ÉTAPE 11 : Los Angeles

Faire la côte Ouest des États-Unis sans faire une halte à Los Angeles ? Il n’en était pas question ! La deuxième plus grande ville des États-Unis après New York est pleine de richesses et de surprises qu’il fallait absolument découvrir.

Passer à Los Angeles c’est comme entrer dans les films et séries d’Hollywood. On entre dans un décor que l’on connait déjà sans jamais y avoir mis les pieds.

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On marche littéralement sur nos acteurs et actrices préférés sur Hollywood Boulevard avant de découvrir l’envers du décours à Universal Studios. Ce parc d’attraction aux nombreuses activités vous fait entrer dans le décor de Spider Man, des dents de la mer ou encore de King Kong. On y découvre les astuces des réalisateurs, les effets spéciaux de façon ludique et amusante dans un petit train.

 

À Los Angeles, les personnages ne s’arrêtent pas à ceux des films…  C’est dans les rues que vous trouverait aussi des personnages à fort caractères. C’est ainsi que vous pouvez voir Jésus à Santa Monica ou Spider Man et Minnie sur Hollywood boulevard !

 

Cependant si vous voulez avoir la chance d’observer une vraie star rendez-vous à Beverly Hills et les quartiers chics de la ville (Rodeo Drive, Bel air…). Vous aurez cependant plus de chance de croiser la nounou, le coach sportif ou le dog sitter que la star elle même !

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Votre quête vers Hollywood ne s’arrête pas là ! Allez maintenant observer les fameuses lettres d’Hollywood depuis l’observatoire de Griffith. Un moment unique à faire de préférence au coucher du soleil pour ensuite observer la vue panoramique de Los Angeles de nuit. Un spectacle d’une des plus beaux films.

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Los Angeles c’est aussi l’art, l’esprit cool, la “L.A vibes” comme les habitants l’appelle. Un des endroits les plus représentatif est Venice beach. Entre fumeur de marijuana, skateur et surfeur, cette rue près de la plage est un vrai melting pot de chill.

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En continuant le long de Venice beach vous arriverez au quartier de Santa Monica symbolisant la fin de la route 66.

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Los Angeles c’est se plonger dans l'”Amercian dream” comme l’on imagine à travers les nombreuses séries et films de la côte. Los Angeles c’est venir rêver …

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Goodbye Pohang

Pohang is not the most attractive destination in South Korea, and yet I lived there for almost 6 months. I experienced most of my Korean adventures there, got lost, met people and this is why Pohang has a special  place in my heart. I would not recommend to someone that is traveling in Korea to go there because the city is just as another city in Korea. However, if you stop by this city you’ll maybe like it because of its different aspects.

The first one is the city center of the city. It looks like another medium city in Korea: nothing extraordinary but you’ll find a special street called “Yugkeori” meaning the 6 streets. Here you’ll find a lot of clothes shops in the main artery. If you are going in the side streets you’ll find a lot of cute shops, restaurant, juice places etc. I spent so many afternoons there, hanging out with my friends, buying souvenirs and useless stuff. It’s a really charming area!

img_1757Near the area of Yugkeori, if you walk along the main street for few blocks you’ll go into Jukdo market. This market is a huge one where you can find a lot of different stuff for cheap. If you want to visit a Korean market this is a really good one.The most impressive part is the fish part. You’ll find huge backs of different fishes, crabs…

 

 

 

 

The next charming place in Pohang is in the area of “Yeongildae beach”which is near the beach (like the name say). There you have a lot of different restaurants, bars, the beach and Yeongildae monument. At night it’s even more beautiful because of the lighting. It seems that it’s on the sea! I spent a lot of nights on the beach walking around, and it’s better to see the sea at night. Indeed, Koreans don’t swim so I wasn’t really comfortable to be the only one swimming. Moreover, the beach is not the prettiest one in Pohang because you see in front of you a lot of industries. At night the industries are color’s lighted so the view with all these lights is cool. At night, you also can play with small fireworks on the beach !

 

So, to spend some time on the beach the best place to go in Pohang is “Chilpo beach”. The water is really beautiful, the beach almost empty and the mountains are near it. From the beach, there is a trail in the mountain which is beautiful. You can see the beach from the top. On the contrary of Yeongildae beach, on this one you can go swim because the water is so much cleaner and even some Koreans go swim there.

 

 

There are also a lot more of other places that are really pretty to see in Pohang. I  already talked about them in previous posts that you can find there:

Homigot sunrise and its famous hand :  Click here for Homigot sunrise 

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Also far from the city center but still in Pohang the Bogyeoungsa temple and its waterfall, a really great escape of one day that you can find in this post: Click here for Bogyeoungsa temple and its waterfall

 

 

 

One day trip at Udo Island

After being for some days on Jeju island, my friends and I decided to visit Udo island (also really famous). To go to this island you should take the ferry from Jeju of about 10 minutes.

