Friday, April 13, 2012

Walking SEOUL Part 1

안녕 서울!

Since my trip for Korea scheduled last year was cancelled due to ASMPH TransSum, my mom re-scheduled it right after our last examinations this year. Right in time for the Holy Week.

It really was a "semi"-dream come true for me. It wasn't how I imagined my Korea trip would be but it was still very fun for me!

This post and my following post would basically outline some tips on your future trip to Korea! I based it on the things that I should have done but was not able to do. I hope this would give you some ideas on where to go on your own trip there!!

Schedule: April 3-7 ("Spring" Season)

So here are the things you should check up on prior to going there:

After asking my friends on where is a good place to stay in Seoul, they all suggested that we stay in the Myeong-dong area since it is very near the shopping places.

My mom booked at Astoria Hotel. It is a VERY affordable yet a nice hotel. Below is the map with some notes ^^

From Incheon Airport we took Bus No 6001 which will bring you to the Myeongdong Area. However, there is no bus which can directly drop you off on Astoria Hotel. The last drop off of this bus is at Sejong Hotel (brown circle in the map). Astoria Hotel is just walking distance from Sejong Hotel. However, when we arrived (April 3) the weather was not really good and it even started to snow so it was really hard for us @__@.

Important places near the hotel (directions are based on the map above; Italicized are the spots which you might want to check out ^_^):

  • Family Mart (24-hour convenience store) right beside the hotel on the right side
  • Seoul City Tour Bus Stop on the right side of the hotel before the subway station. This stop is for the Namsanggol Traditional Korean Village and Korea House which is just walking distance from the hotel. 
  • Chungmuro Station Exit 6 on the right side of the hotel as well. 
  • Woori Bank, in case you need to change your money into KRW, is also located on the right side of the hotel. 
  • There are many coffee shops, small restaurants, and bakeries nearby. [Right side]: Chinese restaurant, Korean restaurants, Paris Baguette, Caffe Bene, Mister Donut, Holly's Coffee, etc. [Left side]: Domino's Pizza, Outback Steakhouse, etc. If you have just arrived and are really hungry, I suggest that you just go to the right side since there are many nearer restaurants
  •  If you go to the left from the hotel, this will lead you to the many many cute stores of Myeongdong :) You can walk to the shopping areas in about 10 mins :) The Myeongdong Cathedral is situated within the shopping area of Myeongdong. 

13-2 Namhak-dong Jung-gu, Seoul 100-260, South Korea

Business Center ONLY  place where WiFi is available. They also have two computers on the left which are not shown in this picture

As for transportation, the subway is a really nice choice. There is an app for Android and Apple which would give you the whole subway map. You would find that there are stations which would connect you different bus stations if ever your destination would be in a province (i.e., Everland which is in Gyeonggi-do). It would be more convenient if you would get the T-money so that you wouldn't have to line up for tickets every time you need to use the subway. This can be reloaded in machines in the station and I think in convenience stores as well. Also, you can use this T-money for any other form of transportation and in convenience stores :) Here's the link for the Seoul Subway Map:

Chungmuro Station Line 3 (Orange Line) 

To and from Incheon Airport here are the options for transportation: Limousine buses (aiport buses), Taxi, ARex. If your flight is not extremely early or extremely late and do not have many luggages, I suggest that you take the ARex since this is faster and cheaper. (If you'll be staying in Astoria Hotel, it would be more convenient since Chungmuro Station is nearer compared to Sejong Hotel, where the airport bus will drop you off). Here's a link for more information on this mode of transportation

The Seoul City Tour Bus is also a nice option if ever you would like to see what Seoul can offer. Here's a link for more options on the Seoul City Tour Bus Regular circulation buses are also plenty, however, I think it is better for tourists to the subway :) Taxis are also an option however, they refuse passengers whose destination is near. Another transportation option would be to reserve a vehicle which you could use for certain time intervals. Information on this option can be seen in one of the brochures in the hotel.

I've learned very basic Hangul back in College but I found out that it would be better if I had pursued further studies on it. On my next visit I should be more conversant in Korean! Here are some phrases that may be useful during your trip:

안녕하세요! (Annyeong haseyo!) = Hello! (used for greeting people esp. in stores and restaurants)
감사합니다 (Kamsa-ham-nida)고맙습니다 (Komap-sum-nida) = Thank you! 
이거 얼마에요? (Igo eolmaeyo?) = How much is this? 
화장실 어디에요(Hwajangsil eodieyo?) = Where is the toilet 
네 (Ne / Ye) = Yes
아니요 (Ani-yo) = No  

WEATHER and Appropriate CLOTHING
It is a must to know the weather forecast to whatever destination you have and that you keep this information in mind no matter what!! This was a lesson we learned the hard way haha. My mom and I already checked that it will be rainy on the day that we will arrive. Despite this knowledge, we did not bring umbrellas and wore very minimal warm clothes (coming from a tropical country, I only had a wardrobe fit for our climate hahaha). Lo and behold after we got out of the airport it started to rain and the rain slowly became snow haha.

Me and my family lining up at the immigration counter
Our family friends :)
If you'll be visiting Korea during the early Spring, I recommend you bring the following:

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Hoodies / Windbreakers are very comfy since it is very windy during this time 
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  • Maybe gloves (especially useful when it is windy. It really is windy in Seoul haha)
  • Thermal wear 
 If ever you find that your wardrobe is not enough, there are very many stores where you can buy these stuff at a very affordable price! :)

Some stuff we wore during the trip 

Smurfy Dad haha

Don't be fooled by the shorts! I wore three leggings with that :))

Ze Mamita

Enjoy your future trip!! Food and places to visit in Seoul / Korea on my next post!!
다음에봐요 친구!!

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