Goodbye, Cold Seoul

I woke up later than I planned to today. The coffee I had last night really did wonder. Not only headache gone, I was also sober until 4am. It was already 946am when I rose. Immediately showered and changed and left. (I dont do skincare routine and makeups, facial wash is enough, save so much time hahahaha)

I noticed that I became more alert and wary of my surroundings. Perhaps I was still scared that I might be approached by strangers again. This was Hongdae. Hongdae was supposed to be my territory. I used to roam around Hongdae freely at 3am eating kebab out of the many clubs around. Sighhhh…

Anyway, went out and straight to Isaac Toast for their amazing Prawn Toast. One of the reason why I had wanted to come early was cause this particular branch is facing Hongik University. I wanted to observe university students rushing towards the gate, missing my uni days ;( And the part timers there are mostly students (good looking too. Eye candy makes what you eat tastes nice too, okayyyyyy) HE HE HE

Ohhhh this reminds me, back in May 2017, when I was in Hongdae with another friend looking for a cafe, we were approached by two very handsome guys. Very tall and so good looking I admit I was drooling a bit. My friend was navigating Naver Maps and I was looking around when we were approached. They asked us where we would like to go. Again, I was in hijab. Trust me when I say that NO KOREAN would voluntarily approached me because I look so damn foreign hahahaha. So yeah anyway, my friend is petite, and she looked lovely so I thought okay maybe they’re interested in her im just a squid so just shut up and let them show the way. We tried to explain the name of the cafe and they didnt get it. Granted, the name of the cafe isnt Korean and Koreans has a strange way in pronouncing foreign words. Friend showed them the name and still they looked clueless. Anyway we said thanks and tried to continue looking but they tried to hold friend on (I WAS COMPLETELY INVINCIBLE TO THEM AT THIS POINT. NOT EVEN ONE EYE ON ME, CRIES) She freaked out and I was like ‘Hey, you got admirers’, in our language of course. She gave me the eye and pulled me away from them. We were literally quick walked uphill at the alley nearby to run away from them. I was laughing all the time coz hey I never seen anyone running away from handsome guys in a flash. It became a topic to tease her when our other friend arrived. Now that I was approached again by Koreans (scam?) and twice at that, I couldnt help thinking that MAYBE it was the same way back then. Only that we never encountered such thing before, nor have we heard about the recruiting thingy so we didnt have any guard on. MAYBE. I still dont wanna think that such gorgeous hunks could be involved in cults. What a shame, sigh.

Seoul has always been a safe place for me. Ever since I started earning, I kept on coming back to Seoul for healing (<- koreans invented this term. Not actually used properly in English hahaha) Well it was so safe that I never needed to worry about being pickpocketed or kidnapped. Sure, no place is actually safe but looking back since 2011 I never had any issue with Seoul or Koreans in particular (Note: I started wearing hijab in 2016. The way I am looked at and interacted with had changed since. Still, it lessens when they realized I speak enough korean to communicate) . It was that safe for me.

Moving on, after brunch, I went to Samcheongdong (talked about this in my Cold Seoul post.)

Sorry for the lack of photos but nothing has changed since I last went. Wanted to go through Gwanghwamun but I detoured to Myeongdong instead. Spent a couple of hours in Myeongdong, went to Flying Tiger to see if they have different designs of cheap totes and left the area at 4pm. Had a pit stop at Edae for this Fresh Milk and Strawberries from Life Coffee Company for 6,000₩. Honestly I just wanted the water bottle LMAO. I did mention I love to collect junks didnt I?

Went to LOHB in Hongdae, just across my apartment building and scoured a couple of Mise En Scene Hello Bubble Hair Dyes, 2 for the price of 1 heyyyyyylooooooowwwww.

