My Korea Trip Part 4

Alright! Time to do a little (just a little) breakdown of my itinerary. It’s gonna be short! πŸ˜„ Since food post can be found in Part 2 and 3… i shall skip it!

Thursday, 23rd March

I’m by no means a fan of SIA air crews (typical stuck up crews somehow…) but SIA had something very attractive that made me chose it. SIA allows a baggage limit of 30kg WHICH is very much needed for a trip to Korea. And seriously… 30kg is not a lot! I prefer flying with Korean air or Asiana because the customer service for both are unbeatable. But they both only offer baggage limit of 23kg. 

Anyway checking in early is better than later. You get to enjoy the facilities of the airport! I mean… how often do you get a chance to do so in the transit area? 😝

P.s. No makeup for a overnight flight!


Friday, 24th March

Midnight flight is good if you do not want to waste your day in Korea. We arrive at Incheon Airport at 7+am. The sleep was terrible beyond words. I actually strained my back just a day before so… that whole 6 hrs in the seat was “painful” for me. 😨

1st meal on flight: Breakfast at non-human hours

Korean Bibimbap! It’s yummy and I know many people will disagree with me since it’s flight food. 😜

Upon arrival, I was quite surprised that I had to take a shuttle train to the main terminal. That’s new for me! Oh… noticed that my specs are gone? Please forget about washing up on the plane in that teeny weeny space. We took about 10 minutes to freshen up and change (or add on clothes) in the airport toilet before heading out to the main terminal for our luggages.

Once we got out (*freedom* 😜), head down the escalator for the train to the city! Since I bought the discounted non-stop tickets beforehand, I just need to redeem it at the AREX counter and they will hand you the tickets for the next train!

As it was still early, there wasn’t much passengers. We slept our way to Seoul station which took less than 60 mins to reach. Now here’s the thing. You do not need to exit from station to transfer to the Seoul subway. I already pre-purchased the T-money cards in Singapore so I could just go ahead and transfer to the subway line to Myeongdong. (As long as you get the “transfer” done on the card at a counter somewhere between the AREX train and Seoul subway when you arrive at Seoul station)

Say hello to the hotel that I stayed for 7 nights. Creto Hotel wasn’t my first choice. I was planning to stay at Casa Myeongdong but eventually chose this as my friend wanted a place with a safe. This place was booked via booking.com which by the way, is an awesome website that allows me to book hotels before paying it at a later date or during the stay! I paid 1,042,000won in total which is it around 400+SGD per person.

Pros:

  • Conveniently located. Just about 5 mins walk from Myeongdong subway exit 10.

  • Just enough room for 3 pax and 5 luggages. πŸ˜‚ *tight squeeze but workable
  • Daily housekeeping (I’m super impressed because no matter how messy my bed was, they always tidy it up beautifully with my jumper folded nicely on top of my pillow. *guilty)
  • Friendly and helpful staff
  • Cafe at the ground floor that serves good coffee/tea/juice
  • It’s at Myeongdong!

Cons:

  • Basic room that have limited space. E.g. we had to eat our takeaway chicken on the bed with plastic bags under as a cover.
  • Power sockets. Make sure your universal plug is round with the correct pin. If not you will have a hard time. My multi-international plug was totally.. useless.
  • Not enough hangers
  • A tad noisy as opposite the hotel is a bar

Anyway, if you ask if I will still stay here the next time… my answer is YES! Worth the price with the location. Not the cheapest but the advantages win it all! 

One thing to note: Myeongdong station do not have lifts. Soooo… be prepared to physically carry your luggages up the steps. Which gave me bodyache the day after and with my strained back… best combination ever *sarcastic* πŸ˜‚

We took the cable car up to N Seoul Tower. We walked over from Myeongdong, and up some slope (and tried to follow a tour group which we thought was heading up but… πŸ™Š) and more slopes before we reach the cable car centre. It’s actually just beside the China Embassy. 

