Saturday, July 5, 2014

Travelogue: Korea Day 1 - Incheon International Airport to Busan


Came back from my family vacation to Korea about 2 weeks ago! It was my first time planning a free-and-easy trip and well, it was a good experience but really tiring too! Lots of research had to be done, planning the itinerary etc. More details coming up in the following posts.


Took a night flight by Korean Airlines to Seoul International Airport. Dinner was served 1 hour or so after the plane took off and after having a late dinner, it's time to sleep.

Tried to get some sleep but failed as usual. So spent my time watching movie and documentaries till around 5am. Touched down at Incheon International Airport at about 6am.

First thing when we got out of immigration was to find the place to get rental for the Olleh EGG Mobile WIFI which I found out about online! Having a portable WIFI so we could find directions with google map would be really handy since we can't really ask people for directions cause none of us know Korean.

This is the EGG Mobile WIFI device that kept us connected throughout our 6 days in Korea.



The rental of this device costs 8000 Won (roughly $10 SGD) a day but passengers flying by Korean Air gets a discount! Can't remember how much exactly is the discount but it was about 10-20% discount off per day of rental! Just show the counter your Korean Air boarding pass when you're asking about the rental.

This portable WIFI enables up to 4 devices to be connected to it at the same time! (On the web it wrote 5 devices but after trying it out, it only allows 4) and the battery lasts for 12 hours a day! The best part is, UNLIMITED WIFI all day long! (as long as the battery lasts... haha)

So we headed to one of the Olleh Service provider counters at the Arrival Hall in Incheon Airport. We went to the one near Gate C and got our device within a few minutes! All you have to do is pay a deposit of 200,000 Won (we used credit card for the deposit and they only took the credit card information, no deduction at all) and fill in a short form and you're good to go. You can even make a reservation for this device here if you're afraid they might run out of stock. It's free to make a reservation!

After getting our WIFI device, we headed to get tickets for the Airport Express Train to Seoul Station. From the arrival hall, head over to the Transportation building and go down to B2 for the train service. You can get your train tickets either from the ticket vending machine or from the counter which is just beside the gantry to the platform.


The Airport Express Train (non-stop) to Seoul Station costs 8000 Won for Adults and 6900 Won for children. However they have discounts for different category of travellers, do check their website here for more discounts. We have a total of 8 pax travelling together and for groups of 4 person or more, it is 6000 Won per pax for a one way ticket. Do note that this group discounts is only available if you purchase it directly from the counter!

Since we are heading directly to Busan, we bought the KTX (High speed Railway Train) tickets together at the same counter and we were entitled to more discount! From the original 53,300 Won we paid only 50,600 Won for an adult one way ticket. **[Do note that from 30 June 2014, you can travel directly from Incheon Airport directly to Busan Station without transiting like I did. More information on this here.]


Boarded the express train with not much time left before the train departs.




The journey takes about 43 minutes and it wasn't long before we arrived at Seoul Station. We immediately headed towards the KTX rail tracks as we did not have much time to spare before our train departs.

Saw alot of small stores selling Bentos just before going down to the KTX platforms.


People usually purchase them for long train rides but since we just had breakfast not long ago, we didn't try one.

 Train platforms.


So we were on our way to Busan. The journey took about close to 3 hours so most of us slept on the way.

When we reached Busan station, it was drizzling a little. We went to find lunch first since most of us were hungry.

Initially, we thought there would be a shuttle bus to our hotel from Busan Station, as indicated on the hotel's website. But after asking the information counters, there wasn't. I panicked for a little then. There were only 2 choices left then. One is to take Taxi and the other would be to take the Busan Metro to the nearest subway stop from our hotel (Dongbaek Station, which was still a 15 min walk away from the hotel). Finally decided on the latter to save costs, since we weren't sure how much a taxi journey would cost the 8 of us.

