Friday, January 6, 2017

Korea Autumn November 2016 - Busan and Seoul Itinerary

Last November 11 2016, I together with the Myanmar people (less Noel) went to Busan Korea for another first time adventure. We booked with Cebu Pacific during one of their sales, paid about P6875.42 per person with food and luggage. They only have 1 flight schedule to busan MNL to PUS 16:00-20:50. We also booked our accommodations with Uniqstay Hostel and Suite through Agoda. Total cost of stay was P30,526.32 for 3 nights for 2 rooms that fit 4 people. Only cost us P3815.79 per person for 3 nights with daily breakfast and internet. So awesome.  But R and I decided to extend our trip to Seoul so that we can revisit Seoul again. We booked another 1 way ticket from Seoul to Manila via Air Asia for about P5000 per person, booked our accommodations with D7 Suites through Expedia for P11329.48 for 4 nights 2 people. We also brought along P44000 / 1M KRW worth of pocket money for this 8 day trip of 2 people. Not bad I would say. So adding up everything from airfare, accommodation, food, gifts, activities... R and I spent around P85000 for 8 days 2 people. Not bad. Not bad, its like we spent P5000 per day per person in korea.

Upon arrival at Gimhae International Airport, we rented a pocket wifi. Then we took the train to Seomyeon subway station and took exit 7. It took awhile before we found the hotel, it took a lot of asking around and looking at google maps. Upon arrival at past 11 PM, we were welcomed by a very warm receptionist. She checked us in and even recommended where we can eat dinner. She said that the local busan delicacy we have to try was a beef porridge. She showed us where it was on the map and we followed it. The place was pretty huge and you cannot miss the sign. As with any korean only restaurant, communication was very challenging. We could not understand how the food was to be eaten. Good thing an old lady server was very sweet and she tried to help us mix them condiments so that we can it busan style. It was not memorable for me and the taste is not different. I do not understand why this is a delicacy. 

After dinner, we went back to the hotel to rest. Our room for 4 people consisted of 2 bunk beds. each with their own pillows, comforters, towels, bedside plugs. As you can see from the photo we also have individual cabinets and a small dresser. Our room has a nice air condition unit large enough to cover the room, it even has a hair dryer. The bathroom is large enough and has a nice shower with heater. Its a good room at a very great price. 

Uniqstay room
For breakfast, it was a daily changing buffet. You can get cereal, salad, fruits, coffee, juices, yogurt, and toast. They have a daily special which can be pancakes, sandwiches, etc... It was a very cute experience. They serve the dishes with heart. I was very excited taking photos of the eating area since the designs were so thought of.

Time to head out. We went to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. We took the train from Seomyeon Station to Haeundae Station, then we took the transit bus from Haeundae Station 해운대역 to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple via the Bus 100. Took about an hour and 30 minutes. The path up the temple was lined with lots of stalls: food and souvenirs. We munched on a few on our way up. We saw several statues and the view was pretty. My favorite was when we went near the waters. The perspective from that site was pretty neat.

Amazing view of the temple by the waters

disclaimer: not my hand
For lunch, we took the bus and train back to  Haeundae Station. We ate lunch at a korean restaurant. We ate some really really spicy stew. We then went to a nearby mall, ate Bake cheese tarts and food at their food court cause some of us still want to eat. hehe. And strolled at the Haeundae Beach and watched a live boyband doing live performance, and comedic magic shows. It was a good sunny day. R and I headed back to our hotel while the rest stayed and went to Gwangalli Beach. I took a nap since I was not feeling well. While the others continued to Gwangalli Beach.

really spicy stew
Bake Cheese Tarts
light bulb moment
The cool thing about Uniqstay was it has a digital key that guests can use to get in the hostel. So it feels more secure since its not open to everyone. The digital key numbers is written on the room key. So after a nap, R and I went to a nearby fancy korean grill place. We ordered their premium beef and some ordinary beef so that we can try. Sadly it did not taste spectacular, and the bill was high. With our tummies a bit full, we decided to head back to the hotel for a night's rest.

Day 3, breakfast was sandwiches. We then took the train from Seomyeon Station 서면 to Toseong Station 토성 Exit 6 or 8. Then we took the bus to Gamcheon Elementary School. The bus stop was near the PNU Cancer Center, bus numbers Saha 1-1, Seogu 2 or Seogu 2-2. Upon arriving, we followed the crowd and arrived at Gamcheon Culture Village. It was originally a slum area, but they beautified it with local arts and murals. There were a lot of picturesque areas since it was colorful and a lot of street food to try. We also bought several souvenirs from the place since a lot were locally made. One very interesting piece I bought for my father in law was the nose hair clipper. It was really on point and did not have any sharp edges. Cool korean product. For pre-lunch snack, we went into one of the cafes and ordered hot chocolate and porridge. It was a great feeling to warm up the tummy. More strolling around until we decided it was time to eat lunch. For lunch, we headed to Nampo-dong Area.


