Saturday, April 30, 2011

WSK - My Last Assignment

I guess after half a year writing for the Korean Government, the chapter has finally come to an end. From an ordinary blog, it had transformed into some sort of travel blog peppered with anecdotes and infos.

Marinated with only-in-Korea posts and tales in Korea. They were mixed around to make a pot of sizzling hot kimchi blog!

I believe to write about Korea Brand, is not just only about writing about Korea but to experience them. It's really easy to write if we can copy straight from the newspaper and articles from the net or wikipedia.

This blog is wholly written by me without wiki or articles fully obtained from the net. Therefore, for me it was really time consuming to write often. You will never know this if you never write a blog. Though I do not promote my blog (I prefer random readers), sometimes, I find it cool to know that this blog can be read through random searches on the internet.

When you type "How to create Cyworld", "Dongdaegu Market", "Banana Milk in Korea" to even "Kaist suicide" on google search. I bet my blog will appear there**. It was unbelievable because there were so many blogs available in the web. WSK (World Students Korea) is a fantastic program to share our experiences to the people and friends.

Selected posts of my blog (Some have videos):

My Travel

"My Journey around Seoul" Posts (Do refer this link and follow the continuation)

Seoul - The Palace and the street (Link)

I was in Jeonju (Link)

Travelling around Korea (Link)

My Sonata, My Winter Sonnet - Seoul (i) (Link)


Skiing in Korea - Elysian (Link)

Post of the month - Korean Style, fab trends (Link)

Coffee prince and princess? (Link)

Cyworld - The Koreans' Social Networking Site and to create one.. (Link)

Wanna visit me in Korea FOC? (Link)

Korean Cuisine & Culture

The Colours, The innocence - Korean Hanbok (Link)

Jeonju - The sound of music (Link)

Whats for snack - Tteokbokki (Link)

Dongdaegu Market - Korean rice cake (Link)

Jeon (전) - Delicious, in every bite (Link)

My Little Moments in Korea

LCIS 2010 - Muju Resort (Link)

Global Entrepreneurship Training 2011 Korea (Link)

WSK - My Escape to Jeonju (Link)

KNU Korea - Graduation Day (Link)

Saemaul Undong (Link)

Blog articles that took lots of time to write require readers because they were practically not easy to write without anyone giving inputs or suggestions. What is the point writing long post without any readers?

Anyway, the post for the following month may be about how to shop in Korean online stores like the G-market. Till then, stay tune and happy reading.

** Refer from Sitemeter and Blog stats.

A Guide to Studying in Korea


After writing about places to visit here in Korea for tourists, I guess I would be writing about my life in Korea as a student and in it, a guide for students planning to come over to Korea and study here.

Korea combine with its modern cities and vibrant cultures - it naturally makes Korea a great place to live, study and work. Currently, I am a doing my undergraduate course in Korea as a Korean Government scholar. Malaysian government too has its own batch of students in Korea.

The students are what we called, JPA (Public Service Department) scholars or Malaysian Government scholars.

Scholars from Korean Government, Malaysian Government and Petronas at the embassy

When I arrived to Korea, I was totally not well-versed in Korean language and it was very difficult to communicate with the Koreans. (Note: Koreans can speak in English but they are sometimes "shy" to talk in it. If you try to speak with the older people especially the ajumas, it will be verydifficult)

So be prepared to face communication problem when you arrive to Korea unless you have basic Korean proficiency.

Living cost:

"The only thing that is free... is the air..."

I think this is the most important thing that comes to your mind. Honestly, I can't really give a rough estimate on it because in every city, the cost of living varies. I think a meal will set you back at approximately 3000 ~ 4000 Won but you can find cheaper meals in the student cafeteria.

In my city, Daegu (I am studying in Kyungpook National University), when I first arrived, I found out that a meal in Daegu, Korea is approximately 3 to 4 times the cost of a meal in Malaysia.

