Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring in South Korea 2017 - Part 1 Getting to Seoul

For many many months I had been waiting for a good offer from travel fairs in Jakarta to catch sakura blossoms in Japan during Miss Kiki's spring break. Nothing really came up until it was 2 weeks away from spring break and the SQ travel fair was on. Alas, all the discounted tickets to Japan were sold out. On the other hand, there were still some tickets to Korea left. Since DH didn't want to take time off work so soon after our  Christmas holiday, I called my mom to see if she would like to go with us again just like last year. And she said yes.

With 2 weeks to prepare everything, we had to get moving quickly. We applied for Korean Visa at the embassy for me and my mom, and I started on our itineraries and hotel bookings. I consulted a group of friends who had been in Korea before, and also a friend from Canada who taught English in Korea for many years. He helped me find an Airbnb apartment in a strategic area. Thank God for awesome friends!

Thus, our trip to South Korea begins....

We flew Singapore Airlines from Soekarno Hatta Airport to Incheon International Airport via Changi Airport. We had a 3 hour transit, just enough to browse but not too long. Miss Kiki wanted to go see the new Hello Kitty Cafe in Changi but it turned out that we would've had to clear immigration first to get there. The kind lady at the information desk suggested the Sunflower Garden to her instead. So that's where we went. It was a little drizzly at that time so we didn't stay long.





We had to transfer terminals to catch our connecting flight, and the guide said we had to take the bus. We didn't even know Changi had bus transfers! We had always taken the train all these times.



Check out this charging station in Changi...


Finally late at night, we arrived in Incheon. I needed local SIM cards for me and mom. In the beginning, the information desk suggested that I bought SIM cards at the convenience store at the airport. I went there and what they had seemed really expensive. Twenty to thirty something dollars for 1GB. Fortunately for me, they were sold out. I went back to the information desk and this time they sent me to an actual SIM card counter. They had 5-day and 10-day options. Since we would need it for 7 days, I had to go with the 10-day plan and paid about US $35 for each. Data only, no phone calls. Unlimited.


After that we got our hoodies and jackets out of our bags and put them on. We went outside to catch the shuttle bus that would take us to our accommodation for the night. Brrrrrr... it was cold! The actual temperature wasn't too bad but the wind was the freezing type.


For the first evening, I had booked a guest house in Incheon just 10 minutes away from the airport. I figured it would be easier than trying to find an apartment late at night in Seoul. We booked Prime Guesthouse through Agoda. It was fairly clean but not the greatest. Good thing it was only for 1 night...


The next morning we wanted to look for a cafe to have breakfast at but it seemed like they all had been closed permanently. They did have a 24 hour BBQ restaurants on the ground floor of the building though! Haha.. Anyway we decided on Korean cup noodles instead. Why not....
Miss Kiki opted for onigiri because we weren't sure which cup noodles weren't spicy.



And out we went to catch the shuttle bus back to Incheon Airport. The morning was just as cold as the evening. Windy.... cold wind...


We went to Twosome Coffee at the airport to warm up before we went to catch an airport limousine bus to our Airbnb apartment. Bad coffee. In fact, this is the beginning of a string of bad coffee... we've been spoiled in Jakarta in terms of coffee!







Stay tuned for Part 2!