This Seoul trip was planned on short notice. I was still on holiday (work starts on 1st Nov) and my mum wanted to go somewhere. So, in early October, I quickly planned a short trip to Seoul. It just so happened that my brother will be going to Japan at the same time for work and we didn’t want to feel left out (haha, I know), hence the trip to Korea.
After doing some research on Korea, I finalised the plan, booked the hotel and flight tickets, and we were good to go!
- Destination: Seoul, the capital of South Korea
- Duration: 5 days 4 nights (22th October to 26th October2012)
- Accommodation: IP Boutique Hotel (Rm2,170)
- Flight: AirAsia X with Premium upgrade (Rm2,604 per person)
- Season/Temperature: Mid autumn, average 13 to 17 degrees Celsius
Day 1 (22th October 2012)
Note: click on images to enlarge.
Our flight departed from KLIA LCCT at 9:20AM that morning. It’s our first time traveling on Air Asia X premium and we were very excited. It’s not comparable to a full-service airline business class, but it’s definitely very comfortable for long haul flights. As you can see, my Air Asia flight is not complete without the famous nasi lemak Pak Nasser and teh tarik. One of the many reasons why I love Air Asia!
We arrived at Incheon Airport at 4:20PM local time. The flight was 6 hours + 1 hour of time difference. Incheon airport is located around 48KM west of Seoul city. The airport is modern and impressive looking.
We explored the airport a bit. I noticed there were mobile phone companies offering phones “for rent”. This is my first time seeing this service. The tagline that accompanied these rental phones are “experience true 4G LTE in Korea”. I know that Korea has the fastest internet connection in the world (both for computers and mobile data), and I was eager to try it out. Unfortunately the queue at the rental phone shop was too long and we didn’t have time to wait.
From the airport, we took the Airport Railroad Express (AREX) train to Seoul. I’ve been reading about AREX prior to my arrival and I was quite excited to give it a go. The train was easily located in the airport, and the ticket machines are user friendly. The AREX tickets was 3,700 won per person (RM10 or US$3.4).
I was particularly impressed on how wide, clean and modern the trains are. There are monitors with Korean programs being played, along with full wifi and telephone coverage while the train is moving! How awesome is that!
The ride to Seoul Central Station was about 40 mins. Upon arrival, I started to realise one potential challenge to this trip: almost nobody speaks English. It was quite a challenge for me to tell the taxi driver from Seoul Station about our hotel. Luckily, I printed the hotel address in both English and Korean. The taxi driver was able to read the Korean address and took us to our destination.
Our hotel, Imperial Palace Boutique, shorten to IP Boutique Hotel (website link), is located in Itaewon. Itaewon is a famous tourist district in Seoul. It has many embassies and international restaurants. The variety of eateries include American, Indian, Pakistan, Turkish, Thai and many others. An added bonus for Muslim visitors is that Seoul Central Mosque is located in Itaewon. And naturally, the areas near the mosque has lots of Halal restaurants.
Since we arrived in Itaewon in the evening, we decided not to venture out too far for dinner. We had dinner at one of the restaurants in the area, and explored nearby shops. Tomorrow is when the adventure begins!