Monday, June 27, 2011

Standard Chartered KL Marathon-SCKLM 2011

Standard Chartered KL Marathon
Dataran Merdeka
26th June 2011 , 5:00am

This is the 3rd year I am running in this Standard Chartered KL Marathon and for a change,my three kids are joining me too.They are taking part in the kids dash.

***Running bibs of myself and my 3 kids.Have to go to Bukit Jalil to collect the kids bibs as the organizer did not provide courier service for kids dash.The bibs collection was very fast and smooth.Not many runners were there on Saturday afternoon.***

We decided to stay in KL the night before the race because I wouldn't want to drive very early in the morning with my family tagging along.We put up in The Starpoint Hotel in Jalan Masjid India.The hotel is situated in a very crowded place and it took us almost one hour to reach it from Jalan Pahang because of the massive Saturday afternoon traffic jam and the night market around the hotel.

Good points of the hotel:
Located very near to the starting/finishing point of SCKLM.
Cheap rate with basic facilities

Bad points of the hotel:
Situated in a crowded and dirty area of KL.
Full of budget tourists especially from India.Noisy tourists talking and banging the door rooms even up to midnight.
Can't find any Chinese foods around this area.Plenty of Malay and Indian food outlets.

***The day before the run,I went over to Dataran Merdeka and saw many workers busy preparing for the event.Taken some pictures.***


Lim,Liau and myself walked to Dataran Merdeka at 4:30am.We couldn't find the rest of the S2 runners.Lau,Heng and Teng drove from Seremban.

The run started at 5:00am.Lim was with me from the beginning of the run.I saw Uu Ban near the KL railway station and he was eagerly overtaking many runners.

I wasn't in the right mood to run during the first 10 km.My stomach was fulled with water,breakfast and a bar of Powerbar.The weather was hot.I was hoping for rain as predicted by online weather forecast.Where was the rain??Then my right shoulder was aching.My both calves were sore,my lower limbs felt weak.I felt like walking after running for few kilometers.I knew this was due to negative input into my mind which leads to more negative manifestation.I couldn't be giving up at the start of the run??!!

***Picture of me taken by Steve.He was not running as he has to attend a wedding dinner the night before but he volunteered to take picture of runners passing through the 36km marking at Bukit Tunku.***
Steve has posted almost 1000 pictures of SCKLM in his Facebook.The link is and search for your running photos.

The break through came after the 12km water station where they provided sponge.It was so nice and cooling to sponge my body and my face.It was like a "waking splash" on my sleepy mind.Suddenly I feel fresh again and finally I got back my running rhythm.By then Lim has overtaken me and he was far ahead.I couldn't see him.I knew I must be more focus on my run and must blocked off all the negative thoughts.

As the day got brighter and hotter,I make sure I sponge myself at every water station.At 26km,I caught up with Uu Ban.He has slowed down.Lim was still with me.He was either in front of me or was following closely from behind.It was a bit stressful running with someone you know.Neither one of us wanted to give up.We were like "chasing each other".Ha..ha..ha..

***After the kids were looking at my injured right foot.A blood filled blister over my right big toe.

Occasionally during my run,my thoughts go to my children.I was wondering if they can cope with the kid dash,if my son can finish the run and worry if any bad things happen to them.

Since I have done this marathon route previously,I roughly know what to expect along the way.I was saving some energy for the final push near Bukit Tunku.I took my last Power gel at 34km mark and was focusing to "break away"from Lim during the uphill route.At the same time,I
was looking out for Steve who volunteered to take pictures of us.

After conquering the 39km,I knew the ending point was near.I was getting ready to increase my pace for the last 3km.Suddenly Lim came from behind and he caught me by surprise!Still going strong and following closely.I told him to go ahead and reminded him of a final short slope to conquer ahead.From that moment,I increased my pace and did not look back.I was looking forward to see my family who was waiting for me near the ending point.

