Gyeongsangbuk-do - South Korea Travel Guide

Gyengsangbuk-do is chosen by the Korean government as a major tourist destination in 2017 by owning many beautiful natural scenery and five UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Visitors who are already familiar with the world famous cities of Korea such as the capital Seoul, Gangwon-do - the venue for the 2018 Olympic Games PyeongChang, Jeju Island, Busan city or many places appearing on Korean films. However, Korean tourism has many other potential places that regularly welcome large numbers of domestic and foreign tourists every year, and prominently, Gyeongsangbuk-do province is home to Gyeongju, Pohang, but not many people know.

Gyengsangbuk-do province can be considered a representative of Korea because of its beautiful natural scenery, not only owning five UNESCO-listed world cultural heritages but also selected as a typical national tourist destination of Korea by the Korean government this year.

Huai Nam Dang National Park - A Unique Experience in Chiang Mai

Coming to Chiang Mai, although Pai is so famous, why don’t you try to go a little further north to see rustic Huay Nam Dang? Huay Nam Dang is not as famous as Pai, but is the most beautiful place in Thailand with a fog ocean.

Huay Nam Dang is located on the top of a hill in the same mountain range as Chiang Dao. The temperature here can be very cold from October to December with mist all over the corner, like lifting small towns among the fog.

Huay Nam Dang was formerly an anonymous land and has only recently awakened tourism potential in recent years. Set in the midst of beautiful natural surroundings, this place is widely believed to be the perfect place to escape the bustle of Chiang Mai.

The road to Huay Nam Dang is not so easy and that is probably why so many tourists do not know this place. However, the fairytale scene of this place will not leave you overcome all the difficulties along the way.

Coming to Huay Nam Dang, you will be immersed in beautiful natural scenery, green scenery of trees and endless sea of cloud would make you want to stay here. 

Huay Nam Dang has just started to be famous in recent years and is gradually becoming a tourist destination that attracts "thousands of people" when many visitors come here to camp to watch the sunrise.

Huay Nam Dang is located about 109 km northwest of Chiang Mai. At the bus station of Chiang Mai, there is always a bus daily to Huay Nam Dang with a travel time of 3 hours.

Suggestion of 3-Day Itinerary to Co To Island

Co To, about 3 hour cruising from Cai Rong port (Quang Ninh province), is the perfect place for you to relax, avoid the heat of Hanoi.

I and my lover have had an interesting trip on Co To Island, so we would like to share experiences for you who are intending to travel to Co To avoid the heat of Hanoi.

Day 1

Means: I moved from My Dinh bus station to Cai Rong wharf in the morning, at 5h45, by Gia Phu bus. You can also choose Xuan Truong. Price 130,000 VND (5.2 USD)/ ticket. If taking the morning bus, you will not have to stay overnight in Cai Rong wharf.

Arrive at 12.30, we took time to eat a bowl of shrimp noodle. Other kinds of noodles are also about 30-35,000 VND (1.2 – 1.4 USD) / bowl.

Then I bought a boat ticket. As I did not search information carefully, I thought that any boat also takes 45 minutes, so bought the train which took 1 hour 30 minutes to get to the island. Sitting on the tail of the tail is hot while waiting for the boat to sail, but it was cool when departing. The air-conditioned cabin would be cooler. General ticket price is 200,000 VND / way/person. Experience is to buy a return ticket. If there is a storm, you will have a return ticket to the mainland first.  You can change ticket’s departure time but early call to the boat is recommended.

Rooms: This is the most headaches. I rented a motorcycle for 200,000 VND / day and poured 1 liter of gasoline. I rented 2 days, calculated to lose 345,000 VND. It seems to be expensive, but the bike was new and ran quite well.

I read online information about the resort right next to Hong Van beach, so I went straight there to find. I found it nice but pricey, and far from town. I ran along Hong Van beach to see the room, looking around, there are not many restaurants, if you are hungry it would be really a problem.

Please note that the electricity ad water here is not stable. However it was nearby the beach, so it’s great to swim in the afternoon. So, I went back to the town to find the room.

