Friday, October 26, 2012

Day 5 in South Korea: At Home at Full House and Bukchon

Day 5 Itinerary:

06:00 -       Wake Up Call
08:00 - 10:00 Travel time to Incheon
10:00 - 12:00 Si-Do Island (Full House set ground)
12:00 - 12:30 Travel back to Incheon
12:30 - 14:00 Lotte Mart
14:00 - 16:00 Back to Seoul/Check out of Hongdae Hostel
16:00 - 17:00 Travel to Anguk for transfer to Bukchon Guesthouse
17:00 - 20:00 Bukchon Guesthouse
20:00         Dinner
22:00         Lights Off

Monsoon season kicked off on our second to the last day in Seoul.  It was raining all night and the temperature was getting colder.  We're a bit anxious! We're going to an island all set with our summer dresses and thinking of shooting our MTVs. Don't know much how island is an island in Korea.  I lived in the Philippines blessed with beautiful beaches and islands. And when we say island hopping or crossing an island, it means crossing the sea literally! Bad weather means braving the angry waves so will it be bad to cross the island in South Korea with a bad weather? 

But we pushed it through anyway. Come what may!

From Hongik Station (the nearest station to Hongdae Guesthouse), we made two transfers and took AREX to reach Incheon Subway.  We got off in Unseo station and crossed the road to Lotte Mart.  We should have taken Bus#201 to Sammok Ferry Terminal. Fortunately, there was a mini-van with the charming, old man enough to be called "Ajussi" who offered to drive us to the ferry terminal.  With the signs of bad weather all throughout the day, we arranged with Ajussi to pick-up us from the terminal when we returned from Si-do Island.  That was convenient for us and saved us more time wandering inside Lotte Mart.

Here's the snip of the MTR subway map to Unseo Station.

Aboard AREX train. Spacious and design like the airplane seating.
You would know you've reached Sammok Ferry Terminal because of the billboards of the Koreanovelas that were filmed across the islands of Shido and Si-do.  How I found this place?! I commend South Korea's Tourism Board for promoting their movie dramas to open their film locations to the tourists.  Visit their website and they even have a suggested themed itinerary that cater film locations only! I am in the process of doing that for the Philippines too. :-)

Korean dramas billboards in Sammok Ferry Terminal
We arrived Sammok Terminal nearly nine and the weather was still gloomy and drizzling. The temperature was too cold, probably 8 degrees and our clothes could not really sustain the cold. The ferry terminal is not fancy unlike those in Hangang River but enough to keep us warm.  It has few old chairs with some paints started to peel-off and only one stall of Ajumma selling snacks and some stuffs.  I only saw around five or six locals and thought we might be in a wrong terminal. I tried asking them but they could not understand me.  Then, came in a father and his daughter so I assumed the teen could understand little English so took another attempt.  But she's too shy and just looked at his dad.  Then his father told me, "The ferry will arrive at 10 to Si-do. There, take the blue bus." I happily thanked him and then calmly told my friends about it. 
At Sammok Terminal 
With almost an hour to spare, some of us went outside the ferry terminal inspite the prickling coldness and wind.  Outside I found a rusty coffee machine which I never thought still working.  I took my 1000 won and chose a hot coffee from the machine then looked around the place.  I walked towards the edge of docking station and saw the vast island in front of me. Nearby is Incheon International Airport with a perfect postcard of airplane that had just taken off and the wild birds flying nearby too!

the natural beauty surrounding Sammok Terminal
I took some photos and enjoyed the serenity of the place. it was like in another place of solitude where you can only hear the chirping of birds like black-tailed gulls and the breeze of the wind . The ferry (also like Philipines' Ro-Ro) arrived at 9:30AM and I was surprised to see some cars boarding the ferry. So there were other passengers too. I thought it was only us. Where did they hide?! We left Sammok at 10:00AM.
the ferry going to/fro Sammok Terminal
We enjoyed the trip feeding the black-tailed gull and another bird called swinhoe's egret with bread crumbs. It's like enjoying life amidst the gloomy weather. I looked forward to the tranquility and beauty that I'd be discovering in Full House.