To my disappointment,my family wasn't at the finishing line to snap pictures of me since my wife was having some problems collecting the kids' finisher certificate.What a waste!!I was hoping my kids were able to see their father completing a marathon-"the moment of glory".Never mind....there always be another time.

***My kids...not in the mood to pose for pictures probably having the first timer anxiety.Parents can accompanied their children during the run which is good!However there was some confusion after the run when it came to collecting the finisher certificate.My wife was pushed from the 5km fun run booth to the 10km booth and vice versa just to collect my son 3km finisher certificate.Unable to tolerate it after 30 minutes of waiting in a long queue and with the 3 kids grumbling of tiredness,hot weather and hungry,my wife threatened to make a complaint.Eventually a volunteer gave her a certificate.So much of trouble for an unnamed certificate.***

***Kids zone...nothing much except for the inflatable slide.Organizer of SC Singapore Marathon has much more to offer for the kids.My kids spent only 10 minutes in the kids zone.Maybe next year the organizer can have a more variety of games for the children in the kid zone.***

***The finisher medal...not very special in my personal opinion.The same goes to the finisher T.Can't expect so much for just RM60 registration fee.***

Overall quite happy with my result which is 13 minutes better compared to last year.

Generally the organization of this marathon has improved over the past year.This year there was adequate water at all the water stations.Bananas was given out at the 16km point and power gel was given at 30km.

Post run,there wasn't any queue to collect the medal and finisher T.Everything was smooth and fast.However I can't comment on baggage collection as I did not deposit my bag this year after the bad experience of having to wait for almost one hour just to get my bag last year.

Suggestion for next year edition:

1)To start the full marathon at an earlier time if possible.Running under the hot sun is not fun.This is my personal opinion as others may take running under hot difficult situation as part of the marathon challenge.

2)More activities for the kids and family members who are waiting for runners to finish the run.Kids get bored easily and they need variety of exciting and stimulating games to keep them occupied.I remember my kids were so engrossed at last year Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon kids zone and they were there up to 12 noon.

3)Better pacers.Saw a pacer who abandoned his "pacing job" as he can't cope.His friends were far ahead of him.Some pacers ran too fast ahead of their intended time.I wonder do they really make use of their Timex watch?

4)More cheering groups along the route.Didn't see many people cheering runners but can sense that many motorist were annoyed by the traffic jam caused by the road closure.I have an unpleasant encounter with a middle age Chinese man along Jalan Ipoh who sarcastically asked in Cantonese: "Running for fun?Go home and sleep!!"

The official results:
Francis:3h 24m 6s very good result but he still said it is only
Myself :4h 23m 2s very complaints.
Lim :4h 23m 24s another PB!!CONGRATULATION!
Uu Ban:4h 46m 47s heard that he started out too fast.
Lau :4h 58m 36s heard that he had stomach discomfort.
Heng :5h 1m 13s no feedback from him yet.
Teng :5h 5m 26s he was very disappointed with his result.Suffered from stomach discomfort after taken 7 pieces of Gardenia bread before the run!

WELL DONE SCKLM !!see you guys again next year.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Countdown to Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2011

5 More Days to Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2011........!!

I was very excited when the courier man came and delivered my Standard Chartered KL Marathon race pack last week.This race pack doesn't contained many items.The only freebies is a small towel.The NB running vest is green in colour.I don't like the colour and the material.

This will be my third year running in SCKLM and I still get nervous thinking about this weekend race.I worry if I may not finish the run,poor finishing time compared to last year,the hot weather especially after 8:00am and almost everything!!Why??It is because I am bringing my family along with me this year.There are so many things to think of when it involved the family members.

But what I worry most will be my son who is taking part in the 3km run for the first time.He is overweight and not an active person so I decided to enroll him just to encourage him to exercise.However he did not train much....actually almost nil!Last week I tried pushing him to do a slow run around City Park (a 3 loops around the lake=3km) but he can't even run half of the loop.Eventually he ended up doing a slow walk around the lake and it took him 35 minutes to complete 3 loops.I think my 80 years old father can walk faster than him.

