How We Explored Seoul in One Day with Seoul City Tour Bus
As South Korea newbies, Yeison and I had looked up a bunch of different videos and posts about things to do in Seoul. Seoul is a huuuuge city and we wanted to be able to hit all the highlights at one point. I’d read about some “must see” places in Seoul so I started planning on what days I wanted to spend more time and where but some places seemed like we could just visit for an hour or two instead of staying the whole day. Our host for AirBnB suggested that we take the Seoul City Tour Bus which neither of us knew existed. Yeison did the hop-on-hop-off city tour for New York City and it seemed like a great way to stop at the main points without having to spend too much time. Off we went to explore Seoul for the very first time! Seoul City Tour Bus We opted to go for the downtown + palace route since there were some places on there that we wanted to go. Unfortunately we didn’t expect to spend so much time at the Namsam Seoul Tower and didn’t end up visiting the palaces but that let us set aside a whole day just for palaces later on. The downtown and palace bus tour starts at Gwanghwamun and from there it hits 26 other stops in the full course such as the National Folk Museum, Cheongwadae and Namsangol Hanok Village. So this is how it works for anyone who’s never done a hop on hop off city bus tour (like me). You get on the bus from the starting point, you can get off the bus at any of the stops and then get back on the bus whenever you’re done. The Seoul City Tour buses stops every 25-30 minutes so make sure to keep an eye on the time so you don’t waste any! Gwanghwamun This is the beginning of the tour and the ticket station location. For so many attractions, it was a good price at $12 a person. Extra tip: On the ticket are some discounts for several attractions. Don’t forget to use them, 10% can save you a dollar or two! They also have an audio headset system on the bus so you can listen to the description of each attraction (Korean, English, French and Chinese). The first bus leaves at 9 AM and comes every half hour or so. They have other routes you can go on to like the night tours and panorama tour. The night tour seems like it’d be super fun but I think we’ll be able to explore Seoul at night on our own a later time. The single decker downtown palace tour bus National Museum of Korea We chose to go to the national museum of Korea for our first stop (Stop 7). It’s been awhile since I’ve visited a museum and I was interested in learning some history. The main exhibition hall is actually free so you can see hundreds of ancient relics and learn about the history of how South Korea came to be. Although we just spent an hour and a half here, you could spend all day perusing the beautiful landscape paintings, sculptures and interesting artifacts. An old dresser stand Books from the Joseon dynasty Itaewon Shopping Street Itaewon Shopping Street (stop 10) is where you go to meet other foreigners. The bus description of Itaewon was correct: you’ll hear more English than Korean and see more foreigners than Koreans. There were restaurants of all different types of cuisine: Italian, German, Chinese, Indian and lots of Turkish! We didn’t stay too long, just wandered around and had fun seeing how diverse this area was. Now I know where to go if I ever get a hankering for some Italian pasta! Namsam Seoul Tower I read about the Namsam Seoul Tower (stop 16) in some other blogs and really wanted to go there. Although I knew it’s a more touristic attraction like the Space Needle, it was one of those places you went once and then that’s it. I had my heart set on taking the cable car to the top but that didn’t work out sadly (darn directions I found were wrong!) Instead we just stayed on the city bus that took us all the way to the top. To go to the observatory, you have to buy a ticket which is $9 for adults. Around the tower are some food places and the locks of love. The locks of love is similar to the one in Paris where couples proclaim their love by writing a note and locking it. Aww so sweet! We didn’t stay too long looking at the locks though, our main purpose was to go the tower. At the tower, you get dropped off at the third floor where you can walk around and see Seoul from over 200 meters up (plus an extra 200 from Mount Namsam). I was really amazed at just how big of a city Seoul is, all you see are buildings for miles and miles! The day we went, they were having an event at the tower so we went to check it out. We could see some very impressive looking men wearing what looked like a traditional outfit carrying some big swords. Turned out it was a ssaurabi performance and we got to watch them perform, cutting bamboo with swords and fighting each other. Definitely don’t ever want to get into a fight with this guy! Fight on! Yeison even got to get in touch with his roots and try his hand at cutting bamboo with a long sword! Dongdaemun Market (stop 20) We kind of chose this stop randomly, I didn’t listen to the description of this one so when I saw it was a market, I assumed it was one of those open street markets but nope! It was a big shopping district. What I found interesting about this market was that as we were walking around, I heard way more Mandarin than Korean! All the vendors, the people walking around and the sales people spoke Mandarin. We only stayed for a little bit, trying their street food: a Korean pancake (delicious), ice cream in a weird long cone (yummy) and this corn dog potato thing (I wanted another). End of our day Those were the only stops we took during the Seoul City Tour Bus. The bus tour runs until 9 PM so we could have stopped at a few more but by that time, the palaces were closed and that was the only other place we wanted to go that day. Some of the other attractions like Insadong I set aside for separate days since I wanted to spend more time there. For $12, the Seoul City Tour bus was a great deal. We got a good taste of Seoul and explored the main attraction plus some other extras. For anyone who may be short on time or doesn’t want to spend multiple days going to different places, the tour bus is really a good option. Information about the Seoul City Tour Bus Where to buy tickets: at Gwanghwamun ticket office or from the bus driver after you get on the bus How to get to Gwanghwamun: Subway Line 5, station exit #6. Walk 50 meters forward, ticket box office is in front of the police station Ticket information: 4 different routes with single and double decker buses. You can buy 3 day passes, a combination package of Downtown and Palace + Seoul Panorama. Night tour has two different courses. Ticket prices (adult): Downtown + Palace: $12 Night Tour 1: $6 Seoul Panorama: $15 Night Tour 2: 12 **Course 3 and 4 are double decker buses Hours of operation: Closed Mondays (except for holidays), 9 AM – 9 PM Tips: To really make use of the whole day, take the first bus at 9AM. Research the locations before you go so you know which ones you want to stop at and plan for 1 – 2 hours at each attraction. The bus will pick you up where it dropped you off or look for the red Seoul City Tour bus sign. Like this post? Click here to get more like this straight to your inbox! Have you ever taken the Seoul City Tour bus? What stops did you go to?
Tips for Surviving a Long Flight When You Have the (really bad) Sniffles
When we flew back to Seattle a month ago from Costa Rica, Yeison and I had booked a quite interesting itinerary. As we were looking for the cheapest tickets, we found one on Momondo that was exceptionally cheaper than the rest but it included a couple long layovers. I figured, eh what the heck! It’s worth it. Our itinerary: San Jose, Costa Rica to Panama City, Panama. 1.5 hour flight. Layover time: 4 hours Panama City to Los Angeles. 6 hr 44 minute flight. Layover time: 9.5 hours Los Angeles to Seattle. 2 hour 47 minute flight. HOME! Total travel time: 24 hours. To give you a better idea of the difference, it normally takes me about 9 – 10 hours to fly from Costa Rica to Seattle, with one layover in ideally Houston for a couple hours. Our travel itinerary. Damn we covered a lot of ground! At least we got a bunch of miles for it… I know we were crazy. But we got an amazing deal on it and saved $1000! That justified it and plus I’ve had longer layovers than that before when I was flying by myself. We were going to be together so we weren’t too worried. For the LA overnight layover we figured we could just find a place to chill, take turns napping and sleep on the plane. Unfortunately, the morning of our flight I woke up with terrible pain in my throat and a pounding in my head. “Babe” I croaked. “I think I’m sick.” And sick I was alright. Somewhere between our drive from Playas del Coco to San Jose, I had caught something and within the next 12 hours, the virus had set in and I was feeling like complete crap. But I had no choice than to suck it up. I had a super long travel day in front of me and no way was I going to miss it. I drank a liter of orange juice for breakfast, gargled some salt water and braced myself for what was going to be a not so fun day. I’m happy to report that I made it back to Seattle in one piece but my goodness was it a tough 24 hours. I’ve only flown once before when I was sick and that was equally as terrible. I was flying from Taiwan to Seattle (12 hour flight nonstop) when I also caught a cold the morning of the flight so I bet you can imagine how fun that was! I hope that you never have to use these tips but just in case what happened to me happens to you, here is my advice on how to survive a long flight when you’re sick. I have no idea how I caught my cold so I guess I just got unlucky that day! Tips for Surviving a long flight when you’re sick Fluids are your best friend There’s nothing new about this tip but people don’t drink as much water as they should even when they’re