Seeing that it was still early and I needed to recharge phone, I went up to apartment, had a shower and waited until 5pm. The usual noms place I frequent closes at 2pm-5pm daily for cleaning and preparing for dinner time. I was praying hard that it wont be as crowded as lunch time. I always hate it when it’s full. The place is not big. It’s the type of normal Korean eatery where you need to sit down on the floor, legs crossed. Thats what made it always full tbh, guys in suits sometimes not able to sit close enough to each other. Think older guys in suits with protruding bellies. They mostly work at the area around. Even until today I cant figure out their exact lunch hour coz I would be there as early as 11am and 10-15 minutes later they would always be groups of men arriving in loud voices. Lunch hour that early?? So I missed my chance for lunch the day before and had to settle for the expensive Busan Jib, I walked over for 5 mins praying that dinnertime would not be as crowded. I was lucky, it was empty and the two server ladies were surprised seeing a foreign lady so casually barging in at 5mins after re-opening. The place changed. No longer we need to remove shoes and sit on the floor. They have proper tables and chairs now. I kinda missed the old layout. Ordered my usual 지리탕 and 알마리 just caused I was starving and feeling greedy with noms. The lady was surprised when I ordered in Korean. I was almost laughing had I not realised that those two ladies were not the usual Eonnies. (Erm how do I explain this…in korean eateries, foreigners would sometimes imitate what they watched in Korean dramas, calling the servers Ahjummas (older or married ladies) or Imo (direct translation = maternal aunt but in this case, it shows that whoever calling is a frequent at the place and thats the term of endearment towards the server. They get called that even tho they dont look any older than my mom. Correct me if i’m wrong, that was what a Korean friend explained to me when I tried calling the owner of a Korean eatery in Malaysia ahjussi. That ‘ahjussi’ is now an ‘oppa’ to me and he is so nice he even dragged me to a traditional tea house in Insadong when we were coincidentally in Korea at the same time hahaha. Not a scam I promise. He just values his customers.) Not even 5 mins after I had a seat, the owner of the place arrived. He was so surprised when he saw me and after we exchanged pleasantries he even exclaimed that my korean got better HE HE. it does oppa, I spent most of my free time watching dramas and listening to musics HO HO HO. And can you imagine the look on the two ladies? Theres a foreign girl in headscarf and I was chatting with the owner as if he knew me personally. He was so friendly he asked me a lot of things when he found out I could speak Korean LOL. Oppa asked me if I came alone again, which I answered him that I indeed came alone, but not for concerts. I just needed to have a nice break and winter nearly ends. In the past, when he found out that I came alone and for concerts, he always shake his head disapprovingly. Then he would ask why I wasted my time staying in Seoul when theres so many places I could go and enjoy. Many years later I found his words to be true. I was young, Oppa >_<

I didnt go to Seoul for 2 years after my father passed away. He passed 5 days after my 2 weeks long South Korea vacation. I didn have the heart to leave for any where after that. When I returned back to Seoul 2 years later, I had already donned the Hijab. He was so surprised at the change and I explained to him that my father passed away and I felt that I need to change. He always knew about muslims and the religion, Islam, but i dont think he knows anything about fathers bearing single daughters’ sins even while being six feet under. he understood that muslim ladies need to cover our aurah. He understood that much. Thats whats important. Thats why I could go to his place comfortably without being scrutinized. He last saw me in Summer 2016 and mentioned that I seemed to lost a lot of weight. I did. Not a lot but I did lose a noticeable amount of weight. I just said that work has been hard. Losing weight due to depression isnt healthy. I dont wanna mention anything about being mentally unstable. Koreans are sensitive when it comes to mental health. I will explain that in another post.

After more than a year of not seeing me, he noticed that I lost weight. He is that attentive. I dont go as often as back when I worked with AAX, but he still noticed changes. I was touched.

Drop by if you’re in Hongdae. They have amazing menu.

After dinner, I went back to C27 Cheesecake & Coffee for last round of dessert. The plain cheesecake from yesterday was so amazing I needed to try the lemon one. Not disappointing at all. Had the urge to have a few other slices for take out but I knew I wouldnt eat them later. I only eat lots when I travel or if my mom’s cooking.

