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    Thursday 8 September 2011

    Day Two – We finally arrive

    Just after midnight Turkish time we boarded and took off from Istanbul. It’s a flight lasting a little over ten hours, flying throughout the night. The flight wasn’t too full and rather comfortable. We had noticed another Irish couple from the first flight on the bus that brought us out to the plane. The seats, whilst small and an odd light green colour, did however recline by moving forward and back, making best use of space.

    Breakfast on the plan. Veggie.

    Vinnie trying to get some shut eye!
    We landed exactly on time at 3:30pm local time into Incheon Airport, on an Island some 1-hour outside of the Seoul itself. In fact it’s a whole separate city. The Seoul underground network runs one third of the county connecting several cities.

    There is no need for a visa to enter South Korea. The entry process is quite seamless and took minutes. Very short queues. Our bags where one of the first to come out, taking them it only sunk it, we are in South Korea!

    Arriving into Seoul. This bridge connects Incheon with the the mainland.

    In the arrivals area we used an ATM machine to take out some South Korean Won, the local currency. It wasn’t straightforward. You even get to choose how many of which note you want as part of the process. Next we picked up a T-Money card, a prepaid card, using contactless technology. You buy it for around 2,500W (€3) and top it up with cash. You can then use it on public transport, taxies and food stores. We picked up the card in a 7-11 in the arrivals area.
    Vinnie at the one of the exhibits in Incheon Airport

    Patrick at one of the exhibits at Incheon Airport
    Getting into the city, you’ve a few options, Taxi, Bus, Airport bus, express train or local train. We opted for the local train. It only takes 10 minutes more then the express train and costs less then €3. But it is a long journey that took us over a rather long bridge connecting the island to the main land itself. We arrived into Seoul Central Station, connected to the subway and made our way to the area we thought our hotel was. Alas we were wrong, we ended up some 2km away from the actual destination thanks to a misplaced Google reference for the hotel. We’ve been left lost in the past thanks to Google. Thanks to having an Internet connection on the phone, we were able to consult the hotels website and opted to walk to the hotel.

    Our hotel is located in the middle of the royal palace area. A great location too. Very built up. It’s an apartment-hotel again, meaning it’s serviced, has all the amenities of a hotel in addition to your own Kitchen and washing machine etc. The hotel has a fantastic gym and rooftop decking complete with roof swimming pool and BBQ areas.

    We took in a nighttime stroll around the area to get a sense of it. We stocked up our fridge thanks to Homeplus Express (Tesco Express), which even stocked Tesco own branded products. We called it a night early due to the jet lag and utter exhaustion of the previous two days of travel.

    Downtown Seoul at Night
    Tips from today:

    1. Pick up your T-Moblie wallet/card at any of the 7-11 stores located in the arrivals. You can even top up there any then saving you from having to do so at the train station.
    2. The cheapest way into Seoul we found was via standard commuter A train. It takes a little over 40 mins, arriving into Seoul Central.

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