We spotted this pretty wall on our “climb” to take the cable car centre. Oh well, it was worth walking a longer path. πŸ˜…

I lost all the photos that I took at the the tower so here are just some of those that I still had during the exploration of the whole place. Hello Kitty land is small but if you are crazy over it, why not? And it was part of package that I bought. (N Seoul Tower + Hello Kitty Land admission)

When we got down via cable car, we walk down to Myeongdong from the other side which had a elevator down the slope. Best thing ever after walking for the whole day. πŸ˜„ And this was where we captured a beautiful tree blooming with flowers!

One last jump before we head off for food!


Saturday, 25th March

Nothing much for Day 2 as it was more of a shopping day! Ehwa, Sinchon and Hongdae. 

These 3 are located side by side soooo either you walk or you take a train from Sinchon to Hongdae. Most of the shoppings were done in Ehwa and Sinchon. You can find affordable accessories and clothes. There is this 1 shop in Sinchon which my friend went that is quite a must go for anyone who wants to stock up on your beauty products. It is cheaper than Myeongdong. Unfortunately… I can’t recall the exact location nor the shop name… you will have to try your luck! Sorry! *I only remember that it is somewhere near some cafes and restaurants.

Hongdae flea Market was closed due to some renovation of the park? Sort of defeated the purpose of putting this itinerary of Saturday. 

Sunday, 26th March

Another shopping day! This time at Garosugil (Sinsa) and GOTO mall at Express Bus Terminal! So… the only photos I had for that day was just food and those taken at Line Friend Cafe! 😍

GOTO mall is a must go underground shopping mall! I picked this out of the many underground malls after reading reviews from a few bloggers. 1 of the best place to get clothes/shoes/accessories and even furnitures at a lower price! But… it’s extremely crowded. Will i go back again? Yes! I was super tempted to buy a clock back! πŸ˜‚


Monday, 27th March 

Ztages Tour Day! This was recommended by my friend and eventually I picked this over the package I saw from Seoul pass or Changi Recommends because it is inclusive lunch. 99SGD per pax excluding tips for the driver/guide. I chose the Petite France/Nami Island/Garden of Morning Calm package over the one with the Railbike. Why? I don’t want to freeze myself to death in this weather riding the railbike. It was raining! And I believed that the temperature went below 10Β°. Even with my 4 layers of top and two layers of pants… I was not prepared for the chills that went straight to my bones. My main goal was the first 2 and the latter, it was just part of it. 

Worth going with this Ztages tour again! Fast to reply to enquiry and confirmation. And so far my impression of them is good.


Tuesday, 28th March 

Lotte World and Dongdaemun shopping day!

Lotte World tickets were bought in Singapore at a discounted price. I wasn’t expecting so many people on a Tuesday so I didn’t get to ride a lot of the rides eventually. All the good ones had a long waiting time and since I was the only one who is daring enough… I decided not to waste my time or waste their time. I did went for a good one though, the one ride that brings you high up and drop you down abruptly. Good to scream it out once in a while! The other rides that we took together were the hot air balloon ride which was boring, the bumper car which was the best thing ever (bumping into each other’s car and i don’t even know them!) and that stupid Sinbad adventure that I hate the most cause it’s dark with loud noise. 

Best part of Lotte world was when we found a trickart museum inside and we had lots of fun taking photos of us in awkward poses. πŸ˜„

Lotte World is a good choice as it’s both indoor and outdoor. So in event of bad weather, at least you won’t waste your trip! 

Dongdaemun shopping was not as exciting as compared to the last trip. The crowd were not there and its way more expensive now. I think the retailers are quite affected by the lack of tourists from China. Its so quiet! 

I chose Myliore first as it is one of the best mall in Dongdaemun. All the malls there are good actually, you just need to find your right fit. For this, we decided to split up again as my travel buddy shops differently from me. I’m quite a no nonsense and straight forward kind of shopper. At least my mom was with me… I lacking in the bargaining skills department which is why… never mind.

My dinner at Myliore’s food court. Japchae with rice. So so only and… too much rice. 

