I’m pretty sure that there are a fair few people who have also used this title for a blog post about Seoul, Korea…but oh well, I don’t have to be original all the time!
My most recent work trip took me to South Korea, a country I’d never visited before, but was very excited to explore. The flight going out was pretty hectic, because although it was a night flight and most passengers were sleeping, in between the services we got 45 minutes rest and I was also given the task of being duty free operator! I’ve done duty free a couple of times, but it’s not something I particularly enjoy as it involves a lot of counting and trying to sell items when everybody is fast asleep! Once they all woke up however, shortly before landing, I was inundated with requests to buy! Unfortunately there just wasn’t enough time to sell to everybody so I didn’t make any commission 🙁
Once we got to the hotel (the flight was around 8 hours, plus over an hour getting to the hotel) all my tiredness from waking up at 1am the night before was suddenly gone and I was very ready to go and try some local food….Korean BBQ!! The pilots, along with a few other girls were arranging to meet back down in the lobby so I headed down once I was ready and off we went. The other girls must have changed their minds or fallen asleep as it turned out to be just me and Mihaela from Romania, along with the 3 pilots. We set off on the short walk from the hotel to one of the typical Korean barbecue restaurants. As it was both mine and Mihaela’s first time to Seoul, we let the men be in charge of ordering the food and were very excited to try it when it all arrived!
Korean black raspberry wine. More like a strong shot than wine!
A variety of lettuce, sauces, kimchi and more arrived before the main bit…the meat!
The meat cooks pretty quickly, which is lucky as we were all starving!
The trick is to get a bit of everything on top of your lettuce leaf, pop on a piece of scorching meat and try not to burn yourself as you devour it!
After our meal the pilots headed out for some more drinks, and Mihaela and I walked back to the hotel for some much needed sleep. In the morning I got a call from one of the other girls, letting me know that they were heading down to breakfast and would be going on a tour afterwards. I decided to join as I didn’t know how else I was going to explore the city and it seemed like a great option. Breakfast was delicious (I’ve noticed breakfast always seems to be pretty great in the hotels we stay in, but this one was really tasty!) and soon enough the minibus was at the hotel to pick us up.
Our first stop was the Seoul Tower. We walked up a road surrounded by beautiful trees to a stunning view at the top.
Beautiful views from the top of the whole city.
Just trying out some Korean masks!
Love trees…full of padlocks!
Once we had walked all the way around the top of the observatory at the tower we headed back down towards our next stop, the “Secret Gardens”. Located at Changdeokgung Palace, these are some incredible gardens tucked away along with all of the palaces. We walked around (along with at least 100 other people who had decided to join us at the same time, slightly disappointing as it meant that it was very crowded!) but the gardens were beautiful, so that made up for it.
So many hidden ponds, lakes, and gorgeous areas full of trees!
After a long walk around the Secret Gardens we got back into the bus to go to our next stop, a little Ginseng museum/factory/shop. I’m not really sure what to call it to be honest, it showed us how ginseng is grown and made into different types of products. Which they then tried to sell to us, for an extortionate amount of money. Who know a plant-based product could cost hundreds of US Dollars! I have to say this was the part I liked the least. None of us were expecting for it to take so long, and I feel like our tour guide must have been getting commission as they really tried to pressure us into buying the stuff.
Our final stop was Namdaemun market. I love a good market, and this one was huuuuuge! Due to our limited time however, we only got a very quick stop here before we had to head back to our hotel 🙁 I made sure to pick up a fridge magnet though!
Once we were back at the hotel I walked up the road to get a quick bite to eat at Starbucks as we hadn’t had a chance to eat since breakfast, and then I got a couple of hours sleep before the long flight back home. The flight was nice and easy, only half full, and I managed to get an hour sleep on my break. I can’t wait to go back to Korea, I’d love to explore the city so much more!