Last week, we visited South Korea for four days and three nights. As we wanted it to be a budget-friendly travel, we used the extensive public transportation Seoul had to offer and stayed in a motel. Of course, I had a side budget for possible hauls - in case I saw products that would be very hard to ship to the Philippines. Thanks, ERAP. /s
Note: I am the type of traveller who does not take too much pictures. I don't know but I feel taking pictures spoil the "moment". All I have are potato quality ones, too.
|Roof of a rather plain structure in Changdeokgung Palace's|
Secret Garden (to the disappointment of my companion
is not the Korea-novela)
We got around the city using the subway and integrated bus systems. The whole let's-use-the-public-transport thing is COOL as I believe the city is best get to known this way. However, I had elderly with me (they knew stairs would be frequent), and so it was difficult for them, plus they had the attention span of a 5-year old so it was crazy to keep them from getting bored during commutes.
|I belong: Countless times during that brief tour, I've been spoken to |
in Korean, for obvious reasons as seen in this selka
(what they call selfies there)
We visited Changdeokgung Palace, sat around Yeouido Park eating the best friend chicken I've ever tasted (no exaggeration there), got into a Han River cruise, explored Nami Island, took photographs of giggling senior citizen at the Trick Eye Museum, had coffee in a cat cafe (someone please bring this concept here in the Philippines), visited a Korean family and had a grand lunch, and of course went shopping in Namdaemun Market (for the folks) and Myeongdong (for me, haha).
|"Why can't we have this in the Philippines?", I asked myself|
as I recalled the savory chicken we just ate.
The weather was very pleasant at 10-20 degrees Celcius for me and my husband, whereas my mom and mother in law were trying desperately to hide their shivering during the first night - they did not want to wear proper clothing because they did not want to carry heavy jackets. My skin though felt quite happy with the autumn season - emollient sunscreen not melting off the face, sweat and heat not aggravating my pores. Skin heaven!
|"Why can't we have nice things in our country?", I asked|
myself as I still thought about the chicken.
Apart from the nice weather, I noticed there was significantly less pollution in Seoul as compared to what we've been used to here in Metro Manila. There is also less private vehicles, but more taxis instead bring the traffic to be as long as the stop light says red. People just really use public transport. I even saw really glamorous ladies ride the subway. As an engineer, the city's transport system itself is a tourist's marvel for me. Plus, the underground stations had a Missha or Nature Republic in them somewhere, so yeah.
|Yellow trees are marvelous too. And so are the|
ahjummas with their good skin.
My wallet had been suffering due to a 30% sale I took advantage of in one of the underground Missha's (they're very cheap yo, like 300 pesos cheap), when on Day 3 we visited Myeongdong. OH MY GLOB. All of the Korean skincare I could ever want is in that locale, and it took a lot of willpower to not overspend on products I will probably use months from now (just kidding, I'll be back in April...prepared). Did I mention they had cat cafes and dog cafes?
|Yes, I'm jealous. The cat may sleep during its shift!|
And they're not to be disturbed.
Finally, during our last day, we visited a Korean family who felt like our family's "Korean version" and had the grandest lunch ever. The tables were crowded with plates, and I enjoyed it so much! Later that day, we also had enough time to check the Duty Free Shop in Incheon International Airport. A secret from me to you: some brands like Shiseido / La Mer are miles cheaper compared to their prices here. For example a Shiseido eyelash curler is priced around 800 pesos in the airport's DFS, which when purchased here would cost one 500 pesos more.
|"Did you make that mess? You human tourists!"|
I really enjoyed the brief stay in Korea - totally worth the time (I missed my work, huhu) and money. Hopefully, my school schedule would make it possible for me to go back in April. I can't wait!