Buckhon Village (Hanok Village) – Back to the Past Adventure (Part 2)

It was Monday, most of the tourist spot we wanted to see were closed. Because We don’t have so much option to choose we decided to go to Bukchon Village, one of the hanok village in South Korea located in Seoul. Bukchon is located between two palaces, Changdeokgung on the east and Gyeongbokgung on the west. In the past, the village used to be upscale residential area for wealthy aristocrats and court employees.

From Non-hyeon station, we took Line 7 going to Bupyeong and went out at Express Bus Terminal station, then we transferred at Line 3 going to Daehwa and got off at Anguk station, ahead station before Gyeongbokgung. Our route from hotel is the same when we went to Gyeonbokgung Palace.

I was curious to visit Hanok Village because it’s the traditional residential area in earlier times of Korea, seeing these places excites me. From Anguk station, we walked at Gahoe-ru street, here we saw a building that it seems it’s a government office, until we realized it is the Constitutional Court of Korea. We continued our walk until we found Bukchon Jae-dong Tourist Information Center to inquire how we can go around Bukchon Village. Here they gave us instructions to go to Bukchon Traditional Cultural Center as start of our tour. We followed their instruction and walked along Bukchon-gil, we asked few people where is the exact location of the cultural center until we saw it on our own, it’s quite an adventure since we are not holding any map. Bukchon Traditional Cultural Center is a hanok, few hanoks are there and for me it is more of the tourist center than the first one that we inquired of. Here we were able to get maps of Bukchon Village. Every time I travel, I tried my best to buy souvenir. I always buy post cards, the lightest souvenir you can bring without any hassle. That’s what I did at the cultural center. After taking photos, we started our journey within Bukchon Village.

IMG_6277Constitutional Court of Korea

IMG_6280Corner of Bukchon-gil and Gahoe-ro

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Inside View of one of the hanok at Bukchon Traditional Cultural Center

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Bukchon2Vicinity area of Bukchon Traditional Cultural Center

IMG_6329We tried to follow the map. But were not able to follow it as is, because sometimes we were lost in the village until we find ourselves again based on the map. Here I will not tell the story based on the map but based on what we have seen so far inside the hanok village. From cultural center, we walked straight along Gyedong-gil (Alley) and from what I learned in the map guide, this alley is one of the original streets that already existing during Joseon period. This is one of the street that still remaining the same as before (of course the looks are different nowadays but what I am saying is the alley itself). In this street we saw coffee shop, art shops and stores in hanok which is unique, because the traditional ambiance of the place can still be felt. We found the guest houses along the alley as well. One significant hanok is the Bukchon Guest House which is before called as Bae Ryum’s House in Gye-dong. We walked up to the top end of the alley where we reached Changdeokgung-gil alley. Here we saw Choong Ang Middle and High School. Along Changdeokgung-gill alley while facing the school we decided to turn right even we saw that the alley is ascending.

IMG_6331Gyedong-gil (Alley)

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IMG_6381Some of the hanoks that we found while touring Bukchon Village

The walk was not easy, the three of us really tired when we reached the top of the alley and from the top we saw that the end of the alley is descending. Well, all of us were laughing because we were tired and we haven’t seen so much yet. At the corner of the alley, there is hanok that seems to be interesting based on the map guide that we have in our hand. We found the Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine, but we haven’t seen much because we heard that there is on going lectures inside the hanok and we avoid to disturb the session that is running, we just took photos outside the hanok. This is the place as the 2nd view in 8 views that can be found inside Bukchon. From here we followed some smaller alleys nearby until we saw interesting modern hanok building. We realized that the building is Baek Hongbeom’s House in Wonseo-dong. At the gate, there is a guard and told us that we cannot enter in the building since its closed (because its Monday).

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Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine

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photo 3Baek Hongbeom’s House in Wonseo-dong

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This one seems one of the wall gate in Changdeokggung Palace (though not really sure),
based from map, the area is near in historical laundry site

After walking around the area, we decided to go back at the school where we turned right so we can check what’s next to see. With the map guide we have, we followed the tracks of 8 views, though there are other tracks, but we chose the views track to continue our walking adventure inside Bukchon. 1st view was out of our current track because it is near in traditional cultural center and we were far from where we stand that time. What we found next was the 3rd view, we followed the map, we lost and we tracked again, until we found it, the 3rd view was from the Han Sangsoo Embroidery same with other hanok we never able to see what’s inside it and for some reason we were not allowed to go inside.

