sunnuntai 26. kesäkuuta 2016

Another visit to Seoul & Dream Concert 2016 ♥

Earlier this month I travelled to Seoul to attend this year's Dream Concert. I also wanted to use the opportunity to see my friend once more before I go back to Finland. It's much cheaper to fly from Thailand than Finland and I don't know when I'll be able to go there again so I didn't really have any difficulty to decide whether to go or not.

I arrived in Seoul on a Friday morning and after renting a wifi router, I took a bus to Dongdaemun where my hotel was located. About the wifi router... I REALLY recommend to get it when you travel to Korea. There are a few different companies offering them at the airport and they also have rental phones and prepaid sim cards. Last month I decided to try the wifi router for the first time because I thought it would be nice to have internet when I go out. It worked very well and the speed of the internet was also very good. The router itself was small and light to carry which was a huge plus. At first you pay 220,000 Won as a deposit (you need to have a credit card for it) and when you return the router, you get that amount back. The rate for my router was 5,000 Won per day (about 3.80 Euros) so it's not that bad. You can use the router with 3 different phones, tablets etc. and that was very useful for me and my sister who could also use the internet even though I was using it. So after my first and very satisfied try, I decided I will definitely get it during this trip too. 

Soon after I arrived at my hotel, I met up with my local friend. We went to eat lunch first and then we headed to Hongdae. Our plan was to go to Itaewon also but because time flew so fast, we decided to leave it for the next time. 

First we went to take new sticker photos. We did this last year when I saw her and my other Korean friend (both of them were exchange students at my university) for the first time in Seoul. This is something I consider exciting because it's totally Asian thing. In Finland we don't have places like this so I was happy to do this again. This time I even wore a Korean traditional dress when we took the pictures. I really like the Korean traditional dress! It's so pretty and different than Finnish traditional clothes. For me the hardest part was still the photo editing part in the end. You're supposed to edit the pictures after taking them so you can put hearts, text and various icons to them. There are sooo many to choose from so it's really hard to do and for me it's even harder because I'm still not used to doing that. But I was really satisfied with our pictures and maybe next time we take new ones once again :) 

We left one of our pictures in the shop and of course I just had to put it
on top of INFINITE's wallpaper :D
+ I really liked this sticker photo places because it was filled with INFINITE pictures!
Hanbok - Korean traditional clothes

A few other people had left their picture on the walls & table...
After watching a street magic performance, we decided to visit a puppy cafe. It was my first time going to an animal cafe and because I really miss my dog back in Finland, I was excited to go there. There was a small entrance fee and you had to order at least one drink. The place was nice and the dogs were really cute and funny. At first almost all of them just slept somewhere but as time passed, they started to be more energetic. One of them actually caused too much action among them so he had to be taken away. It was nice to pet dogs after a long long time and that made me feel better but at the same time also miss my dog even more. Still I thought it was a good idea to go there :) 

I chose pink grapefruit ade which was
a bit over priced but the taste was really good!










After enjoying the company of dogs, it was time for dinner and because we couldn't find any other restaurant that really interested us from the internet, we ended up eating in Kyochon Chicken which was next to the puppy cafe. At least we could be sure that the food will be good which it really was. 


Korean fried chicken 
One of the reasons I wanted to go to Hongdae again was to see street dance performances. There weren't any during the afternoon which was quite disappointing and my friend said there probably won't be any because it's Friday. But luckily after our dinner there were a few groups performing. We watched one of the groups quite a long time and I ended up recognising one of the guys. Last time he was there performing with another group and I thought he was really good. I hope he still dances with that group too... This new group was also really good and different. Especially their feminine performances were interesting... 3 of the guys performed some Korean girl group dances and it was hilarious to watch because especially one of them was dancing his heart out. It'll be fun to show the videos to my friends in Finland :D 

After they ended their performances, we still went to eat dessert before heading out. I had a really fun day with my friend and I was glad that I was able to travel to Seoul again and spend more time with her. I might go there once more this year but because it's not sure yet, I was really happy about this day. If only I could live there one day...

