Monday, July 19, 2010

Korea - The Final Part

Seoul-Ho Chi Mink City-Kuala Lumpur

This was the final night we are spending in Seoul, Korea. The hotel Stay 7 where we are putting up is located on an island which bears many similarities with Manhattan Island in USA. One similarity is it being the business district of Seoul and thus it is also known as Manhattan and there is even Manhattan hotel beside our Stay 7 Hotel.
Since we checked in at almost 9 PM at the hotel and we will be checking out very early the next day, I didn't really have much time to explore the area around the hotel and thus couldn't write much about the area.
The next day we checked out at 7 AM without any breakfast at the hotel as we usually do. Breakfast was arranged at another restaurant en route to the airport. This quite convenient it seems.

Early morning pose infront of the hotel.

Then we rode the bus to the place breakfast. Since we have collected some money among us to tip the helper Mr. Jeung, Tuan haji Shafie was elected to present the gift. I doubt anyone knows how much was collected as we just passed the plastic bag around.

It was a Korean breakfast for us mainly comprising of kimchi and seaweed which I managed to down them all. A half boiled egg and some bread brought by Lucy the tourist guide helped those who can't take the Korean original dish.

On the shelves inside the restaurants are some souvenir samples that can be bought at the shop below. Now I know why we were made to stop at this restaurant. It was the last stop where we could finish our Korean Won or US dollars that we had on us. For those who still need a few more souvenirs to take home, this is the last chance though the price marked were definitely highly marked up. This is a good tactic and Malaysia should emulate it to extract the last bit of money from travellers before they depart for their next destination.
I found this beautiful kitchen knife which was priced at a hefty USD 35.00 an amount I could easily pay for a Victorinox. Well since we have quite a bit of unspent budget, we bought it. The knife is beautiful to look at as well as very sharp.

We bought a 24 carat plated plate with the Korean symbol.

It has found a place among our collection of plates.

We landed at Ho Chi Minh City airport.

A local tourist guide took us in a bus to our hotel.

A beautiful Pagoda along the way.

Poster of what is showing at the movies. This shows the film industry in Vietnam is still thriving.

Instead of taking us direct to the hotel, we were taken to a shop selling all sort of food. The main item was coffee. I recalled reading somewhere that not all Vietnam coffee is halal because some people roasted the bean in lard. I told my other half about it but she seemed to pooh pooh what I said. I abstained from drinking the coffee and had tea instead. She loves coffee and tasted her Vietnam coffee and fortunately she did not buy any to take home seeing that I wasn't drinking it despite my love for coffee.
Later somebody told her that Vietnam coffee are like the 'kopi musang' in Indonesia where the best coffee comes through the backside of the musang. That I concurred and made her angry that i did not tell her earlier. Hey didn't I try to caution her?

There were all sort of things they tried to sell to our group but not many of us were interested as many of us had already decided on what things to buy at Ben Than market.
We checked in into our hotel.
Tan hai Long Hotel is quite close to Ben Than Market and all we need is to walk to it.
The hotel room is cosy and the internet connection is good and free.
Some of the ladies wanted to buy 'telekong' (prayer robefor ladies). For that we were taken on a very short unnecessary bus ride. I guess the tour guide wanted to mislead into thinking that the place was far from the hotel and thus we would not be able to go on our own. Going on our own will mean cutting off his commission, a real necessity for him in this business.
While waiting for the wife to buy the 'telekung', there was a sudden electrical outage in the area. Then suddenly we saw some outlets bringing out standby generators. Such power failures seems to be a normal thing in Vietnam or at leat in Ho Chi Minh City.
A 14 year old girl was accosting me to buy some beautiful fans. She was selling them at USD10 for 10. Though I didn't want to buy them, she was persistent and hang around me like a lost cat. I tried to get her to go by taking a picture of her which she avoided by opening the fan across her face.

Sensing that she could make me buy her items by letting me take her picture, she brought the fan down. Ain't she pretty?

We walked back to the hotel. on the way we stopped at Ben Than market. There are lots of things you can buy in the market. make sure you stop there when you are in Saigon. This is how the market look from afar.

Dinner that night was again at the 4 Season restaurant, a restaurant operated by the Champa Malays. Told you the food there was so so.

That night it was another round of shopping at the street market around the Ben Than market close to the hotel. Some of the stalls were at the doorsteps of the hotel at the back entrance.

Here the other half is buying some T shirts for the male family members. price are cheap and the quality acceptable though the brands are obviously fake.

Initially we bought the yellow wooden container. Later when it was almost closing time, your truly was made to rush down to buy the more colorful one to make a pair.

This is how the city look at night near the hotel.

Pretty paintings on hotel walls. How I wish I could explore the city for such art work. Saigon is city with many talented artists, only one must know where to go.

We were up quite early the next day. We were checking out after having breakfast at the hotel. While waiting for our bus to coma, we spent sometime at the free internet station available at the hotel lobby. Below Aizat and his mum were using the internet too. They almost missed the flight home as his father Mohamad Yusoff had ofted to use the safety deposit box provided in our room to keep their passport. The box refused to open up and the hotel could not assist them despite calling for an expert. They had to wait for the supplier in Bangkok to come into office to give further instruction. Later a master password was received from Bangkok and they managed to open the box. They had to take a taxi to the airport as the bus could not wait for them. Luckily they were still in time to catch the flight home.

