Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Beautiful Seoul - Part 1

One of the things I have enjoyed doing right after my resignation is traveling. I have seen my fair share of the world these few months and I couldn't be more than just thankful.

Seoul has been one of the places I must visit in my bucket list and 2015 marked the year I visited Seoul for the very first time. It was during autumn and you know what, I've fallen in love with South Korea so badly now. Autumn in Seoul is just so, so beautiful that there is no words I could use to describe it's beauty.

For this trip, I traveled with MAS Airlines at 11.35pm and it was a pleasant 6.5 hours flight from Kuala Lumpur to Seoul. MAS provided it's passengers with a small pillow and blanket just in case you feel cold. On top of that, we were well fed - 3 meals throughout 6.5 hours.

Finally, after 6.5 hours, our flight landed at Incheon International Airport the next morning at around 5am (Malaysian time). Seoul is one hour ahead of us so it was 6am when we got there.

It was a busy morning at Incheon International Airport.

The queues at the immigration counters were so, so freaking long that it took us literally around 20 to 30 minutes to get to the arrival gate.

The first thing on my to-do list when I got to the arrival gate - I need internet!

I headed to the nearest 7-Eleven and purchased EG SIM card for 30000 won and an additional 5000 won for my iPhone nano SIM card. I was a little bit shocked at the price - it was approximately RM120 just for  two-week validity! The data allocated was only 1GB.

Okay, that's another story for another day.

It was raining so heavily in Seoul when we got there so we booked a cab to go to our hotel in Myeongdong. The cab was priced at 65000 won. Erm... honestly, it was quite expensive. Anyway, there wasn't much choice for us - rain, plus, if you are traveling with your parents, using the MRT or bus isn't the best idea.

We reached our hotel an hour later and were not able to check-in because the check-in time was 2pm. We dropped our luggage at the hotel and headed over to the infamous Myeongdong to kill some time since we couldn't go far due to the weather.

We were hungry so our first instinct was to get local street food.

We order ddukbokki and mini kimbaps for 3000 won each. In Korea, you get free drinks to go with every meal you have ordered - that's a plus point for us!

The ddukbokki was really nice!

I got so addicted that I finished up the whole 3000 won share. I was supposed to share it with others but nah, no thanks, not this time!

Then, we walked around Myeongdong since I had a list of stuffs to buy. If you are wondering, you can get brands like Innisfree, IOPE, Aritaum, Clio, Banilo Co, Apieu, The Face Shop, Etude House, Nature Republic and other infamous names in just this area alone. If you are more interested in Watson or Guardian alike stores, there are two Olive Young outlets available.

After we've checked into our room, we took a quick shower before heading to Gyeongbukgung Palace.

We were just in time to witness the guard changing ceremony.

Honestly, I wasn't paying much attention to the ceremony since my attention was focused on the surrounding of the palace.

My mum, on the other hand, had her eyes fixed on the ceremony. She took out her mobile and started taking pictures.

I whipped out my mobile and I took selfies of us!

I do get questions on the weather there and why I was wearing scarves all the times.

It was cold. On the day of our arrival, due to the rain, the temperature went down to 11 degree Celsius. Scarves kept my neck warm.

After the ceremony was over, we walked over to Bukchon Hanok Village because I have heard a lot of good things about the commercialized village.

We managed to check out every single corner of the village before heading back to Gyeongbukgung Palace. By the time we got back to the palace, it was already 5pm and we were dead hungry. Lunch was just simple ddukbokki and kimbaps.

We made our way to Tosokchon, the infamous restaurant that serves the infamous Samgyetang or better known as ginseng chicken.

Just like any Korean restaurants in Kuala Lumpur, we got endless supply of kimchi and radishes. On top of the samgyetang, we ordered grilled chicken too.

The grilled chicken was served with special sauce and cabbage salad.

We did get surprise beneath the grilled chicken!

Tosokchon serves infamous chickens with ginseng so, beneath the chicken, there was blended ginseng. Mum loved the ginseng so much that she ate all of it!

Price of samgyetang is 15000 won and grilled chicken was 22000 won if I am not mistaken. Not exactly cheap but it was totally worth it!

After dinner, we headed back to our hotel in Myeongdong and called it a night since there wasn't much to do on a rainy day too.

It was still raining the next day (12 degree Celcius). We waited a bit for the rain to stop and finally decided to go to Nami Island. Yes, it is the island where Winter Sonata was filmed and no, I did not watch that movie.

We were supposed to book seats with a tour bus but then again, since there was no seat available, we had to go there via MRT. It was a good experience. If we were to go via the tour bus, we would be charged 15000 won but since we traveled there via MRT, the journey cost around 7000 won only. A penny saved is a penny earned!

The good thing about going there on our own - we had the chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery all the way to Nami Island.

I am not joking - autumn in Seoul is indeed beautiful.

The downside of traveling via MRT - it is quite time consuming.

It took us around 2 hours to get to Nami Island and of course, with a lot of walking to do. Our effort wasn't wasted - indeed, everywhere in Seoul was beautiful!

Upon reaching Nami Island, we headed to the counter to purchase our entry via. The fees is as shown in the picture above.

I was quite ecstatic of the whole idea of going to Nami Island but then again, the downside to it, the island is suitable for couples.

I remember, mum was telling me, "You have to come here to take your wedding pictures! Tell Mr. BF about it!"

You guys know what? I think mum is right!

We proceeded to queue up at the jetty to wait for the ferry to ferry us to the island.

In less than 10 minutes, we set our feet on Nami Island.

Immediately, I was head over heels with the scenery.

Indeed, Nami Island is known as the island for couples! On top of being island for couples, you should be able to take a lot of OOTDs on the island! The scenery was breathtakingly beautiful for any kind of pictures!

Even if those pictures were randomly taken.

I told myself, "I will be back here next year!"

Erm... not for wedding pictures but probably for another visit!

We left the island at around 4pm and headed to Mr. Ddakgalbi for our late lunch cum early dinner. There were a lot of grilled chicken restaurants around but Mr. Ddakgalbi is the one that most of the people talk about.

We ordered portion for two since there were three of us.

Each portion was priced at 11000 won.

They also served ddakgalbi with bottomless lettuces and other side dishes. All you have to do is ask for more!

We were quite full with portion for two. We ordered a plate of rice - 6000 won. Initially, we intended to order two plates but three of us were stuffed by the time we finished up three quarter of the ddakgalbi.

To be honest, that plate of rice was quite expensive but what to do? You're in Seoul where food is quite expensive.

Anyway, our next stop was Lotte Mart at Seoul Station. We pretty much spent 4 hours in the supermarket before making a stop at Angel-in-us Cafe.

A lot of people recommended this cafe to us but to be honest, I wasn't wow-ed by their beverages. Erm... I still prefer my Starbucks.

Talking about Starbucks, I found the love of my life in Starbucks, Korea.

I fell in love with Hojicha Latte!

OMG... the latte was so fragrant and smooth and nice! You guys should totally try it out if you are in Korea.

After Lotte Mart, we called it a night.

I will be covering more of our 5 days 4 nights Seoul trip in the next entry.

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