Are We There Yet? – Part 2

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Ladies & gentlemen, we have landed at Incheon International Airport, Seoul. Local time is 6:30am and the temperature is around 4c.

For your safety, please remain seated until the aircraft has come to a complete stop at the gate. Take caution when removing your carry-on luggage from the overhead compartments.

On behalf of the Captain and Crew, we thank you for flying with us.

For those who are visiting Korea for the first time, enjoy your stay.

To our Korean guests, Welcome Home!

I’M HOME! WOOHOO!!

That was wishful thinking kicking into high gear as we gleefully prepared to disembark the plane. I was literally shaking with excitement as I envisioned our walks and photo ops in the city. Although I didn’t get much sleep during the flight, the adrenaline rush was enough to ensure I got us safely from Incheon to Ibis Hotel in Myeong dong.

Our plane was parked at the satellite terminal and as we followed the crowd, we found ourselves taking the escalator down to lower level to wait for the shuttle train:

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Did not have to wait long for the shuttle. Within minutes, we were whisked to the Immigration checkpoint.  Out of the four lanes that were opened at our wing, 3 were for Korean passport holders. The foreign passport holder queue was fast getting to be a mile-long.

However, once all Koreans were cleared at Immigration, the officer on duty allowed us foreigners to queue at the other 3 lanes. Everyone has to undergo biometric scanning (ie finger print scan & facial video recording) except for minors. Once done, we headed towards the designated carousel to claim our baggage. Again, the wait was not that long.

WIth much anticipation, we walked towards the much-captured-on-video scene of Incheon’s International Arrival Hall. I swear I could hear KDrama OSTs in the background heralding our arrival in Korea. Goosebumps! And yes, a silly grin was plastered on my face the whole time.

First order of business: get smaller denominations (ie buy bottle of water & T-Money cards). If not for http://www.visitkorea.co.kr, I wouldn’t be so savvy with my bearings & with the many “what-to-dos”. T-Money cuts out the hassle of purchasing tickets especially when you travel via subway. Not that we were riding the subway into the city, but because we arrived so early in the morning, I thought it was better to get that done first.

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T-Money card: 2,500W. Top-up value can be done @ subway stations.

 

There’s zero value in the T-Money card upon purchase. You may top-up from as little as 1,000W to more than 20,000W. Next on my list was getting bus tickets to Myeong dong. I did some research on accommodations in Seoul and gravitated towards Ibis Ambassador in Myeong dong. Not only does it sit in the middle of one of the hottest shopping spots in Seoul, but it was also close to the Green Line. What’s “Green Line?”

 

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Ibis Ambassador Hotel @ Myeong dong is between Euljiro 1(il)-ga and Myeong dong stations. Super convenient!

 

Most of the places we wanted to visit are along the Green Line, hence its inclusion in the decision-making process. But, more of this in later postings. PHEW!

So where do we purchase tickets for the Limo Buses @ Incheon Airport?

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Look for counters with Orange “Headers”…

You may purchase your tickets here (inside the airport) or…

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 just outside the gates. English should not be a problem with those who work @ Incheon, but to be on the safe side, bring along a Hangul version of your accommodations in Seoul. It may be of help when you  need to communicate with the bus drivers later or the Ahjusshis who man the various bus stops along the terminal.

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Bus tickets? Check!

14,000W though? Did they increase the fares? Thought it was less than that? Nah, shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. As long as I get my girl & myself safely @ Ibis, I’m a happy camper. So there we were, acclimatizing to the chilly 4c temp from our usual 28c in the tropics! Someone was excited with the phenomenon of “seeing your breath before your eyes”.

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Make sure you queue at the right place for your bus. But I’m sure the Ahjusshi will point you to the correct stand. He will ask for your luggage, pastes a tag on it and hands you a stub with the corresponding number.

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The 6001 route is displayed inside the bus. This ride stops right next to Ibis Ambassador hotel @ Myeong dong.

This ride took more than an hour to get into the city. I was extremely sleepy and wanted to catch some Zzzzs, but my “co-pilot” whom I entrusted to wake me up upon entry into Seoul fell into deep sleep even before we left Gimpo Airport (Gimpo was the first stop on the 6001 route).

Sheesh!!

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