I was honestly ecstatic about my first trip abroad to South Korea! I traveled there with Silvia, my best friend at work who also hasn’t been to South Korea. We flew with Air Asia and it was surely a long flight from Surabaya to Incheon.
But time definitely passed by quickly because we spent most of the time sleeping, and the rest of it was just filled with the pinch-me moments for me. It still felt so surreal to come to terms with the fact that I actually get to fly out of the country for a vacation!
South Korea trip
After we arrived at the airport, we were too busy trying to find ways of getting an internet connection, so I didn’t take that many pictures in Incheon 🥲 But one thing for sure was that this airport is huge and clean! Apparently, Incheon Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world, handling over 60 million passengers each year.
I remembered when I first arrived in Seoul, I noticed that the people in this country know very little English, but they were such nice people! Me and Silvia had these very heavy suitcases that we carried around the station trying to find our way to the hostel, and we couldn’t find any elevator to go up the street.
We were already bracing ourselves to give the stairs a try, and then a kind elderly gentleman came up to us and offered some help. Clearly, he saw us struggle, and although there was a big language barrier between us, he insisted on helping us carry the luggage up the stairs. He was so kind.
I also remembered asking him for directions, and he literally brought us to the closest security nearby and told the staff to help us with the direction. He waited there with us until we actually got to our hostel safely. We were so blessed to meet this kind man!
Since this was both our first time in South Korea, we wanted to visit all the touristy places, so Gyeongbokgung Palace is our first destination. This world’s heritage site is the most popular tourist destination in South Korea. It was first built in 1395, and since then it has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times.
Today, Gyeongbokgung Palace is a beautiful sight to behold, with its intricate architecture and stunning gardens. Located in the heart of Seoul, visitors can explore the palace grounds and learn about its history, or take a walk through the nearby Bukchon Village for a glimpse of traditional Korean life.
Bukchon Hanok Village
Since it’s around the area, we had to also visit Bukchon Hanok Village. It is a village located a little bit to the north of Gyeongbokgung Palace. This village is home to many traditional Korean houses, or “hanoks”. It has such beautiful scenery and has been used as a filming location for many popular Korean dramas and movies.
After the long walk around the village, we came across this street food stall where they sell tteokbokki, tater tots, and coke in a cup. I remember thinking, “Wow, what a brilliant way to sell a snack!” It was delicious, packed with sauces and it was so convenient to eat on the go, we ate them as we continue strolling around the city, going to our last destination of the day.
N Seoul Tower is of course another popular tourist destination in South Korea. It is located on Namsan Mountain in the heart of the city. The tower has an observation deck where visitors can enjoy 360-degree views of the cityscape and its surroundings. There is also a restaurant, cafe, and gift shop located in the tower.
One of the most popular activities at the tower is to put a lock on the deck with your loved one’s name. This symbolizes your love for each other and provides a unique souvenir from your trip to South Korea. At the time, Silvia did put a lock with hers and her boyfriend’s names on it.
I could only watch her putting that lock with slight envy. I’m quite a hopeless romantic, so this kind of thing falls into the cute act category for me. Well, maybe one day I can come back again and put a lock in there with my future partner? haha..
Anyway, that wraps up our first day in South Korea, this country is so beautiful and we only saw 5% of it, I can’t wait to show you more about my trip here! Stay Tune!