Korea & Taiwan 2015 (1/10) – Out We Go Again

Korea & Taiwan 2015

  1. Out We Go Again
  2. Hwaseong to Gangnam
  3. Korean Fried Surf & Turf
  4. The King, the Art, and the Food Stalls
  5. Myeong Dong Kyoja
  6. On To Taichung
  7. Eating All Day Long
  8. Happy 90
  9. This is How We Breakfast
  10. Signage & More


Six week after returning from the UAE and India, we packed up our bags again.  Hong’s grandma was turning 90 in Taichung, Taiwan, and we had planned to be part of the celebration before Ting was even born.  And of course, we weren’t gonna fly all the way across the Pacific to just hangout on my home island.  We arranged for a stop in South Korea, and invited my parents along.

It’s a blue plane this time!

Getting ready to take off with this little brat!  It’s only a 12-hour flight this time.  It’d be a piece of cake…

Mei mei, you made it!

Success!  Landed in ICN alive and well!

Okay, to be honest, the trip part wasn’t that easy.  Since the last trip, Ting started moving around a lot more and learned to scream.  Therefore, even though the flight was only 75% as long, it wasn’t any less painful.  But let’s skip the details.

We regard South Korea highly.  We love k-pop far beyond PSY’s “Gangnam Style”.  We own a lot of Korean technology: washer, dryer, fridge, both phones, and Hong’s car.  We appreciate the Korean fashion (i.e. my favorite tie), and we generally regard the Korean people as the best dressed.  As such, we were quite passionate about visiting this country.

For us as tourists, Korea is at the crossroads between very familiar and extremely exotic.  Their ethnicity and culture are as close to our own as it gets, while at the same time the language is a huge barrier.  Unlike Japan where we could rely on the written Kanji to get around just about everywhere, Hangul in Korea is barely more recognizable than Arabic.  As such, planning for this trip took an order of magnitude more work than planning for UAE and India.

After guessing my way through the prompts on an airport ATM, we purchased bus tickets to our first destination: Suwon.  It’s a “small” city just south of Seoul.  It seems small with a population only 1/8 of the capital’s, although that’s already 50% bigger than San Francisco.  The best hotel in Suwon was a Ramada, but we chose to stay at another place for its much more badass name.

Hotel Castle Suwon


We’ve seen these ass-cleaning toilets before, but this one apparently also takes care of your face?  Do you have to… insert it?

Suwon was famous for galbi, which of course we’d love to try.  It was late, though, and the kids were cranky, so we opted for the simpler option of getting takeout from whatever was nearby.

On my quest to forage dinner for the family, I stopped at the first place that appeared to sell food.

I ordered the stuff that I knew how to say: soondobu, bibimbap, and (just recently learned from Jay) sujebi.

Hot soup in plastic bags looked ghetto but was delicious!

Bottled water from the plane.  I assume Jeju was in a drought after so much water got extracted from it.



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