My 2 daughters are better.The elder daughter is also overweight but she managed to finished 1 km run around the lake.My youngest 6 years ago girl is the fittest among them.She can run faster and longer.

So my strategy for my kids will be... go slow since they can't run fast.I afraid they will overexert themselves and something bad may happen to them.I keep telling them there is no medal and prize for their category.Either you come in first or last,you will only get a certificate.

My wife will be watching over my son during the run,meaning she has to run/walk along with him throughout the route.My in laws will be watching over my 2 daughters who are running the 950metres route.Over protective parents??!!Maybe..

My target finishing time for this year SCKLM?maybe 4:45 minutes+/-15 minutes.If able to finish with 4h:30m will be consider good for me especially so when I don't do much running/training.4h 45 m will be and anything above 5 hours is a total failure!

To all participants...all the best,enjoy your run and try your very best.

To my fellow friends who are running the 100km Sundown ultra marathon in Singapore this weekend especially YS...good luck,don't give up and try your best.I really respect you guys for the determination and the bravery in conquering this 100km route.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all fathers!!

Father's Day card from my youngest child....

Father's Day card from my 2nd child.....

Father's Day card from my son.....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Holiday Trip To Seoul,Korea-Conclusion

This will be my last post for 'Holiday Trip To Seoul Korea' and I am going to give some encouragement to anyone who wanted to visit Seoul to do it on his own instead of taking tour package.

Going on your own is definitely better as you can visit more places at your own pace,visit places which are of interest to you,eat whatever you wish and practically you are free to do what you want.The only good thing about taking a tour package to Seoul...probably you will get to stay in a better quality hotel which is much expensive if you will to book it on your are going for a holiday and you will spend most of your time outside,roaming the city instead of sleeping in the hotel room.

A brief guide if you want to travel on your own to Seoul.

1)Accommodation:for cheap reasonable hotel.

2)Travelling around Seoul using the subway.Very easy.The whole city is well connected by subway.

3)Places of interests and travel itinerary.

4)The website if you are interested in going to Nami Island.

5)A very useful tool.Go through this and you will find it much easier to roam around Seoul.This can also be found at Seoul subway where a big touch screen is available for anyone to use.Remember to try and click on the robot icon where it will bring you to see the "real picture"of buildings and its surrounding in Seoul.

6)Read through all the posting In this forum...all about Korea.You can even post some questions and I am sure some travel "expert" will try to help you.

By going through these few websites in detail,I am sure anyone can visit Seoul or Korea on his own.Easy right?I did it and I am sure anyone can do it too.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Holiday Trip To Seoul,Korea-Day 6

Day 6,our last day in Seoul and the weather was cloudy with scattered rain.Our flight was schedule at 11:00pm at night and we had to check out from our hotel by 12 noon.So I decided to do something light before going to airport in the afternoon.We went to a war museum and a shopping mall.

***Near the entrance of the War Museum is a row of boards with long list of name of those American soldiers who died fighting in the Korean War.The phrase of top of the board:

"Our nation mourns her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met"
Source:The Monument of Korean War Veterans Memorial,Washington DC

There are various records of the war and soldiers who devoted their life for the country have been collected,preserved,studied and exhibited here.Going through the museum is like going through the history again.It is so sad to see why nations go to war and how people suffered as the result of war.

There are 6 indoor exhibition rooms and an outdoor exhibition area of military equipment.The indoor rooms are the memorial hall,the war history room,the Korean war room,the expeditionary forces room,the ROK (Republic of Korea) armed forces room,the large &defense industries equipment room.

*** Just after the main entrance,a prominent exhibit is part of the torpedo used in the sinking of a South Korean warship by the North Korean recently***

The facts:
The ROKS Cheonan sinking occurred on 26 March 2010, when the Cheonan, a South Korean Navy ship carrying 104 personnel, sank off the country's west coast near Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea, killing 46 seamen. A South Korean-led official investigation carried out by a team of international experts from South Korea, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Sweden presented a summary of its investigation on 20 May 2010, concluding that the warship had been sunk by a North Korean torpedo fired by a midget submarine.

