Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 1 - On The Way to Seoul, Incheon & Songdo City

October 22, 2009 (Thursday)

My friends and I were bounded to a place I’ve only dreamed about. Never in my life did I imagine that I would go to South Korea at 24. Truthfully, Seoul or South Korea or Korean wasn’t even in my vocabulary before 2006. My experience in Beijing has sparked that curiosity to appreciate the people I meet along the way.


This trip was an experience of many firsts for me. It was the first time I would travel abroad with 3 of my old high school friends. It was also the first time I would spend so much of my savings. It was the first time I chose to travel “alone” after the tour (I scheduled to extend my stay a week later and explore more of Seoul with my Korean friend). It was also the first time I planned and executed my own trip from start to finish, eventually skipping most of the planning and just going wherever I wanted to go or eat at that moment. It was during this trip when I realized that I wanted to travel for as long as I live and appreciate everything around me from the people to the culture to the arts to the food and whatever I encounter. Thus, this blog was born as part of that experience. I remember that I would jot down specifics and my thoughts on a piece of paper during the trip. These notes would eventually be my guide when I recount the wonderful experiences of this trip. I have continued writing and experiencing life like this from then on.

Documenting all these information in a blog was hard for me. The hardest part was wanting to write about something perfectly that I stopped writing it midway and proceeded with my other easier trips first. This time, I said, I would write about this life-altering trip as I do when I travel – with only an end in mind, a beautiful experience to look forward to and an unexplained enthusiasm into my post. I plan to create a masterpiece post, one that will alter or give a guiltless glimpse of a Korean way of life. Of course, my experience is not absolute. I could only attest that it was truly one of the ultimate travel stories of my life.


Incheon is around 5 hours by plane from Manila. It is located near Seoul and it houses the Incheon International Airport where we landed. First and foremost, this was going to be a 4D3N Seoul trip with my friends arranged by a travel agency and a 2D1N Seoul extension with my friends only. I will speak of the “I-asked-to-be-left-alone-and-make-the-most-of-the-trip-with-an-extra-1-week” part on the 5th day. In a nutshell, I believe that I got the best of everything (the planned tourist spots inside and outside of Seoul and the unplanned local scene tour of Seoul). I was glad that I went on the planned tour because it would be hard to get to the places we went to without a carefully planned out itinerary since they were mostly outside of the main city. I was glad that I arranged a time to rediscover myself and I found my passion for traveling, culture and arts rekindled because of the latter part of my Seoul trip.

It was a smooth, smooth ride aboard Asiana Airlines. Korean time was 1 hour in advance so we reset our watches to +1. It was also a comfortable ride on a pre-arranged tour bus. 


We passed by the Incheon Grand Bridge on our way to Seoul (it was the longest in Seoul and 6th in the world according to the guide). Dinner was tagged as Pork Bulgogi and it was unlimited (I was a little surprised that the food was, in fact, only Pork Bulgogi). 


The place and food was probably a common restaurant for busloads of tour people. We were served with side dishes, kimchi and seaweed with rice. I swore the food they let us eat didn’t seem Korean in taste and presentation at all. Well, so much for all the food that will be served as part of the tour for the next few days. I was resigned to the fact that we have better Korean food in Manila than actual Korean food in Korea by the 5th day.

We stayed at the Benikea Premier Songdo Metro Hotel. New Songdo City is near Seoul and it is part of a master plan development to attract more foreign investments to South Korea. One attraction I’d like to visit someday is the Noodle Museum. Read more about Songdo here.

Special thanks to my dear friends for the memories, the good company and the pictures!

Read more about Seoul in Korea (you can find Busan in the labels):
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 1 - On The Way to Seoul, Incheon & Songdo City
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 2 - Nami Island & Mt. Seorak Near Seoul
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 3 - Mt. Seorak & Everland Near Seoul, Dongdaemun Market in Seoul
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 4 - Seoul City Tour - Kimchi-making, Hanbok-wearing, National Folk Museum, Cheongbuk Palace, Myeongdong, Drawing Show at Hyehwa, Banpo Bridge
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 5 - Lotte World (tour ends here), Seoul Tower (start of our extra day), Teddy Bear Museum, Myeongdong in Seoul
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 6 - Hyehwa, Gangnam, Insadong in Seoul
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 7 - Sinchon, Korean Universities in Seoul
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 8 - Namsangol Hanok Village, Namsan Stairs, Nanta in Seoul
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 9 Part 1 - Deoksugung Palace, Doldam-Gil, Tteokbokki Street in Seoul
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 9 Part 2 - Cheonggyecheon Stream, King Sejong Story, Samgyeupsal, Coffee Prince Cafe
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 10 Part 1 - Making Kimchi in a Korean Home, Korean Hospitality at its Best, Korean Grapes & Persimmon, Kimchi All-You-Can, The Peppero Story at the Supermarket, Ramen Eaten 3-Ways, Pojongmacha
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 10 Part 2 - My Best Foodie Experience in Seoul!
Unforgettable Seoul '10 Day 11 - Bossam Day, Incheon International Airport Activities