Monday, June 1, 2015

Day 1 of #seoulstylo.

Finally, haha, I'm getting started on blogging about the recent Seoul trip. The trip was pretty last minute but thanks to the help from friends and the Instagram community, I got the itinerary out quickly.

Visited Korea with my mother and sister and we took Korean Air (booked via Expedia) and had a smooth direct flight to Seoul, Incheon Airport. Upon reaching, we took the airport limo bus and reached the apartment at late night. The limo bus wasn't exactly cheap, it costed us approximately S$15 each from Incheon Airport to Gangnam. The cost differs according to your final destination. However, I would still highly recommend it because the service was impeccable. I don't mean that you will be greeted by an enthusiastic driver but you will definitely be pleased to find spacious, comfortable seats, appreciate the help with your luggage, and enjoy a safe and smooth ride. The traffic in Seoul is pretty crazy and I was really intimidated when I saw the way people drove during peak hours. Of course, you may also opt to take the subway (Seoul's equivalent of Singapore's MRT) but the luggage and transfers would be a headache.

Talking about subway, remember to get the T-Money card (Singapore's ez-link equivalent) from any convenience store or at the subway station. You will receive a discounted transport fare if you use T-Money card instead of those one-time, single trip cards. You can top up your T-Money card at every subway station and at the end of your trip, you can also get a refund if there is balance left.

We found our accommodation on Airbnb (link) and we were really grateful for the great location, clean apartment as well as the helpful hosts. The apartment is located in the Gangnam district, with Yangjae station nearby and many famous restaurants around the corner. If you happen to book the same apartment (the hosts own the entire building so they have plenty of rooms), just ask the friendly hosts and they will provide pictures to guide you to places they've recommended. They provided us with pictures of every turn! I'm an idiot when it comes to navigating but we found our way easily.

The apartment was well decorated and after looking around, we could guess that the hosts have a pretty high standard of living. The body wash is from a brand that Ă…land carries and even the dishwasher detergent is 'branded'. Haha, those were good news to us of course. The host also treated us to Korean Makgeolli (rice or wheat based alcoholic beverage) which was apparently manufactured by his father's company. He even gifted us with bowls that Koreans use to drink Makgeolli with. Lucky us! 

Later, we had dinner at this famous restaurant that serves spicy barbeque octopus. It was just a minute away from our apartment. Our host ordered for us a steamed egg, rice mixed with roe, sesame and seaweed as well as two servings of spicy octopus for us. It was daebak! The octopus was fiery but so satisfying. The steamed egg looks as puffy as a cloud and tasted like pudding. You will be given gloves to wear so that you can mix the rice, roll it into rice balls and place them on the grill. I miss this meal so much! I shall be kind and will just use words, not pictures to torture you. Haha.

One thing to note about Seoul is that Friday nights are their hang out sessions. Restaurants would be filled by people who are friends, colleagues etc. and they usually get really drunk. We felt a little out of place because the other tables were all playing drinking games while we quietly observed. If you are hanging out late into the night on Fridays especially, just be careful. It was a culture shock for me to see men in suits holding on to one another, singing while struggling to walk in a straight line. They do know how to have a great time, haha.

Wow, I didn't expect myself to type out every little detail about the trip. Haha, the first day really left an impression I guess. Day 1 was short but Day 2 was really packed so I shall save it for the next post! I've created a label 'Seoul Stylo' for this series of posts and will be sharing places I've visited as well as those that I did not. Our itinerary was filled with places that were highly recommended by friends on Instagram. Pity that we chose to miss a few stops because we didn't want to rush things and I also had to accommodate to where my mother wished to go haha. Didn't want to put all these recommendations to waste so I hope that someone out there will find these information useful!

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