Flight, Stay & Trip Planning – Seoul 10-13Nov2016

Day2 - autumn colours nami island, chuncheon

Day2 – autumn colours nami island, chuncheon

wife & i left for seoul 10-13.11.2016. ^^

our brief plan was to catch whatever autumn colours there still was, and to do a day hike at bukhansan.

and of course to eat & eat & eat! later nami island was added to our make-shift itinerary. ^^


wife waitlisted a SQ redemption flight & had a confirmed flight notification on 3.11.2016. she told me flights were available & i went online & managed to also get a redemption flight, and we were flying in a week on 10.11.2016. taxes etc were S$404! but then economy tickets were like S$1800, S$2000!

among the more hasty of our trips i guess! 🙂


wife booked a Airbnb studio at hongdae 弘大. it was just 20m from hongik station exit 2! 🙂

hongdae i guess is the cheaper neighbourhood c/w insadong or myeongdong.

it is a youthful neighbourhood of live cafés and clubs, art markets, and gourmet eateries with indie bands street performancs & a popular hang-out for local youth, a fascinating place to walk around.

wife booked one extra night on 13.11.2016, as our flight was 12.35am. this very important as we want to have a room to return to, to bathe etc before leaving for the airport around 9pm. the extra night just S$90/night, & with cleaning & admin charges total about S$495 for 4 nights.

we were arriving at 7.35am seoul time. travel by AREX commuter train to hongik station is 50mins (see below on transport). we had 2 handcarries no check in so we estimated we would be in hongik about 9.30am, and we were about right!

the Airbnb apartment is accessed by code, but the airbnb host agreed to meet us at hongik station to bring us to the apartment. we were lucky we could check in immediately as apartment was empty, but otherwise we would just leave our luggage.

they (our airbnb host sorin & zero) used line in korea so we downloaded line apps & messaged them about the arrangements.


there is a AREX (Airport Railroad Express) commuter (all stop) train 11 stops from incheon to seoul station.

very convenient for us as we plan our airbnb at hongik on one of the stops. it’s about 50mins travel time & 3850won.

wife was in seoul with daughter the last time, so she knew about getting the T-money transportation card, useable on AREX, seoul subway & buses

Wifi – Staying Connected 

Seoul is the most connected city in the world with wifi everywhere in airport, shopping & eating places.

still it is useful to be able to connect with Airbnb host, search for subway maps, information on destinations, read blogs & reviews.

google no map data & functions in korea! 


naver map is only in korean.

we have a mifi, and was debating whether to get a sim card at incheon, whether we have to queue & wait etc.

anyway we decided to get the starhub happy roam.

Starhub use SK Telecom. network was ok. overall experience not so satisfactory, not all that Happy la!

we bought a S$15 Starhub happy prepaid sim card which has S$18 credit. paid S$7 for 1GB plan for 7days (we needed 4days) & had S$11 credits remaining.  we arrived 10.11.2016 morning & by 11.11.2016 late morning, data was depleted???? not just the 1GB deplete but the S$11 credit also? so does that mean the $7 paid for 1GB data or just access to 1GB while the remaining S$11 is paying for the actual data usage????

we didn’t figure out why but anyway we top up S$20, which supposed to come to 2GB bonus. yet it showed no data available until we bought another 1 GB for 3 days for $5, so we bought another 1 GB ie S$10 for 2 GB in case it used up too quickly again & we have to take out/put back the starhub prepaid sim card to load again.

So troublesome & so unclear what is paying for what???

so in total we used S$35 instead of S$7 for 1 GB for 7 days (I don’t even use 1GB for one whole month in singapore!!!)

anyhow it sufficed for our purpose until we find a better alternative.


our plan was to have lesiurely visits to the autumn colour spots, plus a 1 day hike at bukhansan. ^^

so that’s visiting-

  1. changdeokgung 昌德宫& secret gardens biwon 秘苑
  2. & the smaller changegyeonggung (east palace) next to biwon
  3. gyeongbokgung 景福宫
  4. namsan park
  5. bukhansan itself; & lastly we added
  6. nami island 南怡岛in chuncheon春川

so we just need to research the places we visiting, how to get there, & to cluster the places for efficiency in traveling time.

there is also weather to consider & how crowded the trains & places would be.

we decided to go nami island on friday as it may rain (cannot climb bukhansan if rain), also less crowded & to go bukhansan on saturday.

anyway everything turns out mostly ok, with the short & limited planning. we had a compact (did many things) yet very relaxing & enjoyable short holiday, and also captured many beautiful autumn sceneries! ^^

c.h.e.f andy