Yi Ken is Yi Xi’s No. 1 Bro

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Due to bad weather from 20 to 23 Nov 2015, we were unable to continue our journey from Bajram Curri towards Albanian/Kosovo border and onwards to Gjakova, Kosovo. Thankfully, we had found an Albanian Muslim family with 5 children by showing up at their door just before sunset. They have kindly sheltered us from the strong wind and rain for four nights. Their house is located outside the city centre of Bajram Curri. On Sunday morning, their 17 year old son, Lindi was going to drive to Bajram Curri after breakfast, so we asked if he could bring us to the shop to buy some food stuff. Together with their youngest son, Gesi, we hopped on to his jeep to the city. He brought us to the shop and left while we did our shopping. When we were done, Gesi called his brother and about 10 minutes later, his brother came back with another car, an old Mercedes. His friend was also in the car. Apparently, Lindi was driving his friend’s car and we were not sure where he left his jeep.

The four of us and Gesi squeezed in the back of the car and Lindi drove us back home. We were just out of the city when Lindi stopped and got off the car to check on the left back wheel. He asked Gesi to sit on the front passenger seat, on his friend’s lap and tried to drive. However, the car could not move much. Gesi and his friend got off and check as well. Then, Lindi asked us to get off the car and wait for 5 minutes. We thought it was because the back was too heavy. It was raining and we only have one umbrella, so we asked Yi Ken and Yi Xi to stay in the back seat of the car, since it was just 5 minutes. When we got off, we realized that one wheel was punctured. Lindi drove the car back to the city with Yi Ken and Yi Xi inside. The friend of his kept telling us to wait for 5 minutes. So Gesi, the friend and us waited by the side of the road. It was raining and we shared one umbrella. We used Google translator to ask them where was Lindi going. We told his friend we should go and look for them as Yi Xi may cry. His friend kept telling us that they will be back in 5 minutes. So, we waited under the rain and in the cold. We were glad that Yi Ken and Yi Xi need not wait in the cold, but also worried if Yi Xi would cry in the car. We waited for more than 5 minutes but Lindi did not appear. The friend got a call from Lindi and they spoke. We asked the friend if the kids cried, the friend said, “Jo, jo, jo (Yo)” meaning “no, no, no”. We were relieved. We waited for another 5 to 10 minutes in the rain before walking 50 meters back to the petrol kiosk to seek shelter. At the petrol kiosk, the brother called Lindi again. We wondered if Yi Ken and Yi Xi cried this time but his friend said “Jo, jo, jo”, moving his fore finger sideways. We waited for another 5 to 10 minutes before Lindi returned. We waved happily to the approaching car. When Tun Ling opened the door, Yiken and YiXi were sitting quietly in the car. The first word Yi Xi said was “xiao bian”, “pee” in Mandarin. Tun Ling thought that she had pee in her pants but luckily she didn’t. Tun Ling quickly whisked her to pee and hopped on to the car. We asked Yi Ken if Yi Xi cried, Yi Ken said “No”. Yi Ken said Yi Xi told him that she wants to pee and pee is coming out. We asked Yi Ken what did he reply? Yi Ken said he told Yi Xi, “bu yao xiao chu lai, ren zhu”, meaning to hold her pee. We always say that to Yi Xi when she wants to pee and we have not reach the toilet.

For the first time, Yi Ken and Yi Xi were by themselves for a good 25 to 30 minutes. We were worrying if they would cry or quarrel in the car. The worst scenario would be Yi Ken raising his voice at Yi Xi and Yi Xi will wail big time. We were surprised they remained calm and watched out for each other. Thankfully, Yi Xi listened to Yi Ken to hold her pee. We joked to Yi Ken and Yi Xi that they can travel by themselves already.

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Albanian hospitality beyond words

After three very comfortable nights in Shkoder, where we were hosted by our couch surfing host, Frane Kiri, we were ready to cycle further towards Kosovo. The next destination we were heading to is a small town. We could only find one host from couchsurfing and none from Warmshowers. We did not pre book any accommodation on AirBnB either. We would try our luck “knocking on doors” again.

