Korea destinations – Busan

I came to Busan mainly for one thing – connection to Fukuoka. Busan and Fukuoka are so close to each other that you can take a 3 hours ferry ride to reach the other shore. Well, i didn’t do enough research on this, and i presumed that Jeju Air flights are as cheap as it gets, so i booked Jeju Air without looking around. For a half hour flight it was bloody expensive. No wonder the plane was 80% empty! Air Busan also flies the same route, so you might want to check them out as well, if you choose to fly. Anyway, i hate ferry rides.

So, since i was going to Busan for the first time, i had to check it out. In my itinerary, I made no plans to visit the so-called top attractions there, as i figured i would have had enough from my visits to Seoul and Jeju just before. In fact, when i got to Busan, i decided to scrap my original plan to visit the Songdo coastal walk and instead, to go to the Nampo shopping district. Continue reading Korea destinations – Busan

Korea destinations – Jeju

There are literally hundreds of attractions on Jeju island, and if you read travelogues on Jeju, you’ll find that no two are the same. Dokkaebi road (mysterious road) is probably one of the more popular ones. We had a go there as well, putting the car into neutral gear and watching in amazement as the car went uphill on its own. Quite fun.

Dokkaebi Road
Cars lining up to try out Dokkaebi Road. Even from this photo, it looks as if the path is an uphill one.

Continue reading Korea destinations – Jeju

Korea destinations – Seoraksan and Mureung

Odaeyang Hoetjip is a restaurant recommended by the Korea Tourism website, specializing in seafood. They’re located right by the beach.

The recommended combo meal doesn’t come cheap, at 200,000 Won (S$235). It is probably good for 4 adults, and with just 2 adults and 2 kids, it was really too much food for us. Nevertheless, it was a good meal. Continue reading Korea destinations – Seoraksan and Mureung

Korea destinations – Seoul

Seogang bridge
Seogang bridge

My first day in Seoul went as planned, EXCEPT i lost all my photos to a faulty SD card! Thankfully, my better half took some photos, so i’m able to show you some highlights.

Arriving on an early morning flight, the best thing to do, it seems to me, is to grab a bowl of Ginseng chicken. When we arrived at Tosokchon at 10am, we were directed to an empty hall. Within 10 minutes, the hall filled up! If you want to try Ginseng chicken at Tosokchon, you should probably get there before 11am.

Tosokchon Ginseng Chicken
Tosokchon Ginseng Chicken

Continue reading Korea destinations – Seoul

Korea 10.5 days itinerary

Ssang Waterfalls (image from www.meetup.com)

This is not quite the Korea itinerary many people will do. If you read my past travelogues, you’ll notice that i try to cram as much as i possibly can into any trip (in the spirit of Fast Travel), so for Korea, i will be going to all the important/popular sites in 11.5 days, covering Seoul, Seoraksan/Sokcho, Jeju and Busan.

The first and most important travel tip i would like to offer is this – use Korea Tourism Organization’s Visit Korea website (http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/) for your trip research. While doing my research, i gathered information from various sites/blogs, but i eventually realized that everything that is worthy of your time/calories is on the VisitKorea site! i immediately changed my trip research strategy – to using the VisitKorea site exclusively for shortlisting attractions and food places. The information presented on the VisitKorea site is very comprehensive, and despite the disclaimer that “VisitKorea does not guarantee the quality of products or services introduced on its site”, i found that everything listed on the site carries sufficient weight and are basically “disappointment-proof”.

My trip doesn’t happen until May, but as i’ve mentioned before, it’s always a good idea to make advanced arrangements to secure the best deals, such as flights. I booked flights on Jeju Air as soon as they were available for sale, and they’re pretty cheap –  Seoul to Jeju KRW 37100 (S$45), Jeju to Busan KRW 29100 (S$35) and Busan to Fukuoka KRW 88000 (S$105). Japan (Kyushu) is the destination of the second leg of my three weeks trip. So here’s my Korea itinerary: Continue reading Korea 10.5 days itinerary

Renting a car in Korea

You will likely get a white car
Don’t be surprised if you got a white car. I got white for both rentals. Hyundai Avante pictured above.

The car rental business in Korea is somewhat like that in Japan. There are no standardized industry practices. First of all, the local car rental agencies, like AJ rent a car (now actually owned by Avis), don’t allow you to book more than 3 months ahead. Lotte rent a car is worse, allowing you to make an advance reservation only 2 months ahead. If you turn to the international franchises, you hit other problems. For example, Europcar and Avis don’t give you access to extra equipment or services when making the booking, which i do need in my case – child Seats. Hertz, probably the owner of Lotte rent a car, asks you to call to book (probably due to restrictions with booking more than 3 months ahead). Only Sixt allows you to complete the car rental reservation online proper. Even then, because i was attempting to do a one-way rental (i.e. return the car to a different location), i was not given an instant quote but was told someone will get back to me in 2 days, which they did. Continue reading Renting a car in Korea