In the morning of 8th July, my dad sent us both (and Clara’s mom) to Changi Airport to catch our 12pm Scoot flight to Seoul via Taipei. After checking in, we chilled at McDonalds’ for a while before entering the departure gates, waving goodbye to Clara’s mom!
Once through, we proceeded to get a salted egg yolk burger and spicy nuggets from the McDonalds’ inside the departure area, which we would sneak onto the plane later (no to overpriced airplane food) and then made a beeline for the sunflower garden! Sadly, it was raining then and so while the sunflowers were bright and full of cheer the sky was the exact gloomy opposite.
We then tried to play the Playstation 3 at the lounge but since our boarding time was almost up we didn’t make it past the introductory cutscene (there’s always another time!).
Before long, we were on the plane. As there happened to be an empty seat beside mine, the lucky doggies made it their own (them sitting on the vacant seat probably raised a few eyebrows but it doesn’t matter)! There was a sense of excitement in the air, as always with imminent journeys, but also a tinge of fear. A super typhoon made landfall in Taipei that very morning. However, we read that it was moving southward and we prayed that it would be gone by the time we reached Taoyuan International Airport.
True to our prayers, the air at Taoyuan was surprisingly still when we arrived. We set foot in Taiwan with a sense of accomplishment, having consumed our burger and nuggets out of sight of the air stewardesses, and began our search for dinner.
The boarding lounges at Taoyuan all have interesting themes, and as we walked past them, we spotted a few cute characters to pose with!
We got sandwiches from Great Food Town (a set meal cost 150 TWD and came with salad and drinks – good value!), and then scooted back to our boarding gate for the second leg of our journey.
The flight to Seoul from Taipei was much shorter, and we arrived earlier than expected, at about 9.30pm local time (one time zone ahead of Singapore). Immigration was painfully slow, as another flight full of tourists from mainland China landed at the same time. We queued for a total of 45 minutes.
Our initial plan was to take the Airport Railway Express (AREX) All-Stop Train to Hongik University station and then switch to subway line 2 to reach Sinchon, but since we feared the same experience jostling with other tourists, we opted for the pricier Airport Limousine Bus 6002, which would take us directly to Sinchon. It was very easy to locate the buses, as they were all lined up along the road outside the airport. A trip costs 10,000 won, and we were supposed to pay the driver at the door, as we found out from a helpful man!
The bus took roughly an hour to get us to our destination and we made our way to 24guesthouse Seoul Sinchon (not to be confused with 24guesthouse Sinchon) rather easily. It was half-past-eleven by then, but there were still quite a number of people hanging out on the streets. Like many guesthouses, 24guesthouse Seoul Sinchon shares the building with other tenants, including a noraebang. We made our way to the lobby of the building and took the lift up. Thankfully, a guy was awaiting us at the reception. He passed us our keys and left shortly, presumably to return home. Thank you for waiting for us, even though we didn’t get to know your name!
Stepping into our room, I was taken aback by its size, but it wasn’t long before we got accustomed to it. I would even say it was cosy. In fact, it was quite a bit of space by guesthouse standards, as we would find out later. 24guesthouse Seoul Sinchon only commenced operations very recently (in June 2016), so we were delighted to find the room clean and free of smell! We ate our ‘imported’ dinner from Taipei and washed up. Since it was so late, instead of heading out again, as per our plan, we decided to rest for the night!
And with that, our first day in South Korea came to a close!