Thursday, May 30, 2013

Korea Travelogue: Day 1 - Long-ass flight and arriving in Seoul!

Update Feb 2015: I've moved my blog over to Hop on over there for my trip to Korea in Dec :)

Day 1 itinerary
  • SG>>>>>HK>>>>>Korea
  • Namsan Guesthouse 3
  • Myeongdong (Yoogane and SPAO)
Hello :)
I'm here to write about my Korea trip. Will do it day by day because we really did alot of things since it was a free and easy trip, all planned by us! Ok, mostly me :3
This is my 3rd time back in Korea! 
My first foray to Korea was after my O levels when the only Korean guy I knew then was Bae Yong Jun because my aunt liked him in Winter Sonata and my last trip was in Dec 2011 (which I didn't blog about because... I just didn't >.< maybe I will when I have time because the places I went to were different from this trip)
I really enjoyed my Dec 2011 trip because firstly, I'm a K-pop fanatic and... I really love the country! Plus the company helped too hehe so I really wanted to go back again (and like a thousand more times please FML)
So this time round, it was Lirong, Qiu Lin and Kai Kee's graduation trip.
Initially it was supposed to be just Qiu, Kee and myself because Qiu asked if I wanted to go with them.
I said ok then I invited Lirong and Juyin along because I knew they wanted to go Korea as well.
Weird combination I know since Qiu and Kee are from my SCAMP OG and Lirong and Juyin are from my SOW OG but it's okay. We are one big happy Science fac family :D
But anyhow, it was their grad trip while Juyin and I became the extras on this supposed grad trip.
Advice to all graduating students: GO AND TRAVEL WHILE YOU CAN. WORKING LIFE STINKS.
Took advantage of the Vesak Day public holiday to maximise the time we could have in Korea.
Cathay Pacific had a promotion in the beginning of the year and once we settled the dates we booked the tickets to fly to Incheon via Hong Kong (FOL please the travelling was so long D:)
Flew off on 18 May 1am and I took half day off that Friday to go home and pack because I had been so swamped with work before my trip.
Boss was a bitch to just make sure I finish everything before going and when I came back, he hadn't even checked my work la. IDIOT.

Group shot! 

(I hate love you Chanel & Dior)

Bf sent me to the airport and we gave Lirong and Qiu Lin a lift too because they lived near me. 
I went crazy at DFS before we even stepped into Korea as usual
All of us are in spectacles because we have a long layover in Hong Kong (4 hours) before our next flight to Incheon.


My seating partner from SG to HK!

And no surprise, our flight got delayed both in Singapore and in Hong Kong D:
Touched down in Hong Kong at around 5am and we went for breakfast half-stoned by then.
HKIA sells really expensive food in my opinion but we were mad hungry cos the airline food was shit.
Seriously Cathay Pacific, egg mayo sandwich that is rock hard? Are we playing ping-pong with them? WTF.
Waited for close to 4 hours before we boarded our flight to Incheon and touched down at 3pm KST.

Breakfast at HKIA

Playing around at the Disneyland store


5 girls to Korea!

Everyone tired out

My seating partner from HK to Incheon!

안녕하세요 ^^

Our "home" for the next 8 nights was Namsan Guesthouse 3 and we bought tickets for the Airport Limousine Bus No. 6015 (10,000 KRW each) outside the Arrival gate to Myeongdong (명동).


Interior of the bus

Buckle up people!

Hi there Duffy bear! :)

I previously took the Airport Express train and I didn't like it even though it was cheaper at 3,950 KRW because we had to go to Seoul Station and change to the subway line (Airport Express fare doesn't include the subway fare) which isn't connected at all.
It was totally shitty the previous time I went hence this time I insisted that we take the bus instead because it was just more convenient that way.
Can you imagine me lugging 2 luggages trying to get up/down the stairs at the subway T.T
Korea's metro system is not like Singapore's MRT stations. We have the luxury of having escalators all around here but Korea's metro exits mostly consist of stairs, hence pint-sized travelers like us who do not travel light should just find the easiest and most convenient way la.
That's just my opinion but if you want to test your endurance limit, you're welcome to just take the trains all the way to downtown Seoul :)
Or bring male companions to help you carry your luggage! :D
So we got off at Sejong Hotel which is the last stop of the entire bus route and... climbed the hill to the guesthouse.
And yes, I was cursing and swearing the entire time lol. Plus it was drizzling like mad.
Someone remind me to bring lesser things the next time pls D:

My roomies for the next 8 nights (HAHAH sorry Juyin!)