So, we reached Vau Dejes, about 20 km from Shkoder. We did not cycle  too much distance that day as we set off late, at about 2.45 pm. We knew we have to look for a place to stay for the night already as it was getting dark. We could not go further until the next day, as beyond the village will be mountains leading to Komani Lake. So, we cycled out of the town and stopped as there are not many houses if we go further. We saw a couple and their son trying to mount a spotlight in front of their house which was across the road. So, Tun Ling went across the road and approached the house. The lady came down to the gate. Tun Ling asked if she can speak English. She smiled and shook her head. Tun Ling then gestured “sleep” and “one”, the lady gestured “come” and open the gate of her house. Tun Ling was shocked. No words was exchanged, this is Albanian hospitality!

An amazing adventure or a BIG mistake

I was writing this post 3 months ago when we just began the cycling phase, but haven’t been able to focus and finish. Now after riding for more than 100 days, what are our thoughts of traveling on the two wheeler so far.

3 months ago sometime in early Aug 2015:
It had been a fantastic 5 months of travel with our fully loaded backpacks. Riding on trains and buses was fun and comfortable, with the occasional short flights that brought us from country to country. That adventure shall be told in couple of posts yet to come. The troublesome part of backpacking as a family with young children was carrying all those bags between places, otherwise we were good. Sometimes on the transit, we had coffee, tea or hot chocolate, while we relaxed and watched a movie or catch up on chat with the unlimited WiFi onboard. More importantly, we didn’t need to worry much about the traffic, the weather, the conditions of the road or where we would be that night. Simply, we would just board, rest, eat, sleep, and arrive at our destination, covering hundreds of kilometers each time. Stay at one place for a few days and then move on again. We are usually in control.
For the last 10 days, we felt small riding along the Finnish highway, E75 in Lapland. The road was awesome, pretty flat and gradually rolling. The traffic was calm and orderly and the passing vehicles gave us ample clearance. They were mostly travellers like us driving their luxurious motorhomes or caravans, and speedy motorcycles fully loaded for the tour. We could hear them coming well enough. On both sides of the road, we could see endless stretches of pine trees, tall and straight. Once in a while, we would meet a lake or river and a good reason to stop and bring out the camera. Being on a bicycle, suddenly we could feel and listen to nature and see the little things. Butterflies flying across and beetles wondering on the road. Unfortunately some of them adding to the number of the roadkill population. We also encountered the royal family of Lapland, the reindeers. Some brown, some grey and some white. Many had huge antlers and they looked majestic, staring at us passing their forest. This seemed like a perfect holiday, until the rain come. It has not been a good Summer this year. In fact, we rode off from Rovaniemi train station in a drizzle. Surely a dreadful start for our cycling journey. We swiftly put on a rain jacket for everyone and rode off to seek shelter and shop to stock some food.
This is a whole new experience for us and even bigger one for our kids.
YiKen has been really easy going and followed the flow with jest. He missed his toys but he also enjoyed the nature very much. He was quick to adapt and found branches and stones as his new toys. When we put up the tent in the great outdoors, cooking with the camping stove and snuggling in the sleeping bag, he was most delighted. Never mind the simple food, the rain or wind. He was our champion.
YiXi was equally playing along, however she had also began to want self control, insisting her way. The age of terrible two no doubt. We had mounted a child seat on our bicycle in Hyvinkää and she had claimed all her rights for it, not letting her brother any chance close to it. YiKen has to give in unwillingly nonetheless, though he sometimes throws a tantrum, he was still glad to continue the travel in the trailer, which he has labeled his caravan.
Both kids are playful in their own way and we had many memorable moments, discovering this travel on our two wheeler. However, we were also making many adjustments to this new experience. Cycling tandem with such a load is tough. We were having more frustrations as we needed to make more decisions as a family. With the rain coming every other day, it was miserable to be wet in the day and cold at night when we camp. It became particularly difficult when it rained heavily and we had to “force” YiXi to sit in the trailer. Not being close to mama and not having “ne ne” was too much to bear. Especially when she wanted to nap since she was so used to dozing off in the comfort of mama’s “ne ne”. We had to make many stops along the way and once it had been raining but the nearest shelter, a cafe, was still about 10 mins away. We had to let her scream and cry in the trailer while we pedalled like crazy.
When we didn’t find a host for the night in advance, we would try to ask for shelter in people’s home or to camp in their garden if the weather is good. It wasn’t always easy, but we have been quite successful. It was the happiest part of day’s end when we were accepted in their home. Not only were they helpful and kind, we were treated with the warmth of the Finnish hospitality, their beloved sauna. One day, the sauna felt the warmest. It was a rainy day and we have cycled more than planned due failed attempts to find shelter and the hotel room costs more than our budget. We arrived at a tourist town and most people directed us to the town center for more hotels. YiXi had been crying for a while, YiKen was shivering in the cold. We were desperate and was prepared to head to the center. Just then a car drove up to parked beside a cottage. Out came a man carrying some groceries with his daughter. We popped the question and after a brief moment, he gestured us to come in. He explained that that was his company’s holiday house and he would be leaving tomorrow early in morning and hope we can as well. We agreed and then he said that the sauna will be ready in half an hour.

