Going to Seoul - 5 Useful things to note when planning to travel free & easy with young children
Took us awhile to finally do a family trip that involves travelling on a plane with two munchkins. Why? Because we felt like the plane rides will drain us away! Well, you know what? It did, but we had more energy than we think the minute we landed in Seoul. The plane rides were especially difficult for my toddler but we managed to get by somehow.
Since it was our first trip overseas, we decided to settle for a short trip and had our flights, airport transfers and accommodation booked before the trip. Seoul was perfect because the cooling weather (Spring in April-May) served as a great break from our tropical island and South Korea is just 1 hour ahead of Singapore - so the children's routine were more or less not affected by the time difference.
Here is a summary of 6D5N trip in April 2016:
- Overnight flight via Korean Air (Singapore -> Incheon International Airport)
- Stay in Hotel Manu - Seoul
- Return airport transfer for family
- Afternoon flight back to Singapore via Korean Air (Incheon International Airport -> Singapore)
- Reached Singapore in the evening and the children fitted nicely into their usual bedtime
Note #1: Renting the Wi-fi Router
This is a MUST HAVE for any overseas trip these days! The router can connect up to 8 mobile devices and it helps you navigate around and communicate instantaneously.
The lady at the counter said we were lucky that the wifi router was available on the spot. Most of the travellers make their reservations for the router online before collecting it at the airport. For more info, read up the link from Changi Recommends here.
Rental of the router is S$10/day and payment will be charged to your credit card when you return the router from your trip at the arrival hall.
You can also rent a wi-fi router from Incheon Airport but we prefer to have this done on home ground.
Wifi Router Rental at the Singapore Changi Airport (Arrival Hall)
Note #2: Book a family friendly hotel located in the heart of Seoul
We decided on Hotel Manu as their reviews were okay and it is a relatively new hotel. Located between the Seoul Station and Dongdaemun market, it is a very convenient place to move around with young children. Getting to the underground subway was a breeze as it is only a stone's throw away. If you are using a stroller, elevators are just round the corner of the exits too.
Breakfast is pretty decent and included in the hotel stay. We were given a corner family room near the lift and I will recommend families with young children to request for the corner room too. The room comes with one king sized bed and a single bed. The toilet (automated wash-dry toilet bowl) is spacious and clean.
The furthest we traveled was we to Lotte World from Seoul Station and it took us only 45 minutes in total via the subway.
I forgot to take a decent picture of the hotel for posting here but click here for some awesome pictures from Google search!
Airport transfer to Hotel Manu - Seoul
Note #3: Korea Tour - Best App for travelling around
We downloaded a few apps on our phones to help navigate in Seoul and we decided that Korea Tour (see image below) is the most useful for us. The maps can be offline too.
Note #4: T-Money-Citypass
T-money is their public transport prepaid travel card. We didn't have time to get ours from the airport so we got their Citypass from Seoul Station for 2 Adults and 1 Child. Children below 4 travel for free. The cards have no value on their own and we did a top-up of 10,000 won each for the adult cards, and 5000 won for the Child card.
Note #5: Korean greetings
I love picking up greetings of countries I visit and the people there are usually happy to hear you speak their language, even if it is a simple "Hello" or "Thank you". Our usual request for help in Seoul went about like this:
Start with a 'Hello': "An-nyeong Haseyo!"
Then ask if they can 'help me please': "Do-wa-juseyo?"
The Koreans do understand simple English and we got our answers and/or replies relatively easily. For more complicated requests, we normally fish out our phones and use Google Translate for help.
When we were done, we say 'thank you' with a slight bow: "Kam-sum-hamida!"
My five year old girl can do just about these two greetings and ask for directions to the toilet. Click on the links above to hear her recordings. She may not have nailed the pronunciation perfectly but the Koreans understood what she was saying!
So here we end off with one of the most useful videos we used to learn basic Korean.