Exploring Beautiful Gyeongju

 

Anapji pond scenery at night
Anapji pond scenery at night

This post will give you brief guide to exploring Gyeongju, a city of numerous historical scenery. If you follow this post, it may guide you for an effective journey to explore Gyeongju in one day. Of course it covers most popular spots in Gyeongju for tourist and foreign visitors. Take a peek of what Gyeongju looks like (Courtesy of Arina Gabe Pandiangan):

 

I had the opportunity to explore Gyeongju on the middle of January of 2014. Back there I was in the middle of my internship program in POSTECH, Pohang, South Korea. I went there together with my intern-mate whom also from same university with me. Credit to her for some photographs she took that published in my blog. She is a prolific traveler so it was her idea to visit Gyeongju for our spare time, and she made the itinerary. Lucky me! For your information, that was on chilly winter when we traveled there. Actually winter is not a good season to visit Gyeongju, you will know why in the following post.

Location and How to reach Gyeongju

Pohang and Gyeongju are located on same province on east Korea, Gyeongsangbuk. From Pohang bus station to Gyeongju bus station takes +- 1 hour travel by bus. You can find the bus to Gyeongju departs from station every one hour. It costs 3400 won for one trip and vice versa for Gyeongju departure. Gyeongju also can be reached from nearby cities like Daegu, Busan, and of course from Seoul which far away located in the north.

Arrive at Gyeongju, you can find tourist information centre there to get some brochure about famous location for tourist in Gyeongju. My itinerary back there was: Bus station – Bulguksa temple -Seokguram grotto – Teddybear museum – Cheomseongdae – Anapji pond – Bus station – Pohang.

  1. Bulguksa and Seokguram grotto

Old couple were ahead of us on hiking
Old couple were ahead of us on hiking

Bulguksa and Seokguram are located on same neighbourhood but Seokguram is located in the top of Toham-san (Mountain Toham). If you want to reach the grotto from Bulguksa there are two alternatives there. First is using bus and the second is by hike the trail on foot. I chose the latter though and it was worthed nearly forty minutes of walk on the hiking path on cold winter. Be sure to choose this alternative on winter season because the heavy and thick cloth can burden your journey and that was what actually happened to me. If you use Long John, you will covered in sweat from the effect of climb moderate steepness mountain path. FYI, Long John does not absorb sweat so you will drenched in sweat with chilly winter wind blowing into your body. You could catch a flu later, so try to mind my advice if you want to follow the hiking path on foot.

Drinking water reservoar
Drinking water reservoar

About Bulguksa: literally there is not much thing to see here. Mostly you will see old building which constructed with Buddhism architecture influence with some statue figuring Chinese-Buddhism gods. Be sure to visit the drink the water from water basin and window shopping at souvenir store.

About Seokguram: there is only one thing to consider here. The Buddha statue is stored inside an enclosed room with surrounding glasses. Visitors only can see from outside the glasses and photograph is strictly prohibited. You should not expect massive statue there like I did back there. Truthfully, the statue is kinda small for world heritage scale. The Buddha statue was built using Chinese Buddha style. Buddha statue has many kind of style depends on location where Buddhism grows. Major style of Buddha statue type are Chinese, India, Thailand, Western, and Indonesia style.

  1. Teddybear Museum

    Teddybear Museum
    Teddybear Museum

“Four human-sized teddy bear posed with one Korean litte girl inside the museum. Which one was the cutest?”

Even though the ticket price is costly (9000 won per adult), we went in anyway. The reason is maybe that time is our one and only time to visit Teddy bear museum. In the world, there are only a few of teddy bear museum. USA, UK, and South Korea are the only place to spot this museum.

About TB Museum:

Parade of showcase showing famous scenery and teddybears as the actor on it. Jurassic park famous scene showed many teddybears were catching dinosaurs as we saw on movie Jurassic Park I. On different museum section, there are some famous art works acted by teddy. There is eve Teddy bear version of PSY “Gangnam Style”. At the end of museum tour you can enter the 3D cinema showing short film about dinosaurs. Of course there is a souvenir shop for teddy-thing handicraft for gifts.