Pink grapefruit shaved ice

On the next day before going to the concert, I went shopping for some things for my mum and myself. In the afternoon it was finally time to head out to Seoul World Cup Stadium and have a great evening. This time I went there as late as possible because I didn't want to just wait there for hours like last year. After getting my ticket, I went straight to this crazy long line that was going to the stairs that lead to the stadium. This time going inside the stadium went really smoothly. I didn't really after to wait in line after the stairs and there were staff showing well where to go etc. Last year the system was quite a mess and there was a lot of waiting in line so I was happy about this improvement. Inside the stadium after getting help from a staff member, I was able to find my seat which was literally next to the stage. As I sat down, I was looking at the stage and thinking OMG is this really happening. Even though I had a good seat last year, it was nothing compared to this year's seat. The concert was supposed to start at 6 pm but a couple of days earlier it was announced that it'll start 5.20 pm. In the end that was a really good thing because I was able to use the metro to go home from Myeong-dong where the LotteJTB's shuttle bus took us. So another + for this year's Dream Concert. 
The view from my seat!
As we waited for the concert to start, you could see the artists on the red carpet from the screens. You can probably imagine which group got the most screams... Before the real performances started, there were a few cover dance groups performing and they were actually competing. The groups were from all over the world, at least one of them was a boy dance group from Thailand. I thought all of them were really good and for me it would have been very hard to choose a winner. Even though I felt most of the people in the audience weren't really paying attention to the performances, I thought it was a great opportunity for them to perform at Dream Concert. After that it was time for the real deal! 

There were over 30 artists and most of them were still rookie groups so it sometimes felt like it took forever for some well-known group to perform. Before the concert I was a bit disappointed about the lineup but I still enjoyed the whole concert (except for one really weird and awful performance with a Korean female singer & foreign male singer). I was excited to see 24K to perform 'Super Fly' which I just started to love due to seeing a great street dance performance on that song. I.O.I and NCT U were still quite unfamiliar to me so I enjoyed their performances especially because this was I.O.I's last performance as a whole group. Now I'm also a huge fan of NCT U's 'The 7th Sense' song. Both of them got loud screams from the fans and after they performed I felt like the concert had REALLY started. But I was actually wrong... When SEVENTEEN took the stage for the first time (they performed separately twice like NCT U) the amount of screaming was huge and honestly not that surprising. SEVENTEEN was also a bit unfamiliar to me but after their performances, they gained a new fan. I really like 'Pretty U' and 'Mansae'! Almost all of the girl groups were not that interesting but I really liked Red Velvet and so did a lot of people in the audience according to the screaming. I was also positively surprised how good Oh My Girl's 'Windy Day' performance was. Now that song is also in my phone's music library... Towards the end of the concert came my absolute favorites: VIXX, Nam Woohyun, Taemin & EXO. They were all really really good and I was happy to see them live and especially hear Woohyun live (his voice is just amazing). EXO was the finishing act and when they took the stage with 'Call Me Baby' and 'Love Me Right' the whole stadium just exploded. The atmosphere was almost the same as in the EXO concerts where I went to earlier. Between the songs they also showed teasers for their new songs 'Lucky One' and 'Monster'. Their performances were a great way to end the concert. Just like last year there was still more to come... All the artists came on stage and greeted fans and threw cards with a text that the group had written. During that last greeting stage I was SO happy to sit where I was sitting because I could see the artists standing on the stage really well and it was so nice when they waved to the area where I was sitting. So overall the concert was great and my seat even better but... There always has to be a but! 

