Korea 2023 Day 1 - 안녕 Seoul!

Nov 13, 2023 3 min read

Japan’s old and busted. Korea is the new hotness.

Yesterday, Hong Kong’s fishing village, Tai O

Lantau Island

Rise and shine. Going all the way back to yesterday’s island.
Though technically they built the airport on the small island next to it. It’s literally like 500m across the water.

Hong Kong International Airport

I didn’t get to eat my gyudon yesterday so I’m glad there’s a Japanese restaurant here.
I ordered an onsen egg gyudon on the self-service machine and it gave me the option

  • Onsen egg: [yes/no]

so I clicked yes, because that’s what I wanted? Turns out it was asking if I wanted to add another one so now I have 2 eggs. Oishii protein.

Small plane. It only had 6 seats in each row.

My flight attendant’s name was “Giggle”.




< 4 hours later >

Incheon International Airport

We didn’t spend that long in the airport. I even managed to collected all our luggage before the rest of my family had finished going through immigration (we were in separate queues).
It seemed like most people there were Korean, Chinese or Japanese.


This was the earliest ticket we could buy from the machine even though it seemed like there were several earlier trains that had plenty of space?

There was a guy that was trying to run backwards down the escalator but he tripped over his suitcase and tumbled all the way down. Oof.
His wife, still going up the escalator, was yelling 여보! after him like it was some K-drama.
He got carried back up the escalator before he could get back on his feet…

There were TVs on the trains displaying ads and one was about Japan’s war crimes.



< 45 minutes later >


Seoul Station

Buying our SUICA Tmoney card.
My sister’s a koreaboo so she’s the one leading us around the whole trip.

Ours is a foreign-tourist exclusive version that comes with a bunch of discounts to various shops and places but I don’t think we ended up using any of them.

Seoul’s Subway isn’t quite as nice as Hong Kong/Japan but at least it’s not the London Underground.

The station jingles are cute though.

There was a sign on the platform listing the stops but they were listed from bottom-to-top instead of top-to-bottom. It threw my sister off for a second and a staff immediately stepped in to help. My sister was seething because she “totally had it”.


And just like that, I’m in another country. The 21st century is pretty cool.

Pepe? In Korea?

Nine Tree Hotel

Nice and clean.

Roomy genkan hyeon-gwan.

Yoo, we got a hi-tech toilet.

This toilet “door” though…

*googling how common are earthquakes in korea*

Pretty fast. But not the mind-blowing speeds I was expecting from South Korea. I had faster speeds when I last stayed in a Premier Inn.
From googling, it seems like SK no longer holds the crown for fastest average internet speed. In fact, they’re like 30th now. They also got rid of net neutrality 😬 Good ol’ telecom monopolies.

Stealing these.

Myeong-dong Night Market

Our hotel’s right in the heart of the action.

Korea seems safe so I finally get to bring out my big camera.
When I first got my Fujifilm camera for my Japan trip, I was going through a phase where I made all my photos really blue. Now, welcome to my red era.

Damn, it’s cold though.

We went from this…

…to this. Luckily, it seems like it’s just today that’s this cold.
Korea seems pretty prone to cold snaps. A few weeks after we left they had one happen so suddenly that it burst water pipes.

Wangbijip - Korean BBQ

Finally, food time.

There was a queue but it moved quick.

When I think of Korean food I think of BBQ 🤤

They do the cooking for you here. Our attendant was multi-tasking for multiple tables.

Mmm, beef.

I love kimchi soup (jjigae). I even make it at home.


Trust nothing.

Myeong-dong Night Market

My sister described Myeong-dong as the Oxford Street of Seoul.

Koreans aren’t having sex so they treat their dogs like surrogate children. Just like Japan…

These livestreamers were dancing about all over the place. Second-hand embarrassment 🤦‍♀️

Food stalls lined the streets.


We got some fried prawns.
I’ve never had those spiral potato sticks before because they feel like a tourist trap but now I’m really in the mood to try one.

(´ ◕ᴗ<)-✧


I’m getting hungry looking at these photos again.

Uh, speaking of tourist traps. We got a churro. It was pretty good actually.

Fake lemon tree

The currency exchange shops around here were actually quite reasonably priced.



Orange Mart

Can’t escape the spy family.

😊 😖 🙂

I had forgotten Nami’s backstory involved oranges until the Netflix live-action came out.


When in doubt, I assumed it was K-pop merch.

Shrek is loved worldwide.

Do It Yua Serufu, Pooh


We got an octopus on a stick.
It was like a takoyaki without the batter. It had the mayo and bonito flakes and everything.

Fried korean “pancake” with red bean filling. It was nice.

There’s apparently a genre of ASMR eating these hard sugar-coated fruit.

Olive Young

This is the health and beauty store in Korea apparently.
My sister always had to visit one every night before retiring to the hotel and they were always PACKED with women, even at closing time.

We paid with a debit card and uh, it didn’t ask for a pin? It just went through.
Like, my bank app even bugs me about payments under £1, but this is fine?

Mcdonald’s was closed and an employee was just lounging across the tables in the dark. Mood.
We never did get a chance to eat here this trip. Gotta go back.

HBAF Almond Store

Well, that’s a thing.
I bought some on the last day as souvenirs but they were actually pretty nice and I wish I had bought some for myself. Who knew almonds could be this soft.

They were bobbing around like a lava lamp.

This big crab was bugged and just kept looping its walk forward animation.


There was a cool laser animation being projected onto this building.
My football friend pointed out that that’s the most famous Asian footballer right now.

In my limited time walking around Seoul, it feels like I’m in Japan again, just a little “wilder”. I keep hearing what sounds like Japanese words in the middle of people’s sentences too.
This is all really scratching my Japan-itch.


We wandered for ages trying to find a convenience store with a “good vibe”.
Most of them were pretty dingy. We never did come across those shiny big ones with all the amenities like in all those Tiktoks.

Just a casual chicken leg for a snack.

Korea loves its sweet potatoes.

Got a tongue scraper and green tea mouthwash from Olive Young.
From 711, Pineapple Fanta (pretty nice), Milkis (prefer the non-fizzy variants), Milka (it’s not Korean but I’ve never seen it like this and it was alright). I thought that was one giant crab stick but it’s actually just 2 regular-big crab sticks. It tasted like a crab stick.

So, uh, Euro-plugs work in Korea but they’re not snug without something holding it in.

Change looks just like Japanese Yen.

Jal jayo… 😴

Tomorrow, we climb a mountain ➡