Japan to South Korea via Peach Airlines
It was finally time to leave Japan and we had a very early flight on “Peach” airlines. The flight from Osaka to South Korea was only $160US for both of us. That morning we figured out why. The flight time was set for 8 a.m.. We got to the subway to catch the earliest possible train to the airport. Half way through the trip you have to switch trains to get on the one that goes to the airport.
We ended up missing the connecting train by seconds and walked up to the platform just as it was pulling away. The next train wasn’t for 30 minutes and we were worried we wouldn’t make the flight. After arriving at the airport we ran as fast as we could and ended up getting to the check in with minutes to spare. We arrived just in time and made it on our flight. Peach airlines was fine, it got us from A to B, but it had the smallest space between rows I had ever seen. No worries, we made our flight so all was well!
Our couple days in Seoul
We spent our first couple nights in a hostel. Compared to Japan it was a lot cheaper at just $35/night! For some reason I had it in my head that South Korea might feel similar to Japan but it was night and day difference. We found a place to grab a burger the first night and were pleased to find that the bar tender spoke English since we hadn’t been able to talk to many people in Japan.
For our first full day, we headed over to the Gyeongbokgung Palace. They had some pretty incredible ceilings here and it was a very large palace situated right in the middle of the city. After we were finished we noticed a little market across the street and decided to check that out for a bit.
After we planned our trip and knew we would be heading through South Korea, I reached out to an old friend Kris Johnson who lives in South Korea. Kris and I worked together at Best Buy when I was in college and had not seen each other for around 10 years. Kris and his family were kind enough to allow us to stay with them for the remainder of our time in South Korea (7 days) which was amazing. Not only did it give us a completely unique experience, it also saved us a huge amount of money. I can’t thank Kris and his family enough for the hospitality!!
Our first night hanging out with Kris and Melissa we met up with another couple who they were friends with. They took us to a local fish market where you could select what you wanted for dinner. They take the seafood you pick upstairs to one of the restaurants where they prepare it immediately after you pick what you want.
After making our selection, we head upstairs to be seated. You remove your shoes and place them in a bag and then everyone sits on the floor around a table. While we were at the market we picked up some white fish (not sure what kind), some shrimp, and also a red snapper. We requested that the restaurant prepare the Red Snapper sashimi style for us and they obliged. I had no idea you could pick a live fish out of a tank, cut it up and immediately eat it, but apparently you can and it was delicious!
During the dinner we were also introduced to Soju. This is a local alcohol that’s stronger than beer but not as strong as liquor. Soju is very popular in South Korea and it’s also extremely cheap! We spent the night with our new friends and old friends enjoying a very tradition South Korea meal, some great Seafood, and more Soju than I care to admit! Even a few months into the trip this night remains one of the highlights of our trip so far!
The night after we hit the fish market, Kris and family took us to their favorite pork place. We were in for a treat. They have a lot of these types of places in South Korea but it’s tough to know where to go. Fortunately we were with someone who knew the ropes and it paid off! We selected some of the higher end pork (didn’t even know that was a thing) and some of the mid level pork.
They grill the pork on the table right in front of you. The person grilling the food is also grilling for other tables as well. He somehow knew exactly when to come to our table and flip the meat over. He prepared it perfectly! This was some of the best pork Ashley and I had ever had!
The next night we headed out to a 4d movie, Maze Runner 2. The movie there is outfitted with moving seats and other little bells and whistles that bring the movie to life. During certain parts of the show it will turn on a fan or water mister based on the action happening. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would definitely try a 4d movie again.
That night Kris made us Bulgogi for dinner. Neither of us had ever had Bulgogi but it was excellent. It was a mixture of beef, rice, and seaweed wrap paper and it all went together perfectly. Ashley and I haven’t had any in the past, but I’m sure it was some of the best because it was excellent! Kris is an excellent Chef and prepared a lot of excellent meals during our stay. Once again, we owe him big time!
Everland and the War Memorial
We did a family day with Kris, Melissa, Austin, Adam, and Hailey, and went to the Everland resort! It was fund spending time with the whole family and seeing something new. Hailey rode a camel and was all smiles! Not gonna lie I was a little jealous but I was over the weight limit for the camel. We finished off the day at Everland hitting a lot of fun rides and also a roller coaster. The park was open later at night which gave us plenty of time to see everything!
Right next to Kris’ place is the war memorial of Korea. Unfortunately they were not open during the time we were there so weren’t able to go inside and take a look around. However, there was a lot to see outside so it was still worth walking around for a bit.