An April Fools Day in Seoul
Our visit to the Republic of Korea was a brief one. If you ever find yourselves with a long layover in Seoul, they offer a free tour service that will take you downtown to see some of the sites and return you to the airport. Depending on the time of day and the length of your layover, they provide several different tour options. It is a great deal! We had enough time to join the 6.5 hour tour.
First we had to get into the country. That entailed giving them fingerprints. They scan them electronically along with taking a photo of your face. Not sure why or what they do with the fingerprints but it was a first.
The next step was to find the tour service desk and just like that we were on the next minibus along with eight new friends. The drive from the airport to downtown Seoul is about and hour each way. We were tired from our red eye flight and were traveling light. All of these photos were taken with the iPhone and their quality is not great.
Our first tourist sight was a flyby past the Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Yeah it went about that quick for us too. Our free tour did not allow time to for a visit. Instead we stopped at a traditional home to tour followed by a walk around the old neighbourhood downtown. The third picture is a natural gas service meter. At the time I was still working for SaskEnergy and that actually interested me.
Our final destination before returning to the airport was the huge main market. For us, the highlight was an authentic kimchi noodle lunch and buying socks for a $1 US dollar (1000 Won at the time) per pair. We also saw some of the freshest octopus sushi ever. Take a small live octopus, chop it into one inch pieces, pour some sauce on it and serve. You can eat still wiggling or wait until the wiggling stops.
Our overall impression was that Seoul is a massive city of ten million people and we don't think that we would choose the city itself as a destination though we are glad that we had an opportunity to see some of it all the same.