Thursday.......arrive in Seoul

Seoul Travel Blog

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Driving into Seoul

Land around 8:30 and a taxi tout comes up to me.  Don’t know if they’re legal here, but I always go to the rank, which I attempt to do.  Don’t know how it works here, usually you catch the taxi at the front, but drivers who aren’t at the front come up to me.  I say I want to go to Seoul.  There’s a lot of giggling from the drivers.  What hotel?  I think that’s the limit of their English.  I say I don’t know but it’s in Seoul and I’ll check in a minute.  I realize that they probably don’t understand my answer, but it really doesn’t matter until I get in the cab.  I answer the same question the same way five times while we’re walking to one driver’s cab and I’m getting annoyed.  When I get in the cab I ask the guy does he have a meter, as I can’t see one.  No reply.  What is the cost to go to the Hotel Sofitel Ambassador.

Driving into Seoul (2)
  With these two questions he realizes that I’m a wise up to him and suddenly gets out and removes my case from the boot.  You have to be so careful with taxi drivers everywhere; they really can be villains.

 

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 I’ve only had about 4 hours sleep, I’m not really tired and will go out for a walk.

Bedroom number 1
  Yes, another of my famous walks where I get lost.  I have four maps, one shows far too much, one far too little.  One has the Sofitel Ambassador marked, but when I walk in the direction that I think leads to a clothing/shopping area, the road doesn’t bend in the right direction.  Nothing seems to make sense. 

 

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 I’m at the clothing centre of South Korea, Dongdaemun Market, 27,000 shops/stalls.  But I’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.

View from bedroom, left, includes N Seoul tower
  Catch a taxi back to the hotel and have a steak sandwich in the deli (rather upmarket deli).

 

I’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 they’re in the process of changing over to softer beds.  Obviously I’m not the only person who doesn’t like hard beds.  The manager offers me an upgrade to a room with a softer bed.  I go with him to the 15th “luxury” floor.  To be honest, the bed doesn’t seem any softer, but I take the offer.

 

I tell him my theories on hotels charging for wifi and how it’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 doesn’t think there’s free wifi in Seoul.  I’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.

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Driving into Seoul
Driving into Seoul
Driving into Seoul (2)
Driving into Seoul (2)
Bedroom number 1
Bedroom number 1
View from bedroom, left, includes …
View from bedroom, left, includes…
View from bedroom, right
View from bedroom, right
River?
River?
Dongdaemun Gate
Dongdaemun Gate
Dongdaemun shopping, includes 120 …
Dongdaemun shopping, includes 120…
Seoul
photo by: chiyeh