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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, November 8, 2018
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Sojourn in Seoul

Ninfa Leonardia

Probably one of the busiest times to travel was the last week of October as it fell on a long weekend plus the holiday in the country. It has been months since we planned the trip with family and we had to consider budget fares, safety, and a tour package worth the time and best for the family.

Coming from a tropical country where one visitor would describe our climate today as wet, wetter, dry and drier, we wanted to make this vacation an experience worth remembering: Visiting a country with a cold weather. Indeed, it was already cold when we took off with typhoon signal number 1 at NAIA for a four-hour flight to Incheon, South Korea.

First, we booked tickets, then applied for visas and after having been approved, we started preparing our outfits, which included winter warm touch-screen gloves, winter bonnets, jackets and boots for women with comfortable inner shirts and scarves, plus lip balm to relieve chapped and dry lips. Always be sure to wear good comfortable shoes and bring first aid medicines for the family. Zip-lock plastic bags can be handy.

Korea is one hour advance compared to the Philippine time. The airport is clean, comfy and you get to have a short ride by train to the boarding area after checking in. Travelling is hassle-free when you weigh your luggage and prevent excess baggage fees. Be sure to hand-carry your power bank and batteries and read instructions carefully. Have a separate handbag for your passport and tickets and other travel requirements and identification cards when travelling. It saves time and stress. I get to be stressed out when digging into my shoulder bag for papers and IDs especially if it doesn’t have proper compartments.

We arrived around midnight, we passed through quarantine first, filled up a paper where they asked about your health, if you check one of the questions then they will take your temperature, give you a number to call in case you feel sick. Immigration was okay; they printed a small paper instead of a stamp which states how long you are allowed to stay in the country. We picked up our luggage then a man with a welcome sign met us at the arrival area. The moment we stepped out of the airport towards the bus, we felt the cold; it was like going inside a refrigerator.

Coming to Korea was exciting as I really wanted to wear a Hanbok aka the traditional South Korean dress. In Korea, we say the family name first before the first name.

Myeong-dong is a famous shopping district for casual dining. Namsan Seoul Tower is great at night to be able to see the well lighted city, Nami Island, Hongdae for youthful shopping and nightlife with the must-visit Trickeye Museum, the first augmented reality museum in the world. Everland is also a must-visit, we were there on All Saints Day and some areas had zombie-themed attractions, it’s a theme park with lots of rides, a safari world where we were able to watch a sea lion show, met the flamingos, monkeys, birds, and pandas. We had fun with a rotating house. There was also a parade of cartoon characters and had a choice of meals provided in European-inspired restaurants.

Seoul is a must-visit for the family and even the young where we learn so much, be it infrastructure or culture, and love the cold climate. Indeed, we had fun with 77 other Filipino visitors on a group tour to experience autumn in South Korea.*

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