Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What's in a (Business) Name? Setenta y tres

Sick of eggs? Consult this doc.
Spotted in SM City in Lipa, Batangas.

For more amusing business names, please visit Go Random.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Traveling Around Jeju by Bus

When I was preparing for the trip, I could not find enough information in English about bus routes in Jeju. All of the blogs I came across suggested to rent a car or hire a taxi to get around. Since I was traveling alone and on a budget, those were out of the question.

I scoured the internet for days on end and found the Jeju Bus website...in Korean! I was able to get the information I needed (routes, schedules, fares), but it was a lot of work translating the schedules which were in PDF format. (Google translate wasn't perfect, but it was better than nothing.)

Jeju Bus Terminal (Photo from Visit Jeju)

So here's what I found out before and during my trip:

Bus Routes
The buses in Jeju are color and number coded:
  • Red / Express Bus / Route 1xx – travels between Jeju City and Seogwipo City with only a few stops
  • Blue / Main Line / Routes 2xx, 3xx – travels between Jeju City and Seogwipo City with many stops
  • Green / Feeder or Municipal Line / Routes 4xx, 5xx, 6xx, 7xx – covers a small area within a city
  • Yellow / Tourist Bus / Routes 810, 820 – goes to major tourist spots


Bus Fares
  • Red / Express Bus / Route 1xx
    • Cash: 3000 won, fixed rate
    • Transportation Card: 2000 to 3000 won, depending on distance
  • Blue / Main Line / Routes 2xx, 3xx
    • Cash: 1200 won, fixed rate
    • Transportation Card: 1150 won, fixed rate
  • Green / Feeder Line / Routes 4xx, 5xx, 6xx
    • Cash: 1200 won, fixed rate
    • Transportation Card: 1150 won, fixed rate
  • Green / Municipal Line / Route 7xx
    • Cash: 1000 won, fixed rate
    • Transportation Card: 950 won, fixed rate
  • Yellow / Tourist Bus / Routes 810, 820
    • Cash: 1200 won, fixed rate
    • Transportation Card: 1150 won, fixed rate

Payment
You can pay for your fare in cash or by transportation card (such as T-Money). Fares will be cheaper when using a transportation card. You can buy a transportation card and add credits to the card from any convenience store.

Bus Stops
Major bus stops (where many bus lines stop) usually have a digital screen with English translation. The digital screen will show the coming buses and what time the bus will arrive, but will not show the entire schedule. Bus stops where only very few bus lines stop do not have a digital screen. All bus stops have print outs of bus schedules on the wall, but these printouts are in Korean. Inside the bus, there is a digital screen announcing the stops. There is an English translation for stops for tourist sites.

Tips
* If you can read Korean, download the Jeju Bus app.
* If you can't read Korean, use Google Maps to find nearby bus stops and what buses to take.
* If you can't read Korean, but have the patience to use Google translate, you can find the bus schedules for all routes in the Jeju Bus website.
* If you are going to an area visited by few tourists, buses in that area will most likely be infrequent. Research for the schedule ahead (see previous tip) and be conscious of time.



South Korea Spring 2018
Jeju Accommodation: Sum Guesthouse Jeju Airport
Traveling Around Jeju by Bus (you're here!)
Checking out Cafes in Jeju
Location, Location, Location (for a Photoshoot)
Jeju Eats
History and Nature in East Jeju
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Jeju
Hiking Hallasan via Yeongsil and Eorimok Trails
Daegu International Airport to Gyeongju
Gyeongju Accommodation: Chacharang Guesthouse
UNESCO World Heritage: Gyeongju Historic Areas
Walking Around Gyeongju
UNESCO World Heritage: Gyeongju Yangdong Historic Village
Joining the Cherry Blossom Loving Crowds in Jinhae
Cherry Blossom Binge Continues in Busan
Busan Museum of Art
Spring 2018 Jeju and Southeast South Korea Itinerary and Expenses

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Jeju Accommodation: Sum Guesthouse Jeju Airport

Sum Guesthouse Jeju Airport
2-2, Seogwang-ro 5-gil, Jeju City 63184 Jeju
+82 7088100106

Rooms. If you are looking for private rooms, then this is not the guesthouse for you. Sum Guesthouse Jeju Airport only has dorm rooms with common toilet-and-shower rooms. There are 4-bed and 8-bed female dorms located on the second floor, and 6-bed and 8-bed male dorms on the third floor. The dorm rooms are clean and not cramped. Each bed has a curtain for privacy, heating pad, lamp, small shelf, and power outlets. There are lockers in the dorm. There is also a clothes rack with hangers. The rooms have airconditioner/heater.

