Our adventure started with a 10 hour flight from Thailand. We arrived at the Incheon International Airport at around 11:00 ish at night. The check out process was a breeze. We were finally in the land of K-pop and kimchee! We hailed a taxi right away and headed to Seoul, Gangnam district. If you’ve missed the first three legs of our trip, click here for Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand.
Since it was the last leg of our trip, Hans and I were moving like turtles. LOL. However, our first day was promising. The sun was up and it was a gorgeous day. One thing that I can say, though, is, South Korea is very clean, and it has an efficient metro system. Speaking of metro system, while searching for the metro closest to our hotel, we found an all you can eat Korean buffet for only $7! Why not? And so we went. The buffet had more veggies (which is a plus) than meat. Delicious!
After having brunch, we went to Hanok Bukchon Village, where modern Korea meets the traditional Joseon dynasty. The area is full of old Korean houses. I actually rented a hanbok (traditional Korean costume) over here. Of course, I walked around the village with my costume on. It wasn’t so awkward as there were other people in costumes walking around. Hans didn’t participate because he gets hot easily – the costume wraps you like a lumpia. Of course, we also went to the Changdeokgung Palace, and roamed around with my costume. It was an unforgettable experience for me because I watch a lot of historical Korean dramas, and I was living it! Pictures below.
Our second day was all about shopping. We went to Namdaemun. I tell you, South Korea is a shopping mecca. Namdaemun is only one of the shopping districts. There are others. The plethora of stuff is dizzying – from bags to clothes, and everything in between. Beauty products and K-pop memorabilia are everywhere. South Korea even has underground shopping outlets! And the prices are CHEAP! You can’t go wrong. Of course, while we were shopping, Hans and I were also trying some street food like the deep-fried spiral cut potato on a stick and some Korean sausages. It was exhausting as we walked a lot. We ended the day with a dinner at an all you can eat (and grill) Korean BBQ. We smelled like a smoked meat after, but oh well.
We went to the Bongeunsa Temple on our third day. At that time, they just finished some kind of a Buddhist festival, and they were removing hundreds of colored hanging ornament balls. The place was serene and peaceful.
After basking in the silence, we went to the nearby CO-EX Mall, where the famous Gangnam Hand statue is, and the Starfield Library, which is famous for Instagram shots. We did more shopping over here.
Later on that day, we just walked around Gangnam. We even saw Paris Hilton endorsing some kind of product.
This was our last day and rest day as well. We didn’t do much. After checking out and leaving our bags at the hotel, we went to the mall, roam around, and watched “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” Their movie theater was clean, and had colorful chairs. Mostly pastel. And it was an assigned seating as well. Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel and the airport.
TIPS and FYIs
Here are some tips that might be helpful if you want to go South Korea.
- If you are a US citizen, you do not need a visa as long as you’re staying for less than 3 months.
- With the exception of airport personnel and hotel front desks, we found that there IS a communication barrier in South Korea. This is based from our experience alone. Learn some basic Korean words and phrases before you go. Better yet, download some apps that can help with translations.
- Consider the time of the year when you go. I’ve been to South Korea before during winter and it was bitter cold. And we’ve been to South Korea in May, late Spring, and the weather was beautiful!
South Korea is a beautiful country offering delicious food, efficient transportation system, and plenty shopping districts. Aside from these, if you like history, or just like historical dramas like me, South Korea has lots of temples and palaces to visit. K-pop culture is also almost everywhere in the city. I highly recommend Seoul to everyone.
I’ve attached pictures below from our trip. Enjoy!