The travel took almost forty minutes.  When we arrived at Shimdo Terminal, I first checked the next schedule of ferry going back to Sammok so I can adjust our stay at Full House.  Next sched is at 12:30pm and the last trip at 4PM. We were scheduled to transfer to Bukchon so we had to get back to Seoul by 2PM.

Going out of the terminal, we were welcomed by lots and lots of black-tailed gulls as we threw more crumbs. I was trying to see if indeed there's any swinhoe's egret bird but i think i saw one. 

Inspite the fun feeding and playing the birds, I had to cut it short and ran to the blue bus. I asked the driver if he'd be heading to Full House and nod. "Full House" is the magic word.
I asked, "How much?". He answered showing his point finger, "1000 won".

The short trip to the Full House set ground was worthwhile.  It was also relaxing with the picturesque rice fields boxes along the road but i know that fishing is more of a main source of income in si-do island. Quite few people in the streets, not too many houses, saw a few stores and some vehicles that I can count with just my five fingers. The place was so quiet or maybe because it was just drizzling that time so perhaps people were staying inside their houses.

After somewhat 15-minute ride, the bus stopped at an intersection showing the direction to Full House set ground.

A few meters from the bus stop, we saw a bike station that offers bike for rent to the tourists . We're supposed to take the bike since the old man told us that it's quite far and the walk would take 30mins. But that 30mins depends on who's walking. =) but since Joan doesn't know how to bike, we all decided to walk.

If I looked back, it was quite near to walk actually but perhaps of the very cold weather and the chilling air was already prickling to the skin made the walk more than thirty minutes. Anna's nose was getting purple and we're not fully geared for a chilling weather. But when i finally saw the road sign and the road up where the full house female lead was running on her high heels down the road to get away from Rain, I knew we're getting there! =)

I was too enthralled to see the house! This is exactly the same in the movie drama. All the odds that we'd faced in getting to Full House just gave us an hour to explore the whole place, including the beach!  Posing everywhere around and outside the house, re-enacting every scene that we can remember from the drama. 

 Check more about my Full House experience.

It's nearly 12NN and with just one or two public buses I saw along the way, I was not sure if we can get back for the 12:30PM ferry schedule.  Then, I saw an old sedan outside Full House.  I asked the lady at the gate who gave us the entrance ticket if she knew the owner of the car.  She shook her head with a helpless expression trying to comprehend what I was saying.  Tried all my might as I asked in English "key" words and some pantomime that I just used to do during Christmas party games, sleep-overs and just for fun. I asked her slowly, "Can you drive (while gesturing I was driving) to Shindo-Terminal?" She answered, "Car small". She thought it would be crowded for the six of us. I answered, "It's OK.". She answered, "Yeh". And I asked how much.  We settled for 10,000 won, enough for us to catch the ferry!  We thanked her that much as we boarded the ferry back to Sammok Terminal.

Whew! That made my whole trip a memorable one.

When we arrived, Ajussi was already waiting for us. We don't have his phone number but there he was waving his hands to us.  He dropped us at Lotte Mart where we had our lunch.
We then went back to Seoul and checked out Hongdae Guesthouse. It was already two in the afternoon and beyond the check-out 12NN. But Mary was kind enough to wait for us and gave us some souvenirs.

Tagging our luggages from that almost whole day trip, we took the subway to Bukchon Guesthouse.  I realized it was a bad decision to take the train.  Coming out of the train including transfers, we pulled and pushed our luggages along the stairs.  No elevators! (Or I was just too tired to notice it.)  Finally, we went out of Anguk Station where Jay, the owner of Bukchon Guesthouse, was waiting.  Another good man in Korea. :-)

He took one of our luggages and guided us going to the next place that we called "our Korean dwelling place."  Check out my Bukchon experience here.

the homey, cozy Hanok house
Too tired from the whole day's adventure and with weather too inviting for a nap, we cancelled our plan to go to Lotte World. We just took some rest, enjoyed the traditional house experience and had our dinner at the nearby tent tasting some famous Korean dishes.

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