It was hard to say goodbye. But good things do come to an end. However, we still have a few hours before our flight which leaves at 21:20. So we checked out and without prior plan, we headed to Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). This place is huge and it was very easy to get lost inside. It was really impressive.
Then we decided to go to Gwangjang Market to check out the stall featured on Netflix’ Street Food Asia. It was such an experience and the knife cut noodles was good and this market is really clean.
Some take aways from this holiday:
Good walking shoes are important. We were walking more than 10 kilometres each day.
TMoney is a must have when using public transport!
I didn’t use Naver Map, although, I have it on my phone. I guess I’m just too familiar with Google Map and it worked well.
I didn’t use the Kakao T app either, although, I also have it on my phone. We didn’t need to ride a taxi at all.
Having a Wifi router with us all the time was very good. I highly recommend it and we only paid 39 EUR for the entire 14 days.
Buy your flight tickets early as prices tend to spike up.
Book accommodation that has free cancellation because there might be changes along the way.
I love that I got to listen to music in South Korea that I’m familiar with. I love that South Korea has an efficient and affordable public transport. I especially love taking the bus as I enjoy looking out. I love that they have clean toilets everywhere. I love that South Korea is generally clean and that I don’t have to think twice whether I should eat street food or not. I love that restaurant meals include drinking water. I’m not a fan of buying bottled water. I love that there is no tipping as we are not use to that in Europe. I love the fun of navigating the language barrier and being able to use the very few Korean words that I know. I love that the people we’ve met were really kind and helpful. You get the sense that they do care. I felt safe in South Korea. There was no single moment when I felt that I was in a dangerous situation. (CCTVs are everywhere!)
I can truly say that it was an amazing holiday. I’m so glad that we did it at the right time when the Cherry Blossom was in full bloom. We also got to fly over the North Pole on our way back to Helsinki and we have Diplomas to prove it. 😀 Lastly, I’m happy that the 50th country I’ve visited is South Korea. Bye for now, Seoul. Until next time!
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!