Delicious duck and pork barbeque in Jeonju 전주

Street food at Myeongdong

If you are on budget, try not to waste too much money if you are living in Seoul because you have to pay for your accommodation in dormitory (about 150000 Won ++), food, travelling expenses, etc. For Malaysians, treat 1000 Won as if it is RM 1.


"Life is not about only studying, it's about living and seeing!"

I think you are well aware of it since there are so many Korean dramas in Malaysia. Koreans especially in Seoul are generally more trendy compare to the people in other parts of Korea. Every city in Korea has high-end merchandise shops (ZARA, Guess, Uniqlo, etc) and most Koreans usually shop over there.

If you are a good "spender", for instance, always remember that in ZARA (from my experience), the clothings will always be changed every 2 weeks so you might get a "better" price for some of the clothing if you came at the right time. But, it's still not cheap.

Shop till you drop in Seoul

In Uniqlo (a Japanese brand), a cheap jeans will be about RM 100, ZARA about RM 200 but you can find cheaper ones in Homeplus (Like Tesco in Malaysia), E-Mart and other big hypermarkets.

Usually it will be about RM 60 for a pair of jeans there. Shirts there are affordable, maybe about RM 40. Just don't bring too much warm clothing from Malaysia because it can be easily purchased in Korea.

If possible, do not bring too many winter clothings! Buy them in Korea! The price is almost the same and there's more variety in winter clothings here than in Malaysia. Just bring clothing that is for the spring since you all will be arriving at that time.

In spring, you will be needing a thick sweater or jacket but you will have a bit of problem adjusting to the cold and dry Korean weather so it's quite hard adjusting for the first few days.

Karaoke time in Daegu

In Daegu, there are lots of places to play snooker, norabang (karaoke) and restaurant. I think it is the same as in Seoul or any other places in Korea. The price for the norabang is cheap by Korean standard, about 20000 Won for 2 hours if I am not mistaken so if you love to sing you can sing your hearts out over there.

There is not much variety of English songs but is still enough to make you "sing till you drop". A number of Chinese, Vietnamese and Indonesian songs are also available.


"Give a fish to a man, you feed him for a day. Teach the man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime"

Korean language is difficult when you start but gradually you will become better especially once you are in Level 2. With level 2 proficiency, you would be able to converse with the people though it would still be hard to express what you want to say.

So there comes level 3 and 4. To those that will be taking science related course here, frankly speaking, I would say a year of learning Korean is insufficient no matter whether you are in Level 5 or 6.

In my course, I have to rely on my cellphone which is my "walking translator" and sometimes my electronic dictionary. Not all biological or chemical terms can be found in that dictionary, you will realise that buying a cellphone and an electronic dictionary that function as a dictionary is almost the same.

But the only difference is that you are not allowed to bring your cellphone into the exam hall. :(

When you begin your year 2 after you had completed your Korean studies, try to ask your major's professor whether you can write your answer in english during the exam or not (Suprisingly, all my subjects can be written in english) but usually the lessons are all conducted in Korean so life can be a lil' hard.

Super fast internet service in Korea

Anyway, don't worry about that, as long as you study hard, I believe all will be fine. Learning Korean will be your best time in your life, plenty of time to watch Korean dramas (Korean broadband is super fast, everything can be watched or downloaded online), lots of field trips and plenty of foreign friends to be met. Take one step at the time peeps.


"Mirror mirror on the wall, what is the nicest season of all?"

Spring is cold with lots of cold gush of windy wind. Summer is hot, humid and is almost the same as in Malaysia with lots of rainfall (but it depends on the place that you will be living in). Autumn is the same as spring while winter is freezing cold and lots of snowfall (Note: Southern parts of Korea have relatively few snowfalls). Between the seasons, there will be lots of rain so just be prepared with an umbrella.

For your info, I like winter

About the clothing, just bring warm sweater (if you are there during spring, during the start of semester), thick jackets and unless you cannot tahan cold weather, just bring one winter clothing will do. While for the rest of the seasons, just look and buy when needed, stores around Korea sell clothings based on the seasons so don't worry about not finding any clothing.