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photo 4Han Sangsoo Embroidery

IMG_6383Donglim Knot Workshop

IMG_6390After taking some photos at Han Sangsoo Embroidery, we continue to proceed to the next site view. We used again the map to locate where it is. Until we found Donglim Knot Workshop. Then we strolled in Gahoe-saesak-gil alley until it reached the end. Next, we crossed the Gahoe-ro street. We walked again, but this time it’s along Bukchon-Hanok-gil alley. We walked until we found the 5th View which is Gahoe-dong alley. So far, from the time we started walking around Bukchon Village, this is one of the area that I like, I can really feel that we are inside the Hanok Village. And we are not the only one who enjoyed this alley, most of the tourist comes, they enjoyed it too. We took our time to take photo shots from the bottom (5th View) and from the top (6th View) of the alley, both ends offer great and different views. Before returning at the bottom of Gahoe-dong, we tried to find another way, until we found the 7th View which is the 31 Gahoe-dong.

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IMG_64045th View at Gahoe-dong alley (below)

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IMG_64066th View at Gahoe-dong alley (top)

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We ended our walking tour in Bukchon and we decided to go back since we were tired walking at sunny afternoon. We walked again along Gahoe-ro to reach Angguk station again. This is how we ended our Bukchon Tour.

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View At My Window : Lions Gate Bridge

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View At My Window (Post#4) : Lions Gate Bridge

The photo above is Lions Gate Bridge located in Greater Vancouver. The bridge connects Vancouver (South) to West Vancouver and North Vancouver. Under the bridge is Burrard Inlet and Vancouver Harbour. I captured this photo during my Whistler Tour last June 2008 in British Columbia, Canada while inside Whistler Mountaineer train.

You can also look at my post for my Whistler Tour stories:
Whistler – Warm Haven in Cold Paradise
Squamish – With The Chief, Canyon and Tantalus
Brackendale Forest and Shannon Falls
Metropolitan Vancouver From Cypress Mountain

Gyeongbokgung (Palace Greatly Blessed By Heaven) – Back to the Past Adventure – Part 1

It was the first day of our adventure, we had our breakfast from the hotel and went straight to our first destination – Gyeongbokgung Palace. I found this palace from the travel book that I bought when I was in Sydney. The book titled “Top 10 Seoul”.  We arrived at the palace by taking metro train from hotel. From Non-hyeon station, we took Line 7 going Bupyeong and went out at Express Bus Terminal station, then we transferred at Line 3 going to Daehwa and get off at Gyeongbokgung station. We felt excited seeing some of the photos of the palace on our way. We passed the National Palace Museum and walked at the side gate (Yongseongmun) of the Palace from the Museum. We saw a lot of tourist taking pictures and I felt great to be in this place. My mom and my sister immediately posted their selves for a photo shot. I am the one who brought the DSLR camera, and most of the time I am the one who take pictures which I like because I wanted to capture a lot of things if possible, everything that my eyes see.

When we entered a small gate at the left side of the palace, we saw a ceremony that was being performed. Though I never understand what was happening at first until I learned it later of the day that it was the Gwanghwamun Gate Guard-on-Duty Performance. We enjoyed the show because of the colorful costumes the royal guards re-enacting the performance.

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Gwanghwamun Gate Guard-on-Duty Performance

We went to the tourist ticketing area, we bought ticket and brochure guide that we need in our tour. From the guide in my hand, I learned that the main gate is called Gwanghwamun. Based from history this gate is the main gate and south gate of the palace. The next gate we passed is called Heungnyemun (first gate inside the palace walls at the front). This is the gate where tickets are being checked. We saw a small bridge called Yeongjegyo. We walked again until we reach another gate which is called Geunjeongmun. Finally we saw the huge hall named Geunjeongjeon. Based from our brochure, this is the main throne hall where most of the King’s official state affair is happening during Joseon dynasty.

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Gwanghwamun Snapshots

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Heungnyemun Snapshots

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Geunjeongjeon (Outside Snapshots)

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Geunjeongjeon (Interior Snapshots)

Next buildings we saw are just behind of Geunjeongjeon is Sajeongjeon. As far as I remember, the middle of the building are still in restoration. While its side building on the west is Cheonchujeon and on the east is Manchunjeon which seems completely restored, while long corridors that connects these two side buildings to Sajeongjeon is not yet rebuilt.

