A 21 Layover in South Korea

I am all about slow travel so when the possibility of a 21 hour layover in South Korea became an option I decided to do it since it was the complete opposite.

Going from Mongolia to “anywhere in Southeast Asia” I knew I would have some type of layover. Once I picked Chiang Mia I started looking for flights on SkyScanner. One option was an early flight with a six layover in South Korea and I would be in Thailand by nightfall. I don’t mind an early morning flight but they can be super stressful in a foreign city. My other option was a late afternoon flight with a 21 layover in Korea and then leave for Thailand the next evening. I have a friend from graduate school in Korea so perhaps I could visit them while there. After confirming that my American passport would let me in I booked my ticket.

My friendly graciously helped me book a place that was super easy to get to from the airport. I don’t have any data on my phone at the moment so I had to use a picture of a map. I got off the metro and walked one way and didn’t see anything. I asked someone for help but they didn’t live in the area so I decided to go the other. I saw the guesthouse right away. For a late dinner I grabbed a burger and fries while listening to the Beach Boys. The dinner also included this incredible cider that was so good I got two. My Google searched helped me learn it is part of the Coco-Cola Company.

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Not my photo… There was super bad lighting at the place

I got a decent amount of sleep and then headed straight towards a coffee shop. I had some time to myself before I was meeting up with my friend but didn’t have enough time to go to a new area so I decided to explore the neighborhood I was staying in. I was worried that I wouldn’t find anything interesting to photograph but I reminded myself its all about perspective. Well lo and behold I stumbled upon incredible street art that deserves its own post. Even without the street art the neighborhood had its own charm.

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Also during my wanderings I stumbled upon a Taco Bell which might not sound that exciting but “Taco Bell” is on my list for when I go back to the states so seeing one in South Korea brought me utter delight. I got tears in my eyes eating a Crunchwrap supreme.

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I haven’t seen my friend since we graduated about two and a half years ago. It was great to see him and catch up. I requested to see “something famous” so he took me somewhere that I don’t remember the name of. He had never been there too so he was thankful I helped him see a new area.

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I was told couples walk here.
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My friend didn’t understand why I would want to photograph this but I was just fascinated by the characters.
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One great thing about being with a friend while traveling is you get full body shots!

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KFC has tacos.

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When in Korea, right? I even got a discount! Yes!

We were both hungry so we got some snacks that included pomegranate juice, fried baby crabs, and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. We were both happy with our choices.

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Strike a pose

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Our main meal was Korean style hot pot. It was perfect hot pot weather. And of coarse it was very delicious! At the end there was this rice porridge which I had never seen before but it delicious.

For dessert we go “long ice cream.” From our poses you can tell we both studied theatre!

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When we got off the metro after lunch the world was covered in beautiful white snow! I was incredibly happy as it was snowing but not deathly cold like Mongolia. Knowing I would be in Thailand in just a few hours I took it in knowing I wouldn’t be seeing snow for some time.

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One last selfie. This one really captures our personalities.

It was a short but great trip and I think part of the reason was that I put no pressure on myself. I only had 21 hours and eight of those hours I would be sleeping. I really just went with the flow and enjoyed the ride. Knowing someone definitely helped and if I didn’t have a friend there I would have tried to connect with some through Couchsurfing. Knowing a local always helps! Seoul definitely meets my standard of a good travel adventure: I want to go back!

If you ever happen to have a long layover in South Korea there have tours you have take. And I believe some are even free! And if you don’t feel like a tour the airport is absolutely amazing and includes showers… and a Taco Bell.

What is the longest layover you ever had? Have you ever been to South Korea?

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