When wondering along the streets of Seoul is such a breeze!
From a grueling experience finding a ferry from 4 until 11am from Calapan to Batangas on Jan 3, we finally (oh barely!) managed to catch our 5pm flight via CebPac - NAIA to Incheon, Korea.
There was quite a bit of a crowd at the Immigration so we missed the airport limo and had to take the late night bus to Seoul Station. A short ride and we reached our hotel in Jongno District.
We woke up a bit late on our first day in Seoul. We stayed at GS Hotel which is very close to the metro station and a lot of tourist spots: historic sites so we spent our first day going around the neighborhoods from Jongno to Dongdaemun - Insadong to Bukchon to Namsangol to Myeongdong. At -4C, we tried to discover as much of what the capital offers.
Korean food- for me the authentic Korean BBQ is the best! And hey, here’s a fun fact: Not all Korean food is spicy! And it’s not just vegetables either. Believe it or not, exploring the Land of the Morning Calm for DIY travelers like me and Alia was not impossible at all. The Seoul Metropolitan Subway made travelling around the capital not just easy but cheap and comfortable. It has 20 rapid transit, light metro, and commuter rail lines that extend to a number of nearby towns and cities, such as Incheon and Yongin. Instead of using single journey tickets, we used our T-Money card to save time and money.
Since we DIY-ed our South Korea trip, I made sure that I familiarized myself with the subway lines. I planned our itinerary based on the nearest subway lines from each tourist spot, so we made quite a lot of transfers. Learning how the subway lines connect can make planning trips a lot easier. I have learned this lesson over the many travel experiences I have had with my husband and kids which meant that we were always prepared for a lot walking – and it became quite handy because most subway stations don’t have escalators.
Seoul is a beautiful city, icy but very vibrant both day and night. In my opinion, Koreans are friendly and more fun loving while Japanese are more formal and polite. I couldn't really tell the difference between Koreans/Japanese/Chinese just by looking at their faces, until they speak and their accents become recognizable.
It's admirable how Koreans preserve their culture and traditions. Visiting the Hanok Villages was like experiencing Korean traditions first hand. Amazing!