Brace yourself as the posting about South Korea would be in series!
I have tons of stories to be told, stack of photos to be shared and some tips and trick to explore South Korea, or in this particular case, is Seoul.
So, bear with me!
Day 1: Jakarta – Kuala Lumpur – Incheon – Seoul (Itaewon and Cheonggyecheon stream)
I had a trip to Seoul for 7 days, from 13 – 20 November 2014. I purchased the flight from Air Asia with the bound route of Jakarta – Kuala Lumpur – Incheon. The basic cost for the return tickets was around USD 300 (excluding the travel insurance and baggage); quite normal fare I must say, as I bought the ticket just 3 weeks before the departure. I already posted here about the Korea Visa. So, please take a look. It should be straightforward though. However, if you still have another question, just drop the comment. I’ll definitely try to help!
On 13th of November, I arrived at KLIA2 around 11.30 PM. At that time, I still had around 8 hours transit in Kuala Lumpur before departing to Incheon in the next day. During my transit, I prefer to take a rest at Capsule by Container Hostel rather than sleep over on the airport’s chairs. I was little bit tired though. In addition, the Container Hostel is also perfectly located in KLIA2. No need transportation at all, except for 8-10 minutes of walking. The hostel is similar with the container hostel which is already famous in Japan. The rate is based on hours; 3, 6 and 12 hours. I paid 70 MYR for 6 hours stay. The facilities are just so effective and efficient, and they have separate capsules for female and male.
Inside your “capsule”, there would be an electricity socket, hanger, internal phone (which is very helpful for ‘wake up call’ service), comfortable pillows, bed and blanket, lamp, towel and curtain. For the curtain, some people might favorite it, as it gives you a little bit privacy. But, as I felt uncomfortable to be ‘locked’ inside the small capsule, I didn’t put my curtain all the way down.
Please be prepared that due to this is a transit hostel, there would be many people come and go anytime. Some people might have considerations, but some others are just too ignorant. Bring the earplug together with you (or you can also rent one) to avoid the noise. Therefore, you could sleep comfortably without any disturbance.
On the next day, I continued my flight from Kuala Lumpur to Incheon. It took ~7 hours and I arrived at Incheon around 3.25PM (local time). It was a nice journey anyway, because I also met another traveler from Malaysia who was sitting right next to me in the airplane. Apparently, he was also in the same flight with the other 2 Malaysians. Later, we decided to go together.
In Seoul, I stayed at Sp@Itaewon Hostel for couple of days before I was hosted by an Indonesian host who lives in Seoul. I met her based on Couchsurfing. My experience about Couchsurfing so far, it really needs patience to look for the right host. As you might send some applications and also get rejected. Or some other requests are left hanging. It was lucky for me to meet the Indonesian host, whom is coincidentally the friend of my friend.
My review for Sp@Itaewon Hostel: it is great location nearby the Itaewon subway station. Just 5 minutes walk from the exit 1 and little bit climb up to the hill. I chose this hostel as it has different room for female and male, and it has a lot Halal restaurants nearby. Although when I was there I don’t really like the bathroom. It doesn’t have separated bathroom for male and female. But, the hostel staff is very helpful and friendly. He originally comes from the Netherlands, so we could easily have conversations about the Netherlands as I ever lived there for 2 years.
At night, I spend some time to stroll around Cheonggyeocheon stream. Because, on November, they have the lantern festival along the river. I should admire their spirit to make a new tourist attraction though. Based on what I read over the internet that long long time ago, the river was dirty and full of less prosperous people. But, the Korean government changed it, put some plants and decoration here and there, and now with the lantern all over the river, it looks way much better. In case you are curious, the lantern festival is held for commemorating the culture of Juseon Dynasty; the last dynasty before they changed to Republic of Korea.
Here is the photos of Lantern Festival in Cheonggyecheon Stream.
The last photo is a gate of which I forgot to photograph the gate’s name. I just finished strolling around the Cheonggyecheon Stream then I spotted this beautiful gate nearby.
Anyway, more posts and photos to come.
So, stay where you are, readers!
Direction and Tips:
1) Be aware, that the AIR ASIA flight from Jakarta – Kuala Lumpur always arrive at KLIA2 Pier P or Q. Proceed to International Transfer counter to confirm your connecting flight.
2) To go to Capsule by Container Hotel: from the Arrival Hall, proceed to the Immigration counter then walking straight to Gateway@KLIA2. Continue your walk until you find the “Transportation Hub L1”. The hostel should be in the corner and would be really visible. You can’t miss it.
3) As you already proceed the immigration for your stay in the Capsule Hostel, means that “you arrived in Malaysia”, and therefore for tomorrow’s flight you also need to redo the immigration procedure to “leave Malaysia”.
4) Please be aware, that ATM in KLIA2 is off during midnight. They will operate again around 5 AM.
5) To buy the T-Money, from the arrival hall of Incheon International Airport, go to the gate 10 where you can find the convenient store GS25. The T-money price is 3,000 KRW and you can reload the balance either through the vending machine (which also has English language option) or at the convenient store such as GS25, Family Mart or 7/11.
6) The all-stop-train fare from Incheon International Airport to Seoul station is 3,850 KRW.
7) The fare for 1 route (one time tap-in and one time tap-out) of Seoul subway is 1,050 KRW. No matter how many stations you have traveled.
8) At the Incheon Airport, don’t forget to go to Information center to take a tourist guide book for FREE!! Trust me, the book is very very helpful. Not only containing the touristic places and maps, but also helps with you with the most feasible itinerary! Here is the look of the guide book!