Sailing then taking the train from Macao to Hong Kong airport was smooth and so was the flight to Seoul.
This was my first time in South Korea — another first. I’d not been to Taiwan, Hong Kong, or Macao either.
I’d stayed connected with someone I briefly met in Taipei. He arrived in Seoul before me and messaged to say I should get a T-money card on arrival. This is a prepaid transport card, similar to EasyCard (Taiwan) and Octopus (Hong Kong). These cards can also be used to pay for shopping, services, and entrance fees.
When I tried to get one at the airport, the person in the shop didn’t understand me. I walked away, intending to try at the metro ticket office. As I was looking for the metro, a young women came up to me and asked out of the blue what I had been trying to buy. She must have seen me struggling to communicate earlier. Her English was good. South Korean by birth, she worked abroad and was visiting her family. She offered to talk to the shop assistant, which she did, and I got my transport card. What an angel!
After that it was onto the metro and a short walk to the hostel. It had been a long day, which seemed to have started a long time ago, in Macao.
On the wall of the hostel was a map of the Seoul metro system. There were a lot of stations! I later checked and it has 279 stations, seven more than London even though it was opened in 1974 (London’s was opened in 1863).
In many metro stations, there are “relief good storage” cupboards. These contain food, drink, gas masks and other items for emergencies.
The following day, I had a lie in. I popped out to get some food for breakfast. Then I ventured out to Myeongdong, the main shopping district in Seoul. Most shops were selling skincare products or something related. I later read there are over a hundred of these types of shops in the area!
The temperature in Seoul was more comfortable than the hot and humid weather I’d left behind in Hong Kong and Macao. To get away from the shopping crowds, I went to Seoul Forest. It’s a park outside the centre. The park had wild areas as well as more manicured ones. I went to the butterfly building (which children were enjoying) but missed out on the insect building, which closed just as reached it.