healthy so don’t forget this one. Drink a TON of fluids the whole time you are traveling. Channel your inner fish and gulp it all down. The air on the plane is dry, cold and stifling and it was painful for me to breathe the entire time we were in the air. I brought a water bottle with me on the plane but I also gulped as much orange juice as I could to soothe my sore throat and get my Vitamin C. I probably could have drank the whole plane dry if they let me! Bring an empty water bottle with you (two if you can) and fill it up once you get past security. Stick mostly to water but citrus fruit juices are good too, just don’t drink too much since they have a lot of sugar. When you’re waiting to board, buy a cup of hot tea with honey. Try to drink hot water on the plane too. Tissues are your second best friend Holy crap my nose was like a leaky faucet that day. I must have gone through at least 5 tissue packets on just one flight! I tried to keep my nose blowing to a minimum on the plane, going to the bathroom to do it whenever I could but sometimes… well sometimes the body fluids just can’t wait. I don’t think I could have survived without tissues, I would’ve needed to throw my sweater away at the end! Don’t forget hand sanitizer After I blow my nose, I always try to wash my hands with water and soap but sometimes it’s not accessible. The seat belt sign is turned on and you’re not allowed to leave so bring your hand sanitizer. Kill those germs! If you can, buy these medicines Most airport stores will have a pharmacy section where you can buy medicine in travel size. At the San Jose airport, I stocked up on cough drops, Panadol, Zepol and allergy (or decongestant) medicine. The cough drops help coat your throat immensely, Panadol is over the counter cold medicine for pain relief (like Tylenol), Zepol is like Vapor rub which feels really good if you rub some on your chest and allergy/decongestant medicine helps with congestion and stuffy/runny nose. All are huge lifesavers. It’d be smart to buy a first aid kid or travel medicine pack for your trip regardless. It’s always good to be prepared and sometimes the airport doesn’t sell all the medicines or you don’t have time to stop at a pharmacy before your flight. Nap Your body needs as much rest as possible and traveling is stressful enough without those bad viruses floating around inside you. Nap as much as you can on the plane so buy one of those neck pillows to get comfortable. Before our flight, I rearranged my backpack to bring an extra sweater and my travel scarf for a blanket. Airplanes get super cold too so bundle up and stay warm. Yeison let me sit in the window seats so I bundled up and got comfortable with tissues in my pocket and water bottle in the seat holder in front of me. Prevent contact with others When you’re on the plane and you need to use the bathroom, grab a tissue to open and close the door with. Also use a paper towel to close any faucets and try to minimize contact with other objects people touch as much as possible. In an airplane, passengers are constantly passing germs back and forth between each other and you never know what could be hanging around. Prevent the possibility of contracting more germs as much as you can, you don’t want to get more sick! Don’t touch the seats when you’re walking back to the seat and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. Gargle For sore throats, gargling salt water is incredibly soothing. I gargled as many cups as I could without feeling sick from the salt but it helped my throat so much before we got to the airport. Unfortunately this is only temporary relief and it might be hard to get access to salt water but if you get a chance, do it. And for the overnight layover? Unfortunately for our LA overnight layover, there was nowhere for us to go except to wait on the check in floor which really sucked. There were no chairs anywhere, absolutely nowhere to sit! Luckily my dear Yeison created a makeshift bed for me on the floor by laying down some of his clothes and used the luggage to hide me from the public as I tried desperately to stop my runny nose and get some shut eye under my scarf. Thanks babe What to do if you’re really sick If you are walking around in a delirious state, shaking, have the chills, vomiting or have diarrhea, then flying might not be such a great idea. We push ourselves to get through the flights because we all know how tough it is to negotiate anything with an airline. They won’t give you a refund and instead happily charge you a fee to do the right thing of switching your flight. If you are in a seriously unfit state, there are some things you can do with the airline to help your situation without paying hundreds of more dollars. If you call the airline, get to a manager. Skip the customer service agents that might not exactly understand what you’re saying and talk to someone higher up. You’re more likely to find one that has a bit of sympathy. Get a doctor’s