My first trip to Asia: Part Three - Back to South Korea
Updated: Apr 11, 2021
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We had our fun in Japan and now it was time to go home. In this case Seoul felt like home. After about two weeks there, in the same Guesthouse, it started to feel like we belonged there. Staff/Owners/Management - by this I mean the guy in charge/ his dad/ his mum - were all very nice and it felt great to come back there every day.
One might think it takes quite a few hours to go from Tokyo to Seoul without flying and one would be right. We woke up in Tokyo and went to bed in Seoul on the same day, achievement of which both myself and my friend are quite proud of.
To summarize: bags were packed way before 6 in the morning when we took a taxi to the train station. We got on the Shinkansen, changed in Osaka, arrived in Fukuoka/Hakata, got a taxi to the Port, took the Ferry to Busan where we got a train to Seoul. We decided to walk back home instead of taxing a taxi. I regret nothing.
Day 1 - After we got back we went to Namsan (N Seoul Tower). It was a must see on our list and we had a lovely view of it from our accomodation so we simply had to check it out. Got there by bus (Circular bus no 3) from Seoul Station, and although I have motion sickness, I can say it was a pleasant journey. It was a good chance to see more of Seoul on a busy Thursday. You can get there by cable car as well, from Myeong-dong Station, so we might try it next time. The tower is built on top of Namsan Mountain and it stands at about 480 meters above sea level. The view was impressive at about six in the afternoon when we got there and even better later on, once we were done exploring everything it has to offer.
Day 2 - We saw a bit of Bukchon Hanok Village and got a bit disappointed. We followed the map as usual but I don't think we got to the heart of the Village. Need better info next time. We went by the Han river later on and saw the Banpo Bridge light show so it was all good in the end.
Day 3 - We went to Suwon for a little trip outside Seoul. It's about 30 kilometers from Seoul and you can easily get there by train. Hwaseong Fortress & Hwaseong Haenggung Palace are quite impressive. If you have a day to spare on your trip, please go there. You won't regret it.
Day 4 – We went to visit a friend in Daegu. Saw an up and coming band whose name I can't remember for the life of me, and went to Norebang! Norebang, which literally means 'song room' is the Korean version of Karaoke and the ones we've been to have impressed me massively. It took us a few minutes to figure out how to search for our favorite songs, but they have more to choose from than you could imagine.
Day 5 – It was a full Day – Lotte World, Gangnam and Bongeunsa temple. Attracting more than 6 million visitors every year, Lotte World is one of the most popular theme parks in the world. My amazing motion sickness prevents me from enjoying too many attractions in any theme park, but I've found a few ways to keep me entertained while my friend was queueing for all the rides. They have a lot of good food, a lot of little games that don't require you to be in motion, so if you're like me, curious but unable, there's something for you to do as well.
Day 6 – Myeongdong and Daiso for more shopping! In all honesty, we didn't have any more energy to visit anything or try anything spectacular. We were quite ambitious with our schedule but sometimes it can get to you and all you want to do is sit down and have a nice meal on the rooftop of your guesthouse.
Back Home after that. UK this time, actual home.
I wish I had more time to explore so hopefully next time I can plan better. I don't know how you guys feel like when on a trip somewhere far away, but I get caught up in a little vicious circle of I want to see as many things as I can > I'm too tired to see anything > I feel guily I'm not doing enough things > push myself to do more > Get too tired, take a break. Because of this, every once in a while I like to just take my time and be. Whatever that requires is ok with me.
There are so many things to do and so many things you simply will never get a chance to do and that's ok. I picked some and I tried to make them work as best as possible. It's very easy sometimes to fall in the tourist trap of trying to see and do everything, but one must keep in mind the fact that you're human, you get tired, you need to rest and you don't need to stress yourself out for any unneccesary reason, definitely not while on holiday.
I hope life is treating you well. Take care