SEOUL VACATION - GETTING THERE & FIRST NIGHT
I was lucky enough to have a
5 day (paid) vacation within my first month of working so I decided to head up
to Seoul, seeing as I have never been before. I booked my hostel reservation
online for Bebop Guesthouse in Hongdae. Hongdae is the part of town surrounding
Hongik University and is a primo spot for all things nightlife and revelry
From Changwon I rode Gretta
with a backpackers’s pack full of 5 days worth of traveling necessities and
rode to the Changwon Bus Station listening Ray Charles on my iPod.
I buy my ticket to Seoul for
27,000 won and by 10:30 AM I am on the 4 hour bus ride to Seoul. You can get to
Seoul by train for about 30-40,000 won, with it being a little faster, a little
more roomy and having full access to a bathroom (buses don’t have bathrooms).
There is also the speed train that will get you there in 2.5 hours, but that’s
closer to 40-50,000 won. I was on a budget.
|Headed to Seoul|
I folded up Gretta and put
the bike and the pack under the bus. The bus was comfortable offering us HD
Olympic coverage to watch on TV. I
read Jack London’s Call of the Wild.
There were nice views of the countryside to look at.
|Watching Olympic Fencing|
We had one rest stop where
I bought what I thought was some sort of hotdog, but was it actually made of some sort of fishmeal.
To drown out the taste I doused every bite in ketchup, but that coupled with
the humid 85 degree heat just reminded me of hot barf. Needless to say it was a
dissatisfying experience but I was hungry so I ate the whole thing.
I arrive in Seoul at the
express bus terminal. It’s in the 90's and very humid. I get down to the subway and cannot find a full route map.
Not leading into the station, not in the station, not on the platform. The
first time I saw a full route map was ON an actual subway car. Luckily I picked
the right line and right direction (and quickly got a map and an app) and
headed to the Hongdae area of Seoul.
Also Gretta worked perfect on the Seoul
subway. She folds down to about the size of a suitcase. By this time I was hot,
agitated and lost, so I let my social graces down and went (sweatily)
|Sweaty, hot, agitated|
Bebop Guesthouse was super.
I stayed there 4 nights. They had wifi, computers, towels, bikes to rent and
free breakfast. I slept in a room with 4 bunk beds and people from France,
Holland, Australia, Japan and Korea. All for 20,000 a night (less than $20).
|Common Area at Bebop Guesthouse|
MK is a young Korean
aspiring filmmaker who owns and operates the hostel. He’s traveled the world
and speaks perfect English. On my
first night he took me and some other hostel guests out around Hongdae. We got
Korean BBQ and then strolled aroung Hongdae visiting some unique and quirky
shops. I met this Dutch guy Brendan. His mom is a flight attendant so while on break from university he can fly standby for cheap.
|MK, Brendan and hostel guests|
|Toy Cafe in Hongdae|
|Toy Cafe in Hongdae |
Brendon ended up buying a Groundskeeper Willy a la Vincent Van Gough portrait. "I'm Dutch," explained Brendan. "I have to have this."
|Toy Cafe in Hongdae|
|Strolling around Hongdae|
|Art work in Hongdae|
|Shop in Hongdae|
|More food, more hostel guests|
Brendan talked me into going clubbing in Hongdae that night. It
was his last night in Seoul and it was an experience he had not yet had. I was
reluctant at first, but ended up having a really great time. Cheap drinks and no last call. I must have gotten home around 4 or 5.
|Brendan and MK strolling around Hongdae|
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