I always believe that it's better to learn through experience than through books. At the end of my Korean language class, I travelled to China. I myself do not believe that I would be traveling to other foreign countries within a year of my stay in Korea.

Believing is through seeing, experiencing is through traveling. Happy learning Korean, trust me, this is the best time of your 5 years in Korea.

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

~Robert Frost~

I earnestly hope you will learn and spend your time wisely. Remember that this will only be the beginning of a long journey studying in Korea. Hope to see you all soon.

Best Regards,


*This post was written by me sometime back in another blog co-written by KGSP scholars of Malaysia. I edited some parts of it to bring relevance to this blog*

Pictures around Daegu

In Korea, my hobby is always photography. Photography does not requires any qualifications and no training whatsoever to be good so I have to learn from scratch. When I was young, I got myself involved in playing chess because I prefer sitting down than actual sports - ermm...

Just kidding

Nope, it was because I like playing any games that requires thinking and strategy so I think chess club might suit me well. Besides, I would like to continue to be in the club I had participated since I was around 10 years old. But for now, photography.

My Memories under the Rain

Shot in Kyungpook National University, my university. Taken on rainy day to multiply the effects.


Raindrops can really transform a windscreen into a fascinating shooting subject.

The policemen

This picture was taken at a split second when one of the policemen started to turn around and look at the camera. Instantaneously, I clicked.

My master and my guard

This is a Siberian Husky. This type of dog is loyal, big and the black-white fur made it looked more aggressive (which they are not).

The Pink lantern

The lantern marks the upcoming of Buddha's birthday celebration. Korea has two major religions, Buddhism and Christianity. Though Paganism exists, it was not as widespread as now.

My childhood craving

When I was young, I like Candy floss. I took this photo just to remind me of how time passes so quickly and how as one grow up, our preferences also change as quickly as time.

This is me and my friend. I love photography. Do you plan to take pictures with me around Malaysia or Korea? I am still learning and I took them (photographs) with my heart, not the camera - hyperbolically lah... Hehe.

Daegu - Visit or not to visit?


In this post, I will introduce you to Daegu. This is like a "Lonely Planet - Daegu" narrated by yours truly.

My city, Daegu

The city name "Daegu" or "Taegu" for some might sound foreign to many people. Unlike Seoul, Daegu is still an undiscovered city with many sights worth seeing. In terms of buildings (for people who loves seeing big tall buildings), Daegu does not lack in this aspect either. The strength of this city lies in the history and culture.

Palgongsan Temple in Daegu

Daegu has lots of old historical buildings, the ones that are in good shape mainly because long ago, Korean military government placed Daegu as one of the region that was worth developing and also at the same time, to preserve the historical monuments for the younger generations.


Daegu is the city where SAMSUNG was founded. So if you are now using a Samsung phone or using computer powered by Samsung memory cards (Samsung has a huge global share in memory chips manufacturing) while eating Samsung burger (Yes, Samsung has it's foodstuff company) or wearing a Samsung suit (They too have high-end formal wear subsidaries). Then, remember that these products are all started in Daegu.

This links below are extremely helpful

1) Daegu Pockets

Highly recommended for travellers because it comes with places of interest with maps, how-to-get-there-by-bus, etc. The great part are, it is in English and is free too!


Helpful because it has a detailed places of interest with some brief explainations on the touristic spots.

3)Daegu City Website

Very helpful to know more about the events and stuffs related to Daegu.

4) Novohotel

Located right in the downtown *PS - I am not paid for it and this is merely for your info* but it might be expensive.

In Daegu, there are lots of motels, rates varies but do have at least 20,000 Won for a night's stay.

The best time to visit Daegu is during spring or autumn. Summer is... well, hot... :)

A short video, but please be reminded that this is an old video and it only showcases a small part of Daegu. In this video, you can see the Daegu museum and the amusement park.

