Arrival in Seoul

August 9th, 2008 § 1 comment

It was a strange thing to wake one morning in a Mongolian ger in the countryside, and later that night be going to sleep in a giant urban city such as Seoul. A true experience of traveling from one extreme to another and an eye-opening reminder of just how small our planet really is, when a few hours in a plane can transport one from the dinosaur age to the future. Sound overly dramatic? Perhaps, but that’s how it felt…

With the airline snafoos in Mongolia, accommodation has been a bit of a problem as we canceled our reservation in Korea when it appeared we wouldn’t be here as planned, so when we actually did arrive on our original flight, we didn’t have a place to stay. Not usually a problem as we traveled most of Asia in this way… arriving unannounced, sometimes in the middle of the night, in search of room in a string of towns visited from Calcutta to Ho Chi Minh City. We called a bunch of guesthouses (budget range) from the airport and everything was booked… summer = lots of students traveling I think. Eventually we found a place that had 1 small single room and 1 dorm bed, so we agreed to take the beds and then proceeded to get into a type of taxi, called mobeom, that here in Korea charges double for a supposed ‘nicer’ ride. We ended up paying $120 for the taxi ride from the airport!

Having been on the move all day, with a ‘surprise’ flight from Hovd to UB in the morning, and then barely arriving in time for our connecting flight to Seoul (plus, they’d canceled us from the flight for some reason, too… had to fight our way on), we finally got here at 9 pm 2 nights ago. Ben and I shared the single bed last night having given up the dorm bed after night 1, and we found a nice little home stay in a nearby historic neighborhood where we’ll move today. In a few days, we’ll head out of Seoul, and into Me No Speak territory (the countryside and less international cities).

Since arriving in Korea (apart from the joys of reentering the modern world, with paved roads and hot showers… and, er, something on the menu other than mutton), we have been wondering why more people don’t visit. We love it so far. The people are friendly; the place runs smoothly; the aesthetics are attractive. We’re staying near an area known as Insadong, and our home stay is in a ‘hanok village’–hanok is the term for the traditional courtyard-style buildings and the hanok village is preserved, historical neighborhood. Just our type of place…

§ One Response to Arrival in Seoul

  • ghwang says:

    Moebum’s are expensive! You can take the KAL Limousine bus from any major hotel for a small fee. Tickets should be available at the hotels when you want to head back to the airport!