2013 Seoul Trip – Day 5

10月26日
上午: 明洞购物
下午: 金浦机场乐天超市

Oct 26, 2013
Morning: Myeongdong
Afternoon: Lotte Mart at Gimpo

因为酒店房间朝东,每天早上隔着窗帘都可以看着首尔的朝阳起床,在首尔的最后一天,终于是看着日出起床的.
It was wonderful to wake up with this sunrise every morning in Seoul.
Seoul_Sunrise_Euljiro3ga

又去明洞了! 最后在几家化妆品店淘了一点东西, 寄了几张明信片, 最主要的是明洞的友利银行星期六早上10点开门可以办理退税. 因为金浦机场没有这个服务, 所以我必须在去机场之前把这个解决了. 全部办好后,我们去了在首尔的最后一餐: 土豆猪骨汤. 在多伦多,如果是外食,我80%都会选这个,可以算是我的最爱,尤其在冬天. 来到韩国,当然要试一下这里的原味! 我点了一个2人份的汤, 锅端上来后吓了我一跳,还好,我们三人干劲很足,全部吃完了! 因为汤里有很多蔬菜,味道比多伦多的猪骨汤美味很多!

We went to Myeongdong AGAIN! LOL…We did some last minute shopping, mailed some postcards, and most importantly, the Woori bank in Myeongdong opens on Saturday at 10am to do tax refund; since Gimpo airport does not offer tax refund service, I had to get this done before heading to the airport. After all the shopping and tax stuff, we had our last lunch in Seoul: pork bone & potato soup. It might be one of my favourite meal if I eat out in Canada, so of course I would have to try the authentic pork bone soup here. I ordered a 2 people soup size, and the big pot just freak me out a little bit; but we finished everything! It has a lot more vegetable than Toronto’s pork bone soup, and it’s very tasty!

KoreanFood_PorkBoneSoup

Seoul_Food_PorkBoneSoup

暖暖的饱餐一顿后,我们回到酒店,整理箱子,退房。 最后一站就是要到金浦机场的乐天超市扫货了。 可惜这个计划很有问题。 第一,地铁站出来要走蛮远的,我们还要拉着箱子。 第二,原来有很多居民去机场的这个超市买东西,我们离开的那天刚好是星期六,超市里的人之多啊。 还有比较重要的一点是,我们的箱子都放得满满的,超市买得东西要塞进行李箱很头痛啊。 所以下次我还是会选择在首尔站的乐天超市购物。 我们花光了身上所有韩币,去olleh柜台退还了wifi-egg,看着这个无懈可击的笑容,圆满结束了我们的首尔5日游。。。

After this satisfying and heartwarming soup, we went back to hotel, packed and checked-out. One last stop was the Lotte Mart supermarket at Gimpo airport! OK, it was not very fun shopping at the airport’s Lotte Mart. First, we had to drag our luggage to walk quite a bit from subway station, and I didn’t know there were a lot of local residents shopping at the supermarket, so it was quite crowded. In addition, our luggage was full, it was quite hard to fit more stuff into the bags. So next time, I would visit Lotte Mart at Seoul station. We spent all the Korean won we had on hand, returned wifi-egg to olleh counter, and ended our Seoul trip with this killer smile again! 😛

Gimpo_LotteDutyFreeSign

Gimpo_Departures

2013 Seoul Trip – Day 3

10月24日
上午: 昌德宫和后苑,北村韩屋村
午餐: 土俗村参鸡汤
下午: 仁寺洞
日落前一个小时: 首尔塔

Oct 24, 2013
Morning: Changdeokgung and secret garden, Bukchon Hanok Village
Lunch: Chicken ginseng soup
Afternoon: Insa-dong
One hour before sunset: N Seoul Tower