Still had another hour, I decided to go back up and repacked my luggage. Most people would be surprised as to why I only had 2 nights here after the painful 9++ hrs of flight. As I mentioned, it’s a comfort place for me. So many eye candies and the overall environment makes me happy. Even if I’m all alone. Not a problem at all.

Checked-in, went past the long assed security Q and hello 11++ hrs return journey.

Goodbye, cold Seoul.

Cold Seoul

Except for the weird scam(?) encounter and expensive lunch yesterday, I had a good walk around garosugil and spent ₩ at LOHB and Olive Young. Since I dont really commited to skincare thingy, I dont bother going to the cosmetic stores. Sorry to all the promoters who kept on trying to get me to go inside their stores >_<

It was so nice seeing all the trees along Garosugil enveloped with lovely crocheted designs

Also found out Flying Tiger Copenhagen is now opened in Garosugil. The first outlet was opened in Lotte Young Plaza. Was there earlier in May 2017 and I screamed in surprised so loud my friend whacked my behind for it :/

I’m a sucker for Flying Tiger Copenhagen. All the things inside are mostly junks tbh. You can get similar items (if not better) at the same price in Butter (another junk store that I love to visit heh)

Whenever I go to Tokyo, I never failed to make a trip down to Odaiba for Flying Tiger. They have another store in Shibuya but the collection doesn’t seem that vast compared. Same thing when Im in Osaka. Flying Tiger will be the main destination. All this because of this cheap AF cotton bagsThese are so cheap I once bought more than 10 at a time for myself. I love having this type of bag coz it’s foldable and I can stuff them inside of my compact sling bag and use them when I go shopping. No waste of space, no waste on paper or plastic bags. Save Mother Earth. They’re as cheap as 3,000₩ apiece (in Korea) or 300¥ each in Japan. I got a few from my trip to Amsterdam but because they’re new in Seoul, the excitements caused me to talk about this. The designs seemed nicer and colourful too. I suspect I’ll get a few more later at Lotte Young Plaza hurmmmmmmmmm

Anyway, was strolling around Samcheondong when I decided to return to Cafe Bora. A cafe selling mostly Sweet Potato based stuff. Was here in 2016 in Spring and came back in cold winter. And I very geniusly ordered a bingsu 😭Unflattering photo I know. I have lost all desires to take nice photos when I travel honestly. I used to stop and spend a couple of minutes making sure I have nice angles and nice photo. No more. Im so used to Seoul that I dont do that anymore sighh. Anyway, the goguma chips is my absolute favourite. I used to buy a bag of them (4,000₩ per bag) but being a braceface, to finish a piece is a torture. Killjoy ;(

Cafe Bora is nearby Anguk Station Exit 1. Turn right at Exit 1, go straight and with Olive Young on your right, turn right at the corner and go straight for about 2 minutes. Cafe Bora will be on your left. Heading to Young Lotte Plaza now. Getting a few things and then off to Lotte Mart Seoul Station for junks and snacks. See if I can finally have last dinner at 대구탕 홍대 before I leave today. Oppa jebal I really need some nice piping hot Cod Fish Stew today 🙏🏼

Korea Cult(?) Scam in Hongdae

Sooooo….it finally happened to me.

Earlier on my way to Sinchon I was googling the way to walk to Edae coz I wanted to eat at the usual cheese ramyun place and was too lazy to turn back to the subway station and this came up among the search list

Intrigued, I started searching for ‘Hongdae Cult Scam’ and immediately a lot of similar results dating back from 2014 till 2017 came up. They all talked about how koreans (most of the time in pairs) approached them and asking firstly if you knew where this or that place was. A korean asking a foreigner for directions is a hilarious matter. Like seriously, even if they are fluent in English they just wont. I have korean friends, I know.