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Sajeongjeon (Interior Snapshot – Currently being renovated)

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Some shots at west building beside Sajeongjeon called Cheonchujeon

Then we moved to the famous building near the lake called Gyeonghoeru Pavilion. This is the place where most of the banquets in the palace were happened before. This is the famous place where most of the Historical drama of Korea were shot. The settings of the Pavilion is somewhat romantic, it is great scenery where the King and its lovers (either the queen or concubine) probably had a great time for themselves.

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Gyeonghoeru Pavilion

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Pond at Gyeonghoeru Pavilion

We walked outside the wall of the Pavilion until we saw another gate leading to an open space with mountain. I really like the place, I can understand why the royal family has palace located on this place, for me its a great place for great view of the mountain. We walked straight until we saw the Janggo. Here we found a lot of Jars seating on the terrace. The jars contain fermented paste and soy sauce which is the traditional way of fermentation in South Korea.

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Outside View after passing Gyeonghoeru Pavilion beside Hamhwadang and Jipyoengdang

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Jars at Janggo

At the front of Janggo, there is a nearby building and its vicinity called Hamhwadang and Jipgyoengdang. Based from the information of my handbook guide, that this place is the queen’s living quarters, residence known as Heungbokjeon and facilities for concubines and court ladies.

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Hamhwadang and Jipyoengdang (Outside view from Janggo)

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Hamhwadang and Jipyoengdang (Some internal view snapshots)

We moved on to the next vicinity in the palace until we found a square pond called Hyangwonji and we saw islet in the middle of the pond and there standing the small pavilion called Hyangwonjeong. The setting of this place for me is similar to Gyeonghoeru pavilion, very romantic. While reading the guide, I realized that this small pavilion is the place where Queen Myeongseong (queen of King Gojong) killed by the Japanese.

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Hyangwonjeong (Pavilion) and Hyangwonji (Pond)

We went next to Jibokjae and its vicinity area. This the place where you can find building with the design of Qing Chinese style. Jibokjae was moved from other palace (Changdeokgung) after King Gojong returned to Geoncheonggung. Jibokjae has become King’s residence, library and reception hall for foreign envoys.

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Parujeong, Jibokjae and Hyeopgildang snapshots

There is one of the two vicinity areas that we missed to visit. One is Taewonjeon. We passed this one because we thought that another ticket is needed and there are still other parts of the palace that we haven’t seen. That’s why we decided to come back there if we still have time but unfortunately, we were not able to come back.

After Jibokjae area, we went to the vicinity area just beside the pond. It is called as Geoncheonggung, they say that this building is the only building with “gung” on its name which means palace, that is why they call it as palace within the palace and this is King’s Gojong’s residence where both the King and Queen has their own quarters and library.

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Jangandang at Geoncheonggung(some external snalshots)

IMG_5861Jangandang Internal Snapshot

Beside the Geoncheonggung, we found another interesting site which is called Jaseondang, which is a residence of the crown prince and princess. We saw the site because the building was destroyed, as per handbook the building was dismantled and brought to Japan,  then returned to Korea, but the materials were not usable anymore to rebuilt or restore the building.

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Aside from Jaseondang site, we also found another site which is called Gwanmungak. This is the first modern building in Korea but has been destroyed as well when Japanese invade Korea.

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IMG_5879Gwanmungak site

We continued our stroll inside Gyeongbokgung Palace, until we found another vicinity called Jangyeongjeon. This was the residence of Queen Dowager Jo. She is the queen who put King Gojong as the king, she is also a regent at that time when King Gojong was still young. From this location you can see from a far the National Folk Museum.

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Jangyeongjeon (Internal Snapshots)

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National Folk Museum From near Jangyeongjeon

Next vicinity we passed by are Gangnyeongjeon and Gyotaejeon. Gangnyeongjeon is the King’s living quarter, where he reads, rest and sleep, while Gyotaejeon is the queen’s main residence. In the same vicinity we found as well the Amisan garden with beautiful chimneys.

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Amisan Chimney Garden at the back of Gyotaejeon

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Some snapshots of Gyotaejeon vicinity area

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Gangnyeongjeon

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Gangnyeongjeon vicinity

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Building besides Gangnyeongjeon

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Gangnyeongjeon Internal Snapshots

And then we looked around the area of Heumgyeonggak and Hamwonjeon. This area serves as building for most of the royal household, scientific inventions can be found here during Joseon dynasty.