Hope it helps,


Note - This is another article I wrote sometime back in a blog co-written by Malaysians under Korean Government Scholarship. Check it out at this link.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Jjimjilbang - What and where?

Contrary to popular assumption, Koreans are in fact very liberal when sharing their culture. At first, they might be a bit shy but after getting to know them well, they can be great friends.

Korean Jjimjilbang or 찜질방 is one of a kind and can only be found in Korea. Besides widely known as the cheapest place to stay, there's more to be known and experience. Adventurous tourists planning to come to Korea must try this. But first, what is this Jjimjilbang?

Jjimjilbang (찜질방) is actually a public bathhouse where the bathroom is public, erm or should I say all in open view (only around the bathroom).. For the shy people it can be quite difficult because ultimately you will need to bare all if you are in the bathroom. Come on.. Who wears clothing while bathing?

Every 찜질방 has an open space where guests will be sleeping in a shared room together on the heated floor. There's a room where you can watch TV and a place where you can buy bottled water or snacks. It's very cheap to stay over here and is less than 15000 Won per night (varies from city to city).

However be reminded that 찜질방 is the last "frontier" for budget travelers so do not expect great service. Some Jjimjilbang do have separated rooms for different gender but to be safe, remember to ask first before staying.

Next to Daegu Station

Can you see the "사우나 찜질방" yellow signboard? This is it!

Right over here, behind the Daegu Bus Stop

In Daegu, we have one near the Daegu Station (대구역). It's located in front of the station and is directly behind the Daegu Station bus stop. It is called 사우나 찜질방(Jjimjilbang with sauna) so it might be great if you spent a night or two there.

Jjimjilbang is a must-stay for any tourists coming to Korea but I think only for the adventurous.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Japchae (잡채) - The Royal Dish

This is the second series of Korean food I had tried and would be recommending to you (for this month). Everything I wrote in this blog are from my experiences. I had seen, tasted and tried (minus the one with "ADV" tag) so I hope you enjoy reading them all :)

These days, I did not expect myself to be writing a lot (still exam week) but since today I have some spare time, why not? Travelling is great but eating the food is another thing. Sometimes, we have to be careful on what we eat because some food might be unhealthy and some just do not match with our taste buds.

A stall around Daegu market

Until now, I cannot eat and bare with the smell of fermented shrimps that is widely used as sauce in some Korean food. Moreover, I try to avoid eating fermented beans (usually in soups) if I can. It is the same with ramyeon, I only eat it during periods when the cafeteria or shop closes for holiday.

I have a belief that still hold true to this day. It's "Eat what you can eat, try what you haven't try and if you do not like it, just taste some and make it your last" Long huh? To simplify, it means try eating something new, if you don't like it, just don't eat it the next time. ermm... Same lah.. lol.

Direct translation : "Five senses satisfaction..."

The Royal Dish - Japchae

In Korea, there's a famous cuisine called Japchae or 잡채. At first, I thought it was just another curious Korean noodle cuisine. However, after staying in Korea for almost 2 years plus, I knew at last why Japchae is famous. During the Joseon dynasty, Japchae was among the dishes known as the Royal Cuisine.

Therefore in the past, only the wealthy and affluent were able to taste Japchae (잡채). These day, it is very easy to find it but like the Jeon (전), it is still been served as a side dish. Japchae consists of vegetables (usually spinach and carrot), glass noodles, shredded meat, mushrooms and sauces.

To make Japchae Step by Step

The best Japchae is one with perfectly sliced/shredded meat. It must neither be sliced too thick nor too thin because the seasoning will not be absorbed into the meat. Japchae can be served either hot or cold.

Jeon (전) - Delicious, in every bite

I gotta tell you something. Wanna know? Of all Korean food, my favorite is always the Jeon (전) or the Korean pancake. It's not Bibimbap, it's never fried rice with kimchi, it might not be Ramyeon and Kimchi jjigae? Of course not!

