Saturday, 21 November 2015

Korea: Itinerary for 8 days Jeju and Seoul (Part 2 Seoul)

This post is continued from another post Part 1 Jeju and other travel information. We took Jejuair from Jeju and arrived at Seoul on 12 Nov 2015.

12 Nov 2015
Arrive at Gimpo Airport and take AREX airport rail to Seoul station with T-money card.
Journey from Gimpo Airport to Seoul station is 20 mins, cost is about 1450 KRW per person.

Checked in to our hotel
Seoul N Hostel
139-20 Ojang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul 100-310. Free WIFI, free breakfast.
I highly recommend this hostel! It was new and modern, the host were friendly and they made yummy breakfast!

Yummy sandwich for breakfast!
The hostel was near Dongdaemun History and Culture park station. Take Exit 7. Turn right and walk straight till a crossroad, walk past it and immediately turn right.

Dinner at Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari (Jin Ok-hwa Original Chickem Restaurant)
Add: 18, Jong-ro 40ga-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
We chanced upon this restaurant while roaming around. It was after that then we realised that it was a famous restaurant there. It's located in an alley at Dongdaemun. It was so crowded when we were there and we were attracted by the crowd to go in.

It was a hot pot with one whole chicken in it, there's only one size. The staff asked if we wanted noodles or rice and we chose noodles. The soup was really flavourful, it was really nice! We saw the Korean patrons putting the chili provided in the chicken soup pot. I think that's the Korean way of eating it but as I cannot take spicy stuff, I skipped that step.

After dinner, it's shopping time.
Take the subway and alight at Myeongdong station. There you are!

Hongdae (go there for nightlife as well)
Hongik University station – take exit 9 and walk.

If  you have the chance, do try out this hot stone grilled meat shop at Hongdae!
13 Nov 2015
Everland (Ride + Safari + Zoo + Botanical gardens) Outdoor
Opening hrs: 1000 to 2100

Admission fee: 52000 KRW per person (Check out Everland website for periodic promos) We got our tickets at 33000 KRW per person
Check out the directions to Everland. We took the shuttle bus to Everland as it is the easiest.

A must do at Everland is this Safari tour which brings you to see white tigers and bears. There are also other thrilling rides which include a wooden roller coaster and it's always with long queue.

Bear doing stunts for us!

I love such fairy tale sights!
Jjimjilbang at Siloam Sauna
After the day at Everland, we went to a Jjimjilbang to relax. It's the sauna place where you often see on korea dramas where they stayed overnight and hang out. We went to the one near Seoul station. It's called Siloam Sauna.

We went after 8pm and paid 15000 KRW per person. For this price, you can stay there till the next morning. For more information, details about Siloam Sauna and what to do in there, check out my post on Seoul Jjimjilbang here.

14 Nov 2015
Free Hanbok Experience @ Myeongdong Tourist Information Center
This is free so usually there will have a queue there. The staff there helped us put on the Hanbok and took picture with a green background.

Thereafter, we chose the background scenery we liked and sent the photo to our email.

Err.. The end result is a bit unnatural with the fake background, which is why we decided to take another Hanbok shot at Bukchon Hanok Village later on.

Bukchon Hanok Village 
Directions: Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 2. Go straight for about 300m to arrive at Bukchon Hanok Village.

We took another Hanbok Experience here at Hanok Village at 7000 KRW per person. The result is quite nice.

Insadong & Ssamziegil mall
Opening hrs: 0930 to 1830
Directions: Anguk station, exit 6, walk 100m forward then turn left onto Insadong street, go another 180m you will see the mall on the left
Insadong specialize in wide variety of goods that only can be purchased in Korea. You can also have have tea at a traditional tea house in Insadong.

Alley along Insadong Street
Insadong Street
Ssamziegil mall. There are no steps or escalators in this mall. It's slope all the way up.
At the top of the mall, there's a couple lock corner.
Dinner Korean Namchon Set Menu @ CHON
It's located in an alley along Insadong street. The taste of the food, I would say, it's just so so, but it's an experience to see so many variety of dishes filled up the whole table in front of you!

