Friday, April 13, 2012

I'll Be Back Korea

I'm sad to say that my trip to Korea, which my friends and I planned for practically 1 year, has finally ended. I must admit that 4 days was really not enough. Fortunately, we were able to maximize our trip by cutting down on our sleep hours and lessening our time for eating. Yes! it sounds unhealthy, but when you go to a country that you have always dreamt of, time is of the essence. In those 4 days we were able to visit 2 to 3 places per day. It was tiring, but it was all worth it.

We gathered at the airport last April 8, 2012 at about 9 p.m. This is a picture of us while waiting at the airport. I came straight from my friend's wedding,so I had to wear heels during our check in. 

Me and my pink luggage

while waiting for some of our friends

We arrived in Korea on the morning of April 9, 2012. The airport is one of the BEST I have seen. It was organized and really clean. We just took some time in the immigration because each person that arrives had to have their pictures and thumbprints taken.
Still wearing the dress from the wedding, but changed to my knee-high boots

with my friends : )

Since we wanted to cut down on our expenses, we took the bus and  subway to our guesthouse, which in the end we discovered was really more expensive. The funny thing was we had to carry our luggage up and down the stairs of the subway. It was like going to the gym without sweating since it was really cold.
In the airport shuttle service upon arrival

Arriving in Myeong-Dong

We wasted no time. When we arrived at Namsan 3 Guesthouse, we took our breakfast, which they so graciously provided, and freshened up so that we could start with our magical adventure

Namsan 3 Guesthouse

Our room: It's really small, but the service, breakfast, wifi, aircon and very couteous and helpful staff made the place worth it!

Our super small toilet: You can actually take a bath, brush your teeth and use the toilet all at the same time : )

Our free breakfast: Bread, jam, butter, peanut butter, coffee and noodle soup

Having our first breakfast

After breakfast, we explored the subway station in order to get to Nami Island, which is known for the set of the Famous Koreanovela: Winter Sonata. 
 Outfit Number 2: Victoria's Secret Pink Jacket, Long top from Robinson's Galleria, Black leggings from F21, Baker boots from the U.S.

Our 1.6 km walk to Nami Island. Felt like the Death March to me since we lacked sleep and skipped lunch

At the subway station
Just a tip: To get around the subway, it is good to have your Tmoney with you. It's like a small USB which you an use to pay the train, taxi, bus or even to shop at stores like 7 Eleven.

My Tmoney

Since we were tired from the long walk to Nami Island from the subway station, we took our lunch at about 2p.m.

Our First Authentic Korean Meal. It was spicy, but good! (Chicken and Cabbage)

We arrived at Nami Island at about 3:00 p.m. It is a lovely place to walk and enjoy nature. 

It took us a really long time to walk around the place since there was so much to take in. It was AWESOME. After our Nami tour, we headed back to the Guesthouse. We arrived at about 9 p.m, had a quick dinner from the convenience store, checked in at the guesthouse and immediately went to Myeong-Dong at about 10:30 p.m. to see if we could do any shopping. Since almost all stores were close, we just took a short leisure walk and headed back. We slept past midnight since we still had to settle down in our rooms.

Day 2
Our Day 2 was more exciting. We decided to gather at 9 a.m and headed to Lotte World. Since we got there early, we were able to enjoy a lot of the rides without having to line up really long.
 Outfit number 3: Jacket from Greenhills Shopping Center, Black top from SM, Blue and white skirt from Cotton On, Hong Kong, Boots from Schu

Before getting on the ride

Enjoying the paintings in Lotte

 Enjoying my Lunch at Lotte World at 1p.m.

Our Group pic in Lotte World

After Lotte World , our real adventure began. We took a 4 hour bus trip to Jinhae where we wanted to see and attend the Cherry Blosson Festival. Unfortunately, when we got there the rain began to pour, and we didn't have any umbrellas. Since the trip was really long, we were not able to attend the closing event of the festival. Instead, we took our time to take pictures under the rain. We didn't want to miss out on the beautiful Cherry Blossoms around us. We spent about 2 hours walking around Jinhae. We took our dinner at about 10p.m., and headed back to the bus station at 11:00 p.m. We got back to Myeong-Dong at 3 in the morning. It was a really tiring but fun adventure. We were literally cold and wet from the rain, but our hearts were warm because it was an adventure of a lifetime

Cherry blossoms

Dinner at the night market

A really friendly woman at the night market

 Can you see the how strong the rain is?

Before heading back to the bus station

At the bus station with the flowers we picked from the trees

Day 3
Call time was at 9 a.m. I slept at 4 a.m., so I was still very sleepy when I woke up at 7:30 a.m. to take a bath. Since we are 3 in a room, we have to take turns when taking a bath, which means waking up really early.
On our Itinerary that day. We were to go to 4 places: South Korea's Royal Palace, South Korean Temple, Namdaemun ( a shopping place) and to Everland (which is like the Disneyland of South Korea)

We arrived at the palace just in time to see the changing of guards.
At the subway

 Changing of Guards

 Inside the Palace

 At the palace garden. Outfit number 4: Jacket from Greenhills, Black Bandage Skirt, Baker Boots

On the way to the temple

 At the Temple

Unfortunately, during shopping time (After our visit to the temple), my bestfriend and I got separated from 2 of our companions. We lost our way, and ended up arriving 30 minutes late in our meeting place. It was embarrassing to be late and even more embarrassing to get lost in the subway. The names of the stations are so difficult to remember that you end up confusing them all up. Our group waited and we were able to proceed with the planned trip to Everland
 At Everland

 Our first complete meal in Korea


Group Pic at Everland

When we arrived at the Guesthouse that evening, we decided to eat out as a group since it was our last dinner in Korea. We decided to eat at TwoTwo Chicken. It was somehow like Bonchon Chicken. The serving was big enough for 6 of us who joined the dinner.

 The best chicken ever

Day 4: Our Final Day in Korea

Our Itinerary was to go to DMZ (Demilitarized Zone of South Korea) where we will be able to see the border of North and South Korea. We got up earlier since the tour bus was to pick us up at 7:40 a.m. We visited the Freedom Bridge, The tunnel built by North Korea to spy on South Korea, The Observatory and the Train Station.
It was very interesting to learn about the History of North and South Korea and to really be able to see how their conflict has affected the way they live. 
Walking inside the tunnel and climbing back up was the best experience for me because the history became so REAL. We ended the tour at about 2 p.m, which still gave us time to do last minute shopping before we headed to the airport at 5 p.m.

 The mountains without trees is NORTH KOREA
 At the Freedom Bridge
 At the Observatory. It is where you can see North Korea clearly

Outfit number 4: Jacket, White Spaghetti Strap top, Black Leggings and Baker Boots

 With the Soldiers of South Korea

 Back in Myeong-Dong for Last minute shopping. I just went window shopping because I was out of money already
Our last meal in Korea. At Lotteria Fastfood

After accompanying my friends to their last minute shopping, we went back to the guesthouse to do our final packing. We took a photo with the kind staff of the Guesthouse before leaving.

At 5 p.m., we headed to the airport...

My Korea Experience will be unforgettable. I was not able to visit all the places I wanted to, which gives me reason to visit the place again in the Future. The weather was awesome, the food was good, and the places were great (Just to add, there were really a lot of handsome guys too). Next time when I go back, I'll be more prepared (especially with a map of the subway stations) and I'll surely bring more cash  ; ) (it's quite expensive in Korea)

Until next time, Fierce Ladies