  1. Cheomseongdae

Star gazing place
Star gazing place

Place of observation activities for old Korean astronomer. You can watch the history of astronomy study in Korea inside the multimedia room there.

This place is free of charge. Feel free to visit this scenery. It looks good on night so make sure to list cheomseongdae as late place to visit in your itinerary.

Near this neighborhood you could find store selling Gyeongju bread. You cannot find this on other city aside Gyeongju so  do not forget to buy this classic bread.

 

  1. Anapji Pond

Anapji at night
Anapji at night

Make Anapji as your last destination because it looks better in the night. Located not far from Cheomseongdae so you can reach it on foot from there. This picture below is one of famous spot for photo-taking. The pond reflected the building of Silla dynasty beautifully like a mirror reflection. There is ticket fee for entering this place but in a very reasonable price. Around 2000 won I think, I forgot the exact amounts. The end of my journey was when we went back to the bus station to seek our bus to Pohang. In one day we have seen the most common and nicest place to visit in Gyeongju. I hope my story will give insight for you to explore the beautiful Gyeongju. See you on other post.

Emergency Response for Soaked Blackberry

My Blackberry Curve 8250 or Gemini so it’s called, have had many times of error and abrupt shutdowns condition. In my personal opinion, Blackberry has splendid toughness of harsh condition. I am not a neat person who cares about his phone nicely. My Gemini had already more than three times of water incident, when water perspire into the phone because I have no side casing. It was truly my fault though. After those incidents I always found the same problems occured, my blackberry keyboard is not working albeit power is still on. Even though the phone turned on with no problem at all, still I can’t navigate the phone because the keytone is not responding. After Googling for certain same cases, I founded the fact that blackberry could has Moisture Attack. Blackberry will not responding any keyboard input because there is certain amounts of moisture inside it. I was so desperated that time because I lost my only one phone back there, I was thinking about buying a new phone. Then, suddenly the idea emerged! Here was the idea:

If you are asians, you eat this everyday. This is rice grain, which if cooked will turned to rice. Rice is a primary carbohydrates sources. Among all characteristics of rice, one will be used for this emergency action. Rice has capability to absorb moisture from nearby sorroundings. This is same effect as using desiccant (silica gel is the most popular) for drying purpose. Let’s go to the steps:

1. Open casing, remove the battery of your blackberry.
2. Prepare a sufficient amounts (a quarter kilograms is more than enough) of rice enclosed in proper container.
3. Just put the naked blackberry inside the container, above the pile of rice.
4. Take some time (for me I leave it for a night) for the drying process.
5. Voila! After some time, you can check that your BB is working again! That means the moisture has already sucked by the rice.

Congratulations! Now you can cooked your rice!

Korean Facts – Do You Know that They Brush Three Times a Day?

I have ever lived in South Korea for two months and I met enormous facts about Koreans (and I think they’re very unique):

  1. Koreans brush their teeth after every meal in one day! It’s more likely to be a such lifestyle in Korea to maintain your oral hygiene. All of my colleagues here always brush their teeth after they eat the meal (applied for breakfast, lunch, and dinner). This facts amazes me because it’s a very rare activity to be done for me, ordinary Indonesian. I just do my regular teethbrushing (night and morning) everyday.
  2. Korean likes ramyeon (instant noodle) and they have a specific pot for cooking ramyeon. Let’s call it Ramen Pot. It looks very nice for a boil pot, because it colored as gold, medium size, and it is perfect for ramen cooking. From my experience for cooking ramyeon, it can fit up to 4 ramyeon each time.
  3. Korean likes to eat soup (tang, gug, and jigae) very much and they eat it together with acquaintances from one big pot. Usually korean soup served in large pot so we could eat it together with friends or family. Here is my opinion about korean soup:

– Korean soup has magic effect, I feel very healthy after eating Korean soup. – Korean soup (almost) always had red pepper in it. – Korean soup doesn’t contain much salt, yeah it’s healthy though! – Korean soup always served at very hot level (literally very hot). – Korean soup always better served with rice. And if you are travelling to Korea, I suggest you to try this Sundae Gug or the soup of sundae. I like this food very much, it was addicting.

