Day 1: Arrival in Seoul, Korea

(Click on the title to see complete photo album.)

Today was Ron’s last final and the end of the period champagne party (which I unfortunately missed) and I read on other people’s blogs that they finished off all the champagne in 2 hours, something like 200 bottles (?), could be wrong…

I hadn’t had a chance to pack yet so I stayed home to take care of packing and settling all the bills before leaving Singapore. Ron went to sing karaoke before coming home around 11pm. I slept from 9-11pm and then we stayed up all night packing and cleaning up our room. The cleaning lady had come that morning so the place was pretty tidy but we still had stuff to put away and make neat for our departure. Our flight was at 6:50am to Hong Kong first with a short layover then to Seoul, Korea.

We left for the airport at 4:30am and we were basically exhausted because of lack of sleep. Ron didn’t sleep and I only slept 2 hours. Once we got on the plane we fell asleep but woke up for the yucky breakfast. We flew United and their food is never really good, it was either an omlette or chicken noodles and both were burnt. Oh well, it was nice to have some hot tea and then go back to sleep.

We arrived at the Hong Kong airport around 10:30am but our flight to Incheon (Seoul) wasn’t until 1:30pm. We wandered around the terminal and bought some candies at Aji Inchiban. They have cute snacks, I especially like their nougat candies. Then we had lunch at Popeyes! I know a bit weird but there wasn’t much else that was appetizing.

We were glad to finally board the plane and again fell asleep right away. It was so easy to keep on dozing. But we also woke up to have our meal (lunch or dinner? not too sure since it was 3pm) of bi bim bap. It was quite nice actually and came with some sort of fish soup which complemented the meal well.

Aftewards, more sleeping before arriving at Incheon airport around 5:30pm. After clearing immigration and customs, we found our way to exchange some money and rent a telephone. The exchange rate seems bad right now, it was 1USD for 940Won comparing the rate in 2005 was 1USD to 1035Won. Just as a tip, the exchange rate is better inside the airport terminal compared to when you’re in the arrival area outside. The phone rental was relatively cheap, only 2000Won per day.

We then went in search of the bus to take us near to where we would be staying, in Hapjeong. The place we are staying at is sort of like a youth hostel but a bit more private, it’s called Kim’s Guest House. One thing that was great is that they have a very detailed map filled with pictures on how to take a bus and with landmarks on how to arrive at their front door. We got there safely and checked in and had to pay all upfront, it was 344,000Won for 9 nights (with 4 nights for 3 pax). We’re not staying at the main house but instead at a close very closeby which seems more private and quiet. There are 2 guys staying upstairs and a group of 3 girls staying downstairs in another room. Our friend Susan is joining us in a few days and will be sharing our room downstairs across from the bathroom. I’ll update some pictures of the place later, I haven’t had a chance to take any yet…. but we also share a common bathroom and kitchen which isn’t so bad… it really is like living in the dorms again.

Now finding a place to have dinner was an interesting and difficult matter. Although we do know the names of common foods, not all restaurants have those foods and many shopkeepers don’t really speak English here. After wandering around for a while, we finally settled on a BBQ place and used hand gestures to order food. We had some sort of bulgogi stew, it has muchrooms, onions, other veggies, and the bulgogi stewing in a broth. We think it’s called this: Seolleong-tang, which is ox bone broth with bulgogi and vegetables. It was delicious and with a bottle of soju, it warmed us up. The soju here is so cheap, only 1500Won at 7-Eleven and was 3000Won in the restaurant.

After a full day of traveling, it was time to go to bed. Not sure what we have planned for the day since Ron prepared most of this trip… I’m sure it’ll be fun whatever it is 🙂

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