Sorting out our discount coupons

Namsan 3 B1 dining area

Overall, I like this guesthouse because it has a lift! I previously stayed at Residence EO (also in Myeongdong) on the other side of Hotel Prince and it was terrible because we had to climb 3 storeys everyday D:
However, I don't recommend that more than 2 of you share a room at Namsan 3 even though the maximum occupancy rate is 3 persons because our room was so squeezy!
We didn't even have any space for our luggage so Lirong and I had to empty our luggages onto the floor and what not simply cos our luggage had no where to be placed.
Kai Kee and Qiu Lin had no problem with that though because they had space.
Oh, another thing, the 'beds' are all mattresses. Plus the toilet is tiny.
You really can't expect much for the price, we weren't really fussy as long as we had a roof over our heads when we slept.
I did like the basement area because we could sit there and chit chat while eating (which we did for several nights fat die us) plus it was near the office so we interacted with the staff too.
Very friendly people who could speak English and Chinese (fluently!).
By the time we settled in it was already 6pm and we were all famished so we headed to Myeongdong for dinner.
Add in lack of sleep into the equation and you have 5 hungry and angry girls.
Plus it was raining and freezing cold that day too. Not good.
Apparently Seoul was raining non-stop that entire day and we were all not dressed for the weather HAHAHA I KakaoTalk-ed my Korean friend to curse and swear about the weather lol cos she told me to bring shorts only.


From the streets of Myeongdong

Dinner was at Yoogane 유가네 for their yummy 닭갈비 (Dak-galbi or spicy stir-fried chicken).
Yoogane is a food chain store and can be found quite easily around Seoul but the one we went to was in Myeongdong since we were staying in Myeongdong.
They have 2 outlets in Myeongdong, the one we went to is nearer to Myeongdong Cathedral.
(Update May 2014: Yoogane is available now in Singapore! Read all about it here.)

Just walk down the main cosmetic street of Myeongdong and turn right at the 3rd junction.
You should see a Twosome+ Coffee (The one Siwon from Super Junior opened which we didn't go *add onto must-go list for next trip*) that is above Olive Young opposite to make sure you're at the correct junction.
Walk into the alley and you'll find it quite easily because the sign is really bright! Learn to recognise the words in Korean if possible, easier for you to know if you're at the correct place too.
There's another Yoogane outlet in Myeongdong that is easier to locate.
Just exit from Myeongdong Exit 6 and you'll find yourself in front of Uniqlo. Walk into the alley to the left of Uniqlo from where you exit then you'll find it beside Skinfood if I'm not wrong.

Pardon my cui hair D:

We ordered the chicken galbi for 5 persons (8,000 KRW per pax) and topped up 1 serving of pumpkin (3,000 KRW) and mozzarella cheese (2,000 KRW). Yummy! Should have added more cheese!

Waiting for the food to be cooked


닭갈비 냠냠 ^^

So apparently after you finish all the food you can order rice and the staff will fry it together with the leftover sauce for you. The staff helped us to cook our 닭갈비 too so no worries if you're a noob at cooking like me haha.
The 5 of us shared 2 portions of rice.

Fried rice coming right up!

Done! Smelt heavenly please.

One of Qiu's favourite: burnt rice

Mad noms!

After having a nice yummy dinner, we decided to go walk around even though it was freezing and raining quite heavily.
Went into SPAO to look at their clothes and I went to Everysing to buy stuff for myself and friends back home!

SPAO is actually a familiar name to all S.M. Entertainment fans because it is opened by S.M. Entertainment hence you have the faces of Super Junior plastered all over the building exterior and in the store.
Everysing is within that same building on Level 3. Will talk more about that in awhile.

From Myeongdong Station Exit 6, walk down the main street till you see the first Nature Republic store on your left. Should be a few steps only from the station. Next turn left into that alley and continue walking. SPAO should be on your left directly opposite A'pieu and Lotteria. Other stores you'll pass by: Beanpole, WHO.AU etc


HUSBAND!! :D /waves/

Inside SPAO our dear EunSiHae (:

You can get clothes from SPAO which are reasonably price in my opinion. Kinda like our Uniqlo price here in Singapore plus, free eye candy all around! (Super Ju-nior!)
Current ambassadors are Super Junior and f(x). Previously it was Super Junior and Girls' Generation and they sold SuJu and SNSD clothes as well in SPAO.
I didn't buy anything from SPAO that night but I did buy alot from Everysing.
Everysing is basically a store which SM Entertainment set up to sell their artistes' merchandise.
You can get everything related to Super Junior, SHINee, Girls' Generation, f(x) , TVXQ and BoA from there but prices aren't that cheap.
But fangirls and boys will really just get sucked in (LIKE ME T.T) and just... buy la. Wait you regret hahah!

