena compose dan shot cepat-cepat. Bila sejuk, saya dapati bateri camera cepat 'depleted' dari biasa. kadang-kadang lense berkabus (dari panas ke sejuk), lense asyik dok bawah baju atau ketiak aja :) sebab tu foto masa sejuk beku agak kurang!

salam! Semoga termakbul doa.

mungkin cara terbaik ialah merancang dari awal - mungkin dengan mulakan menabung untuk tujuan itu dari sekarang. Sedikit-sedikit pun, lama-lama insyaallah adalah rezeki tu.

vee_elviana said...


Thanks for sharing the moments, photos & info... wish to visit there also one.. day....
Anyway..... alhamdulillah semuanya selamat.. that's the most important..

Chai yuk!

Sally said...

waaa..bestnyer!! luvly pics indeed. wish 2 witness d beauty one day..

arsaili said...

salam..im officially jeleous..uwaaaaa...like d winter sonata part of it....now so busy n stress with work..not much time to update my blog...want to see more picture of korea

DrSam said...

It is good to share great moment with great people.

Masih di Batam atau dah balik makan nasi kerabu? Jgn lupa kongsi pengalaman.

Salam bro. Changed the original plan to visit the mysterious marketplace in Dali/Lijiang (as promised). Probably next time we can plan another trip together? Waiting for you to finish your jihad and coming back to Malaysia.

Wish you all the best and be cool!

CATZ said...

hi DrSam,,
wah...ke korea...nice place kan...
cantik banget..
hahah...i pun gelak gak tgk gaya pop ye yeh u..hem..so sweet..honeymoon di korea..
try kimchi tak?
cantiknya bunga tuhh....
teringat trip i ke sana dulu..mmg winter sonata le...heh hehhh

DrSam said...

kimchi memang dihidangkan tiap-tiap hari dan menjadi makanan wajib orang Korea. Sampaikan rombongan cik kiah yang ikut serta asyik tergelakkan saya sebab asyik keluar masuk toilet penangan kimchi :)

atie said...

Bestnya dr bercuti di korea ye...em 2nd honeymoon ha...

singamaraja said...

Singamaraja reading your blog

DrSam said...

Kalau boleh tiap-tiap hari 'Honeymoon' :)

Thank you for dropping by.

Anonymous said...

nice photo.
nice view.
and of course,
u must hv nice memories rite?

hope i can be there 1 day.

patungcendana said...


doc...airmata cinta is still airmata kan? :-)

DrSam said...

Nice memories that will last forever, yes.

air mata cinta terasa kehangatannya
air mata pilu mungkin sedingin salju

Tny said...

Hikhikhik.. retro pose pun okey jugak.. ala2 pelakon winter sonata! :D

Cantek kan.. scenic view kat sana.. everywhere!

nad said...


best nye g korea... ;)

DrSam said...

hanya pose-pose yang telepas kelulusan Jabatan Tapisan Dalam Negeri aja disiarkan :)

Tempat yang tak biasa kita lawati memang unik dan byk kelainannya.

The Cendol Champion said...

salam dr...i baru jer post
"Believe it! Jadikan Al-Quran & Sunnah Panduan kehidupan...Insyaallah..."
may it's will be useful for you....

winter sonata...:)

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