Sunday, August 14, 2011

City Collection: Seoul, South Korea

I bought my Starbucks city mug from Myeongdong area.
I got this postcard from Namsan Tower. Aside from the postcards we sent from Nami Island, we sent out others from Korea Post Office and Incheon Airport Post Office.




Saturday, August 13, 2011

2011 June: South Korea: Goodbye Seoul, Hello Incheon

Travel Date: June 26, 2011
Destination: Incheon

This is free day in Seoul, I have not set anything on this day except that we need to hear a mass in Myeongdong Cathedral.

It is a rainy and windy day as tropical storm Meari (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2011/06/25/51/0302000000AEN20110625002700320F.HTML) is heading a land fall in South Korea from Philippines. We can’t use umbrellas as it is flipping over due to strong winds.

We had a quick breakfast in Paris Baguette. We ordered for sausage (1700won) and ham (1400won) sandwiches with steamed milk (3000won) and café latte (3500won) for a total of 9600won (400php).




We continued our walk by taking exit #8 and turning right in ABC Shopping Store. We had to take the stairs going to the church. The Sunday English mass is at 9am. You can get the mass book from the right-hand side entrance of the church.


How is it different from the masses I have attended in the Philippines?



  • There is no kneeler and bibles are available in each row.

  • During the offering, the basket is only on the aisle and the attendees should be standing and giving the offering to the basket.

  • During the communion rites, each row will be standing and will take the host. The sacristan is not on the left-side but behind the priest/giver of host.
We went back to Zaza Backpackers, prepare our luggage and covered them with plastic so we could freely walk during the storm when going to the Airport bus stop. We took bus 6015 going straight to Incheon Airport for an hour with a fare of 9000won (360php).

We had lunch at the airport, then decided to go to our 4th and last accommodation in South Korea. We took a cab and paid 5000won for less than 5 minutes travel going to Theoville building.


Global Guest House
801 IBC Daewoo Theoville, 2850 Unseo-dong, Jung-gu, Incheon
http://globalgh.com/



Reposting from my review in www.agoda.com:

Global Guesthouse is like 5-10 minutes away from the airport terminal. We did not bother to take the Airport Free Shuttle, we paid 5000 won going to the building and 10000 won returning to the airport.

You will go to the room in 801, then the owner will give you the keys to your room.

It is good to stay here if you are just waiting for your flight, but if you will be looking for a cab very early in the morning – it will only be a luck by chance.

The room is so big, like condominium unit. Everything is clean,. We stayed on the 11th floor, and we can see planes arriving and leaving. Television has English channels and has several channels with Arrival and Departure Status. Also, has good wifi internet connection. We had 2 cups, spoons, 2 coffee bags and 1 free bottled water; hangers and cabinet. Room has stove and refrigerator. Toilet is with hair dryer, toiletries and towels.



The most stressful trip thinking on how we can get back to Manila in the middle of a typhoon. Even if the building is just close to the airport, we can’t take the option of walking to the airport building as it is dangerous because of the strong winds. While seeing from above, there are no cabs or Airport Shuttle and very rare for private cars to pass by at 4-5am. We decided to stay at the building grounds at 5:30, hoping we could see a cab. Then we were seen by a cab driver who was waiting for his scheduled passenger, after sending off his passengers, he went back and volunteered to help us – i’m so touched and thankful!


We need to keep running until we complete the check-in, breakfast, airport train and finally reach the boarding gates. It is my first time to be on the second row, we were seated at 2D and 2E – I guess we are that late! And still another big appreciation, I was able to get my first win at Cebu Pacific Fun Games on Air. Question: What is the currency of Thailand. As inspired by 2PM’s latest hit song, ‘put your hands up’ – I just did and win a Cebu Pacific box for the answer of ‘Baht’.

Thank God, we landed at NAIA with blue skies! Thanky you to my brother for being with me on this trip. Thanks to all the hosts of the fours accommodations we had (4 in just less than 9-day trip?!). To the cab drivers that were very helpful, to the locals and tourists who helped us take every single step on the confusing streets of the place where Hallyu stars are born.

This is not my last entry for Korea, I’ll be posting more entries on those things I have observed during my visit. And I'll say, see you soon Jeju!

2011 June: South Korea: Post it!

Travel Date: June 25, 2011
Destination: Post Office, Namdaenum, Kring Museum, Banpo Bridge

We started walking from Myeongdong Station going to Korea Post. Today, we are sending post cards to our friends in Asia.



Since we saw Namdaenum is just across the area, we headed there to check on more pasalubongs. As featured in Rated K by Korina Sanchez, there is this bad smell of famous local street food in Korea – it looks like a member of beetle/insect family.