note. I’ve heard some stories where airlines will refund a cancellation or change fee if you show them a doctor’s note. Stand your ground. If the airlines give you an ultimatum to either board or lose your ticket due to your sickness, stand your ground and defend yourself. Ask your other fellow passengers if they’d enjoy a flight with someone constantly wheezing and hocking up phlegm. Probably not. If they tell you it’s now or never, ask the airline to re-book you on a later flight and be firm about not being charged fees. PS. A couple links above go through our affiliate. Like this post? Click here to get more like this straight to your inbox! Have you ever had to fly while sick? What are your tips? Share them in the comments below!
Hotel Review: Watertown Hotel in Seattle, Washington
One of the things I was looking forward to the most was showing Yeison around University of Washington, my college. It’s a beautiful campus, probably one of the most picturesque campuses in the United States and I had an amazing 4 and a half years there. We stayed one night at the UW Seattle campus so I had enough time to show Yeison the whole place. UW campus is huge, it’s like a city of its own! It would have been fun to give Yeison a real college experience by staying in a dorm but since I’m not a student anymore, that wasn’t an option. Instead, we found a hotel just a couple blocks from campus, the Watertown Hotel. Watertown Hotel in Seattle The Watertown Hotel is one of six unique boutique hotels around the Seattle area, Portland and San Francisco, all part of a team called Pineapple Hospitality. I love how their logo is a pineapple and I just had to find out why. Back in the early Colonial days in the US, people would put a pineapple as their table centerpiece during celebrations and big gatherings, symbolizing warm hospitality. Pineapples weren’t exactly common back then so it was a very gracious gesture from the host. I absolutely love how they created their theme based off this piece of history and now each one of their six hotels is a piece of pineapple hospitality. Location The location of the hotel is perfect for anyone who is visiting UW. It’s just a couple blocks away from the Ave and campus so that means you’re close to a ton of restaurants, stores and the UW medical center. Checking In The staff at Watertown hotel was really friendly and were very helpful in suggesting places to eat. I loved the lobby of the hotel, they had placed several colorful comfy couches and the decor was chic and modern. The best part was that in the late afternoon and evenings, they have pineapple cake and coffee for guests to enjoy with pineapple water! The pineapple water was new to me and I loved it, it was so refreshing and if you like cucumber water, you have to try it with pineapple. Lobby The room We were in a 2 queen studio and rooms were very bright and clean. We had a nice big desk and chair by the door, a closet with an iron, robes and clothes hangers, a flat screen tv, microwave, mini fridge, a huge mirror and a bench. We had more than enough space to put our things! The bathroom area is separated from the beds by the closet and TV cabinets and on the counter there was a coffee maker, coffee, water bottles, glasses and they even gave you complimentary popcorn! My favorite part of the bathroom was that they supplied soap and lotion dispensers by the sink and in the shower they supplied body soap, shampoo and conditioner. All of them smelled like yummy pineapple goodness! Beds were incredibly comfortable and my favorite thing about the room was that they gave you four pillows… per bed! Yeison and I (especially me) are pillow hogs so I was in pillow heaven. We had a view facing the University District so we could see the Ave and campus which is pretty nice, especially if the reason why you’re there is to the visit University of Washington. You’ll always have a beautiful view of it. Amenities The Watertown Hotel has a handful of amenities and services. They have strong free Wi-Fi, complimentary bikes, an exercise room with weights and machines, free parking, a laundry room, complimentary shuttles to close by attractions, an on-site cafe and it’s also dog friendly! Cafe gym Overall Thoughts We really enjoyed our stay at Watertown Hotel, it was very comfortable and if we had more time I would have hit the gym and went to the cafe. Although we didn’t use them, I thought offering free bikes was a great extra service that you don’t find in many hotels. The decorations, the hospitality and the pineapple theme played really nicely all together and overall we had a wonderful time there. The only thing I wish they offered was breakfast. Breakfast wasn’t included but you could go to the cafe or the front desk can give you recommendations for places to eat. To find out more or to make a reservation, check the Watertown Hotel’s website. We were guests of the Watertown Hotel and all thoughts and opinions remain our own.
