Tuesday, March 16, 2010

12 Hour Layover in Korea

On our way to Malaysia, we had a 12 hour layover in Seoul, Korea. Since both Kevin and I have never been to Korea before, we figured it would be great if we joined one of those transit tours, just to see what Korea is like. The timing of the layover was also great. We flew into Incheon Airport from JFK really early in the morning (around 5am) and we fly out of Korea to Kuala Lumpur at around 5pm the same day. It was just perfect to join one of the day tours.

When we arrived, it was still way too early and the transit tour desk wasn't even opened yet. So, what do you do when you are bored? Cam whore! :P Yup, we just went all over the airport taking photos (Incheon Airport is really nice!) and stuff. We also went to KFC to eat some breakfast and of course, to waste more time while waiting for the transit desk to open. Will blog about that later on.

While roaming all over the airport, trying to kill time (2 hours to kill before we could register for the tour), we saw some pretty cool stuff. Check this out. You can find an "Etiquette Bell" in every stall in the restrooms. What does it do? Well, I am guessing that Koreans are pretty shy people and that they do not like the person in the next stall to hear all kinds of 'bodily sounds' when they relieve themselves :P So, all you need to do is choose what kind of sound you like (ranging from music, running water, flushing of toilet) and press the bell. This way, it will mask any other sound that might not be too pleasant to the ears! Hahaha! Since it was 5am in the morning, nobody was in the restroom except myself. So, I had a great timing testing out all the sounds and laughing to myself (yes, I know...LAME!). I am just thinking, wouldn't it be more embarrassing if you used the bell? Just imagine that the restroom is crowded with people and suddenly there is music coming from your stall. Everybody would then know that you are doing your #2 in there!!! LOL!
Here is another funny thing that we saw at the airport. We had to go through immigration before we could check in at the transit tour desk. When we went to fill up our arrival card, we noticed that not only were there pens provided, there were also reading glasses!! Of course it's normal to find pens at the counter but reading glasses???? Boy, those Koreans do go out of their way to make life easier for everybody :P

After waiting for like two and a half hours, the transit tour desk finally opened. We signed up for the 5 hour city tour. That particular tour originally cost US$80 per person but if more than 4 people signs up for it, it will be only $50 per person. By the time we signed up, there were about 6 other people on the list, so were pretty pleased to that it will only be $50 per person. The lady at the counter then told us that since 2010 is 'Visit Korea Year', there is a 50% discount on this particular tour! Yeah, so we only paid $25 per person! The tour includes a return trip from the airport to Seoul (takes about 45 minutes on way), an English speaking tour guide, a traditional Korean lunch and a free gift. There will be three main stops during the tour (excluding lunch). We will begin by visiting the Gyeongbokgung Palace (entry tickets to the palace is included in the tour), then some souvenir shopping in Insa-dong followed by Cheonggye Plaza to see the man made stream in Sejong-ro. The tour will end with a traditional Korean lunch. A whole lot of stuff for just $25 a pop! I will blog more about the transit tour in my next post :D

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