Little Prince

enjoying the company

At Nampo-dong, while looking for a restaurant. R and I bought some street food snack to munch on. One in particular that looked so delicious was the bacon with cheese bread. It looked yummy but tasted bland for us. Bought giant chestnuts that were not juicy.

group shot

We then reached a corner right side sold a korean mix rice experience while across was a katsu place. R and I decided to try the korean mix rice while the others went to the katsu place. R and I enjoyed our food, the serving was generous and we had a great experience in trying out this new dish called kongbul. Basically, you just mix everything on the very large pan that they will give you and the price was not bad. We enjoyed this place.

After lunch, we strolled around the area for shopping. Around 8 PM, we went and look for dinner. For dinner, we ended up with a korean grill place. It was really heavy. Though the meat was not great, it was alright to fill our tummies and just right for the economical price we paid.  It also came with some pasta on the side which was yummy. Afterwards, we went to Starbucks for some coffee.

Starbucks Chill
Last day in busan. My friends will have their flight later in the evening. It was rainy this morning, so we decided to buy umbrellas from a convenience store, but as soon as we purchased them it stopped raining haha. We took the train to Beomeosa Station then took the Bus No. 90 and get off at the Beomeosa Ticket Office bus Stop. From there we took as much photos as we can. It was beautiful, the leaves were of different shades. It was really lovely. 

At around lunch, we had to bid each other farewell as R and I had to separate to take the KTX to Seoul while my friends had to prepare for the evening flight. We had our lunch first nearby the Uniqstay hostel, it was a chicken place. As usual, R ordered their most complete dish. which was too much for 2 people to finish. We left with so much food unfinished. :( The taste was not bad nor good, it was average, we think people eat here for the serving size.

After the meal, we checked out from Uniqstay and took the train to Busan Main station. Purchased the latest KTX train to Seoul, we were lucky to get seats from the train departing 10 minutes from now. We purchased 59,800 krw per person for the train. It was a comfy ride, and I just slept through the whole ride. Upon arriving, we purchased snacks from the Seoul station and took the train to Dongmyo where D7 suites was. Checked in and ate our dinner while watching korean TV. But sadly things got a bad turn, when we realized that the air conditioning in our room was off instead we had our heater on. We woke up in the middle of the night sweating. We called reception twice for them to give us the air condition remote but they would not. They suggested for us to open the window instead, which was not a good idea since it was noisy outside and insects were getting in the room. After another 30 minutes of failed sleep, we went down personally to reception and demanded the remote. They reluctantly gave us the remote since it was supposedly winter and we did not need an air condition. Anyway, once we got to the room and turned on the aircondition, we were able to sleep comfortably and soundly. 

Day 5, seoul day 1. I was not feeling well so R went out and bought some beef soup for me. It was our breakfast. After resting, we went out for a stroll. We went to the Secret Garden for some traditional tea, then to Ssamsaegil to buy local souvenirs. There was strong winds, we had to enter the top deck cafe to warm up and eat some food. We ordered the pasta in a toilet bowl. Strolled around some more until we reached several stores, we ate a giant cheese tart and ate a risotto dinner at Slow Park. R really enjoyed his risotto. Then for dessert we ate chocolate sundae cone from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Went back to the hotel to sleep.

Day 6, seoul day 2. We took the train to Hong dae for a stroll. We ate breakfast at Pho Bo ordered their beef noodle. Then saw a Studio Ghibli store, we purchased some souvenirs. Then ate lunch at Seoga and Cook. We ordered their set menu that came with risotto and steak. It was plentiful and delicious. We then went to DMC to experience innovation, but sadly we were hugely disappointed to be met by a very few exhibits. For dinner, we ordered at a nearby restaurant by the hotel. R ordered his noodles while bibimbap and grilled meat for me. 

Day 7, seoul day 3. It was comfort day for us. We ate brunch at our favorite grilling place near D7. Ate at our hearts content. Then we went to Myeongdong to stroll and of course buy Isaac toast. Shop until dinner time. Then for dinner we ate at a local dumpling restaurant at Dongdaemun. Then it was a 1 hour outdoors walk along the Cheonggyecheon stream until we reached the lanterns festival. After we saw the whole parade, we went to the nearest train station and headed for dongmyo. Packed up and slept.

Day 8, seoul day 4. We woke up early to head towards the airport bus stop. It was a good ride and I slept for the whole ride. Upon reaching the airport, we checked in without issues and returned our wifi from busan. Then ate at the food courts to our wallets capacity then boarded the plane and bid farewell to Seoul.

I told R that this trip was enough for me, I will take a break from my korea trips and focus on other countries. I look forward to having more adventures! Happy tripping!