South-Korea - Seoul day 1
Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul
So, if you are a first timer or not, this is a travelreport about our journey to South-Korea. We are firsttimers. Me and my friends subscribed in a Dutch grouptravelagency Koning Aap. First time either with this agency. Didn't regret it.
Gyeongbokgung palace, Seoul, Totems are often very funny, used to mark borders and keep away evil spirits and demons of the village
What I liked:
- freedom to do what you want
- travelmonitor is just responsible for your transport and accomodation, organizes groupactivities and does suggestions
- the overall program
- the accomodations are really good hotels with more than just basic comfort and good breakfast overall
- we had a local agency that provided a local english speaking guide: she turned out to be a real asset for the group as to creating a good atmosphere and having fun.
- the cities: I am not used that they call a city of 300.000 inhabitants a boring sleepy place where there's nothing to find or do. It's strange but indeed these 'small cities' are very laidback in daily streetlife (don't know how workaholics behave in the office at that moment)
- tourist attractions: are way too cheap!!!!!! No way! what about 1000 won (about 0.80 euro) to visit a park in Gangnam? Or 3000 won (about 2,5 euro) for the Gyeongbokgung Palace? Why would one bother so visit everything you come across?
Gyeongbokgung Palace, pond, Seoul
What are the odds
- it's not really a cheap trip. So people that are used to South-East Asia low budget prices will have some problems saving money and will have to look for another kind of service.
- the food is extraordinary delicious: if you try the traditional kitchen that is and not the Korean Fastfood the hipsters and youngster eat in fancy places serving tasteless meals. But some disliked it. Sideshishes all over, and hot hot hot! Vegans and vegetarians will have troubles finding sufficient variety in food.
- cities are clean
- neonlights all over
- shoppng addicted people everywhere
- shoppingstreets are busy as in Europe, and loud music fills the street
- there's no traffic jams, pedestrians don't have priority, but cars really drive very slow in normal streets
- underground: there's more people underground that in the sunbaked streets: transfer in subway can take a walk of more than 10 minutes.
- safety: safest country in the world I've ever been: there seems to be no crime! people and also taxi-drivers are honest with prices and money.
- language: be creative to make clear what you want to order at a restaurant: point at the pictures, make slow clear gestures, or point at the thing your neighbour is eating.
- smartphones & selfiesticks all over: the one person we saw reading a book in the metro must be the one sole lonely weirdo of the group ;-)
Gyeongbokgung palace, Seoul, everybody is taking selfies, I did my best without a stick
- local train from Gent to Antwerp - Roosendaal - Breda - Schiphol Airport
- Emirates A380 to Dubai
- Dubai to Seoul
- it's a very long trip!
time for a salade niçoise and a smoothie in Dubai airport at Giraffe's
DAY 1 SEOUL sunday 24 may 2015
We arrived in the airpot of Seoul somewhere in the late afternoon. Our two local guides were waiting for us.
We were slightly screened for MERS and took a long queueing time in immigration...really...
Our Dutch guide lived in China, turned out to be a very nice guy with very dry humor feeling the dynamics of the group very well. Our Korean guide was a nice young funny girl. Kinda liked her very much in the end.
our first Korean Barbecue in Seoul
We took the airportbus to our hotel in Seoul for more than 1u30!!!! Aaargghhh!!!!
Anyway checking into the hotel with nice spacy clean rooms , good bath/shower, high-tech toilet! feel free to push every button you see! (don't complain about the consequences), free bottle of water, free wifi!! and airco made us feel welcome. And then we had our first Barbecue with the whole of the group in the streets around our hotel.