We flew to Incheon via Korean Air Flight KE648, departing at 11:00am and arriving at 6:35pm. As mentioned in my previous post, the main reason why we chose this tour is because it has a morning flight. It was less tiring when we began our tour on the second day.
Our tour guide met us at Incheon Airport. We also met with our tour mates, there were 16 of us – such nice number! Our group size is ideal and not too big.
Then, we boarded our coach to hotel. The weather was sooOoo good! At night, the temperature was 13°C and windy – it felt like walking under a giant air-con. May is the end of Spring. Besides October, it’s one of the most pleasant months to visit Korea.
The journey to our hotel took about an hour. By the time we checked into our hotel, it was almost 9pm already. We quickly went out to fill our growling tummies. We walked straight into the first eatery that we saw. Turned out, it was KFC fried chicken. Hah!
There we go – fried chicken as our first meal in Korea! ^^
Our first night was spent at Koreana Hotel. This is also the hotel that we stayed at the last 2 nights of our tour, so I’ll share the pictures of the hotel room in my last post.
Breakfast was on our own, we ate some bread that we bought at the convenience store. Our tour guide picked us up at 9:30am. Our first destination was Dongdaemun (东大门) – Korea’s largest wholesale and retail shopping district. Opening from 10am till 5am the next day, this is the place where you can shop NON-STOP!
Dongdaemun shopping district is made up of 2 main sections – the retail shops and the wholesale shops. And the best time to visit is after 10pm when the night markets are up. You can enjoy the bustling street food stalls to replenish your energy while you shop.
We reached Dongdaemun at 10:30am. Our coach dropped us outside Doota Duty Free Store, and we were given 2 hours of shopping time here.
Much to my surprise (and completely unexpected!), I came to this place on the first day of my tour. The day before I flew to Korea, my Taiwanese friend called to inform me about the “Descendants of the Sun” special exhibition at Doota Duty Free Store. I assured her that I would not miss it.
I hustled excitedly into the store. Floor by floor, I finally found the exhibition at Level 7. I went crazy for a while! It was such an eye-opener!
The exhibition includes several life-size panels of Song Joong Ki, exact replicas of some scenes in the drama as well as live-screening.
There are so much more in the exhibition. I was completely mesmerized! ^__^
So, we got a prelude to shopping at Dongdaemun on our first day, and we planned to visit the place again at night on Day 8, which is our free & easy day.
We went for lunch and head to Gimpo International Airport to catch our flight to Jeju Island. We boarded Korean Air KE1241 flight, departing Gimpo Airport at 3:30pm, and arriving Jeju International Airport at 4:40pm (1hr 10mins).
Jeju International Airport is much bigger than I’ve expected. It was also crowded and packed with tourists, in fact, it’s even busier than Gimpo International Airport.
Our first destination in Jeju Island is the Jeju Mysterious Road. Lies on a hill at the foot of a mountain, it has earned its name as objects appear to roll up the hill instead of down, when in fact, such image of gravity defiance is an optical illusion rendered by the seemingly high surroundings.
Our driver demonstrated to us how “mysterious” this road is when he put the gear to Neutral and released his foot from the accelerator at the starting point marker. Surprisingly, our bus really moved uphill and continued all the way until the end of Mysterious Road. Yes, it’s MAGIC!
Next, we visited the Jeju Ice Museum. At the entrance, visitors are given heated blankets as the temperature inside the museum was -5°C. It was freezing cold!
Jeju Ice Museum
Address: 1320, Yeon-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, Korea
It exhibits the best sculptures that elevated the ice up to the state of art. It also provides an amazing experience for visitors to feel the ice sculptures. The ice sculptures are so beautiful. What I like most was the beautiful ice castle with ice bed, ice sofa and ice table. Our tour mates enjoyed the ice-sliding too.
There is also a small-scale Trick Art Exhibition at the same building.
We spent the night at Jeju Oriental Hotel. It’s a five-star hotel with a casino at the lobby. Our room is spacious and very comfortable.
Jeju Oriental Hotel
Address: 47, Tapdong-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, Korea
To be continued at Day 3 – another lovely day spent at Jeju Island. 🙂