Every time I go to Seoul, it seems like I’m only there for a second. I’ve thought about spending a month or two exploring South Korea many times, but my travel plans always change last minute when Seoul is involved. This time was no different. I originally planned to stay for a week and a half after spending Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, but then I had to make an unexpected trip to Tokyo and my time in Seoul was reduced to three and a half days. Regardless, I tried to make the best of it.
I arrived in Seoul on an Asiana Airlines A380. Since it was such a short flight, I decided to splurge a little on business class because I’ve never flown on an Airbus A380 before. Actually, I shouldn’t say “splurge”. Since I purchased the ticket so last minute, business class was only $100 more than an economy fare.
I don’t have too much to say about the flight. I’m not a fan of the typical frequent flyer blogs out there – the ones that talk about flying all around the world in first class and visiting airport lounges and five star hotels. I always find it funny when they travel somewhere, go to their hotel, visit a nice bar, sleep in their upgraded room, and then fly home. Dude! You just flew 15 hours… At least spend a week exploring the city and creating interesting content.
With that said, the flight was comfortable. The food was good, and the service was great. I watched a movie and drank champagne to pass the time. Before I knew it, we were landing in Incheon Airport – the Narita Airport of Korea. It’s so out of the way, but many people still seem to love it for some reason. Me? I definitely prefer Gimpo in Korea and Haneda in Japan.
After going through customs and picking up my luggage, I took the AREX and transferred to Subway Line 6 to Itaewon. I’ve never been to this part of town, but I was told it’s the “Roppongi of Korea” – where all the foreigners live and hang out. I was exhausted from traveling all day, so I decided to eat at the first place I saw after dropping off my luggage at the Airbnb. Salon Paradis was the first restaurant I saw. I got a steak, which didn’t really look or taste like steak. The truffle fries were really good though.
After dinner, I walked around Itaewon and took some photos. A lot of people compare Seoul to Tokyo, and I’m probably guilty of that too. They’re very different places, but often get grouped into the “super modern Asian cities” club along with Hong Kong and Singapore. I prefer Tokyo and Singapore’s immaculate-ness, but I’m also a fan of Seoul and Hong Kong’s grunginess.
The next day, I spent the morning and afternoon at a local coffee shop catching up on writing and emails. Around 5 p.m., I met my friend Soojung for Korean BBQ. I’m glad we were able to meet this time because things didn’t really work out last time due to Korea’s less than ideal work culture.
After dinner, we had sulbing (설빙) for dessert before walking over to Naksan Park to take in some night views of Seoul.
I guess the girl was too tired to walk downhill. Good man!
I didn’t take any photos the next two days due to some technical difficulties, so I’ll just share some earlier photos for the rest of this post…
The following day, I once again spent the morning and afternoon working. I know… I’m supposed to be having fun while traveling. Don’t worry. I’m trying to make this whole full time freelancer thing work, and a huge part of that is working on the road. I think it’s fun.
In the evening, I met up with my friend Angelina, and we went to see Kinky Boots. My other friend Garret is currently playing keyboard in the USA national tour of Kinky Boots, and I visited him a few months ago – so I sort of knew the music already, but I’ve never seen it from the audience’s perspective.
I vaguely remember someone telling me that a Korean investor or a Korean company was involved in the original Broadway production of Kinky Boots, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right show to produce in Korea. I just find it really weird when distinctly American shows are produced in other countries. A lot of the cultural references get lost in translation.
Watching the Korean version of Kinky Boots as an American was strangely surreal. Don’t get me wrong. The cast and band were phenomenal, but it’s just uncomfortable when non-Americans try to be American. I’m sure Americans trying to be Korean would be even stranger. I think it’s better when international companies produce shows like Lion King – something in the fantasy realm.
Today was my last day in Seoul. It was gloomy and rainy, so I stayed indoors and relaxed. I really enjoy DC’s television shows, so I started watching Black Lightning after getting caught up on The Flash.
Earlier in the evening, I headed over to Incheon Airport for my overnight flight to Doha on Qatar Airways. ICN-DOH is one of the Q Suite business class routes, so I’m excited for the flight! People say it’s the best business class in the world.
Good night from Seoul, and see you soon in Munich!