Tuesday, October 13, 2015

10 Cool Things About Seoul.

Hello guys! So you might or might not know that I recently went to Seoul with James. No? Well here is some proof that we went to Seoul. Y...

Hello guys!

So you might or might not know that I recently went to Seoul with James. No? Well here is some proof that we went to Seoul.
Yes. Holding a Lonely Planet guide book is the epitome of proof that you have travelled to any given country. Anyway, because James and I spent 5 days in Seoul, we are practically natives. Yeah yeah. I'm aware that I'm not the foremost authority on Korean beauty products, Korean food, or  K-Pop. So if you want to read more about Korean beauty reviews, cuisine, and the whole entertainment scene, you can go somewhere else. But if you want to read something entertaining...here you go!

#1 Incheon Airport is meh.

HAHA I say that I'm going to tell you 10 cool things about Seoul and I start by saying that the airport is meh. But really, the Incheon Airport is the second best airport in the world, which is a cool fact I guess. Anyway! This was probably the first exchange we had after we decided on heading to Seoul.
Yes. I am the definition of cool. People rave about the shopping, the food, and the culture, and I'm there getting all hyped up about the airport. Well in my defence, I track news on the World Airport Awards and come on, the airport does look pretty amazing.
(Via Buzzsharer).

But looks can be deceiving. It's a very unimpressive airport IMHO. We flew in at 6 am and Starbucks had yet to open. And we flew out via a midnight flight and all the stores were closed. IN THE SECOND BEST AIRPORT IN THE WORLD.

And the most ridiculous thing was that the tax refund counters. I still don't understand how this can be the case. Especially in a like you know, award winning airport. How dare they deprive me of the joy of getting $5 credited back to my credit card.
(Via Giphy).

Yes so here's my verdict of Incheon Airport. In the words of Shania Twain ofc.

#2 There is an awesome rollercoaster.

Presenting the T Express in Everland!
(Via Wikipedia).

James was damn excited to go to Everland because of the T Express. And also because Everland was one of the very few theme parks that his sister hadn't been to before him. Anyway, the T Express, according to my wonderful research (aka Wikipedia), is the world's fourth steepest, ninth fastest, fourth tallest, and sixth longest wooden coaster! 
Check out the freaking 77 degree drop!
The T Express was also the first wooden coaster that James and I had taken. And uh, here are some very glamorous shots of us on the T Express. Because you know, NPNT.
Do you like my photo? I am very inclined to caption it "me and my pretty face". I got the photos from a video that James filmed using my HTC RE (review here). The quality was awesome! I say "was" because I accidentally deleted the video from my phone before transferring it to my computer. So here's a low quality version of the video which I thankfully shared with James via WhatsApp.

Yes very bimbotic of me to delete the video, but no, that was not me screaming.

#3 You can walk everywhere

It's true! You can walk by a stream.

In traditional villages.

Down precarious looking sheltered wooden walkways.
(Taken at Everland).

Through parks.

By the road.
In the middle of the road.
The list goes on. In fact, the only time we took public transport was when we were going to Everland. We took the bus from Myeongdong to Gangnam, and changed to another bus which took 50 minutes to get to Everland. And then we took the bus back to Gangnam and walked from there. Oh and we also took the train to and from the airport. But other than that, we just walked everywhere.

Way. Those of you with fitness trackers might be interested to know that I clocked a total of 187, 850 steps in 5 days. That's an average of 37, 570 per day!
Oh and just in case you doubt that I did any walking, here is a picture of me in the middle of the road.
And also yes, James spent a lot of the time turning around and going...
It's a good thing I'm so likable or James might have just walked off and left me in Seoul.

#4 Seoul has damn a lot of slopes.

So you know, I'm like, slightly above the average height in Singapore. Which means that my legs aren't particularly short. I mean I wouldn't say no to 5 additional cm of height, but I can do without it. Mostly because I use my sharp wit to come up with creative ways to overcome challenges which come with my height, or lack of it.
Then here is James who is much taller than me.
And also everyone else. Which is fine. We usually go on these long walks (which I truly will blog about one day) and I can keep up just fine. EXCEPT IN KOREA. WITH ITS FREAKISH NUMBER OF SLOPES.
Because my legs are so much shorter than James', I need about like 3 steps to make up with each of his strides. And he kind of power walks when he goes uphill. Faster and with longer strides. I cannot. So here are some photos which James took of me walking uphill.
But it's okay to let him wait for me. Because you know what they say - good things are worth waiting for.

#5 It's filled with coffee shops.

Seriously. There's like a coffee shop on every turn. No, make that two coffee shops on every turn. Which invariably made James extremely happy.
Now he can no longer accuse me of being the only crazy person who goes around clutching at pipes and hugging random poles.

#6 They don't sell Coke Light.