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Udo Island is a really small island that is really easy to visit in one day. To do the tour of it you could either take the bus, the bicycle or scooter. I rent a bicycle for the day ( 10 000 won, 9 dollars) and it was the best idea. With it, we could travel all around the island for the day by stopping at the spot we wanted to see.

The first stop we did was at the Hongjodangoe beach. Unfortenulatly, the weather was bad and the beach crowded but the water was extremely beautiful. It was amazing to see!

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From there we decided to do some speed boat to discover more about the island. The boat was really funny and we could appreciate the beauty of the island from the sea. (I have to admit I was pretty scared also).

 

After this stop, we decided to try one of the famous food of the island : the peanut ice cream. You can find some peanut ice cream all over the island and it’s really tasty!

Then, we took the road again to ride a bit more. After some kilometres, we decided to stop at a horse riding place for some of my friends. Udo Island is really famous for its horse rides but it’s more about doing a small tour near the stable than a real ride. In my opinion, it’s not worth it because of the path which is not that pretty. However, my friend that don’t have the chance to do some horse riding really enjoyed it.

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During the rest of our ride, we didn’t stop at some specific points but we preferred to ride until the end. Even if there were not vista point to see, the landscape was really beautiful. It’s the real countryside of Korea. You go into the wheat field, near the sea, in the meadow… A lot of different sceneries in one and only place!

 

To end this day we took back the ferry to Jeju (which leaves early, be careful to not being stuck on Udo island).We spent an amazing day on Udo which is full of many surprises.

Discovering the wonders of Jeju island

Jeju island also called the Korean Hawaii is not very touristic for foreigners but mostly for Koreans.

This natural island let us see an amazing show of crystal water, huge waterfall, dense vegetation…

From Busan (the second biggest city in South Korea) it’s only 45 minutes by plane and tickets can be really cheap.

In Jeju, you can either spend 3 or 4 days to discover the island or spend a lot more time to enjoy full holidays and stay at the beaches.

I only stayed 4 days but still I could really enjoy the unbelievable beauty of this island.

_DSC7296The first thing that people want to see in Jeju are the many beaches. Indeed the water is transparent, the sand white and it’s not crowded during the scholar year.

The first beach that I loved was Hyeopjae Beach. The beach in itself is not very big and you don’t really want to lay down in the sun there BUT the water is amazingly beautiful ! You have this water that I never saw before, black rocks around you, white sand and another small island in front of you. It really looks like a postcard.

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If you are looking for a big and beautiful beach there is the Hamdeok beach. This beach is _dsc7823not less pretty than the other one. To spend some time there this is the perfect spot. The water is amazingly blue, the sand white, you have some small trials to go on the mountain next to it.

 

If you want to escape people and be in a quiet spot there are a lot of small bays where you can go and enjoy your time.

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Despite its amazing beaches, Jeju also has an incredible flora. It’s genially something that it’s really peaceful and enjoyable. Even on the road, you’ll find hundreds (or thousands) of different species of plants and flowers.

 

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This is why because of its rich wildlife Jeju has some_dsc7371 other surprises. The first one is the Cheonjiyeon waterfall. To go to this waterfall, you have to go through a small park which is really beautiful. You’ll see the end of the waterfall all around the way, a huge wall of plants… Once you go there you see a beautiful waterfall…. but let’s not lie! It’s not extraordinary. The high of the waterfall is not that impressive. What it’s more impressive are the colors of the water, the frame of the place.

This is still a beautiful place to see and visit when you’re in Jeju.

 

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After seeing this waterfall we went by walking to Jeongbang waterfall (about 30 minutes) which is completely different. This waterfall is more impressive by its height and the wildlife is completely different. You’re not anymore in the middle of the green but near the ocean.

Indeed, Jeongbang waterfall is the only waterfall in Asia which falls directly into the Ocean, and it’s true that it’s pretty. The feeling of this waterfall is even more powerful. From one side, you see the waterfall falling and from the other side you see the ocean, large and infinite.

 

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Of course, Jeju is full of other gorgeous spots, natural surprises but I couldn’t explore all the island during my staying. But here a small overview of what Jeju can offers you.

 

 

 

 

 

A day in Busan

I couldn’t stay in Korea for almost 6 months and not go in the second biggest city of the country. However, I did realize that at the end of my trip so I didn’t have much time to spend there. But in one day I decided to see as much as I could ! So here my one day trip in Busan:

Because of my short timing, I took an easy option: the drop-off  bus in order to reduce the time of transportation. My first stop in Busan was Oryukdo islets which are basically really tiny islands near the coast. You can see them from the coast and even walk on a glass bridge on the sea. However, you can not go on the islets themselves.

 

The fact of seeing theses small islands wasn’t the best thing ever but there were a path where you can hike. The hiking path is enjoyable, being in the “nature” and at the same time being so close from a modern city. Indeed, if you look towards the islets you’ll see nature but if you turn toward the city you’ll see the big buildings which are characteristics of Korea.