***The dead South Korean navy officers.Such a pity to see so many young innocent looking South Korean soldiers died in this attack***

On 20 May the South Korean led investigation group released a summary of their report in which they concluded that the sinking of the warship was in fact the result of a North Korean torpedo attack, commenting that "The evidence points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that the torpedo was fired by a North Korean submarine." The inquiry also alleged that a group of small submarines, escorted by a support ship, departed from a North Korean naval base a few days before the sinking.The specific weapon used was alleged to be a North Korean manufactured CHT-02D torpedo, of which substantial parts were recovered.

***Visitors can try the shooting stimulation game.There is another room which show 3D stimulator of F15 fighter jet.We tried to enter but the staff who can't speak English were trying hard to tell us something...either we need to register first or don't know what.In the end we gave up and continue with our tour of this war museum.***

***The hardware display located outside of the building consists of warplanes,tanks and even ships.Most are old models probably used during the Korean War***

It was already noon when we took the subway to Coex shopping Mall which is located far away at another end of Seoul City.The travel duration was about 40 minutes from our hotel to the shopping mall using the subway.

Why travel so far away to a shopping mall?It was all for the aquarium and also Coex Mall was frequently mentioned in Korea travel sites.

The facts of COEX:

This vast underground maze of a mall is a top shopping and entertainment attraction that incorporates food courts, a department store, four hotels, the COEX Convention Centre, World Trade Centre and much more.

The COEX Aquarium is the largest in Seoul, with thousands of fish and other sea creatures in 90 tanks. You can see live coral, sharks, turtles, rays and evil-looking piranhas swimming around in large tanks. Exquisite small creatures such as pulsating jellyfish, glass fish and sea horses are also on display. Feeding takes place daily (sharks at 1.30pm).

The small Kimchi Museum sings the praises of pickled, peppery cabbage and its wondrous health benefits. The museum is almost impossible to find – go down the steps near the 7-Eleven convenience store.

The 17-screen Megabox is always buzzing. If you’re more into reading, Bandi & Luni’s has English books (section B1) and magazines (section A1), while next door Evan Records has CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs and listening posts.

The Hyundai Department Store Food Court has something for everyone at reasonable prices, which means it’s always super-busy.

COEX aquarium: The largest aquarium featuring 3,00 tons of water and 650 kinds of living things that number 40,000.The concept of Edutainment (education +entertainment) combining play,learning and resting together.Admission is 17 500 won for adult and 11000 won for children.Personally I found this aquarium not as great as our KLCC Aquaria.There were not many big tanks of aquariums.It only takes about 1.5 hours to finish seeing the whole place slowly.

***My son trying the 3D computer games in COEX.

***This flying saucer shape gadget is given to customers after they order their foods.When the gadget buzz or light up then the customers know that their foods are ready for collection.***

On our last day in Seoul,we decided to try the Korean version of fast food burger-the Kraze Burger.It was nice and delicious but a bit pricey.All the burgers are from 7300-9300 won. There's also some steak burger for 18000 won. Fries start from 4200 won!!!

The facts of Kraze Burgers:

The burger section of the menu offers 11 varieties of the beef burger. Checking for something crazy like the K.Basic Burger (for children) comes with strawberry jam. The other burgers all looked like gourmet versions of the American classic. The menu is annotated with various helpful captions such as "Kids"; "Hot"; or "Best".

Keeping in mind its valued customers,Kraze provides healthy and natural food. Kraze patties are made daily with one of the finest and fresh ingredients. Kraze has its own bakery which maintains the texture and freshness. Here the chefs after numerous amounts of research and testing have developed Kraze's sauce.

The service is efficient. It is one of the best burgers in Korea with good sauce, decent meat, and the right amount of vegetables. The crinkle cut fries are also a nice touch.
There is a whole non-burger section of the menu. Kraze Burger is competing in the gourmet beef burger market, for people who just want a better version of what they already eat.

