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Korea Travel Series TWO Part 1: The Down Side of Traveling with Friends

Winter Adventure ~ Mummy Audrey’s trip to Seoul, Korea with 3 kids and Ahjussi in December 2017.

Links to the entire series HERE.

So we’ve been planning for a super winter holiday as the boys were reminiscing about our winter trip to Korea back in 2013. And in Feb 2017, Singapore Airlines had a superb promotion and we wanted to grab it fast. While we were discussing about the trip, a few friends came to know about it and we invited them along. BIG MISTAKE.

1. Family #1 had many concerns about a long trip. Budget, unable to leave elder family members behind, uncertainty about coping with their kids on a cold trip, worried about the cold affecting their kids, etc. They did not join us after much consideration.

2. Family #2 was a little more spontaneous and decided to go along. But here’s when trouble started.

There were a lot of warning signs pre-trip which I brushed off because “we are friends mah”. Bad choice. I should have just stopped planning for them. Our trip was basically wasted money. Till now, I still feel very lousy about the trip because we wasted our time and money. And nope, they are not apologetic about it.

Warning Sign #1
They couldn’t make up their mind about travel dates.
When they finally made up their minds, they were dragging on booking the tickets.
Both husband and wife were waiting for each other to book/confirm.

Thankfully I didn’t wait for them to book our tickets. I went ahead when I saw the price was what I wanted and told them we can fly in separately if they couldn’t get the same flight then meet in Korea.

Warning Sign #2
Their bochap attitude. For those who know me, I love planning. I can easily spend hours and hours planning, reading up and actually make recce trips to check the places before bringing my kids. However, this trip is not ours only. Our friends are coming along. So I had to involve them in the planning.

  • I asked for a list of places they would like to visit or things they wanna do or food they wanna eat. Since the day we confirmed the trip.
  • Took them very long, a lot of chasing on my side for the list to be given to me.
  • Following their list, I drafted a suggested plan. Forward via WhatsApp numerous times. Invited them to my parent’s place on Saturdays (too many to count) so that we could sit down and figure out the details. Nope. No planning ever happened.
  • They wanted to head to Nami Island but Ahjussi and I just went there with the kids in June 2016 and we felt that there’s nothing much there in winter. Especially there’s no place to hide from the cold wind on the island. We told them that we shall split up that day, they can go ahead with Nami and we will go ahead to do work (meet suppliers) or find something else. I gave them a lot of links to information like tours or how to get there by public transport.

For those who want to know what I planned, this is the rough draft that never got finalised: Our Dec 2017 Plan

Warning Sign #3
Money issues. They had from Feb 2017 till Dec 2017 to save up… but…
While it is not my position to judge how other couples handle their money, their money issues became quite a big thing. One promised to pay for the trip and talk big. He was working for us at events to earn the extra cash for the trip. But end up, nope. He totally forgot what he promised and squandered his ‘hard earned money’ away.

Well, that’s not my problem. But it affected us and the trip. Why? Because they want to go BUDGET. Every time we had to go somewhere for a meal, we had to check menu/prices and ask if they are OK before we sat down to eat. As a result, Ahjussi was upset because the food wasn’t good.

To be honest, bring kids on trip cannot too budget. Want to budget, please go Batam or JB for holiday. Not spend so much to fly so far then tell us want to go on budget.
Right from the start, I have already given the estimated expenses:
(a) SGD20/pax/meal + Misc snacks/coffee
(b) When change apartment take taxi so it is easier with the luggage and faster. SGD15-20/taxi (they only need 1 taxi, we have to split into 2 taxis)
(c) Entrance fees can easily be found at the links I gave them
(d) Their own shopping

Warning Sign #4
They are always late when we meet. The word ‘punctual’ doesn’t seem to be in their dictionary.

My kids are early risers. We enjoy spending more time looking around on a trip than to laze in bed. If it was a trip to laze in bed, we would have chosen another location.

We knew they are not punctual but we didn’t expect a daily delay of 1.5h to 2h! Agreed to meet 9am but end up delay till 10am, sometimes after meet still slowly go convenience store and eat instead of move off. It’s really a waste of good time!

