Saturday, December 22, 2012

Best of Seoul Transit Tour *Pix Heavy Read More

Annyeonghaseyo! ^^ Greetings from California! I would have wanted to do this post right away, but we've been very busy...oh well, my 2012 just got so much sweeter...I made it to Seoul! I love! For a Korean Drama fangirl, this is a dream come true! Anyhow, allow me to quickly back track, remember, I chose an Asiana LAX Flight with an extended connecting flight to Incheon (ICN), meaning about 10 hours. It was a midnight flight from Manila. Incheon Airport is simply the nicest airport ever, deserving of being the best airport in the world. Having said that, it means it's huge so expect a lot of walking from one gate, terminal to another.

Incheon Airport at the wee hours of the morning. 
Thank goodness for walkalators all over. 
Transfer Desk, Rest & Relax Area. Anyhow, the area is huge as I've said! Opposite to each other is Asiana and Korean Airlines gates. Depending on your airline, you'll be at the far opposite side of the terminal. 
Chic & Sassy Tip 1: Please remember to get the brochures, very helpful to know which part of the airport you are located, plus many among other tips and transit tour details.

Chic & Sassy Tip 2: Before anything else, find your gate for your upcoming flight!

I don't have a valid Korean Visa, so I have to avail of a transit tour to pass through immigration. I wrote about the No-Visa-Required-for-Entry government program in detail from my previous post. I made a new friend from the MNL flight. But since she had a shorter stopover period, we agreed to take different transit tours. Together, we searched for the Transit Tour Desk.  The information counter told us, that the desks will be open 6 am. The desks are located on each very far side of the airport terminal, just before you go through immigration for your exit. After relaxing at their uber comfy sleeping chairs, we went to look for the Transit Tour Desk. There was no one yet in the Asiana side. So went to look for the other desk, located at the other end. I chose OMI Tours, as I've read better reviews of it. There were a lot of tour options from the brochure, but for that day, they only offer the Incheon Tour, free of charge, and Best of Seoul for USD $50. We were told to go through the immigration, and at the arrival desk, outside, we will go to its counter. So yes, it was that simple. When I went to the immigration, I wasn't really asked anything specific about which tour I was to take etc. Although, he looked at my US Visa.

Meet Jane of OMI Travel. Their counter is located at the arrival area. 
Incheon Arrival Area is world class...clean, nice, comfy, inviting, name it! Plus it's a haven of stalking Hallyu Stars. *LoL. 
Incheon Airport Arrivals. Such welcoming site indeed! ;-D 
Tour Time

OMI Travel Seoul Transit Tour...Off we go! 
Inside the tour bus. It's nice and comfy. It took about an hour from the airport to Seoul. Since it was a Monday, we were only 7 in the tour group. You can leave your things at the desk, but since I had a laptop backpack, I left it safely in the bus during the walks. 
The Best of Seoul Tour itinerary included a visit to Chenggyecheon Water Stream, the Gyeongbokjung Palace, Insadong Cultural Street, inclusive of lunch at a Korean Restaurant for USD $50. 
Cheonggyecheon Stream. Oh my, the weather was way to cold for a leisurely stroll along the stream.  
OMI actually includes a tour on foot along the water stream, not just a drive thru. 
 National Folk Museum of Korea
Annyeonghaseyo! ^^
Inside Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Heaven for a Korean Drama Fangirl like yours truly! :-D
Main palace with the courtyard. 
Gyeongbokgung Palace Frozen lake
Gyeongbokgung Palace Changing of the Guards Ceremony
I like. Feeling part of a Korean Drama Sageuk live shoot. ^^
Next Stop: Insadong Cultural Market
Lunch was in one of the resto located in one of the alley of Insadong Market. I got Bulgogi. Side dish was limited to four kinds. It was nice, although I could use a whole lot of side dishes since I'm used to having more. But you don't really want to linger on eating, as you will be only given limited time to shop. 
Innisfree along Insadong Market. My main stop. Hello Lee Min Ho! ;-D 
Along Insadong, you will see several Korean Cosmetics Shop (Skin Food, Tony Moly, Etude House, The Face Shop etc.). I quickly went through most of them, got a few items here and there. But since I will not be checking in anymore to the airline counter, I could not buy anything more than a 100ml. There were a lot of souvenirs, I should have gotten ref magnets there instead vs. getting them at the airport for $4 USD each. Shopping post here. ^^

Souvenirs. Korea Couple Ref Magnets.
Overall, this is a highly recommended must do! Ms. Jane of OMI is a very effective tour guide, friendly, informative but not too chatty, and a good English speaker. I tried inquiring Hana's city tour, which was cheaper, and it goes to Myeongdong, but there's no tour guide, and only with the bus driver. Since I was in transit, and I couldn't really afford delays, the guided Best of Seoul Tour of OMI worked best for me. It was such a Seoul-ful experience, something that further fueled my penchant for South Korean culture and lifestyle. I love. Saranghaeyo! ^^

5 comments:

Czjai Reyes-Ocampo said...

So happy for you sis, but I'm like frakkin' green with envy! Waaaah! ^^

Chic Sassy Mom said...

Aww...thank you! ❤ Super dream come true! I'm pretty sure you will have your trip soon too! ❤

aMz88 said...

wah so ingit :)) ganda :D and u look so happy and pretty <3

Chic Sassy Mom said...

Aww...so sweet! :) I am the happiest FanGirl for 2012! Lee Min Ho plus this, Perfect!!! ^^

monica santos said...

My sister is going to korea on feb. ingit ako.:(( I will show your post about your trip to korea to her. Hope I could also go there soon. :)

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Wifey to JB and Mommy to Chasey :) It's said that one's eyes are windows to one's soul. True! My eyes twinkle when I'm happy, they light up with my smile. I’m no frills! I'm easy to read (except during Poker). I easily get teary eyed on practically both happy and sad things. I'm overly emotional! UP,Toy Story 3, and Glee made me cry with delight.My hubby is my source of strength. He balances that side of my personality. He made me a more self-reliant person.I love being a mom. But be it known that I tend to be OC, paranoid, and definitely see my self as a stage mom.I can't help but throw him parties every year.I love to read. If there is a lifetime membership to Book Lover's Club, I've probably signed in as early as Grade 1. I'm blessed to have a special relationship with God. He is my confidante. I practically talked to him anywhere and anytime about anything. I'm a Kapampangan and supposedly known for having culinary skills.This still needs to be found perfected, but for sure, I can say I'm a gourmand!I love to eat and it shows!Oh well!Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder and Happiness is only a state of mind. From today onwards, I intend to live in a Happy Mode!Cheers!