We rushed back to our hotel from COEX,a trip that took us 40 minutes and discovered that the Innostel free shuttle car to Incheon Airport was waiting for us.I have booked for the 6:00pm trip but they arrived much earlier.Since it was a free trip and not wanting to make the driver waited too long for us,we just hopped onto the car with all our luggage.The trip to airport took us almost one hour since the road was busy after office hour.The driver even paid for the toll which was 10,000 won per way.

Since we were early,we took our sweet time to have our dinner in Incheon Airport.After checking in and clearing the immigration,we spent our time surfing Internet until it was time to board the plane.

I slept throughout the flight back to KL.We arrived at LCCT 45 minutes ahead of schedule at 4:30am!!I wonder how the pilot fly the fast?

Overall the trip has been fun.Korea is a nice and beautiful country.

Next oversea trip:to New Zealand,end of the year.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Holiday Trip To Seoul,Korea-Day 5

Day 5 in Seoul.The weather was cloudy with occasional drizzle.Temperature about 25 celcius.Today I brought my kids to Everland,a theme park outskirt of Seoul.There are many ways to go to Everland and I opted for the easy way...using the shuttle service provided by Doesung Tour.The bus departed from Korean Press Center near City Hall Station at 9:30am and cost 10,000won per person for 2 way trip.The bus goes directly to Everland.

***The entrance to Everland.It was Tuesday and there wasn't many people going to the theme park***

The facts:
Everland Resort, is a theme park in Yongin, a city in Gyeonggi-do province, South Korea.It is South Korea's largest theme park. With 8.6 million visitors, Everland ranked tenth in the world for amusement park attendance in 2007. Along with its main attractions, Everland also includes a zoo and a water park known as Caribbean Bay. Everland is operated by Samsung Everland, which is a subsidiary of the Samsung Group.

Everland amusement park in Seoul has different time schedules. The park between Monday and Thursday remains open from 9:30 in the morning to 10 at night. On Friday and Saturday however, Everland entertains visitors from 9:30 in the morning to 11 at night. On Sunday this theme park opens its door at 9 am and calls it a day at 10 pm.

***I admired those who are so daring to try this roller coaster named T Express.I only able to admire the ride from far away.I am too timid to try it and I afraid my heart will not able to stand the stress from this ride....signs of ageing!!***

The T Express, debuted in 2006, is the first wooden roller coaster and the largest of any kind in South Korea. The T Express is the 6th longest wooden coaster in the world at 5,838 feet long. It is also the steepest, with the first drop inclined at 77 degrees. Its name comes from the logo of conglomerate SK Corporation's SK Telecom service.

The facts of T Express:
Characteristics & Records of T Express, South Korea's first wooden roller coaster
World's steepest wooden roller coaster (77 degrees)
Drop : 57m (7th in the world)
Attraction time : 3min 00sec (the longest in Asia, 7th in the world)
Air time : 12 times (the most air times in South Korea)
Altitude : 56m (the highest in Asia, 3rd in the world)
Maximum Speed : 104km/h (the fastest in Asia, 8th in the world)
[+] Gravity Force : 4.5g
[-] Gravity Force : -1.2g

***The parade across Everland that started at 2:00pm.There were not many people on that day so I don't need to rush to the road side for a good view.In fact I took this while having a snack at a restaurant nearby.***

The Four Seasons Garden of Everland is decorated with beautiful flowers arranged in a French garden style. Surrounded by Holland-style architecture, the gardens are the stage for seasonal flower festivals (tulips from April to June, lilies from July to August, and chrysanthemums from September to October), laser shows, and musical fountain shows.

***A section of Everland fully planted and decorated with flowers.Ladies like this section.However for me,Everland is more for kids.I have passed the age to enjoy most of the rides.Some of the rides are too scary and some are just for kids.***

***Rose garden -the whole area is fill up with roses,most of them are real roses except for few very big decorations where artificial roses are used.***

The Zoo Topia section of the park is the where guests can find the ever-popular Safari World and Herbivore Safari. In safari world white tigers, tigers, lions, and bears roam around freely, providing guests with an up-close look at these amazing creatures. In Herbivore Safari, visitors can even feed some of their favorite animals like elephants, giraffes, camels, and ostriches.