The second vicinity area that I think we missed to see is Donggung. I checked all the photos that I have and it seems we never been there, but I recall that there is ongoing renovation happening beside Gangnyeongjeon where Donggung is nearly located.

We went back where we started our tour and took a lot of photos. Another area we found is Sujeongjeon where there is a nearby restaurant and wash room. Based from Handbook, that Sujeongjeon  was formerly known as Jiphyeonjeon or Hall of Worthies where the Hanguel, the Korean Alphabet was invented under King Sejong.

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Sujeongjeon

With the three of us, my mom, my youngest sister and myself, I enjoyed the whole walking tour. Maybe because I was fascinated with Korean History and I can relate because of so many historical dramas that I watched. I felt like it is a living history, though I am aware that most of the buildings are restored or rebuilt because most of them has been destroyed either by fire or by Japanese invasion. But still, the replica is so detailed that you can feel those buildings and structures are for real. I am excited to see the another palace.

We went outside the Gyeongbokgung Palace through Gwanghwamun gate and we cross the road and walked in the middle of Sejong-Daero road and there we found the Sejong Center at the ground floor.  Because we are quite tired walking for long hours inside the palace, we walked a little bit to see what’s inside the Sejong Center. And there we found a lot of things about King Sejong, though I am familiar that King Sejong is the king of Jeoson where the Korean Language and Alphabet had been invented, for what I know, King Sejong is one of the Great King that South Korea is recognizing today. I remembered that I watched two historical dramas during his reign, one is Deep Rooted Tree and one is Sungkyunkwan Scandal.

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Chromatic Outlook : At Rundle St and East Terrace

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Chromatic Outlook (Post#1) : At Rundle St and East Terrace

This photo was captured while I was touring in Adelaide City in South Australia part of my Adelaide Photo Collection while I was in the city last May 2013.

This post has been updated to add the link of and to participate in the following:
Black and White View – March 14, 2016
Black and White Wednesday – March 16, 2016
The Weekend in Black and White – March 18, 2016

Abu Dhabi – A Capital Emirates

When I went to Dubai, I had a chance to visit the capital city of United Arab Emirates which is the Abu Dhabi. From Dubai, it is just 1.5 to 2 hours travel. I came to this city with my college friend through the bus we took from Al Ghubaiba Bus Terminal. We used NOL card in our travel but before that, we made sure that it has at least 100 AED to cover our return travel.

At the start of the trip, I fell asleep immediately but it didn’t last long because I suddenly woke-up due to the loud voice I heard coming from the driver. After that I was not able to sleep anymore until we reached Abu Dhabi. We arrived at Al Wahda bus terminal in Abu Dhabi, where there is a nearby mall with the same name – Al Wahda mall. At the mall we had our lunch first before we started our tour.

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It’s a hot sunny Saturday that day, I myself does not really want to walk outside because in just a matter of few minutes, my whole body will be soak in sweat, which is an uncomfortable feeling while traveling around. We decided to visit first the famous mosque not only in UAE but even in the world, it is non other than Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. We took cab from Al Wahda mall to the grand mosque. Seeing the mosque from afar is already amazing, being there is another thing.

We arrived at the mosque and my first impression is, it is like an all white mosque. And the design of the mosque is magnificent. I saw a lot of mosque from other countries but for me, this one is like a palace mosque, not only because of its size but the impression struck on me when I saw on it are purity and tranquility.  I learned that the mosque is the largest mosque in UAE and the eight largest mosque in the world. I am aware that before we were able to get inside the mosque, we need to change our clothes to Abhayas, we lent it (required with ID) from the visitor center located at the lower ground of the mosque (tourist will be informed by the security guards of its location). After changing to appropriate attire, we started our mini tour inside the mosque.

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Snapshots outside of the mosque

At the front, left and right side of the mosque, you can find a pool which refreshing from the eye because of the ocean like color of the pool. While walking along the hallway, I admire the details of the design and to think its a hallway and not the main hall yet. When we came at the mosque, we are not allowed to walk just anywhere in the Courtyard (it is the huge open space at the front of the main prayer hall), we walked in the middle of the courtyard when we are on our way to the main hall of the mosque.

