It was January when I saw on Facebook a sponsored post of a travel agency named Discover Asia Travel and Tours. It was timely because I was writing my travel goals for 2016 on my planner and that includes Korea and Japan. I’m not really a KPop fan but a lot of my friends have been to Korea, and judging by some Koreanovelas I saw on TV, I think going there is worth it.
Discover Asia offers installment basis on their packages without the need for a credit card. I think the rate is a steal also, at Php28k/person for a 4d/3n package. That includes the flight, transfers, accommodation and tours. I booked for myself and Mama the tour package on March 18-21, which I learned later on was too early for cherry blossoms.
With only less than 3 months before the travel, the payment was divided in 3 installments, which were conveniently scheduled every 15th of the month (Jan, Feb, Mar). I googled hard about the visa application requirements and spent some time preparing those (details here). I also monitored the daily average temperatures days before the trip so that we know which clothes to pack.
We got our visa 1st week of March. Travel documents were sent to me immediately after I made the last installment, which was 3 days before the trip. Off we go!
Our flight was set at 7am. By 1pm (Korean time) we arrived in Incheon International Airport. Korea is ahead of the PH time by 1 hour. Upon arrival, we were fetched by our Korean driver/tour guide Daniel, and met the other 2 ladies (solo travellers) who would join our group tour. We learned that our group will be comprised of only 6 people, all girls 🙂
Outside the airport we set foot on the proper Korean soil (or concrete, whatever) and were immediately welcomed by the cold weather. Daniel placed our luggages at the back of the minivan then drove some dizzying 1 hour to our guesthouse. He turned off the aircon inside the van and I remembered I haven’t eaten that time yet, hence the feeling. Too much sun + hunger = headache for me, those are my greatest weaknesses. So don’t talk to me if I’m hungry. Lol
We stayed in Welcome Guesthouse Myeongdong. The area is a very hilly residential area where budget accommodations (guesthouses) are located. I presented my hotel voucher to the guy at the front desk then he helped us with our luggages to our room located in the second floor. He instructed us about the tv and floor heater. They conveniently posted the FAQs on the wall.
We had some rest and Mama flicked on the tv channels where everything is in Korean. Then at about 4pm we went outside to find something to eat. I led the way like a boss as if I’ve been there before. Well, I was familiar with the area, thanks to Google Street View.