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Prologue to KOREA trip + DAY 1 ( Onboard night flight )

Spore (Changi International Airport)->South Korea (Incheon International Airport) [ overnight plane ]

We have always wanted to visit China however due to the widespread of bird flu there we put halt to our China plan. Instead we decided to visit Korea this year. Korea has always amazed us when we see their pop or tranditional culture via TV. No doubt North and South Korea were on the verge of having a war, we feel that it is unlikely to escalate into a threatening issue since this is not the first time North Korea has been using war a a threat.

We started planning in May this year, and planned to go during the national day and Hari Raya Puasa week so as to take advantage of the long weekend. In total, only 3 working days of leave is needed. As we are all pretty much unfamiliar with korean language except for the basic ones like Kamsahameeda (Thankyou), we reckon travelling around Korea might be tough. Thus we have decided to go with tour this time round.

Chinatown - People Park Complex has a lot of travel agencies located there ( ASA, Chan Brothers, SA Tours, Hong Thai, Five Stars Tour, etc...) We went there in mid May to collect brochures and enquired about the rough pricing. As we are looking at family friendly itinerary ( not just shopping but like touring around Korea - including sightseeings ), the price range are generally similar between $1400-2000 ( inclusive of taxes ). Itinerary wise, longer trips ( 7/8 days) generally cover Mt Sorak, Jeju and Seoul which is to our liking. For tours that do not take direct flight ( Asiana or Singapore Airlines ) but rather cathay pacific or china eastern, they provide additional 2nights free of stopover at hong kong and shang hai respectively. However they are mostly small tour agencies and we are unsure about their credibility, afterall expenditure to Korea for 4 pax can be quite a hefty sum, thus we decided to go with ASA TOURS!

Their itinerary of 8D Best of Seoul+Jeju+Mount Sorak is to our liking as they covered a lot of attractions and almost all meals are included. 



They are offering the first 10 customers who order this package a discounted price of $1188 + $380 ( airport taxes). The usual price is $1888 + $380. The later you book the package, the more expensive it is. We were told that there's 4 people who booked the package prior to us. 


As Citibank is ASA's preferred card, we got a 28" 4 wheels luggage trolley and a candy floss maker. We got the candy floss maker directly from ASA while we got to redeem the luggage trolley at The Central, Clarke. As they have stocks over there, we got to redeem it on the same day we made the remaining payment. A minmum deposit covering the airfare tickets cost is required. To redeem the freebies given by citibank, you will only receive the redemption letter after you made the remaining payment via citibank credit card. There will also be a short briefing by ASA personnel about pre-trip departure when you make your remainning payment. So it will be good if all members can be present!

We made the remaining payment in early July and by then accomodation has yet to be confirmed. As a usual practice, they will call 2/3 days before departure to inform you if the tour group is confirmed and inform you whether a tour leader is going with us. According to their practice, tour leaders( will travel with us all the way from Singapore) will only be allocated for tours with more than 25 people. Otherwise, there will only be a tour guide.

So they called us on 31st July informing us that we have 19 people in our Tour group, departure is confirmed and there will only be tour guide following us whom we will meet at Korea.

And yay, upon request, we got the list of our hotel accommodation!



We wanted to research more about the location of our hotels so as to plan our after-tour activities [ in the end we didn't :( ].

So the long wait has come, and we are finally busy packing our luggage and off to board our night flight with Asiana Airlines on Friday, 2nd August. In the itinerary, they counted this day as Day 1, thus there's 8 days in total however technically speaking, its only a 7 days trip.

So, we were supposed to reach Changi International Airport Terminal 2 at 8.40am ( 2 hours before the flight ) - row 8 where Asiana Airlines Counter is and ASA personnel will be there to issue us air tickets and last minute briefing.

The ASA personnel was punctual and we received a small folder and air tickets from him.

Small Folder with accomodation/tour guide information inside
He can be seen carrying the ASA flag. A few of our members were a little late but it understandable since most of them are rushing from work.

Departure: 2240 Seoul-ICN OZ752

He helped us with checking in of our baggage and then waved goodbye to us. The 2 hours before boarding is  free and easy time for all of us.

Asiana Air ticket
Arrival Card
We need to fill in the arrival card and hand it over to the Korea's Airport custom counter when we touch down at Incheon Airport.

Since we have some spare time we wandered around and had a light dinner/supper?

Flowers exhibition in Changi Airport
Boarding gate is opened at around 10.20pm.


Somehow they displayed Singapore Airlines instead of Asiana but its the same departure time.

Aboard Asiana Airlines!
Most of the passengers aboard the plane is Korean. Ultimately, Asiana Airlines is a Korea airline company.

There's some delay to our flight and we departed at only around 11.15pm, instead of 10.40pm.

Blanket and pillow provided for international flight


Blanket Checked
Pillow Checked.
Entertainment system Checked.

However I must say, SQ entertainment system is much better in terms of variety. There's very limited number of movies as compared to SQ.

As we did some research on Asiana Airlines prior to our trip, we know that they do serve us meal on board. However as we board this flight at such an awkward timing of close to midnight, we are not too sure when they will serve us the meal.

They served us warm towel to sanitise our hands, then served us beverages. An hour later around 12am (SG time), they started serving meals. There's 2 choices - braised chicken with rice or Bibimbap.

As Bibimbap consist of beef and our family don't take beef, we chose the other one.

Braised Chicken with rice
Surprisingly, the chicken was good! :) Little did we know this will be our last meal having chicken before many meals of pork in Korea!

That sort of concluded our night on the flight with movies and trying to catch a wink on the plane before we arrive at Incheon Internation Airport on Day 2!

Side-note:



Asiana Airline's air stewardess are very polite! Sometimes I think they are even more polite than the other stewardess from other airlines like SQ. They bow and smile at each passenger while serving them food! Despite having only a very basic command of English, you can see their sincerity behind each attempt of communicating with us (who do not speak Korean) and ensuring that our requests/needs have been made :)

5 comments:

jzhenying said...

Arex Express train is the best way to access from the airport to Seoul station. It is fast(it takes only 43 mins to Seoul station) and clean. Plus, the price is also reasonable. It cost 8,000won and if you take one of these airline;Asiana,KAL,Jeju airline, you get some discount(6,900won). Arex Express train info desk is located between gate no.9 and no.8, desk no.45 on 1st floor in the airport.
T-money card is a prepaid public transportation card which means
you have to load some money on your T-money card before you use it
on subway,taxi or bus. And you can purchase a T-money card ata low price
if you head to Seoul station from Incheon airport. Find the Arex info.desk
on 1st floor at the airport. It located between gate #9 and #8, desk no.45.
They have a special promotion for foreigners; Express train ticket to Seoul station
+ T-money card it costs only 8,900 won. The regular price of
the express train ticket is 8,000 won and T-money card is 3,000 won.
So the promotion is a good deal.

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