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July 22, 2016

안녕하세요KOREA ! Whirlwind trip to Seoul

Well guys, I finally made it over to Korea. It's only 50 minutes by plane from Fukuoka to Seoul, but it has taken me five years to book a flight. Now I finally have a great excuse to visit - one of my best friends moved over from Japan to Seoul at the start of the year. Cheap flights, lots of great food and new sights AND a chance to hang out with Mina in her new home? Yes, yes & yes! 

It really was a whirlwind trip - I landed at Incheon Airport on Thursday evening, had the full day Friday to explore, and left after lunch on Saturday. My eyes were occupied from the moment I hit the ground - lots of things felt familiar, similar to Japan, but the colours & vibe of Seoul are totally different. Seoul is really colourful! There's well designed and interesting signage everywhere! There's  a great plastic fantastic vibe with street markets, plastic flags and banners strung across sidewalks. People seem more casual and are very friendly, but of course there's that language barrier reminding you at each exchange that you are in a foreign country and understand nothing. at. all. It reminded me of the entry-level gaijin I was when I arrived in Japan (and also reaffirmed me how far I've come with Japanese). Luckily my guide Mina can speak Korean well, so I was saved from the embarrassment of mumbling out poorly-pronounced Korean phrases. 

The food was just as amazing as everyone who has ever visited Korea said. Kimbap sushi rolls, Naengmyeon cold noodles, street foods like spicy Tteokbokki, amazing teas, Patbingsu shaved ice... everything we ate was wonderful. The shops are cheap and plentiful. There's so much great stationery & make up that I couldn't decide what to buy half the time from too much choice. 

Shall I gush some more, or would you prefer to skip to the photos?

As follows: eating Kimbap at the airport on arrival, exploring & shopping in Hongdae, wandering the traditional backstreets in Jongno, shaved ice in Insadong, Dongdaemun Design Plaza (after our visit to the insane Dongdaemun night markets), neighbourhood produce markets, and bits and pieces from the final morning before I flew home. 

So much fun だよ!The biggest 감사합니다 thank you to my Seoul mate (!! can't resist the pun!) Mina. I had the best whirlwind trip to Korea! xx

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