SEOUL – never sleeping city

at least while we have been there 😉 Taking the Asiana airline was a good decision for the early flight from Shanghai to Seoul. And after a short stay with a nice burger we got to our friend’s place in Seoul. Taking the public transports was not that complicated as expected but one small hint should be given:

always write down the place you want to go, because they have a lot of stops which sound pretty the same.
After meeting the family with their kids and solving little conversation problems at the beginning with them, we went for dinner to a Korean BBQ – a kind of restaurant which I hopefully will find back in Germany. And to stay local the drink was Korean rice-wine, kind of a sweet light sparkling white wine.

Although we had just a few days, a trip to North Korea or at least the border was a must-do. Because you have to book the trip couple weeks in advance, we already got our meeting point and schedule for the day so we started with the bus from Hotel Lotte. I don’t wanna say if the trip is fun, strange, useless or only for tourist – but I think you can compare it to a trip to the border of east and west Germany years ago. During the 1 hour bus drive our guide explained us to follow every of her instructions. The main topic is where to take a photo and where not and to sign a paper which said in summarized: if you die during the trip – it’s not the fault of the travel agency.
In a nutshell the stay at the border: Passing a lot of security controls – getting out of the bus for 10 minutes to see the border  –  one minute allowed to take some pictures  –  jump one meter into North Korean territory – back to the bus.
On our way back we stopped to eat Korean hotpot seated on a nice heated floor and saw the train to liberty fully covered by bullet wholes.

The try to do some sightseeing in the City was bothered by closed museums and sights which are not finished yet but already in the tourist information 😀 So we met decided to meet some friends of us to enjoy a great night in a restaurant and different clubs.

After the last night and a long sleep we visited the really colorfull palace (with a free student guide), the nearby Insadong shopping mile and for the sunset we went to the Seoul tower. Perhaps for the next time, we now know, that you should check if the cable car is running or not (because of windy weather). Really hungry we found a place directly in the tower with quite cheap menus (for couples) and a few on Seoul by night. The way home was not that much fun, because when the subway in Seoul closes, they won’t finish the tour – they just kick you out that station you are in that moment.

South Korea offers great SPAs, where you can stay 24/7 and only pay about 10 – 20 € per day. Also a got possibility to stay overnight, cause they also offer next to all different kinds of saunas, pools and entertainment a place to sleep. To have this experience at least for a couple hours, we went to a quite modern one in garden 5. If you’re searching the entrance in a building with no single English sign: take entrance 5 at the tool building and go up to tenth floor. Also you don’t need anything to bring with you – because you get a shirt and pants for the public “steam bath”, you have to be naked at the man and women separated “sauna” and you find shops for eat and everything else you might to stay there overnight.