There were times of misery and we were stucked with it. We have also met warmth when in despair. Now, after more than 100 days on the road, we have learnt more and gained much experiences. Yet the thought of giving up and flying home was still really near. Just about one and a half month ago, we were staying at a host whose home is merely a 7 mins walk away from the airport. We were so comfortable staying with them and we became worried about venturing out into the unknown, again. It was easy and tempting to throw in the towel, at least for our children’s sake. YiKen was so missing his toys and thinking of his friends back at the childcare. YiXi would want something and then they would fight. The crying and whining. We just wanted to go home.
Since then we have rode another thousand kilometres, and probably 2500 km altogether. We didn’t cover as much distance as we had planned. We are slow and it is actually better. We have gained more time together and gave up trying to rush to places. We will get home surely and eventually, but now let’s go out and make an adventure!

No money no travel, stay home

One night in Gruda, Croatia, our last stop before Montenegro.

The sky was turning dark at 4:30pm, the temperature has dropped and we’re feeling cold, pretty cold. It was one of those days that we haven’t made any arrangement for accommodation and trying (or pushing) our luck. These has really been seldom as Croatia proved to be so touristic that somehow missed the meaning of hospitality. We were near the end of the village and less than 4 km to the border, not too many houses to choose from. We stopped and TunLing went over to one near the road to ask. A man, probably late 50s came and he told that his daughter has a studio apartment for rent just behind and the price would be 40 euros per night. Usually it has been between 20 to 28 euros for us, even at the popular city like Zadar and Dubrovnik. Yet, here in this little village which you cannot even see the sea but mountains, that this country is most famous for, and furthermore summer is over, we couldn’t accept. We explained that we’ve been on the road for more than 7 months and traveling by bicycle with 2 young kids, and asked for some discount. The man shrugged, and after some thought replied “Ok, 25 euros”. We hesitated. Well, an studio apartment with 3 beds, hot showers and internet, it was almost dark and cold. “Yah, let’s take it”. The man went back to his house and soon returned to say that his daughter will get the apartment ready “for 30 euros”. Somehow, his daughter has decided that she is the boss afterall. Feeling cheated, we frowned at him and after a while, reluctantly walked away. We couldn’t agree to be treated like a tourist left with limited options (our term was “like a goat, being slaughtered anyhow”) and bow down to fate, even for just 5 euros. We are travelers who have been on the road for almost 8 months!

Wasting no time, we walked across the road to check out the remaining two houses. “Ne. Ne. Ne.”, we were turned down swiftly. We were not even allowed to camp within their compound for fearing the police will come to find trouble for the host. Really?? I know some countries’ law is strict, but here in Croatia, a member of the EU? Where have all the compassion gone when you most need them? Now we only had 2 options left, go back across the road to be dragged into our tourist trap, or cycle 3 km back where there were more houses. We pushed our heavy load back to the man, with the thought that we will be warm soon. “Now it is 40 euros, you take it?” OMG … We have to walk away from this blackmail. This cannot be a proper lesson for our kids. “You have no money, why you come to travel? You should stay at home.” the last remarks from the man.

