Annyeonghaseyo Seoul

May 31, 2016 by

Annyeonghaseyo Seoul!! Or as Nathan said it, “nyongseyo..”


Seoul as seen from our apartment

Seoul as seen from our apartment


Our flight

Phodi, Nathan and I visited Seoul from 13-19 May 2016. We had a fun time in Seoul, which was also exhausting (at times) for me. Nathan was being his wonderful self most of the time but of course we can only expect so much from a 21 months toddler. Most times he would fall asleep in his stroller for 1 to 1.5 hour. Meaning Phodi and I can have a good walk. You know, like dating but with a stroller. Haha. But when he’s overtired from being over excited, he went into crying series and can only be calmed by boobs (!!!) on Ergo. Thankfully he can be transferred to Phodi, still asleep on his Ergo. This Ergo carrier is seriously the best invention ever.


where's N? Sleeping in Ergo

where’s N? Sleeping in Ergo


Why Seoul? Phodi and I never talked about going to Seoul ever. We were originally planning for Japan but while Phodi was in Manila, SQ had promotion fare and using some of our miles, we only paid Rp. 5,8 million (AUD 580) for us 3. Who would pass such a good deal? Definitely not us!


play area at Jakarta Airport

play area at Jakarta Airport


The trip was also Nathan’s last long haul trip as an infant. We’ll surely make the most of it. We had a full 4-seat-row both ways which was amazing. Nathan got his own seat and an extra space to move around. I could also stretch and sleep without having to share a space with him. If you’re  flying SQ, make sure to select appropriate meals for your child. They have 3 different meals for infant; more information here. Nathan’s meals were less tasty (less salt and seasoning) but he had a burger while we’re stuck with the usual ‘Chicken / Fish?’ Travelling with a child, we also had the privilege for a fast pass at Incheon Airport. No queue, straight to the x-ray and immigration line.


Ready to gooooo…


Our accommodation

As we only stayed in Seoul, we decided to stay in one accommodation. We chose an apartment from AirBnB, considering the convenience of having a washing machine. Yes, sadly I did laundry in Seoul. After a day playing with sands and grass, I’m grateful to be able to wash Nathan’s clothes straight away. Amazingly he ate tidy enough that his clothes were clean for the whole day. That was until on the very last day he decided to drink Kiwi juice straight from the cup and drenched himself. And afterwards during lunch he accidentally spilt his soup all over his shirt. Of course things happened only on last day!


the back alley of our apartment in Chungmuro

the back alley of our apartment


Location wise, our apartment was a B+. Less than 5 mins walk to Chungmuro Station (line 3 & 4), 10-15 mins walk to Myeongdong shopping area and 3 mins walk to airport limousine bus. There were also lots of restaurants behind the apartment and it’s 5 mins walk to Namsan Hanok Village, where we did our hanbok experience. Our host was also friendly and helpful. However we were threatened by the neighbour who said that we were too noisy. Meh.. but drama aside, the apartment fit us well.


as long as my baby sleeps well...

as long as my baby sleeps well…


One random thing I figured about Korea is that their Disney Junior Channel shows are dubbed to Korean. So Nathan was watching Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse and the likes in Korean. Is it because most people aren’t familiar with English or rather it actually causes kids to be unfamiliar with English?


Our itinerary

We stayed in Seoul for the week with the intention to keep enjoyable. So no morning calls, no rush and a loose itinerary. Technically we were on Bandung’s time zone even though physically we’re in Seoul. Our days started around 8.30 (most open after 10 a.m. anyway), had breakfast at the apartment/nearby, went out for 11-12 hours and back at the apartment by 10 p.m. Nathan would sleep around 11 p.m. after having banana milk or Winnie the Pooh / Doraemon chocolate milk. Oh the boy was in heaven for having lots of selections of milk and characters biscuits. And strawberries! He could finish half a punnet by himself :o


