Noraebang 2014: ‘Seoul’-Searching Begins

So what happened?

Well, I had an awesome trip around SE Asia in merely 10 days.

All with a sole goal of eating.

That’s what happened!

Oh yeah, where did you go? And what do you mean eating was your sole goal?

I’ll let this picture do all the talking:
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I did the calculations and I found it cheaper to travel around Asia, enjoy different currencies, rather than staying in one spot.

My point of traveling is to experience local culture. There’s no other way to do that than to live their everyday lives and everyone’s gotta eat. You can discover one’s culture through what they eat:

Asian and some Middle Eastern cultures love to share food and does ‘family-style’ cooking all the time, while North American culture loves the emphasis on plating and food art.

The British love their tea and it shows in their culture through afternoon tea and the traditions that revolve around it.

I could go on and on about it and while I love history and monuments for sight-seeing (and you have to do some while you’re around there), I haven’t ‘traveled’ till I’ve eaten local food.

Wow, that’s one perspective in regards to traveling. So where did you start off to?

From Calgary, I headed to Seattle to catch my Delta flight to Seoul:

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Meals suck at 4AM but whatever.

Early flight to Seattle meant I was a lounge hound at the airport, eating whatever they had propped up that morning. In this case, it was a cold sandwich, yogurt, banana, and a cup of coffee.

I landed in Seattle at 7AM and I didn’t realize that SeaTac airport was so big!:

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The fact that you needed to go around the airport in multiple train lines shows how little Calgary little is.

That must’ve been different. Have you been to Seattle before?

Yeah I have, but only through driving trips so never been to SeaTac. I had a 4 hour layover before my flight to Seoul so it wouldn’t made sense to leave. Naturally, I looked for a lounge and made camp there. Thankfully, I was close to the United Club lounge and stuck around there:

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United Club in Seattle was re-done and it shows: modern layout, with plush chairs but not a lot of food options. With my trusty travel watch at my side, I went out to look for food.

Usually airport food sucks. What’d you find?

They have a friggin’ Ivar’s! That was awesome to see!

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Fish and Chips! Winning.

What’s Ivar’s?

Ivar’s is a Seattle chain of fish and chips and it’s a homegrown icon. They churn out pretty good stuff IMO. Unfortunately, I had to eat it outside before getting back into the lounge but it was well worth the money. Good stuff.

Boring. Are you in Seoul yet?

Don’t be so rude. It takes a while to get there. Jeez.

Where was I? Right! So many Walking Dead episodes later, I finally got on the plane onwards to Seoul!

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Top Gear on the plane? I could get used to this.

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Finally, you’re in Seoul! Is it easy to get around?

For a figment of my imagination, you’re pretty rude. How would I know? I just got there! All I knew was where my hostel was and the station location. In general, I found Seoul was tricky to get around the first time but once I found my hostel and got used to the location, it was relatively easy to find things.

How did you get around the city? Car?

You could’ve taken a taxi but why would you do when their public transit system is top notch? The train lines are efficient and easy to navigate around since they were color coded. Love that identifier system, by the way. Makes life easy.

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They also have a great stored value smart card system called ‘T-Money’ where you can pay anything with the card, from fares to food or whatever. It’s similar to the Octopus card in Hong Kong, the Suica card in Japan, or the Oyster card in London.

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Enough about the transit. What did you do while you were there?

What didn’t I do?! So I still did some sight-seeing but my main goal was to eat, eat, and eat some more! So first, I went to Gwanghwamun Plaza en-route to visit some friends. We saw the statues of both Admiral Yi Sun-sin, a great naval warrior in Korean history and King Sejong, the person responsible for the Korean Hangul language, who is seated as a bronze statue.

After that, we wandered around the greater Seoul area and ate the night away:

Oh man, you weren’t kidding about the eating part. All I see are food pictures!

Well, this is just the beginning. Next post will be more food photos but there’s more enlightenment involving a visit to a Buddhist temple.

But for now, gunbae! (Cheers!)

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5 Replies to “Noraebang 2014: ‘Seoul’-Searching Begins”

  1. Hello, I just bought my ticket to Seoul! As an offbeat tourist who would rather see cultural hubs and obscure findings, is there any place you would recommend?Anything not highlighted at the top of a tour guide? Really enjoying your writing by the way.

    1. Nice! When are you off? You’re going to have fun. What are your primary interests? For me, Hongdae was a late night hub because all the university kids are there late on weekends, which made things lively.

      Gwanghwamun was a cultural hub to visit where the temples are usually located and Templestay isn’t a big tourist thing to do but I just found out during my meet with the Buddhist monks so if I had the opportunity to do it again, I’d check it out. http://eng.templestay.com/

      Finally, Busan is a must see place in Korea but its far and I ran out of time.

      Safe travels!

      1. I’m wanting to see the street food and night life, I think. I hear it’s a good time. We will be going for four days toward the end of November, and since it’s such a short trip I’m not sure we’ll make it to Busan either, unfortunately. But I’m getting very excited. Is it worth it to use TMoney? I assume we will be using lots of trains, like in Japan?

        Thank you for the suggestions!

      2. Base yourself in Hongdae at Mapo-gu. You’ll get the nightlife and street food you crave till the wee morning hours! Street entertainment galore along that area as well.

        TMoney just saves time: Load it up, and all you do is scan the cars to get in and out of lines.

      3. Forgot to add: Train system is awesome in Korea. I’d only use a taxi if I cant find the nearest train station. Most landmarks and destinations are near a station.

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