On my way to Seattle, the flight stops over at Incheon International Airport, Korea. I remember when I joined a free short Korean course when I was still in my early 20s, I learned some vocabularies and learned how to read Korean alphabet, too bad I never practised so I forget most of the things I learned. But I never thought I will have a chance to travel to Korea.
My next flight will be in the next 11hrs, so I was worried that I’d be spending time waiting inside the airport (because I don’t have Korean visa), but guess what? Entitled as the World’s Best Airport 2012, The Incheon International Airport makes it so easy for transit passenger to explore their culture and country in a short period of time. Right after I passed the security gate to wait for my connecting flight, the desk of Korea Free Transit Tour is right before my eyes. There are some choices of tours to accommodate the need of the transit passengers. I took the 5hrs tour and only need to pay $13 (for tourist entrance fee and lunch), which is considerably cheap!
It was so easy to get ‘transit visa’ and exit the airport when you provided all the required documents. However, there were some minor complications when I was trying to locate the tour bus. Apparently some airport staffs aren’t very helpful when you asked them in English. The bus was located the the very end of the airport building. I need to run because my bus supposedly leave at 10am.
It took about an hour to get to Seoul from the airport. Our first visit was Gyeongbok Palace. It was so cold outside (minus 5 degrees celsius), but I don’t have to worry because they provided winter jackets in the bus. Since the very beginning, our tour guide reminded us to follow her so we’re not being left behind -considering the city is very crowded during Christmas day. Our tour in the palace was only 30 minutes, the tour guide lady told us some useful information about the history of Korea and the palace. We kept on walking and I can’t really take proper pictures in the palace, but it was okay.
The second site was Jogyesa Temple. This temple is the center of Zen Buddhism in Korea. There is a 450-year-old Tree inside the temple area and is believed to bring happiness if you touch, circle it and pray.
I had Bulgogi for lunch in one of the restaurants in Insadong Street. I love it! Along the street is the market for antiques and artworks in Korea. Bought some cards and tried out Korean street food -a sweet potato something (I can’t recall the name!).
The tour supposedly visited 5 sites, but unfortunately the traffic has made it impossible today. Overall, I enjoy my visit in Korea.