Date: October 22nd? Really not sure at this point.
Time: Landed at 7am
Flight details: Flew from Heathrow UK – Incheon Korea via Korean Air
Time Difference: South Korea is 8 hours ahead of the UK.
So I think I mentioned in the previous blog https://wordpress.com/view/ramblingminaah.home.blog that I was upgraded to Business class!! We were in a separate closed off cabin, got served all the time, heaps of leg/ seat room… HOWEVER did i get enough sleep? Nope. I think all the travelling over different time zones has left me majorly jet-lagged because I landed and was dead tired.
All that aside, let me tell you about Korea airport… it is great!! I was able to have a nice hot shower, change of clothes, have a little sleep before my tour started.
I was only in Korea for the day but if you didn’t know already, I am a HUGE fan of kdramas, kpop, Korean culture… no i’m not a Koreaboo (I will slap you) but you get the point. So I made every effort to squeeze every bit of holiday that I could during my time off. I can also speak/ understand Korean at a BEGINNER level and also read Hangul as well (very slowly) so I wasn’t worried being here alone and getting lost.
Mission: BTS merch
How: If you somehow manage to land in Korea on a stop-over and have a day or a few hours to kill I highly suggest you do a tour!
Day tour info: https://www.airport.kr/ap_cnt/en/trn/tour/trcose/trcose.do
The tour I did was the shopping one at Myeongdong and Namdaemun Market. You will find transit tour help desks everywhere. The staff are so nice and the lady walked me straight to the security screening section then told me where to go from there. It took me ages to find the buses, but I got there in the end.
When I arrived in Namdaemun the tour guide showed us the essentials and time we needed to back and off we went!
First Stop: FOOD!
I spotted 2 Filipino girls walk into a Korean BBQ place so I asked if I could join them.
When it comes to strangers, I am very shy and quiet. I tend to get a bit of social anxiety with new people, so for me to do this shows how far I have come! Travelling is something that has pushed and challenged me for the better, pat on the back Minaah :).
Second stop: Korean Beauty!! I need face masks!
I can’t remember the name of the store I went into but I left with about 40 face masks!
The face masks did have English writing on it so I wasn’t worried about buying random crap my face didn’t need. The girl working in the store came up to me – looks at my face intently – hands me a bunch of masks – looks again, points under my eyes (which had heavy bags due to lack of sleep and too many different time zones) – hands me another set and goes “there you go, go to the counter, this is what you need”. I WAS SHOOK! I did have a aloe face mask in my hand before she came, looked at it , then just dumped all the rest on me and said that. That’s as far as that whole conversation went. When they say Korea have high beauty standards and when it comes to skincare, they are the ultimate country? They weren’t wrong.
Third Stop: Line store in Myeongdong for BT21 MERCH!
Literally my only reason for dragging my tired self out of the resting area at the airport, was for this one store.
It is no surprise that I am a die-hard BTS fan aka BTSArmy.
As soon as you enter into my house back home in Aus, you will notice it is an exact replica of me. Harry Potter and BTS everywhere. Now if you’re not familiar with BTS – BT21 is (to put it simply) cartoon characters they created.
This store was so packed, I don’t know how much money I spent here but it was in the hundreds. It was packed, so for anyone going here, don’t go around midday. Also if you’re a major fan, make sure you have lots of funds in the bank as it’s not cheap and you will feel like crap if you walk out with nothing. Even though it was expensive, the quality is so good and you won’t regret it at all!
Fourth stop: Namdaemun Markets and home time.
So because I spent way too long getting my BTS merch there wasn’t much time for anything else. I did visit the markets but everything there is cash only and I only had card.
There was alot of street food vendors. I think what surprised me the most was seeing heaps of elderly on the side of the street selling food and handmade goods. You see it in KDramas but I would say not as much as what you see in real life. Very different I believe to Western culture where your’e just thrown in a nursing home. Here they carry on hustling with their families, it was beautiful to see and a testament to learn. Makes me wonder what I would sell if I was old when I am elderly as I have no skills, I can’t knit – sew – crochet, I don’t like baking… better learn some skills.
Was surprised as well to see Sailor moon everywhere! The cousin and I was obsessed with her growing up, so this was cool to see. Anyways here are some photos!
But all good things must come to an end and it was time for me to go to the meeting spot and head back to the airport.
At the airport however I did just realise I only had a carry-on with me which was already full enough. Had to put my Tetris skills to use, squeezed everything in and just prayed that no one weighed my carry on bag. Used my huge BTS shopping bag as separate with more stuff in it and carried my BTS pillow on me. I had weighed everything up before I lined up and it went from being 7kgs right up to 12kgs. And I was not willing to part with anything and did not want to check anything in.
Good news is they just let it go, and let me carry on with my many bags, happily away onto the plane with no extra charges.
As I reflect back on my holiday and all the wonderful memories, I realised a few things.
1. Travelling is the best source of education. I never thought I would be into history but I couldn’t get enough of it. (Much to my friends shock as I spent way too much time reading and soaking everything in lol).
2. I got out of my comfort zone, made friends with strangers and got to see how incredibly huge the world is! I am grateful that I could go back home, share my stories on this blog and tell others that there is way more out there then just working and making babies.
3. And just how valuable and important it is to surround yourself with people who support you and have the same goals as you. I am greatful both of my highschool bestfriends have the same mindset as me and I have been able to have an amazing adventures this time thanks to one of them!
I’ve realised that it’s ok to be selfish with yourself. After all you’ve achieved with studying, working, becoming independant, its important to reward yourself and chase the things that excite you the most.
Thanks for beginning this blogs journeys with me and reading along with every episode. Until the next adventure~