That night, we stayed in a small garage converted apartment with 4 beds, en-suite bathroom, small kitchenette and lousy wifi connection for 25 euros. The next morning our host sent us off with a cup of homemade rakia, 2 chocolate croissant and 2 chocolate bars and with slightly well rested souls we rode off to Montenegro.

Hitch hiking in Croatia

Croatia ended its daylight saving time and returned to standard time two days ago. We only realized it and its impact on us yesterday. The sky was almost dark by 5.30 pm. We were still 17 km away from our destination. The road is hilly, so we had to push our bike under the setting sun. The sun was setting fast but we were crawling due to the upslopes, not extremely steep but long, winding upslopes. Yi Xi was crying for “neh neh”, Tun Ling carried Yi Xi and walked while feeding her. Sean pushed the bike. Yi Xi refused to get back into the child seat, even though it is down slope and we could cycle. Tun Ling continued to carry Yi Xi and walked and darkness was approaching. Hitch hiking was on our mind.

Saw a lorry zoomed passed but we missed our chance to stop it. The lorry could possibly take all of us, including the bike. Some cars went by but we did not put up our hand. Heard one car coming and Tun Ling showed the hitch hiking sign. The car happened to be a pick-up stopped in front of us. The driver came down and asked if we needed any help. We told that we wanted to get to the nearest town. The driver told that the nearest town is 17 km away. There are some ups and downs which  was somewhat demoralising to hear. The driver thought that we could not make it in the dark and offered to bring Tun Ling and Yi Xi in his car. We were relieved and asked if he can take Yi Ken as well. Sean would cycle with the luggage. However, his wife and him had gone olive picking and his pick-up was full of olives. He stopped another van and asked the driver if he could take us. They were speaking in Croatian which we did not understand. The van could not take us. So, the driver and his wife moved the things from the backseat to the back to make space for Tun Ling, Yi Ken and Yi Xi. He told to bring Yi Ken and Yi Xi into the car first, so that they would not go on the road. So thoughtful of him. His wife helped to look after the kids in the car while Tun Ling helped the men with the luggage.The driver suggested that we removed our backpack and put in the trailer. He wanted to put the trailer on the back of his pick up, to make the bike lighter, so that it will be easier for Sean to cycle the hilly 17 km. We also removed all our panniers and loaded into the pick-up. The sky was dark by then. Tun Ling asked where should Sean look for us. The driver told Sean to ask people for directions to Hotel Korcula, where he would drop us and our luggage. He thought that would be a good place for us to wait as there is WiFi and we can be indoor. Yi Ken and Yi Xi were enjoying the cookies offered by the wife in the car ride. We passed Sean who went ahead first. Yi Ken saw the bicycle lights and the reflective vest in darkness and commented in Mandarin, “it is dangerous for Papa to cycle in the dark”. The driver was chatting with Tun Ling and he said that we did not looked like we have travelled for 7 months. He said that we were very organized and our luggage were well packed. It looked as if we just started travelling yesterday. When we reached Hotel Korcula, the driver asked his 17 year old son to come and unload the trailer as it is heavy. We cannot thank them enough for their help.

It was only at Hotel Korcula that we confirmed our Airbnb accommodation for the next two nights. When our Airbnb host came to pick us, he told that he has never seen such a vehicle in his life. He joked to his friend who walked by that our vehicle is from Mars and our kids can go to the Moon next time. Korcula town is full of steps and we had to climb 35 steps to get to the accommodation. The host got his friend and son to help us carry the trailer and bike up the steps. The host said that the way we travel is like how Marco Polo travelled to China. We laughed as it was believed that Marco Polo was born in Korcula. So, that was how we made it to Korcula. We had underestimated the 46.6 km between Vela Luka and Korcula. Tun Ling still commented that it is shorter than the length of Singapore.