And because we know we have to be responsible to another family traveling with us, we made the kids sleep on time so they can wake up easily in the morning. We trained the boys before the trip to be able to put on their many layers of winter wear without much assistance so we can focus on Meimei and make every morning a breeze to get ready. I knew the kids need around 45min to get ready. The husband needed his poop time before we head out. So 1h before we meet is perfect time to get the kids ready. And I woke up 30min earlier than the kids to get myself ready.
And they don’t inform us early that they were unable to meet at the decided time. Instead, at 9am when we msg them then they will ask us to wait. So my kids are already in their winter wear and sitting in the hot apartment waiting for 1h!

And initially when we planned the trip, we agreed: Whoever is late will just go to the destination themselves and meet later.
But nope. Because they didn’t bother to plan or even print the draft I gave them, they were clueless and basically expect to follow us around only.

Warning Sign #5
They can’t handle their kid. So I’ve been at the receiving end of “he doesn’t help with the kid” and “she cannot handle the kid” type of complaints from the couple individually before the trip.

Every marriage is TEAMWORK. If you can’t handle your kid, then please don’t travel with friends and inconvenience others.

To be honest, the joke Ahjussi and I had before the trip was…. “Will we end up reach Korea to claim bodies and pick the kid up?”
Because they arrive 2 days before us. And they are forever quarreling and very not paiseh to openly quarrel in front of us and even in front of my whole family when they go to my parent’s place for dinner.

Conclusion: I don’t want to travel with such friends anymore.
(P/S: Due to other things they did after the trip, we chose not to meet this family anymore. Lying about damaging winter coat we lent them ain’t cool. If you did it, admit it and apologize. Don’t lie about it. We are not dumb. One look and we knew.)

This whole trip was just about WAITING. Because not only did they turn up late to meet, they wasted a lot of time here and there. Why? Because they drag travel time between places too. Initially they told me to pack it full to make full use of our time there. So I planned 3-5 places a day which was definitely doable when I brought my own kids. But with them, we end up doing 1-2 things a day only.

Per location planned, it took me at least 5 hours of research and reading up. So every time we had to skip a place, I’m mad! And I found myself telling my boys, “It’s OK to miss this during this trip. We will come back again next time. I will bring you here again.”

So unless we are following a tour group and the friends don’t flag the above warning signs, we will not travel with friends anymore.
I have friends who are totally NOT like the above and we would love to do a mass trip with multiple families soon!

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Mummy Audrey
Mummy to Big Boy, Baby Oppa & Meimei

Note: Mummy Audrey runs her own online store, www.TLO.com.sg, while looking after her 3 kids ages 11yo, 6yo, and 3yo. Her business focuses on Korean baby products, thus she travels to Korea frequently to source for new and unique products to bring into Singapore. 

Mummy Audrey and her children are available for product/service reviews as long as the products/services are not conflicting with her own products. Do contact her directly at audrey@TLO.com.sg if you are interested for her to review your product. 

 

Korea Travel Series Part 18: Day 15 – CALT City Airport in Gangnam (Samseong Station), Jjimjilbang AGAIN and Back to Singapore!

The last episode of Mummy Audrey’s trip to Seoul, Korea with 3 kids and Ahjussi from 1st to 15th Sep 2016.

Links to the entire series HERE.

Day 15 – 15th September 2016 

This is a very important tip!
If you are a shopholic like us and worry about dragging all the luggage to Incheon Airport, this tip will be useful during your trip! Plan well like us and make use of it! Especially if you are taking afternoon/evening flight, you don’t have to waste time and can still do a little more sightseeing before you fly!

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Crazy amount of stuff we have! Can’t imagine dragging these plus 3 kids on an 1+h journey to the airport!

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That’s why we planned to end our stay near this place. This is CALT, which is also known as City Airport. There’s also a City Airport in Seoul Station but we find that too complicated to navigate. This place is a lot simpler and less crowded.