Though Jeon is one of the side dishes in Korean cuisine and is not the main dish. I love it to bits. I have no specific kind of Jeon or Korean pancake that I like, I like everything. Muahaha! lol

How to make 김치전 or Kimchi Pancake (Clip above)

There's many types of Jeon, from the pa jeon (파전) which is made from spring onion, kimchi jeon or 김치전 (made from kimchi), kul jeon (굴전) from the ever delicious oyster, Hobak jeon (호박전) or the pumpkin pancake and many many more.

Seafood pancake, Korean style

I like seafood, spring onion and kimchi pancake because it's simply simple yet nutritious. Not to forget, it's healthy too except the one made from oyster but well who really cares?

The best place to enjoy pancakes is usually at the market or restaurants (but it's quite difficult to find it over there because as said, it is usually served as a side dish and not main course). In Dongdaegu market, a big piece of pa jeon (파전) is around 4000 Won each.

The best place to try the Korean pancake is in Jeonju, the culinary region of Korea. It can be reached by bus from Daegu or anywhere with good bus terminal and will take less than 2 hours (if from Daegu).

Pancake as the main dish with 반찬 (side dishes)

The seafood pancake in Jeonju (전주) might be at least 15000 - 25000 Won per plate since Jeonju is widely known as the traditional Korean food village. Since a small bowl of bibimbap there is already 10000 Won (I wrote this before), there's a very high possibility that this type of pancake will be much more expensive.

At Jeonju..

It's really not easy to be on budget in Jeonju especially regarding the food expenses. You get good food instead! To make kimchi jeon is easy (watch the youtube video above) but it's easy said than done.. Well, but with the "right" determination and hunger for great home-cooked Korean food. You can make it yourself.

ADV - Lost in the fragrance of flowers, Spring Flowers Festivals

For those thinking of a spring day out, then this might be what you are looking for!

The unusually cold March has gone and now we have warm sunlight telling us that Spring is just around the corner. The field flowers are welcoming the spring which returned after a long absence. The fragrance of Spring is reaching at the every corner including mountains, fields and even cities of Korea.

Uiseong Cornlian cherry flower festival (Uiseong-gun, Gyeongbuk-do)

Cornlian cherry flower (Photo with permission from Uiseong-County Office)

The ‘garlic’ town of Uiseong is now busy preparing for the upcoming spring festival. It will soon organize the festival of Cornlian cherry flower whose yellow bud can remind you of a shy girl. Starting from the ritual for good harvest, night for the multicultural family, Singing contest, Walkathon and other various events. It will be held from 26th March for a few weeks.

Why don’t we go for a Spring trip to Uiseong surrounded by the scent of these yellow flowers? It will definitely be a wonderful memory that you can have with your family and your friends.

Period: 26 March 2011 (Sat)~ 10 April (Sun)
Location: Sansuyu Square Hwajeon-ri, Sagok-myeon, Uiseung-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do

The Han River Spring Flower Festival (Yeongdeungpo, Seoul)

The Han River Spring Flower Festival

There is another festival for those who cannot afford to go out of Seoul. Office workers will be glad to hear this! There will be Spring Flower Festival in Yeoui-do from 8th April with the theme, “Harmony of Flowers, Nature, Human, and Arts”.

You may find over 13 types of 87,359 spring flowers, such as azalea, forsythia, royal azalea, bridal wreath, including 1,641 trees of prunus yedoensis.

Why don’t you go for the Han River Yeouido Spring Flower Festival for the weekends?

Period: 8~ 19 April 2011
Location: Yeoui-do Park Yeouido-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul

Azalea Art Festival at Mt. Goryeo (Ganghwa-gun, Incheon)

Mt. Goryeo covered with Azalea

You might not know this Spring Flower Festival had recorded over 350,000 visitors last year including the people from capital area. Well, the name is “Azalea Art Festival at Mt. Goryeo”. This year as well, it will have the same festival that we can enjoy not only azalea but also the historical culture and clean environment of Ganghwa.

