This is post one of twelve on our autumn trip to South Korea. Check out the other posts in this series here:
- Back for One Last Score: Intro to our Korean Babymoon
- 4 Nights at the Stylish Park Hyatt Seoul
- Checking Out Seoul’s Spirits
- Eating Our Way Through Seoul
- Seoul’s Other Palaces
- Staying at the Hilton Gyeongju
- Visiting the Silla Kingdom: 1 Day in Gyeongju
- 4 Nights is Not Enough at the Park Hyatt Busan
- Temple Time in Busan
- Tricked out Again: The Busan Trick Eye Museum
- Busan BBQ: A Mixed Bag
- 14 Hours in Hong Kong: Protests, Dim Sum & Giant Buddhas
For our last pre-Baby Selfish trip Mrs. Selfish and I decided to give South Korea one more go. Having visited Seoul during our Selfish Year abroad, we decided to visit two more locations: the old Silla Empire Capital of Gyeongju, and the beautiful beach city of Busan.
South Korea gets a very luke warm reception Stateside for some reason. My guess would be that it is overshadowed by Japan and China, much like Taiwan.
While it is a shame for South Korean tourism, it’s pretty sweet if you’re looking to get away from fellow Northern Americans.
Mrs. Selfish and I spent 62,500 Korean Airline miles each to book a direct flight from San Francisco to Seoul on Korean Air. While the miles transferred from our stash of Chase UR points easily enough, booking the award tickets required 5 different phone calls and multiple emails before they were finally booked.
The flight proved to be well worth the effort. South Korea has a service-oriented culture, and we arrived in Seoul refreshed and ready to go.
We spent a comfortable 4 nights from our home base in Gangnam, the Park Hyatt Seoul, using those first few days to overcome jetlag and check out some sites we had missed the first time around.
Gyeongju and Busan were pretty great, and had a completely different vibe from Seoul. While Gyeongju was historical, it was overwhelmingly touristy & chintsy – kind of like the Colonial Williamsburg of Korea. Busan, on the other hand was a class act.
Along the way we enjoyed South Korea’s malls, museums, and of course, the food.
Yes, that IS a corn dog enveloped in fries. Genius!
While our flight to Korea was good, our flight back was outstanding. I normally eschew flight trip reports since many others do it much better than I do, but this deserves a mention.
Mrs. Selfish and I flew back from Busan to Hong Kong in Dragonair’s business class and enjoyed 14 hours in Hong Kong. We even ventured into Mongkok to check out the protests.
After witnessing a showdown between protesters and the police it was time to fly home on Cathay Pacific first class. Pretty frickin’ cool.
While the service was not quite as good as our Lufthansa First Class experience back in 2012, the seats and food were exquisite.
The true icing on the cake, however, was the fact that we managed to book the whole thing for 67,500 AA miles per person. This is technically not permitted since AA doesn’t allow you to route from Asia Zone 1 to North America via Asia Zone 2, yet we somehow managed to book it.
Join us tomorrow, where I’ll discuss our first stop: Gangnam’s glamorous Park Hyatt Seoul.