How this place works….
They open really in the morning like 5.30am for you to check in. You can check in anytime before your flight (minimum 3h before your flight). So this works great for us as our flight was at 6pm.

We checked out at 9am, crossed the road to check in. Go up to level 2 to get our passports stamped. And when we arrive at the airport, we can use the special door with priority queue (same as crew)! It is a lot more convenient!

As we wanted to hang around the area a little more before we head to the airport, we decided to lock our hand carry items in the lockers and come back for them later. There’s airport express bus from CALT to Incheon Airport, so we will take that at around 3.30pm. Journey takes around 1h without traffic jam and 1.5h to 2h with bad traffic. It’s better to arrive slightly early at the airport and have a nice meal than the be late for your flight!

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Lockers!

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Instructions available in English, so it’s very easy to operate.

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We chose the largest one which could fit all our handcarry items!

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For more info and to check if your airline allows check in at CALT: http://www.calt.co.kr.

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Breakfast after we check in!

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Walking over (1 train station away) to our favourite jjimjilbang in this area.

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It’s near Seollung Station, around 3 min walk.

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Located at the basement of the building.

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Entrance fees.

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They provide clothes for the common area. It’s cheaper if you are only coming in for a bath and not heading to the common area.

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Nice playground!

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The snack bar

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Snacks!

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We love the eggs!

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Enjoying the playground!

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Entrance to the restaurant.

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Nice restaurant! The food is great!

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Menu in Korean, but you can just look at what others are eating and point. Or use Google Translate!

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Yummy!

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As it was their mid-autumn festival, they served special rice cakes for free! Very yummy! I didn’t know I would enjoy it so much.

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My simple ramyun.

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Very cute play mat for the kids to nap on! Meimei finally fell asleep so I could go explore!

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One of the special heated rooms.

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Payable massage beds.

And it’s finally time to head to the airport.
We were very reluctant! But at the same time, happy to head back to Singapore where I have extra help with the kids and get to rest a little. Meimei is a bundle of energy and it’s really hard to chase after her and keep up with her!

But it’s all worth it. Look at the memories we created with them!

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Last meal in Korea at Incheon Airport before we fly….

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Goodbye Korea! We’ll be back very soon!

 

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Mummy Audrey
Mummy to Big Boy, Baby Oppa & Meimei

Note: Mummy Audrey runs her own online store, www.TLO.com.sg, while looking after her 3 kids ages 9yo, 5yo, and 1yo. Her business focuses on Korean baby products, thus she travels to Korea frequently to source for new and unique products to bring into Singapore. 

Mummy Audrey and her children are available for product/service reviews as long as the products/services are not conflicting with her own products. Do contact her directly at audrey@TLO.com.sg if you are interested for her to review your product. 

Korea Travel Series Part 17: Day 14 – Coex Aquarium @ Samseong Station

Continuation of Mummy Audrey’s trip to Seoul, Korea with 3 kids and Ahjussi from 1st to 15th Sep 2016.

Links to the entire series HERE.

Day 14 – 14th September 2016 

We were starting to get really tired after running around Korea non-stop the past 13 days. As this is our last full day in Korea, we decided to chillax and had to allocate time to pack our luggage. Packing luggage is a battle for us as we will weigh and carefully calculate the total we are checking in to avoid extra charges. Any excess will be shipped back and we needed time to head to the post office if we needed to ship anything back.

Coex Aquarium didn’t seem like a nice place as the entrance was really small and we could barely sense anything inside.

However, after entering it, we were SHOCKED. The place is huge and there’s a lot more than what you see!

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Quick yummy breakfast!

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At the entrance of Coex! We walked around and shopped around before going to the aquarium.

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Lunch before the long walk in the aquarium! This is one of our fave restaurants in Coex!

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This is spicy but the kids loved it!

Before you continue on to the flood of photos, there’s a really nice show and you must make sure to check the show schedule and watch it!

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Entrance to Coex Aquarium!

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She fell asleep! We had quite a peaceful exploration time because she was asleep! LOL!

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They have a very lovely show! We caught it just in time!

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Meimei finally woke up!

