Archive | October 2014

Halloween Fun in South Korea!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! I have always had fun and good memories of it. I really enjoy seeing others and myself dress-up in creative costumes!

Although Halloween is a foreign holiday in Korea, it is becoming more popular over the years. In schools, some children come to class dressed up in costumes on Halloween and enjoy learning about the holiday. In one of Korea’s largest amusement parks, Everland, the entire theme of the park is associated with Halloween during the fall season. In fact, I have never seen a theme park so decorated with such elaborate Halloween decorations.

Besides spending the day enjoying the Halloween atmosphere, we ventured into two haunted houses and took plenty of pictures with zombies walking throughout the park. One of the key events at Everland was a very unique Happy Halloween parade. You can see the video at the bottom of the blog. Overall, I was very impressed with our experience!

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A Halloween tree!

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A strange mirror that makes us look so bizarre!

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So happy, to hang out with the dead!

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Have you ever seen a Happy Halloween parade? Well here’s your chance, click on this video and see for yourself.

I apologize for the shakiness of the video.

Wild Whitewater Rafting in South Korea

The first time Jason and I ever went rafting was in the Naerincheon Stream of Inje, South Korea. Back in Canada, I had always had a strong desire to try my hand at rafting. Unfortunately, the opportunity never arose. When we came to Korea, it was definitely the beginning of a new and adventurous chapter in our lives! The first big adventure we embarked on was rafting. We met some really nice Koreans, who also shared the same enthusiasm for adrenaline-pumping activities like us. Our rafting instructor was an extremely fun, knowledgeable and entertaining guide.

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The Naerincheon Stream has some of the best rapids and surrounding landscapes in South Korea. The quality of rapids are so amazing, that the stream was chosen as the location for the 2007 World Rafting Competition.

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As we rode the waves down this magnificent stream, we enjoyed the white waters as well as the beautiful nature. Our rafting trip could not have been better. It was extremely fun. It was one of the best outdoor activities we had ever done!

Floating in the Dead Sea

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While in Israel, we decided it would be fun to float in the Dead Sea! The Dead Sea is actually a lake that lies between Jordan and Israel/Palestine. This body of water contains so much salt that it is not possible for any living creature to survive in it. However, for humans swimming and floating in the Dead Sea is not harmful. In fact, due to the high salt levels, people can float easily in the water. The Dead Sea has also become very popular among the locals and tourists due to the water’s healing properties. Apparently, it is the composition of the salts and minerals in the water that provide various health benefits to the body.

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There were many rocks, like this one, that had collected salt.

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I was incredibly excited to experience what it would be feel like to float effortlessly in the world’s deepest hypersaline lake. We were advised to wear sunglasses in order to avoid getting the salty water into our eyes. We stayed in the Dead Sea for a couple of hours, just relaxing and floating around. The feeling of being unsinkable in such a vast and deep lake was amazing!

Taiwan’s Natural Wonder: The Taroko Gorge

The Taroko Gorge is a 19 km long canyon located in Taroko National Park, one of Taiwan’s eight national parks. Most visitors either ride a bike or scooter to visit the most attractive areas of the gorge. However, we decided to spend a day walking along the paved road and hiking trails to see all the highlights of this magnificent natural wonder.

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The main hiking trail we followed was called the Shakadang Trail. It was one of the most beautiful parts of the gorge. The scenic views of white rocks within the clear turquoise waters and the ubiquitous green trees were breathtakingly gorgeous.

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Along the way, we also saw this huge spider and tiny frog!

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We really enjoyed our day at Taroko Gorge. But, after walking all day, we were fairly exhausted by the end of our trip.

Witnessing the World’s Largest Flower: The Rafflesia

Situated in Malaysia, The Cameron Highlands is one of the country’s most extensive hill stations. It is home to plenty of vegetation, fresh as well as cool air, and the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia arnoldii. To witness the Rafflesia fully bloomed is a very rare event. This unisexual flower opens up after 9 months and only lives for 5-7 days.