Yesterday was the third time we hitch hiked from strangers. The first was in Rapla, Estonia where we hitch hiked for 2 km to get our hostel. We were backpacking and walking for 2 km full packed was too much for us. The second time was in Island of Pag, Croatia. Due to the strong and howling Adriatic wind (bura), which threatened to blow our loaded bike off course few times. We decided to hitch hike. Four German tourists in a car saw us and make a U turn to help us. They took Tun Ling, Yi Ken and Yi Xi while Sean cycled the last 6 km to Kolan. Seeing Sean pushing the bike against the wind, they stopped and loaded all the luggage except the trailer into the car boot. They brought us to the centre where we waited for Sean. We were very thankful to the German tourists who stopped for us.

We were extremely blessed to receive help from strangers when we needed it. In fact, we have been receiving help all the time from the people we meet. Thank you to all who have helped us in one way or the other. Without them, this journey may not be possible.

The Great Exit from Schengen Europe

We entered Schengen Europe from St. Petersburg, Russia on 13 Jun 2015, crossing the border by bus to Tallinn, Estonia. We had intended to head north to Finland to prepare for our cycling phase of travel. However while in Moscow, about 8 days before the border crossing, we had some thoughts to explore the 3 Baltics states as we were already so close. Another reason was that Sean could visit some old friends, people who had helped and sheltered him and his cycling partner SK, almost 11 years ago. We could try to locate their house by the address that they had given and pop the question, “Do you STILL remember me?”. It would be a great surprise and wonderful chance to reconnect.
We spent about one fantastic month traveling in these 3 countries, catching up with old friends, making new ones and also found the equipment for our bicycle tour. Now with only 60 days left out of the 90 days limit in the Schengen zone, how should we continue our initial plan to visit Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Czech Rep, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and exit the Schengen to the Balkan countries? Somehow, we convinced ourselves that we would manage by taking transport like buses, trains and ferries along the way to cover the distance. At the same time, we were looking up the Schengen website for details and reading about travelers’ account on this matter. It seemed that rules are simply, 90 days within a 180 days period of entering, otherwise the penalty would be a fine and restricted travel to the zone for few years. Most travelers avoid any hassle and adhered to the validity. Some re-enter the zone before the 180 days period but stayed within the allowed 90 days. Well, we thought that we would do so and carry on as planned with cycling and taking transport along the way. At some point, we were even considering that we wouldn’t care about the permitted period and just go with the flow. After all we are just a family traveling by bicycle, and not planning to become illegal immigrants. Surely they would understand, right?

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Just a family traveling by bicycle

Time flies. Oh boy, it flew faster when you’re on the move and before you realised, it’s gone. We were much slower than expected, very much slower. By the 83th day, we have only reached Vesterfjell, a village in the island Senja in northern Norway. That is about 1500 km from Oslo, Norway’s capital in the south and more than 3500 km to the Balkan countries, our exit from Schengen. How?! What should we do? Should we continue to cycle as planned and go with the flow? Surely, they would understand, right? Hmmm … well, the more we thought about that, the more we were worried. We panic. Thankfully, our host gladly let us stayed a few more days to sort out a solution. We also had the best fishing trips and enjoyed fresh fishes too!

There was really just one solution for us. We turned to the internet and searched for the nearest airport and the next available flight. Lucky for us, Bardufoss airport was 65 km away. We quickly booked the flights to Oslo and then another to Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, our exit from Schengen. 4 days later, on the 87th day, we bid farewell to our friend in Vesterfjell and cycled 20 km to the city of Finnsnes and caught the bus to the airport. We managed to find a friendly host to stay with very near to the airport that night.

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Extremely fortunate to be hosted by Arnfinn

Early next morning, we rode the last 2 km to Bardufoss airport and began to execute the plan to pack our baggage at the check-in counter. We were entitled to 4 hand carry (10kg each), a child stroller (our child trailer is ok!) and a child seat for free, while we paid for 2 x 20 kg check-in and 1 sport equipment. We packed accordingly and the Norwegian Air check-in staff greeted us kindly. They also helped to wrap the child seat in a big plastic bag and even handled our unboxed tandem bicycle without any fuss, only requirement was to keep it neat with the handlebar fastened parallel to the frame. It was as smooth as we had hoped. 1 hr 50 mins later, we touched down in Gardermoen airport, Oslo, at 13:10. One down, one more to go.

