A Night In Busan

south korea
How beautiful??
This hurts my heart

One of the girl’s named Nicole that I met through a Facebook group before coming to Korea invited me to her friend’s Rosa’s going away dinner in Busan one weekend.

We all got our TEFL from International TEFL Academy (ITA) so it was going to be a dinner with ITA peeps. ITA is pretty cool. They have Facebook groups and many other helpful resources on their website even after you get your certification.

On the 19th of March, I booked my SRT ticket from Jije Station to Busan for ₩45000. It was difficult. I tried to use my jetBlue card but then realized that I have to use my Korean card. I still had a hard time so I called and the dude helped me buy one. It’s interesting cause you can’t buy a ticket over the phone.. Luckily, for my ignorant self, the guy spoke good English. He told me you have to use the passcode that you use for the ATM. It’s nice but also frustrating at how secure the bank accounts are here.

On the 20th I took the 810 bus to Jije Station Suseo Pyeongtaek Gosokseon (express railroad) for ₩1650 and it took about 25 minutes. I walked up to the ticket booth and showed the guy a picture of my purchase on my phone and he printed my ticket out for me.

The station was nice. It had a 7/11 and a cute little cafe.

I went down and took the 313 to Busan. I got one of the early trains thinking I could explore Busan before our meetup. Little did I know the weather would change my plans.

I ended up in Busan around 10:30am and had a few hours to kill. I walked to a Subway that was about 20 minutes away from the station cause I was starving.

After Subway, I took the bus to where our hostel was located. It took about 45 minutes. Myself and two of the other girls booked a hostel for ₩12000 for the night. SO CHEAP. It was called Kimchee Guesthouse in Haeundae and it was super cute and had a nice little sitting area right when you walked in.

While I was waiting for the others so I took a little stroll and ended up going to Coffeesmith. It was only about a ten minute walk to the hostel from there.

Mermaid Statue

Once Rosa arrived, we left our bags at the hostel and went to grab something to eat. We found this sushi place near the beach. It was one of those sushi restaurants that has a display that spins around and you pick whatever plate you want and at the end of your meal the server adds up the colored plates and that’s how much your food is. So convenient.

We finished right around check-in time- 4pm- so we went back to the hostel and checked in. Then the third girl, Emily, arrived.

We walked around for a bit to kill time. We went to the mall and Starbucks.

We ended up meeting with the others around 8pm at this YUMMY pizza place called SOL in Gwangali. The pizza was actually pizza and not sweet in any way!!! Since they only allow four people per table, two of the girls sat at another table.

I tried a New York Lager and another one that I can’t remember. The place was cheap. Me and Nicole split a pizza and I think we ended up paying ₩20000 each? Plus the beers were around ₩8000-10000.

After the pizza, we walked along the beach. It was such a nice night. We tried going into this other bar but it was too full. Soooo, we hopped on the subway back to Haundae and found a bar over there. It was an Irish pub 💚 so you know what that means! Jameson.

We stayed there for a bit and chatted a lot. It was nice to be able to sit at a bar and drink and talk to people again! Felt like the pre-Covid days. Ahhhh.

Rosa and I were walking out of the pub to go back to our hostel when we saw these people go and sit with the others so we went back in. Turned out they were from Spain and they work here. They weren’t teachers but I forget what their jobs were.

Our night/morning ended at 3am. I haven’t had one of THOSE nights since Thailand and it just made me feel all good inside. Mingling and hanging out with people. It felt great.

Rosa ended up heading back to her town early the next morning. Emily and I woke up around 8am? How??? I do not know. We got ready and checked out and then went to find some breakfast. We walked along Haeundae Beach trying to find something to eat. It was very odd that there weren’t any restaurants along the beach. Naver/Kakao Maps didn’t show any so we didn’t know where else to go. McDonald’s ended up being the winner. While eating breakfast, I decided that I’d tag along and go to Daegu for the day. We booked our ticket for ₩12600 each and finished our meal.

After McDonald’s, we walked back to the beach and ended up finding a Lighthouse Observatory and Mermaid Statue. The observatory was beautiful!!! We didn’t walk down to the statue because there were people taking pictures and we had limited time. We walked to the closest bus station and we were on our way to Daegu.

Safe to say my night in Busan was a success.

The Start of My Staycation in Gimpo

south korea

We had a long weekend for Lunar New Year (February 11 & 12)

Mozzarella fries. Yummm
Lox sandwich

I also ended up getting some of my winter break during that week sooo I had the Monday-Wednesday off for break and then Thursday & Friday off for the New Year.