***The standing bear waiting for his food..thrown by the bus driver.

The shuttle bus departed from Everland at 6:30pm.It was raining then and everyone of us was very tired after spending the whole day in the theme park.We have a quick nap during the one hour drive back to Seoul.

The bus stopped at Dongdaemun Station and we decided to have dinner here and later explore this fashion district.The clothes sold here are not as cheap as claimed.

***Clothes..everywhere.Shoppers are spoilt for choices.One needs to spend many hours here if they are serious in buying.Just too many choices!

The facts:
Dongdaemun Market, Seoul is located in Dongdaemun-gu of Seoul. The market has emerged as the premier establishment of wholesale and retail market and is considered to be the shopping kingdom of Seoul. The market of Dongdaemun is home to 50,000 wholesalers, 30,000 stores and 20 shopping malls. Dongdaemun Market, Seoul is the destination where retailers from different parts of the nation flock to and do some great business.

There is a co-existence of large shopping malls like Designers Club, Freya Town, Doosan Tower, Migliore and old market places such as Dong Pyonghwa Market, Shin Pyeonghwa Market and Pyeonghwa Market. This co-existence of the modern shopping destinations alongside the traditional ones makes Dongdaemun Market, Seoul one of the leading shopping destinations not only in the city but also in the entire nation.

Dongdaemun Market, Seoul turns all the livelier during the nights. The tourists and foreigners flock to the Dongdaemun Market to get into a shopping spree. The shopping ground is full of hordes of shoppers. The bright neon lights and some lively music playing amid the wide hallways of Seoul's Dongdaemun Market make shopping a fun thing to indulge in.

It was a wet evening and after buying few pieces of dress,we decided to go back to our hotel.

End of day 5.Tomorrow...last day in Seoul.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Holiday Trip To Seoul,Korea-Day 4

It was Monday and the weather was cool and cloudy with temperature of about 23 celcius.We left the hotel earlier as we have to catch a shuttle bus to Nami Island from the Tapgol Park before 9:00am.We were caught in the Monday early morning rush in Seoul subway.The trains were packed like sardine and for the first time we were pushed hard into the train.I shouted at them but they couldn't be bothered especially the older generation of uncles and aunties whom I find to be a bit rude compared to the younger generations.These uncles and aunties are probably less educated.

Nami Island (Namiseom, 남이섬) is a Korean island on the river Bukhan (Bukhangang, 복한강) on the border between Gyeonggi-do and Gangwon-do.It is about one hour and a half drive from Seoul. This place is very popular among Koreans and can be seen in most Korean dramas especially in romantic scenes where the boy declares his love to the girl.

***Ferry bringing tourists across the river to Nami Island.There is another way for the brave one to cross the river-by gliding through from one end to another by hanging on to a cable stretch across the river.There is a shuttle bus that goes directly from Insadong to Namiseom for 13,000 KRW round-trip which I personally think is the most convenient way to get to Nami Island for tourists compared to by conventional bus or train.***
The island is small but quite beautiful and is a perfect place to relax while spending the afternoon walking around the beautiful scenery.A board warning tourists of the wild ostriches on the island.Later I found out that the ostriches were kept fenced up in a large space and not roaming freely as expected.
***A very special observation on the island is the freely available of books and comics in the public places even in the toilets.It is so surprised to see the books are well kept and no one steals them.I don't think these books can "survived" in Malaysia.Either Malaysians will steal them or tear away the pages and worst case--sell the books to the old newspaper man!!***

***A exact spot on Nami Island where they filmed the first kiss between actor Bae Yong Joon and Choi Ji-woo in the drama Winter Sonata.

