Saturday, May 12, 2012

2012 March: Toyoko Inn, Seomyeon Busan

Travel Date: March 28 - April 1, 2012

Been dreaming of seeing sakura, but just the plane ticket going to Japan is too expensive - that was in September 2011 when I booked this flight.  It will be my birthday treat and also to fulfill that personal unlisted bucket list.

Let me start with our adventure.  I got my Busan map from the Tourist Information Center in Seoul last November 2011.  After studying this trip for almost 4 months, I'd say the resources found on the net are still limited for Busan.

We just landed at Gimhae International Airport and I immediately noticed that their international airport is a lot smaller than Seoul. After 9pm, the foreign exchange counter outside the arrival gates were already closed.  I asked permission from the officer to allow us to go back inside the secured arrival hall as we need to exchange money, he asked for our passports and let us get in.

Unlike Seoul, you cannot purchase any transport or tourist card from 7-11 convenient store inside the airportr. 7-11 store also don’t even allow top-up value for t-money.  The information says that we can deposit to the card via atm bank, too bad I was not able make it work.

Then, I have decided that we find our way to the subway station.  On airport exit gate #3, you need to cross the street and walk around 5-8minutes going to the left direction, you'll not miss the station.  Since I have a t-money, I still need to buy a card for my companion.  My mistake is that I bought another t-money from GS-25 store, from my experience in the past 4 days now I can tell that t-money is not widely used in Busan.  So better purchase the Busan transport card or Bee Cash.

From the airport train station, we drop-off at Sasang to transfer on Line 2 (green) with Seomyeon as our final station.  Exit 8 is a long staircase (no escalator or elevator near this exit), on the ground level you’ll see Starbucks on your left side.

From the station, it took us around 10-15 minutes to reach Toyoko Inn.  The front desk speaks clear English but they are familiar to basic words only.  We asked about ‘is there a curfew on the hotel’, and she can’t understand us.  So you have to rephrase your questions on basic language, ‘does the door close after 12mn?’ or the like.  Aside from the payment for your room, you will also be asked for the key deposit (which of course is given back upon your check-out).

Hotel: Toyoko Inn Busan Seo-myeon
Address: 614-865 666-8, Jeonpo-dong, Busanjin-gu, Busan
Book Toyoko Inn Busan Seomyeon, Busan in Agoda
Photos below is Room Type:Non-smoking Double A

Hotel Facilities
At the lobby, there are four laptop units which visitors can use for free.  One unit is exclusive for the printer.  Very far left, they have microwave oven – now I understand that aside from food, it also used for heating your hot packs that’s why it is placed in the lobby area.

Hotel is also selling bottled water, soda and soju.

Good security system they have is that the hotel elevator will only work if you swipe your room pass.

Room Facilities
Internet Socket, Bath, Toilet with bidet,  Air-Conditioning, Writing Desk, Safety Box,  Refrigerator(Empty), Boiling Kettle, Hair Dryer,  Body Soap and Shampoo Rinse, Bath Towel and Towel,  Slippers,  TV, Telephone, Guest Magazine

Room is a bit small, no cabinet but few hangers are provided.  It is very clean, lighted, homey and bit zen.  Floor is carpeted (had no problems with my asthma).  Bed is so soft with only 2 pillows and clean sheets.  Glad they provided boiling kettle - this is very useful.

I love the bathroom because it is spacious with tub and shower.

Wireless connection in the room is very good.  I also able to make a phone call to the city guide hotline, but I thought it was free of charge since it is just a domestic call (we were charged upon check-out but only for few bucks.)

Services: Breakfast
Breakfast is included in the room fee – the buffet table has rice, soup, few spicy vegetables, noodles, beans, eggs, sausages, salad, bread and fruits.  For the drinks – hot/cold water dispenser, coffee dispenser, milk, and orange juice.  

Photo below was taken 7 in the morning when the buffet table just opened and a lot are already in the restaurant.  If you get in just a bit late, for sure that it is hard to have your own table.

Accommodation in Busan
Districts that are nice to get your accommodation is Seomyeon (a little bit far away from the sea) and Busan Train Station (stays lively at late night).  Our hotel in Seomyeon has great facilities for its price, but for the location it is a bit far walking distance from the shopping area.  I suggest you find a hotel or inn near Fashion (Young) Street or Food Alley (First Avenue) in Seomyeon district.

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