Anyway, I was walking aimlessly in Hongdae. Originally wanted to watch some street performers, but they got chased away by the restaurant owner in which they always performing in front of. The owner claimed that the people that crowded around there obstructing his business. Poor guys just wanted to perform and hoping that they get scouted to be celebrities sighhhh. So, back to the story, was walking aimlessly towards Seoul Kebab place. I was having a massive headache deciding if I should just go back and sleep (damn jetlags 😭) or just walk and find some coffee. I decided to walk. All of sudden I felt like someone briefly pulled my sleeve. Turned around and there were 2 girls asking me if I knew this place. A korean asking me. A foreigner. Like im so obviously a foreigner with my hijab on. Something snapped in my head and I was instantly alert. I told her ‘I don’t know I’m sorry) and just turned around and left. At this point I told myself, this must be the cult thingy and I’m so lucky to be able to get away. Hahaha

So after half an hour, I decided I couldn’t stand the massive headache and to get some coffee at the newly opened building next to my rented apartment. Right as I passed Mapo Tourist Information (where lots of Korean BBQ places are) I was stopped again by another pair of girls. I am a normally polite person, I swear but the way the people outside of BBQs place who were smoking suddenly paid attention to these 2 koreans and a foreigner in hijab, I was uncomfortable. I speak some korean. Enough to understand if something is wrong. So when the 2 girls asked me where I was from I knew that they belonged to the same group the earlier girls were. So these were the questions they asked me.

1. Where are you from

2. When did you arrived

3. When are you going back

4. Why do you come to Korea

So up until here I was still okay with answering. Then it started going south LOL

:Why such short trip? Only 3 days?

Yes I just feel like coming.

:Maybe you are a korean in your past life. You look like a korean. (I seriously snorted at this. People back home said I look like a filipino without my hijab on hahahhaa)

:What is this you’re wearing? /points to my hijab.

Oh this is called a hijab.

:Ohhhh. Today is a special day for Korean you know.

What day? (I swear I would know if there is really something cultural is happening when I go somewhere. I search these things)

:It’s a ceremony. We are preparing to perform ceremony. Do you know about korean culture?

Some, maybe.

:Have you tried hanbok before?

Yes, at the palace. (I lied. The only time I ever tried a hanbok was at the Korea Tourism Organism back in Malaysia 10 years ago hahahahaha)

:Oh you know about the palace? /duhhhh??/The hanbok not original hanbok. /oh really? again, duhhhhh…/

:We are actually student studying culture. We are from the downtown. Not Seoul.

(I actually asked which part. I do have some knowledge about South Korea but she stuttered and said that I wouldnt know) Normally when you asked a Korean where they are from, they would first tell you where it is, THEN if you are not familiar with the place they would continue to say ‘oh it’s so and so hours from Seoul. but this girl was stunned and couldnt answer at all. Then her phone rang and I saw the caller name ‘아버지’ /Father/ The other girl tried to gain my attention back so I pulled out my phone and said that I’m late to meet a friend. They still tried to hold me asking about my friend. I told them ‘oh my friend is from the UK’ ( I smacked myself in my head. Should’ve said friend is korean. Scared they would ask to meet the friend too) After stressing that I really need to leave I said I’m sorry and left.

This time I really went straight to where my apartment is located. But as I passed the new building I decided no, I still need some coffee. And I need to tell this story. So here I am enjoying my cheesecake and hot macchiato heeeeeee.

Please be careful. Some people actually too nice they lost money to this group (cult?).

Anyway, if you happened to be in Hongdae, come to C27 Cheesecake & Coffee at the 3rd floor. The plain cheesecake is really nice. It’s the building where you can find Jordan outlet at the ground floor. Building called EXIT.

Cheapo Traveller

I am a cheapo. Everyone knows that. Well, at least those around me do. I’m still amazed at myself at how I managed to survive for less than USD 300 for 4D3N in Seoul for each trip few times a year. Food + accommodation + flights.

Okay let me clarify…

I did a post on my first ever trip to Seoul previously. Spent about USD 150 for 3N3D, damage mostly done at the concert I attended on the first day. Didnt really spend on food coz all I had was Iced Peach Teas (yasss twice every day for the whole trip but still costly coz I got them from cafes. 4,500krw per cup. Roughly around 4usd each.) You might say that it is still impossible since I included the flight costs together in the budget. Here comes the truth…I was an airline staff. Now, before you go ‘Ahhh, you get to fly for free thats why…’ I will let you know now that the free part is BS. I get tired explaining this to people but I paid for my tix y’all. Granted, it was still less than what normal pax had to pay for their trips but the point is I still had to pay for them.