Wednesday, 29th March

Titled as Suay to the max day. The unfortunate day that I lost my phone. For this day the idea was Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon and Insadong. Initially I wanted to go for the hanbok rental for the palace. But, due to my big boots, I had blisters underneath my feet and the thought of walking back and fro from the rental and palace and Bukchon… I gave up. 

We saved on the entrance fees to the palace cause it was free for all on that day! And we managed to catch the guard changing ceremony in front of the gate!

No photos for the rest of the day cause the it was a blur after the cab from Bukchon to Insadong. Why cab? Cause I got lost in Bukchon and couldn’t find the main place.

Anyway… it was an interesting experience to step into the police station (lost and found area). It’s even more interesting that the police actually made the effort to use a translator apps for some things he wanted to ask me. It’s extremely NOT interesting that they do not have a central broadcast for cabs in Seoul because are more than 60 companies!!!!!!!!!!!! The chinese phrase of ζ΅·εΊ•ζžι’ˆ has to be used here. Till now, I’m still hoping for some miracle but seriously… I think I’m doomed. 

The suay-ness lasted till… night where all 3 of us heard the price wrongly for the Alaska Crab and got a little shock from the bill when it came. But… i think it was till worth it. You can’t get this super fresh crab for this price in Singapore. I think the crab was around 200+ Thousand won which is around 300SGD. πŸ˜‘ This was why we were so poor for the next day. P.s. i was basically stoning after the lost phone so nothing get through my head. 


Thursday, 30th March 

Last day in Korea (sort of) so I decided that life has to go on! Gwangjang Market, Lotte Mart and Hanbok photo taking! Let the pictures say everything? 

While waiting for our Bibimbap at a random store! Say hi to my mom! ❀

Gwangjang Market is a must visit place! Food heaven and you can buy some traditional stuff as well! I made up my “zero money spent” Insadong trip here where I managed to buy some souvenirs and snack for my colleagues.

Lotte Mart at Seoul station is a no brainer place. Just BUY! But my advice is to just buy things that aren’t available in Singapore unless you plan to ship back the items or if you have extra spaces in your luggage. Unfortunately I don’t! 

Some of the must buy. The Pringles are good! Especially the Honey butter and the Butter Caramel ones! 

Lastly, Goguan Hanbok Studio

There are different packages available so you can check up the website. This is more fuss-free but pricey than renting the hanbok near the palace area. I wanted to dress up in Hanbok the longest time and I mean properly with the correct hairdo. We took it at Myeongdong (How convenient it is to stay in the prime area!) 

Some of the outfits are slightly overworn but mostly were fine. Some of the props are spoilt as well but just make do with it! Not the prettiest hanbok choices as compared to some other studio but good enough for an experience. I picked the Gisaeng hanbok and i have to say… the moment the lady tied my hair up. I looked more like a Japanese than korean. πŸ˜‚ But, I love it! Service were good and the lady actually went an extra mile to put on lipstick for me even though i did not top up for make up to be done! πŸ–’

There are a few photospot for you to play around with and there wasn’t any time limit! Would i go back again? Maybe! Anyway if i ever get married, I want to dress up in Hanbok! πŸ˜†

Friday, 31st March

Sad day cause it’s back to the hot and humid Singapore day! I’m super kiasu. Just in case the airport limo is full, I dragged everyone out of the hotel by 10+am to queue for the airport limo bus to the airport! It’s super near (5 mins walk from the hotel) as the bus stop is located in front of another hotel/bank and thankfully the bus that came along wasn’t full! πŸ˜₯ 

After paying 15,000 won per person, we were on our way to Incheon airport. It took less than an hour so we were super early and couldn’t check in. So we went for brunch and tea at their food area. Many choices available but we can’t leave without more Korean food!

Checking in was a breeze once the counter finally opened around noon. All i did was pray that my luggages were within the limit *phew

Similarly to Changi airport, do check in early at Incheon airport so you have time to do some last minute shopping in their dutyfree area! You can get some of those things that you wanted to get from Lotte Mart but yet you do not have luggage space because… duty free items doesn’t count! 😜 Within the transit area they will also have this Royal ceremony where the King and Queen parades around. While everyone else are taking photos with them… I took a photo with a not too bad looking Oppa aka the guard. πŸ˜„

To be honest, after we head off to our gate which is located off the main terminal again via the shuttle train, we concluded that being early was good as… time flew past quickly in the airport. There wasn’t any need to do tax refunds as all the things we purchased had been “refunded” on the spot. Something new and very much appreciated by us!

