The stewardesses had to wear aprons when they served the food.
My breakfast tray.
I was so tempted to bring the blanket home till I see this label.
The flight touched down at Incheon Airport on time. The aircraft was parked at the main terminal, so it was easy to get to immigration and customs checkpoint. Once I cleared everything, I went to a convenience store to change some coins to call Pjot. She just disembarked. MH aircraft was parked at the satellite terminal. Several other flights (mostly foreign) also arrived about the same time, hence the line at immigration and customs checkpoint was really long. She only got out of the gate about an hour after arriving.
We found each other, yeay!
We took an airport limo bus towards Dobong to get to our hotel. The journey from the airport to the city centre took about 2 hours as the traffic was bad (from what I read online, it supposed to take only 90 minutes). I never thought a place like Seoul would face such problem. Oh well, I guess traffic congestion is a common issue in any big city.
Pretty flowers on the way to the city centre.
We alighted in front of Seongdong-gu Office. Google map pointed the direction of the hotel to be along the same street as the bus stop. We walked up and down the street trying to find it but to no avail. We tried to ask several locals (none of them spoke English, fortunately I had the hotel address printed in Korean characters), neither of them had any idea where it was. But they all agreed that it shouldn’t be far away, as we were on the right street.
We decided not to waste anymore time and called the hotel. As you might have guessed, their English was just too “fantastic” to be understood over the phone. Fortunately Pjot studied some basic Korean so she was able to meet them in between. They told us that their hotel was just opposite the bus stop where we alighted, all we needed to do was to cross the road! So we returned to the bus stop, crossed the road and entered the first tall building that we saw. We showed the address to the security guard, he shook his head, we were in a wrong building. We asked if he knew where the hotel was, he said no. My goodness, does anyone know any direction around here?!
We saw a convenience store nearby. A teenage girl was on duty. Teenagers are usually more alert of their surroundings, so we decided to ask her. Pjot went inside while I waited outside with our bags. After exchanging a few words, Pjot handed her mobile phone to the girl and asked her to speak to the hotel personnel.
Waiting for her to guide us to the right direction.
The girl said the hotel was actually right behind the building where we were in. It was along the back street, which was the reason why many locals didn’t notice that it was there. So we got out of the building and walked a little uphill towards the back street.
And there it was, the Amourex Hotel!
The street along which the hotel was located. It wasn’t on the main road (unlike what was pointed on Google map).
Since it wasn’t check-in time yet, we left our bags at the hotel and decided to start exploring the city. The nearest subway station to the hotel was Wangsimni, which was on line 2 and 5. The nearest gate was gate 1. By the way, Seoul subway stations were really huge. One station could easily have teens of gates (Wangsimni station had 13 gates I think). So be sure you remember which gate is closest to where you want to enter/exit. A wrong gate may lead you to many blocks away!
So before I forget, as requested by Pjot, I’m going to put a clear direction on how to get to Amourex Hotel. We already had our fair share of getting lost while finding it, so we hope future travelers wouldn’t have to endure the same.
Address (Roman characters): 72, Dosun-dong, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Address (Korean characters): 서울특별시 성동구 도선동 72
Phone: +82-2-2292-7634 (from outside of South Korea)
Phone: 02-2292-7634 (from inside of South Korea, either using local line or if your mobile phone is on roaming)
The most convenient way to get to the hotel from Incheon Airport is via the airport limo bus. Find the ticket counter somewhere opposite arrival gate no. 1 and 2. Get a ticket to Seongdong-gu Office which is on Dobong line. It costs KRW 13,000 (about RM40) for adult. Get out of the airport building through exit no. 3. Once outside, go to bus stop no. 3B. Show your ticket to the officer in charge. Don’t just jump on any bus (I nearly did!) as many different buses on different routes use the same bus stop. The officer will alert you when the right bus arrives. Get onboard and enjoy the ride for the next 90 minutes (assuming the traffic is clear, else you’ll be onboard for 2 hours like we did).
The bus will stop at several places (one of it is Gimpo Airport). Announcements are done in English, so don’t worry, you’ll be aware of every stop. Alight at the fourth stop called Seongdong-gu Office. You will find yourself right in front of the office building (it has a rainbow logo). Cross the 3-lane main road (there’s a zebra crossing with traffic lights) and you will reach a tall red building with a convenience store at its ground floor (where we stopped to ask for directions from the helpful teenage girl). Enter the junction to the right of the building and walk uphill towards the back street. You will see the hotel building right in front of you.
Here’s a Google map that I’ve extracted pointing to the right spot where the hotel actually is. You can trust this one.
The embedded interactive map may take a while to load (it’s usually like that when I want to see maps of places in Seoul, no idea why), so if you can’t wait, have a look at the photo map underneath. If all you see is grey, try clicking on the button "Map" on the top-right bar, it usually works.
As for the photo map, you can click on it to blow it up, but you won’t be able to scroll or zoom to the specific point. But for the purpose of leading you to the hotel, it should be good enough.
To be continued…