On the 5th of February, I packed my suitcase before work. On the way to work, I bought a T-money card at CU. You can also get them and add money on them at 7 or any convenience store. There are different cards that you can get but I got the one that works with everything (subway/bus/train/taxi) because it makes life easier.

T-money card

There’s also an app called BucaCheck (not sure if it’s the same for Androids) where you can just place your card at the top NFC and it scans your card and tells you how much money is on it and the history of usage. Cool.

The card that I got was only ₩2200, plus however much you want to put on it. It wasn’t that hard to get the card. But luckily, the guy that worked at CU spoke English. You can also use a translator such as Papago if you have trouble.

selfiezzzz @ Bonay
On the way to Cafe Road

At 10pm I was speed walking home. I opened Kakao Taxi and was on my way.

My friend Jules that I met in Thailand lives up north in Gimpo. After (almost) three months after being here (Covid sucks!!) I was able to visit her.

The drive was not too bad. It was a little over an hour.

It’s funny cause I accidentally put the wrong address into Kakao Taxi, sooo that was fun.

I ended up walking to McDonald’s that was across the street and they had a shrimp burger and mozzarella sticks. They were both okay.

After I got my food, I had to take another taxi to get to her actual apartment.

About ₩130,000 later, I ended up outside of her apartment.

Yeah, it was a lot of money 🤷🏻‍♀️

So cute 🥰

The next day I got to meet Jules’ two friends who she works with- Kylah & Charlie. We walked our way to a tasty brunch spot called Flapjack Cafe. I got a salmon sandwich with some mozzarella fries. Yum.

After brunch, we went to Bonay Cafe on Cafe Road.

Cafe Road defines itself. The road was an interesting, deserted and winding road. Most of the cafes seemed to be closed.

The nice part about living up near Seoul is that there are subway stops at every corner. Jules’ apartment is less than a five minute walk from the station! For that reason, I was able to go to many different places that week!

Itinerary from my trip (more posts have yet to come):

  • 2/06: Flapjack Pantry, Bonay Cafe & Gurae
  • 2/07: Flapjack & Netflix
  • 2/08: Lotte Mall
  • 2/09: Bukchon Hanok Village
  • 2/10: Korean restaurant
  • 2/11: Gangnam
  • 2/12: Holly’s Cafe
  • 2/13: Hondae
  • 2/14: Starbucks & journey home

I ended up staying in Gimpo for 8 days. We had loads of fun.

I made some TikToks from my trip 😊

Mahachai, Samut Sakhon

thailand
เหี้ย (water monitor)

After my six weeks in Chaiyaphum, I moved to Mahachai. Christina worked at a school there and they just happened to need another teacher. I wasn’t ready to leave Thailand yet so I packed my bags and went to Mahachai.

I stayed at Christina’s for a few nights while the coordinator looked for nearby apartments for me.

🇹🇭

Three days later I was lugging my little suitcase to “the apartment near Pizza Hut.” That was my name for it for the first few months before I knew the name. I still called it that even after I found out the actual name. My apartment was about a fifteen minute walk from Indria’s, twenty minutes from Christina’s, and ten minutes to school. It was in a great spot.

Just to give a little perspective of the Mahachai layout:

The main road in Mahachai is called Ekachai Road. My apartment was on the corner of Ekachai and Setthakij 1 Road.

The closest Tesco Lotus was about a thirty minute walk from me. I love walking but it was rough. It wouldn’t have been so bad BUT it was always sooooo hot in Thailand so walking there wasn’t too enjoyable. I’d literally step outside and start dripping.

Som tam from Tesco 😍

Tesco Lotus had a few cute stores. Also, a twenty Baht store was right outside. Inside they had: a KFC, and a Dunks (they only sold donuts). They also had a cafeteria that had delicious soup, spicy som tam, and omelets. Sometimes Christina and I would go there after school and split some of the dishes. I miss their soup. Walking further past Tesco Lotus they had this sushi place that we went to once and then tried to go again but they were closed.

Funny story: within the first few days that I was in Mahachai, a few of us teachers went to Tesco. I went to MK Restaurant by myself. It was pretty difficult ordering since I barely knew any Thai. I ended up just taking a guess and hoping that the dishes didn’t have meat it them. It worked. Later I found Christina and Teddy. They laughed at me, of course.

