A Day in Singapore!

Greetings and salutations my excellent friends! It’s time for the last video from our Winter SEAsia trip (I know I’ve said this before, but this time I mean it). Today, I’m going to share with you part of our trip through Singapore!



Our adventure started off in Singapore’s Chinatown. It’s a really cool area and one that I really recommend. The old shop houses are totally cool and really capture the look and feel of the area. You’ll see these throughout many of the older areas in Asia, but none have really been as well as preserved as we have seen here.

The next area we walked past was Pagoda Street featuring the giant Gopuram of Sri Mariamman Temple (ornate entrance to Hindu Temple). It’s really cool to look at. Just a few hundred meters away is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum.

Out of all the places we visited in Singapore, this was our favorite. We actually went there every single day. It is an AWESOME place to go. The temple is built in Tang Dynasty style and is four stories high. It is probably one of the best museums on Buddhism I have ever seen. The tooth relic room blew my mind.

These three places can all be reached within 400m of the Chinatown metro station.

Then we went to one of the many areas where “hawker food” is available. Hawker food is the same as street food, but called hawker food because of the British influence on Singapore. We then saw a short film about Singapore and traveled to the Garden By The Bay to take in the Super Tree Grove and domes.

All in all, it was a fantastic day.

Manila Chinatown – QiRanger’s Walk and Talk #14


This week on the Walk and Talk we’re headed to one of my favorite places in the Philippines – Manila Chinatown otherwise known as Binondo. It’s within walking distance of Intramuros and Luneta and where we tend to stay when in the city. What makes Manila Chinatown so special? Well, take a look at the video. In this week’s episode, I take you through only a couple of blocks inside this historic district that was established in 1521 with its official incorporation dating back to 1594 – making it the oldest Chinatown in the world.

SEAsia Trip Video Series 3

Okay, I apologize that it has taken me so long to get this out there, but we’ve had some pretty spotty wifi over the last 10 days or so. What I provide for you now is the latest video dump from our trip. As always, if you’re following me on Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube you can get the videos as soon as they are released.

Video 1:No sex in the Thai minivan!



Video 2: Thailand’s Sang Som Rum!


Video 3: Thai Street Food: Banana Waffle!



Video 4: Doi Suthep Temple



Video 5: Singapore’s Red Light District



Video 6: Amazing Singapore Ice Cream Sandwich!



Video 7: My $2 Shave!



Video 8: Exploring KL’s Skyscrapers!



Video 9: Slow-mo Pigeon Romp



There you have it… all the videos up to now. Stay tuned for more!!!!

SEAsia Trip Week One Videos

Hey everyone! I hope you’re having a fantastic day. It’s hard to believe, but Jo and I have been out on our SEAsia trip for one week at this point. While I have been pretty good at uploading videos each day to The VLOG Channel, I wanted to place them all on QiRanger.com as well. Each week, I will place an embedded list. So, without further ado, here is the first collection!

Video 1: Pandesal



Video 2: Chinese-Filipino Traditions



Video 3: Chinese Cross


Video 4: Wai Chan Noodles



Video 5: Happy New Year



Video 6: McDonald’s Chinatown



Getting Cheap SEAsia Flights



We’re about ready to start the final pack and get out of here. However, I did receive a question about budgeting for a long SEAsia trip and scoring cheap flights. To be truthful, Jo and I are not budget backpackers and like staying in moderate resorts. Comfort is primary for us. That being said, we also like to travel quick, safe, and efficiently. On our current trip, we have 11 legs that averaged out to $89 per person per leg. While there are cheaper ways to travel, than flying, we wanted to maximize our relaxation time, not spend it on a bus or train.

Seoul Subway Gas Masks



Seoul’s Subways are some of the most traveled in the world. So what happens in case of an emergency? Well, the fine folks running them are on top of everything and have plans in place. In today’s video, we take a look at the Seoul Subway Gas Mask closet. Not only do they have gas masks for smoke, but also for more severe (radiological) types of problems. What’s great about the Seoul Subway Gas Masks is that they’re easy to identify and the instructions are available in Korean and English with pictures.

