Competition: Komodo Islands

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Heey! So I’m finally back from a two week trip from Indonesia in collaboration with the Indonesian Tourism Board.  Even though the Ministry of Tourism overfed me with endless buffets and snack boxes, I can definitely say I have lost some weight 0.0

One of the definite highlights of this trip was Komodo Island.  Not because it is the only place you can see Komodo dragons, but the sheer natural beauty and rawness of the culture ticks every boxes of what every explorer looks for.

We started of landing at one of the neighboring islands called Labuan Bajo, and we go went to visit a village of Liang Ndara where we were welcomed by the locals and watched cultural performances such as the Caca dance.  Oh and might I say their home cooked meal was one of the highest quality of foods I have tasted in Indonesia thus far.  A fine afternoon was then followed by volunteering at the Pelangibook Library where we help kids imagine what life is like outside their island.  It was great to see their faces full of curiosity and wonder on every little detail.  It really puts things into perspective because these kids have quite little luxuries and accessible facilities but their faces are the happiest and brightest I have seen.  The Korean students have these personal electronic goods and public facilities that make their life comfortable and pleasurable, but Korea is one of the statistically unhappiest country on Earth.  Well…so they say having less is more I suppose.

How can we visit the Komodo Islands without exploring the Komodo National Park where we can visit our dragon friends?  Friends who are always in search for food or they spit poison at you.  Yay.  Kidding aside the danger actually added the thrill and the rarity of these endangered creatures made me appreciate more of the given experience.  Oh and did I mention we actually had a picnic with these Komodos?  Luckily we had guards ward them off every time they had a whiff of my chicken meat.

The day was quickly ended by a quick visit to Pink beach and an extreme but short hike up Padar.  With the epic sunset flaring in the sky followed by a sea of stars, the Komodo Islands have definitely become my most favourite destination in Indonesia.  Someone please take me back =(  Anyhoo…

Competition time!!

In collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism of Indonesia you now have a chance to win an all expenses paid trip to the Komodo Islands!  All you need to do is create a 30 seconds to 1 minute creative video as to why you want to visit there. If you win you get to spend two nights at hotel accommodation in Labuan Bajo and get to visit Rinca Island, Pink Beach, Komodo Island, Kanawa Island and an extra 400USD spending money.  Competition ends November 16 2015.

More details HERE.

Good luck!

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Venezianity

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Venice has always been known as a city for romance and newlyweds, so people have been telling me that they will save up that location for their ‘honeymoon’ or for a ‘couple get away’.  I totally disagree.  When I finally had the lucky opportunity this beautiful city I was immersed with the culture.  I would say all that couple thing is just a marketing scam.  I mean sure there are some people making out in that odd corner or embracing on a Gondola after being scammed by the gondolier, but to say that Venice should be visited once you are in a relationship…is bull.

I’ve been wanting to visit here after following @neumarc on Instagram.  His pictures reminds me of the time I was in Italy a couple of years back and ever since I have been dying to come back.  Marco’s pictures not only are beautiful, but I could feel the very essence of the city in his pictures.

To experience more of the Venezian culture we decided to rent out an authentic and suuuper cozy apartment from Roomorama.  The interior was fully furnished and decorated with Italian art, furniture and sculptures.  Also the fact that were right by the town center, convenience stores, bakeries, bars and restaurants were just a door step away.

Venice was everything I expected…in fact more.  Although there was a day that I almost murdered my sister in one of the back alleys, we were cheered up when we met up with a local friend Riccardo.  He wasn’t someone I knew before, in fact he messaged me on Instagram when I was taking a nap and he said he saw me in town and asked whether I wanted to go around the city for a little photowalk.  To be honest the alleys, canals, and my sister was getting a little monotonous so I thought this would be a good change for us both.  So we met up with him and boy was it a good choice.  He took us to some secret places where only locals only knew about, introduced us to the best Gelato ice cream in town and even invited us to his house for some authentic, home made Italian pasta.  We talked through midnight about our careers on Instagram, youtubers, Italian culture, Korean culture etc.  It was a perfect chilled night.  Thank you Riccardo!

Thank you also to Roomorama who sponsored our beautiful Venezian apartment for such a comfortable stay.  With over 120,000 properties, Roomorama is the largest platform for professionally-managed vacation rentals worldwide.  If you sign up by clicking on this link (https://www.roomorama.com/users/seoulstateofmind/invite), you will get $50USD in credit to your account.  Happy Travels!

Jeonju

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Jeonju has probably been one of the most hyped up places in Korea and because of the over advertising, it is now in danger of getting eye rolls every time we see a commercial on the bus, subway, train…like, seriously Korea…stop it.  We now have something called the internet?

Anyways I was lucky to go on behalf of the Korean Tourism Board and there was one thing I needed to find out for myself; is the Jeonju Bibimbap really that amazing in their city of origin, or if it’s all just a stereotypical fad?  Well, I tried it and I guess it really did live up to its fame.  The ingredients and the taste were much fresher and smoother than any other Bibimbap I had in the country.  Definitely worth a try there!  Also make sure to pop by the PNB bakery for their famous choco-pies.  Totally delicious!

Despite all the food, the highlight for me was being able to capture the whole of the village from a nearby hill.  That haze made the moment extra special.  I really cannot wait to come back again when those roofs are filled with snow.

Thanks again to the Tourism Board for making this trip happen.  Also I just managed to hit over 100,000 followers on instagram.  Thank you so much again for the endless support!!!

P.S Apparently if you call someone who is from Jeonju a ‘bibimbap’ it is considered racist. True? I’m terribly sorry but when I heard this fact I couldn’t stop chuckling.

Dior Couture

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As you may or may not have been aware from my Instagram that I’ve had the lucky opportunity to collaborate with Dior as they opened up their very own Esprit exhibition at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza.  It was really an honour that they chose me to be the representative photographer of Korea for their social media accounts and online magazine.  Talk about self esteem boost!

As well as getting a VVIP tour of the exhibition I met Dior’s marketing mastermind Gary Pinagot, and internationally renowned photographer Hiroaki Fukada.  Aside from having tried my best efforts to not fanboy over one of my biggest inspirations, I also realised how my perceptions of luxury brands changed.  To be able to learn the history, the process, and the timeless evolution of Dior from an expert was very mind opening and inspirationally educational.

Special thanks to the Dior team for making this one of the most valuable experiences I had and giving me the opportunity to peep at their world of creativity and brilliance, especially to Gary Pinagot who bought all the coffee that day T_T.  Seriously though, it was mind boggling to know that this down to earth guy was the same mastermind behind some iconic marketing campaigns for Dior.

Make sure to check out the exhibition “Esprit Dior” at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza before they pack their bags on 25th August.