Thursday.......arrive in Seoul
Seoul Travel Blog› entry 123 of 129 › view all entries
Land around 8:30 and a taxi tout comes up to me. Donâ€™t know if theyâ€™re legal here, but I always go to the rank, which I attempt to do. Donâ€™t know how it works here, usually you catch the taxi at the front, but drivers who arenâ€™t at the front come up to me. I say I want to go to Seoul. Thereâ€™s a lot of giggling from the drivers. What hotel? I think thatâ€™s the limit of their English. I say I donâ€™t know but itâ€™s in Seoul and Iâ€™ll check in a minute. I realize that they probably donâ€™t understand my answer, but it really doesnâ€™t matter until I get in the cab. I answer the same question the same way five times while weâ€™re walking to one driverâ€™s cab and Iâ€™m getting annoyed. When I get in the cab I ask the guy does he have a meter, as I canâ€™t see one. No reply. What is the cost to go to the Hotel Sofitel Ambassador.
I get into a taxi that has a meter. The trip from airport to Hotel Sofitel Ambassador (AUD226 pn, booked by travel agent in Oz) takes over an hour and is around 75,000WON, AUD82. Driving in from the airport the sky is totally overcast and grey and the smog is evident too. Arrive around 10 at the hotel.
I go to my room and decide that even though Iâ€™ve only had about 4 hours sleep, Iâ€™m not really tired and will go out for a walk.
So I decide to ignore the maps and go where I think I will find some activity. First I find an area with hundreds, well probably thousands, of motorbikes. Then I hit the jackpot, yes Iâ€™m at the clothing centre of South Korea, Dongdaemun Market, 27,000 shops/stalls. But Iâ€™m disappointed as most of the shops sell very junky clothes, jewellery and shoes. I walk around for a long time and then look for somewhere to eat, where I can get a glass of wine. No luck whatsoever.
Iâ€™ve talked to the reception staff about doing a tour and go over to talk to them again. I noticed that there was a sign outside the hotel about soft beds and tell them that my bed is hard. Turns out that theyâ€™re in the process of changing over to softer beds. Obviously Iâ€™m not the only person who doesnâ€™t like hard beds. The manager offers me an upgrade to a room with a softer bed. I go with him to the 15th â€śluxuryâ€ť floor. To be honest, the bed doesnâ€™t seem any softer, but I take the offer.
I tell him my theories on hotels charging for wifi and how itâ€™s very old fashioned and they lose restaurant business as a result. I tell him how in Helsinki the Hilton charged for wifi, but there was free wifi in the town. The manager doesnâ€™t think thereâ€™s free wifi in Seoul. Iâ€™ll bet there is! (The next day I find free wifi less than 50 metres from the hotel).
Have a reasonably early night; 9 pm ish.