Author Topic: New Zealand with some Seoul  (Read 20493 times)

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #135 on: December 19, 2014, 12:39:51 AM »
Great report, does sound like a lot of money for all the individual animal attractions, not a cheap country to visit.
Not to mention the lack of points hotels.

Offline smart brit

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #136 on: December 19, 2014, 02:42:52 AM »
Not to mention the lack of points hotels.
or lack of any decent hotel's!
Specifically in Christchurch.
Do they have these type of attractions in any zoo's in the USA?
This is amazing

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #137 on: December 19, 2014, 03:03:59 AM »
Great report, does sound like a lot of money for all the individual animal attractions, not a cheap country to visit.
around US$24 shouldnt put anybody into debt for an interesting experience, i would think.

in venice it costs $27 just for a beer at the piazetta san marco...

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #138 on: December 19, 2014, 03:07:02 AM »
Not to mention the lack of points hotels.
if the alternative would be extremely expensive hotels, i would hear your point, but the hotels/motels are generally affordable

Offline Yaalili

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #139 on: December 19, 2014, 11:42:35 AM »
around US$24 shouldnt put anybody into debt for an interesting experience, i would think.

in venice it costs $27 just for a beer at the piazetta san marco...

Around US$24 for just one of the parts if you want to get the full experience you are looking at close to US$200 per person. Compare that to a place like Lujan Zoo in Argentina where you get to go inside and interact with all the animals for under US$15.

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #140 on: December 20, 2014, 12:43:58 PM »
you are looking at close to US$200 per person.
not sure how you got there

Offline Yaalili

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #141 on: December 20, 2014, 06:46:24 PM »
not sure how you got there

$25 for each of the two attractions that you did, plus $100 for the one that you didn't do, and giving another $25-50 for other stuff there.

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #142 on: December 20, 2014, 07:17:51 PM »
plus $100 for the one that you didn't do,
no longer exists

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #143 on: January 11, 2015, 08:15:15 AM »
Part 9: Seoul & DMZ

Tuesday morning we awoke early to catch our 7am flight from CHC to ICN via SYD on two mostly uneventful flights with Air New Zealand and Asiana. We had some problems on the Asian airlines this trip for some reason with regards to our KSMLs. It took many minutes of explaining, convincing and speaking with the purser that the cellophane wrappers were oven safe. It was always a struggle for them to not remove it before placing in the oven. Has anyone else experienced that?

Picking one of our duffels off the belt in ICN, we noticed a giant clamp like device had been attached to it, similar to a wheel boot for unpaid parking tickets. As we made our way through customs, something triggered it and it started belting out the latest Korean pop hits. We were immediately escorted to a secondary area where a customs officer searched fruitlessly in the bag for a good 5 minutes. Finally giving up, he asked us if we were carrying large sums of cash with us. Totally confused, he showed us an image on the screen and it became apparent they confused a package of baby wipes with a large wad of greenbacks...

We made our way outside and negotiated with the minivans for the best price into town. We got someone for ₩85k (~$76) including tolls for the slightly less than 1 hour journey to our hotel, the Park Hyatt. As a Category 4 hotel, it was a great way to use the free anniversary nights, although itís changing to a Cat 5 soon. I was only a Platinum member at the time, but I tried my hardest for them to upgrade us to a suite, since a regular room would have been too small for the 4 of us. After conferring in the back for a bit, she came back to tell us that the hotel policy was not to give free suite upgrades to Plats, but could give us the suite for ₩150k/night. I countered with ₩120k (~$107) and we had a deal. It was definitely worth it, especially since the room only cost me the AF on the Chase Hyatt card.

We. Pack. Heavy.





« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 08:34:51 AM by moish »

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #144 on: January 11, 2015, 08:16:27 AM »




View from the room. Recognize it?



HintÖ



Thatís right, the hotel is located in the posh Gangnam section of Seoul, parodied in the YouTube smash hit. I found the hotel to be relatively convenient for touring and located near a 7-11 in the event you donít want to be gouged for drinks.

Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #145 on: January 11, 2015, 08:17:27 AM »
For Wednesday I booked a tour of the DMZ, a must do if you find yourself in the region. The best/most popular way to do it is with the USO, but by the time I got my act together to actually make a reservation, they were all sold out. I looked around and booked with a company called TourDMZ for ₩120k. The tour wasnít given by native English speakers which was certainly a negative. I had to actively focus in order to understand what the tour guide was saying. I donít know about the USO tour, but if itís given by a Native English speaker, that would certainly be enough of a reason to book in advance with them.

At the time of my visit in 2013, there was increased tension between North Korea and the US, leaving a real possibility in the cancellation of the tour. However, the night before, I was informed that the Army wasnít cancelling the tour and we were good to go.

Wednesday morning, I took the subway to the departure point at the Lotte Hotel according to the directions they had sent me. I left with enough time to get there at 5 to 8 for an 8am departure. However, once I got there, I realized that the Lotte was a huge complex and there was no way I would be there on time. They had told me to be there at 10 to 8 and I was kicking myself for not leaving enough time. I finally found the office at around 8:20 fully expecting to hear that the tour had already left. G-d was smiling down at me that day, and for some reason they had a different delay and were still there. If you do take these guys, leave yourself plenty of time to find them.

The first stop was the Freedom Bridge in Imjingak Park. A former railroad bridge, it was used after the war in the exchange of POWs.



Ribbons with messages of hope




Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #146 on: January 11, 2015, 08:18:10 AM »
Next up was a visit to Dorasan Station which once served a railroad line connecting the North and South.







Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #147 on: January 11, 2015, 08:19:09 AM »
We then went to the Dora Observatory where North Korea can be viewed through binoculars, including the giant flagpole in ĎPropaganda Village.í





The next stop was to the 3rd tunnel. North Korea has been building tunnels into South Korea so that in the event of a war, they could move full battalions right into the heart of the South. The South has developed methods in discovering these tunnels, and this is just one example of a tunnel they uncovered. You can hike the length of the tunnel right up to the border. There is also an interesting museum about the war.

On the way to lunch, we stopped off at a store, sort of like a duty free shop thatís licensed to sell Norh Korean products.



mana chama...


Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #148 on: January 11, 2015, 08:20:23 AM »
After lunch we drove to Camp Bonifas where we were transferred, as official visitors, to the control of the US Army. They drove us, on their busses, into the Joint Security Area. We had a briefing about the history of the area and watched a short film. We then walked outside to see an interesting scene of basically a standoff between South Korean and North Korean soldiers. The  South Korean soldiers were standing half exposed and half behind the meeting huts in case of North Korean aggression, to be able to quickly duck behind. They also wear sunglasses so that the North Korean soldiers, constantly monitoring us with binoculars, canít see what the S. Korean soldiers are looking at.





We then walked into the blue conference buildings which straddle the border, and you have the opportunity to be on whatís technically North Korean soil.

Black things on table mark the border (SK soldier standing on NK side)




Offline moish

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Re: New Zealand with some Seoul
« Reply #149 on: January 11, 2015, 08:21:57 AM »


Demarcation line


We boarded the busses and passed by the site/memorial of the Axe Murder Incident and the Bridge of No Return (GIYF).