在酒店吃完早餐后,我们向昌德宫出发了,10分钟路程。 还早,才10点,人比较少。 首尔的宫殿很多,我只选择了昌德宫,因为它的后苑。 我喜欢游览花园。 在购票处,被告知游客不可以独自游览后苑,必须得跟着导游。 可是下一个英文导游团11:30am开始,下一个中文导游团12:30pm开始。 不知道我做功课时怎么漏掉了这么重要的信息,哈哈。 然后灵机一动,我决定跟下一个日文导游团10:30am。 宫殿不错, 后苑好大! 我原本以为后苑也类似于日式花园,所以有点失望。 日式花园都是人为打理,每一棵树木每一支花都有专人修剪,很精致。 昌德宫的后苑全为天然,没有被人精心修理过的痕迹,虽然没有那么精致,但是和家人在里面走上一圈也是很轻松写意的事情。

After bread and tea as breakfast, we walked from our hotel to Changdeokgung Palace, about 10 minutes. Not a lot of people, since it’s still early, 10am. I chose this palace out of all others in Seoul because of its secret garden. I love visiting gardens. At the gate, I was told that one cannot visit the secret garden alone, we have to join a guided tour. The next available English/Chinese guided tour was at 11:30am/12:30pm. Oops, I somehow missed this information during my research. Then I decided to sign up the next Japanese guided tour at 10:30am. The palace is quite big, and the secret garden is huge. I was somewhat disappointed at the garden, because some reviews said it was beautiful. I guess my expectation was somewhat close to Japanese garden. It’s not, and it’s not even close. However, it does have its beauty. Having a walk with my family there was very soothing and relaxing. Cost: regular admission 3000 won + secret garden admission 5000 won.

参观完昌德宫后,我们去了北村韩屋村,在首尔有着600年历史的韩国传统居住区。 在当时是王室的高官们或贵族人士居住的高级住宅区,因而非常有名。 因为我对建筑的喜爱,所以这个景点完全是我的菜。 房屋虽然小巧,但是装饰精致,我喜欢每家每户门前的一草一物,每个小巷都有它的亮点。 不过这里好多上坡下坡,体力被消耗了不少!

After finishing the palace, we walked to bukchon hanok village, Korean traditional village. Although I loved the architecture very much, it was very tiring with all the steep uphills and downhills.

中午找到了这家很有名的土俗村参鸡汤店,排队20分钟。 还好这家名店有420个座位, 原本以为这么长的队起码要一个小时。 一个童子鸡,肚子里有10几种材料,外加一棵人参和糯米,补回了我们所有的体力! 每锅15000韩币。

However, after lining up for 20 mins, this famous chicken ginseng soup made up for all the energy lost! Thanks to its 420 seating, we thought we would need to wait for at least an hour. It was well worth waiting! Cost 15000 won.

吃饱喝足后,我们又有了体力,开始朝仁寺洞出发。 仁寺洞是韩国最有代表性的文化商品街,大街上画廊、古董、古代书籍以及各种艺术作品琳琅满目,让人流连忘返。对游客来说,仁寺洞是买小礼物的必到之处。 我才发现我的相机里一张照片都没有,我们三人大概都忙着买礼物去了。 日落前一个小时,我们坐公交车来到了南山顶的首尔塔。 为什么选在日落前一小时,因为好多人说在首尔塔上看日落很漂亮!

With my Nexus 4’s GPS, we walked to Insa-dong. This unique area contains a mixture of historical and modern cultural atmosphere. It sells artwork, antiques, all kinds of traditional papers, and cookware. It’s a well known area for gift shopping, because you suddenly see a lot of foreigners on the street. I just realized that I did not take any picture of the area, I guess we were too busy shopping. One hour before sunset, we arrived N Seoul tower by bus. It was simply amazing to watch the sun goes down, and the light comes on in the city of Seoul!

好可惜,我忘记我带了偏光过滤器,残念! Forgot that I had my polarizing filter with me, argggggggg…….