  1. Korean loves their country so much, they have pride of the nation in their heart. They use Samsung, Hyundai, KIA, LG, Lotte products which are Korea’s national product.
  2. Korean really likes to drink, specially Soju. Soju is Korea’s national liquor which have incredibly cheap price. Priced 1000 Won each bottle. Compare to milk which worth 2000 won, soju can be categorized as cheap drinks.
  3. Korean has modern queen, Queen Yuna. Actually it’s Kim Yuna, the famous world figure skating athlete. They love Yuna very much.
  4. Korean food has so many side dishes. Even if you only order one portion of beef soup, you will get kimchi, vegetables, dumplings, garlic, etc for the side dishes.
  5. There is one ramyoen that tastes very hot, buldak bokkeum myeon. I like spicy and hot food but still this ramyeon is worth to try. You must taste the after burn sensation! It was the most hot ramyun I’ve ever tasted.
  6. Korean students study very much. No wonder their country has developed so fast.
  7. Koreans often avoid to speak in English even they can speak.
  8. Sashimi and korean beef BBQ are considered as luxury foods.
  9. Future bride have to “pay” the groom family a compensation for a wedding. Contrary to what happens at my country, Indonesia. Being man in Korea is benefitting though!
  10. Koreans like to eat alive octopus because of they give much stamina for men. I did not really feel the stamina effect, maybe because I ate the roasted one not the raw and alive one. Yeah, that’s a few facts about Korea and still plenty of that actually that I cannot recall. If you plan to travel to Korea, make sure you taste all of the food because they are amazing.

 

Johor Bahru – Singapore with 100 SGD

I have travelled to Singapore for several times. There was time when I went there without touristing intention but for transit purpose. My actual destination was Johor Bahru, located in Malaysia peninsula. At that time Johor Bahru was still an unpopular travel destination for Indonesian, making the airfare was considerably high. The alternative and cheaper way was to transit at Singapore and travel via bus on Johor-Singapore causeway. *In 2015 Air Asia has good offer for airfare ticket due to the rising popularity of JB whereas LEGOLAND located there. Direct travel maybe cheaper depends on the occassion though.

The Universiti Teknologi Malaysia is located on Skudai, Johor Bahru. My purpose was actually to compete in Oil Rig Competition during the Oil and Gas Festival held by the Society of Petroleum Engineer UTM Student Chapter. Long story short, I stayed in UTM for 2 days and 1 night. Lodging and food (lunch and dinner) are provided so not much money I spent in Malaysia. Last day when I departed to Singapore I bought a lunch box in campus cafetaria priced around 4 RM.

Blissful Loft Inn at Clarke Quay area

One night cost on dormitory room type (bunk bed, mix man – woman room) was 30 SGD . Facilities:

– 2 Share bathroom

– Free breakfast (bread and jam with coffee or tea)

– Free internet wifi and desktop computer

– Living room

My impression about this place: such a quiet and nice place to rest located on Clarke Quay neighbourhood. We had surveyed other inns around there, this is one of the cheapest in price with high availability of rooms. Blissful Loft inn and China Town put distance between two MRT station and could be reached with 10 minutes of walking.

How to save 30 SGD for lodging budget? The way that I have tried is to sleep in Changi airport to avoid inn cost, one time in 2012 and one time in 2013. At night, you can see several passengers sleep on bench on terminal 2. They sleep with their suitcase and bag beside them or below them as they used it as pillow. As we know Singapore is one of safest country in the world, it can be assumed their airport is safe. At least I already proved it for 2 times I slept there, every person in our group have nothing stolen there. Maybe the real reason was our frugal looks made nobody even had intention to stole something from us. Apart from that, until now I have never heard about criminality on Changi airport.

