18 Tips & Tricks to go to Seoul, Korea as a Family with Toddler

We have visited Seoul, Korea last month with our daughter (4 years old) for 3 night and 4 days. Temperature about 15 celsius, mostly sunny and a little breeze. Here the 18 tips and tricks I can share according to our recent experience.

1. Kids under 6 years old are free to ride the public transportation such as Bus, Airport Bus and Subway train. You can buy the T-Money card and top up at most convenience stores.

2. The subway station not really stroller friendly. We carried our daughter’s umbrella stroller up and down the stairs. Bring umbrella stroller instead of huge heavy bulky stroller.

3. Taxi fare is pretty reasonable compare to another big city such as Toronto or NYC. So, instead of walking to the subway station for short distance, the fare maybe almost the same if you take taxi. Majority taxi drivers speak fluent English.

4. If you plan to bring your kids to Wonderland, plan to spend the whole day over there. Even though our daughter cannot ride or enter some games due to her height, we still ran out of time to try everything inside. Pororo Land, inside Wonderland suits children 6 years under. But we had to pay about 10.000 won for 1 1/2 hours, it’s worth it because my daughter had a blast and got a change to take picture with Pororo & Eddie. In the same area there is a Lotte Aquarium (require different admission fee), compare to Toronto Ripley’s Aquarium, we found this aquarium a bit underwhelming.

5. Avoid Insadong if you are not really keen to see that place. It’s not child and stroller friendly at all.

6. Beside adult Hanbok rental, they also have children Hanbok. Try to rent at least 3 hours or the whole day so you don’t have to rust to return the Hanbok. You just don’t want to ruin your mood and have to walk back when the time is up and you are still pretty far inside the palace. And don’t book in advance because we never know what happen during the day. Travelling with kids it’s mean unpredictable. You can enter All palaces free when you wear Hanbok. You wear Hanbok on top of your clothes, so wear something tight like legging. If you have a long hair, they also provide hairstyle and make up for additional price. Locker is included.

7. At Myeondong there are some clothing street sellers during night market. For adult or children clothing you can or have to bargain. So, I will assume most of clothing merchant especially the one on the street or subway stations underground are not base on fix price. Time to use your bargaining skill.

8. From Airport to certain places in Seoul by Airport Bus (click link to learn more about Airport Bus – Fare, route, etc) it’s pretty convenience with kids. The seats are huge and comfortable. They also provide drinking water dispenser. The driver helps you in and out your luggage, so you can focus on your child(ren). I recommend book a hotel that has this bus route. You will take the same bus to get back to the airport. 3 of us had 4 huge luggage, 2 backpacks and 1 small luggage. It won’t fit the regular taxi. So transporting with Airport Bus to downtown Seoul is the best option. Price and time wise.

9. Use KLOOK apps to find some good deals for some tourist places, restaurants and activities. For Seoul itself they have pretty good deals such as wifi device rental that you can pick up and return it at the airport. We also bought our Wonderland passes through this apps. Why have to pay full price?  Use my KLOOK referral code 8JD97 to earn some rewards. The app is easy to use, you just have to read carefully their term & condition for each offer.

10. Book your hotel in advance. Check the rate on TripAdvisor or directly to hotel website. We got a good deal when we booked directly to Ibis Ambassador Myeongdong. We recommended this hotel due to its location that just few steps from Myeongdong Night Market and cosmetic store heaven. They also can keep your unused luggage so we only take the one that we need during our stay at the hotel room.(Seoul was our stay over trip after a month trip to Indonesia and on our way back to Toronto).

11. Buy your souvenir at local market such as Namdaemun Market. Even most of the souvenir have fix price, the seller will give you some bonus items when you buy couple of souvenirs with them. Just ask then they will give it to you happily. Don’t buy souvenir at the airport unless you left with no choice. Because the souvenir price at the Incheon Airport is expensive.

12. If you are a foodie but also want to save couple of bucks. Don’t spend all your food adventure on night market. Through out the day on the street, local market or subway station they also sell some snacks that usually we see on night market, the only difference is their price. On subway station the price much much cheaper. 2000-3000 won snacks price on night market, only 1000 won max at Subway stations.

13. Money changers in Myeongdong have a better rate compare to the airport. But just remember that they don’t accept all foreigners money. Eg. Indonesian Rupiah.

14. If you plan to eat your food that you buy at night market in your hotel, let them know you want to take out. They will give a plastic bag or different packaging that easy to carry. Otherwise they will assume you will eat it directly and you only have 2 hands, haha.

15. Korean seniors love kids. Don’t get surprise if they try to talk or over a candy to your kids. Their gestures are cute as our kids.

16. Don’t try google map. It’s just not working. Use Korea Tour Offline Map Apps instead. It works pretty accurate and easy to read. Especially if you want to take public transportation.

17. Spend at least 4 days and ideally 1 week to get to know and explore Seoul more. We gladly that we spent 4 days over there even though we still had some places we want to explore. Surely with kid tag along, we cannot move faster and have to follow their pace.

