Seoul

6th Sep 2016 - 10th Sep 2016. 4 nights.
21,389km travelled. 9,310km travelled excluding flights.

I got the subway back to the Beijing train station early and then a four and a half hour train to Qingdao on the coast. I thought was a little late already and the taxi driver brought me to the ferry company's office rather than the ferry terminal so I had to walk over to it. There was no big rush as it took the lady almost an hour to sell me a ticket – there was no queue or anything, I'm not sure why it took so long. Anyway, I got an economy ticket on the overnight ferry run by a Korean company for 450 CNY (60 EUR) – which was almost half the price it said on their website. I ate some Korean food at the buffet restaurant (rice, spicy cabbage, spicy onion, spicy beef and meatballs with spicy gravy) but missed breakfast (they gave me an English timetable but I think it was out of date). We arrived in Incheon at 11:30 and I got the subway into Seoul.

The hostel was nice. The owner insisted we all playing drinking games with him until 1am and then he had to go home to his wife. They accidentally cleared my stuff and gave my bed away after the first night so they bumped me up to a private room for the last three nights.

The hostel was just beside the Myeongdong shopping area.

Changdeokgung Palace, Secret Garden

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Jongmyo Shrine

N Seoul Tower

Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Cheonggyecheon stream

Bukchon Hanok Village and Insadong area

National Museum of Korea

War Memorial of Korea

I also headed over to Gangnam for a quick look. It's the fancy business district that also has a lot of shops and restaurants. The headquarters of a lot of the Kpop companies are based there (and Samsung's headquarters).

Korean Fried Chicken (known as KFC) is double deep fried so the skin is extra crispy and inside extra juicy apparently. I went into one place where the items only came in double servings – it may have been a restaurant targeted at couples which are popular in Korea. I got some marinated beef and rice and a few others things in another place (including a bit of their famous kimchi spicy cabbage).

I didn't realise you had to give three days notice to visit the border zone so unfortunately I couldn't do that. North Korea carried out their fifth nuclear bomb test the day I was planning on going so it might have been cancelled anyway. I liked Seoul and will probably come back.