Korean Subway Toilet Vending Machine



Need a few things when going to the toilet? Well if so, then you’re in luck… at least in Seoul where you’ll often find a vending machine next to the public toilets. Just what will you find in the Korean subway toilet vending machines? Well aside from what you would normally expect, there are a few other things I find a bit odd, like candy bars.

Seoul’s Gusto Taco


Growing up in both Texas and Arizona, if there’s one type of food that I would call comforting, it would be Mexican. Since arriving in Korea almost five years ago, I’ve been pleased to see the number Mexican food restaurants rise. This week, Jo and I venture to Hongdae to Gusto Taco. Trip Advisor consistently rated as one of the top restaurants in Seoul, so I knew I couldn’t pass it up.

gusto taco sangsu hongdae seoul korea steve miller qiranger iphone 5s

The restaurant is located just around the corner from exit 1 of Sangsu Station (Line 6). A few buses do run in the area, but your best bet is to get there by taking the subway or walking. If you want to take a taxi there, just tell them to take you to the station.

It’s a fairly small restaurant divided into two floors. The first floor is nothing more than small window, where you can see the prep cook making Gusto Taco’s signature tortillas. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, they make their own here – and that is a very good thing. However, while we were there, they wouldn’t allow me to film. SAD PANDA

We made our way upstairs and found ourselves the very first customers of the day (or at least the only ones there at the moment. After settling down it was time to get our grub on. We ordered the following: 2 margaritas, 2 sets of chipotle pork tacos, and chipotle pork nachos. The total came to W40,400 ($38.33). That might seem like a lot, but for Western Food in Seoul, it isn’t.

gusto taco sangsu hongdae seoul korea steve miller qiranger iphone 5s

The margarita was… unique. It’s served in a rocker glass and despite asking for a frozen margarita it was simply a regular one placed in a glass with a ton of shaved ice. It tasted all right. I found it quite tart, but that’s the way I like them. All that being said, the margarita wasn’t anything special. For its price, I found it quite lacking and opted to purchase a 500ml San Miguel beer for an additional W6,000 ($5.70).

gusto taco sangsu hongdae seoul korea steve miller qiranger iphone 5s

Moving on to the nachos, I had some high hopes, since I know they make their own cheese sauce. Unfortunately, that’s the best thing about the dish. Seriously, it was so good, I used my fingers to scoop up the excess cheese. YUM However, that was the only thing special about the nachos. Gusto Tacos doesn’t make their own tortilla chips, as that would be “cost prohibitive.” While, there’s nothing wrong with that, kit’s also a shame, since that would make the dish extra-special.

gusto taco sangsu hongdae seoul korea steve miller qiranger iphone 5s

Now let’s talk tacos. Our chipotle pork tacos arrived hot and served wrapped in tin foil. No plates needed here and it reminded me of all the times I got tacos off the end of a truck when crossing the border years ago. The tortillas, as I’ve alluded to before, were amazing. The pork was tender and full of rich spices. When I took my first bite, savory juices dripped out its back end. It was a joyous taste explosion in my mouth and one I would pay for again and again.

While the margaritas and nachos weren’t anything beyond ordinary, the tacos were. Overall, this was a great place to come and eat. On a scale of one to five bottles of Awesomesauce, I’ll rate it a solid 4.

Bundang Line’s Suwon City Hall Station – QiRanger’s Walk and Talk #13



Hey everyone! This week on the Walk and Talk I’m taking you to Suwon and a fresh look at the Bundang Line’s new Suwon City Hall Station. The Bundang Line extension opened up two weeks ago, and this is the first chance I’ve been able to ride it.

Suwon City Hall Station is located halfway between Mangpo Station and Suwon Station on the Bundang Line. While it has 10 exits, it is a very small and vacant looking station. There’s only one store inside, and it’s not even a Storyway. Pretty disappointing when you think about it.

Heading up to the street level, you do find yourself in proximity to malls like the Galleria, HomePlus, and Hi-Mart. Trendy nightlife area Ingye-dong is also nearby.

All in all, Suwon City Hall Station is still getting its feet wet, but I guess you really don’t need a lot inside, where there is so much outside.

