Summer in Seoul, South Korea (Day 1 of 40): Airport diaries & flying to Incheon

Hello, it's me? :P

 Finally back to writing random journals about my life (mostly travels) after so many years of intermittent blogging :)

I don't know if anyone still reads blogs but I feel like I want to write again. It's been a while since I stopped writing professionally and I don't know if I'm ever going to do it again since I feel like I need to hone my skills to re-enter that world. But perhaps journaling like this will help me get back to the rhythm.

Enough babbling about that and lets talk about travel. I went to Korea twice this year and I was contemplating what should I blog first, the summer (June to July) or the autumn trip (October to November). Well what made sense to me is to do it chronologically, so here I am, editing photos and typing away a somehow sensible introduction to catch your attention.

As soon as Korea announced that they're open for tourists, I researched about the requirements. Collected my documents to renew my visa, rushed to the agency to submit it. After a week, I got it and booked my flight via Cebu Pacific

I told my parents, I'm going to stay in Korea for more than a month/ almost 2 months. I actually didn't tell a lot of friends about this plan because I wanted to go on a solo trip. It's been a while since I went to Seoul, 3 years to be exact. Pre-pandemic, autumn season of November 2019.

I knew I had to go back. Now with a greater love for drama, an insane obsession with Kpop and a burning passion for Korean culture.

JUNE 2022

June 16 2022: I packed 2 large pieces of luggage and headed to the airport. I didn't know what to feel. I was excited, nervous, scared, happy, all emotions jumbled inside my head and heart. Funny, I was the first one in the boarding area. I was so early.

For the first few days, I stayed with friends but for the rest of my stay, I booked several hotels. SK just opened back then so most hotels are affordable. I think I was booking my other hotels this time. I did a lot of hotel hopping this trip.

flight was a little bit after lunch so I made sure to grab snacks. 

Cebu Pacific flies daily from Manila to Incheon and twice weekly from Cebu.

As a nervous flyer, I kept praying for a smooth and safe flight while watching them put our luggage inside the plane. Then when the crew announced it was time to board, I felt butterflies in my stomach. It wasn't my first time flying this pandemic since I flew to Boracay, Siargao and US but this felt different.

They used the massive plane. As you can see, it wasn't full because Korea just opened and not a lot knew that it was already allowed to fly.

Flight is just about 3 hours and 40 mins from Manila to Incheon. I was like, what to do?

Eversince I developed flight anxiety, I rarely sleep on the plane. Which sucks because sleep is a time burner. No one to talk to since I was flying solo.

Ended up watching Permission To Dance concert on my laptop. This super entertained me and made me miss PTD LA so so much. 

When the captain announced that we're on our final descent, I felt this unexplainable wave of emotions. I wasn't a Kpop fan back in 2019, i knew all about Kpop but wasn't into it till March 2020 --- Kpop was my escape from the loneliness of lockdown, and I'm sure a lot of you can relate to this. I've loved kdramas since forever but now I felt like my heart was really full of love for the K-culture. Shows, movies, music, food, fashion, language... basically all.

And as soon as I saw the impressive structure while looking outside the window of the plane, I knew it was going to be an adventure of a lifetime.

This was my 3rd trip to Korea, but first solo travel here. First was with my friends, second was with my dad. You can say that third time's the charm. I didn't know I was going to feel deeply madly in love with this country.

The immigration area had a long line but it was swift as soon as they checked the passport. No questions asked. The officer warmly smiled at me and said "welcome to Korea" :)

Got a data SIM card via Klook (KT telecom) for 30 days. Didn't use pocket wifi this time because I didn't want to carry a lot of things while walking around.

First meal? Samgak kimbap of course!

During this time (June 2022), covid testing was still a requirement. But not anymore!

Took the express train to the city. I didn't know why I didn't take a cab, considering I had two huge pieces of luggage. 

At this point, I was already so freaking exhausted but also so pumped I'm here!

Note to self: never bring two big pieces of luggage. I learned after this trip. Haha! for my autumn trip, I only brought my trunk. My bags are from Briggs and Riley. So sturdy :)

After 2-3(?) train changes that felt like forever, I finally made it to my friends apartment in Haengdang.

So yes, Summer in Seoul adventures begin :)


To be continued.