Total spent

10 SGD 10 pieces of low quality Singapore keychain bought at Chinatown

30 SGD Blissful Loft Inn

5 SGD Hainamese rice with sweet pork for lunch

20 SGD EZTicket for MRT transportation

35 SGD for spending in Johor Bahru and intercountry bus

Total spending 100 SGD

 

Korean Noodle 101

I’m a big fan of noodle, any kind of noodle especially instant noodle or usually called ramyeon (Korean) or ramen (Japanese). During my stay in Korea, I tried to taste all kinds of noodles here. Yeah, they do have a lot of different noodle name and variative ways of serving. Some served with gochujang while the other served with no sauce but only soup. For my first two weeks lived in Pohang,  I have eaten about five different types of noodles at least.  At first I was kinda skeptical for korean’s variative noodle. I thought that they will tasted the same each other despite their decorative look. After several tasting…. I founded that they are really unique taste. I bet first time eater would recognize the taste as unique. So if you wanna know about Korean noodle or maybe planning to taste some of them, I have a recommendation of noodle that you should eat:

  1. 칼국수 (Kalguksu) or the knife noodle.

    Called by knife noodle because of its preparation process that uses knife to cut the wheat into ‘noodles like’

    Knife noodle
    Knife noodle

    form. Noodle nowadays processed using modern machinery. Kalguksu served by conventional method and it is become its distinctive point among other noodles. No wonder you will found the noodle’s size is kinda wide and not symmetrically cut. It usually served with soup and other additional ingredients like seafood (clamp, prawn, fish, etc) or beef/pork. I tasted the haemul version or the seafood kalguksu.
    First tought: the texture is very addicting, makes me wanna eat more and more. Personally, I like noodles which has chewy and soft texture and this one truly has it. Albeit it is a little plain in taste, I recommend kalguksu as must try list. Actually kalguksu is a kind of summer food but it is still worth to try in the winter. Delicious food has no time domain though. This food gives refreshing taste after eat and of course the “full” pleasure because it containts much wheat (High GI). Image of kalguksu noodle, courtesy to wikipedia.org.

  2. 냉면 (naengmyeon) or the cold noodle.

    I am not kidding, this kind of food really is served cold. Actually it’s a winter food but I don’t feel very good

    Cold noodle
    Cold noodle

    when tasting this cold noodle. I prefer hot noodle to the cold one. In my opinion noodle should served hot no matter what . So my first impression is not good with this one because I ate it on the chilly winter. But still worth to try because it’s very popular even they make a song of this noodle.Jessicafrom Girl’s Generation sings about this noodle! Haha. Maybe it’s kind of promotional music, I don’t know the exact meaning of the song. And yeah, it is usually eaten with dumplings (you can choose for the fried or steamed one). Dumplings called Mandu in Korean and is tremendous in taste.

 

  1. Chinese noodle – the Korean version

    I went to Chinese restaurant and they served two kind of noodle as their speciality. Yeah, one is my favorite and

    Black bean noodle
    Black bean noodle

    the most famous one: 짜장면 (jajangmyeon)! The noodle with black sauce! And the other is jjamppong (짬뽕). Jjamppong is soup noodle with many seafood in it, and not tempting so let’s just skip jjamppong. Jajangmyeon tastes best when combined with tangsuyuk (sweet and sour sauced fried pork). Jajang’s appereance is really tempting. Main tastes of jajang are oily, blackbean, and yummy. The black sauce stain at your face also become an after pleasure of eating jajangmyeon.
    Look how jajangmyeon looks like, how tempting it is. Jajangmyeon has a best partner, it is called tangsuyuk (sweet and sour fried pork).