2013 Seoul Trip – Day 1

10月22日
上午: 上海虹桥直飞首尔金浦
下午: 明洞闲逛

Oct 22, 2013
Morning: Shanghai Hongqiao -> Seoul Gimpo
Afternoon: Walk around Myeongdong

早上8:20的飞机由上海虹桥出发,1小时40分钟,顺利抵达首尔金浦机场,还在等候入境,就看到了这张有着杀死人的笑容迎接的海报! 张根硕,由看《原来是美男》后喜欢他,但是我自己也很奇怪,他完全不是我的类型,无语中,不过对他的笑容还是非常受落的。

Departed from Shanghai Hongqiao airport at 8:20am, after 1 hour 40 mins, we arrived at Seoul Gimpo airport. While still waiting for the immigration, I saw his killer smile giant poster. Jang Keun Suk, started to like him after k-drama “You’re Beautiful”, but he’s not even my type, oh well, still love to see his smile though.
Seoul_GimpoArrival

入境后,我在金浦机场不慌不忙得做了这些:
1. 到olleh柜台,租用了无线上网路由器: wifi egg。 非常可爱的名字,哈哈。 租用它主要是为了上网查找信息,GPS,最后才是twitter/weibo 分享。 如果用普通Visa,租金为8000韩币一天;但是如果用中国的银联卡,租金则为6500韩币一天。 我果断刷了我姨妈的银联卡。
2. 去银行换钱,机场的兑换率是有点坑爹,不过没办法,我需要现金买地铁卡。 事先做好功课,用美金比加币划算,所以这次只带了美金出来。 还好,银行里的外币兑换表,连加币的影子都看不到。 首先换了300美金(一人100美金),1:1020,我钱包里一下装了30万6千。。。。韩币。
3. 拿着现金去便利店买T-money卡,也就是地铁卡。 还好韩国的地铁卡叫做T-money卡,店员一句英文都不会,全程用一张有中文英文日文的对话表格和我沟通。 买好T-money卡后,我才知道,原来这张卡要3000韩币,不过里面没钱,店员指着她的对话表格里的其中一句,问我要不要充值,我说要,然后给我的3张卡每张充了4000韩币。

After immigration, I got the following done:
1. Rented a portable wifi router at olleh counter. I needed it for finding places online, GPS, twitter/weibo sharing, contacting friends/family. One interesting thing, if you use regular credit card, it’s 8000 won/day; if you use China’s Unionpay card, it’s 6500 won/day. So I asked my aunt to use her Unionpay card.
2. Exchanged 300 USD at the bank. Rate sucks at 1:1020, but I got no choice. My wallet instantly had 306000……won in it.
3. Bought 3 T-money cards at a convenient store, 3000 won each. Without any English words, the staff was pointing to a English/Chinese/Japanese dialog asking me how much I want to load on each T-money card. I realized then, oh, 3000 won is only buying the card, just like the presto card in Toronto, or the subway card in Shanghai. Loaded 4000 won on each card.

接着找到机场快线,然后在弘益大学转2号地铁到乙支路3街站出来。 酒店在清溪川的旁边,所以找到清溪川后,很快就看到了我们的酒店,比我想象中的要漂亮哇! 安顿好后,拿上手机和wifi egg,直奔明洞。 询问过旅游义工天使后,首先找了一家小食店医肚: 紫菜包饭。 其实我还是第一次吃韩国的紫菜包饭,虽然和日本的寿司是同一个概念,但是味道和感觉都非常不同。 寿司是比较精致和小巧,紫菜包饭比较粗糙和大条,不过味道还是非常不错的,因为里面包了多种食物。

I then found the airport express line, and transferred to line 2 at Hongik University station, exited at Euljiro 3-ga station. Our hotel supposed to be just beside Cheonggyecheon, no surprise, I found our hotel after seeing Cheonggyecheon! After checked in, we headed to Myeongdong. I was starving by then. It was so nice to have those volunteers standing there and helping out tourists, with Chinese/Japanese/English languages, they suggested a small snack food bar. I ordered kimbap, similar idea to sushi, but it’s a lot bigger. It was actually my first time to eat it, it felt very different than sushi, but it tasted pretty good!

SeoulFood_SeaweedRice_Closeup

吃饱后,先选择了在自然乐园Nature Republic下手,因为他们的芦荟胶很出名, 加上店员热情的中文解释和服务。
After a short walk, we got a full bag of skin care products from Nature Republic, thanks to their staffs’ knowledgeable help, including a few Jang Keun Suk items!
Seoul_Myeongdong

Seoul_Shopping_NatureRepublic

把东西放回酒店后, 我们去了东大门。 穷游网上对东大门的评论参差不齐, 有人说没什么买的, 有人说买到手软, 我对在东大门买衣服也不是很看好。 第一, 款式可能不太合适多伦多了; 第二, 好像需要懂韩语比较好讲价。 最后选择了逛doota, 起码不需要讲价,而且可以退税。 在我意料之中, 没看中啥, 也没买到啥。 也不错啦, 钱包没伤到!