It is raining hard so went back to Zaza Backpackers. On late afternoon, we headed to Samseong Station Exit 3, after 10 minutes walk we reached Kring Museum (another Perfect Match Location).



Here, instead of appreciating the art work, I loved most is the comfort room – nothing can beat the comfort! My first time to see a tv on every cube, they even have seats and multiple mirrors on different heights.


Then we headed to Jamwon Station, it is a very, very long walk going to Banpo Bridge because we are hoping to watch the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain show, but since it is raining, they have cancelled the show.



2011 June: South Korea: Changdeokgung Palace

Travel Date: June 24, 2011
Destination: Changdeokgung Palace + Shopping

Since we are seeing tv commercials of Kuya Johnny and Eunice for Café Bene (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkG09_bAJxo), we decided to have breakfast on the same coffee shop. We had blueberry waffle, corn waffle, coffee and milk for 12400krw (500php).
Quoting from koreatimes.co.kr , “Almost anywhere you go, there’s a Caffe Bene and its signature look is hard to miss. The rustic wooden exteriors, with the playful sign that says ``Caffe Bene: gelato & waffles,’’ is not one to be mistaken for Starbucks or Coffee Bean.”


Our destination for today is Changdeokgung Palace. It is better to drop-off at Anguk Station Subway Exit 3, because it is just 5 minutes walk away from the Palace. English guided tour starts at 10:30am. The admission fee is 3000krw (120php). We did not bother to join the Secret Garden Tour, it is 5000krw on 3.1 km uphill and downhill walk for 2hours and starts at 11:30am.





Right after, we have visited Bukchon Village – a traditional Korean houses as you see on dramas. This is where Personal Taste (known as Perfect Match in the Philippines) was taken. Although I have not seen it, I hope to visit the actual house soon.



We had our first visit at a Catholic Church, Gahoe-dong Church.



For the rest of the day, we spent it in Dongdaenum (visited Doota Mall, known as it’s cheapest place for pasalubong) and Myeongdong shopping districts.

2011 June: South Korea: Lotte World

Travel Date: June 23, 2011
Destination: Lotte World

Even if it is raining outside, we started the day early. We had our breakfast at Paris Baguette with pastries, coffee and milk for 10,200krw (400php).


From Myeongdong station, we had to transfer 2 lanes (green and pink) until we reached Munjeong station. This is where you could find Rodeo Street – an outlet shopping center in Korea. While studying for this trip, I learned that you can’t find any Esprit shop in South Korea. They have more local brands in the area and a few outlet brands of which I’m familiar with. Running shoes at Nike and Adidas range from 2500-4000php. There is also The North Face outlet, and I was able to buy a Columbia jacket for 55000krw (2200php).

From this station we transferred to Jamsil Station and look for our way going to Lotte World.


Lotte World, Jamsil Station, Subway Line 2 & 8, Exit #4
Open: Mon - Thu : 09:30 - 22:00; Fri - Sun : 9:30 - 23:00
Admission: Adults 26,000 won = 1040php (Admission and free performance viewing)
Passport: Adults 38000won = 1550php (Free usage of all facilities, Includes admission (all-in fee to 4D, carousel & light roller coaster ride; star avenue) ; free tour of Folk Museum)



Since it was rainy season and the outdoor attractions are limited, plus we got this discount coupon from Visit Korea website http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/HD/event/enu_20110324/index.jsp), we paid for our tickets at 25000krw (1000php) each.

So why are we visiting this place? Just to ride in the Carrousel? Yeah, it is known as Camelot Carrousel, the one used in Stairways to Heaven. Also, you should not miss the World Carnival Parade that happens twice a day. During our visit we had the Rio Samba theme.






After watching shows and hopping on different rides, it is so cute to have this shot taken of a kid that lay down in the middle of the theme park. It even took around more than 5 minutes before he joined his family in walking again.




Then we moved to Folk Museum, it is a miniature of old villages and a total package that shows Korean history. I must commend this place as they were very good in creating those miniatures as the details are so intricate. The place is so huge, a lot of things to see, I think we had it for an hour and a half and ended like an ‘overload’ of miniatures and history in mind – but the artistry in this place is so amazing! Wow!




We have to sit for a while to regain our energy and proceed with the Star Avenue. This one is a little bit of disappointment. I thought that it will feature a lot of famous Hallyu stars but they are just less than 10. Good thing I can recognize some of them: Song Seung-Heon (Kuya Johny - Autumn in Love, Summer Scent, My Princess), Rain and Choi Ji Woo (Winter Sonata).