Finally I headed to South Korea! Its been my dream destination since I knew about K-Pop. I think it's everyone's dream who like K-Pop or K-Drama related things to be able to visit South Korea one day. At least my friends do. I managed to went there with a friend who also like K-Pop. We decided to had an independent trip instead of joined a tour. I got a really cheap plane ticket by AirAsia. It cost me 3.3 million Rupiahs (around USD 367) return include 15 and 20 kg baggage and 1 pre-booked meal.
|South Korea immigration card|
|South Korea visa|
Couple months before the trip, I requested for Korea Travel Guide Brochure and map to KTO. They actually sent it to me! It took quite a long time though, maybe it was about a month or so, but better than nothing. Thanks KTO! They helped a lot! ^^
|This map was our life!|
We were there from February 20th until 25th 2012. It was a late winter season in South Korea. There was no snow but it was still cold, -3 to 5 degrees C. Some rivers and lakes were still frozen. I live in equator with everyday's temperature average is 30 degrees C, so even with almost-spring season in South Korea, it was really cold for me. When the wind blew, it was like a slap in the face.
On February 20th we headed to Kuala Lumpur first from Surabaya. We should departed at 9.20 but there was a delay. We finally departed at 9.50 (GMT + 7) and we arrived at LCCT at 13.30 (GMT + 8). Our next flight to Seoul was at 14.30, so we only got 30 minutes to boarding since the gate was closed 30 minutes before the departure time. Fortunately we didn't have to go through a usual custom which had a really long queue. Arrived at departure hall, we went downstairs to proceed our arrival at transfer flight custom. Only about 10 minutes later, the passengers were called to enter the plane.
Flight to Seoul from Kuala Lumpur took 6.5 hours by AirAsia X. It's a bigger plane than the regular one. The announcements inside the plane was spoken in 4 languages : English, Chinese, Malaysian and Korean. We had booked meal for lunch on plane. We ordered an international meal and the menu was Chicken Thigh Bulgogi. I heard so many times that meals on the plane are not tasty, but my meal was actually good.
We reached Incheon Airport at 21.45 (GMT +9). The airport is really clean and big. We have to take a shuttle train to go to departure hall.
We were supposed to buy a Seoul City Pass Plus first for our transportation card during our stay in SK. In the internet, it was said that the card is sold in convenience stores such as 7 eleven, GS 25 and Family Mart, but we couldn't find it everywhere. The convenience stores only sell the regular T-money. After wandering around, we finally asked the airport information, they said the card can be purchased in the tourist information center but since it was already so late, the place had closed. We had no choice than looking for the card the next day.
We had booked a private room for 2 in 1st Pencil Guesthouse located in Hongdae area. We went to Hongdae by AREX commuter line. AREX is located at B1 floor. The website stated that AREX commuter line last operation hour is at 00.30. When we reached the airport information booth, it was 23.05 and the officer said that the last train was at 23.20! We only had 15 minutes and we were still in 2nd floor. We ran immediately toward B1 floor dragging along our not-light-luggage. Along with us, there were some people did the same marathon trying to catch the train. Maybe you are wondering, why we didn't take the elevator instead? Yeah right, it just comes across my mind right now. Maybe because we didn't know at what floor the AREX located at that time, so we ran along the airport looking for the direction signs.
At around 23.12 we reached the ticket booth. We felt relief a little bit by then, BUT we soon found out that there was still quite a long way to reach the train! AARRGHH!! So we ran again. I think that was how it feels to join Amazing Race. Thank God we made it to the train. It left in about a minute or two after we boarded *fyuh*
It took 40 minutes to reach Hongdae from Incheon Airport. The time was couple minutes pass midnight when we reached Hongdae Station. We actually had printed the map to reach Pencil Guesthouse from Hongdae station, but we were kind of lost at that time. The street was already empty and dark. After walked couple meters, we found 2 cafe workers who were still cleaning up. We showed them the map, they were also confused at first. Luckily, after a while they figured it out and told us the direction to the guesthouse. Apparently we took the wrong turn after got out from Hongdae station -.-'
On the way to guesthouse we found a 24 hours mart. Since we haven't had our dinner yet, we bought 2 cups Kimchi Ramyeon there. At 00.30 we finally reached the guesthouse. Just like what we've seen on TV, we have to take our shoes off before enter the house. The guesthouse manager Jin and DJ were waiting for us. We paid them cash for our 5 nights stay and checked in right away. Both of them were so kind. They gave us performances brochure and Hongdae map and gave a short explanation about them.
Pencil guesthouse is nice and clean. It's a 2 stories building with wooden floor. There are 2 bathrooms, 1 in the 1st floor and 1 in the 2nd floor. Our room was in the 1st floor. They provide clean towels. There are a lots of them put in a rack so you can take one each time you want to take a shower. They also provide toast and coffee for breakfast. Free mineral water is also provided in 1st Pencil Guesthouse. The most important of course, there is a free wi-fi and 2 public computers in the house.
|Lotz of jackets. LOL!|
We chose to stay in here because of its' strategic location. It's only 2.5 minutes walk from Hongdae station and there are some convenience stores nearby. Hongdae is famous for youth area. Just across the station, you can find many food and street food stalls, clothes and accessories stores, karaoke, pubs and clubs, also some street performances. The good time to visit this area is at night time.
After put the luggage in the room, we ate our noodle cup. It was spicier than the one sold in Indonesia! Thankfully, I like spicy food a lot so it didn't matter for me. After finished it, we went bed rightaway. We had 5 days to explore Seoul and some areas nearby. It wasn't too long. But for now, let the game begins!
Pencil guesthouse website : http://hostelhongdae.com/
Private room per night : KRW 50.000
AREX commuter line : KRW 3700 (3600 with transportation card)
1 cup Kimchi Ramyeon : KRW 950