The Koreans may sell lots of coffee. But they really have to step up their Coke game. Most places sell only Coke Zero and not Coke Light. And as most of you know, I love my Coke Light.
But never fear fellow Seoul-bound Coke Light Fans. For Jac has located possibly the only place n Korea which sells the sacred drink - in the Myeongdong Daiso.
And here's a map to help you out! You're welcome guys :)

#7 There's very good network.

I wouldn't know, because my phone was on airplane mode the whole time. Yes I know. Very uncharacteristic of me. I decided about two years back that my phone should always be on airplane mode whenever I travel to minimise me getting calls from stupid idiots who insist on calling me when I'm on holiday to escape from the very same stupid idiots.
(Via tumblr).

But James on the other hand, had to work. And was on the phone a lot of the time. And he was able to get a signal everywhere we went! From the streets of Myeongdong to the step slops of Mount Bugaksan!
Yeah it's very sad. Some people just have to learn how to let go of their phones and learn to not be so dependent on technology to survive.

#8 It's surrounded by a wall.

It's true! The city of Seoul is encircled by a wall.

I'm only mentioning this because I spoke to about two people who gave me extremely blank looks when I told them that I had climbed the Seoul City Wall. They had not heard that Seoul was surrounded by such a wall. And both of them had been to Seoul a couple of times each. Mind you, one of them went there to propose to his then-girlfriend now-fiance so I guess he had more important things on his mind than climbing some random wall.
(Via Picslist).

But yeah, Beijing isn't the only city surrounded by a wall. Seoul is surrounded by a fortress wall which was originally built in the 14th century.
And you can walk along it!
There are also gates along the wall which you can visit. James liked Sukjeongmun, or the North Gate the best.

You have to climb halfway up the freaking Mount Bugaksan to get there. Lonely Planet said that it was one of the routes less travelled, and it's easy to see why. Let's just put it this way - if you hate walking/moving/sweating/the outdoors, then it is best that you stay away from this trek.
It's okay if you miss out on it though. I really don't think that many people have done it. Not even the person who wrote about it in the Lonely Planet guide for Seoul which James spent most of the trip pouring over.
You see, Mount Bugaksan overlooks the Presidential residence, and the area was closed off after the North Koreans scaled the mountain in an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate the President in 1968. The South Koreans reopened the route in 2006, but the area still remains under strict military patrol. This means you have provide the military with your passports at the start of the route (which is halfway up the mountain). Lonely Planet left out this bit of very essential information. It's a good thing that the safe in our room wasn't working, or we would have climbed all that way up for nothing.

And yes, I'm quite serious when I say that James spent lots of time pouring over Lonely Planet.
Oh and this is my favourite gate - Changuimun aka the Northwest Gate.

It came after our 2 hour trek up and down the mountain. And yes, that is James reading Lonely Planet.

#9 There is a building that looks like agar-agar.

It's found on Gavit, an island which is part of the cluster of floating islands known as Some Sevit.

I cannot help it. It really does look like rainbow agar-agar.

James really liked the agar-agar building. I don't know why. I suspect it has something to do with making up for his lost childhood, and also that all the ancient historical monuments in Seoul seemed to be refurbished/renovated/restored in very recent times. Which greatly upset James.
Like this wall which was built in the 14th century and restored in 2006. This essentially makes the wall younger than James, which was possibly part of the reason why he was displeased.
And here you can see why James likes to call me short. Aside from the fact that I am very good natured of course.

#10 Toilets may be hard to figure out.

Though it might sometimes feel like it, I don't think I'm the stupidest person in the world. I think I have the mental capabilities to figure out how to use a toilet. But even I had a bit of trouble with these panels. Because you know, there are so many buttons and I don't read Korean. 
What happened to toilets with just one lever for flushing man?! It's a good thing I can read Chinese or I would have never figured it out. Also I observed that all the toilet related signs are in either Korean and Chinese, or Chinese only. I wonder why is that.
Perhaps it's Korea's way of welcoming all the Chinese people to their country.

Okay and now I have come to the end of my list of cool things about Korea. I am sorry if you wanted to read about the great shopping and eating that you can do in Korea. But we spent 5 minutes shopping and we're not that fussed about food. But if you want, here is what I think about live Octopus. Food review. Like a real food blogger. (Pls be warned that my voice is rather annoying and sharp).

And James and I also had fun eating all sorts of weird Korean ice cream everyday. It was very exciting because it's not something we do on a regular basis. Well, unless I am trying to annoy James while he is working out of course. Then that's different.
Yes so anyway! Korean ice cream. I would also like to point out that we have eaten bingsu. Which I understand from my foodie of sister, is highly sought after in Singapore. So please feel free to be jealous everyone!
Okay. I have no more to offer on Korea unless you want to buy me drinks. Also it's time for me to go to sleep. So here's a good hip-hop song with lots of Korean influences.

And also haha this post is dedicated to James who took me to Seoul. Any typos within this post were made specially for you because I know how much you like picking out all the errors in my blog entries.
❤ Jac.

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