Korean strawberries at Lotte

savouring sweet Korean strawberries


The complete itinerary for the week;

Fri, 13 May took AREX train from the airport
  explored area near the apartment
  Seoul Citizen Hall
  went to Cheonggyecheon stream
  Korean BBQ dinner at Jongno-Gu
Sat, 14 May Namsan Hanok Village
  met Phodi’s colleague at Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
  Gimbap lunch at tiny diner behind MMCA
  Ice cream/ bingsoo time at O’Sulloc
  Gyeongbokgung Palace
  National Palace Museum of Korea
  Hangang Park / Banpo Bridge
Sun, 15 May Insadong area
Pouring rain! Lotte Town
  Watched Nanta at Myeongdong
Mon, 16 May Lotte World at Jamsil
Tue, 17 May Namdaemun market – noodle alley and children clothing
  Namsan tower
Wed, 18 May Hanbok experience at Namsan Hanok Village
  Dongdaemun toy market
  Gangnam area
  Dinner at Noryangjin Fish market
Thu, 19 May Breakfast at Handongkwan
Snacks shopping at Lotte Mart
Dinner at Myeongdong Kyoja


Honestly we’d like to visit more places such as the Children’s Grand Park and DMZ. Also trying the famous samgyetang at Tosokchon and going to Yeouido Church, the biggest church in South Korea. However we decided not to as towards the last day, our feet refused to walk too far. We also couldn’t go to DMZ as the tour prohibits children under 12. From the few places we went to, I enjoyed walking along the alleys in Insadong the most. Too bad it was raining so we didn’t get to explore much.


lunch at Insadong. I love the alleys there

lunch at Insadong. I love the alleys there


Above all the places we went, the good food we ate and the nice people we met, I was most impressed by Nathan. I’m with him everyday at home yet during our trip I discovered lots of new things about him. He learnt to say “kamsanida (kamsahamnida / thank you)” whenever someone gave him things. He was turning independent trying to put on hat, shoes, sunnies, seat belt and eat by himself. I loved seeing him running freely in parks, playing with sands and stones as if they’re his sensory toys. Although at the end of the day, he’s still a baby who loves being tickled and cuddled before bed.


Gyeongbokgung Palace

running free at Gyeongbokgung Palace


Bottom line, being able to spend time with Nathan and Phodi with very limited internet access available beats all the fatigue.


chillin at Namsan Tower

chillin at Namsan Tower


Our verdict… travelling with a toddler

We enjoyed our time in Seoul. Phodi said somehow the city reminded him of Melbourne. A bit of cultural heritage scattered around the city, contrasting itself with the newly built high rise buildings. Apart from culture, we enjoyed Seoul’s food. Nathan was fond of the dishes he had in Seoul, especially beef soup, gimbap and ice cream. Ice cream always wins.


dads and kids ice cream time at O'Sulloc

dads and kids ice cream time at O’Sulloc


We were also thankful for the metro system in Seoul. Vast network, clean carriages and stations and most importantly frequent trains. Their subway and underground road networks were impressive! You could actually walk 4 blocks underground, away from scorching sun or windy rain. They even have underground shopping centres, so it’s hard not to shop in Seoul.


subway in Seoul

while waiting for the train


That being said, Seoul is not the most stroller friendly city. I would say that Seoul is toddler friendly but not exactly stroller friendly. Lifts to the subway is usually limited to 1 per station, so you either have to carry the stroller along the stairs or walk around to find a lift. Then you’d need to walk quite a distance again to find the lift to the platform. The problem is, most stations only have 1 tiny lift and you have to compete with elderly and people with disabilities. Most of the times, we took the escalators as once a subway staff actually told us to go by escalator instead of using a lift. However, some older stations don’t even have an escalator even though the platform is on B3 (Basement 3). Cray cray! Definitely an exercise for me.

3 + 1

3 + 1

I’ll write up more notes on some of the places we went to. Watch this space for more updates.

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