Thursday, April 9, 2015

Korea Day 1: Hyehwa + Myeong Dong!

Hello hello.

I'm back from Korea. 10 days flew past just like that :(

Anyway, it has been 3 years since we last went to Korea and I was really looking forward to our trip! Korea is special to me, to us, because we met there :)

We planned our trip to hit the Good Friday weekend so that we can save 1 more day of leave. 10 days in Korea with 5 days of leave.

We flew off on 26 March (which coincides with our 29th!) with Asiana Airlines. We booked our tickets via Expedia at about $750 each. It was my first time using such websites to book instead of booking direct so I got a bit uneasy. I called up Asiana Airlines to confirm my flight details and managed to change seats as well. We were assigned rows F & G which were in the centre. I love window seats so we managed to change to that! The kind Asiana customer representative told us to register for Asiana Club to enjoy their promotion, which was an additional 10kg baggage allowance on our return flight! 30kg back from Korea? HELL YEA.

 There was a tribute site for Mr Lee Kuan Yew as well.
Changi Airport T3's toilet/dressing room is my favourite! When I was working there back in 2010, this was my resting area when I worked in T3 :D
 Lots of Koreans going back. It was a code-share flight so it was full.
A did his research and he told me that Asiana do not serve full meals at night because it was late or something? He was proven wrong when the food trolley came :D
His fish.
Bibimbap (비빔밥) for me!
 The flight duration was about 6 hours. We reached at 6.20am and by the time we got out of immigration, it was close to 7am.
 Sorry for the blur photo! Our first accommodation was at Edae so we took an airport bus. We figured that it would be easier than taking airport rail because we would hit their rush hour and knowing how few escalators there are in their subways, it will definitely not be a very happy trip to our hostel.

They have a lot of airport buses going to different areas. It is pretty easy to figure out which bus to take as the routes are clear and they are in English too. All you have to do is to just queue by the board, and pay up when the bus is there. It cost 10,000KRW for a trip.
It was 2 degrees in the morning! Throughout the trip, the temperature ranged from 2-15 degrees. It was very cold in the morning and night. Afternoons were okay. The killer was the wind. The wind is really strong.
 Waiting for our airport bus..
It took about an hour for us to get to Edae. After we got out of the bus, I felt like I was back in ma hood! Memories of summer exchange'12 came flooding back. 

The wind was blowing, and it was reallly realllyyy cold. I was amazed that girls could still be in short skirts, thin stockings etc. 
Sinchon Guesthouse was a short walk from the bus stop. It's right in the heart of the shopping district actually! I've stayed at Sinchon Hostel before and Sinchon Guesthouse is new so we thought we gave it a shot. It was on the next street to Sinchon Hostel.

We were very early and check-in time was at 2pm. Luckily for us, our rooms were ready so we could check-in immediately! Sinchon Guesthouse (and Hostel) does not have lifts so you gotta lug your luggage up the stairs.

Toilet paper and towels are placed outside for us to take. 
There's also a communal iron on level 3.
There's a common desktop for us to use on level 2. Koreans, like the Japanese, take their recycling seriously so don't throw your trash wrongly!
The rooms are small, but okay for two. But once both we open both our luggages, we wont have any space to walk. We have a mini fridge and a hairdryer in the room.

There's a mini kitchen on level 1. By mini, it's really tiny. They offer breakfast consisting of bread, jam and tea/coffee in the morning but throughout our 5-night stay, we did not eat there. Why have bread and jam when there's delicious Korean food waiting for me outside?
After resting for a while, we decided to go out despite being sleep-deprived. 
 I have not experienced such cold weather (except for once, in 2007 when I went to China; that was about -1 deg) and I wore 3 layers - one long sleeve shirt, jacket, coat.

First stop: back to Hyehwa + SKKU!

I brought my old T-money which was bought in 2012, and miraculously, it still works! There was 670won left over from the previous trip. Hahaha.
Every time a train is approaching, music will be played. It's way better than "Train is coming, train is coming, train is coming!!" I was soooo happy to be able to hear my favourite tune again! I have been singing the tune to A for the longest time. LOL.

