Busy Back In Seoul

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
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279
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Trip End Dec 31, 2018


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Where I stayed
Hotel Sky Incheon Airport
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Korea Rep.  ,
Wednesday, April 6, 2011


It is of some interest when your hotel room has an "Escape Rope" complete with mask and lantern. Especially when you are on the 8th floor! I'm not sure if I feel reassured by its presence or alarmed at the prospect of being rescued from the 8th floor by dangling on a rope, wearing my mask and holding my lantern! This is assuming I was the lucky? One of having the privilege of using the equipment, given their appeared to be only one set.

Our hotel is a modern one quite close to Incheon airport for our two nights back in Seoul and a busy agenda of seeing the two more UNESCO World Heritage sights. Although they are at opposite ends of a huge city, seeing them will mean we have achieved all the listed World Heritage sites for Korea.    

We set of just before 7am with the hotel shuttle to the airport, then a bus to take us diagonally across Seoul but bypassing the city centre, then a taxi to our first sight, the Samreung Gongwon (Three Tombs Park) at Seolleung.  Like the TV programme of the same name, our adventure took on a “Race Around the World” feel as we raced from bus to bus to taxi and kept checking the time. Our time was limited because as well as seeing these two sights a long distance apart, we also had a date for dinner with our friend Sue and her Mother in another part of the city again.  

The Three Tombs Park is the burial ground of two Kings and a Queen from the early 1500’s and the era in Korean history known as the Joseon Period. Most of it was closed off to the public, but we were able to get a feel for the history and see the mounds, the statues built to protect the tombs, and the Tomb Keepers house.

Next we had a bit of a hiccup in our “Race Around The World” day. There are two metro stops named very similarly as in “Sincheon” and “Sinchon” and we tried to get by taxi to what we thought was the right one. We travelled for ages not sure whether to bail out of the taxi or trust him as we seemed to be going in the wrong direction for too long. Eventually he dropped us at Sinchon the right one for us to catch the next bus – we had been wrong. Now just how to find the bus station? It was not accessed from the metro station as we had assumed. We asked and asked and got sent in different directions and finally a helpful girl looked it up on her iphone and sent us to the bus stop, where we could catch the bus (number 3000) we needed for our one and a half hour bus trip to the second UNESCO site we wanted to see.  Running to the stop we saw the bus we needed just pulling out! Avan was p… off, but we only had to cool our heels for 15 minutes and along came another and we were finally off in the right direction again.

Ganghwa, our destination, is an island just off the west coast of the mainland and joined by a bridge. It has many historic sites but what we had come to see was the Dolmens. These are positioning of huge rocks pretty similar to Stonehenge. Our bus dropped us at the bus terminal and we found ourselves surrounded by a sea of elderly Koreans and no English assistance anywhere. Eventually we found taxis and successfully communicated where we wanted to be taken.  

The Korean Dolmens date back to the Bronze age and the main capstone of the one we came to see is estimated to weigh 70 tonnes and was somehow placed on top of two portal stones. Pretty amazing feat for the bronze age. A brand new museum has been constructed at the site and enjoyed the exhibits before heading to a bus stop to begin reversing our journey. two buses later and two hours of traffic jams and our “race around the world” was running out of puff. We jumped of the second bus near the Gimpo airport and then discovered that there was a new direct express line that was not on our subway map and it would take us right to where we were to meet Sue and her and her Mother for our last night out!

A great night out of eating authentic Korean food was had and a great chance to chat with Sue’s mum (through Sue interpreting) before our last trip of the day, by the new airport express line back to our hotel. Our day had seen us travel on five buses, two taxis and two metro trains and we managed to see and do all the things we wanted. Mission accomplished!

Now it is off to Chengdu China for two nights then to Tibet.

Footnote: Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty and the Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa Dolmen Sites are all UNESCO World Heritage listed. [note Gochang and Hwasun sites not visited]

Travel Tip: The airport subway link is the best way to get from Airport to Airport or either Airport to Seoul. The train is fast with minimal stops and cheap. Locals seem to prefer the bus so this train is also uncrowded, a definite thumbs up. 

My Review Of The Place I Stayed



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