after having spend a grand total of nine hours in Incheon, including arrivals and departure protocols, I had lunch of spicy noodles, soup dumplings, Kimchee and pickled veggies.
Explored the airport
took a free in city tour of Seoul offered by the airport authority.
The layover tours are a great way to see a city but be prepared to move quickly.
The tours kick off on the arrivals level bewteen door 8 & 9. Istanbul also offers one as well but I haven’t taken it. Tours range between an hour and six. I took the five hour river source and temple tour and it was next perfect for my timeline.
Jennie, a lovely woman with a smile that wouldn’t quit herded us onto our minibus where Edward, the ” sexiest tour guide on the bus” took over. Edward was incredibly funny and launched into a history of Korea from the beginning of recorded time (not a lot happened) through the Chinese occupation, through the Japanese occupation, through the civil war up to day as one of South East Asia’s model democracies and economic powerhouses.
Why Edward isn’t working for the world bank is beyond me.
We went to the source of the Cheonggyecheon Stream, running between Seoul’s Jongno-gu and Jung-gu holds not only the 600-year history of Seoul but the lives and memories of Korean people who made their livelihoods around the stream. The stream was once a small watercourse hidden by an overpass but a massive urban renewal project transformed the stream and now it is one of the most popular and loved places in Seoul.
Walked down past the Presidential Palace and the former Royal palace.
Gyeongbokgung Palace was completed in 1395 and was the first royal palace built by the Joseon Dynasty. Gyeongbokgung Palace was built about 25 years earlier than the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. The palace was burned down in 1592 during a Japanese invasion but was restored in 1867 during the reign of King Gojong.
And then spent a half an hour in this gorgeous temple. Jogyesa Temple is the chief temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism and the center of Korea’s modern Buddhist movement. The grand Daewoongjeon (Main Temple) boasts splendid ornaments and three golden Buddha statues. A 500-year-old white pine tree designated as Natural Monument No.9 in Korea stands peacefully in front of Daewoongjeon, adding a touch of natural beauty to Jogyesa Temple, not that the whole temple isn’t stunning.