Saturday, May 24, 2014

Travelling with the children - Seoul in May

Hubby and I love travelling!  As a result of this, from the time the children were born, they are used to travelling with us.  Laetitia's first trip was a 4-5 hrs train ride from Paris to Toulouse for one of her papa's best friend's wedding when she was a tiny two months old baby.  Loic's first trip was from Paris to Singapore when he was three months old.  Both hubby and myself are very hands-on with the kids.  I have travelled by myself with both kids and so has he.  He has survived 20 hrs travelling (flight, land transfer and flight to get to the south of France) with a 20 months old and a 5 year old!

For a start, when travelling with little ones, it is best to be flexible and easy going about the whole thing.  For this trip to Seoul, we brought my mother along as she had never been to Seoul and I thought it would be nice to have a little vacation with grandma too.

I booked our flights way ahead of time, almost six months before the trip, when there was a great promotion on Scoot.  The return flight for five of us cost about $1,500 including one 20kg check in baggage, meals for 5 pax on the way into Seoul and seat selection both ways!  It was an unbeatable deal.  Personally I find Scoot highly sufficient for flights of up to 7 hrs.  My previous experience on Scoot to Sydney was impeccable.  In preparation for the flight with the kids, I purchased three new movies for them to watch in the plane.  I also brought along some light snacks (bread from Breaktalk) and some new toys (Rainbow Looms) to keep them entertained on the plane.  One huge drawback though on flying Scoot to Seoul is the stopover at Taipei.  Because it's a short flight, it is quite disruptive to have a stop over.  I doubt I would do any other flight with Scoot that has a stop over.  Their direct flights are much better.

In Seoul, I booked an apartment for us as it is always a lot simpler to have a kitchen and a living area when it comes to children.  We stayed at Oakwood Seoul in Gangnam area. it is conveniently located next to the City Airport Terminal. Unfortunately for us, the Coex mall just below the hotel is undergoing renovations.  It would have been perfect if the mall was open as there were many eateries and shops within the mall.

As we were travelling with both children and an elderly, we decided right from the start that we would take it easy and focus on just one or two places of interest per day.

The first two days, it was raining and we ended up spending more time in malls.  We attempted to visit Insadong area but the rain made it really hard to enjoy the sights.  Due to the rain, we ended up spending quite a bit of time in LotteWorld and the mall where LotteWorld was located.  I understood later that discount coupons could be found online for the after 4pm tickets.  Normal after 4pm tickets are 32,000 won per adult and since coming back, I made a search and found many different coupons online!  Do print them if you intend to visit LotteWorld.  It is really fun for the kids and mine had a ball of a time!

Our first "hot air balloon" ride!

The sun did shine for the next few days and we managed to visit Gyeongbokgong.  If you plan on visiting, I would totally recommend going at the time when the changing of the guards happen.  The boy really enjoyed watching them.  The changing of the guards take place hourly.  The ground is massive!

Making faces!

We walked for at least two to three hours inside before heading off to enjoy some yummy Ginseng Chicken soup at the famous Tosokchon.

The rest of the time, we spent visiting Namdaemum and I took my mum to Dongdaemum one evening while hubby stayed in the apartment with the children.  We visited Myeongdong as well where we had one of my favourite meals, Korean BBQ at Wangbijib and the kids tried some yummy street ice-cream.  One of the interesting part of the trip was visiting Noryangjin Fish Market.  It was truly an eye opening experience.  All sorts of seafood and everything was extremely fresh.  The girl did not enjoy that too much as she is a little princessy but the boy was amazed by the array of seafood.

At the end of the day, the trip was a great bonding time for all of us and we had good fun.  Looking forward to our next little vacation in Malacca!

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