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A Quick Escape to Seoul

by becca on April 26, 2010

En route to San Francisco, we had a 10-hour layover in Seoul, South Korea. When we arrived, we checked into our 5:15pm flight and hopped onto bus 6005 to the city. On our way there, we kept feeling like we were cheating the system, visiting a city where we were supposed to be confined to the airport. In our short escape from the international terminal we got a great overview of the city by riding the Seoul City Tour Bus. We cruised around the city, feeling lame for just sitting there and taking photos out the window, wishing we could hop off to explore the National Museum, the War Memorial, the beautiful Namsan Park exploding with cherry blossoms overlooking the city, and the many palaces. But, we were still being adventurous considering how cracked out and tired we were from traveling/not sleeping.

My friend Rachel, who grew up in Seoul, gave us some recommendations and time allowed us to explore two: Myeongdong and Insadong. Rachel enticed us to Myeongdong with the following description: super trendy tokyo like area. Awesome for shopping and people watching and good cheap food. It’s always really crowded here and super energetic. We felt a little bit of this, the shopping looked unreal, but it was Sunday morning and wasn’t really in full swing yet. We did have a really delicious steamed bun/pork dumpling thing. Turns out that Insadong — like an old timey area with lots of antique stores and just a nice place to walk around. Also lots of good tea shops! — was the place to be on Sunday afternoon, when cars aren’t allowed on the street and the place is just alive. Everyone is so fashionable, even the kids have nice clothes and cool haircuts. We ate what was maybe the most delicious meal of our entire trip here, BBQ beef with all the Korean accoutrement… mmm, kimchi!

Seoul is a beautiful city, and one that I hope I can go back to visit properly. As we made our way back to the airport, we caught the bus half an hour later than planned and rode back with the anxiety that we’d miss our flight. Our worries melted away as we breezed through the modern and efficient Incheon Airport and caught our 9.5-hour flight to San Fran with no problems.

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