After dropping the bag off at the hotel, we headed to Dongdaemun! I wasn’t too optimistic about shopping for cloth at Dongdaemun. First, the style might not be suitable for Toronto; secondly, without knowing any Korean, it would be hard to negotiate price at Dongdaemun. So I chose doota, since their price is not negotiable, and it has tax refund. However, it turned out to be a disappointment. That’s ok, a good pat on my wallet.
That was it for our first day in Seoul! It went pretty well!
Seoul_Shopping_Doota

2013首尔5日自由行 – 筹备总结

10月份回中国探望亲戚,外加首尔5日游。 一共3个星期。 原本计划买大韩航空公司飞上海的机票,然后回程的时候在首尔停留5日,可惜机票好贵,而且座位紧张,完全错过了他们的促销时间。 所以还是买了上海来回直飞的机票,然后中途去一次首尔。 这样的好处就是对行李的控制会好多了,但是坏处就是需要拿两次中国的入境签证。

机票: 在中国的携程网www.ctrip.com上买的,好处是有众多航班任由你自己组合选择,网页设计合理,没有遇到过出错,还有英文版本, 就连手机版都做的非常好用. 计划早机去, 晚机回, 上海选虹桥机场, 首尔选金浦机场, 离市区比较近, 这样可以充分利用时间. 比较悲剧的是虽然携程网接收境外信用卡, 但是要收多3%的服务费.

酒店: 在hotels.com上订的,信用卡支付,预订之前google了一个10% off 的折扣码,就这样即时省了55美金。 三人房的选择已经不多,位置也很重要,所以基本没有很纠结,只有两三家考虑。最后选择了离明洞不远的Sutton Hotel。

旅游景点:感兴趣的旅游景点并不是很多,主要是美食和购物。 也许兴趣和目的地太亚洲了,yahoo travel和tripadvisor都不太好用,最后用了国内穷游网安排行程qyer.com,感觉不错!

Just thought I would do an English version of my Seoul trip as well this time. 😀
I went to China for 3 weeks vacation in October, mainly stayed in Shanghai with my grandparents, but also visited some relatives in other two cities, plus a 5 day 4 nights trip to Seoul! Originally, I wanted to buy Toronto->Shanghai air ticket by Korean Air, transfer/stop over for 5 days in Seoul on the way back, but I totally missed their promotion period, and the seats were very limited already. So I ended up buying direct flight to Shanghai by Air Canada, and purchase Seoul-Shanghai round trip air ticket separately. The good thing is I would have much better control of my luggage weight, the bad thing is I would need to get two entries Chinese visa.

Air Ticket: Bought it on http://www.ctrip.com. I am actually quite impressed by this Chinese web site. Functionally, it has both Chinese and English version; as well as mobile version and mobile application. The user interface is simple and quite user friendly, never gave me any server errors. It listed all available airline and flights with their corresponding price beside it, it was clean and clear. So I ended up choosing an early flight from Shanghai airport to Gimpo airport; and a late afternoon flight back to Shanghai. Both Shanghai and Gimpo airports are smaller airports that located closer to the city, thus saving me transportation cost and time. And we could fully utilize all the time in those 5 days!

Hotel: Booked on http://www.hotels.com. Since I would be taking my mom and my aunt, I needed to book a 3 people room, not too many choices. I ended up choosing Sutton Hotel near Euljiro 3-ga station. Just before booking confirmation, I googled a 10% off coupon code, saving me about 55USD. 😀

Travel plan: To be honest, there wasn’t a tons of tourist attractions that I am dying to go to, just picked a few, the rest would be focusing on food and shopping. Maybe because my interests were quite different in Seoul, I didn’t find tripadvisor or yahoo travel that useful this time, and ended up using a Chinese travel planning app to layout all my itinerary.