Rooms in the town are a lot, the price is also cheaper. We stayed at the “Con loc mau da cam” hotel, costs 350,000 VND (14 USD)/ room. Stand at the dock looking in the direction of 10h, you will see "whole orange building" which is very stand out. I stayed on the 4th floor, room is new clean and spacious. Special view is very nice in the early morning and evening.

Went to the room, took a little rest, and ran to the lighthouse watching the sunset. The scenery was pretty nice, you will have to pay 5000 VND for parking fee.

After that, we headed back to the beginning of the road of love to see the sky in a blaze of red, so beautiful ... Restaurants along the coast in the center are a lot, you can choose hot pot, baked seafood... I ordered a seafood hotpot which costs 500,000 VND (20 USD). It was not very good, but fresh seafood.

Day 2

We got up early in the morning, went out for breakfast and drove to Cau My beach. Road to the rock filed was easy, but if you do not pay attention , you will get lost. There are 3 rocky fields. One of them will cost 10,000 VND a motorbike, the other 2 rock fields is free of charge. You can park the bike on the side road. Water is green, rocks are beautiful too. I was there all morning, just take pictures and play.

At lunch, I chose to eat rice dishes, with a plate of squid, a plate of shrimp, a vegetable, a soup, a rice, total 300,000 VND (12 USD).

In the afternoon, we went to Hong Van to swim. The water is blue, but there are many leaves, black and white sand, and not very clean. There are many angles good for photography, many beautiful houses, so remember to bring your phone or camera to have beautiful photos.

Day 3

In the early morning, I went to Van Chay beach, but it’s not really recommended because  the far distance, bad road condition, the road to the beach was also small and being construction at that time.
I also did not go to small Co To island, because the rent is slightly high, about 600-800,000 VND.

If you want to return to Hanoi during the day, you should buy the boat ticket at 10am. About 12h15 -13h there are buses to Hanoi. Take the boat to Cai Rong wharf, everyone can have lunch here and then come back Hanoi.

The trip was not too saving, but I found it suitable, just enough for my budget. Everyone can refer and choose the right accommodation.

Co To does not have too many tourist destinations, there are many beaches but visitors often go to Hong Van beach. Evening in Co To is quite exciting, because open karaoke singing outside to 23h... Grouping is more fun, but going alone also has the good thing to enjoy.

The total cost of about 1.5-2 million VND (80 USD) is quite enough for your to enjoy a trip to Co To comfortably.

The 5 Best Souvenirs to Buy in Singapore

Pandan chiffon cake in Bengawan Solo

Pandan chiffon cake has long been popular with both locals and tourists in the Bengawan Solo bakery chain.  Featuring the « eyes – catching » green, fragrance of pandan leaf, and soft rich filling and wrapping, this « mouth – watering » cake promises to stir up your appetite with the mouthful.

Originally appeared in California in 1927, Pandan chiffon cake’s recipe was varied in Indonesia and Malaysia, where the pandan leaves play an essential role in processing cake. Thus, it created the same color and flavor as the current version in Singapore. Before Tjendri Anastasia, the founder of Bengawan Solo took advantage of the pandan leaves to create new flavor for her family dishes, and then expanded into a chain of 40 bakery shops which is currently very famous in Singapore, cakes made of pandan had been considered as « must – try » foods during cuisine exploration of tourists to this dynamic country. 

Bengawan Solo is also available in Changi Airport (near Gate C, T1 Terminal and Gate E, T2 Terminal), so you can buy this tasteful cakes as souvenirs for your relatives and friends right at the airport.

Singapore Bak Kwa (dried pork) in Fragrance Foodstuff

Bak Kwa is actually slices of dried pork, similar to sour and sweet dried beef in Vietnam. This dish is a distinguishing feature of ancient Chinese cuisine, which is widely preferred by the Fujian community. The main ingredient of this “mouth – watering” dish is pork but they might replace it with beef, chicken, etc.

Bak Kwa has served as a popular gift presenting during the Lunar New Year in Singapore for several decades.

One of the oldest shops in Singapore offering Bak Kwa is Fragrance Foodstuff shop. Originally opened in 1969, the shop enables visitors to find the various flavors of dried meat, including from Honey flavored Bak Kwa, Bak Kwa made from chicken, or even Bak Kwa processed from crocodile’s meat.