 15 Nov 2015
Last day before we flying back to Singapore. So of course, more shopping today!

Just before sunset, we decided to go Namsan park and N Seoul Tower.

Namsan park and N Seoul Tower 
Getting there -
Cable car and Namsan Oreumi (transparent box slanted elevator):
Directions to Namsan Oreumi:
- Myeongdong Station, Exit 4,
- Walk straight towards Sogong Ro (main road) at the Hoehyeon intersection (Myeongdong & Hoehyeon stations, Subway Line 4)
- Walk towards Namsan Tunnel #3 and take the free Namsan Oreumi elevator to the cable car station.
Cable car fee: 8500 won return for 1 pax; 6000 won one way for 1 pax

Queuing for Namsan Oreumi
We queued for about half an hour for the Namsan Oreumi. You can actually climb the stairs to reach the cable car station if you don't want to queue for Namsan Oreumi, climbing the stairs is actually faster than queuing for half an hour. Lol.

When we reached the cable car station, there's super long queue! Have to queue for one plus hour to take the cable car. So what do we do? We climb up Namsan Park to reach N Seoul Tower. It took us around 1 hour to climb up to N Seoul Tower. Good exercise eh, and you can admire the scenery of Seoul along the way. The climb was quite tiring too, it's just a bit easier than the 'Shiongsan' in Jeju.

Views we saw while climbing Namsan Park
Views we saw while climbing Namsan Park
The pavement up to N Seoul Tower in Namsan Park
Just several flight of steps more! *Panting*
Finally, we reached!!!
Night view of Seoul!
It's quite crowded at the foot of the N Seoul Tower. To go up to the N Seoul Tower Observatory, there's an admission fee of 9000 KRW per person. There's set dining options for you to dine at the Observatory. The cost of the dinner set includes the admission fee to the Tower Observatory as well. So if you want to have a romantic dinner, this is definitely a nice place!
Ohh!! This is where Do Min Joon and Chien Song Yi have their dinner in the Korean Drama "My Love from the Star"!!

But for people like us who don't feel like spending that money to go up to the Tower Observatory, there are several dining options at the foot of N Seoul Tower as well. We settled for a diner and ordered what Chien Song Yi loved in the drama "My Love from the Star" - Fried chicken and beer!! OMG! I tell you, you must eat fried chicken when you are in Korea. I don't know why but their fried chicken tasted really GOOD!

These tasted really GOOD!! The fried chicken was one of the nicest I've ever eaten!!
We roamed around N Seoul Tower for a while and came to the place where Do Min Joon and Chien Song Yi locked their love lock.

There's a whole lot of locks there!
Poor Do Min Joon kanna vandalised. Lol!!
Nice portrait!
On the last night, we went Jimjilbang again! Final sauna and massage to pamper ourselves. You can find my post on Jimjilbang here!

That pretty much sums up our 8 days tour in Seoul and Jeju!


Korea: Itinerary for 8 days Jeju and Seoul (Part 1 Jeju)

A summary of our 8 days Seoul and Jeju itinerary with some useful information for you to know before travelling. This post is part 1 of the itinerary, from Singapore to Jeju.

Before flying off, we bought a Korea Sim card for S$38 (Micro Sim) at Changi Airport. 1 GB of data and 30 mins talk time valid for 30 days use.
The counter is at Changi Airport Terminal 2, Departure Hall Row 10, Entrance 5, near Starbucks.
*After changing to the Korean SIM card, you have to do some APN settings on your phone and send your details for registration before the SIM card will be activated. So, we did this when we were still at Changi Airport as there's WIFI.  You can find more details at Changi Recommends.

8 Nov 2015
- Arrived Seoul Incheon airport at about 930pm.

- Booked Incheon Airport Benikea Oceanside Hotel near the airport which provided free shuttle service to and from the hotel to the airport.
*For free airport shuttle, call the hotel upon arrival at Incheon International Airport. Since we have our Korean SIM card, we called them with our mobile. But if you do not have a Korean SIM card, you can proceed to the hotel information centre on the ground/arrival floor near gates 7 and 10 at Incheon Airport and request them to help you call the hotel. The hotel shuttle bus will pick you up at gate 7 on the departure floor within 10 to 15 min. Upon check in, check with the hotel staff on the timing for shuttle bus back to Incheon Airport the next day.