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At the hallway

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IMG_9358One of the ceilings that I saw while walking along the hallway

The open space called Courtyard and the main hall

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On my way to the main entrance of the main prayer hall

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shoe cabinet at the entrance of the main hall

Before we enter in the main prayer hall, we removed our shoes and put it in the cabinet allocated just outside the main hall. The cold breeze we felt at the entrance of the main hall was refreshing maybe because of the hot temperature outside the mosque. At the entrance, we saw a magnificent chandelier and the ceiling design that it has. I was really amazed how grandeur it is. At that moment, I can really say it deserve to be called grand mosque. And the glass door has great designs embedded with bright colors that for me, it’s like a magic door that if you open, there are great things to see.

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Entrance of the main prayer hall

My expectations became higher and higher which I was not disappointed because at the time that I entered the main prayer hall the majestic hall design are far greater from the entrance, details to its architecture and interior design are noticeable that what you can say is it’s amazing. Looking at the interior design, you can tell that the time it was being build, it was thought carefully and the outcome is magnificent. We walked silently as to  show respect to the mosque but my eyes keep on looking around the hall and I took pictures as much as I can to remember all the things that I saw inside the main prayer hall. I respected the people who put an effort to build the mosque because they show how high they regard their belief through the building of the said mosque.

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Magnificent Chandelier in the middle of the Main Prayer Hall inside the mosque

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Interior design inside the mosque

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Open space – courtyard

After spending sometime inside the mosque, we decided to go to Marina Island. We went straight to Marina Mall and had our snacks at Marina Tower. Marina Tower is a good place to see most of the Abu Dhabi in a relaxing way where you will not suffer from hot sunny day. There are restaurants where you can have a great view from the top of Emirates Palace, Presidential Palace, the business district of the city and beaches along the coast line.

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Marina Tower in Marina Island

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IMG_9464Some scenery to be found inside Marina Mall

IMG_9450Elevator to the top of Marina Tower

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IMG_9430Marina Village at the bottom, Emirates Palace at the top

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IMG_9425Scenery from the top of Marina Tower

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IMG_9490Sunset View near Marina Village Seawall

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IMG_9493New Presidential Palace

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IMG_9497Emirates Palace

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IMG_9498Snapshots from the ground of Marina Island

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IMG_9499Dates Tree

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IMG_9529Some photos outside Marina Mall near at Marina Mall Ring Road

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Like Dubai, there are on going constructions in different parts of Abu Dhabi, not looking far away, the corner of the Marina Island, development still in progress. In such as desert place, I am still surprised how people able to live in a place where there is no natural resources such as food and other immediate needs of people. I heard from my friend that UAE are all importing most of the goods they need like food such as rice and vegetables, because there is no place in this country that will allow them for farming. By knowing that, I understand that this country has rich and great economy because they are able to surpass the challenges of the desert that they are living in.

I know there are still other places to see in Abu Dhabi, but unfortunately our day was over and we cannot stay longer in the city as we need to go back to Dubai. I enjoyed my day in the city and wished that someday I can still go back and see the other places that I missed to see. Until then.

Dubai City Tour

It was Sunday, my last day in Dubai as holiday. In Dubai or let’s say UAE (not sure if all Arab countries are the same), they started their weekday on Sunday and will last on Thursday. Therefore, they treated Friday and Saturday as their weekends. Because I will be traveling alone, I booked a bus tour which is hop-in and hop-out bus tour type. Though there are places included in the tracks that I already visited, I still join the tour since it is the cheapest way to go around the city since I can’t rent a car because I don’t know how to drive.

Here are the routes of the BigBus Tour that I booked:

1. Red Route (City Route)

a. WAFI
b. Creek Park
c. Creek Walk
d. Al Fahidi Port
e. Old Souk
f. Heritage Village
g. Gold Souk
h. Spice Souk
i. Abra Station
j. Baniyas
k. Deira City Centre
l. Burjuman
m. WAFI

2. Blue Route (Marina Route)

a. WAFI
b. Union House
c. Jumeirah Mosque
d. Mercato
e. Jumeirah Beach Park
f. Jumeirah Public Beach
h. Souk Madinat Jumeirah
i. Atlantis On The Palm
j. Mall of Emirates
k. The Dubai Mall
m. WAFI

3. Night Tour

a. Sheikh Zayed Road
b. Burj Al Arab
c. Palm Jumeirah
d. Skycraper City
e. Burj Khalifa
f. Downtown Dubai
g. WAFI Light and Sound Show