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They have diaper change area that’s clean.

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Nursing room – individual cubicles with curtains only. There’s fan as the place is not covered by the central aircon which is really cold.

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Very cute display at the mall!

We were really tired and had to sort out our luggage, so we decided to order fried chicken for the kids and all of us just chilled in the room.

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Meimei totally enjoyed the chips and chicken too!

Where is this?
COEX AQUARIUM –> Samseong Station (Within Coex Mall, B1)
513, Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 강남구 영동대로 513 (삼성동)

Next up: Day 15 – City Airport, Jjimjilbang AGAIN & Back to Singapore!

Keep a lookout!

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Mummy Audrey
Mummy to Big Boy, Baby Oppa & Meimei

Note: Mummy Audrey runs her own online store, www.TLO.com.sg, while looking after her 3 kids ages 9yo, 5yo, and 1yo. Her business focuses on Korean baby products, thus she travels to Korea frequently to source for new and unique products to bring into Singapore. 

Mummy Audrey and her children are available for product/service reviews as long as the products/services are not conflicting with her own products. Do contact her directly at audrey@TLO.com.sg if you are interested for her to review your product. 

Korea Travel Series Part 16: Day 13 – Lotte World @ Jamsil Station

Continuation of Mummy Audrey’s trip to Seoul, Korea with 3 kids and Ahjussi from 1st to 15th Sep 2016.

Links to the entire series HERE.

Day 13 – 13th September 2016 

So sorry this update came so late! I thought I had uploaded everything but a friend reminded me that we’re not done with the trip just yet!

This is the most tiring day of the trip. But it was super fun!
We spent the entire day at Lotte World from opening till closing! But we forgot to head outside to catch the fireworks at Magic Land. #oops

Anyway, take your time to browse through the pictures and take a look at the video of the parade!

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The Southern Entrance! This is to collect the tickets we purchased online 🙂

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You can see the ticket prices. They have quite a few options if you are just walking around and not taking rides.

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Baby Oppa was really looking forward to this!

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Halloween themed when we went!

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The boys pretending to be ZOMBIES!

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Dress up for little girls!

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Height Matters!

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The difference between the boys! One loves rides while the other is terrified!

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Reasonable priced restaurant! The food was great too! Not too crowded and we could refill the kids’ water bottles.

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Big Boy’s fave – PIZZA!

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Pororo Park! This place is bigger than the one at Coex. Additional entrance fees applies.

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Additional entrance fees applies. You can enter this Pororo Park without entering Lotte World actually. They have an alternate entrance from the shopping mall/ice skating rink.

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Meimei’s fave… All the BALLS!!!

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Sand play!

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Bounce Bounce Bounce!

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Mini indoor playground

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Parent’s hideout within Pororo Park!

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She decided to be a baby again…. But too big for it already!

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The Pororo Park here is huge. Both of us were so tired running after the kids to watch them!

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Back into Lotte World main area to look around.

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I have so many photos of the night parade but the VIDEO says it all!
There’s too much to share about this amazing place! It’s better if you visit it yourself and soak in the fun!

Conclusion about Lotte World: It’s fantastic for KIDS!
However, they are quite STRICT on the height limit for the rides.
Also, we bought discounted tickets online which came as ‘tour tickets’ where everyone gets adult tickets. Certain ride staff were sticky about it and refused to let the kids take the rides without the child ticket. We had to go to their customer service centre to see the manager and get that sorted out. We were informed that this has been improved, not too sure how true as we encountered this again during our Dec 2017 trip.

Where is this?
Lotte World –> Jamsil Station
240, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 송파구 올림픽로 240 (잠실동)

Next up: Day 14 – Coex Aquarium @ Samseong Station

Keep a lookout!

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Mummy Audrey
Mummy to Big Boy, Baby Oppa & Meimei

Note: Mummy Audrey runs her own online store, www.TLO.com.sg, while looking after her 3 kids ages 9yo, 5yo, and 1yo. Her business focuses on Korean baby products, thus she travels to Korea frequently to source for new and unique products to bring into Singapore. 