Truffle fries 💗

So, The White Oven, Two Ladies, Christina’s apartment, and Number 8 was on the way to Tesco Lotus. The White Oven was a western-styled restaurant that was overly priced but they had truffle fries which were mouthwatering. Two Ladies was not actually the real name of the place but two ladies worked there so that’s what we called it LOL. Number 8 was our favorite spot.When we’d go to Number 8, we’d have a feast. I actually don’t know if that was the name of it either. As you can tell we made up names for a lot of places.

Cafe’ n Garden and Jaidee were close to Indria’s. Cafe’ n Garden had BAGELS. They didn’t have cream cheese so that was sad. I’d go there on weekends for help with my hangover.

Mahachai 💕

Central Plaza Mahachai had a Homegoods store, Robinsons, Uniqlo, Starbucks, and a few other good stores. Taking a taxi was only about fifteen minutes (with all of the traffic).

The train station that we’d sometimes take to Bangkok was about a fifteen minute walk from my apartment and past the school. Walking through the fish market was always interesting (and smelly).

Three Girls and A Boy was our weekend spot. They hated waiting on us though because we couldn’t speak Thai. That was on Ekachai Road too but looking at my apartment on a map, it was to the left. We rarely went to that side of town.

Baantoon was another weekend spot that was on the main road. They had AMAZING Pad See Ew. Ahhhh. I ache for it sometimes.

Mahachai Hospital was about a twenty minute walk from me which I found out when I walked there at 5am.. food poisoning. Over that way they also had a night market, which I regret never going to, and a yummy sushi restaurant that we went to a few times.

Huge snail

Christina, Indria, and I went to this “Michelin Star” restaurant called Ruean Panya Restaurant. We got a bunch of seafood and almost got attacked by a dog. I say “Michelin Star” because it was pretty crappy food.

So, off I was to the hospital after being in Mahachai for less than a month. I was given some meds then went home and slept. I think my favorite part of going to the restaurant was that when we were leaving we saw this huge snail.

Thailand was cool for many reasons, as I have mentioned.

7-eleven is a huge thing in Thailand. They don’t have as many as Japan. Off the top of my head I can think of one 7/11 near Indria, one across the street from my school, two near Christina’s, one near the van stop, and maybe three or four near the train station/fish market.

Christmas at Nampu Plaza.. How cute?!

Nampu Plaza was also a great little building that was less than five minutes from school. They had a DQ and KFC. Sometimes after school we’d go and get ourselves a little treat at DQ.

They usually had T-shirts for sale right when you walked in. Upstairs was the food court. They had som tam and fried rice with shrimp and veggies. Delish. On the other floors, they had video games, and a great DIY store. DIY had everything..from tools to house supplies to party favors and containers.

Haven Outdoorism was a cute spot. It was on Ekachai Road. They had camping gear and yummy Pad Thai. Nutty Cake which was this dessert place we went to a few times was right across the street from it. A few doors down from Haven was another bar called Saan D Me Bar. We went there a few times. They had live music too, wooo. We went there every once in a while and also the night of my 26th birthday. It was a hoppin’ place.

So they had motorbike stops at basically every corner in Mahachai. I would walk by six stops on the way to Tesco. You’d just tell them where you were going and hop on. I became friends with the guys at two of the stops because I walked by so frequently. We’d just say hello and I’d be on my merry way.

Overall, Mahachai had some great spots and succulent food. I’m excited to talk about Thai food. That will be another post because I have maaaany pictures.

New Year’s Vacay 2019

thailand

From Bangkok to Pattaya to Koh Chang

Sweet little dog at the hostel
Bangkok, Thailand

Since New Year is coming around the corner again, I thought I’d write a throwback about better times and a fun New Year.

The long 5 day weekend started off in the capital on the 27th of December. Christina and I took a train from Mahachai to Bangkok. Taking the train was always great- it was 10 Baht and took about an hour. It stopped at Wonwian Yai. The BTS skytrain (not the band) was about a ten minute walk. So convenient.

Christina and I got to Bangkok before the others. We stayed at Phobphan Hostel in Bangkok. There was this sweet little dog there. We stopped at EmQuartier to do some shopping. Christina finally got me to shop at Zara. I got a cute shirt and skirt and she got a dress. We had dinner and waited for Jules and Indria to get to the hostel and then we were on our way. First, we stopped at Havana Social and met some cool peeps. We ended up hanging out with some people from New York. We got free shots and bottles. That’s always nice, Then this dude took us to Levels and we got more free drinks. Yay.

Havana Social
Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand is great cause they have 7s on every corner. Indria and I went to the closest one and I waited outside for her while smoking and talking to some cool Thais. We got Christina food but she was passed out by the time we got back.

