Sunday, December 8, 2013

8 Dec 2013 Sunday – Seoul, here we come!

Pudong - all form but no substance

Our midnight flight out was  MU0544 ( Singapore to Pudong ) with connecting flight MU5041 ( Pudong to Incheon ) touching down at noonday.

We departed on time from Changi for Pudong, Shanghai at 00:55 hrs. The 5 hour flight was uneventful and most of us on the flight slept well. At the 5th hour when the plane refused to land, I knew we would be delayed. True to my fears, due to the fog at Shanghai, we were diverted to Shenzhen. It was a 2 hour flight detour, where we waited on the tarmac for another 3 hours before getting clearance to head for Pudong. Needless to say, we missed our connecting flight to Seoul.

Our baggage would have headed straight for Seoul but with the loss of the connecting flight, we had to clear immigration and customs ( including baggage ) at Pudong before re-checking in  again. It was total chaos, without much help from the ground staff and each man for himself. Tempers flared at Pudong and even with a 3 hour transit,there was barely enough time for all the red tape. To add insult to injury, there was no ground staff at the departure gate and frustrated passengers sought help from the most ridiculous sources, shop keepers and cleaners!

For the more than a hundred of us, it was a further 2 hour wait at the unmanned gate before finally staff processed all of us and got us boarded on board. To end the sad transit situation, we waited on the tarmac again, this time for another 1.5 hour before finally taking off to Incheon.

Our holiday in Seoul was supposed to commence on 8th Dec 2013 noon time but we managed to touch down late in the night at 9 pm. We lost 9 good hours and an entire day in Seoul. Thankfully I did enough homework and headed without delay to B1, purchased our T-money pass ( 3500 won for the card + 20000 won ) from convenience store GS25. The Arex ride originating from Incheon to Hongik U took 45 minutes  ( 3600 won ).

Our stay at Hongdae was located north of the AREX station, exit 3. Following the map from Studio41st, we lugged our luggage to the guesthouse.

Ondol - the first of a kind heating. Ingenious!
Kitchen area

We paid up for the rest of our stay at Studio41st ( 722  200 won ) with a down payment of 180 US$ made in March 2013. Because our stay was more than 7 days, we enjoyed a 10% discount, which was 90000 won per day.

‘Home’ was room 33, a self contained en-suite apartment with washer and a mini kitchen area. It was sufficient , with TV and wifi , though hardly luxurious.  

Hongdae uni side

Fried vegetables street food

Fast food bulgolgi

Perilla leaf with meat is a must try.

Our dinner place

The first proper meal for the past 18 hours was at Saemeul Siktang, a bulgolgi chain. Meals come in a minimum of 2 orders and it is impossible to have 2 different bulgolgi sets. Oh well! With the huge pile of meat, replenished kimchi, the pains of the day caused by China Eastern Air was quickly forgotten. The price ? 18000 won for 2 of us,  a feast at a ridiculous price.

Kitchen of Studio41st

The meal augers a good start to our holiday in Seoul. We reported to  H via  Skype before putting the day behind us with a deep sleep in our comfy bed.

Next up, Seoul's market district, Han river cruise and a seafood feast at Noryangjin.

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