Leaving Sanur feeling that we would be happy to be here again we headed to the airport for our two flights which would take us to our next and much anticipated stop Korea. I was very excited to see my son Andrew and his family, my lovely and oh so good to us daughter in law JungWon and our only grandchild Jett, whom is fast approaching 9!
So our flight from Bali to South Korea was fairly cheap but I have to say we weren’t impressed with Malaysia Air. The tray tables were filthy and there was someone’s used toothpick stuck to the back of the seat in front of me. The toilets smelt and the food was just inedible, in fact it looked like cat food.
The only great thing was that we made our connection from Kuala Lumpa with plenty of time and we landed on schedule into Incheon early Friday the 13th.
Very happy mummy and Halmoni to see my big boy Andrew, JungWon and Jett, waiting for us at the airport. It was very good of them to get up at 5am so they could pick us up before having to start work early afternoon.
It’s quite a drive from the airport to Songtan where we stay at The Pacific hotel.
The hotel is pretty decrepit but the room is big, it has a bath! and it’s close to the Osan, American airbase so there is lots going on around the area.
The owners an older couple (mama usually has her hair in curlers) are very friendly and helpful. Our room is about $64 a night and you can get your laundry done for free and use the hotel van for free locally.
After we had dropped Jett off at his school and Andrew and JungWon dropped us off at our hotel, we walked up the street for a coffee at McDonalds, haha who should we see there but Andrew and JungWon.
Later we walked around the town and through the traditional markets where I organised for some trousers to be taken down, $3 what a bargain, this was all organised by our second language which we’re fluent in, CHARADES.
After a snack at local street stall and a rest we headed back up for pizza and called it a day.
Saturday morning we decided to walk to the traditional weekend markets (Which the English speaking pizza shop owner had told us about) we wandered around happily for several hours before heading back for our 2pm pick up from family.
There was a festival happening in the area around the restaurant and whilst his mum and dad did a quick speed shop we took Jett off to play a few side show games which he blitzed and won himself a couple of soft toys. He also had a ride and feel asleep along with poppa on the way home.
Fairly tired little vegemites that night as we headed home around 8:30pm with an hour drive ahead.
We were able to leave our suitcases at the hotel and only bought the barest minimum with us for our four nights in Busan.
Andrew and JungWon picked us up and took us to the station in the morning and we were off….
The train travels at up to 300 km an hour and it was just over two hours later that we arrived at Busan train station at 11:50 am.
We easily found the bus stop we needed and our bus came along in less than a minute. This is where the internet really comes into its own! Finding transport and timetables.
James showed the driver a photo from the hotel we were going to and he asked if anyone on bus knew which stop. Yes someone did and they made sure we got off where we should, unbelievably right outside our hotel door.
Everyone is friendly and helpful in Korea especially if you smile.
We have also decided Koreans are big on CUTE, cute little puppies, animations, and neon signs. Outside our hotel here in Busan it looks reminiscent of Times Square New York.
Citadines hotel is fantastic!
Great location, from being close to beach, shops and hospital.
Why the hospital you say!
Well 3 hours before leaving Bali James had a tooth break! (His turn for needing a dentist).
With no time there, when we reached Seoul he made contact with our hotel in Busan and they set up a dentist visit at the local hospital which also unbelievably had a foreign guest department! What’s the chances of that all within 150 metres from our hotel on same side of the street.
We were stunned at how efficient it all was and NO WAITING. James’s appointment was for 3:30pm but getting there 20 minutes early they saw him there and then with an English translator.
$42 how great is that. He needs a crown and since they couldn’t get that done in the time we have in Korea, smoothed the edges and gave him his records to take on. What service, totally feel that the dentist god has been shining down on both of us this year.
So to top off an already great start we were upgraded from a room to a full apartment, LUXURY we have not had so much living space since we left home in May and it’s been fantastic.
We’ve even bought a few groceries and will cook bacon and eggs tomorrow for breakfast.
James is soaking away in said bath as I write this, I’ve already had mine and I’m sitting at the office desk in provided dressing gown with a glass of red.
NOT TOO BAD, oh and eating Camembert infused roll.
After the dentist we had a huge walk all along the sea front and past all the tall buildings and onto fishing village before heading back towards hotel.
After walking through the traditional markets with a lot of very weird and not “quite” our thing seafood dishes we ended up at a Saigon cafe eating Pho and shrimp cakes for the grand total of less than $8.00.
