Seoul Spring 2016 - Vacation Day 1

Posted by Nadia on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Filed under: , , , , , , ,

This year's vacation destination? Seoul, South Korea! Seoul is known to be equally beautiful in all four seasons. We chose Spring and I highly recommend this time of the year especially if you are travelling with toddlers. The weather was beautifully sunny and temperature was just a little chilly (between 9 - 15°C). Coming from a place with 37°C on average with high humidity, Spring weather in Seoul was heavenly. We get to skip all the winter clothing and yet the cool breeze makes it comfortable for us to walk around.

Travelling Tip #1: Always check the weather forecast. This is important for clothing choice, and choosing the best place to visit according to the weather that day. It was expected to mostly rain in Spring so I planned the trip to Nami Island on our second day, when it is predicted to be all sunny. And it was!

Ibis Ambassador Hotel, Insadong

Ibis Ambassador Hotel Insadong
We stayed at Ibis Ambassador Hotel, Insadong. Getting to the hotel was fairly easy. You can use a taxi from Incheon International Airport at a hefty price of  65,000 (RM228). Or you can use the second option that we took, using Airport Limousine Bus. Sounds intimidating but it was very easy and only cost us 10,000 (RM35) per person, free for children age 4 years old. Our luggage was tagged and placed in the bus cargo compartment.

When you reached the arrivals of Incheon International Airport, just walk to the left and you will find the Airport Limousine Bus counter (opposite the Information counter). Get Bus #6011 heading to Anguk Station in Insadong. After purchasing your tickets, you can wait for the bus at exit number 5B. The bus intervals are 30 mins so you won't have to wait for too long. Get on the bus and enjoy the ride!

Waiting for our bus
Bus #6011
Anguk Station
Once you reach Anguk Station bus stop, the hotel is just a 10 mins walk. Here's a simple map on how to get to the hotel from Anguk Station. The rain just stopped when we arrived, the temperature was down to 9°C!

Ibis Ambassador Hotel Insadong is next Paris Baguette Bakery. You won't be able to find the hotel from Google Street View, it's probably not updated yet.

Travelling Tip #2: We arrived at the hotel at 11am which was too early to check in our rooms. Join their Accor Hotels membership for free and you will get an early check in.

Hard Rock Cafe Seoul

We rest for a bit then started our day walking around Insadong street and tried some street food before heading to the nearest subway station to go Hard Rock Cafe Seoul which is located within the 5th Floor of Lotte World Mall in Jamsil. We traveled around Seoul mostly via subway during our stay. Cheapest, and most convenient. Unfortunately, not mostly convenient for strollers (I'll talk about this in a different post).

We installed the Subway Korea app beforehand (download here: iTunes / Google Play) and this has to be the most useful tool to get around the subway stations easily. It tells you the fastest route to your destination with the estimated cost. We were fortunately never lost thanks to this app. So I highly recommend getting this before your trip to Seoul.

Next, get our T-Money cards! T-Money is a transportation card used to pay for subways, public buses and taxis. When using T-Money, you will be paying 100 cheaper than when paying with cash. We bought our T-Money cards at a 7-Eleven store nearest to our hotel for 2,500 each and loaded each card with 10,000 which was sufficient for our 5 days stay. 

Learn more about T-Money here.

Jamsil was very, very far from Insadong. It said in the Subway app it would take us about an hour to go there, and it seemed easy to transfer between stations. We started our journey being excited and very optimistic, and reached Lotte World Mall exhausted. Transferring between stations was tiring. So plan your journey well if you are travelling with your kids. 
I don't blame her for being grumpy because of the long ride and transfers
Finally at HRC Seoul!
We finally found something to cheer her up. Lots and lots of Pororo!

We made our first stop at Hard Rock Cafe Seoul and Zech got his drumsticks (he collects HRC drumsticks wherever we travel) and walked around Lotte World Mall. Too exhausted from the journey and too hungry to care, we move forward to our next destination - Yang Good Korean BBQ Lamb Restaurant for an early dinner.

Yang Good Korean BBQ Lamb Restaurant

I skipped this place altogether when planning for our Seoul trip. Mainly because of the distance being far away from Insadong. However, just one day before our flight we saw youtube videos of their grilled Lamb and some really great reviews we just had to revise our plans and made the trip all the way to Gangnam just to try it out. And because we thought we have traveled all the way here, we might as well stop by HRC at Lotte World Mall which is just a station away from Yang Good.

I know I sounded like I regretted my decision of going all the way to Lotte World Mall, but it is really doable. You can do it. Just not on the day when you just arrived after your 6 hours flight. Just don't.

Anyways, good news for Muslim travelers - Yang Good Korean BBQ Lamb Restaurant serves halal meat! So if it has been days since your last meat consumption in Seoul or you are a fan of the good ol' lamb, drop by Yang Good for a set of delicious BBQ lamb. Be prepared to spend a little extra here. An average meal for two could go up to 50,000 (RM175). But trust me it was worth it. It was so so good.

Here's a simple map on how to get to Yang Good and the directions.

Directions to Yang Good: Go to Yeoksam Station Line 2 (Exit 6). Walk straight all the way until there is a KFC on the left, then turn left. Walk straight down the block untill there is an intersection that allows you to turn right, turn right. Walk straight until you see Nonhyeon-ro 95-gil, turn left.

After our dinner, we went back to Yeoksam Station to head back to the hotel. 14 Stations and 1 transfer later, we finally reached our hotel super tired. Need to wake up early the next day because our bus to Nami Island leaves at 9.30am!

That pretty much sums up our first day in Seoul. Vacation Day 2 entry coming up next!

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