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Flying from north to south of Norway


Our 2nd flight would be at 09:40, the next morning, hence we had ample time to prepare. However, the plane would be departing from Sandefjord airport, Torp, about 150km away. We had to take the intercity train which costs as much as one third of our flight tickets and lasted 2 hours. After much wandering around in Gardermoen, at 7pm we reached Torp. From the train station, we managed to load everything onto the rather empty free shuttle bus to the airport. At the airport, we found that it would close at midnight until early next morning at 4 am, so sleeping over is not possible. Maybe somewhere near to camp? So we rode out from the airport towards some farm houses. No luck, we didn’t get accepted into any. Since our travel in Norway, we had always received wonderful hospitality, but for that last day of our stay, sigh … However, we did have much help from a young man who gave us a handful of strings and a couple of large plastic bags for us to pack our baggage. He also offered his family old storage barn where we could camp for the night. Though a wall was missing, it had a roof and we sort of had a good night rest, away from the cold wind. Early next morning, we went back to the airport and have much time to prepare for the flight.


We had the same baggage arrangements as our previous flight with Norwegian Air, but this time with Wizz Air. We were entitled to 4 hand carry, a child stroller and a child seat for free, while we paid for 2 x 20 kg check-in and 1 sport equipment. At the check-in counter however, the lady thought otherwise. Our bicycle child seat was consider too sporty and was not accepted as a regular child seat (for the car). Furthermore, she also felt our child trailer cannot be treated as a stroller and demanded that we have to pay extra for them. Oh no, our nightmare had began. These extras were on top of the penalty that we have to pay for not checking in online, a clause from the airline which we knew, but missed anyway. How can these be happening to us now? The check-in lady threatened us to pay up those extras, or missed our flight. So mean. We had to argue and negotiate some sanity back. After too much persuasion with that lady and her colleagues, we would have to pay for one extra check-in and the penalty. This added up to be almost 90% more! It is like buying another sets of air tickets. Oh Wizz Air… arrgggh..

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WIZZ you off!

On 9th September, we touched down at Tuzla International airport. Tired and somewhat still frustrated with the ordeal, but relieved that we were still on the move and at last, arrived safely in Bosnia I Herzegovina. As we stood in queue for the passport control, we could see a cyclist looking through from the arrival hall. “Welcome to Tuzla, Bosnia! I’m Mustafa. Let’s go to my home.”

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Flying out from Norway, Schengen, to Bosnia, the Balkans

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Goodbye Schengen and Hello Tuzla! 

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Loving uncle, Mustafa, the cyclist!

World’s Best Guide – Park Jin Wan (Fat Boy)

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We were very lucky to have the World’s best guide, Park Jin Wan aka Fat Boy to show us around Korea. Tun Ling met Fat Boy 10 years ago during a white water rafting trip in Trisuli River in Nepal. Here are the reasons why he is the World’s best guide:

Do i look like PSY?

He is Park Jin Wan. Does he look like PSY? Taken at Teddy Bear Museum at Jeju Island