18. If you want to get your tax return, spend minimum of 30.000 won. For that amount and above, you will get a special receipt that you can bring to airport to get a tax return. It’s not apply on street stalls. Most cosmetic stores will give you free sample if you buy their product. Don’t fall to their marketing if you don’t really need them, they are very good at persuading you to buy more items.

That’s 18 tips and tricks that I can think of. Enjoy your trip! Share in the comment if you have some tips to share. I’m more than happy to know your tips and tricks.

Ps. This post is not sponsored.

[Review] Qi Sushi – Japaness Restaurant

When we finished our work at Downtown area yesterday afternoon, we took advantage to try some new restaurant nearby. Thanks for Yelp application who gave us some alternative. We chose this Japanese restaurant called Qi Sushi.

It was Sunday afternoon so the road wasn’t crowded and we easily found a street side parking lot. I didn’t have any special expectation rather than to fill my stomach, fresh Sushi dipping it with soya sauce and wasabi probably only the thing that what I expect.

When we entered the restaurant, inside was pretty small and compact. It pretty closed between one tables to another. So expect to hear some chit chat from people across your table, vice versa.

You can sit where ever you like and one lady immediately over us the menu and cold drink. It was brown rice tea, I’ve to admitted, it was the best brown rice tea I’ve ever tasted, and I like the flavour which is probably a bit too strong for some people.

Before we entered the restaurant, I got a chance to glare at the small board outside the restaurant promoted a special lunch of Bulgogi Beef Bento for only $6. What an offer. So, since Hadi ordered a plate of Combo Sushi, I decided to choose a Bento Box so we could have more variety foods to try.

When I mentioned about the Bulgogi, the lady told us that the offer only for Take-Out. It was $10 if you Dine-In. I canceled my order and ask for some minutes. I thought if the price is regular price then I want to look at to the menu one more time, probably there is another menu that tempting me more. Too bad the lady seemed disappointed with this cheap customer, she said in between when I wasn’t finish my sentence “It’s only $10″. I got what she means, If I stick with my first choice, it’s only $4 different and after all it’s only $10 portion of food that consider cheap for downtown restaurant. Errhh, somebody could convince me that $4 is not matter in term of eating in the restaurant in Toronto, please?

Anyway, I just a bit shocked for what she said but no hard feeling at all. I think I get used to it? I just think she was rude but that’s not enough to make us cancel the entire order and walk out. I ordered Chicken Teriyaki, instead.

The food took some minutes to arrive. A bit longer than what it supposed to. Base on there is no other customer place an order before us. But the waiting time was still tolerable because they served Miso Soup for Bento Box order and small bowl of noodle soup for every customer. The Miso Soup was ok with obvious chunk of mushroom which is good. I just didn’t impress with the noodle, a bit weird for my liking.

Instagram Video I took that day!

When the order finally came out. I was surprised; the portion of Sushi Combo was huge. It was 3 kinds of Sushi (Salmon, Tuna and Tempura) whit 8 pcs each for only $12. The rice around the Sushi was so thin and the filling was so generous. It tasted creamy and fresh. At other Japanese restaurant I guess with the same portion it will at least cost us $16.

They also delivered a good job on Their Bento Box. I’ve never impressed with any Bento veggies which is usually there as a bed for whatever Bento Meat/Fish we choose. We ended up finish all the veggies include their very fresh Japanese salad style. The Chicken Teriyaki also good, the meat was soft and well-seasoned. With the price $10 as a Lunch Special (Yes, Their Lunch Special include Weekend as well) it’s a good deal, since we could finish all of foods in the box because they’re so good.

Defitenely will come back to try another menu or when the Sushi Fever attacks us in the future. The Dinner price is more expensive with the same menu on Lunch Time.

Point: 4 out of 5!!! [Price reasonable, Food taste good & Authentic, Generous portion]

Address: 358 Gerrard St. E Toronto, Ontario

Phone: (416) 929-8989

Price: $$

Washroom: Only 1 and sharing between Men and Women

A/C Available

Parking: Road Side

Qi Sushi’s Facebook Page

 

Mochi Pandan

Kelebihannya makanan buatan sendiri bukan karena terasa lebih enak dari hidangan restoran/toko (sering kali kalah lezat), namun yang pasti, kita tahu tingkat kebersihan & berapa banyak bahan-bahan yang terkandung didalamnya.

Seperti Mochi rasa pandan ini, kandungan gula/tingkat kemanisan pada Red Bean Pastenya dapat saya kontrol.

Resep pembuatan mochi saya dapat dari Youtube Maangchi & Blog-nya Saya juga bolak balik lihat video dari Youtuber yang lain tentang proses pembuatan Mochi, tidak ada yang sekomplit pemaparan Maangchi, Sebagian yang ditonton juga bukan pembuatan Mochi kacang merah, tapi Mochi Ice Cream yang mana akan saya buat dilain waktu atau mungkin tidak pernah karena kurang tertarik.

