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Guest firth1974

Lost In Translation Trip Report 2015

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Guest firth1974

“Lost in translation”…………………………

……………………. Sounds like a great title for my trip report, yeah. What do you think? If I don’t get lost, ask for help or directions at least once, I will consider this a good trip. But I think it’s not possible.

So the plan for this trip is…………………………. 4nights in Seoul,(that’s South Korea to all the uneducated member’s) 6 nights in Tokyo, 3 nights in Hiroshima, 4 nights in Osaka and finishing off with my last night at an airport hotel at Haneda in Tokyo (It’s an early morning departure the next day, so it makes more sense to stay here rather than in downtown Tokyo). I’ve even bought guide books as well for Japan (that’s the first time I’ve ever done that for any holiday anywhere in the world). But if anyone has any tips on places to visit, I’m more than happy to take them on board.

Why start in Seoul I hear you ask? Well, a good friend of mine who is a board member here, Dave (BM Horizondave/The Tongue), recommended that I try out Korea. He managed to twist my arm by showing me some photos he took on his way back to the UK in January, and i thought the place looked great. So, booked my flights with BA, flying to Seoul, then flying onwards to Haneda with JAL, and then flying back to the UK with BA all for the price of £629. I thought this was a great price. If I just wanted to fly direct to Japan, I could of done that for £430,(Turkish Airlines) but I fancied the stop over instead.

British Airways. What do people think about this airline for a long haul flight? The longest flight I’ve ever done with BA was only 4 hours to Kiev (and that was in Club Europe) so I wasn’t too sure after reading lots of reviews on sites like Airline Quality, and reading the reviews in particular about the B787-800, I was even more worried. Just about any review of this plane, on any website, slates the fact that cattle class seats are too small, too narrow, not enough leg space, AVOD (if it ever works) is too small. But, I took the plunge, booked the ticket and here we go.

I’ve been watching this flight (BA017) on Flightradar24 for the past 10 days, and every single day it has had a delay of at least 30 mins on departure, but also on your everyday, the flight has landed early in Seoul by sometimes up to 30 min. Must be some really strong tail winds over the Urals and Mongolia.

I will try and update this TR on a daily basis (No promises though), and try to add some photos to the thread as well, but most photos will go into separate threads when I get the chance to upload them.

So, let’s kick off with………………

DAY 1. (Friday)

Made it to T5 at LHR quite early as I felt like getting a bit of breakfast at JDW before that long long long 11 hour flight to Seoul. T5 really is a soul less place. Too big and too open on landside, and too tight and compact on airside. Customer service counters were doing more business that the bag drop counters. Maybe too many people with complaints, who knows!

Large breakfast and tea at JDW only £10.49. Roughly double the price that you would pay at your local high street JDW. And the food wasn’t too bad either! (Shame about those shitty new teabags they use!!) The usual tat and crap at the duty free shops, which all happens to be cheaper in your local high street than the airport. Go figure, duty free yeah right!!

Boarding was quite easy and no hassle. All of the Koreans seem to wait for us westerns to board first, and then they boarded afterwards. Had a pleasant surprise now. The girl checked my passport and ticket, asked me if I was travelling alone, ripped my ticket up and re-issued me a new ticket for World traveller plus+, an upgrade!! A good surprise, as I’ve never ever managed to get an upgrade on any of the flights I have made to Thailand over the years. And the upgrade is a bulkhead seat as well. Even more foot space to spread out in, and a bigger AVOD screen, as the ones in mere mortal cattle class seem really really small. I know it’s a small thing, but means a lot.

And surprise surprise (no, Cilla Black wasn’t on the flight), we pushed back off the stand 40 mins late. Seems BA have a good lateness record that they want to keep!! Lunch served about an hour into the flight, which wasn’t half bad actually. Well, I enjoyed it anyway.

And that’s it for now, as we are currently 40,000 feet up and 3 hours into the flight, and im bored and tapping up day 1 of this TR.

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Guest firth1974

DAY 2.

Watched the usual load of movies on the AVOD, but BA seem to be able 2-3 months behind all the other airlines with their choice of movies. The extra space of the WT+ seat coupled with the fact that my seat was a bulkhead seat, meant that a very few comfortable couple of hours of sleep was had. Surprisingly, breakfast was actually quite nice, and it’s the first time on a flight for me that I have actually had a PORK sausage on my breakfast, none of that chicken/turkey/any other meat bollocks that most airlines use.

