Asia, Blog, Helpful Tips, Photography, South Korea, Tour and Travel, Wordpress

Seoul Must-Dos – Palaces, Secret Gardens and River Cruises

See the transformation of Seoul from medieval city to modern metropolis.   Here are the Seoul Must-Do’s:

Seoul Must-Dos — Ultimate City Guides.

Asia, Blog, Helpful Tips, Photography, shopping, South Korea, Wordpress

Dapsimni Antiques Market

Dapsimni Antiques Market is located just one block away from Dapsimni Station, Seoul.

The antique shops are located in many buildings in the area but nearly all of them are concentrated into three main buildings called 2-Dong Town, 5-Dong Town and 6-Dong Town. Here you can pick up a variety of unique and interesting antique and vintage items with prices ranging on average from 10,000 Won for smaller items to the most expensive in the millions of Won. Like other markets, Dapsimni has a lot to offer.   Inside the buildings are dozens of stores and you can easily wander from one shop to another. The hallways are packed with overflowing merchandise.  Some of the shops sold true antiques, while others had reproductions or refurbished furniture. Some shops specialized in ceramics, while others mainly had trunks and baskets. We saw old locks, drums, statues, rice stamps, and bound manuscripts, just to name a few.  If you’re looking for something specific, it’s probably there.  The antiques are mainly from South Korea, North Korea, China or Japan but items from all around the world can be found. There are more than 150 antique and thrift stores in the area located near Dapsimni station with more than 300,000 items for sale.

The shopkeepers were all older and friendly.  They were open to talking and explaining what things were for and shared information of when and where  everything came from. Most spoke a little English and the language barrier was not much of an issue.  It’s helpful if you know your Korean numbers in denominations of 10’s and most shopkeepers were open to some friendly minimal bartering on their prices.  Even if you aren’t looking to buy any Korean antiques, the shopkeepers will add to your cultural experience here.   Some shopkeepers accept only local currency while others take credit cards.  So it’s best to bring both.

If you’re hungry or thirsty, next to the Dapsimni Station are two coffee shops, Ediya and Starbucks, several local Korean restaurants, and my favorite, Pho102, a Vietnamese and Thai restaurant on the 2nd floor just a couple of doors down from Starbucks.   Pho102 Vietnamese Thai Cuisine


Opening Hours

10:00 am – 19:00 pm. Closed on Sundays and Holidays.

How to get to Dapsimni Antique Shopping Market:


Take line 5 to Dapsimni Station and leave exit 1 or 2.  Main stores are located in 3 buildings just one block off the main street.

Bus: 121, 130, 145, 262, 303, 370, 420, 463, 720, 721, 1218, 1227, 2015, 2112, 2221, 2233, 3216, 3220

Address:  동대문구 답십리동 530
530 Dapsimni-dong Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea

Dapsimni – Google Maps

Dapsimni Station – Naver



Asia, Blog, Photography, South Korea, The Korea Observer, Tour and Travel, Wordpress

Memorial Day | Seoul National Cemetery


Every June 6, Korea’s Memorial Day is designated to honor fallen Soldiers and civilians of South Korea who have given their lives for their country. Ceremonies are held throughout the country with the largest ceremony being held at the Seoul National Cemetery, an impressive, immaculately landscaped and maintained cemetery and park.

Seoul National Cemetery, est. 1956, is one of two national cemeteries in South Korea. The other one is located in Daejeon.

The Seoul National Cemetery is near Dongjak Station on Subway Line 4 or Line 9 and is accessible to the public.

Animals, Blog, Couples, Expat, Helpful Tips, Photography, Portrait, The Korea Observer, Weddings, Wordpress

New Year. New Resolutions.


It’s the start of a New Year and a great time to reflect on the progress you’ve made over the past year as you make your new resolutions.  It’s easy to fall into a creative rut-but there’s no time like the present to challenge yourself to try new techniques in the coming year.  Perhaps you got a new camera over the holidays or some new gear you can’t wait to try.  Get started here with these 5 resolutions I can recommend all photographers make for 2017:

  1. Travel– You don’t have to spend a ton of money or time in order to explore somewhere completely new to you.  What about that interesting local landmark or a nearby nature reserve you’ve been meaning to see.  Go ahead and set aside yourself a day in which you’ll actually pack up your gear, hit the road and capture some photos of somewhere you’ve never been before. There’s nothing like a change of scenery to stir the creativity that might’ve been otherwise lying dormant over the past few months.
  2. Go Manual– If you’ve gotten into the habit of allowing your camera to do most of the work for you, challenge yourself to switch into manual mode. Not only does this keep you more in touch with the scenes you’re working on, it allows you more compositional and creative freedom.
  3. Leave Your Comfort Zone– Do you consider yourself strictly a wedding photographer? Or maybe heading outside and shooting landscapes is more of your thing?  This year, challenge yourself to shoot in a genre that is not your style. Whether it is a portrait of your family or action shots at a local sporting event, make it a point to include a new niche into your routine.
  4. Take Better Care of Your Gear– Make some time to browse the internet and learn to clean and prepare your gear properly for the weather and work you will be doing. If you live in an environment that’s severely effected by winter weather, it’s even more important to treat and protect your equipment with the appropriate seasonal care it deserves.
  5. Put Yourself Out There– If you haven’t already done so, take the time to create some new social media pages.  If you have, then now is a great time to look them over and see if they need updating. Are the links working correctly?  Do you need to update your profile photos? Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and 500px are extremely user-friendly and easy to get used to.  When it comes to promoting your work professionally, you’ll have already have developed an easily accessible archive of your images to share with anyone who’s looking to check out your style.

I hope you all have enjoyed these tips.  Hope you have a great year and I would love to know what your favorite genre of photography is.  Hope to hear from you soon!

~ Lisa

Asia, Blog, Expat, South Korea, Wordpress

The Best American BBQ in South Korea (No, Seriously) – Condé Nast Traveler

The owner of Seoul’s Linus’ Bama Style Barbecue brings Southern cooking across the Pacific.

Source: The Best American BBQ in South Korea (No, Seriously) – Condé Nast Traveler

Asia, Blog, Photography, South Korea, Wordpress

Enjoy Spring Blossom Roads in Seoul | Official Korea Tourism Organization

Korea Tourism Organization Official website provides various information on all things about Korea. Take your time to get correct guide each.

Source: Enjoy Spring Blossom Roads in Seoul | Official Korea Tourism Organization

Asia, Blog, Helpful Tips, Photography, South Korea, Tour and Travel, Wordpress

5 Reasons Why You Must Visit South Korea in February

In terms of weather, the most favorable times to visit South Korea are March ~May and September~November. However, February can be a fabulous time for travelers to visit South Korea. Here are 5 great reasons why:

1. Save Your Travel Expenses

incheon-international-airport-680402_1920.jpgWant to save travel expenses? We strongly recommend you visit South Korea in February if you’re considering a budget travel because during the winter season, hotels prices and airfare drop as temperature drops! 😉

2. Awe-inspiring Winter Landscapes

allowto_freedownload_snap_1531.jpgThough the cold winter season has kicked off a little bit late than last year, you can still enjoy the amazing landscapes of snow-capped mountains and frozen rivers as well as a winter hike at beautiful national parks around South Korea. allowto_freedownload_landscape_1521For instance, Seoraksan Mountain (Seoraksan National Park), located in Sokcho, which is the eastern part of South Korea, boasts magnificent natural scenery in winter. It is where you can enjoy both winter hiking and the beautiful East Sea situated nearby.속초 (1).jpgFor free…

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Asia, Blog, China, Macao, Photography, Tour and Travel, Wordpress

The Ruins of St. Paul’s on a Rainy Day | Macau

The Ruins of St. Paul’s (also known as Sam Ba Sing Tzik) stands adjacent to the famous Mount Fortress and Macau Museum. The front façade and the grand stone staircase are the only remains of the great church.

First constructed in 1580, St. Paul’s Church caught fires in 1595 and 1601. However, reconstruction started in 1602 soon after the church was burnt down. Completed in 1637, the church became the biggest Catholic Church in East Asia at that time. Unfortunately, a violent typhoon hit Macau in 1835 and the church caught fire for the third time leaving its glory a history. According to historical materials, St Paul’s Church, built with white stones, had a grand vaulted roof and three magnificently decorated halls.

Built with granite, Sam Ba Sing Tzik has a baroque facade rich in ornamentation but with classic oriental characteristics. From the bottom up, the structure has five tiers. The first tier is comprised of ten Ionic columns with three entrances. The entrance in the middle has ‘MATER DEI’ carved into it. The two entrances on each side are decorated with bas-reliefs in the pattern of ‘HIS’. The second tier features ten Corinthian columns with three windows. A Catholic saint is enshrined in each of four tabernacles between columns. The two tiers as a whole is said to represent the Society of Jesus and the activities of missionaries.


The remaining three tiers are the most decorated. The statue of Madonna stands in the middle of the third tier, while the statue of Jesus stands on the fourth. The walls are covered with bas-reliefs in various patterns like devils, angels, symbols of crucifixion, a Portuguese sailing ship, etc. The triangular combination of the upper three tiers reflects the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) as well as the Blessed Virgin Mary. A cross stands at the coping of the wall.