Our Airport Hotel room

Alternative to staying at Airport hotel
Spending the night the Korean way. You will need to buy the T-money card to take the AREX. Take the AREX from Incheon Airport to Seoul station, deposit your luggage at the Seoul station and walk to the nearby 24 hours Jjimjilbang called Siloam Sauna. It's 5 mins walk after you exit from Seoul Station Exit 1. We went on other nights when we were in Seoul and this was the best thing we found in Seoul. You can read our Jjimjilbang experience here. After 8pm, the cost is 15,000 won per person, you can use all the facilities there.

9 Nov 2015
- The hotel shuttle bus send us to Incheon Airport.

- At Incheon Airport, we bought the T-money card priced from 2,500 won and up.
*T-money card is sold at Convenience stores (GS 25, CU, 7-Eleven, Mini Stop, With Me, Buy The Way, Story Way) bearing the T-money logo, and ticket vending and card reload devices inside subway stations. Load more money in the card if 2,500 won is not enough for your trip. 
If there's still remaining balance in the T-money card when you are leaving Korea, you can get the refund back, they will deduct 500 won as service charge.

Bring the T-money card home, it's not returnable.

- Take the AREX Airport Rail service from B1 level of Transportation Center in Incheon Airport
(To alight at Gimpo Airport, take the all stop train. The express train skips all the in between station and goes straight to Seoul station)

- Train journey from Incheon Airport to Gimpo Airport is about 35mins.
Fare: 3,750 won per person (Use T-money card to tap)

- We took Jeju Air from Gimpo Airport to Jeju Island.

Hello! Kim Soo Hyun!! Doo Min Jun!!
- We self drove in Jeju Island. Do remember to apply for your International Driving Permit from AAS Singapore before travelling. AAS Singapore is located at 51 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3 #02-02. It's just beside AMK Hub. Upon reaching Jeju Airport, we took the shuttle bus to Jeju Rent A Car.
*There are several car rental companies in Jeju. We chose Jeju Rent A Car after comparing the car models and prices. All of the car rental companies are located a few minutes drive away from the airport, so will have to depend on the rental car shuttle buses to send you there. The interval for these shuttle buses is around 15mins.

Our small cutie rental car!! Pardon me.. That's me with messy hair at the back.
Add caption
- With the car and GPS, we were all ready to start our journey in Jeju! If you have used google maps to search for routes in Jeju before, you will realise that google maps have no use in Jeju at all, it does not show you any driving routes. You have to depend on the GPS totally. The addresses can be quite confusing to key in the GPS, so the easier way is to key in the last 7 digits of the phone number of your destination.

- Columnar Joints (Jusangjeollidae Cliff) at Jeju Jungmun Daepo Coast 
Address: 2663, Jungmun-dong, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Key 7381532 in GPS
Admission Fee: 2,000 won per person; need to pay for parking
Closed at 1800

- Cheonjeyeon falls
Key 7381529 in GPS.
Free parking, opening hrs till 1730, 2500 won entry fees
*Estimated time to spend at Cheonjeyeon Falls: 45 – 60 minutes (there is a trail to walk and see 3 waterfalls – there are photo-taking opportunities along the way too)

- Teddy Bear Museum
Add: 31, Jungmungwangwang-ro110beon-gil, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Key 738-7600 in GPS
Opening hrs: 0900 to 2000

Entrance fee: 9500 won; free parking

- Check in to hotel
Chagall Pension
2850-2, Sangye-dong, 695-854 Seogwipo, South Korea
Phone: +821046911351
Free WIFI, free parking, with kitchen in the room

10 Nov 2015

Green Tea Museum (O'Sulloc Tea Museum)
Add: Western Seogwipo, Jeju Island
Key 794-5312 in GPS
Opening hrs: 0900 to 1700
Free Admission, free parking

There's an Innisfree shop there too. But we realised that the price here was not cheap. We bought several Innisfree products here then realise that there's 50% sales at the stores in Seoul! Would recommend to buy skin care products at Seoul where the shops will have sales periodically.