SO…I was working for AirAsia X as part of their maintenance crew. Yeah, them people who fix the jet so that you can travel worry free, supposedly. (<- I will make a post on this one day)

I was earning around USD 300 monthly for a couple of years then USD 400 slightly before I left the company. Can you see now? What I spent each time was basically what I earned for the month. If you are in travel business you would have heard about ID travel. That is where I was advantaged. Though our ID travel is not recognized by other airlines 😂 they are still beneficial to me as I travel a lot to South Korea and Japan, mainly for concerts and food.

Flight done.

Lets go to accommodation. Firstly, there are plenty of backpackers hostels around South Korea. Limited, if you chose to go to non touristy parts of the nation but the ones around Seoul, Busan, Jeju, Gwangju etc are plenty and cheap. Im talking dirt cheap. The only setbacks are the locations and cleanliness. I dont mind about location when I travel in Winter, Autumn of Spring but I get choosy when I travel in Summer. Im a big girl, I sweat a lot >.<, and are what I normally use.

Tips: You sometimes get better rates on rooms if you book directly via the hostels sites.

Favourite part and probably the main reason why I would return again and again….THE NOMSSSSS 🤤

You can get a nice filling noms for under 10,000krw at normal korean restaurant. One main dish, one bowl of rice, a small bowl of seaweed / beansprout soup (only if your main dish is ‘dry’ dish. You wont get soup if your main dish is ‘stew/soup’ based)  and unlimited varieties of side dishes or 반찬 (banchan). I’m not kidding. Skip the touristy or posh looking restaurants with overcrowded foreigners and head over to your neighbourhood alleys. Chances are, you gonna find a nice 맛집/식당 (matjib/sikdang) thats frequented by the locals and you’re gonna find satisfying meals costing even lesser than 10,000krw. The servers might not speak any english, therefore I suggest you to have basic meal/korean language copied into your cellphones as reference.

**For Muslims, please be aware of the type of restaurants you are visiting. Most seafood restaurant only use fish/seafood stocks for their dishes. Ask before you sit down and order. Koreans mostly use Canola Oil and Sunflower Oil in cooking. For fried stuff, they usually use heavier based oil that sometimes contain animal fat. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!**

Halal certified places/restaurants food is more expensive than normal restaurant. It is understandable since it is not to find most Halal prepared ingredients. But as long and you are aware of what goes inside your meal it should be fine. As long as ‘waswas’ doesnt pops in your head, that is 😂

Street food. Winter is the perfect weather to enjoy  street food. Spicy rice cake, the fried veges assortments, fish cake in hot broth, egg breads…the list is endless! You will be spoiled with choices. Koreans often pair them with Soju or Beer. You will be in heaven. I am already drooling 🤤

There is no end when it comes to food. All I can say is, if you have a favourite vege or seafood place in South Korea, hit me up!

As I’m writing this, I’m actually torn between a short trip to Bangkok or Seoul in 2 days time. Undecided 😞 Help me decide, juseyo 🌹

HaePoomTtal 해품딸

Just a short one since i am still annoyed with the vanished draft 😭

What exactly is Haepoomttal?

I am bad with words. I am bad at being creative. I think you could already guess that judging from the way I write. 

I paid for the domain. So I wanted the domain to be something that is uncommon and special. Unfortunately I could not come up with anything since ya know, I have no creative side within me. So I went with the easiest option. 

I named my domain after my most favourite drama. A korean drama to be exact. 

The actual title is 

Moon Embracing The Sun

Haereul Poomeun Tal

해를 품은 달

It’s literal title for the korean one and since it is too long the koreans normally just abbreviate the words. 



Did you notice that I have double t instead for the supposed tal

Well, I mentioned that I tried to be creative so I made it to be 딸  meaning daughter.

