It has been a week plus since I landed in kimchi land!
I was hoping to publish this post when I am more or less settled down in Busan but I am still feeling very disorientated here in Busan so I might as well publish it now. Plus, school is actually starting tomorrow…………….. SIGH. I have only two confirmed modules right now on hand when I’m supposed to take FIVE courses. Some of us did a school tour ourselves earlier and this whole school is just like a maze filled with slopes. Okay, I shall elaborate more in another post!
The past few days in Korea (except Busan) had been really good. I met up with a lot of friends whom I missed, had the chance to live with a Korean family who took care of me really well, ate and drank a lot (alcohol is mad cheap), shopped quite a bit and had the chance to speak/practice Korean although I am not able to understand them most of the time -_-.
And I am not saying that I dislike Busan! It’s just that I haven’t been here before and everything is quite different from Seoul? Me is no superhero so I definitely need time to get used pace of life here! But one thing for sure, the people here are actually pretty helpful and the air is much fresher than Seoul!
I spent almost an hour in the airport because of my prepaid sim card (see below) and the bus to the city I’m going had a really low frequency. Waiting in the cold with so many baggages were really no joke. And apparently, you have to buy a bus ticket at the bus counter instead of paying in the bus. So I went ahead and put my luggage in the bus and went up wanting to pay the driver. But when the bus driver told me I have to get down to the bus counter to buy a ticket instead, I frantically rushed down because I was so afraid the bus would leave with my luggage!!
I stayed at a friend’s place for the first 4 nights and after which, I moved to Seoul where I shared a room with Sheryl who’s going to Sogang University for exchange too. Being able to experience how a Korean family live have been something I wanted to do for a long time so I was really glad I had the chance to this time round!!
That has got to be the best nights in Korea because I had an umma, appa and oppa who took great care of me! The whole family was really warm so there wasn’t any moment I felt home sick! I had home cooked Korean breakfast every morning. Think kimchi stew, kimbap, potato stew, japchae and soybean stew….. Breakfast in Singapore is usually just bread + coffee so I was actually quite shocked Koreans eat sooooo damn much for breakfast.
After I left my friend’s place, I moved in to a guesthouse located in Myeongdong. Both Sheryl and I booked a room in “Seoul Tower Ville”. I would highly recommend this guesthouse to those visiting Seoul! The location is great, guesthouse is huge, price is affordable and mostly importantly, it is clean and the owner was really friendly and helpful. I wanted to borrow an iron to iron my crumpled shirt but the owner’s wife offered to iron it for me! ^_^
We only paid 29,500 KRW per night which is about SGD$35!! Look at the pictures below and I’m sure you would think it’s a steal!
I think the only bad thing about this guesthouse is that you have to climb a super steep slope to get back every night. But since Korea is filled with steep slopes, this is really nothing -_-.
Prepaid sim card
I decided to sign up for evergreen sim card (https://www.facebook.com/egsimcard?fref=ts) as most of the exchange students were also getting it.
You can actually choose to purchase the sim card online (and get it delivered to your hotel/collect it from a bookshop at Incheon Airport) or offline from GS25 at Incheon Airport. I chose the later. There are 2 types of sim card available. Either the 30,000 KRW or 50,000 KRW one. Insert the sim card after you purchased it but remember to configure your phone to the settings in the booklet if you purchase it offline. Everything should work fine!
HOWEVER! Do remember to register online at http://m.egsimcard.co.kr/ and input the last 3 digit of your sim card and a clear copy of your passport. This is extremely important because your data gets cut off if you don’t register! I was data-less for a day because I didn’t know I had to register…
The processing time was quite fast anyway. Only about 8 hours? If you need the service urgently, just drop a message to their FB account and they would get back to you asap! After you are done with the registration, you would have to activate the data plan.
There are 3 options available for the data plan. 100MB, 500MB and 1GB. So for example, if I were to opt for 1GB worth of data, EG would deduct 16,500 KRW from my sim card and leave the rest for calling/sms! You can activate the data plan via their website (https://www.egsimcard.co.kr/eng/index.asp) or their smartphone app.
And don’t worry about exceeding your data because there is also free WIFI available for EG Sim Card. Just drop them a Facebook message with your WIFI MAC address and you will provide you the access to WIFI shortly! You can access the WIFI in subway stations and selected restaurants and streets!
I know it sound kinda draggggyy and confusing but since they are the experts, drop them a message if you need any help! They reply really promptly and they are good at English!
Sightseeing & shopping
Basically, I had three full free days before I head over to Busan. 2 days were in Seoul where I did sightseeing + catching up with friends + shopping while the other day was spent in Suwon!
The War Memorial of Korea > Bukchon Hanok Village > Namsan Tower > Myeongdong Cathedral
& Express Bus Terminal with Sheryl for shoppppping!
I love the War Memorial of Korea! I don’t know why but I’m always interested in the painful past of a country (that made me sound a bit like a lunatic but I love history!) so the museum gave me a good idea of the different wars in Korea… There were also lots of tankers and fighter jets around the museum so it’s definitely a cool attraction to head to if you have time!!
Express Bus Terminal was another crazy place. Things were crazily cheap there. Boots starts from 15,000++ and tops/cardigans starts from 10,000++. Everything was crazily cheap! Sheryl & I went a bit crazy in there and I managed to bargain a little there too! I think that could be my favorite shopping place after Ewha University shopping street!
It was my first time in Suwon and I suggested to go to Hwaseong since it’s the landmark of the city. Such an amazing place. It’s so much better than Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul! It’s only an hour bus ride away from Seoul so it is actually a good place for a day trip!
War Memorial of Korea
Bukchon Hanok Village
Hyewon gave me beanie as a welcome present. And yup, it was my favourite color!
Coffee with Inji ^^
Time for me to get out of here! School starts at 9am tomorrow but I have to wake up super early for breakfast + course registration + finding my way around school!!
Till next time! :)