And we tried making our own soap at Innisfree! It's a bit ugly though..

Dinner @ Black Pork Street
There are many black pork bbq restaurants along this street.
We had our dinner at Hwaro Hyang Restaurant (BBQ pork)
Key 724-4050 in GPS

Beautiful leaves!! But it's acquire taste i think. We still prefer lettuce to go with the bbq meat.
The Kim Chi soup and steam eggs were nice! And the small abalone, so yummy and fresh! The pork was of course great too!
Dongmun Market
Add: 20 Gwandeong-ro 14 (sipsa)-gil, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Key 752-3001 in GPS

There were many many fishes and seafood in the Dongmun fisheries market. It's interesting to see some seafood which I have never seen before.

- Check in to our value for money hotel! It's only S$116 or 98000 won for 2 nights!
Haeden Hotel
1750, Doduil-dong, Jeju City, 690-241 Jeju, South Korea
Tel no: +82647488862
Free WIFI, free parking, no breakfast

11 Nov 2015

Manjanggul Lava Tube
Add: 3341-3, Gimnyeong-ri, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Key 783-4818 in GPS
Opening hrs: 0900 to 1800
Entrance fee: 2000 won per person; free parking
Time spent: 45mins walking to and fro in the Lava Tube

Manjanggul Lava Tube is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is one of the finest lava tunnel in the world. It has several interesting structures like lava stalagmites and stalactites and stone pillars. The temperature in the tunnel is between 10 to 20 degrees celsius. It's very dark at some parts of the tunnel, so watch your steps and walk with care. The floor tends to be uneven due to the natural lava formation.

Enter the Lava Cave through these steps
Walking in the Lava Cave
Walking in the Lava Cave
Final stop of the Lava cave
Spicy Seafood Stew for lunch
It is located just along the street before entering the carpark of Seongsan Ichulbong.

Seafood stew is a must try in Jeju! We ordered a big pot of seafood stew and there were only 2 of us. But we managed to finish it!! You could imagine how yummy it was.The pot were full of assorted seafood! It has more than 10 abalones, more than 10 big head prawns, squid, crabs, the clams were big, and some other shell stuff. The ingredients were really worth the money! All the ingredients were fresh too! Did I mention that the abalones were alive and squirming when the pot was served. I felt sinful about it. I really am. That explains my expression in the photo below. But the abalones were just too delicious to not eat it.

A seafood pot cost 45,000 KRW (about S$55).

Victory! Clearing the whole pot of seafood!
After the sumptuous seafood stew pot, there's always space for dessert. There's a stall selling peanut ice-cream directly opposite.

The famous UDO peanut ice cream. Yummy! Fragrant peanut flavour with milk ice cream.
Seongsan Iichulbong
Add: 284-12, Ilchul-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Key 783-0959 in GPS
Entrance fee: 2000 won
Open till sunset

Seongsan Ichulbong is another UNESCO world heritage site not to be missed in Jeju.

After eating so many stuff, it's time for workout - climbing Seongsan Ichulbong (I gave it a name: Shiongsan Ichulbong, as climbing it was really shiong and tiring). But we were rewarded with beautiful scenery and satisfaction at the top of Shiongsan.

Finally!! At the top of Shiongsan!!

We conquered the stairs!
Dinner at Myeong Jin Jeon Bok
Add: 515-28 Pyeongdae-Ri, Gujwa-eup (1282 Haemajihaean-ro), Jeju
Enter 7829944 in GPS
Closed on Tuesdays

Look at the location of this dinner place. It's seems ulu but it was so crowded and there were long queues with lots of cars lining along the streets.

We collected our queue number and waited for about 45mins for our turn.