  • He had helped us with the travel research for Korea. Weeks or even months before we departed for Korea, Fat Boy had been planning the itinerary in Korea for us. He also helped us made bookings for accommodation in Gangwondo, Jeju Island and Gyeongju. We were so busy with work and preparation for the trip that we had no time to research into Korea. However, Fat Boy often Kakao chat to tell us not to worry, “Korea no study, is ok”. That was a huge stress reliever!
  • He helped us countdown to our departure date to remind us how little time we had left for preparation.
  • He offered to pick us from Incheon Airport even when we were landing close to midnight. It was more than 2 hours drive to the airport from his home.
  • He gave fantastic suggestion for us to stay overnight in Korean sauna instead of hostels or hotels during late arrivals. Staying overnight in sauna which includes washing only cost 8 SGD per person.We did stay in sauna for two nights in Suncheon and Busan. Yi ken and Yi Xi enjoyed it.
  • He was flexible with our schedule. Due to Yi Ken’s eye check, we had to postpone our departure from Seoul for a day. Fat Boy was flexible with our last minute change of schedule and offered us solutions. After Yi Ken’s eye check, we rushed to Seoul Grand Park station with all our luggage. We were struggling with our luggage when Fat Boy appeared. He quickly helped us with our luggage and whisked us into his car as it was cold. He offered us hot steamed potatoes before we set off for High Castle Resort which was 4 hours drive away. After the trip, he told us that he was surprised with the amount of luggage we had when he first picked us up. LOL.
  • He made wise accommodation bookings for us. For the stay at High Castle, we had free fried chicken that came with the resort booking. We made it to the resort at 12.45 am, glad that there was still fried chicken left for us. For the stay at Gangwondo Oak Valley Resort, we had two free adult tickets to Everland. Yi Ken was very happy to have visited Everland.
Everland

                                                                Fun at Everland

  • He helped us to look after Yi Ken and Yi Xi so that we can play bumper car in Everland. He was carrying a wailing Yi Xi and Yi Ken was crying as well.
  • He brought us to hidden gems in Korea which were not frequent by tourists.
Dongdae Fish Market

                         Dongdae Fish Market. There is a ferry to Vladisvostok from Dong Hae.

Coastal drive around Gangwondo

                                                  Coastal drive around Gangwondo

Saving Yi ken's shoes from getting wet

                                                        Saving Yi ken’s shoes from getting wet

Visit to Nuclear Waste Museum, a place where no one wants to visit

                            Nuclear Waste Museum, a place where no one wants to visit

beautiful playground outside the nuclear waste museum

                                  beautiful playground outside the nuclear waste museum

Gyeongju

                                                          Gyeongju

  • He is a fast cook. During our travel with him, the second task he did when he woke was to prepare breakfast for us. He had packed his rice cooker, bread toaster, frying pan and kettle along so that we can have home cooked food. As he was so fast in getting ready, he always said that we spent two hours eating, two hours packing and left no time for sight seeing. That was true in the beginning. Thank you for waiting for us.
Fat Boy preparing breakfast and lunch before we set off

Fat Boy preparing breakfast and lunch before we set off

Teaching Yi ken how to cook

                                       Teaching Yi Ken how to cook “ma po tou fu”

  • He provides excellent service. He droves us around for sightseeing, once in the wee hours from Jochiwon to south of Korea to catch the 9 am ferry to Jeju island. To save us from walking, he sent us to train station and picked us up from train station. Sometimes, when we walked far from the car, he would walk back to get the car to pick us from where we were. He waited in his car for us when we trek in Jeju Island Hallasan.
The road trip around Korea in Fat Boy's car

                                          The road trip around Korea in Fat Boy’s car

  • He lets us stay at his home in Jochiwon during our “rest days”. Unlimited wifi and laundry provided. He forbids us to help him with his dishes.
Jochiwon local market

                                                Jochiwon local market

“Choa Chu Kang” style chicken rice and Korean Soon Dae, one of the many meals in Jochiwon

  • He always says, “is ok”.
  • All he asked for was two packets of “Old Town White Coffee” from Singapore which he claimed is world’s best coffee.
Fat Boy sending us off to Jochiwon bus station

                                    Fat Boy sending us off to Jochiwon bus station

Saying goodbye in Jochiwon

                       Saying goodbye to Fat Boy

Thank you Fat Boy for showing us around Korea, we know it was hard work for you to travel with us. Thank you to Fat Boy that we were able to visit the highlights of Korea within a short time seamlessly. Without Fat Boy, it was impossible for us to backpack around Korea with our luggage. Thank you for being the World’s best guide to us. Please come to Singapore if you miss “Choa Chu Kang” style chicken rice. See you in Singapore!