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My second stop was in the city center to see the famous Jalgachi fish market. Because Bu_DSC6528san is near the see, there is one of the biggest fish markets there. After seeing the one in Seoul this one is still impressive but looks really similar.

There are a lot of different species of fishes, octopus, crabs, dry fish… The particularity of this fish markets is that you can eat your meal there. They prepare for you the fresh fish and you eat it on small tables in the market. One of the most famous specialties in Korea is eating living octopus. This meal is called Sannakji. I couldn’t try because it looks so weird for me… The small pieces of octopus are still moving in your plate and if you eat it, it will still move in your mouth. 

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Then, my next stop in Busan was to see the famous Haeundae Beach. This beach is really famous because at night it’s really lighted through the huge buildings near it. However, by day this beach looks like a normal beach. The only particularity is that Korean are in the sea there. Indeed, Korean don’t really swim and when they go in the water it’s with their clothes and with some buoy.

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Near the beach, there is the marine area with a lot of tall buildings. They are really impressive because they are also really bright and grouped.

 

My last stop in Busan was my favorite one. I went to the Haedong Yonggungsa temple. This temple really doesn’t look like all the other Korean temples. This one is between the sea and the forest and looks beautiful. _DSC7980

There is a lot of things to see there, by crossing different bridges to go see the temples, watch all the different golden buddhas and pigs (yes I don’t know why pigs). The colors of the temple are really brights, drawings are impressive… This temple is really rich and going to visit it is not a waste of time. Moreover, even if this is not an empty place (not crowded as well) the atmosphere is mystical and full of serenity.

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One of the characteristics of this place is also the small buddhas all over the area of the temple. And it’s really cute !!

 

 

Visiting Busan in one day was really intense but at least I could see a lot of things. However if I get more time I would see the beach by night and the famous bridge of the city by night. Discovering Busan by night would have been another experience!

 

PS: if you want to discover more about Busan go check my other article talking about a small colorful village in the city : https://travelwithtinablog.com/2016/04/26/busan-gamchon-village/

Out of Tokyo : Kamakura and Nikko

Near Tokyo, some cities worth to spend the day there. I have been to Kamakura and Nikko which are two different ambiances. I personally preferred Kamakura because of its beach mood but Nikko is a real cultural place speaking of temples.

 

So, as I said the first place I have been to was Kamakura which is around 45 minutes away from Tokyo by train. The part of the city near the train station is not the most interesting one. Temples near it have nothing really special in comparison of what we can find in Japan. However, there is a cute little street full of souvenirs and food which can be enjoyable if you have some time to spend. Moreover, if you decide to go and visit the temples (especially the Kencho-Ji) go to the upper part and if it’s not cloudy you can a view of Fuji Mont. (I was not lucky enough to see it).

 

I found the other part of the city way more interesting and beautiful. To go to the western/southern part I decided to walk and not take the bus or train. I think it was really worthy because I appreciated the atmosphere of this small city. The place is full of cool cafe, restaurant or street art which is really charming. Moreover, the streets are colorful or white and you feel like you’re not in Japan anymore.

 

Once you crossed the city you can join the famous Hase Dera. I really loved this place which is representative of the zen Japanese garden with its flowers, red fishes, small bouddhas and beautiful temples. This temple also have its own small cavern which is surprising but at the same time give a certain mystery to the place. At the upper part of the place, you can admire the view of the city and its ocean.

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This city is almost known for its Daibutsu which is a huge statue of Buddha. Unfortunately, the place was closed because of renovation until 2017.

 

Kamakura, as I mentioned before strongly represent the sea shore mood. The closest you get to the beach the most you find small little shops, cafe representing this spirit. Because when I went there it was winter almost nobody was on the beach expect few surfers. Seeing the beach was an enjoyable time and real fresh air from Tokyo even if the beach in itself is not spectacular.

 

 

Completely changing the atmosphere with the discovering of Nikko. This place from about 1 hour by train from Tokyo is located in the mountain and colder than the capital. I didn’t really love the place because of the city. Nikko is famous for its gorgeous temples and I agree with that. However, except these few temples the city is empty and doesn’t have any soul.

This is why I really appreciated the colorful and spectacular temples (as you can see on pictures). If you have some time and want to go out Tokyo this is a great option but if you are out of time you can find others gorgeous temples in Japan outside Nikko.

 

 

Here are two options out of Tokyo which can be a one day trip outside of the capital and enjoy your free time.

Spending some time in Normandie

Normandie is a region in France. I went there last year and spent some time with my family. This is really typical place from France and really beautiful!

 

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The architecture of houses there! I think this is very cute.

 

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The American cemetery after world war II .

 

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The Honfleur harbour. It is really charming place.

 

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The Honfleur or crique boeuf beach.

 

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Omaha beach: one of the most bloody beach during world war II.