Even though we left late, we still managed to land late as well, by 25 mins. Still, cant be helped. If you thought that immigration at BKK was a nightmare, then you haven’t seen it at ICN at 8am!!! All windows open, but the Q’s at each are massive. But still, only took 25 mins to clear immigration and collect my bag. My bag was doing curcuit’s of the baggage claim it took so long to get off the plane (in a different terminal building. We had to take a train to the main area).

Love the idea of having a multi (3) screen cinema in a huge international airport, and that is exactly what ICN has on the ground floor, just before the train station. It’s a little confusing down there, as there are 2 different trains, but both platform entrances are side by side, but with barriers, so don’t get caught out!!

Non-eventful train ride, but that might have something to do with the fact that I fell asleep on the train. Must say though, that the underground stations do seem to be confusing, and are MASSIVE in size. Don’t get me wrong, its very easy to navigate from 1 train to another, but the distances are huge to get from 1 line to another, especially at Seoul Station.

A complete piece of piss to find my hotel in the Jong-no 3 area, which is where I am sat now, waiting to check in, but have to wait until 2pm to do that though. Only another 3 hours to go!!!!!!

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DAY 2. none of that meat bollocks that most airlines use.

Never tried that delicatesent

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Nice beginning.

Re BA, I've never flown to Asia with them but did a few trips to Houston with them and they were ok. The roast beef with mini yorkshire puddings they served one flight was surprisingly good.

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Guest firth1974

Seems the hotel that i have booked to stay in here in Seoul, is what they call in Korea a "Love hotel". Im not complaining though, the room is quite nice, with a nice jacuzzi tub inside, free drinks in the fridge and in the huge fridge in the reception area, and we even have a pop corn machine that you can help yourself to. Think im paying about £200 for 4 nights here using Agoda, i know its not cheap and they are a lot of other cheaper places about, but im happy with my decision to book here. The room is quite strange though, i don't have 1 but 2 pc's in it for my use. Wifi is speed is coming through on speedtest at 56mbps, so im happy enough.

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After spending most of the afternoon sparked out dead sleeping, i went out for a walk in the evening and to try and find something to eat. Managed to come across a local's market called Kwang jang market, and the food here is so cheap and amazing too. The hospitalilty of the locals is amazing too. I got bottle necked in the market, and just where i was 3 old korean guys asked me to sit and drink with them. Ended up spending 30 mins with them drinking this korean white wine, and when i say its white, it is actually white, as in the colour snow white. Tasted quite nice as well.
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Guest firth1974

Just some photos of the area im staying in......................

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Great stuff. Enjoy your photos and trip reports.

Please keep it going. Looking forward to the DMZ part. That's on my bucket list, enjoyed Tongues report a while back so be keen to see another perspective as well. Enjoy

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Very interesting read - thanks for taking the time.

Seems like you are enjoying your trip.

Photos are great :thumbup:

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Great stuff, that market looks like a great experience.

When I went there the first time it was all neon signs on the buildings, was amazing, like walking through canyons of neon.

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Chris get down to the station and take some pics of all the oldies in their cardboard boxes. I was quite shocked to see so many old vagrants living in stations, even saw a fight between a couple of men who must have both been above 70.

That market looks brilliant, never got to see that but did get to eat the local cheese sausages etc on the side streets around City Hall. The market below the Lotte Hotel is worth visiting as well.

I noticed you mentioned about the trains, forgot about that. Yes there are a couple of train types and they go from the same line at the airport; at Seoul Station the Express line has it's own check in area and waiting area. Fast train was about 43 mins, slow train (all station) was still only about 56 mins. Great service and regular. Little chance of missing a flight. First time there I took a taxi back to the airport as I had an early morning flight, took 50 mins and cost about 50 quid. Train much better value.

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Interesting stuff, Chris. Thanks for taking the time on your holiday to post it.

Very convenient staying at a love hotel. Maybe you can wait in reception and see if any of the ladies is up for a repeat performance. :)

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Nice report mate.

What exactly do you mean with love hotel? I know the Love Inns in Pattaya which are basically ST rooms. Hope you're not staying in of those :)

Have a good one.

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Guest firth1974

Nice report mate.

