view from the yongsu station, seoul
Wednesday 27 may 2015.
After breakfast we took the KTX-train to Yeosu in the South of South-Korea. This city is where hardly any Western tourist comes, how nice. KTX-train is the fast train. Punctual as always in Korea.
3 hours later we arrived at Yeosu station, called two taxi's to transport our luggage and one groupmember and we went on foot to the classy hotel. We were at the expopark. The real city was some miles away.
our transitbus to the yongsu trainstation, Seoul
lady makes chocolate cookies in the trainstation of Yongsu
Yongsu trainstation interior
Yeosu train station
The expopark served for the world expo 2012 it seems. But still in good shape and open for the public to stroll around. We didn't see any visitors except for a few lonely walking people.
We went to see the viewpoint at the bay. A short climb and then we wlkaed to the island where you can walk around different paths in the forest (luckily because the sun was still very hard at 18u) to the 'penis tree' lol and the light house. You can enjoy the dancing fountain with famous classical (artyfarty) tunes a barefoot path and the infamous medieval (or even older!!) turtleships: battleships that were used against the Japanese invasion. Replica's though.
penis tree :-)
viewpoint to the island where were were heading to
me and my other Belgian friend
After the group activities me and my mate went for te city (or which we believed was the uptown city) actually the city was miles away to the other side: this was just an uptown village, really something different as there was nothing just little houses some schools and lots of motels.
and of course there were people on the streets selling their stuff. This image is fantastic I think: rubbish and two old ladies having fun while waiting for a customer to buy their selfgrown vegetables.
This first day in Yeosu we went eating with the group in a good restaurant: baked fish: the first we had! nice!
having fun with our group
trying the local rice/grain water for free in our fridge.
trying an enormous snail... shellfish... escargot but lots of times bigger.... for the lovers only...
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.