Got our transportation card (T-money) from a convenience store (GS25) across the road from Busan Station, where all the taxis are. T-money are like our Ez-link cards. Just have to tap in and out when you board the bus or the gantry to the subway. T-money can be used both in Busan and in Seoul. We were suppose to get the card in Seoul but we were rushing for the trains and it totally slipped my mind. Getting the card from a convenience store costs 3000 Won per card, 500 Won more compared to getting the card from Seoul Subway/Train stations. There is no value in the card, so you would have to top up accordingly. We topped up 20,000 Won per card. You can find out more about T-money and the bus/train fares for Busan here and for Seoul here.


We headed for the subway with our luggages. You would have to exit this main building shown above and head straight to reach the subway. For travellers with heavy luggages, I would recommend you to take the elevator to the subway instead of the stairs. Turn left once you reached the stairs leading to the subway and walk along the road for about 50m and you'll see the elevator.



It's pretty easy to navigate the subway since they have English signs beside the Korean ones. So just follow the signs.


We took the subway to Dongbaek Station to get to our hotel, Hanwha Resort Haeundae Tivoli. The resort was about a 10-15min walk away from the subway station. Read my review on this hotel here.



We went up to put down our luggages and rested for awhile before heading to Haeundae beach. Walked along the coast line towards the beach as the weather was quite cooling and it was rather cloudy then.









After about 20min-30min of walking, we reached Haeundae beach.







Walked around the area for about an hour or so before returning back to our hotel since everyone was tired from all the travelling that day.




On the way back to the hotel, we chanced upon this bakery, OPS.





Don't they all look delicious? For a second I thought they were all display pieces which weren't edible! We bought a few of their pastries to try but my favourite would be this:


Their mini croissant! It was so fresh and piping hot! The outside was crispy and the inside was soft and fluffy. Best croissant I've ever had! Love it so much that I bought another whole bag the next day too <3

Had our dinner at the food court at HomePlus and went back to the hotel to rest early for the day. And that concludes our day 1 in Korea! (:

Read the rest of my Korea travelogue here !

5 comments :

  1. Hi Janice,

    Glad that I chance upon your blog, it makes my planning easier :)

    However, can I confirm that I will need to take High Speed Rail to Seoul station before taking the KTX to Busan?

    Hope to hear from you soon, thanks in advance :)

    Incheon Airport to Busan, must I take the High Speed Rail to Seoul station then take KTX to Busan?

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    1. Hi Natalie,

      I'm glad that you've found the posts useful for your plannings (:

      Based on what I've read about in the news, from 30 June 2014, you can directly take the KTX from Incheon Airport to get to Busan Station! We went there in 16 June so it wasn't in place yet. Will make amendments to the posts in view of this!

      You can check out this website for more information (: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/AKR/FU_EN_15.jsp?cid=1930476

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  2. Hi Janice,
    Thanks for the info and nice pictures in your blogs. I'm travelling to Korea in Oct 2016. Initially, I'm planning to travel from Incheon Airport to Busan via the KTX directly. But, as the KTX timings from Incheon are limited, I'm now considering taking a KTX from Seoul Station instead where there are more KTX trains scheduled to Busan. So, I'll have to take an AREX express train to Seoul Station.
    Is it difficult to locate the KTX trains/platforms after getting off the AREX at the Seoul Station? Do you mind sharing with me your experience - the direction from getting off AREX to KTX trains? Are there signages in English leading passengers from AREX to KTX?
    Did you buy the KTX tickets to Busan at the Incheon Airport, at the same counter where you buy the AREX tickets? Can I get the KTX tickets at Incheon although I will only board the KTX at Seoul Station?

    Thanks.
    Joey

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    Replies
    1. Hello Joey! I'm glad you found those information useful!

      It is not difficult to locate the KTX trains/platforms after getting off the AREX. There are signages in English as well so it would not be hard to find your way to the KTX platform! And yes, I bought the KTX tickets to Busan at Incheon Airport, same counter as you purchase the AREX tickets (: I think it should be possible! You can check with the customer service officer at the counter. They probably would be able to speak English!

      As far as I know, even if you are unable to purchase tickets from the same counter in Incheon Airport, you can purchase the tickets directly from Seoul Station KTX ticket counter. I did that a week ago and there were still seats available for the train that was departing in 30min time.

      Hope this helps!

      Janice

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    2. Many thanks, Janice!

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