(The first part of my travel log series to Seoul, South Korea.)
This time last month, my dad asked me if I wanted to tag along with my Aunt & cousin for a short trip to South Korea. Being an enthusiast of almost anything Korean–food in particular, I immediately said yes. Never mind that I’m not close with my cousin as long as I’d get to visit The Land of the Morning Calm again (My 3rd visit now). Within a month, I arranged every document needed, shopped for some fall/autumn clothes and on the first week of October, I found myself on board a Cebu Pacific Air flight to Incheon.
Read on for the story, and pick up some tips
and unsolicited advice if you’re planning to visit Seoul.
It was my first time to try Cebu Pac and just a friendly advice, if you’re not on a budget, I suggest to take other airlines instead. Those rants from your friends on various social media sites about this airline–notorious for having delayed flights and overpriced food, drinks and stuff to keep you comfortable on board–believe them! Sadly, I experienced the same plight. I have tried Air Philippines, PAL (needs to update their seemingly vintage video from the 80’s) and Asiana Airlines (best so far!) and it is only in this trip that I experienced delay. Our flight got delayed for around 2 hours! (Instead of waiting for what seemed to be forever, I could’ve used it to walk around Seoul…) My friends said, I had it easy since some flights actually get delayed far more than that!
On to the trip!
- Tip #1! If you’re travelling with middle aged women and/or older, take the limousine bus. You do not want to take the subway, towing your luggage around through flights of stairs and Koreans who are always in a hurry. Please note that some of the subway lines do not have elevators available. There is a Airport Limousine Bus available that goes through different routes bound for Seoul and other provinces.
- Tip #2! Stay away from pushy cab drivers. More often than not, the cab price they’ll offer is heaps more expensive than taking the subway or bus. Also, I’ve read from somewhere that in Korea having 5 passengers in 1 taxi is illegal.
- Tip #3! Get yourself a T-Money card! I swear, your tourist life in Korea would be much more convenient. Priced at 2,500KRW this card can do wonders. You could use it for most of the subway lines, bus lines, taxis and even for doing transactions at convenience stores.
Nothing much happened except we arrived at Seoul at 11PM.
Right after exiting immigration and customs, a cab driver approached us and offered to take us directly to our guest house for a hefty price. Oh, you know, just 85,000KRW that’s around 80USD or 3500PHP! Sure we were a group of 5 (see Tip #2) but anyone could tell that he was trying to take advantage of tourists. You do the math. Naturally, we declined but it was a hard-fought battle.
An hour’s worth of subway travel later, we finally reached our stop–Myeongdong Station specifically Exit 4. Our two older companions still had to endure one last flight of stairs. After successfully tugging my luggage all the way to the top of the stairway, I was supposed to go down and lend a hand to my Aunt but to my surprise a young lady was already doing it. Dead tired and food deprived (Cebu Pac does not offer any free meals. They are called budget airlines for a reason.), my Aunt’s friend decided to ask the nice lady where it was. I could already tell that these group of young ladies were tourists like us. For one, they did not look Korean at all based from their facial features (Being racist is the last thing I want to do!) and how they did their make up. Also, they had with them confused looks too, still some of my companions went on with their inquiries anyway. So she asked around for us! Finally, there were two men whom she asked for help. Later on, I figured out that the nice young lady and her friends were Japanese and I asked her just to confirm. Of course I said “Arigatou gozaimasu!” to show appreciation. Anyway, these two men probably just got out of a pub but they were sober enough to lead us to our guest house.
Moon Sun Guest House (henceforth will be referred to as MSGH) is next to a souvenir shop called Hot Station. You need not go far to look for presents to friends back home as Hot Station offers traditional Korean items like fans, utensils to K-pop items like socks, pens etc. I don’t know about the price though but I think they are reasonable enough. 🙂 Also, if you check in at MSGH, you’ll get 5% discount at the mart located at the basement.
Based on the facilities and information online, I think MSGH is rather new. We stayed in the “Triple Room” which has three single beds, a small fridge, flat screen TV, cabinets, free wi-fi, air-conditioning system, heater and ensuite bathroom with toiletries & towels. There is also complimentary bottled water. Breakfast is not included, though.
Having said that MSGH is new, I commend the management for keeping it clean and free from specks of dust. The only thing that I didn’t like about this place is that the people running it have limited to no understanding of English at all, but that’s not a problem that can’t be solved by calling a professional translator. Also, it says in MSGH’s page in booking.com that they have a 24-hour front desk (located at Hot Station), but HS closes at 11PM, same goes for the mart at the basement. The management was very generous and accommodating that it compensates for the language barrier. 🙂 For instance, I needed extra towels (which I believe have to be paid for), and asked “Free? No pay?” (Tip! You have to use simple English) and he said “Ah. Okay, okay” with a smile.
Moon Sun Guesthouse is located at 14-5, Namsan-dong 1-ga, Jung-gu, Jung-Gu, 100-041 Seoul
Note: This post is an unbiased and unpaid. Ha, as if someone would actually pay me to do so! :))