It is worth mentioning that the stone lions at the sides of the third and fourth tiers are distinctively Chinese. There are also bas-reliefs in designs of chrysanthemum and cherry, as well as Chinese inscriptions. The surviving façade has long been acknowledged as a perfect fusion of western and eastern cultures.

The Ruins of St. Paul’s has been restored during 1990 and 1995. The Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt was also built at that time. It has exhibitions of religions artworks including paintings, sculptures and statues.

Macau’s most famous landmark, the Ruins of St. Paul’s was officially listed in 2005 as part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Historic Centre of Macau.  Restored into a museum, the façade is buttressed from behind, allowing tourists to climb up to the windows to get a closer look at the stone carvings and to enjoy a panoramic view of the city below.

The Museum of Sacred Art and Crypt was built at the bottom of the ruins and houses many religious artifacts including Sino-Portuguese crucifixes, as well as a 17thcentury painting of St. Michael Archangel – the only surviving work from the original college.

Admission to the museum is free every day between the hours of 9 am and 6 pm.



Blog, Guam, North America | U.S., Photography, Wordpress

Have Your Dream Guam Vacation with Cebu Pacific

Reblog post from The Filipino Wanderer

The Filipino Wanderer

Imagine a holiday with pristine white beaches, turquoise waters and tax-free shopping. Now that Cebu Pacific, the leading airline in the Philippines, has begun offering low-fare flights between Manila and Guam, it might be high time to put this US territory on the bucket list.

The largest and southernmost of the Mariana Island Arc, the island of Guam is located east of the Philippines. This exotic and stunning destination is rich in natural resources, and boasts of diverse colonial history and local culture, which probably account for its one million visitors a year. 

Off-the-beaten-path paradise

Guam is lush and tropical, with breathtaking ocean views, making it seem like an untouched paradise despite its popularity among tourists. Impressively, the island manages to protect its resources well. Its beaches for one, like Tumon and Tanguisson, boast of an abundant marine life.

Pleasure Island, Tumon

Guam is also surrounded by a thriving coral reef that…

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boracay, philippines, white beach
Asia, Blog, Helpful Tips, Philippines, Photoraphy, Wordpress

Best Kept Secret Boracay | Philippines

Boracay is a beautiful island paradise.  Honestly, until recently I had never heard of Boracay.  Now it’s an island I can’t stop talking about.  Boracay is a small island in the Philippines, South East Asia, located approximately 315 km (196 mi) south of Manila. White Beach, voted by TripAdvisor in 2015 as the #1 destination in Boracay and the #1 beach in Asia, is a popular little paradise with some of the softest white sandy beaches, the most amazing crystal clear warm waters, and enough activities to make everyone happy.

boracay, philippines, willy's rock

Upon arrival at the Boracay airport my luggage was promptly loaded into a pre-arranged air-conditioned shuttle service.  The driver whisked through the local roads where I was taken to a nearby boating area.  Surprisingly, two gentleman literally made their arms into a chariot and carried me over the water to the ladder.  Now that’s service!

Within minutes of arrival on shore I checked into the Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel. From the moment of arrival until the day of departure the service by the staff was excellent. Every morning was greeted with a smile, the breakfast was plentiful and the Manager made sure everything was in order for a wonderful stay.

mandarin island hotel boracay

Stations 1, 2, and 3 make up just over 4 kilometers along the Main Road with Station 2 being the center of vibrant island activities.  Vendors can be found up and down the main road, as well as ladies ready to treat you with a traditional Filipino massage.  By twilight, happy hour, live music and firedancers are the crowd favorites.  There’s an abundance of dining options at local restaurants as well as a few chain names for when you’re hungry. Remember Shakey’s?  Yes, there’s a Shakey’s…and the pizza was very good! Starbucks? Yes, they have one at Station 1 for you mug collectors and they had some of the best and friendliest servers of any Starbucks anywhere in the world!

boracay, white beach, philippines, vendors

Some of the popular activities include the Banana Boat, Fly Fishing, Snorkeling, Parasailing, Scuba Diving, Stand Up Paddleboard, Island-hopping, Cliff Diving, Ziplining, or a breathtaking sunset sail.  My personal favorite was the island-hopping tour where we stopped to do a little snorkeling and then cliff diving (from 3, 5, 8 or 15 meters) at Ariel’s Point, a top Boracay attraction. You can do a little or a lot here on Boracay.  You choose.

boracay, philippines, white beach, paddleboard

On your last day in Boracay, it’s best to relax and enjoy the sun and sand.  Your trip home may be bittersweet but paradise will be waiting for your return.

Boracay Mandarin Island Hotel

It’s More Fun in the Philippines

Philippines Department of Tourism

*This was a non-sponsored trip and all opinions are based on my true and honest experience.