In the Summer of 2022, I was featured in the Daebak magazine, a Korean subscription box company. I talked about how I wish to visit South Korea in 2023 to eat authentic Korean food, to stay at a Hanok and to experience the Cherry Blossom. Fast forward in December that year, I bought tickets to Seoul and started planning the trip to South Korea with my husband. The plan was to experience the Cherry Blossom season. Although I know that it could be a hit or miss, I bought the tickets anyway and booked the accommodations. There were changes along the way as two weeks would not be enough to see it all. And although I really wanted to visit Jeonju, I didn’t like the idea of being sat on the bus for more than 4 hours from Gyeongju. That road trip will be going across the country after all! By the 20th of March, the mask mandate for public transport was lifted. Although I still carried with me a few masks just in case (from the Daebak box, of course!) we didn’t have to use them. Also, I didn’t see many people wearing masks anymore. To be honest, I don’t really like wearing masks and we haven’t been wearing masks in Helsinki since last year.
The flight from Helsinki took off at 17.55 on the 23rd of March and arrived the next day at midday in Incheon International airport. It took 11 hours and 45 minutes as the flight avoided the Ukraine and Russian airspace. But it didn’t really feel that long. I just knew that when we landed, my headphone was at 40% battery. I was listening to K-Pop all through the flight.
After the checking of the Q Code, immigration and baggage reclaim, we rented a Portable Wifi Router for our entire stay in South Korea from the SKT booth located at the arrival area. I also bought a TMoney card for my husband from the convenience store inside the airport (I already have one from the Daebak box with Jimin’s photo!) and have them refilled with money mainly for transportation. It was important to check what was the best way to travel to our accommodation. I have heard stories of people taking the subway and changing trains (dragging along heavy suitcases) when buses stop right infront of their hotels! So for us, the bus was the best option. It stopped very close to our hotel in Insadong.
We checked in and explored the Insadong area, most especially the Ikseongdong Hanok Village where we found lots of nice restaurants and cute cafes. At the Insadong Shopping Street, I also had a Dojang made, a traditional stamp with my name in Hangul. We did a quick stop at Ssamzigil Shopping Mall for some traditional snacks sold on the ground floor. They were good!
It was a long day and we headed to bed to get ready for the next day!
Check out the reels here:
More photos from Seoul by Ari Vitikainen can be found here.