 8-bed dorm

 6-bed dorm

Toilet and Shower. The toilet and shower are not separate, and there are only two shared by 12 to 16 beds. If both toilet/shower rooms are in use, and you really need to pee, there is a toilet at the ground floor. Since the toilet and shower room is combined, the floor will surely be wet if you use it after someone has just showered. There is a towel rack on which to hang your towel and clothes while you take a shower. Shampoo, soap, and toothpaste are provided. A towel, though only handtowel size (which seems to be the norm in guesthouses/hostels in South Korea), is provided for each guest, and can be exchanged for a new one daily at the reception.

Toilet and shower

Price. Dorm beds start at 16000 won. I booked a bed in Sum Guesthouse Jeju Airport through booking.com

Breakfast. The reception and dining area is on the ground floor. The room rate includes breakfast of cup noodles, toast, jam/butter, coffee, tea, and juice. Breakfast is already available by 630am.

WiFi. WiFi is available all through the guesthouse.

Staff.  The staff are friendly but not all of them can speak English, but, during my stay, there was at least one who could understand and speak English.

Security. The front door can be accessed by PINpad and dorm rooms by key. The staff will give you the key and the PIN code, but they'll assume you already know how to use the PINpad.

Laundry. The guesthouse has a washing machine and dryer and you can have your clothes washed and dried for 2000 won. It is not self-service—the staff will do the laundry for you—embarrassing if you need to do wash your underwear too.

Luggage Storage. There is a luggage storage area in the basement. You can leave your luggage there if you arrive early or if you will be leaving hours after check out.

Location. Although the name of this guesthouse is Sum Guesthouse Jeju Airport, it is not right next to Jeju International Airport, but is 2.4 kilometers away and can easily be reached by a 5-minute, 1200- to 2000-won (depending on what type of bus) bus ride (or if you'd rather walk, it's 25 minutes on foot). If you will be taking buses to get around Jeju, then the guesthouse location is perfect—it is just across the Jeju Bus Terminal. If you get hungry, you can buy snacks and boxed meals at nearby convenience stores.



About the photos: Because I forgot to take photos of the guesthouse during my stay, all photos in the blogpost were grabbed from Sum Guesthouse Jeju Airport's booking.com page.


South Korea Spring 2018
Jeju Accommodation: Sum Guesthouse Jeju Airport (you're here!)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Cebu Safari and Adventure Park

Around the second half of 2017, I heard a safari was in the works somewhere in the mountains of northern Cebu. After many many delays, Cebu Safari and Adventure Park finally opened (on an advance reservation and advance payment basis) in early 2018. Not wanting to get caught and be kept in the safari myself, I put on my Crocodile Hunter disguise and combed my mustache before entering the safari.

After a briefing at the Welcome Pavilion, we stopped to smell the thousands of orchids at Michel's Garden and the flowery serpent-dinosaur-peacock near Michel's Pavilion.

 Michel Lhuillier's orchid collection

Serpent-dinosaur-peacock at Michel's Pavilion


From Michel's Pavilion we chose a counter-clockwise direction around the Safari. On our way to the Tiger Turf, we saw peacocks and peahens, and a number of deer and black bucks. The peacocks weren't in a flirtatious mood thus no display of their beautiful tail feathers. I didn't see the Visayan warty pig though it was supposed to be around the area. Maybe I should have just looked in the mirror!

Deer and black buck

In the Tiger Turf, one tiger was playing with a coconut in the pond, and another was licking its lips observing the people observing him. Just kidding. He wasn't hungry, but he sure was staring at us. What I really wanted to see was the white tiger, but he probably knew I was coming and had decided to hide. (The Safari has, if I remember right, a dozen Bengal tigers and one white tiger. Not all of the tigers are let out all at once. If you want to see the white tiger, just ask the Tiger Turf staff for the schedule.)


We then went to say hello to our cousins: a lonely gibbon that was trying to figure out how to cross the moat and shake our hands or grab our bags, a momma orangutan playing with her little one, and a barangay of energetic funky-haired black apes or Celebes macaque.

 A gibbon thinking of a way to get across

A black ape sitting down for lunch

Then, aboard a truck, we went around the African Savanna where we saw zebras, blue wildebeests (which were grey-brown, not blue haha!), blesboks, and waterbucks. At the end of the Savanna tour, the guide asked us what we thought of the tour. I couldn't help but cry out: TOO QUICK!!!


 Zebras and waterbucks

Blue wildebeests and blesboks

After the disappointingly short Savanna tour, we went to see the Congress of the Philippines: crocodiles. There was one huge croc, just lazing in the shade with its mouth wide open. The rest of the crocs were in the water waiting for a chicken to be dropped (Php 50 per chicken).