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This flower is one of the 28 species that belongs to the genus Rafflesia, which is now becoming endangered. It is a huge five-petaled flower that can weigh up to 10kg! Interestingly, this parasitic flower has no leaves, stems, and roots. To obtain nutrients and water, the Rafflesia attaches itself to a host plant called Tetrastigma.

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The flower is notorious for its bad smell that aims to attract flies for pollination purposes.

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While we happened to be visiting the Cameron Highlands, we were informed there might we a possibility to see a fully bloomed Rafflesia. We trekked for a few hours in the beautiful rainforest, before came upon some buds of the Rafflesia.

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This bud was likely to bloom very soon.

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Eventually, we were lucky enough to spot a fully bloomed Rafflesia! The flower was indeed huge! The redish brown petals of the Rafflesia were peppered with white freckles.

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The trek through the rainforest was definitely a worthwhile adventure. We got the rare opportunity to not only see the fully bloomed Rafflesia, but also its earlier and later stages. We got a sense of the complete cycle from the buds to the bloomed flower and eventually to the dying Rafflesia.

Learning to cook Thai food in Bangkok!

Getting ready to cook Thai food in Thailand for the first time!

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Both Jason and I love eating Thai food. So, while we were in Bangkok, Thailand, we figured why not take a cooking course and learn to make a few of our favorite Thai dishes for ourselves.

Early in the morning, we met up with our friendly cooking instructor and headed off to the vegetable market. We were shown how to carefully select all the fresh vegetables and ingredients for our dishes. We had decided to make Green Thai curry with chicken, Pad Thai with chicken, papaya salad, and sticky mango rice.

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These are some of the most basic ingredients in most Thai dishes: lemongrass, galangal and chilies. I recall how much patience and hard work it took to crush and grind all the ingredients with a pestle, to make the green curry paste in particular. At the end, all the effort was worthwhile. The Green Curry dish tasted fresh and delicious!

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We were also on a mission to cook delicious Pad Thai with chicken!

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Once the noodles were mixed with the chives, bean sprouts, chopped tofu, chicken, and shrimp paste, they were set aside in the wok. An egg was cracked, and then mixed with the noodles!

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My Pad Thai chicken dish turned out to be fairly yummy! We ended up spending about 3 hours cooking all our dishes and then enjoying them until our bellies were just too full! This was a fun and definitely rewarding experience for us. If you are interested in learning how to cook Thai food while in Bangkok, I would highly recommend “Lemongrass Cooking” with Carole.

Incredible Sand Sculptures at Fulong Beach, Taiwan

Every year since 2008, the Fulong Sand Sculpture Art Festival has been held at Fulong beach in Taiwan. According to the World Sand Sculpting Association, this 3km stretch of golden sand has highly adhesive qualities, which make it the best beach in Taiwan for sand sculpting.

In Canada, I had seen a handful of ice sculptures before. However, this was the first time I had visited an exhibition of sand sculptures. I had always been impressed by the ice sculptures I had seen back in Canada, but upon seeing the sand sculptures I was overly impressed. The details and creativity of each display were incredible. I couldn’t believe the artists had succeeded in creating such beautifully stunning sculptures out of sand!

It was a delight to spend the afternoon strolling along the beach and simply admiring all the fantastic sand sculptures. Below, I have photos of some of my favorite sand sculptures. I would highly recommend this festival if you happen to be in Taiwan during May/June.

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A Beautiful Sunset in Kota Kinabalu

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A couple enjoys the radiant colors of a sunset, as it illuminates the vast South China Sea.

After traveling around the world for one year and living a year in Taipei, Taiwan, we decided to travel around Southeast Asia for 3 months. The first destination we went to was Kota Kinabalu in Borneo, Malaysia. It was while strolling near the city’s pier that I took the photograph of this beautiful sunset. It was one of the most beautiful sunsets, I had ever seen. I loved seeing the reflection of the sunset in the water. Where have you seen the most beautiful sunset?