Self tour within the area: Deira City Centre, Dubai Mall, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, and Mall of Emirates

Since I have one day left, I did not go anymore to the places that I already seen and visited. And because it still summer in Dubai, the hardest part is walking outside in a hot sunny day. During the day tour, I went outside the bus when we arrived at the Public Beach of Jumeirah and Souk Madinat Jumeirah which both belong to Blue route or Marina route.  I stayed inside the bus in other location because I am maximizing the time that I still have to see much as I can. The places I saw from the bus in this route are: the 2nd of December Street (from the formal date of nationalization of UAE from British), Union House (where the UAE was form and the huge flagpole of UAE located), Jumeirah Mosque, Mercato (an Italian themed mall), and Jumeirah Beach Park (which exclusive only for women).

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IMG_2511Raffles Dubai in WAFI (at day time)

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Around WAFI (at daytime)

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Khan Murjan Entrance (at daytime)

IMG_2518Etisalat Tower 2 (along Sheikh Zayed Road)

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Jumeirah Mosque

IMG_2650Jumeirah Beach Hotel

I got off from the bus when we arrived at Public Beach of Jumeirah because I thought I can take pictures there, but unfortunately, it is not allowed to take pictures in the beach that was why I was not able to take pictures of Burj Al Arab from that place. My disappointment in the beach was gone when I went to Souk Madinat which can be found inside Madinat Jumeirah Hotel. I was really fascinated with the place because of unique style of the market and the structure design of the hotel that you will really feel you are in an arab desert place. I went outside the souk and found a great place to capture Burj Al Arab hotel from Souk Madinat or from Madinat Jumeirah Hotel. I realized that I was standing in some part of the luxurious resort hotel in Dubai. Though not all part are free to all tourist, it was just part where there are restaurants outside the hotel. I enjoyed the place and if I will be given a chance to come back, I hope I can stay in Madinat Jumeirah Hotel resort.

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Souk Madinat Jumeirah Entrance

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Inside Souk Madinat Jumeirah

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Burj Al Arab from Madinat Jumeirah Hotel Resort

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Around Madinat Jumeirah Hotel Resort

Another area that I enjoyed without getting off the bus is the Palm Jumeirah. A famous man-made palm shape structure island, where you can find luxurious hotels and residential homes of rich people. I never realized how big Palm Jumeirah until our bus entered the island. There are lots of residential and buildings already exist and other structures are still being built. For me the place is already beautiful and I was excited when we saw Altantis The Palm hotel from a far. I can’t believe my eyes that I am seeing the hotel which I only saw in the movie of “Sex and the City”. It is a huge hotel that I was not able to capture the whole building with my phone when we were at the front of the hotel. Atlantis is another luxurious hotel that exist in Dubai, I can’t imagine how much it will cost when you stay even for one night.

IMG_2537View while entering Palm Jumeirah (Burj Al Arab from a far)

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Atlantis The Palm (at Palm Jumeirah)

IMG_2541View of Dubai Marina from Palm Jumeirah

Next places I saw in daylight are Mall of Emirates, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, I took photos of these building again while inside the rooftop of the bus.

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Novotel (at Sheikh Zayed Road) where I stayed in my first 5 nights in Dubai

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IMG_2546JW Marriott Marquis Hotel

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Mall of Emirates

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Burj Khalifa

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Souk Al Bahar (near in Burj Khalifa)

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Dubai Mall

After completing the blue route, I transferred in Red route or City route bus and in this tour, I saw more of Deira area and its old downtown. I saw the Creek River, Creek Park, wooden Arabian Dhow, Al Fahidi Port, Old Souk, Heritage Village, Gold Souk, Spice Souk, Abra Station, Baniyas and Deira City Centre.

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Creek River

IMG_2589Creek Park Main Gate (at Al Riyadh St)

IMG_2591wooden arabian dhow in Creek River (at Al Seef Road)

IMG_2592Creek River (at Al Seef Road)

IMG_2593Wooden Arabian Dhow

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IMG_2598Old Souk

IMG_2599Old Dubai Souk Marine Transport

IMG_2602Old Dubai Souk Marine Transport

IMG_2603Around Al Ghubaiba MRT station

IMG_2604Around Al Ghubaiba MRT station

IMG_2605Around Al Ghubaiba MRT station

IMG_2606Around Al Ghubaiba MRT station

IMG_2607Heritage Village

IMG_2608Heritage Village

IMG_2613Creek River at Baniyas Road

IMG_2615Creek River at Baniyas Road

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IMG_2632Deira Old Souk

IMG_2633RTA Marine Transport at Baniyas Road

IMG_2646Deira City Center

While waiting for my night tour, I did some souvenir and gift shopping, these gifts serve as a token to give to my relatives and coworkers when I returned in my country.

