Monday, December 10, 2012

The first (fail) KTX ride and our cravings for Kalbi at Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do - Day 6 in South Korea

We left Yongin very early and took a cab from Jukjeon station to Suwon KTX station. The cab fare was a bit pricey but we had to take an early train ride going to Gyeongju, and because the train transfer going to Suwon from Jukjeon would require us riding four different trains, we had no choice.


We arrived at the station with minutes to spare to buy the tickets and have a quick bite before heading to the platforms. There were lots of machines wherein you could purchase the ticket. It was pretty user-friendly and I did not have troubles buying the ticket even if it was my first time. Just make sure you are prepared with your bills or credit card. You can also buy tickets in English so no hassle if you can’t understand Korean.

the "ATM" machine
KTX seoul
They have the same screen that you see at airports for the trains that are arriving the station

KTX korea
The tracks at Suwon station
I wanted to make sure that we will meet the train schedule as our host will be working 1PM onwards and won’t be able to see us after that – this is very vital as we need to leave our bags so we can go around Gyeongju for the rest of the day. I looked at the sign and it directed me to go to platform number 6. To be sure, I asked a train personnel which platform should we be waiting at and he also directed me to the same platform number. I was pretty confident that we will be seeing the train any moment.

KTX ticket

The train that we purchased will be leaving Suwon station by 08:53AM and arriving 12:39 PM at Seogyeongju station - which was perfect because our host would be able to accommodate us only until 12:45PM as he would be going to work and will come back 9PM.

We waited 8:50AM, there was still no train that arrived at platform 6. We waited one, two minutes. Still no train. Come 8:55AM a Korean guy approached us asking if we were encountering any problems, I showed him our ticket and I saw worry on his face, and he said these words "Oh my god! This train left already!" I was not sure if I heard him correctly so I asked a couple of times and it finally sank on me. We effing missed our train!!!

We hurriedly went to buy another ticket in hopes of catching another train that will arrive at Seogyeongju before 1PM but unfortunately, the earliest we can get would be arriving Seogyeongju 2PM. We took that one which was a direct ride. The guy explained that maybe the staff that I have inquired to got the details wrong as our first ride had two transfers, so maybe that's why he pointed us at the wrong platform. I felt different emotions - disappointment, exasperation and hunger. To top it off, I was trying to contact our host and he was not replying at all.

We have arrived at Seogyeongju by 2PM and we sent a message to our host again wondering if he could still meet us up - and of course, the answer was NO as he was currently at work. Now what did we do until he gets back? We waited. We waited for seven hours doing nothing! :'(

Our only consolation this time was food. Good thing there were some restaurants near the station so we looked for a place that sells meat - yes, we weren't choosy given the situation we were stuck with.


We were very very hungry so we immediately asked for the banchan available. If you didn't know what they are, these are small dishes served along meals. In restaurant, the banchans are always free and I have never encountered that these dishes were added to the bill. They are also refillable so ask for more if you have eaten everything on that tiny weeny plate, they'd be happy to serve you. :)

The banchan given to us were quite unusual -first, because kimchi was not included and second, this was the first time I have seen these banchans. This set were just vegetables soaked in vinegar (?) because it tasted sour. Anyway, it was still good because we needed to have something while we were waiting for the meat to be cooked.


We ordered Kalbi because we love meeeeeat! We have meat almost every meal and enjoyed every single bit of it! Now, I am thinking of doing a post on teaching you helpful Korean phrases to aid you when asking for refills the lettuce, banchans, etc. Lol

kalbi meat

Ta-daaaaa! Meat is now cooked ladies and gentlemen! We were very satisfied with the meal we forgot that we just spent the most boring seven hours of our lives.

We met with our host afterwards who will go with us to Seokguram Grotto for the next day. He also gave us a map so we can plan our itinerary - we needed this because we just lost one day (we were supposed to go to Andong), but now we only had one day left for Gyeongju so me and my friend were hoping we could go to the most prominent places in town.

Day 1: Gangwon-do
Chuncheon and Nami Island

Day 2: Gangwon-do
Mt.Seorak (Seoraksan)

Day 3: Gyeonggi-do
Yongin and Food Tour

Day 4: Gyeonggi-do
Suwon: Hwaseong Fortress, Korean Folk Village

Day 5: Gyeonggi-do

Day 6: Gyeongju
Food Tour

Day 7: Gyeongju
Seokguram Grotto

Bulguksa Temple

Cheomseongdae and Anapji Pond

Day 8: Busan
Railway Train in Korea

Day 9: Busan
Igidae Coast

Busan Fireworks Festival

Day 10: Busan
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Flying with Jeju Air

Day 11: Jeju (E)
Food Tour- Altang

Dragon Rock

Jusangjeolli Cliff

Teddy Bear Museum

The Seaes Resort

Day 12: Jeju (W)
Sunrise Peak


Trick Art

Folk Village

Sangamburi Crater, Mt.Halla

Manjanggul Cave, Maze Park


Day 13: Seoul
Flying with T'way Airlines

Couchsurfing in Korea

Day 14: Seoul
Palaces and Bukchon Village

Day 15&16: Seoul
Myeongdong and Ewha University

N Seoul Tower

Booking Flights
via T'way Airlines

Travel Report for South Korea
16 days travel itinerary and tips

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