What exactly do you mean with love hotel? I know the Love Inns in Pattaya which are basically ST rooms. Hope you're not staying in of those :)

Have a good one.

You've got it in one. They are kind of like ST rooms, only much better furnished. From what i gather, most people that come here basically come and stay the night, not for the hour. These are basically business men or married men who bring their bit on the side, but they stay all night.

The people that own this hotel, own 2 others right next door, and i hear that this one im in has now been "converted" for normal regular people and tourists to stay in.

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...I know the Love Inns in Pattaya which are basically ST rooms...etc.

In Korea these are similar, usually used for short romantic getaways, but they are VERY opulently appointed. They often include large flat-screen TVs, elaborate stereo systems, internet-connected computers, and bathrooms that are like something out of Disneyworld.

I went on a service call to a little town in the wilds of South Korea, and the customer booked me into one of these. The customer apparently decided that this was about the only accommodation in the area that would be remotely acceptable to a westerner. Probably correctly too.

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Guest firth1974

Thanks for all the comments guys, Seoul has certainly been great so far.

Very sunny and hot today (30oC), so copped a "bit" of sunburn, and i'll tap up today's report later. Managed to do the War Memorial today and Gyeongbokgung Palace, which is huge.

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Guest firth1974

In Korea these are similar, usually used for short romantic getaways, but they are VERY opulently appointed. They often include large flat-screen TVs, elaborate stereo systems, internet-connected computers, and bathrooms that are like something out of Disneyworld.

I went on a service call to a little town in the wilds of South Korea, and the customer booked me into one of these. The customer apparently decided that this was about the only accommodation in the area that would be remotely acceptable to a westerner. Probably correctly too.

Bruce, you have just described my room to a T in your sentence. It is just the same as that.

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Bruce, you have just described my room to a T in your sentence. It is just the same as that.

Does it have one of them Japanese toilets with all the bells and whistles? :)

Interested in your impressions of the food and beer. I absolutely LOVE Korean food, one of my favorites after Italian.

Have you eaten in a Korean-style e.g. galbi restaurant yet? The cook-at-the-table ones. It can be a bit daunting to eat alone in a restaurant in Korea, their meals are virtually always social affairs. But they'll take good care of you once they get used to the fact that you're alone.

Perhaps a trip over to the "farang" bars around Itaewon to pick up a companion first would help. :)

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Guest firth1974

Does it have one of them Japanese toilets with all the bells and whistles? :)

Interested in your impressions of the food and beer. I absolutely LOVE Korean food, one of my favorites after Italian.

Have you eaten in a Korean-style e.g. galbi restaurant yet? The cook-at-the-table ones. It can be a bit daunting to eat alone in a restaurant in Korea, their meals are virtually always social affairs. But they'll take good care of you once they get used to the fact that you're alone.

Perhaps a trip over to the "farang" bars around Itaewon to pick up a companion first would help. :)

Yep, all the bells and whistles and then some!! Haven't try them out though, i just prefer a good old fashioned shit when i'm on the bog.

Got a taste for a Korean beer called "Kloud" right now. 5% but tastes real good. The food is a bit different, ive been eating at a mon and pop localplace just around the corner from me. Food is not bad, but i've had better.

At 130-150,000 Won an hour for ST, i don't really think there is a chance of finding a companion to come and eat with me, do you??

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Yep, all the bells and whistles and then some!! Haven't try them out though, i just prefer a good old fashioned shit when i'm on the bog.

Heh, I didn't either. Just seemed weird to have the thing wash your ass etc.

Got a taste for a Korean beer called "Kloud" right now. 5% but tastes real good.

Never heard of it. Over to Google! :) Like Korean beers in general though.

The food is a bit different, ive been eating at a mon and pop localplace just around the corner from me. Food is not bad, but i've had better.

There are going to be a zillion restaurants there of course. The restaurants around the areas frequented by westerners are going to be friendliest to single travelers.

At 130-150,000 Won an hour for ST, i don't really think there is a chance of finding a companion to come and eat with me, do you??

Sure. Just find the western-facing bar areas. Tons of chicks around that speak English and looking for a good time. You will probably be able to find a chick to hang out with, possibly including a western chick attached to the military.

BTW, for readers: 1000 Korean Won = $0.90, 30 baht, 59p; US$1 = 1,114 KRW; GB£1 = 1,700 KRW

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