We have a movie complex inside the hotel building and we purchased tickets for Bladerunner, the movie was the original English version with Korean subtitles and at $9.00 each we had a great end to our first day in Busan, oh and we had a little party in the theatre with potato chips, chocolate peanuts,popcorn and ice creams. I know SO SO naughty but we loved every mouthful, (small sizes obviously).. it was after midnight when we turned off the light after looking at all the neon signs out the window.
I was knackered the next morning and was a late start before we headed off, for brunch and onto the information centre.
In the end we did a loop of the hop on hop off bus (the shorter one) leaving the longer one for another day as we had started so late.
A great day!
We got off at the first stop at Moontan road and went off walking through the bush which we thoroughly enjoyed. Sea was peeking through the trees and it was so peaceful.
What can I say about this Buddhist temple, WOW just doesn’t cover it, really was beautiful and in such a magnificent location.
Back on the bus and past all the other stops including the largest department store in the world!! (I know right, what discipline) till we arrived back to the start and off we went for a little walk around the town/city some more.
We bought our wine etc and after stopping in for a little Saigon fried rice and dim sum from our little cafe from the previous night headed home.
We are feeling very relaxed and thoroughly enjoying our life on the road.
The luxury accommodation doesn’t hurt I have to say.
Wednesday arrived with cool brisk winds and the odd sprinkle of rain, considering its half way through autumn here we’ve been very lucky, so we decided to take the hop on hop off bus again doing the other available route and not get off but use it to get our bearings and file away ideas if we visit here again.
After a loop we stayed on and got off at Centum where that huge department store was.We weren’t really interested in shopping but like looking at what’s available and after a while we decided to head back to our apartment and catch up on a few office chores before heading out for dinner.
Thursday was sunny and after our home cooked breakfast, (second day running) and a coffee stop we took the small local bus back to the fishing village we had walked to through the Bush on our first day of using the hop on hop off bus.
From here we Walked to Songjeong Beach.
On the way there is this awesome viewing platform where we had to wear slippers over our shoes. It had glass floors in parts and was just a great thing, all free and with an attendant as well.
Tomorrow we head back to Seoul for our final five nights in Korea before we head to The Philippines.
We have really enjoyed this side trip to Busan and are thankful for all the friendly people we have met along the way, many just simply wanting to find out where we’re from and why we’re visiting Korea and have a little chat using their English before waving to us as we all go off on our separate ways.
FRIDAY 20th – WEDNESDAY 25th.
We usually find a place we’re happy with for breakfast or mid morning coffee and tend to keep returning, this is also a way of making us feel more of a local as much as knowing that what we get is consistent.
In Busan it was Holly’s coffee shop. Here is Songtan it’s the local McDonalds. Don’t judge us! It’s also about the wifi too.
We made it back to Songtan, remembered to bring our travel card ( like our opal card) from last year, and transferred from fast train to the subway then walked the final couple of hundred yards back to the hotel Pacific.
We had arranged to catch up the next day with family so went up street for the best calzone ever before settling in for the night.
Saturday family picked us up and we drove to Suwon another large city in the Seoul precinct.
There is an old Korean fortress and the largest local markets ever, imagine The Grand Bazaar Istanbul.
Actually better than we expected and no one was complaining about the caramel popcorn either. We actually got to get the pirate kite up in the park nearby the theatre but the wind was swirling and inconsistent so will keep it for a beach day I think. It did cause some interest though, one guy asked James where he got it and thought Bali, Indonesia was a brand name..
JungWon and Jett had bought a boomerang back from Australia and that also got a workout.
James and I had had Mexican the night before and the family were happy to go there for dinner so it was a margarita each for James and I for the second night in a row.
We ended up with desert at MacDonalds for those who were keen, I was full of Mexican and not even slightly interested, but Jett enjoyed his ice cream.
That was to be the last time we would see Jett this trip so it was a teary Halmoni kissing him goodbye till next time.
Andrew and JungWon will come Tuesday morning for breakfast before we take bus to airport area for our last night, we have an early flight Wednesday for the beginning of our next adventure to The Philippines. We will arrive in Manila late morning and take the 5pm flight to Palawan, staying at least 4nights in Puerto Princesa where James has an appointment about getting a crown at the dentist there. We will play it as it rolls from there.
While we have been here we’ve been corresponding with mates from our 2010 Cosmos tour and organising a reunion trip in 2020. Obviously won’t get everyone onboard but there are enough interested and we look to have decided on a tour which we can extend to include another exciting destination and that seems to be equally exciting to some of the others as well. Seems like a long time to go but we know it will be an awesome trip with some of the greatest folks we’ve been lucky enough to meet.