I Got A Boy! Pretty girls :)

Yup, this is for sale haha

Oh and there's a sticker machine called Star Shot where they loaded pictures of their company's artistes in and you can basically "take a picture" with them and print them out like neoprints.

My StarShot from 2011

I didn't get to try it this time but I did in the previous trip. It cost me 8,000 KRW then for this entire sheet but I'm not sure if there is a change in price.
We headed back for an early night in after that because everyone was really exhausted by the flights and the rain was relentless.
Bought SHINee's latest album at Myeongdong station's underground store for Juyin, myself and friends back home and we went back to shower (open CDs first to check whose photocards we got LOL) and rest.

We wanted to buy this but didn't in the end. Why ah? LOL

From Juyin's SHINee album! Lucky her and me because she gave 1 to me! :D

Ok Day 1 끝! Will be back with Day 2 soon :)

Updates: Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 up! Go read if you haven't thanks!

Disclaimer: Any pricing/directions are based on the website of the place or on my own memory/Google maps and some pictures are from Lirong's camera. You are welcome to ask me via the comments or tweet me. I'll try my best to help you :)


Jessica said...

Hi Paula

thank you very much for such detailed direction and itinerary. Will try follow exactly (unless i get lost)

Could you kindly share how to get those coupon? i am going seoul on 15 Sep. Thank you very much.

Paula said...

Hi Jessica

You may refer to my post here ( on where to get them! Have fun in Seoul on my behalf :)

♥Shanique@shane♥ said...

Hi :D

Just nice i'm choosing/deciding which guesthouse to stay during my korea trip and just nice the guesthouse im deciding is both Namsan and Residence EO.

May i know is there any difference of this 2 guesthouse and personally u prefer which one becos im also having difficulty to choose :D

Thank you so much:)

Paula said...

Hi, here's my thoughts on both of the guesthouses:

1. Namsan 3 (There are also Namsan 1 and 2 but I haven't stayed there before so do note that!)

I like that the building has a lift so we did not have to lug our luggage up the stairs and that free Shin Ramen were provided by the management. However, I didn't expect the room to be that small. As mentioned in the post, it was quite a squeeze for 3 of us in the room + 3 huge luggages. That's something you may have to consider. Location wise, it is the same as Residence EO.

2. Residence EO

I liked how big and spacious the rooms (for 3 pax) were even though only ondols were provided (2 pax rooms had beds in them) with a fridge, microwave and washing machine provided. There is a cupboard inside as well and it was definitely more spacious than Namsan 3. HOWEVER, there is no lift in the building so you would have trouble bringing your luggage up and down stairs (the staff will help if they are free) or simply dislike climbing stairs haha.

Hope it helps! :)

Jessica said...

Hi Paula

Thank you for recommending Yoogane. I love it. Very delicious. I agree with you that we should eat it again comparing with the rest.

But they make sure each person order 1 serving so if you wish to save stomach space for 2nd round it abit difficult. :D

Paula said...

Hi Jessica

Haha I think I meant that I would love to have it more than once on my trip i.e. 2 different days.

But yeah didn't know they insisted on every person ordering 1 serving :O

bbeatrice said...

Hihi! Would you recommend EO Residence or Namsan Guesthouse for my friend and I? :)

3rd trip but first time staying at a guesthouse :)

Thanks! ^^

Paula said...

Hi bbeatrice,

I would prefer Residence EO for its beds but Namsan for its lift. Depends on which you want - comfy beds but no lift or lift but mattress as your bed.

Unknown said...

Hello Paula :)

May I ask if Residence EO provides the shin ramen too?? :)))

Paula said...

Hi Agnes,

Not that I know of because my stay was during Dec 2011. But my friend who stayed there during Aug 2013 also didn't mention anything about free Shin Ramen at Residence EO.

shee said...

Hi paula..just a few question. How far is EO to myeongdong shopping district? Thx

shee said...

Hi paula..just a few question. How far is EO to myeongdong shopping district? Thx

Paula said...

Hi Shee, EO to the shopping district in Myeongdong is very near. Just walk towards the main road, go through the underpass via the MRT and then emerge on the other side of the main road.

Takes about 10 mins MAX - because you will get distracted along the way xD

Rachel Renee said...

Wow thanks! heading there in jan. :)

Paula said...

Hi Rachel, have fun! I'm heading again this Dec :)

Unknown said...

I saw ur blog on korea and taiwan watsons. Does both these countries watsons provide tax refund??


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