  1. Ramyeon!

    This one is actually an instant noodle but some restaurant also served this as a fast served menu. Several popular variation of ramyeon are cheese-ramyeon, ham-ramyeon, bulgogi-ramyeon, kimchi-ramyeon, and tteokbokki-ramyeon. I tasted the latter, which is a mix between ramyeon and tteokbokki (spicy fish cake). Tteokbokki is a very famous snack food in korea. Nothing special about this because basically you can easly found these two food so when you are going to ordering ramyeon, avoid to order these ramyeon. Order a cheese or unique one instead! Hehehe.

 

Genetic Algorithm 101

Genetic algorithm (GA) has been a popular technique in engineering optimization problems. It is grouped on evolutionary algorithm class together with genetic and evolutionary programming. GA’s main rivals are neural network and simulated annealing. And yes, the latter is based on annealing concept in metallurgy where heating and cooling are applied subsequently to control the crystal grain in order to reach a more ductile material. I will only talk about the GA for the following paragraph because it is the only method I have been working with.

"In the long history of humankind those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed." Charles Darwin - The Descant of Man.

If you comprehend the meaning of the sentence above, you may understand the main idea already. In optimization process, we expect to get the best result of anything we want to optimize at the end of the result. That is the point of genetic algorithm, where natural selection and genetics take part in the process. Most prominent individual is expected to be selected and reproduce with each other in the population to generate the best offspring.  At the end of optimization process, best offspring should contains the best genes that will make a best fitness value.

Here is the equivalency:

EVOLUTION  : PROMINENT INDIVIDUAL

OPTIMIZATION : OPTIMUM RESULT

Several popular terms on Genetic Algorithm:

  1. Genes : components of an individual which bring each unique value
  2. Allele: value of gene
  3. Individual: consisting of many genes on its body that inherit unique traits
  4. Population: bunch of individuals which become the constraint of optimization area
  5. Mutation: arbitary change of gene which happened to several chosen individual and resulting whether positive or negative effect
  6. Selection: process that netting only the chosen individual with prominent attribute to involve in the next crossover process
  7. Generation: one process of generation including selection, crossover, and mutation. Several generations ought to be involved to reach optimum value
  8. Global optimum: maximum or minimum value of the problem we want to optimize

If someone wants to know the best way to reach Bangkok among some alternative ways, we optimize it to know the CHEAPEST way. At this case the parameters are maybe the ticket price, lenght of route, transit option.

If someone wants to know the best CNC machine parameters to produce best machine components, we optimize it to know the combination that gives the SHORTEST PROCESS TIME and MOST PRECISE. Parameters are cutting speed, cutter material, or process steps.

If I want to know the best thermal efficiency some cogeneration power plant could reach, I optimize it to obtain the working parameter of the fluids that gives the highest thermal efficiency. Parameters are the pressure and temperature of each working fluids.

On the GA term, the parameter that we want to optimize named Fitness. Depends on the objective, sometimes we want the lowest fitness or the highest fitness. Fitness symbolized the global value we want to reach upon optimization problem. Fitness itself symbolized some individual’s capability to survive in the population during the evolution process. During the optimization process, we expect the fitness in each generation will raise until the maximum it could reach. The fitness will be higher if best gen combinations are happening.

I will tell a brief about my project that apply genetic algorithm method for finding the best efficiency of a cogeneration power plant. Basically what I did is doing simulation with simultaneous variable changing to find which combination gives the best thermal efficiency of power plant. Variables that changed are the genes of individual, and for my case they are the state of working fluid on the plant. State of fluid can be described as the temperature or pressure of the fluid. Picture below is my plant subject for the optimization:

cogen
Cogeneration power plant

In this case, I set the optimization variables of six value of working fluid parameters. The sixes are modeled as the genes of individual. After several generation, individuals will evolve to more proficient one. So in the end, we will get the ‘best’  value that resulting higher efficiency.

That is a brief story about genetic algorithm, hope that can enlighten your mind about genetic algorithm.