Experiencing the Beauty of Mount Rainier With Tours Northwest
Last time I came back to Washington, I visited Mount St. Helens, an iconic volcano known for its devastating eruption back in the 1980′s. This time, Yeison and I visited Mount Rainier, another recognizable volcano in Washington and one of our prized jewels. This volcano has great importance to us Washingtonians and we’re proud to show off all the natural beauty existing in our state. If you’ve never been to Washington, you’ve still probably heard of Mount Rainier. It’s usually shown in the background of movies set in Seattle since on a sunny day, you can clearly see the volcano as you’re driving along I-5 or in downtown. Yeison has actually never seen a volcano with snow on it so our trip was a first of many things for him. I’d been to Mount Rainier before but years ago when I was young so I was excited to go back with him and experience the wonder of the volcano again. Instead of going by ourselves which would’ve still been fun, we went with Tours Northwest a local tour company in Seattle. We figured it’d be more convenient for us since we wouldn’t have to drive and we’d be with a knowledgeable guide who could share with us information we wouldn’t know otherwise. Exploring Mount Rainier Tours Northwest Our tour started bright and early at 7 AM as we were picked up in downtown Seattle. As we drove to Mount Rainier National Park, Brian our guide supplied us with plenty of information about Seattle, Mount Rainier and the Puyallup valley. Once we got to the national park, we stopped at a few sites that I had no idea about. The national park is huge and there’s much more to it than the volcano itself. This is why I like going on a tour, you get to see and learn about things you might not otherwise! Grove of the Patriarchs This was our first stop and we took a short hike to see huge Douglas Fir and Western red cedars that have been there nearly a thousand years! These trees were just humungous and the surrounding Ohanapecosh River keeps them protected from any forest fires, preventing them from burning down. A huge 700 year old Douglas Fir Cougar Rock Our next stop was Cougar Rock where we got out and walked down near the Nisqually River. It was just gorgeous, we got a great view of Mount Rainier in the background and walked around the rocks and the river. Narada Falls Narada falls is one of the more popular waterfalls in the Mount Rainier National Park because it is easy to access, being right off the Mount Rainier Highway. This waterfall drops down in two tiers, the upper tier being 168 feet and the second 20 feet. You can see the fall from the very top and then walk down to the bottom to see the second tier, which usually has a rainbow in front of it! Looking down on the top tier of the waterfall Paradise Our next stop was Paradise, the name for an area around 5400 feet on the southern slope of Mount Rainier. This is a popular meeting point as the Paradise Inn and visitor center is here. There are several different trails in Paradise that leads to waterfalls and viewpoints around the area. We were given an hour and 45 minutes here to eat lunch and do some hiking. Yeison and I bought our lunch earlier but there is a restaurant and a cafeteria if you didn’t. We ate outside near the visitor center where we had a great view of Mount Rainier and even saw a few deer running past us! Lunch for champions! Visitor Center at Paradise Our view as we ate lunch Nisqually Vista Trail We decided to take the Nisqually Vista Trail which lead you through the meadows to several viewpoints of the Nisqually glacier on Mount Rainier. There are many trails you can take here, such as Alta Vista Trail, Bench and Snow Lake Trails and Skyline Trails. The Nisqually Vista Trail was a leisurely walk which took us about 30 minutes. You walk through many meadows of wildflowers and the viewpoints are wonderful. Gorgeous meadows of wildflowers Nisqually Glacier More pretty meadows! Box Canyon Trail After our group met up back at Paradise, we headed up north around Mount Rainier and stopped at the Box Canyon Trail to take a short walk around. As you walk across the bridge, you look down into a canyon that is 