We ended the night late and started the next morning early. Christina realized that she left her purse in the Grab (that’s just a fancy word for taxi that they use in Thailand) that we took back to our hostel. Luckily she was able to contact the guy and get it back. This was the start of an unforgettable New Years.

We stopped at a random spot to get a song taew to the bus station
Trat, Thailand

Jules and I had to get food in our stomachs so Indria and Christina stayed behind to get her purse. Jules and I ended up finding a Pizza Hut that was in the middle. Then, we had to take a Grab from there to the bus terminal. We had no idea where we were going so that’s always fun. Christina already bought all of our tickets and the bus was about to leave. Indria ended up coming to the bus terminal but Jules and I were already on the bus. She ended up taking the next bus. Soooo, two of us were on the same bus and then the other two were on separate buses.

The streets of Pattaya

Once we got to Pattaya Jules and I took motorbikes to our Air BnB. That was amusing because we had our big bags with us. We got to the apartment complex and waited outside. Since Christina booked the Air BnB, the lady that was supposed to collect us came out a bunch of times looking for her. We realized this about 20 minutes later?? Eventually we showed them a picture of Christina and got let into the apartment. Soon after, Christina and Indria arrived. We got settled and went out for a night walk.

The impeccable rooftop view.
Pattaya, Thailand

We had a chill night. We went to a Mexican restaurant close to our apartment and I got some tacos. There was a rooftop pool that had lovely views. The sunset was amazing. We walked the beach and saw a bunch of farangs. The next day we were on the move.

💗

We were off to our destination: Koh Chang. We went from Pattaya to Rayong and made an adorable tiny friend. From Rayong we took another bus to Trat. From Trat we hopped on the ferry and were almost to the island!!! After hopping on a curving and swerving and almost falling off of the road, we made it to our Sleepyowl Hostel.

Got a little carried away

Sunday was our first night on the island. We found this packed bar and danced, sang, and drank a lot. Indria and I found some face paint that was glow in the dark so that was entertaining. I ended up covering my whole face. LOL.

Also we saw a few fake 7-elevens on the island which was humorous.

The next day Jules, Indria and myself went to a beach and that was nice n refreshing. Christina wasn’t feeling too good lolol. The beach was hot but beautiful. The weather was perfect and the water was warm. I’m used to freezing cold water up near Boston so it was a nice change.

For some reason I think that I’m a professional photographer heheh

After the beach we went to a Greek restaurant. We were obsessed with Aesops in Bangkok so we had to compare.

Our 7/11 gear 😃

That night we strutted through the town in our 7 gear, met this bartender (picture below) that could spin his bottle opener, and met some more farangs. OH and we decided to get buckets and split them between two people. WHY? Idk. But we did it and we survived.

Rasta View, Koh Chang

Andddd the night after was NYE. We went to this Jamaican bar and witnessed another memorable view. After sweating A TON (cause that’s what my body does), we made our way back to our hostel and went to the bar that we became regulars at 😂 LUCKILY, we all made it out for NYE. They played Sorry by J Biebs (MY ALLLLL TIME FAVORITE SONG. EVER.) and played some other exciting throwbacks and we screamed in the new year. I also found some balloons so I had some accessories.

Our voyage to the mainland.
From Koh Chang to Trat

We left Koh Chang on New Years Day. That was rough. Jules had to leave earlier than us cause she was going back to southern Thailand.

Koh Chang, Thailand

Me, Indria, and Christina took the song taew back to the ferry. It was a loooong and rough ride. We struggled all the way. We all agreed it would just be easier on ourselves to take a taxi…..who wants to take a taxi then bus then van to their destination?? Especially on New Years Day. Yeah, no one. We were able to get a taxi back from Trat to Mahachai. It was worth every penny/Baht. The driver stopped at 7s on the way. We played categories, sang, and took naps. It only took a few hours.

Safe to say our New Years vacay was memorable. We all laugh about it now because of all of the complications that we faced. From Christina losing her purse to all of us being on separate buses to being complete disasters in our 7-eleven shirts. New Years is coming around the corner again so reminiscing on our NYE from last year has been great. Ahhhh, Covid-free times, it’s always fun looking back on those memories.

From top left: tacos from Mexican restaurant, fake 7/11, picture with some farangs, hummus from the Greek restaurant, FaceTime with my friends from back home, our hostel in Koh Chang, the city life in Pattaya, beautiful view from the Greek restaurant, our bartender friend, this crazy cat that bit Indria (no rabies though), and the Rasta View restaurant with their sweet little doggie.