Mummy Audrey and her children are available for product/service reviews as long as the products/services are not conflicting with her own products. Do contact her directly at audrey@TLO.com.sg if you are interested for her to review your product. 

Crazy Giveaways in June 2017!

It’s been a while since we’ve posted, so we thought that we will update with some exciting giveaways happening this June 2017!

It seems like there are quite a few events and many freebies for babies & mummies to win! Why not take a few minutes to join these giveaways and try your luck! Who knows!

Click on the photos to be linked directly to each giveaway!

GIVEAWAY #1: 14K WHITE GOLD INFINITY HEIRLOOM BRACELET & A HAENIM BREAST PUMP!Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 8.22.29 PM

GIVEAWAY #2: HAENIM BLUETOOTH BREAST PUMPScreen Shot 2017-06-13 at 8.26.10 PM

GIVEAWAY 3: HAENIM UV STERILISER
Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 8.27.59 PM.jpg

GIVEAWAY #4: YELLY MAT FROM KOREAScreen Shot 2017-06-13 at 8.30.33 PM.png

SUPER EVENT! SURE WIN LUCKY DIP with NO SPENDING REQUIRED!
Link to register: http://babyworldluckydip.pgtb.me/FXWf5n
Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 8.11.39 PM

Have a giveaway to share? Comment with the link & we will add them in!

Korea Travel Series Part 15: Day 12 – Pororo Cafe @ Coex

Continuation of Mummy Audrey’s trip to Seoul, Korea with 3 kids and Ahjussi from 1st to 15th Sep 2016.

Links to the entire series HERE.

Day 12 – 12th September 2016 

If you noticed, we are starting to slack! This is our first 2 week trip with kids and no help to Korea, so by now, we were really pooped out. Especially since we really went non stop from place to place daily since we arrived.

As we decided to head to Lotte World tomorrow, we decided that today will be a chillax day. Just find somewhere nice to occupy the kids and we get to rest a little.

So again, we slept till we woke up naturally, gave the kids milk. And grapes (again – because the host really gave us a whole lot of grapes).

We headed out for a simple breakfast because Baby Oppa wanted chocolate cake.

We decided to have breakfast at Ediya which shares a unit with Mad Fry Chicken.

Then we headed into Coex and looked around.

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Came across Coex Aquarium which looked really impressive. Made a mental note to come back again for this (went to search for cheap tickets immediately). The boys were pretty excited about this.

So to occupy the kids, we decided to head to…

Pororo Lounge P!

It’s a small and cozy place. The adults didn’t need to run far or hard. The kids did the running and we could eyeball them easily here.

Mini maze which Meimei found amusing.

Baby Oppa on the slide!

And someone trying to be funny… (WARNING: MUTE BEFORE YOU PLAY!)

Nice longish ball pit!

Most decent photo of them together… After this, they went crazy and ran all over the place!

Very interesting “sand play” area. It’s made up of tiny wooden beads!

Little boys will love this~

Toilets inside the place. No need to get out at all!

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Nice & clean!

Diaper Changing area.

Water dispenser (hot & cold)

Snack & feeding area

Potential Ah Lian!

Infant room! With toys and rockers for them

And this was the highlight of the place for Baby Oppa!

Someone thinks this is a stroller?

She finally realised it after some time… While watching how the other kids play with it!

Final pic together before we leave the place.

Collected our stroller from their stroller parking area…

The cafe area is really huge and great for parties!

And of course… The gift shop…

We spent the rest of the day hanging around Coex (again). Shopping…

Ahjussi was wondering why is the slope there?

Then walking outside to check out the neighbourhood.

Meals were the same boring stuff (Saemaul & Mad Fry Chicken).

Saw this along the way but it didn’t look appealing to us.

Great way to keep the kids happy without tiring ourselves out. I managed to sneak a nap with Meimei in the infant room!

Next up: Day 13 – Lotte World @ Jamsil

Keep a lookout!