180 feet deep! There’s a river running through the bottom but that is one place you definitely do not want to fall into it. On the way back to Seattle As we drove north and up around the national park, we stopped at only a couple more viewpoints to see Mount Rainier for the last time. Then our final stop before we hit Seattle was at a small souvenir and cafe shop to get some huckleberry ice cream which was delicious. We had a great day at Mount Rainier National Park and Brian was a wonderful guide. He was fun, informative, incredibly nice and you could tell he truly loved Washington. I learned a lot about Mount Rainier from him (it used to be called Tacoma!) and although we were gone for a full day, I got bit by the Rainier bug and wanted to stay longer and see more. Next time! I think for anyone’s first time in Seattle, taking a tour like this one to see Mount Rainier is a fantastic option. You don’t have to worry about transportation, they take you all around to see different things and it gives you that first taste of nature in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks Tours Northwest for a fun day and showing Yeison around his first volcano with snow! For more info or book a tour, check out the Tours Northwest website. They also do other tours like Boeing Field. Don’t forget to check out our video! We were guests of Tours Northwest and all thoughts and opinions remain our own.
Mytanfeet Special Offer: Get a Discount When You Rent a Car in Costa Rica
We know that renting a car in a foreign country can be a bit frustrating and that it can be tricky sometimes to find the best deal. You look around on a bunch of different car rental companies websites but prices change, you might not find the car you want or it just seems so expensive. All you want to do is to rent a car so you’ll be able to go and explore on your own time, on your own terms. It really shouldn’t be this hard! So for those of you who have been having a tough time trying to rent a car in Costa Rica for your upcoming trip, you will want to read on! To help out travelers who are in this position, especially those who might be traveling on a budget, we’ve secured a GREAT deal for you. Our partner, Adobe Rent-a-car is offering Mytanfeet readers an exclusive discount for car rentals. Get anywhere from *10% and above OFF when you book a car with Adobe! There are a handful of car rental companies in the country and we’ve had experience with most of them. Adobe is a reliable company that we have never had any problems with, nor have any of our friends. Both us and Adobe want Mytanfeet readers to have a well rounded positive experience in Costa Rica and that starts from the second you step off that airplane and get into your rental car to the moment you hand the keys back. To enjoy our special offer, use the box to search for your travel dates. It’ll bring you to a new page where you can choose the car of your choice, check out and then TA DA! You can compare the prices by going to the regular adobe rent a car website and see how much you are saving!** Please fill out the form below **If you receive an error message due to the date formatting, please try a different browser (Internet Explorer-Chrome-Firefox-Safari). We are currently working with Adobe to get this error fixed. Thanks for your understanding! You as our reader are very important to us and we want to give you the best value. If you find this error keeps continuing with different browsers, please contact us!* Watch Yeison show you how to get your car rental booking discount It’s as simple as that. We hope you find this deal useful and that it helps your trip planning a bit. We work hard to put as much valuable and up to date information in our articles as possible but we wanted to take it one step further and give you something even more helpful. Disclaimer: *The discount percent varies depending on the car and dates. **The discount may not be reflected during certain times of the year. We have no control over this as it is Adobe who determines these dates As partners with Adobe, we receive a small commission for every booking through our link. Thanks for your support and helping us keep this blog running!