Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hey SEOUL Sisters! (Day 1)

So it's officially our first day in Seoul (Nov. 15). We left our place at around 9am and took the subway to Gwanghwamun. At the subway station, we purchased T-Money card worth 3,000 won each. T-Money is more than just a subway card as it stores money, which you can use to pay buses and convenience stores just by tapping your card. It's very convenient! Plus you get discounts on subway and bus fares with T-Money too. However, the amount paid for the card wasn't refundable, so we had to let go of our 3,000 won. Also, the card wasn't pre-loaded with credits so we had to reload it right after purchase from the vending machine.

Our itinerary for Day 1 was a downtown tour. There's a city tour bus in Seoul that features 3 different courses: 1) City Circulation Course, 2) Palace Course, and 3)Night Course. Actually there are a lot of common stops in these courses. But when we got to Gwanghwamun bus stop, the attendant at the ticket booth suggested that we take the City Circulation Course. Each ticket was wroth 10,000 won. The "hop on hop off" bus departs every 30mins at every stop. For further information, click this link. The only downside of this was, we were not able to go to all the palaces because they close at 4:30 to 5:00pm. And the entire day from 9am to 9pm wasn't enough because of a lot of stops. We were not able to get off at Namsan Tower where the entire city, as well as DMZ (the boundary of North and South Korea) can be viewed, because we were already too tired.  We also missed the Locks of Love, which can be found at the Namsan stop too. Anyway, so here's how our day went:

1. Gwanghwamun (1st bus stop) - It's where we bought tickets. But you can buy from the bus driver when you get on the bus at any other stops. We departed here at 10:30am.

2. Deoksugung Palace - We paid 2000 won each for entry. It's so funny 'coz this stop was just 2 minutes away from the previous stop. Anyway, there's nothing much to see inside. We just got fascinated by lots of autumn leaves that got us really nice photos. After taking photos inside, we exited the gate and witnessed at 11am, the ceremony of changing of the guards. Then we went to the bus stop to wait for the bus.

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Deoksugung Palace
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I love autumn colors!:)
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photo bombers alert! lol
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changing of the guards
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he's also looking at the camera haha

3. National Museum of Korea - Entrance is free! It's a really nice and big museum. There were a lot to see but we had to hurry because we've only got an hour to spare in order to catch the next bus. The buses actually arrive on time at every stop. How cool is that?:)

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outside the museum
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whatever this was lol
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group pic inside the museum
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I just took a photo, I didn't read the caption!:))

4. Itaewon - It's a popular place for shopping and dining. There were a lot of tourists there, mostly whites. We chose to get off at this stop 'coz we were too hungry. After getting our multiple currencies changed into won, we proceeded to a Korean restaurant for lunch. We chose a traditional Korean resto wherein we had to take off our shoes and sit on the floor. Honestly, we were clueless on most of the dishes but we just chose what to eat based on the photos on the menu. Then we were surprised to be served with a lot of plates and bowls filled with different dishes. It was a feast! haha! But we were too hungry that we finished them all. LOL! And it was even funnier because a couple approached us asking if we were living on Korea, then we said we're just tourists. Apparently they were talent scouts looking for models. Woah! We could've been the next K-Pop sensation! LOL! Anyway, our total bill amounted to around 28,000 won. Super worth it! Anyway, while waiting for the bus, we explored some of the shops. We checked out different brands of cosmetics and bought a few. 

Photobucket
almost everything's spicy

5. Changdeokgung - It's one of UNESCO's World Heritage sites. It was a long ride getting here that we fell asleep in the bus. When we got there, we were already too lazy to enter the palace since we had to pay 3000 won so we just took photos outside. After that, our crazy adventure began! We walked not knowing where to go. The next bus stop supposedly was Insadong, but we just walked to get there since it's gonna take a longer time for us to wait for the bus.

Photobucket
entrance gate

6. Insadong - It's a shopping strip featuring shops of clothes, accessories, antiques, artistic crafts, and cosmetics/beauty products. We got so hooked into buying lots of cosmetics and beauty products because the salesladies were very aggressive in attracting us to come inside their shops. They hand us freebies just so we would enter their shop. We had no choice but to buy! But hey, we enjoyed it! Most especially because they kept giving us freebies 'til after purchasing their products. 5 stars for customer service! And yeah, they speak English too!:) So that started our addiction to Korean beauty products haha!

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Insadong street

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One of our favorite shops!:)

We kept walking 'til we realized we're back at Gwanghwamun, the first bus stop. And since the night was too cold, we decided to have coffee at a coffee shop somewhere across the Deoksugung Palace. After coffee we walked going to Namdaemun Night Market.