 From green (line 2) to light blue (line 4)!
Took a walk down memory lane and to find my favourite coffee and food before heading into SKKU.
 There used to be a truck here which sells coffee. I went back on 3 different days and he wasn't there. :( He sells really good coffee though.
 A was happy to see his old apartment building, Migaon.
We used to take this route to school back then (separately la, dont know each other yet) and there is this huge slope which we all loathed.
And we're back to this slope..
We were starving by then so off to Isaac Toast we go!
It's basically just toast with all sorts of different ingredients, bacon, bulgogi, hash brown, egg, cheese etc but it's so so so yummy! They have several other branches. There's one at Edae as well.
SKKU sure has changed alot! There used to be a big gate right here but they took that away and added in huge stones..
Walked up to the Business building to get souvenirs!
Since we were there, might as well visit the dorm that I used to stay in.
 Ah. Back here! Kingo House is like 200m away from school, and the building which I had lessons in. I used to wake up at 9am for 9.30am class!
A great day to be out in the streets! 
 Hello doggy!
Rare stray cat!

Went to my favourite family restaurant outside SKKU for kimbap! I had it almost daily during my summer exchange. I found out that 김밥천국 have many branches all over! I only noticed it when I was in Sokcho in our later days.

We had tuna kimbap, 참치김밥 . It cost about 2,500won. $3 for a full roll of kimbap which is very filling, way reasonable than the price in Singapore!

Went back to Daiso level 3 because that was the place we first 'saw' each other. Technically, he didn't really see me and I only caught a glance of him. 

What happened was my clique and his clique decided to travel together when the semester ends. We liaised via Facebook so I only had his Facebook photo as a reference. On our first day in Korea, Daiso is the place to go to for all your daily necessities so we happened to meet there. My friend, D, told me "Hey, I think that's A" and I was like "huh who what where? Oh ya I think so!" That was it! Hahahah. 

Made our way to the main street near the subway station as A wanted to make specs. I made a pair of specs during my last trip to Korea and bought some frames back to SG. It was really cheap compared to Singapore, which was why we wanted to buy more.
Look Optical has many branches everywhere. Their signature colour is purple so you can't really miss that!
Their house brands starts from 12,500won (just the frame alone). A decent set of lens will set you back 50,000won. A got the thinnest lens  + protection from UV and it cost him about 135,000won. Usually, it will take 30 minutes to get your specs but because he opted for the thinnest lens, we had to come back another day to collect. This time round, I bought 2 more frames! I would have made another pair of specs if not for the fact that my specs are only 5 months old. (My new frames were from Look Optical as well)

While you wait for your specs, they will offer you some beverages. I remembered my friends and I had so many cups of all the beverages they had, and ice cream in that 30 minutes! 
SKKU students with their super nice jackets. So it turns out that all the different universities in Seoul has the same jackets with a little variations. The huge S in front stands for their school, so Yonsei would be Y and Ewha would be E. The school logo and their year would be on either side of their arms. In the same university alone, they can have the same jacket but with different colours for their CCAs or some sort. It was pretty cool.

Went to this place for their chingu set! They usually have a long queue during lunch and dinner. We were there at a not-up-not-down time so it was rather quiet.
Ordered a 3/4 chingu set because there was too much food for just the two of us.
 Cheese tteokbokki!
Yum yum yummy fried rice

 A random model pose lol..

 We went to Myeong Dong in the evening! The land of make-up and skin care. Every girl's dream.
We did not want to start buying on the first day because there were quite a number of orders from friends which were not settled yet so we head for the food street LOL. Yes food again!
 His usual chicken store at Hyehwa disappeared so he was ecstatic to see this.
 Auntie told me no photos after I took this shot. I just apologised and walked away =X
This small bowl of jajangmyeon cost us 3,000won which was rather pricey. Still, a nice warm food to eat in the cold weather.
 Egg bread!
 Ahjumma kindly allow me to take photos :)

 A bowl of chap jae! Chap jae is also a part of their banchan (side dishes). It's like our tanghoon.
Odeng! It's usually accompanied with a cup of hot soup after, making it the perfect food for winter, or cold weather!
 I don't know how much this cost but it's so prettyyyyy! I won't bear to eat it if I were to buy it. Sugar overload!

We went back rather early due to the severe lack of sleep. No matter how tired we were, we still have to go to a GS25/7-11/family mart to get.. 
 Banana Milk!

That's the end of day 1! I'll continue on really soon :)

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