As usual the roads in saigon is teeming with motorbikes.

The wearing of safety helmets is now mandatory in Vietnam. hence you can see them being sold by the roadside.
Coffee corners are available around the city for breakfast. locals have their breakfast there before going to work.
The parks are used for recreation and exercise by the locals.
Finally our Tour Leader Norma representing POTO Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd, thanked the group for travelling wiith the company.

Pak Zawi slouching on a bench while waiting for the flight home. Though tiring, we did enjoy this trip to Korea which included stop overs in Saigon.


  1. salam pak zawi,
    meriah betul.
    gambar terakhir tu jangan dok tengah sms awek korea sebalik kipas tu sudah la haha.
    selamat pak.

  2. Cikli,
    Salam kembali. Budak belakang kipas tu memang budak lagi hahahaha. Dia budak Vietnam bukan Korea.

  3. Pak Zawi

    Musim apa sekarang di HCMC? Kalau musim mempelam...manisnya tidak ernilai...

    Kalau musim ciku, fuuyooh saiz cikunya...hampir 3 atau 4 kali ganda yang Malaysia..

    Musim longan? Buahnya lagi manis dan besar (sebesar duku)...

    Sayangnya...silap haribulan tak lepas kurantin dMalaysia...:)

    Tak singgah di Hong Anh collection? Tempat VVIP Malaysia membeli telekung?

    HCMC...seribu kenangan...:)

  4. nightcaller,
    Thanks for the auspicious visit. Hope more callers will come this way after your call.
    Cuba mempelam Vietnam kerana buah yang begitu mengiurkan malangnya rasanya tak sesedap mempelam Siam. Tak cuba buah lain pula.
    Tak perasaan apa nama outlet yang jual telekung pada group kami tu mungkin dah Hong Anh kot. tak tau pula ianya untuk VVIP Malaysia hehehe.

  5. Thanks for the 'tour', Zawi! It looks like you had a lovely time.

    The thing that stays topmost in my mind? The many, many cyclists and bikers on the road in Saigon! How does anyone dare to drive there?!

  6. Pat, I am so happy when you said you enjoyed the tour.
    In Saigon the cyclists seem to be the king of the road. The car drivers must be careful not to knock anyone of them down as I guess the car driver will be mobbed. So I guess it will be safe for the bikers unlike in Malaysia. Above all they are not mat rempits so they don't create trouble for others.

  7. Hello Pak Zawi, wow! Very interesting tour you all had. Korea, Seoul is a very interesting city. Been there twice long ago, but on business, no chance to tour around.

    I enjoyed looking thru your well taken pics too.
    Looking at the street pics, and seeing the millions of motorcycles, ha ha, like the start of a Gran Prix.
    I don't think I'd dare drive there.
    You have fun, Pak Zawi....and keep well, Lee.

  8. Lee,
    The Korea of now must be very different from the Korea of old that u visited if it was a long time ago.
    Saigon in Vietnam is progressing very fast. With China rapidly becoming more expensive, Vietnam will be the next country to watch as it will be developing very fast soon.
    Take care Lee.

  9. Wow, that's a lot of plates Pak Zawi! You must have been just about everywhere :) I've been to Korea too and i remember how beautiful the peoples complexions are. Made me take home some kimchee just because of that. But it didn't do anything to mine hehe... too little too late

  10. Zendra,
    Not quite everywhere yet. Still looking for new destinations. Wanna see the world while I can still walk on my own two feet. luckily the other half love traveling as much. There is no problem with the children since they are grown up and can travel on their own or at least at their own expense.
    Their complexions are beautiful? Maybe but I am not so sure as I didn't touch and feel how silky smooth they are.
    I love kimchi, dunno if it does any good to my complexion.

  11. How do the motorcyclists and motorists treat the pedestrians in Vietnam? Crossing the street must be hazardous.

  12. salam ziarah kembali, sedap makan angin pak zawi, pak zawi link blog saya kalau ada member nak ke kelantan boleh call saya harga istemewa utk member-member? terima kasih pak zawi.

  13. Louis,
    Pedestrians must be cautious of them but i guess they will give way if you are persistent enough to cross while a horde of them coming down fast on you. I would not try though.

  14. Man, bisa saja. nanti saya buat satu blog baru mengenai tempat-tempat menginap di Kelantan menjelang Hari Raya nanti. Saya lebih suka letak di LAISI yang satu lagi kerana ianya lebih popular. cuba lawati

  15. Assalamualaikum. What a fantastic tour of the nations. And thank you for sharing, I enjoyed the pictures and the funny glimpses behind each of them.

  16. Aisah,
    Waalaikummussalam. I am glad that you like it. It was really worth the effort when appreciated.

  17. Hi Zawi, just dropped by to wish you and all at home a pleasant puasa month.
    You stay young and keep well. Best regards, Lee.