Traditional Korean setting

Abalone hot stone rice that comes with a mackerel fish for 13,000KRW. Totally worth it!
Abalone porridge for 10,000 KRW
Just as we were finishing our meal, we saw a Korean patron doing something which caught our attention. He was pouring hot water into the almost finished abalone hot stone rice and cover the lid for a few minutes before eating it like mui fan (rice in soup). Ohh! We suddenly came to our senses as we were wondering why was we served with a pot of hot water. Sooo, this was the reason. We monkey see, monkey do and follow what he did.

Erm, I think this is acquired taste. I personally don't really like. But it is fun and it's worth giving it a try to eat like a local!
12 Nov 2015
Checked out hotel and flying back to Seoul!

Along the way to airport, we decided to stop by the famous Yongduam Rock to see see.
Yongduam Rock (10mins drive from airport)
Add: Yongduam, Yongdam 1-dong, Jeju-si
Key 7283918 in the GPS
Parking fee required at the carpark. Approximately 250won for 30mins

There were a lot tourist bus at Yongduam Rock. In my opinion, there's nothing spectacular about the rock. But what interest us was the Mermaids of Jeju, the Korean Female Divers or Haenyeo, who dive into the ocean to gather seafood. Follow the path way, walk down the many flights of staircase to the sea side to find them selling their catch. This is a diminishing trade, so it will be good to support them!

There were some other places which I have listed in my itinerary for Jeju but I didn't have enough time to explore. You might be interested to know. Here's the list.

1. Udo Island
Drive to Seongsan Harbour or 20mins walk from Seongsan Ichulbong and take ferry to Udo Island.
Round trip ferry + Udo Island entrance fee: 5500 KRW per person, journey of ferry is 15 mins.

Travelling around Udo Island options:
(a) Go to Udo Tour bus counter and take the tour bus around Udo Island: 5000 KRW per person, unlimited rides (Tour bus stations: Udo-bong (peak), Geommeolle Beach, Dongangyeonggul Cave, Sebin White Sand beach.) Keep your tickets, when you board the bus at the last stop, the driver will collect your ticket and send you back to the ferry terminal.
(b) Rent bicycle or scooter or ATV: 5000 KRW per hour for bicycle; 15,000 KRW for scooter per hour and 20000 KRW per hour for ATV
(c) Ferry your car over, at 17600 KRW return trip for small car + 4000 KRW entrance fee for the car.

Things to see at Udo Island:
- Udo-bong: A path leading to Udo Lighthouse. From here, you could see Seongsan Ilchulbong.
- Geommeolle Beach: A beach with black sand and rocks, and Dongangyeonggul Cave. This was a spot for diving women.
- Sebin White Sand beach: A beach that had beautiful white corals.

2. Hallasan National Park
Add: Hallasan N.P Visitor Center San 200-1, Haean-dong, Jeju City
Key 713-9953 in GPS (Otherwise try 713-9950 to 9952)
Parking fee 1,800 won
Opening hrs: close at 1600
There are several hiking trails which you can choose from and the scenery is beautiful. You can visit the Hallasan National Park website for details on the hiking trails.

3. Ecoland Themepark
Add: 1278-169, Beonyeong-ro, Jocheon-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Key 8028000 in GPS (Otherwise key 802-8020)
Entrance fee: 12,000 won
Opening hrs: 0840 to 1700
Time required at Ecoland: About 1.5 hrs
Take the Ecoland train to tour Ecoland
Ecoland Train route: Eco-bridge Station – Lakeside Station – Picnic Garden Station – Lavender, Green Tea & Rose Garden Station
Attractions: Eco-bridge, café on the water, Don Quixote and windmill, Kid’s town, picnic garden, eco-road, eco-road café, barefoot scoria experience, topiary, place for wild animals
You may refer to the Ecoland website for more details.

4. Hello Kitty Island
Add: No. 340 Hanchang-ro Andeok-myeon Seoguipo city Jeju
Key in 7926114 in GPS
Opening hours: 0900 to 1800
Admission fee: 12000 won

5. Maze Park 
Add: 122, Manjanggul-gil, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Key 782-9266 in GPS
Opening hrs: 0830 to 1800
Entrance fee: 3300 won
It's located along the way to Manjanggul Lava Tube.

That's all for part 1 of our itinerary on Jeju. Click here for part 2 Seoul!