Stuffed Orang Utan at the Singapore Zoo

Ah Meng used to be the graceful famous "orangutan", the star of the "Breakfast at Singapore Zoo". Before he died at the zoo in 2008, Ah Meng had been an international symbol, shot on film in more than 30 travel films, and appeared in more than 270 articles over the world. The staff of the zoo often talk about the charm of Ah Meng including her ability tea in the cup of tea as human beings do.

Admirably,  the charming Ah Meng orangutans have met big celebrities, namely Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson, and Prince Philip in her life. In 1992, Ah Meng became the first of its kind to be awarded the Ambassador of Tourism.

You definitely see and own these stuffed orang-utans at the Singapore Zoo or the souvenir shop at Gate E, Terminal T2, Changi Airport. 

Gilding  jewelry with RISIS orchid 

Orchids has widely known as the national flower of Singapore. Featuring the pure colors and extraordinary endurance against the hardship to bloom, the orchird reflects the strong spirit of the Singaporean facing difficulties and challenges.

Since 1976, significantly, a luxury fashion brand and accessory in the lion -  island country named RISIS, has embraced 24K gilding technique plating on orchids with the aim to preserve and conserve the immortality of this pure flower.

After an unforgettable visit, you might buy pretty items of jewelry as a souvenir for yourself or for someone you love.

The Merlion

Merlion Sea Lion has long served national symbol in Singapore featuring a half- lion and a half fish chimery. Especially,  the lion's head represents the original name of the country, Singapura (means lion city). In term of the second half of the body in the shape of a fish, it refers to the origin from a fishing village of the lion – land country. So, that is the reason why visitors see the image Merlion appear scattering along the souvenir shops and the streets themselves when stepping foot in this dynamic country.

Some of Merlion's souvenirs that tourists highly preferred are keychains, lighters, photo frames, etc.  Additionally, you might buy T-shirts, candies, chocolate and other various products capturing this national symbol as a useful and pretty souvenirs for friends and family. 

The Best Places to Shopping in Singapore

In Singapore, there are two major discount seasons called GSS (Great Singapore Sale), which can be simply seen as a discount at the end of the season. The sale off time is divided into 2 main seasons, namely summer and winter. The summer discount happens between June and August with the biggest is from July to August. Meanwhile, winter sale begins from December to February, of which the sharpest falls at Christmas and in January. During these two sale seasons, the majority of products will be reduced by 50 - 70%.

Of course, there is no shortage of tourist attractions in Singapore, but for the purpose of the best ones to visit during sale - off seasons, I would recommend top 10 destinations as followed:

1. Mandarin Gallery

Located on Orchard Road, the Mandarin Gallery, formerly known as the Meritus Mandarin Shopping Arcade, has recently undergone extensive refurbishment to provide guests with a wide selection of shopping options.

Although slightly smaller than other shopping centers, Mandarin Gallery still has many luxury brands such as Just Cavalli, D & G, Esprit, Emporio Armani ... In addition, Mandarin Gallery is also an ideal place to Enjoy variety with famous restaurants like Wild Honey, Suju Japanese, Thai Thai or Ma Maison Tonkatsu.

2. Suntec City Mall

Not only does Suntec City Mall serve as a shopping center, it also offers offices for lease and an international exhibition and conference center. Featuring above 120 retail outlets, the shopping mall is divided into four zones of distinct styles, including Galleria, Tropics, Entertainment Center and Fountain Terrace, in which shoppers definitely immerse themselves in products on discount. Additionally, Suntec City Mall owns several "flagship" stores of famous brands. Especially, during sale-off seasons, this shopping mall holds a lot of events to boost « shopping demand ».

3. Lucky Plaza

In spite of being housed on Orchard Boulevard, which offers high - end products, Lucky Plaza has long been known for its affordable – priced items, satisfy tastes and preferences of the majority of the customers. Visting the plaza, shoppers would certainly buy clothes of reasonable prices, accessories, sunglasses, watches, perfume, candy, etc.