Saya penggemar Mochi, dikala menjadi anak kost-kostan, ada satu penghuni kost asal Sukabumi. Setiap Defi pulang kampung, selalu saya nitip mochi abang-abang khas Sukabumi isi kacang dan gula yang maknyus tersebut. Mochi ala Indonesia tersebut di bungkus dalam wadah bambu dan ukuran mochinya cilik-cilik, habis dalam satu hap!

Di Jambi, kota asal saya. Mochi juga berisi kacang tanah dan campuran gula pasir. Hanya saja ukurannya besar seperti mochi Korea ini dan dijual bersama-sama dengan panganan kue-kue basah lainnya. Mochi model ini agak susah dimakannya karena tidak bisa habis dalam satu hap (kecuali maksa). Alhasil ketika digigit, acapkali bahan isian jadi berserakan, padahal isiannya adalah primadonya kue jenis ini. Perlu keahlian cukup tinggi dan kalo anda ingin tau, bisa tanya saya secara japri, bagaimana makan mochi ukuran besar isi kacang tanah secara baik dan benar, haha bercanda… saya keleceran juga kok kalo makan mochi jenis ini.

Mochi sendiri berasal dari Jepang. Artinya Rice Cake. Karena memang bahan kulitnya terbuat dari tepung beras. Di Jepang dan korea dibuat dengan sweet rice cake. Di Indo kita juga bisa membuatnya dengan tepung beras ketan. Isian mochi pun bervariasi di Jepang sana, selain ukurannya yang bervariasi pula. Tidak melulu isinya kacang merah, Bisa berupa sesame paste, lotus paste, mung bean , dll. Sebagian menggulingkan mochi ke sasame seed, Saya tidak suka model ini karena sasame seednya suka nyelip-nyelip di gigi. Kemasan pun cantik-cantik sekali dengan Mochi aneka warna sesuai dengan rasa kulitnya, seperti hijau untuk green tea, Kuning untuk Mangga, Ungu untuk Blackberry, dll.

Gak pernah terpikir untuk buat mochi sendiri. Dalam bayangan selama ini, proses pembuatannya pasti rumit dan makan waktu banyak. Intinya saya gak kepikiran deh. Jadi begitu kali ini buat & cukup berhasil ( perlu jam terbang supaya proses pembungkusan Mochi bisa lebih rapi lagi ), saya senang banget, satu lagi misi tercapai. Ya, saya sebut misi untuk hal-hal yang beyond kemampuan saya kemudian tiba-tiba berhasil melakukannya. Ada rasa bangga pada diri sendiri, tapi tidak sampai membuat saya berlinang air mata ketika mencicipi Mochi ini hehe.

Kebetulan karena di apartment semua bahan-bahan pembuatan Mochi ada ( Sorry, sebenarnya gak ada corn/potato starch, tapi gak putus harapan, pakai aja tepung yang sama ). Corn syrup juga gak punya dan memang gak niat pakai. Porsi gula dalam red bean saya kurangi sampai pada batas manis yang saya mau. Jangan sampai tidak manis atau manisnya nanggung karena rasanya akan lain, Makan Mochi tapi terasa seperti makan sandal.

Proses pembuatan paste-nya sendiri saya tidak menemui kendala berarti. Pembuatan bahan kulit via Microvawe juga lancar jaya, tapi pas ngebungkus nah disitu agak belepotan. Salahnya saya kurang sabar. Ah, tipikal saya banget ya, gak sabaran aka gak telaten kata orang jawa. Kudunya tuh paste didinginkan sampai agak keras sehingga bs dibentuk bulat2. Saya juga rada kemaruk, pengen isiannya banyakan sehingga proses ngebungkus jadi kurang oke karena bahan kulitnya tidak cukup menutupi isiannya yang segambreng. tapi berhubung untuk makan sendiri, penampakan no. 2 yang penting rasa, cie…

Red Bean pastenya saya bikin 2 resep ( 2 cup red bean dengan 1 cup brown sugar gak penuh-penuh/padat banget ). Alhasil masih ada sisa yang rencananya buat dibikin sebagai isian bakpao atau roti. Kebetulan suami kurang begitu doyan sama Mochi dan kacang merah. Dari 8 biji Mochi ukuran besar yang barusan dibuat, kayaknya saya bakal kebagian 7 atau minimal 6. Lumayanlah buat menu makan siang/malam, Maklum ya soalnya lagi diet #cuih 🙂

Rasa manis pastenya pas, kulit mochinya kenyal-kenyal. Mantap deh… silahkan dicoba dirumah masing-masing ya! 🙂

Red Bean Paste ( 2 cup red bean, 1 cup brown sugar, 5 cup water, 1 tsp vanilla )

Mochi Skin - 8 pcs ( 1 cup glutinous rice flour, 1 tbs sugar, salt, 3/4 cup water, pandan paste )

My 1st attemp of Mochi Pandan ( Yummy & Cute )

Another Mission accomplished, Yay! 😀

 

YuTan