The last part of the tour is the night tour where I witness and discovered how grandiose the city of Dubai at night-time. We drove again at the same route of Blue route. Here I saw Dubai differently and witness how beautiful Dubai City is during night hours.

The night tour concluded. And I returned straight from Deira City Centre to my hotel almost 11PM. This was how I ended my last day in Dubai. I hoped that I can go back again in this beautiful city someday because I know there are more places to discover and my few days are not enough to see them all, if I will be given a chance, at least I wanted to live here for almost a year to learn more about Arab culture and its country.

Mall of the Emirates, Gold Souk and Dubai Festival City Mall – A Little Bit Of It

I woke-up early, my stuff are all back in my luggage for my early checkout. It was the same day of my first day of having holiday in Dubai since the training was over. I checked-out early because I need to attend personal activity and I left my luggage at the hotel for the mean time. I was on my way to the place where I need to be, I thought the location was near from my hotel that was why I decided to walk instead of taking a cab, it was around 10AM in the morning wherein it was one of the time as the hottest hours during day time. I regretted that I walked because it was really hot and I was soaked in sweat. After such experience, I learned my lesson not to do that craziness again. When my morning activity concluded, I went straight to Mall of the Emirates, I walked to the mall from where I came from since it’s just nearby.

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IMG_9238Some of the interiors that can be found inside Mall of the Emirates (above photos)

I wandered in Mall of the Emirates, from parking area, I went up to second level of the mall. I felt relieved and comfortable as I entered the mall because of the cold condition that I felt inside, then I went straight to food court for my lunch, I ate fries and hot dog sandwich. After lunch, I continue my stroll in the mall and while walking, I took photos as well. One of the features of Mall of the Emirates is the Ski Dubai slope, but unfortunately, I didn’t tried to find it.

Another hour of walking past, I decided to go back to my hotel to pick-up my luggage. Then, I moved to another hotel, its Landmark Grand Hotel which I arranged earlier, even before I departed Manila to Dubai.  The hotel is located in Deira and it is near in Union metro interchange station. I arrived in the hotel past 4PM in the afternoon and rested for a while before the evening plan with my friend. I met my friend at the lobby of the hotel and we talked for another hour until we decided to visit traditional Gold Souk (Gold Market) which located at Al Khor street. We left the hotel and we went to my friend’s house unit and stayed there for half an hour. Next, we went to Gold Souk via public bus. While on our way to the market, I saw the other side of Dubai. My friend told me that Deira is the old Dubai. And by looking around Deira, I can feel the sense of history for most of the places we passed by. Most of traditional Souk are located in Deira. I enjoyed watching the place while inside the bus. And in Deira I discovered places quite differently from the impression that left on me while I visited places outside Deira such as places along Sheikh Zayed Road from Burjuman going to Jabal Ali where it is being called right now as the new Dubai. I realized that Dubai is far from where it was before, by looking from where it start, which is in Deira, Dubai is now a progressive and very modern city based from what it has and what it achieves.

We stopped at public bus terminal where the Gold Souk is just around the corner. After reaching the place, we quickly look around the place and most of the stores in each corner are showing off their gold products. We never tried to enter even in one store, because we never really intend to buy gold and we know nothing about gold for real.

IMG_9286One of the entrance to Gold Souk

IMG_9274One of the Gold Store in Gold Souk

Next place we decided to see was the Dubai Festival City Mall  or DFCM, I think this was the third mall that I visited in Dubai. My friend told me that most of the concert events are happening around this mall. We tried to see the Festival Marina but we are not able to go around the area due to renovation .going on

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IMG_9294Dubai Festival City Mall (DFCM)

IMG_9304Ferrari Store at DFCM

WAFI – Egyptian Themed City Mall of Dubai

It was Tuesday, second day of training, I focus my mind in the training knowing that I am going to enjoy another night in Dubai. I met my friend in Burjuman metro interchange station. Then, we transferred to green line going to Etisalat and got off at Dubai Healthcare City station. From the station, we walked for few minutes until we reached the WAFI city mall.

