Planes – 비행기
So the big kahuna. The 11+ hour mode of transportation. The plane journey. I can’t lie to you, the journey from the UK to South Korea is loooooooooong. I looked at so many different sites and airlines, not only to find a cheap-ish ticket but also, to find a journey that wasn’t insanely long.
The ticket I bought with KLM went from Manchester to Seoul via Amsterdam in about 11 hours 45 minutes. This was actually a pretty good find. Flights were cheaper if you were willing to have more than 1 change, or a long transfer wait, but I wanted as stress free a journey as possible.
It was also cheaper to no reserve a seat. HOWEVER, I am around 6ft tall (180cm) and I can’t sleep unless I have leg room. So I did spend a bit more on a seat reservation. The price of reservation for the longer commutes from Amsterdam/Seoul and Seoul/Amsterdam were triple the price of the seats from Manchester/Amsterdam and Amsterdam/Manchester, but at least I will have the comfort of knowing that I will be far more likely to sleep on this journey.
In order to make the journey slightly less horrific I have also made sure to pack everything I need in my hand luggage and my carry on, and everything else I want in the bag in the hold. I also included a few items to make me feel less gross and stuffy as I travel, as well as keeping me as entertained as possible. These include:
- sheet masks
- under eye patches
- travel size dry shampoo/deodorant/body wipes
- at least 2 books
- downloaded Netflix shows and films
- phone charger
- notepad and pens
- Korean flashcards
- Colouring therapy book
- sleep mask and headphones.
These were things I felt I would like to have with me in order to enjoy my plane journey more. If you are planning for a long journey, I’m sure you have things you like to take with you so that you feel less claustrophobic and bored. I will be sure to keep a log of my journey so you get a sense of what the trip is like.
Seoul Trains and other ways to travel – 서울 지하철 및기타교통수단
The subway system in Seoul is, I’ve been told, one of the best in the world. Easy to navigate, punctual, clean, not too noisy, cheap and very safe. In fact, if it wasn’t enough that you can download an app (KakaoMap) that helps you find the subway nearest to where you are, what subway you need, when the next train is running AND where to get off, the announcements in the stations are all in Korean and English. Which will really help me cause taking routes that are unfamiliar really stresses me out sometimes and I know I will get lost at least three times over the next few days.
In regards to other modes of transportation I actually know relatively little thus far but I will pass on what I have been told by my friends (Korean and otherwise) who live in Seoul:
- Busses: Mostly fine. Sometimes if you’re standing and the driver brakes hard or drives like a maniac you will be thrown across the bus once in a while, but its mostly all good fun. Reliable, clean, gets you to a lot of places. Cheap.
- Taxis: Again, mostly fine. Clean, reliable, gets you where you need to go, cheap and can be very helpful and friendly. However there are always a few who ruin it for everyone else. There have been cases where drivers feigned not knowing English to try and scam more money off tourists, or who refused to drive people somewhere because it was too close/too far. But mostly fine.
- Trains: Not great for travelling around Seoul. Brilliant for going to other cites. Fast, clean, reliable and affordable. A great way to see the rest of South Korea.
- Cars: Scary. Not so bad that you can’t manage if you are an experienced driver. However traffic incidents are the second highest cause of death in South Korea…
- Bikes: Fantastic for going around pedestrian areas, parks or up and down the Han river. Terrifying on roads and around cars. Cheap and easy to rent everywhere though.
Do you have any questions you want answering about travelling to Korea, or what it’s like travelling around Seoul? Please leave a comment and I will try to find an answer for you.
follow me on Instagram and Twitter @Connienkiga