currently playing: clumsy love – mashyta band
length of stay: 4.5 days and 4 nights
main area visited: seoul, gang-beuk（江北）
got a good deal from agoda and settled in hotel shin shin right beside nam dae min and myeong dong. costs us around 500,000 KRW for 4 nights (~ usd 250 per person for 4 nights) we were initially looking for a backpackers type of korean hostel but my travel mate is not too keen on floor sleeping so we’ve decided on a conventional hotel. pros of staying in a conventional hotel is that we’ve got excellent location and facilities:
1. easy access to attractions (airport coach right outside)
2. efficient housekeeping with amenities cleaned/ replaced everyday
3. private facilities: television, high tech toilet with warm seats and massaging facilities
4. guaranteed quiet environment
the only cons will be that you don’t get to experience traditional korean living.
as for traditional hostels, which my brother experienced when he went last summer with a group of 9, the pros is that it’s cheaper and offers something more exciting – traditional korean living and friendships with other backpakers; however here’s a few cons to take note of:
1. it’s only much cheaper if you travel as a big group, for my case the conventional hotel is only slightly more expensive because we chose a room for two with private toilets
2. public facilities: shared toilets, television in common areas, shared pantry, fridges etc
3. could get pretty noisy with common areas shared by other backpackers
4. location will not be as convenient as conventional hotels, which means lots of walking to do
5. fully self contained, which means no housekeeping, no toiletries provided
so well it basically really depends on which type of people you are, i personally do not mind either, one is comfortable another is exciting.
(B)est friends to travel along
sam & i
nuff said, how can you stick to each other 24/7 and depend on each other 24/7 in a total foreign land if that is not someone comfortable?
(C)ash and credit card
the shopping is FANTASTIC, so just make sure you have lots of the above. you will also need an empty luggage, empty hand luggage (to collect duty free purchases in the airport) and ample luggage allowance.
myeongdong and lotte duty free
eujiro-il-ga, station to myeong dong shopping district – line(2) green
this is heaven
i personally recommend having a look at lotte duty free first before checking out the local stores in myeong dong, the duty free shop quotes in USD so ensure exchange rate is favorable, if you’re too lazy to do the math (use-local currency or local currency-KRW), just shop at duty free, for our case this time, duty free’s prices are a lot cheaper. bear in mind duty free place is war scene, be prepared to start the war of roses with other chinese, indonesian female tourists – by that, walk and decide quickly, do not bring a big pretty handbag, it will be squashed anyway so just remember your flight number and keep your passport and $$ in your pocket. also, for all shops be it duty free or local, it’s a freebies fest, simply get a pack of mask on your first day and be fed with samples that could last you for the whole trip!!! don’t even need to buy toiletries! useful phrases: “kamsahamnida, sam-peul to juseyo~”
yi-dae, station to yi-dae shopping district – line(2) green
yi-dae’s a woman university, self explanatory why a shopping district is formed right outside the school. shopping here is pretty good too, the only place we bought clothings! while myeong dong is filled with cosmetics and street food, yi-dae has more cafes and clothes.
sam enjoying some street ddokboki
standard street food price:
ddokboki 3000KRW (~ usd 3)
sundae 4000KRW (~ usd 4)
kimbab 2500KRW – 4000KRW (~ usd 2.5 – usd 4)
fish skewers 700KRW each (~ usd 0.7)
usually a cup of hot soup is provided as service, it’s pretty fun to enjoy this in a cold winter day! be on the lookout that they put in sesame leaves in a lot of their food which i believe many will be like me and cannot stand the smell of it! the ddokboki alien sam is enjoying on the picture above has it; that explains why i’m not eating but snapping pictures =’(
signing off, part 2 soon!