Sad me! At least this flight back was better. The air crew on my aisle seems to be a Korean and she is super good! Smiley and friendly throughout the flight. Sorry, the Korean SQ girl beats most of you hands down. 

One last flight meal! I regreted not choosing the bibimbap. This is good but… not filling! πŸ™Š i had to eat supper at Heavenly Wangz at t3 before heading home in a cab where the driver literally exclaimed grumpily when he knows the location. 

    I think that I’m more or less done writing! Just some extra stuff that would be useful!

    First up! Changi Recommends

    One of the best initiative that made everything right for Changi Airport. How should I name this? A one stop counter/website that save me some trouble and money. 

    1. Wifi Router at $5 per day

    I got 2 of this and it was a right decision as any point of time we break free from the group, we still can stay connected. You just need to make a reservation on line and collect it from the terminal that you choose. $1 deposit will be made on your card upon collection and you are ready to go!

    Inside the pouch you will receive:

    • Router
    • Charger wire
    • International plug
    • A guide card with contact number (whatsapp number as well) for troubleshooting

    The routers can last a day or more but I charge it every night. Downside, the international plug is useless. Eventually I have to use my own to charge it. Easy to use and much stronger than the ones I had for the previous trip which by the way, was from Korea.

    Once you are back in Singapore, you can just drop off at the counter and pay the remaining amount.

    I paid a total of $99 for both for my trip which includes a optional insurance. *I rather be safe than sorry… πŸ˜‚

    Anyway this is the step by step guide to get the router from Changi Recommends. Photo Cr: Changi recommends

    2. Discounted admission tickets

    Airport Rail Express  (From Incheon Airport to Seoul Station): $10 each

    • Exchange at Incheon airport AREX counter

    Lotte World 1 day pass: $41 each

    • Exchange for tickets at Changi Recommends counter first
    • Exchange for admission at Lotte World

    T-money card: $11 each

    • Bought on the spot from Changi recommends counter. There is already a value of 5000won inside the card. 

    Made my life easier than scrambling to purchase tickets in Korea. T-money card was a plus as from Seoul Station, we can just transfer to the subway to Myeongdong easily. Note that AREX and Subway trains are 2 different thing.

    Anyway, regardless of where you are going for your vacation, this will be useful as…

    They have discounted stuff for attractions and tours to many countries! They also provide travel insurance, prepaid sim cards… etc!

    Seoul pass (App)

    Another useful and highly recommended app. You can purchase discounted admission tickets or even tours and more on this app and you get to save quite a bit of money as well.

    We purchased the N-Seoul Tower tickets with Helly Kitty Land admission from this app. Simple and straight forward. There are alot more but I compared between Changi Recommends and this app, each have different discount so it’s up to you to choose.

    Anyway, you can just use for phone to scan the code if there is one, if not they will guide you on how to redeem the pass. πŸ–’

    Next I’m going introduce you to another app that makes my travelling in Korea very pleasant. Korea Subway

    This allows me to plan my train route everyday. It can also tell you which is the faster way to your destination. I’m so dependent on this app throughout my whole trip!

    Not just that, they provide recommendations as well to nearby attractions.

    That’s all! Took me a long time to finish this post and… maybe along the way I will update again!

    Now it’s time to sleep because Monday blues is back! And I have to deal with some @*&÷€÷ stuff at work. Never ending but it’s reality. And difficult people… it’s just not my favorite thing.

    Hope to sleep my worries away,

    Essa

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    2 Comments

      1. Glad to know I had someone hooked to the idea for a trip to Korea! Do google for more ideas if you plan to do so, as mine is quite briefed as compared to many others! ^_^

        Liked by 1 person

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