This Departure Lounge... South Korea, India, The DPRK & Singapore!

Dreams are good but making them into a reality is what counts! Since 2018 I have made the most of my freshly issued British passport, I never intended to stay waiting in that departure lounge of dreams forever! From South Korea's electric capital city to India's unstoppable nature, I crossed into North Korea before trying a Singapore sling in 新加波! How blessed I have been! 


With the exception of Hong Kong and Macau, during my first two years spent in China I chose to stay within the Mainland. My passport didn't have enough pages for me to risk any more stamps during an international trip, I knew I would make my international comeback in time. For National Day 2018 I flew to Seoul, South Korea. I got myself into the KPOP vibe and lived for the neon lights along Myeong-dong's narrow alleys. I stayed in Itaewon, that foreign friendly part of Seoul showed me a thing or two, I was ready for some hedonistic behaviour! Enjoying my days with sightseeing I bagged some Korean gifts for my students, I know that I buy a lot of things for them! Gyeongbukgong Palace was beautiful! Bukchon Hanok Village presented Joseson Era architecture, just so cute and authentic, I loved it! Namsam TV Tower had me walking up hill for time, the view was worth every single step, K!

When the sun went down it gave me the chance to get my soju drinking on point! That Korean liquor was so cheap, it just had to be the one! Finding 'Homo Hill' opened my eyes to that fabulous corner that was filled with gay bars and clubs, during the week it was quiet but I made sure I enjoyed my drinks and if truth be told, I used those weeknight moments as research for a possible weekend trip. Finding Hyundae Spa, I lived my best life and for what took place I can't possible mention! My Korean spa experience in Seoul was magical, the experiences also gave me the thoughts that I needed to return. One thing that I noticed in Seoul were the gentlemen, aside from having killer looks, they were dressed in the best fashion that I ever did see! I wasn't into Korean food but it was safe to say I enjoyed the men folk of Seoul! Who needs Kimchi when you're surrounded by sizzling Korean male hotness! Seoul, South Korea gave me everything that I needed, I knew I'd be returning! SK birthday vibes?


After returning home from England I had already applied for my Indian E-Visa in-preparation for my December holiday. Arriving into New Delhi had me feeling all kinds of crazy, it was pure pandemonium at the airport as I waited for my transfer. The first day spent in New Delhi, I chose to take a 'taxi tour' around the city. The inexpensive taxi allowed me to see the Jama Masjid, Gandhi's House and India Gate amongst other places on the way. The contrast between New and Old Delhi had me shocked, from one side it was all colonial houses then to the other it was city dwellings of another kind! That chaotic city gave me life for sure, I stayed near Delhi Railway Station with sights and smells served to me like no other I had ever experienced before that December 2018 moment! I was amazed by the English spoken by some of the local people that I spoke to, on the whole they were friendly people. India is incredible! Oh, it was so crazy!

I didn't plan on spending all of my time in Delhi, I had booked myself a three day, two night tour from Delhi to Agra and Jaipur before going back to my Delhi hotel. First driving down to Agra, I was able to spend some tome at the world famous Taj Mahal, moving on I lived for the red tones of the Agra Fort. Spending one night in Agra, I tried some local foods and enjoyed some lovely masala chai on the roadside. Driving for what felt like an eternity, my driver pulled into Jaipur, known as the 'Pink City'. Taking in the Jal Mahal, along the lake front I spent my rupees up because I wanted some locally made crafts for my students to enjoy. The bustling vibe of Jaipur didn't intimidate like Delhi had almost tried to, I lived for the chilled opulent vibe I felt as I discovered the 'City Palace'. The Hawa Mahal impressed me much! 'Rollin' on the river' I made it down to Garhmukteshwar to see the mighty 'Ganges River' for myself! My rescheduled Air India flight gave me another day in India! Go!


Before I lived in China it never occurred to me that I could visit one of the world's most secretive countries so easily from China. After my experiences in South Korea my in-depth knowledge of its northern neighbour had me researching trips to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Booking with Young Pioneer Tours I took off for Pyongyang with Air Koryo, accompanied by some of the tour group members we had already had our pre-trip meeting the previous day. Meeting our guides, we gave them our passports as they would be keeping them for the duration of our time that we spent in Pyongyang. Seeing Kim Il Sung Square allowed me to see where the military parades take place, we enjoyed a surprisingly good coffee, the power supply tripped out! Getting to the train station allowed us to welcome the remaining members of the tour before checking out Ryomyong Street where we had our dinner. Go!

Smartly dressed for the entire length of the trip, it was suggested that we wore formal attire at all times. Pyongyang was so different compared with Seoul, I couldn't get my head around the stark differences. Our tour took us to many of the highlights in Pyongyang, we visited Kumsusan Palace of the Sun on the third day. Adhering to the required behaviours we were able to see the two former leaders in state, it was a very surreal experience indeed! Taking the high road we drove all the way to Kaesong, we visited Panmunjom Village to see the unsigned peace treaty and to peer over the DMZ! Back in Pyongyang we took a ride on the deepest metro in the world, the grandeur of the stations and the vintage german metro impressed us all! The restaurant that we visited on the second official night was amazing, the food was something but the waitresses certainly entertained us with their musical talents! I experienced one day in the border city of Sinuiju before crossing back into China.


So, National Day 2019 had big shoes to fill, the previous year had seen me get up to some crazy things in Seoul, South Korea. I jetted off to Singapore with the national airline, paying more because of that choice it led to be the best decision ever made! Catching the indoor waterfall at Changi Airport's Jewel transit feature, that futuristic space impressed me much! Getting to know Chinatown had to be done, I had arrived a few hours earlier than I had expected to. I tried a 'Curry O' from Old Chang Kee, trying my best to stave the jet leg I enjoyed my curry flavoured puff. Thankfully, I checked into my pod hotel bunk for some much needed sleep. Chinatown had me playing some tricks, let's just say a certain establishment that mirrored Seoul's Hyundae Spa had crossed my path, I was ready for all of that business! Ending the night with my first Singapore Sling at Dorothy's had me somewhere over the rainbow. Done!

Taking the MRT over to Little India had my tastebuds sent to another planet, lunch at the Tekka Centre allowed to eat at one of Singapore's many hawker centres. Serangoon Road's many colours took me back to India for sure, I caught a glimpse of the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple! Kampong Glam served me an Arabian flare, the city's Sultan Mosque impressed me much! Taking things seriously beside the Singapore River during my third day in Singapore had me starting things from the top of Fort Canning Hill Park. Catching a glimpse of Sir Stamford Raffles in statue form had me another element of the river. Sipping my money way at the Long Bar adjacent to the Raffles Hotel had me falling in love with a Singapore Sling or three! The Esplanade allowed me to find the Merlion, catching my desired photo with Marina Bay Sands in the background was a challenge! Hor Fun never tasted so good at Lau Pa Sat before I concluded my magical week at the Gardens by the Bay! Singapore was amazing!

Travel Sets Me Free!

Joseph Harrison 

Comments

  1. this is beautiful. i'm actually from india and i'm so glad you enjoyed our culture! although next time you come here, do visit some of the hilly areas, they're absolute gold. the busy cities tend to be a little too crowded and intimidating haha.

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    1. Thank you for your comment!

      Visiting India was an amazing experience! I would love to mix things up next time for sure! Definitely looking at a future trip to India to experience the craziness and vibrancy of the big cities and to see the beaches of Goa. I am very curious about my country's Imperial history, India has many things to see from the days of the British era.

      Thanks,

      Joseph

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