Cheorwon DMZ – Steve Miller’s EYE #10


I awoke before dawn and traveled north of Cheorwon, past military checkpoints into the controlled area of South Korea’s Demilitarized Zone. While I had been inside this tightly guarded zone many times, the heavy fog and eerie silence, coupled with a half dozen Korean soldiers standing nearby sent a chill up my spine unrelated to the weather.

choerwon-dmz-c100-steve-miller-qiranger

Walking over frozen rice paddies, I arrived at the Togyo Reservoir. It isn’t a place listed on my must-see travel itineraries, but local residents are proud because it’s the sight of several migratory geese and cranes. When the sun, which I couldn’t see, broke the horizon, waves of geese called out and took to the sky. Their calls were almost deafening to those of us on the ground.

As we continued through the DMZ, several Red-crowned cranes picked at bits of rice still in the field. These are the largest of the Asian cranes and are known to be a symbol of good luck, longevity, and fidelity.

The Cheorwon Peace Observatory is located atop a small mountain. Walking up the hill from the lower parking lot, I passed by the remnants of an old military bunker that dated back to when the area faced fierce fighting between North and South Korean armies. Moss grew in the fine crevices created by time and war, reminding me that nothing lasts forever. With thick fog still obscuring visibility, there wasn’t much to be seen; however, my thoughts drifted back to all those who had served here under similar conditions so many years ago and the terror they must have felt not knowing what lay in the mist.

Information

  • Address: 588-14, Junggang-ri, Dongsong-eup, Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do / 강원 철원군 동송읍 중강리 588-14
  • Phone: +82-2-1330, +82-33-455-8275, +82-70-4124-8275
  • Closed Tuesdays, Children’s Day, Chuseok, Seollal
  • Admission W2,000
  • Parking is available; however, one must contact the observatory in advance to gain access. To get there, take a taxi from the local Dongsong bus terminal.
  • Website

The last stop on the Gyeongwon rail line is Woljeongni station. It was the sight of intense fighting during the Korean war and while no longer in service, does show the remains of an old iron locomotive that once traveled into North Korea.

Information

  • Address: Hongwon-ri, Cheorwon-eup, Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do
    강원 철원군 철원읍 홍원리
  • Phone: +82-2-1330, +82-33-450-5558/9, +82-33-450-5365
  • Closed Tuesdays, January 1st, Children’s Day, Chuseok, Seollal
  • Admission W4,000
  • Parking is available; however, this is located inside the DMZ. Usually a tour or special arrangements need to be made before traveling here. Cars and buses are allowed entry only at specific times. Contact the offices for complete information.
  • Website

The Taegukki, or Korean Flag flies high above Baekma Hill, a small piece of land that saw some of the fiercest fighting during the war. Over a period of ten days, North and South Korean forces battled back and forth for control 24 times. The landscape was virtually destroyed, making it look like a bare white horse. Towering twin spires rise into the sky remember those who have fallen, while the peace pavilion on top looks forward to North Korea.

choerwon-dmz-c100-steve-miller-qiranger

Dopian Temple isn’t anything out of the ordinary, despite dating back to the 9th century. However, that doesn’t mean it was devoid of charm or secrets to be found by those with observant eyes.

Information

  • Address: 450, Gwanu-ri, Dongsong-eup, Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do
    강원도 철원군 동송읍 도피동길 23 (동송읍)
  • Phone: +82-2-1330, +82-33-455-2471
  • Directions:

From Suyu Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 3, take Bus 36 to Yeoncheon Station.
* Bus schedule: 03:50-25:00, 7min intervals
From Yeoncheon Station, take Bus 39-2 and get off at Sintanri Station.
* Bus schedule: 06:30-22:10, 20min intervals
Transfer to Bus 39-3 and get off at Dopiansa Temple Station.
* Bus schedule: 07:00-23:30, 1hr intervals

 choerwon-dmz-c100-steve-miller-qiranger

This video was filmed with the Canon EOS C100 provided by Canon Korea.

Transportation and accommodations provided by the Korean Tourism Organization.

And now for some extra clips from the series…