Saturday, December 20, 2014

Revisiting Seoul in Autumn

Seoul is undeniably my favorite city! Aside from my emotional investment, a.k.a. places are associated with drama scenes and it's oppa's motherland, it's the most accessible place in Asia to experience different seasons. Of course, Japan is also an option if you have a bigger budget. I actually wanted to see Cherry Blossom this time around but my sister insisted another Winter adventure in Seoul, I warned her that I was freezing the entire time when I went to Seoul in February with my friends, Jess and Gem.

I've read that in 2013, the first snowfall in Seoul was on November 19 so I was happy when I chanced upon a seat sale for November 2014. I even moved it to a week behind but little did we know, the first snowfall would be on December 1st. Come to think of it, winter is really from December - February, what am I thinking then! Four days after we went back to Manila! In short, it became an Autumn that feels like Winter trip ! We imagined a snow covered Seoul but we got to see the city with beautiful fallen leaves instead . The ground was often covered by yellow leaves from Gingko and maple trees but since Winter is coming, we enjoyed a cool temperature of 6 to -2 degrees during our stay.

Day 1: Arrive in Seoul, Check in Zaza Backpackers and Explore Myeongdong

Our 1st day was practically spent travelling on airports and trains. My sister and I arrived at Incheon International Airport at around 8:30PM, the flight was 30 minutes delayed but we safely arrived, it's best to dwell on the silver lining! 
Maximum of 20 subway rides per day
After clearing the immigration process and getting our checked in luggage, we bought M-Pass on the booth near exit 5. We chose the 5 day public transit pass for foreigners, it's perfect for our DIY itinerary that would require subway rides to explore the city. We rode the Airport Express to go to Myeongdong, we passed by 12 stations with 1 line transfer. The entire trip took about 1 and 1/2 hour and that made me remember why we decided to take the airport limousine bus before. Although it was just 1 train line transfer, it was hard to carry our big luggage, filled with winter clothes, while going up and down on stairs. Do yourself a favor and take the airport limo bus =))

Just cross the underground pass and boom, shopping heaven!

Finally, by 11PM, we checked in Zaza Backpackers! It was fairly easy to find, a good 10 minutes walk from exit 4 of Myeongdong and I love the vibe of this area. Previously, I stayed at K-Hostel in DongMyo but I wanted to be near the shopping district this time.
Korean chicken and ice cream <3
My sister and I were starving, after putting our luggage inside our room, we immediately went back to the chicken store that we passed by earlier. Unfortunately, they'll be closing in 30 minutes so we had to dine in our guesthouse's kitchen area. I know that fried chicken is part of Korean culture because of the Korean franchise restaurants in the Philippines and I've seen it a lot on recent dramas . My Love From Another Star and Marriage, Not Dating  made me crave for chicken and beer. On our first night, I've seen first hand that friend chicken stores are literally everywhere!

I'm not complaining, although it's sad because I think I'm scarred for life! LOL. My sister and I ordered 2 boxes, Teriyaki and original flavored. I think, we ate 5 big pieces each. On the outside, it looks like a regular friend chicken but the Korean version are crunchier, crispier and I noticed that its not oily. I've read - yes I've Googled "Korean fried chicken" - that they deep fry the chicken twice to make sure that the chicken skin comes out thin and crispy. One time, I was craving for it so bad that I bought a meal from Bonchon and KyoChon, the taste is OK but our chickens are too undersized!

Anyway, here's the rest of our 5 days, 4 nights Seoul DIY itinerary
Day 4: Nami Island * Petite France * N Seoul Tower * Transfer to Doo Guesthouse
Day 5: CNBLUE MBC YongHwa Star Park * Gwanghamun * Gyeongbukgong Palace * Bukchon Hanok Village
Korea's target market =)

Our itinerary is a combination of must see sights for my sister, CNBLUE fangirling for both of us and seeing something new in Seoul for me. We actually skipped some plans like eating at Gwakjang Market, watching a 4d Movie at CGV Yongsan, watching cooking Nanta show and a stop at Golden Hill Spa because we're too tired! Well that's another reason to go back, hooray for multiple entry visa :)

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