According to my friend the owner of WAFI city are inspired in Egyptian culture, that is why WAFI city mall were designed with the touch of Egyptian architectural design. Comparing the number of people visiting WAFI and Dubai mall, there are big differences. When we visited WAFI city mall, there are few people inside, you can count people whom you can pass by. I am not sure if WAFI mall targeted few people as their customer. There are luxurious store you can find in that mall, one reason why it’s not popular to the general masses or maybe the problem is the location. I can’t really give it as serious thoughts. Even though there are few people visiting the mall, I enjoyed walking around WAFI, because same with the owner of WAFI City, I like the pyramid because of mystery surrounded by it, I felt that I traveled in Egypt.

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Some external view of WAFI (above photos)

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Some interior design you can find at WAFI (above photos)

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Raffles Dubai (at night-time)

There is one interesting place inside WAFI city that I really like, it is “Khan Murjan” (based from the mall directory brochure that I got, Khan Murjan is the legendary 14th century souk in Baghdad which is a hub for travelers and artisans). You can see how unique the place is. And even the restaurant inside it, it’s definitely has Arabian culture spirit.

After taking more minutes in strolling in the mall, we had our dinner and we waited for the light and sound show. The show entitled “Returns of the Pharaohs” which shown across the Pyramids and the other Egyptian themed buildings in the Central Courtyard in WAFI city mall.

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Khan Murjan (one of the authentic arabian experience market and restaurants)

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Inside of Khan Murjan (above photos)

That night ended again with feel of accomplishment by seeing another part of Dubai.

Burj Khalifa – Tallest Building In The World And Surrounding Area

It was Monday, first day of my training. Here I met my colleagues from Pakistan. Out of 18 people in the training, including our instructor, I am only the woman in the training. At first, it was surprising to me, and I just realized that all the other 16 attending the training, I am the only one from Manila and the rest of them are from Pakistan. After the training, I planned to meet my long time college friend at the hotel lobby and because of this I was not able to join my Pakistan mates that night. From the hotel, my friend and I walked to the nearest metro station (Sharaf DG station). I bought my NOL card (transportation card accepted in train, bus, and marine public transport) and then took the train going to Rashidiya. That was the first time I took train in Dubai, while on the train, I discovered and realized that it is true that there are lots of Filipinos in Dubai. Hearing people speaking my own language and looking at them, yes they are all Filipinos by words and by looks. I thought that I was riding MRT train in EDSA back home, but I am not, I am in Dubai, riding Dubai Metro train. After half an hour travel, we got off at Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall station. We walked for a while until we reached Dubai Mall.

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Dubai Mall Entrance from train station

We saw a lot in Dubai Mall. Dubai Mall is said to be the largest mall in the world in terms of total area. There are lots of signature and branded store you can find in this mall. After walking a while with my friend, I honestly told myself that I will easily get lost in this mall, too many stores, too many things to see and too many places to go. I definitely advised that people who will visit Dubai Mall required to get a map, but if you are adventurer, just enjoy being lost in the mall. Significant part of the mall that I found are: Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo and Dubai Waterfall.

Before seeing Dubai Aquarium, I am wondering how big it is and after I saw it, the aquarium is bigger than 3 or 4 shopping stores inside the mall. You can walk inside the tunnel where the top of it is part of the aquarium. Next, we saw is the Dubai Waterfall, wherein it seems that the water fall starts from the top of the mall down to the ground level. One thing that this waterfall is interesting are human divers sculptures found in the entirety of the waterfall. At first, I thought those sculptures are like people flying in the air but to think about it, since it’s a waterfall, I realized that the structure are people who are diving from the top of the waterfall.

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Dubai Aquarium

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Dubai Waterfall

My friend and I continue our walk while talking, then we found the food court and had our dinner. After dinner,  we went outside the mall to witness the famous dancing fountain at Dancing Fountain lake where Burj Khalifa is nearly located. Before the show, I enjoy observing Burj Khalifa tower, took a lot of photos and amazed how high the tower is. I am fascinated on the lightnings shining across the whole tower. Aside from the tower, another interesting building that I saw is the Souk Al Bahar just beside the Dubai mall. The show started and I watched it intently, though it’s a few minutes show, I still enjoyed it.

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Burj Khalifa (top)

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Burj Khalifa (ground)

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Dancing Fountain Lake

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Souk Al Bahar

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