Last year I felt like the concert staff was quite strict about taking photos until they gave up because so many people were doing it. They just started to prevent anyone blocking other people's view with their cameras. Then I was glad they didn't throw anyone out like this year... Yes unfortunately this year they were more strict and even threw some people out for. I saw a couple of girls getting kicked out and 2 others but they eventually came back. I was really shocked and that's why I didn't take many pictures and videos + the ticket was so expensive that I didn't want it to go to waste. I'm guessing at least one girl got kicked out for not taking a picture of the performing artist but of the artist who was walking pass the stage and that was one downside about the seats being so close to the stage and the artists walking in between them. Or maybe she was taking a picture of someone who was on the stage but the staff thought it the other way around... I guess so because the staff was really strict and careful about what behavior is allowed when someone was going to/off the stage. The thing that annoyed me the most wasn't the fact that they were throwing people out (for mostly nothing) but that sometimes when the staff was trying to kick someone out or just trying to get someone to stop taking pictures, they were blocking other people's view of the stage. The worst case was during EXO's performance... A quite big guy made his way to the middle of a seat row where he started arguing with a girl which they did a long time while the girl next to them couldn't see well and she was clearly an EXO fan. I really wanted to yell something to that guy as did so many other people but fortunately one of the LotteJTB's staff members came to signal the guy to stop and get out of there quickly. Everyone who saw that was almost laughing out loud. When the guy left the other staff member gave him a lecture and made him leave. I really wanted to thank that one staff member because at least she understood how wrong that guy's behavior was and how annoying it was when considering the amount of money everyone had used for their VIP tickets. So this was definitely a letdown from last year's concert and I hope for next year's concert they figure out some other way to stop everyone taking pictures or better yet just let everyone take them! 

There was also one disappointing downside on the very good VIP seats for some of the audience members. In some places there were a bunch of balloons stuffed away to wait for their turn and one of the places was next to the stage. The problem was that because of the balloons, the people sitting next to them couldn't see the stage properly. I saw many people complaining about it which led to complaints from LotteJTB's staff to the concert's staff. Suddenly there were about 10 people trying to keep the balloons as low as possible which worked surprisingly well. But those audience members still missed some of the performances if they didn't watch them from the monitors. Last year there were also balloons but I don't recall them being stored in such a bad way but there weren't so many of them then either. This is something I hope the organizers will plan differently too for next year. 

Of course nothing can be perfect so it wasn't a surprise that there were some hiccups. Luckily the organizers can always learn from their mistakes and make the next concert even better. Hopefully that happens next year! I still think Dream Concert is the best kpop concert and if you just have a chance to go there, use it. You won't regret it! It's a great way to meet people from same fandoms as you, experience a kpop concert in Korea and the amazing atmosphere and of course see your favorite idols & possible new favorites ♥

Here's some pictures from the 2016 Dream Concert: 


To get this point the line had already circled around and
around. Luckily it wasn't a really slow line!














See you later (this year?) Seoul and see you Dream Concert hopefully again next year! 

xoxo, Elina

maanantai 20. kesäkuuta 2016

2 weeks left!

From today I have exactly 2 weeks left of my time in Thailand. These past weeks I have been packing my (never ending) supply of various stuff while trying to stay awake and be active at work. Somehow my sleep hasn't been good so especially the time before lunch, has been really hard at work. So when I get home I'm very eager to just go straight to bed and that's why I have tried to utilize every moment when I'm not tired for packing. I have already packed most of my clothes, books, accessories, dishes etc but there are still some things left. And my luggage situation is...well quite nerve wrecking. I have 3 big luggage and luckily none of them are over the weight limit but they're getting closer and closer while the room in them is getting smaller. I have probably been panicking too much about the luggage situation because last Friday I got a migraine at the office in the morning. Fortunately my medication decreases the pain a lot so I could manage the day at work but it wasn't very pleasant. Now I'm trying to take it easy and one of the ways I'm trying to stop my brain from panicking is that I decided I will just pack everything I need/want. Next week on my last days in Bangkok I will see if I have overweight and if I do, then I will buy a small luggage and pay for another excess baggage. I hope I don't need to do that but I also don't want to leave a lot of good stuff behind. It's going to be interesting to walk pass customs in Finland with all of my luggage... :D 


The past 2 weekends I have spent in Bangkok while seeing my Japanese friend and making some of my final shopping. We have went to get our nails done a couple of times, to shop in Chinatown and Chatuchack weekend market and of course to enjoy good food. 