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Mummy Audrey
Mummy to Big Boy, Baby Oppa & Meimei

Note: Mummy Audrey runs her own online store, www.TLO.com.sg, while looking after her 3 kids ages 9yo, 5yo, and 1yo. Her business focuses on Korean baby products, thus she travels to Korea frequently to source for new and unique products to bring into Singapore. 

Mummy Audrey and her children are available for product/service reviews as long as the products/services are not conflicting with her own products. Do contact her directly at audrey@TLO.com.sg if you are interested for her to review your product. 

Korea Travel Series Part 14: Day 11 – Lazy Day! Coex Mall Duty Free, Andong JimDdak & MAD FRY CHICKEN (The BEST Fried Chicken EVER!)

Continuation of Mummy Audrey’s trip to Seoul, Korea with 3 kids and Ahjussi from 1st to 15th Sep 2016.

Links to the entire series HERE.

Day 11 – 11th September 2016 

So, the day started off with us waking up late as we were too tired from all the walking at Seoul Forest followed by shopping at Wangsimni!

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Lazing around

After the kids decided to wake up, we headed to Coex, which was just across the road. Love the convenience of this Gangnam apartment! They munched on grapes again for breakfast and Ahjussi made porridge for us too. Perks of living in an apartment with kitchen.

First stop at Coex: Lotte Duty Free!

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Baby Oppa wanted a photo with the stars!

I wanted to buy some gifts from MCM for our Sure Win Lucky Dip (event for our baby fairs). So this is the right place to be shopping at!

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Do note that photo taking INSIDE MCM is NOT ALLOWED. The staff will be very fast to either cover your phone or snatch it away. Don’t be surprised. If your friends are asking you to help them find something, just show the photo/screenshot to the staff will do.

And Ahjussi went to get some additional discounts or something. I can’t remember clearly. So I hung around with 3 kids while waiting for him to settle that.

He came back and saw this. Guess who got scolded. OOPSIES!

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Mad fun!

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Many cute little displays all over the mall for photo taking!

We were getting hungry so we decided to settle down for something to eat. Too lazy to think, so we just plonked ourselves down at this restaurant serving Andong Chicken Stew.

Turned out… It was SPICY!!! The boys had to down a lot of rice & water. Looks innocent yet super spicy although we requested no chili! Be warned! Not kid friendly!
We bought the boys burgers after this.
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Loads of seafood! Really value for money. 34,000 won per set (can feed 4 but both of us finished it all).

And we were really too tired to do anything else! We headed back to the apartment to rest.

So while the boys enjoyed their free time (TV/iPad), Meimei was busy looking for stuff to play. We don’t believe in bringing many toys along during a trip, so she had to find her own entertainment. Kids learn more when not given toys, this trip really proved this point to us! We were surprised at her stacking skills!

Ahjussi went to tabao dinner. Amongst all the fried chicken we had in Korea (we’ve tried all the ‘branded’ ones that were recommended), this is our ultimate fave! MAD FRY CHICKEN!

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For convenience, Ahjussi ordered boneless drumsticks.

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This is it! I think this is half dozen? He bought other food too. Complimentary pickled radish which we seldom ate.

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Their dips were mouth watering. The boys enjoyed the cheese dip a lot! I preferred their chili dip. Slightly spicy with a tangy feel.

I don’t have the exact address to this place. But if you are near Coex, it is just across the road from 7-Luck Casino’s main entrance. Sharing same premises as Ediya cafe. They apparently have many branches all over Korea, so maybe Google can help you find an outlet near where you will be staying at!

Next up: Day 12 – Pororo Cafe @ Coex

Keep a lookout!

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Mummy Audrey
Mummy to Big Boy, Baby Oppa & Meimei

Note: Mummy Audrey runs her own online store, www.TLO.com.sg, while looking after her 3 kids ages 9yo, 5yo, and 1yo. Her business focuses on Korean baby products, thus she travels to Korea frequently to source for new and unique products to bring into Singapore. 

Mummy Audrey and her children are available for product/service reviews as long as the products/services are not conflicting with her own products. Do contact her directly at audrey@TLO.com.sg if you are interested for her to review your product.