Travel Diary: Trip to South Korea Part 1 – Arrival

If I were to list all my dream destinations, South Korea would be up there in the top 5. I’d always wanted to go there but never really made it a reality because I thought the visa process was much too complicated (It’s totally the opposite though! I blogged about my visa application process here.)

A couple of months ago, on my birthday week, I finally realized my dream and spent 6 days in Korea. 6 days is too short to fully enjoy the place, but that’s all I had so I had to make do.

Day 1: Arrival

We (my friend and I) arrived through a Cebu Pacific flight at around 8:30 pm on October 30. Our first stop: renting a pocket wifi. We chose LG (there are other options) and the lady quoted us W39000 for our entire stay. They got our credit card information, but didn’t charge until after we returned the unit.

We hadn’t eaten dinner so we looked for somewhere to eat inside the airport and found a Korean restaurant where they served Bulgogi. After eating, we went to the information counter to ask how to get to the guesthouse we’re staying at which was in Gangnam.

Going to Gangnam from the airport

The easiest route (not the fastest) was taking the 6009 bus. We were told to hop off at the Nonhyun station and walk about five minutes to the guesthouse location. We purchased our tickets through the vending machines which only took credit cards (no cash). Our tickets were at W15000 each. The estimated travel time was 1hr and some minutes, but because it was late at night, there was very little traffic, so the trip took less than an hour.

Walking at night in Gangnam

I was hesitant to take the trip and really was considering spending the night at the airport instead because I didn’t want to walk at night with all my luggage. I didn’t have any idea what kind of neighborhood our guesthouse was in, no matter how many times I tried looking at it through Google maps. But I was pleasantly surprised that even at past 11, the streets of Gangnam were dotted with people hanging out after a drinking session. Aside from the really cold weather, our short walk was enjoyable. I was giddy with excitement!

Halloween scare?!

Our guesthouse’s reception was only up until 11pm. We got there at 11:30pm and the door was closed and there were no people in the lobby. As the doors were glass, we could see what’s inside, there were blood splatters on the floor and there was a bit of a mess. Moments later, a police car arrived and out came the owner (?) of the guesthouse and his face was all messed up. It was obvious he took a serious beating and the blood on the floor was most probably his. He was escorted by two policemen. He checked us in, and then went out again together with the police. It was bizarre and scary and we almost wanted to back out but it was late and we were too tired to care.

First night, done.

All in all, it was an eventful first night. We took a shower as soon as we settled in our room and called it a day.