4. VivoCity Mega Mall

As the largest retail center in Singapore, VivoCity provides shoppers with numerous shopping options. In addition, VivoCity offers Singapore's largest cinema and toy store, theater, swimming pool and four – season dining areas. The mall also holds music and arts performance programs, international trade fairs, and famous fashion show, etc. Thus, you will definitely have unforgettable experiences during your visit to this mega mall.

5. Singapore International Jewelry Expo – SIJE

Taking place from 21st to 24th, July 2016, the International Jewelry Exhibition (SIJE) is undoubtedly an ideal destination for shoppers, in general, and jewelry « hungers », in particular. The Expo is characterized by the showcase of the latest unique products of the most famous jewelry designers. Especially, tourists will have a chance to be the lucky draw winner of a  4,900$ - worth prize when visiting the workshop.

The Best Views of Singapore

As a photographer growing up in Singapore, Yik Keat Lee has a deep affection for this modern and dynamic island nation.

Talking about Singapore, Yik Keat Lee expresses his deep pride in the way he names his country, « future city », in which various unique cultures and sophisticated architectures are displayed.

Over the past few years, Yik Keat Lee has been taking charming pictures of the beauty of the city which he describes " that you have never seen before". The most « worthy – mentioning » architectural works must be the high - end Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the impressive Learning Hub building at Nanyang Technological University, the modern buildings, the highways, etc.

Let’s see the highlights of Singapore’s architecture through the lens Yik Keat Lee introduced by the BoredPanda as followed:

15 Interesting Experience of Travelling to Siem Reap

1. Drinking beer in Pub Street: Pub Street is considered the western quarters of Siem Reap with a row of restaurants and bustling bars. Most of the bars here are open all day but they only operate from 5 pm until midnight and even throughout the night.

2. Enjoy the cocktail at Miss Wong Restaurant: If you do not like the hustle and bustle of the bars and still want to enjoy a delicious cocktail, go to Miss Wong Restaurant.

3. Food tour on a Vespa in the evening: Join this tour, visitors can enjoy many typical dishes of the country of pagoda, introduced by local guides.

4. Enjoy bamboo rice: This is a specialty dish of Cambodia, made from sticky rice and then put in fresh bamboo tubes and grilled on charcoal stove.

5. Enjoy scorpion salad at Bugs Cafe: For Cambodians, insect dishes are considered as high nutritious food so that visitors can easily enjoy many dishes from insects in Siem Reap.

6. See Phare Circus: In Siem Reap, you can relax in the evening by buying a circus ticket at Phare - a famous circus in Siem Reap. Phare shows often feature a combination of traditional and modern culture, suitable for children and adults.

7. Visit a floating village: Arrive Siem Reap, you can visit the floating village to experience the floating life of the Cambodian people. The two most famous villages are Kompong Phluk and Kompong Khleang. You can visit these villages in small boats.

8. Visit the Landmine Museum: After Angkor Wat, the Landmine Museum is also a popular tourist attraction in Siem Reap. When visiting the museum, visitors will learn about the weapons, bombs and mines during the war.

9. Visit Senteurs d'Angkor: Senteurs d'Angkor is the ideal place for you to learn about the unique crafting process of Cambodia.

10. Join a cooking class: There is no better way to experience Siem Reap cuisine than involving  in a cooking class.

11. Take a photo tour: This will help you find the best places to take pictures as well as avoid crowded tourist sites.

12. zipline experience: Zipline is a popular roulette game in Asia and Siem Reap is no exception. In particular, there are several zipline locations in Siem Reap that allow visitors to see the Angkor population remotely.

13. Horseback riding: An equally enjoyable experience compared to the zipline is horseback riding to explore the countryside in Siem Reap and the ideal hint for you is Happy Ranch.

14. Chat with the Indigenous People: Cambodian people are very friendly with visitors from hotel staff, drivers, ... even in many cases they are excellent guides for visitors.

15. Soak in the swimming pool: Because Siem Reap's climate is quite dry and hot, after a day of exhausting sightseeing, there is nothing better than a dip in the cool swimming pool. Almost all 4 and 5-star hotels have a swimming pool, and if you do not stay in these hotels, you can also use the pool for a small fee.