Yes, it’s time for another series of travel chronicles, this time to Seoul, Korea! I named this series as Impromptu Trip to Seoul because this trip was really impromptu! It was supposed to be Saucer‘s company trip for a week and I was not planning to go with him. Not until about 3 days before the departure, he said that he was purchasing the flight ticket for me to go with him! Of course, everything was a chaos then, because I couldn’t get on the same flight with him (fully booked) and had to be on waiting list and so on. Thank God, in the end it all worked out well and we left together.
Say Hello to Seoul!
Seoul bus stop
We reached Seoul one day earlier than the company schedule so that we could have more time for sightseeing. For the first night, I chose to stay at Holiday Inn Seongbuk, since I have some Priority Club Rewards points to be redeemed. I must say the service at Holiday Inn was marvellous! Being a Priority Club member, I had the privilege to request for early check-in (depending on availability), and guess what? I reached the hotel at about 9am to find that my key was already prepared for me! I just needed to hand in my passport for verification and I was shown to my room within minutes. Bravo!
You know what is impressive at the hotel? There was a PC for us to go online for free! So awesome right?
PC and free broadband connection
Even the toilet bowl was so high-tech! So many functions available other than just the normal flushing. There was cleaning function and even massage function! *LOL*
High-tech toilet bowl
View from our room
The only gripe I had with Holiday Inn Seongbuk was the distance from the subway. It was at least 20 minutes walk away, which could be really tiring especially after a day out. After we freshened up and unloaded our luggage, we quickly proceeded to the counter to ask for some tour package. We intended to visit Nami Republic or Namiseom, from Winter Sonata fame. Unfortunately, all tours to that place started at 9am, and it was already 10am when we inquired. So the only option we had was to take public transportation on our own! *gasp* With our strong determination, we set forth with a map in hand, in a foreign country, on our first day, with no knowledge of the Korean language!
witch at the subway station
The walk to the subway station was indeed pretty long, especially in the freezing cold weather! In the subway, there was this old man trying to sell us this thing used to clean the toilet. Too bad I couldn’t understand a word of what he was saying.
Salesman in the subway
We were supposed to take the subway to the main bus station in Dongseoul first, and to take the bus from there to ChunCheon, and finally take a cab to Namiseom. Before the LONG journey, we had our lunch at the Dongseoul bus station. We went into some random shop to eat, and used sign language to order. Using English here was hopeless.
Bibimbap mixed up
After the lunch, we took the 1.5hours bus to ChunCheon and reached at around 2.30pm. We then flagged for a taxi but again, language problem! We mentioned ‘Namiseom’ to him and he blabbered a string of Korean which sounded frustrated while shaking his head. Oh dear! What was he saying? We were helpless! He couldn’t speak English at all and we couldn’t understand his Korean. We managed to find a guy nearby who was also hailing for taxi who could speak English. He then explained to us that all the taxi drivers didn’t want to drive to Namiseom because of the massive traffic jam, and asked us to take the public bus instead. It looked like we didn’t have any other choice anyway, so we just waited for the bus to reach at 3pm. Can you imagine? All in all, it took us 3 hours to reach Namiseom! Some feat for first-timers, I’m telling you.
Such a long queue!
We had to take a short boat trip to cross over to Namiseom, but luckily we managed to enter without waiting for too long. The entrance fee inclusive of return boat ride was 8,000 won (RM24).
Walking towards the boat
Look, I spotted a Malaysian flag on the boat!
Upon reaching the island, we saw this ice formation at the entrance. Just goes to show how cold it was!
Entrance of Namiseom
What’s this tree called?
Oh the place was gorgeous! I was never a fan of Winter Sonata, so I did not watch any of the episodes. I only did some research on the place the day before I reached Seoul. But the place was really beautiful! And we were indeed there during winter!
witch at Namiseom
Rustic walkway at Namiseom
This pic looked like autumn
With the lake as the background
Us at the tree house
with the peace-making cat
A coffee shop overlooking the lake
witch at the lakeside
One of the filming locations of Winter Sonata
Nice picnic area
LOL at Saucer’s butt!
Another popular photo place
Beautiful signature shot of Namiseom
Us with the Winter Sonata cast
Saucer having a good time
We spent about 3 hours there and left the place in time for dinner. We went back to ChunCheon for dinner and chose a random restaurant called Bobs. The only thing we could understand from the signboard was the 9,900 won (~RM30) words, and upon inquiry, we found out that it was the price for the BBQ buffet. So we just went ahead with it!
9,900 won buffet
We then left the restaurant and waited for the bus again to take us back to the bus station. It was one of the most torturing wait ever, with the blazing wind and cold weather and the endless wait! We managed to reach the bus station safely, then switched to another bus to Dongseoul station AND later took a subway back before walking 20 minutes to the hotel. *gasp* It was indeed a tiring day for us! Watch out for the next day’s adventure coming soon!