Philippine crocodiles

Nearby were two cheetahs, one was sleeping, the other was running around though not in full speed. On our way to lunch at the Safari Outpost, we saw a lonely sulcata tortoise; and two striped hyenas, one was just lying on the grass while the other was acting crazy, going around in small circles as it went in a circle around the area. We also stopped to feed (Php 50 per skewer of fruit) two giraffes called Fred and Lola.

Cheetah

Sulcata tortoise

Striped hyena

I forgot if this is Lola or Fred

While waiting for lunch at the Safari Outpost, we observed the meerkats by the entrance and the white and black swans, pelicans, ducks, geese, and crowned cranes on the south side of the Outpost.

One of many meerkats

Black swans


Crowned crane

After lunch, there were only four areas left to see: Canopy Trail, Macaw Aviary, Animal Trail, and Aviary Dome. Along the Canopy Trail we observed cassowaries. My sister's description of a cassowary? A big bird with the body of an ostrich and the legs of a dinosaur.

 Canopy Trail

Cassowary

In the Macaw Aviary, we saw scarlet macaws, and blue and gold macaws. There were pink ones too, but they were in the back of the aviary, staying away from the crowd. Kids were enjoying feeding (Php 40) the scarlet, and blue and gold macaws.

Blue and gold macaw

Emus, llamas, alpacas, and capybaras (the cutest of all) were roaming around the Animal Trail. And in our last stop, Aviary Dome, we saw parrots, red and blue lories, and huge crowned pigeons (the birds in the Aviary Dome can be fed for Php40).

Capybara

 Aviary Dome


Victoria crowned pigeon

It took us about five hours to see the area. Cebu Safari and Adventure Park is not yet 100% complete, the Safari Stadium is still under construction, so are the hotel and adventure activities like a zipline. There are some animals that have not been shown to the public yet, like wallabies, kangaroos, camels, and lions. There are air-conditioned and open-air shuttle vans to take guests from from point to point and the walking paths are paved. And kudos to the enthusiastic and well trained staff of Cebu Safari and Adventure Park, we had a pleasant day at the Safari!


Cebu Safari and Adventure Park
Carmen, Cebu
Wednesday to Sunday
8AM to 5PM (last entry at 2PM)
Admission fee Php 800* (includes lunch)
* 50% off for kids 2~3 ft; free for kids below 2 ft.
facebook: @cebusafariph

Directions to Cebu Safari and Adventure Park: From North Bus Terminal, take a bus to Carmen and get off at the junction before Carmen National High School. From there take a habalhabal (motorcycle) to the Safari. (Just recently I saw somewhere along the highway in Carmen a sign advertising vans going to the Safari.)

This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Free Upgrade on GPSmyCity

The GPSmyCity team has gathered thousands of travel articles and city guides written by travelers like you and me and have put all these travel information in one app. With the GPSmyCity app installed on your smartphone, whether iOS or Android, you have the world on the palm of your hand.

The GPSmyCity app can be used offline, therefore, you can read the articles and use the guides without the need to be on roaming or renting a pocket WiFi or data SIM. You can go on a tour at your own pace. By accessing (for a minimal upgrade fee) the GPS-aided map, the places mentioned in the guide will be pinned on the map, tour routes will be displayed, and turn-by-turn directions between places will be provided. No need for paper maps!


Some of my blogposts have been published in the GPSmyCity app and five more have been chosen by the GPSmyCity Team for publishing:
To celebrate the release of my new articles on GPSmyCity, the upgrade (to access its GPS-aided map) to Going to, Sleeping in, and Eating in Koyasan and Nara: Sleep, Eat, and Explore Nara City article apps will be given away for FREE from May 7 to May 13, 2018! Please click on the link and try it out! (If you haven't already downloaded and installed the GPSmyCity app, it will prompt you to do so.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Wisdom from the Road #63

On laundry

Use the hostel's washing machine and/or dryer. It will most likely be cheaper than going to the self-service laundromat around the corner. Note: This tip is applicable in Japan. I am not sure in other countries.

In the middle of my trip in Japan, I needed to do laundry as I had brought just a few clothes. The hostel had one washing machine which could be used by guests for free (just pay for laundry soap for 100 yen), but no dryer. Since I was moving to another city the next day, I needed a dryer. The hostel's washing machine was being used by another guest and I was too impatient to wait. I lugged my bagful of dirty clothes and went to the self-service laundromat nearby. The laundromat was empty and all the buttons and dials on the washing machines and dryers were in Japanese. It took me quite some time to figure out how to use the machines and I also had to pay 300 yen for the washing machine, 100 yen for the laundry soap, and 300 yen for the dryer (100 yen/10 minutes).