11 April 2012

Kimchilandia Chronicles: Day 2 – THE SEOUL CITY BUS TOUR THAT WAS NOT

Kimchilandia Chronicles – Chronological recounting of Lonewulf’s great Korean adventure.

Sunday, 11 March 2012
Day 2 was allotted for Seoul City Bus Tour.

Korevia # 2 – If you want to optimize the appreciation of Seoul, you better board the Seoul City Tour Bus. It travels in a circuit that links the best places to see in the city like the great palaces (Gyeongbokgung, Changgyeonggung, etc.), N Seoul Tower, markets (Dongdaemun, Namdaemun, Insadong), Korean War Memorial Hall, and many more. What’s best about the tour is that you can purchase a one-day pass for 10,000-12,000 KRW and you can tour the city in your own pace. Meaning, you can get off in a particular attraction and stay for as long as you want, then just board the next scheduled bus.  Tip: The bus tours are not operational on Mondays. So make sure to plot your itinerary properly. Also, if you are serious about the palace tours, research about the tour schedules as English tours are only conducted in certain hours.

Sad to say though, as the title suggests, we were not able to do this activity. We were too exhausted (Go, go, muscle pains!) from the activities the previous day. Plus, factor in the lack of rest since we all came from work the day before that. So our ending: Photoshoot around Hwaseong Fortress.

Hwaseong Fortress

Photo-op mode
we haven’t even left Dale’s street yet
After our dinner at Myeongdong in Day 1, we decided to reshuffle our activities. Day 2 is now dedicated to wandering around Hwaseong Fortress [walking distance from Dale’s place], and visiting Namun market [walking distance from Hwaseo fortress (Dale Satur, 2012)].

Hwaseong Fortress (translation: Brilliant Castle)

there's a train that circumvents the fortress
Lonewulf in Hwaseong

t'was a pretty chilly day

very cold even while inside a tower

This is simply one of the best pics we've taken in Korea

And the warmest too!

Arigato trying to figure out where our next destination is

Really cold day. I ended up buying another set of (thicker) gloves  that evening.

Namun Market

South Korea features a handful of markets where you can shop or purchase souvenirs that are considerably cheaper as compared to those in malls (Dale Satur, 2012).

Namun market is one of those, and it is a quite famous marketplace around Hwaseo-dong. Locating it was tricky though, especially as we were deceived by Dale’s remark, “Namun is walking distance from Hwaseo Fortress.” Walking distance my ass! First, we misinterpreted Dale’s map, as we thought it was (proportionally) scaled. Secondly, the locals know Namun market by a different name (sorry I forgot how they call it), thus asking around could offer only minimal help. Thirdly, Arigato decided to use a shortcut which got us even more confused on our bearings. And lastly, Namun was faaaaar! As far as SM FARview. So our ending: We got lost trying to locate the market.

Okay, the FARview bit was an exaggeration. After trying to make conversations with locals, and then infinitely arguing about the right directions, we came across this very kind 7-11 storekeeper who, I reckon might have seen the desperation in our eyes, decided to help us even though she speaks very little English. /*BTW, despite the language barrier, the locals are more than willing to help tourists out. This has happened to us countless times during our trip. That’s how nice Koreans are. */ The 7-11 storekeeper even called her mum to confirm what bus we should take and the estimated length of the trip. So we thanked her profusely and dashed to the bus station right away. We forgot one thing though, we didn’t ask which bus stop we should get off at. BLARGS! So our ending: We decided to walk to Namun, following the route of the bus, and mostly having faith on Dale’s remark, walking distance.

As I’ve said, the FARview bit was an exaggeration. It was walking distance. But that’s if you are an Elbizen. Perhaps you can compare it to walking from Vet Med to Robinson’s Los Baños. The only catch was that, temperature was below zero, plus the strong agonizing breeze... heartless. I really thought we would die out there. And this bit is not an exaggeration. The experience somehow reminded me of stories about Jose Rizal desperately puffing thrown cigar butts on the streets just to keep himself from dying of cold. Tip: When visiting Korea (or any country for that matter), do not hesitate spend extra bucks on gloves. And ensure your winter clothing is complete. Trust me. I learned my lesson the hard way.

Getting warm in a diner inside Namun market

Mandoo = Korean dumplings

Yachae = vegetable (not edible)

I think this one is beef soup

And this is beef with cheese filling. Yum! Yum!

Note: If their food has a shade of red, it is spicy^10000

Weeeeeeee!! Fun day, despite the fact that we postponed our Seoul City Bus Tour. The best part was talking to the locals, trying to ask for directions. That way I was able to practice my Korean. =)


Korevia # 3 - /*Not entirely Korean-specific*/ To minimize foreign exchange loss, have your pocket money converted this way: PHP to USD, then USD to KRW. As for me, I purchased US dollars direct from the bank, the exchange rate was favorable that time anyway. And then I purchased KRW in the airport, upon arrival. Note, you should only get enough KRW to last you until you get to the city. Have the rest of your money exchanged in FX booths downtown, KRW is a lot cheaper there.

This is where I made a mistake, I changed a bulk of my peso to won at the airport. And when we saw the exchange rate at an FX booth in Myeongdong, I realized I lost around Php800. =(



bought my USD at BPI

purchased our first set of won at Incheon Airport

And by the way, before I end this, I want to share how our day ended. After we grew tired of roaming around Namun market, we decided it was time for us to go home.

But damn luck we got, none of us remembered to ask Dale which bus route we should ride to get home, and at what bus station we should get off at. To add more insult to injury, the cold breeze was killing us, plus, my body was telling me to sit on the majestic chair, if you get my drift. We were asking around trying to get clues, but to no avail. So we looked for a warm corner and rested.

We got lost again. =(
Maybe the teeny warmth we felt in that corner made our brains work for a second. Telephone Booth! I dashed right away to a phone booth and dialed Dale's number.

Bus 66 or Bus 66-3. Pyeongmuchong station.

{Just in case you expected this entry to be about Seoul City Bus Tour)

For more information about the Seoul City Bus Tour, you may visit these links:


Anonymous said...

funniest... so far. can't wait for LOVELAND entry for you to publicly humiliate yourself :))... I'm expecting unbiased documentation. -shortstride

LONEWULF said...

Hahaha.. Good to know you liked this. :))
Wait, loveland? Humiliate myself? What are we talking about exactly?


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