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Gwanghwamun Gate

7. Namdaemun - It's one of the stops of the city circulation course, but since it's near where we we had coffee, we just walked going there. There were lots of clothing stalls at the Namdaemun Night Market. Clothes and accessories range from 5000 won to 50,000 won depending on the quality of the product. A lot of scarves, earmuffs, boots, gloves and jackets were being sold because it's almost winter. I was amazed that first class-looking winter clothes were being sold in a Divisoria-ish kind of place. After shopping, we headed back to our place for some dinner. We brought some canned goods to cook, while we bought microwaveable rice from the stocks of our host.

8. President Hotel - After freshening up, we headed to President Hotel to meet up with a friend whom we'll be partying with that night. We took a big cab (looked like a mini van) to JJ Mahoney's in Namsan area.

8. JJ Mahoney's, Hyatt Hotel - They said it's one of the best high-end clubs in Seoul. We just got invited to an event there. Anyway, there were two rooms at the club. One has a big dance floor and the music that was being played was a mix of RnB, HipHop, House and Trance. Whenever no one's dancing on the floor, the DJ plays Oppa Gangnam Style to attract people to the dance floor. And I was so proud having danced that song on a Korean dance floor lol! But hey, it's so weird 'coz we couldn't find the DJ's booth haha! I just assumed there's a "DJ" 'coz there's music being spinned LOL! Anyway, we met some Korean guys on the dance floor and they took us to the other room, wherein a live band was performing. They said that's the most popular foreign band in Korea. I wasn't sure of their nationalities but most of them were white. They were performing mostly RnB and Hiphop, just like the Black Eyed Peas. They were dancing well too! SO after escaping those Korean guys, we were back to our table drinking Heineken and Asahi while munching on some fruits! Well they got a healthy pica-pica set, unlike those in the Philippines where everything seems so oily haha! Anyway, after a couple of hours at the club, we headed back home. I can't remember how much we paid for the cab, probably something more than 10,000 won. It's quite pricey because it's already late and Namsan was quite far from Hongdae, where we were staying.

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sorority sisters
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Total spending (w/o shopping expenses) for the day for 4pax:
1. T-Money Card - 12,000 won
2. City Tour - 40,000 won
3. Lunch - 28,000 won
4. Coffee - 17,000 won
5. Transportation (cab & trains) - 30,000 won
6. Party - FREE!
TOTAL: 127,000 won = Php 4,865 (or approx. Php 1,217/pax)

That's just Day 1! Got 5 days more to write about!:)

2 comments:

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hey SEOUL Sisters! (Day 1)

So it's officially our first day in Seoul (Nov. 15). We left our place at around 9am and took the subway to Gwanghwamun. At the subway station, we purchased T-Money card worth 3,000 won each. T-Money is more than just a subway card as it stores money, which you can use to pay buses and convenience stores just by tapping your card. It's very convenient! Plus you get discounts on subway and bus fares with T-Money too. However, the amount paid for the card wasn't refundable, so we had to let go of our 3,000 won. Also, the card wasn't pre-loaded with credits so we had to reload it right after purchase from the vending machine.

Our itinerary for Day 1 was a downtown tour. There's a city tour bus in Seoul that features 3 different courses: 1) City Circulation Course, 2) Palace Course, and 3)Night Course. Actually there are a lot of common stops in these courses. But when we got to Gwanghwamun bus stop, the attendant at the ticket booth suggested that we take the City Circulation Course. Each ticket was wroth 10,000 won. The "hop on hop off" bus departs every 30mins at every stop. For further information, click this link. The only downside of this was, we were not able to go to all the palaces because they close at 4:30 to 5:00pm. And the entire day from 9am to 9pm wasn't enough because of a lot of stops. We were not able to get off at Namsan Tower where the entire city, as well as DMZ (the boundary of North and South Korea) can be viewed, because we were already too tired.  We also missed the Locks of Love, which can be found at the Namsan stop too. Anyway, so here's how our day went:

1. Gwanghwamun (1st bus stop) - It's where we bought tickets. But you can buy from the bus driver when you get on the bus at any other stops. We departed here at 10:30am.

2. Deoksugung Palace - We paid 2000 won each for entry. It's so funny 'coz this stop was just 2 minutes away from the previous stop. Anyway, there's nothing much to see inside. We just got fascinated by lots of autumn leaves that got us really nice photos. After taking photos inside, we exited the gate and witnessed at 11am, the ceremony of changing of the guards. Then we went to the bus stop to wait for the bus.