Sushi after a long time 

Once again we chose Bonchon Chicken but I'm just happy
because soon I won't get as good fried chicken as there. 
Crepes & Co. is one of the dessert places where
I've wanted to go for a long time.
Finally we went there and were 100% satisfied. 
I really shouldn't go grocery shopping in Siam Paragon's Gourmet Market
because opposite of the cashiers there's many small cake shops
and for some reason I almost never manage to just walk by and not buy anything.
This time I tried chocolate mousse cake and vanilla cupcake
which were both really good. 
My nails at the moment.
Once again I had huge difficulties to choose the design and my friend
wasn't really helpful...But when I saw this dog design, I just had to pick it.
Of course I have to get dog themed nails at least once, right?
Next weekend I'm also spending in Bangkok but this time I don't have a plan for what I'm going to do with my friend. I should avoid shopping places so I was thinking maybe we could visit a temple to take nice pictures and eat in a restaurant by the river... But unfortunately the weather might not be that good so we probably have to figure out something else. I would also be interested to go see the new Independence Day movie. That's a good indoor activity if you ask me :D and maybe some bowling with that...

Have a nice week everyone! 

xoxo, Elina

torstai 2. kesäkuuta 2016

อาหาร - Food - Part 2

First up is one of my absolute favorite restaurants in BKK: Manna. It's located in Siam Paragon (G floor). It's a bit more expensive if you think about how cheaply you can get rice and noodle dishes in Thailand but in my opinion their dishes are worth the money. In addition the prices are not as expensive as in Finland so I don't really mind them. They offer both inside and outside tables. The food they serve is mainly Thai with a lot of different kinds of options for example rice, noodles, fish, soup etc. They also offer various drinks (alcoholic & non-alcoholic) which I highly recommend too. 






Next up are 2 different ice cream places that I have visited in addition to Swensen's and Yogurtland. Both of these are in Siam Paragon and at least the first one Cold Stone has branches in other places too. 


I really liked this place because they had different kinds of ice creams
compared to other places.
We also managed to get a discount by showing some promotion picture
that we got from our friend. Otherwise the prices were a bit high but what
they offer is worth the money. 

This place was similar to one ice cream place that I love to visit in my hometown.
You can choose the ice cream yourself and then various toppings.
The price is according to the cup size you choose. 
During my exchange a couple of my exchange friends found a really nice cafe near their apartment building. I also managed to visit their once. It's called Oh La La cafe and it's located in On Nut (Near the BTS station and Tesco Lotus). It's a very small cafe and the service is efficient. They offer various main dishes and desserts. If you just want to have some lunch, then this place is spot on. 






My exchange friend who visited in this next restaurant, recommended it so we ended up going there together with our Japanese friend. It's called Miyabi Grill and it's located in MBK shopping center. It's a Japanese barbecue buffet place so you can eat as much as you can in 2 hours. First we just picked some kind of meat and sushi for me and when we had eaten them, we just ordered some more. This place has become my favorite BBQ buffet place in BKK. I have actually went there later a couple of times more with friends and my mum. 



They have various meats: chicken, bacon, pork, beef etc.
+ you can grill vegetables, pineapple etc. 

This next one is one of my favorite restaurants which I discovered during my exchange study thanks to my friends. It's called BonChon Chicken and you can find it in many places in BKK for example MBK and Terminal 21. It's a Korean fried chicken place so the food is guaranteed good. They offer different kinds of chicken pieces (breast, wing, whole chicken etc) and with different flavors. You can also get for example rice or flavored fries with the chicken. But be prepared to wait in line before getting a table... That happened both times I have eaten there. The first time we were lucky because in the waiting line most of the people were just waiting for their take out food so we managed to get a table quite quickly. The second I had to wait in line with my friend about 15-30 minutes but believe me the food is sooo worth the wait! 



The last restaurant I'm going to introduce is located next to the Manna restaurant in Siam Paragon. It's also a Thai restaurant but with a bit cheaper prices than Manna. The food has been delicious both times I have been there but the first time when I ate there fried rice with a friend the dish was quite small. We were left with a feeling that we could eat some more. But the second time I was happy with my dish as were my mum and friend. 




If I find enough material, I will do a 3rd part later :) 

xoxo, Elina