Thanks mainly to Hallyu or Korean wave where the popularity of Korean pop culture has spread around the world,many tourists are coming to Korea.In particular the legendary success of the hit television drama “Winter Sonata,” which was partly filmed on Nami Island has made it a prominent popular tourist destination.This island is covered with more than 300 species of trees. Many tourists came to appreciate its serene and idyllic setting and to walk amid the same scenes as in the drama Winter Sonata.

***Beautifully decorated shop.The colourful toys are mini ostrich toys.Foods on the island is a bit pricey,for sure since it is a tourist spot***

***A board map of Nami Island showing various places of interest.The island is not very big and one can just walk around the whole island in 3 hours.Even 3 of my children can do it.***

***Another scenic spot on the island***

***There is a room displaying many old pictures taken during the filming of Winter Sonata and scene from the drama.This drama really helps to promote this place.***

***For those who is not fit and can't walk,there are various types of bicycle for rent-for single person,couple or even for family.Now they even have the battery operated scooter.***

***Chalets for rent with a nice beautiful view of the river.A good place to spend some quiet romantic time with the love one.***

For those who want to enjoy nature in an idyllic setting, the highlight of the island is the many tree-lined paths that all lead to the central square's restaurants and shops. The birch tree lined path is better known among drama lovers as the path where Bae and Choi rode a bicycle on their date. You will also see the fragrant pine tree path and spectacular tunnel of tall meta-sequoia trees.

***A popular spot for tourists to take pictures.There are many nice spots for photography but the great scenic spots are concentrated around the central square. Picnic benches are also scattered about the island, making it an ideal place for a family outing.***

***Another beautiful scenery on the island.You have to be there to really appreciate the surrounding.***

***Ha..ha..ha...this is me posing with the statue of the main characters in the drama Winter Sonata.This is a very popular spot for tourist to take photos, so have to wait for one's turn.***

***Scenery of Nami Island during autumn as shown in a photo exhibition held on the island during my visit.There were many photographs on display and for sale.Looks like it is better to visit during autumn where one can see colourful leaves***

We were at Nami Island until 4:00pm.The shuttle service back to Seoul city center took another one hour.By then we were getting hungry.We went on to explore Myeongdong which claimed to be one of the most expensive shopping districts (in term of floorspace rent) in the world.There are many hotels, restaurants, cinemas, theaters, and historical sites in this area.It was estimated that about 2 million people pass through this area everyday.Except for early morning and late night delivery hours, the main street and most of the alleys are blocked off for pedestrians to roam freely without being hindered by traffic.

***Even guys use cosmetics in Korea.A very good way to do business as one can see there are many advertisements promoting cosmetics for men.Probably the female market is getting saturated.***

The facts:
Myeongdong is one of Seoul’s main shopping districts featuring mid-to-high priced retail stores and international brand outlets, including Lacoste, Polo Ralph Lauren, Forever 21, Bulgari, Louis Vuitton and Nature Republic. It is a particularly popular area for young people and tourists as a center for fashion and sight-seeing.Several large shopping centers and department stores are in the district including Lotte Department Store, Shinsegae Department Store, Migliore, M Plaza, and Noon Square.
Seoul's financial hub is divided between here and Yeouido where the Korea Stock Exchange is located. Major insurance, securities, financial services companies, and investment firms with headquarters in Myeongdong include Citibank, SK Corporation, Kookmin Bank, Korea Exchange Bank, Lone Star Funds, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, AIG Korea Insurance, Hana Bank, and HSBC. The Bank of Korea is also in the vicinity.
Other notable landmarks in Myeongdong include the Chinese Embassy, YWCA headquarters, UNESCO Hall, Myeongdong Theater, and the oldest Catholic cathedral in Korea, Myeongdong Cathedral.

***This plate of snails cost me 10,000 won!!My son wanted to try it so I have no choice but to buy it for him from a street hawker in Myeongdong.I don't like this***

We spent the whole evening in Myeongdong.My wife had a great time shopping especially for cosmetics while myself spent most of my time watching people!

End of day 4 and the children were looking forward to the next day-A visit to Everland.