As much as possible, when I’m given a chance to travel, I’d like to go to places I haven’t been. I like experiencing different cultures, food, way of life, etc. This time, I had a choice between going to Vietnam or Korea. I chose Korea because of the cold weather and the Korean telenovelas I’ve been watching. I was just so curious how the places featured on TV looked in real life. And so let me share with you my experience visiting Korea with my “Seoul Sisters”. We only had 4 days for this trip so we concentrated on exploring Seoul. We were able to get discounted Cebu Pacific tickets which was also the reason for leaning towards Korea. This is the first time I flew Cebu Pacific longer than 2 hrs. Apparently, they have games for passengers during these longer flights. And yes, my sister and I participated…seriously participated. Therefore, we won!
After almost 4 hours, we finally reached our destination. As soon as we got out of Incheon International Airport, it was freezing! The best way to our hotel was through the Bus Limousine which costs KRW45,000 (around $45). There’s a kiosk outside the airport where you can buy your tickets. Luckily, our hotel, Holiday Inn Seongbuk, was part of the Limousine Bus stops. So just a 30-45 min. bus ride and we were able to settle down.
We arrived our hotel at 10pm. Everything nearby was closed so we just ended up having dinner in the hotel cafe. Right after filling our tummies up a bit, my mother stayed at the hotel to rest and call it a night. But my sister and I wouldn’t let any rain, cold, time of night, or hunger keep us from exploring the shopping markets of Dongdaemun.
The first building we entered (lower middle picture above) were full of winter caps, hats, scarves, and socks. We didn’t want it to be a lost cause, so we ended up buying several packs of cute socks. Ten pairs/pack for KRW 5,000-10,000 ($5-10) depending on the style and size. These were great for gifts. We then went to the next building where all the clothes were. Went around for 3 hours until we realized it was almost 4am and our bodies and feet were saying it was time to go home.
We were standing & waiting on every corner, RUNNING after taxis that would pass by that would take us back to our hotel. There were several other people we were competing with. Normal rate back to our hotel was KRW10,000 but they would charge us KRW50,000. They say coz it was difficult to drive with the snow on the road plus the fact it was very early in the morning. After waiting for 30-40 minutes, we were going to give in to KRW40,000 just to get home, but we were blessed to get a taxi offering only KRW20,000.
Whenever we travel, we always like taking the Hop On-Hop Off bus to have an overview of the city. We take note of the places we want to go to or go back to. Our 2nd day was about exploring Bukchon Village, Namsan Tower, Myeong Dong, Dongdaemun, and other stuff we see interesting along the way. As we were waiting for the HOHO bus, we walked around and found Dongwha Duty Free. They were on sale and we were able to get a couple of bags for ourselves (yipee!). I was already happy with my purchase and we haven’t even started exploring!
We chose the Seoul Tiger Bus for our HOHO bus. Why? Coz it was the nearest one to our hotel’s shuttle drop off point. We weren’t able to research on the best HOHO bus but fortunately we had a good experience with this one, not much waiting on each stop.
So this fills up our first 24 hours in Korea. I hope you were able to have a glimpse of what we experienced through these pictures. Actually, there’s really nothing much we did but eat, shop, and sight see. Not much activities here as the ski slopes are a few hours away. For this trip, it was more of a relaxing trip for us. I’ll be posting a continuation of this in “Seoul Sisters part 2” real soon.