The festival will be consisting of art exhibition, photo exhibition and a small concert along the trail, cooking Hwajeon which is a pan-fried sweet rice cake with flower petals and street art performances and other various programs. It will be held from 4th to 9th April for 9 days, but the culture event will be held for 4 days during weekends. If you want to be a guest of this nature’s purple feast, this festival will be perfect.

Period: 9~ 24 April 2011
Location: Mt. Goryeo Hajeom-myeon, Ganghwa-gun, Incheon

Shinan Tulip Festival (Shinan-gun Jeollanam-do)

Shinan Tulip Festival

Shinan, Jeollanam-do, which is well-known for its heavenly nature, was selected by domestic flower experts as a best area for planting tulips with its fertile soil, abundant amount of sunshine, and a lot of sea breeze.

Since 2001, they have planted tulips in the nation’s largest area which occupied 10 hectares, and ready for the 4th Tulip Festival from 15 April. You will enjoy the various ceremonies from orchestra performance to Pungmul play, If you don’t want to miss it, do not hesitate!

Period: 15~24 April 2011
Location: Shinan Tulip Park, Imja-myeon Shinan-gun, Jeollanam-do

If you have a chance to see those flowers signaling the arrival of Spring, see in quick! But soon it will be gone and this is the best time to see the blossoms. Let’s go!

※ Source of Photos : Korea Tourism Organization

Edited from this link

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cyworld - The Koreans' Social Networking Site and to create one..

"After some time, I finally made up my mind... I've searching everywhere..." 25 Minutes by Michael learns to rock

In Korea, there is no such thing as been isolated from the cyber space. Social networking, blogging and movie watching, all while on the go is common and everything we never dreamed of in the past is possible in Korea.

In Korea, the most common form of social networking website is still Cyworld (싸이월드). Ask any Koreans whether he or she has a cyworld account, they will give you a blank look with the expression like "Huh, which planet do you came from? Of course I have it!".

Sadly, Facebook's popularity has yet to penetrate the Korean masses. I have a facebook account and I value my privacy a lot. However, Facebook and Cyworld have lots of differences in terms of privacy.

In Facebook, Tom, Dick and Harry can have multiple accounts but in Cyworld, we can have only an account each and creating one is already a pain in the a**. The main difficulties for foreigner lie in the Korean language application and the tedious steps.

The webpage is all in Korean so no matter how enthusiastic we are in having an account, it's still difficult to navigate around. So to create one?

Creating an account Step by Step

First click on this link to Nate (Cyworld)

Unfortunately, since I already have an account, I couldn't go and explain further with slides since there's limit of an account for each people to prevent misuse of identity (unlike facebook) and privacy. Actually, after this step, it's quite simple.

Fill in your personal particulars and obtain the mobile phone no. confirmation before submitting the "form".

Just key in your mobile phone number in the 휴대폰번호 (Mobile phone no.) space, click the "Enter" button and you will receive a confirmation no. Just key it in the space below and you are done :)

However, I am not saying Cyworld is a better social networking website. I think Facebook is way better but it loses when comparing the connectivity among Koreans and the privacy issues if they were to compete head to head with each other.

Whats inside my Cyworld?

My main Cyworld page (top)

My profile (mine's blank, just an ordinary guy..)

My diary (I wrote it in Korean, if only you can read it)

My photo album

Creating a Cyworld account is really complicated so unless you really want one, don't create it if you do not have basic Korean language proficiency. I created one mainly to keep in touch with my Korean friends though I rarely check it (unless I receive notifications lah). :P

One Facebook is already more than enough.

Nevertheless, that's the only avenue for me to keep in touch with them. Many years later, when we are old, as time passes, most of us will definitely wish to have friends that stay true to us till the very end.

I never think beyond this though, I just hope for friends that I can get along well, learn a thing or two from them, learning and sharing our culture together and most importantly, to keep in touch. Do you?

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"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning" ~Winston Churchill~