Sunday, December 28, 2014

Day Five of My Korea Trip 2014 - Going Back to Seoul!



After an extremely restful sleep following two days of late-night early-wake-up, we packed up our stuff, checked out of Galeum Guesthouse and drove out of the narrow driveway.

Above is the view of Hallasan's summit; there was no way we could have squeezed in another attraction to visit before our 11.55am flight back to Seoul as we had been tasked to do something really important.

Change of dressing for our wounds! In case you have not been following this travelogue, we had a car accident in Jeju the day before and although we were not severely injured, it's still important to keep our wounds clean to prevent any infection.

For Louise, the goondu nurse who treated her wound didn't even bother removing her eyeliner and she had to endure a night of itch and discomfort! Luckily we were assigned to a way more thoughtful nurse this time who was also very gentle with us! 

Time to leave for the car rental company; estimation of ninety one minutes over a distance of fifty kilometers. We were given a new rented car after the accident but the GPS panel installed was in Korean language!! It's fortunate i was still able to aga-aga find my way to the section to input contact number! 

It's things like the above that made me even more careful on the road since my understanding of the Korean language is severely limited; i wouldn't know of any upcoming speed bumps, any speed cameras and heck, i don't even know what are the Korean pronunciation for stop, turn left and turn right!

Drove past one of the attractions which would interest me; think it showcases cadavers and body parts in various poses. If i am not wrong, a similar exhibition was held in Singapore once. 

Endless driving; strangely, the route i took on our first day in Jeju to Galeum Guesthouse in Seogwipo was a different one and seemed to cut across the Mount Halla with an initial uphill drive that had loads of turns!

I know for a fact that the airport was close to the car rental company but as luck had its way of making fun of us, i had keyed in a different contact number; i stupidly thought the number on the GPS panel would be the correct one! Wrong!! 

Anyway, due to our innate kiasuism, we had plenty of time to spare and managed to find the "correct" contact number, drove the rented car back to the leasing company and arrived at the Jeju International Airport two hours before our departure. 

For those who could not get enough of Jeju tangerines, it would please you to know that there were quite a few shops within the airport for you to make more purchases. 

Frankly, we didn't find the oranges fascinating and decided to check in earlier, hoping to find a nice, quiet place to have a cup of latte before taking the plane. 

Problem - the departure area was filled with too many people and most shop had limited space to put out more tables / chairs! 

Both sisters found solace in a duty free shop filled with notable brands for facial products and cosmetics! As for me, i guess i might as well make use of the time to try out Lotteria; Korea's very own fast food restaurant. The fried chicken i had was unimpressive. =_=. 

Boarding the plane at last! 

The B737-800 aircraft tasked to bring us to Seoul. I was in fact thinking if i should postpone the publication of this post as there is yet again news of another missing plane (AirAsia QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore). Guess at this moment, all we can do is to pray for the best for the passengers and crew members on the flight. 

Saying bye bye to Jeju with mixed feelings.

On one hand, i did have an unforgettable experience with the car accident; on the other, the excruciating time spent climbing the breathtaking Hallasan and the taste of what's arguably the best green tea latte remained deeply etched in my memory. 

Would i be back then? Likely even though the chance is pretty slim for me to attempt another climb of Korea's highest mountain; Mount Halla

Seat configuration is 3+3 on each row and with no in-flight entertainment, all i could do was to fixate my attention on the view outside. 

When Google Earth first came out in 2005, i spent time trawling through the many places i have seen from movies, dramas, travel variety shows etc. In the past, such a view could only be achieved by taking an airplane (for most humans, at least). The island in the picture is Cheongsando and you may read more on this beautiful island here

There was nothing much to see once the plane got to the mainland as we were too high up and the hills and mountains were seriously quite a bore after a while. 

Looking like miniature toy models, this view comprising of buildings in its entirety would mean we were nearing the capital of South Korea. 

Almost an hour in the air and we safely landed in Gimpo International Airport (contrary to its name, it serves mainly domestic flights). 

Since we would be in Seoul for the next three days, it made total sense for us to get T-money which is of the same usage like our EzLink in Singapore (cheaper), with the additional function to even pay cab fares and purchases from selected convenience stores! We got the card from one of the convenience store located within the Airport Railroad Express (AREX) at Gimpo Airport.  

Remember, you only BUY the card; topping up would be required at the machine with T-money on it. Do note the logo for T-money as some of the machines were unable to provide the "recharging" service. 

A familiar scene for all three of us! Not wanting to do the same as day one where we had to navigate the underpass, we proceeded to walk to Hotel Manu in the great open! 

I think we all agreed it was slightly faster! Once we collected the luggage in store at Hotel Manu and checked in to our new room (which was much more comfortable), our hungry tummies brought us to Kwangjang market where we stuffed ourselves crazy! Click here to see what our stomachs had! 

We also dropped by the nearby Dongdaemun without me realising there were two sections; of which we had the time only for the one featuring retail stores! As a penniless bloke, i am all for wholesale markets with their dirt cheap pricing!! 

It was closed to midnight when we reached Seoul Station. An interesting peculiarity lies with this big cabinet that stored gas masks and plain water. Guess the risk of an North Korea invasion is always there. That aside, kindly keep in mind that the underground walkways was filled with the homeless at night. 


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For the summary of my South Korea trip (Seoul and Jeju Island) and links for more details to the respective day, click HERE.

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