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Thursday, February 11, 2016

One step up SEOULcity: Work visit to Seoul: Part 2/4

*scroll for picture at the end
17th January 2016 
No not yet at Psy and big bang. Infact, I did not explore Klive(digitalization at its best) this time but the up-beat tempo was in the air.
Incheon International airport welcomes me each time with the ever-smiling staff, convenient infrastructure and huge area with white aura. Yes, very visible white aura. I felt at home, as T2 reminds me of Incheon international airport. I remember when T2 was inaugurated and we did a just-like-that round up drive there. I jumped up in my car seat and said, “Hey! it’s like SeoulCity”
So, I easily connect to the airport wi-fi and do a quick facetime back home. S.Korea is so advanced in technology that I think that the whole country is wi-fi’ed.I have always been connected. Trains, buses, shops, hotels, offices are all wired well. There is also an option for the tourists at the airport to carry the portable Oleh wi-fi egg shaped device. This is not very expensive. All one has to do is buy the device with a deposit and use it for the stay. This will come handy to use google maps to navigate. Taxi drivers, locals usually will need to know the Korean name.
I did not need a portable wi-fi device as I was mostly at the hotel (indoors) and with my Korean colleagues. Just my wi-fi enabled phone worked well.
Ah, btw! One can also get a rental phone with some cost effective call rates from the airport.
What I did at the airport is here…

  1. Collected my baggage.
  2. Short 2 mins train shuttle ride to the main part of the airport
  3. Put-on some thermal inners in the well maintained locker rooms, these are as good as a 5 star locker room arrangements
  4. Exchanged currency
  5. Took out my Hollister Parka and wore it. Has been my savior
  6. Walked out to get tickets for KAL-Limousine
Btw, I spotted quite a few Indians. I am sure it’s mostly because of LG, Samsung, Hyundai. Obviously! Eh!;)
There are 2 airports at S.Korea and I have always landed in Incheon.I think the other one is a domestic airport.Not sure though. Incheon Int. airport is at the outskirts; it takes about an hour to reach Seoul. One can hail a cab directly or opt for more convenient option like KAL-Limousine services. The information desk can guide you to the gate numbers where one can find these buses. The staff at information desk obviously can speak in English.
Tickets are available at the ticket booth outside the main entrance or with the attendants who are very helpful and try to understand English. Not very expensive, I am sure they cost lesser than travelling in a cab. My ticket costed me 16000 KWN.
KAL-Limousine is Korea tourism operated bus services. They are very well managed, economical, safe and frequent. The hotel that I was staying in was one of the stops, infact the last stop for the bus. So, all I had to do was pass on my bag to the attendant which was stowed safely and take my seat with big expansive windows. The bus information system was effective as the stops were announced clearly in 3 languages. English, Korean and Japanese. Moreover, the driver of the bus was aware of the stops. Even if you fall asleep, that's no worry. The bus stops at the designated area and the driver then helps passenger to take their luggage out. Very methodical and the right approach).You can get more information on www.kallimousine.com. I picked it up from my ticket. With my seat belt on, I waited eagerly to check-in to the hotel, grab a bite, put some nice winter fashion on and explore the market on what’s new!! I told you, I was fresh as a dew even after my long flight.

The first evening in Seoul
I was in hurry to be in Myeong-dong. For the memory of the endless shopping, I did on my last visit. I knew the shops like the back of my hand there. I was in hurry to be there for the street food. I was in hurry to be in that shopping district to feel the wind blow when Seoul is chilly. Shopping in Myeong-dong is an experience, which should be in your bucket-list! The neon signs boards glowing and making it lively, the women standing outside these cosmetic shops enticing you with their respective brand’s famous mask-sheets to enter their store and buy, some head-turner-portable stalls of Korean street delicacies at display. Crowded lanes in sub-zero temperature, four-storey tall stores and high-end shops. It is all there happily intermingling with each other. Not sure, if it as famous with the locals but for the tourists it is one of the must visits. Just for people watching, shopping and immersing in all the vibes.
What happened after I reached the hotel is here in bullet points… Read on to get a feel of a quick evening at Seoul’s most sought after shopping area, Myeong-dong
  • I arrived at my hotel to quickly check-in, We have usually had our conferences and office visit stays at the Grand Ambassador Hotel,Seoul. This is a Pullman associated hotel centrally located to the main attractions. All about 10-15 mins drive away. The likes of Itaewon, Myeong-dong, Namdaemum and Dongdaemun.
    • The best part about this hotel is the shuttle bus service to Myeong-dong and Dongdaemun. I have always taken that to get dropped.  But, shopping is so consuming and tiring that on my way back, sinking in to the cushy seats of a cab has been the only therapeutic option.
  • Made myself a cup of hot steaming coffee, dressed up for the evening out and took the shuttle to M-D. Oh1 before that requested the hotel guard to click a picture outside the hotel and he happily obliged.
  • As soon as I was dropped at my stop at M-D, the first whiff of those egg-pies(Gaeran Bbang) made me go weak in my knees. Hence proved! Food is what drives my travels. Well, I just dint stop at Egg-pies, I tried on more which was on offer. Like Gimbap, sausages etc.. I could not stop admiring the sturdy carts neatly stacked one after the other in a line. As if, their area was marked by a chalk on the floor. These carts were placed right in the middle of the roads making the street look like two separate tiny alleys with cosmetic shops and clothes shop on both sides.
  • That is when I started to feel the cold and 19th January (which was in 2 days) was forecasted the coldest day of Korea with minus 14. If you have read my blog on Korean chill, you will know that the actual preparations for this kind of winter was half done. I was there right infront of Uniqlo to pick up Heattech. Must check out the kind of options available. And woah! It saved me the chill. All the claims of this product is true!
  • Some more wandering the streets all covered up left me greedy for more time there but my jet lag had kicked in by then and I had a long next day. With a heavy heart, I took a cab flashed the hotel card to the driver and spoke in some sign language to reach the hotel in 15 mins.
  • Sharing some pictures which I took when I was not stuffing my hands in my parka pockets and getting them warm.

    A selfie from the window in my hotel room

    Outside the hotel


    A typical frame of MyeongDong

    One of the street food carts

    The Korean pretty Collars


    I should have layered the hand gloves also 

    Random

    Happy Valentine's Day. xoxo
     
    Surely the skin food
     
    I am self-proclaimed direction dyslexic but the way from the hotel to M-D and back is what I know by-heart!
    Catch you all soon with some tid-bits from Day 2 in Seoul. This will mostly comprise of food, catching-up and the trailer to what was awaited on day after. The Magic!

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