Daughter Embracing the Sun

Well…..I tried.

And I will talk about my Sun when it’s dark again.




I am still trying to recover the Amsterdam draft gahhhhhhhhhhhhh 😠😠😠😠😠😠😠

Seoul-tas-tic 2011

Throwback to my first ever solo trip to Seoul, I noticed how much confidence I gained when it comes to travelling alone. 3 days, 3 nights. That was all. First ever solo trip, and a very short one.

Back in 2011, when my korean was still limited to 얼마에요? (How much is this?) and 이거주세요 (Please give me this), I thought that I would die without any access to internet (Mind you, I really rely heavily on the internet for everything.) Roaming did not work on my iPhone4, and I was too poor to rent a portable wifi or a local phone with internet access. This was back in 2011, where everything was still expensive and exclusive. 

When a local low cost airline, Airasia X started operating KUL-ICN on daily basis in Nov 2010, Seoul became more accessible for those who travels in budget. Affordable fare, and it immediately became a favourite for Southeast Asians. K-pop was already a thing, K-Drama was long a craze culture hence the sector was booming and overflowing with SEAsians. I, too, was influenced. 

It was Ramadhan. It was late, almost midnight. And it was a very hot Summer. I was alone, detached from the comfort of free wifi as soon as I left the airport. I had everything printed. The map to the guesthouse, my reservation details and my itinerary for 3 days. I thought I was armed with informations. I was wrong. 

As soon as I got on the street from the subway, I was lost. I panicked. The street was still bustling. It was at the foot of Hongdae, a busy area with blinding lights full of youngsters, college youngins. Looking around, I caught 2 girls in their 20s staring at me. I was that interesting to them, map in one hand, heavy ass luggage in another. So I went to them asking if they could show me the way to my guesthouse. I just needed a point to start. I realized in an instant that they did not speak english by the frantic looks. Before I was even able to feel disappointed, they said ‘Wait!’ while one of the girls calling an Oppa (older brother/older guy friend) to come faster. So this guy was running towards us while clutching to the fedora that was on his head. 

POINT A – South Koreans are friendly.

“English?” I asked him.

“A little. May I help you?” 

I showed him the map. I told him I just need to confirm the starting point. He looked at me saying that it will be quite dark. He went to the cab nearby asking the cab driver if he could send me there. Driver refused because the address was not in his gps. Then he noticed that there is bus service going to that direction. He went to the driver, telling him to make sure I alight at the point he marked on my map. 

I was this close to kissing him.

Got to my guesthouse in under 15minutes. Everything was well.  

 pic taken next day obviously…

Point B- South Koreans are really friendly.

Day 3. I was looking back and forth to the signage and the map on my hand when a harabeoji (old man, grandpa) walked straight up to me and asked 어디가는거야 (Eodikanuengoya / where are you going?) 

“Apgujeong. Rodeo Street.” A friend had asked me to buy something from a shop there. I was too poor to even shop at places like Apgujeong (and too fat for SK’s standard) LOL

He began telling me directions in koreans. I was not that fluent I can hardly understand farther than ‘Take that left turn.’

He looked at my helpless face and took out his phone, calling his daughter asking for help. And it was his daughter who guided me through the phone. Awesome people, the Koreans.

Point C- South Koreans are friendly AND kind. 

So I managed to get to the shop, but they did not have the hoodie that my friend wanted. It was Summer and they only had Summer collections. Went back and tweeted my friend about it. While preparing to leave Seoul, friend tweeted the store and the person replied asking if I could come to Hapjeong station. I went there and a staff came, carrying the said hoodie and another limited edition tee. Apologizing for having me went all the way and telling me the limited edition is a gift of appreciation. The tee was about half the price of the hoodie! 
I left Seoul knowing fully well that I would easily return again. Anytime. 

[Did not do anything much other than attending concert on Day 1, running around Seoul looking for friends’ stuffs on Day 2 & 3. Pretty uneventful. Stick around and you will see what I found in Seoul, AGAIN.]