Photobucket
Deoksugung Palace
Photobucket
I love autumn colors!:)
Photobucket
photo bombers alert! lol
Photobucket
changing of the guards
Photobucket
he's also looking at the camera haha

3. National Museum of Korea - Entrance is free! It's a really nice and big museum. There were a lot to see but we had to hurry because we've only got an hour to spare in order to catch the next bus. The buses actually arrive on time at every stop. How cool is that?:)

Photobucket
outside the museum
Photobucket
whatever this was lol
Photobucket
group pic inside the museum
Photobucket

I just took a photo, I didn't read the caption!:))

4. Itaewon - It's a popular place for shopping and dining. There were a lot of tourists there, mostly whites. We chose to get off at this stop 'coz we were too hungry. After getting our multiple currencies changed into won, we proceeded to a Korean restaurant for lunch. We chose a traditional Korean resto wherein we had to take off our shoes and sit on the floor. Honestly, we were clueless on most of the dishes but we just chose what to eat based on the photos on the menu. Then we were surprised to be served with a lot of plates and bowls filled with different dishes. It was a feast! haha! But we were too hungry that we finished them all. LOL! And it was even funnier because a couple approached us asking if we were living on Korea, then we said we're just tourists. Apparently they were talent scouts looking for models. Woah! We could've been the next K-Pop sensation! LOL! Anyway, our total bill amounted to around 28,000 won. Super worth it! Anyway, while waiting for the bus, we explored some of the shops. We checked out different brands of cosmetics and bought a few. 

Photobucket
almost everything's spicy

5. Changdeokgung - It's one of UNESCO's World Heritage sites. It was a long ride getting here that we fell asleep in the bus. When we got there, we were already too lazy to enter the palace since we had to pay 3000 won so we just took photos outside. After that, our crazy adventure began! We walked not knowing where to go. The next bus stop supposedly was Insadong, but we just walked to get there since it's gonna take a longer time for us to wait for the bus.

Photobucket
entrance gate

6. Insadong - It's a shopping strip featuring shops of clothes, accessories, antiques, artistic crafts, and cosmetics/beauty products. We got so hooked into buying lots of cosmetics and beauty products because the salesladies were very aggressive in attracting us to come inside their shops. They hand us freebies just so we would enter their shop. We had no choice but to buy! But hey, we enjoyed it! Most especially because they kept giving us freebies 'til after purchasing their products. 5 stars for customer service! And yeah, they speak English too!:) So that started our addiction to Korean beauty products haha!

Photobucket
Insadong street

Photobucket

One of our favorite shops!:)

We kept walking 'til we realized we're back at Gwanghwamun, the first bus stop. And since the night was too cold, we decided to have coffee at a coffee shop somewhere across the Deoksugung Palace. After coffee we walked going to Namdaemun Night Market.

Photobucket
Gwanghwamun Gate

7. Namdaemun - It's one of the stops of the city circulation course, but since it's near where we we had coffee, we just walked going there. There were lots of clothing stalls at the Namdaemun Night Market. Clothes and accessories range from 5000 won to 50,000 won depending on the quality of the product. A lot of scarves, earmuffs, boots, gloves and jackets were being sold because it's almost winter. I was amazed that first class-looking winter clothes were being sold in a Divisoria-ish kind of place. After shopping, we headed back to our place for some dinner. We brought some canned goods to cook, while we bought microwaveable rice from the stocks of our host.

8. President Hotel - After freshening up, we headed to President Hotel to meet up with a friend whom we'll be partying with that night. We took a big cab (looked like a mini van) to JJ Mahoney's in Namsan area.

8. JJ Mahoney's, Hyatt Hotel - They said it's one of the best high-end clubs in Seoul. We just got invited to an event there. Anyway, there were two rooms at the club. One has a big dance floor and the music that was being played was a mix of RnB, HipHop, House and Trance. Whenever no one's dancing on the floor, the DJ plays Oppa Gangnam Style to attract people to the dance floor. And I was so proud having danced that song on a Korean dance floor lol! But hey, it's so weird 'coz we couldn't find the DJ's booth haha! I just assumed there's a "DJ" 'coz there's music being spinned LOL! Anyway, we met some Korean guys on the dance floor and they took us to the other room, wherein a live band was performing. They said that's the most popular foreign band in Korea. I wasn't sure of their nationalities but most of them were white. They were performing mostly RnB and Hiphop, just like the Black Eyed Peas. They were dancing well too! SO after escaping those Korean guys, we were back to our table drinking Heineken and Asahi while munching on some fruits! Well they got a healthy pica-pica set, unlike those in the Philippines where everything seems so oily haha! Anyway, after a couple of hours at the club, we headed back home. I can't remember how much we paid for the cab, probably something more than 10,000 won. It's quite pricey because it's already late and Namsan was quite far from Hongdae, where we were staying.

Photobucket
sorority sisters
Photobucket

Total spending (w/o shopping expenses) for the day for 4pax:
1. T-Money Card - 12,000 won
2. City Tour - 40,000 won
3. Lunch - 28,000 won
4. Coffee - 17,000 won
5. Transportation (cab & trains) - 30,000 won
6. Party - FREE!
TOTAL: 127,000 won = Php 4,865 (or approx. Php 1,217/pax)

That's just Day 1! Got 5 days more to write about!:)

2 comments: