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Monday, April 20, 2009

Day 4: Seoul (Fraser Suites, home away from home)

We checked out pretty early in the morning, took a cab ride to our new place at Insadong.

Fraser Suites Insadong
Wow, this service apartment was great. We got a two-bedroom apartment on 19th floor. We had everything we need, washing machine cum dryer, microwave, oven, 2 flat screen TVs and a DVD player. The kitchenware is even more complete than what I have in Singapore. :P Not only that, the utensils and cookware look professional like those you find in Takashimaya.

The stay comes with breakfast and housekeeping service from Monday to Saturday. Too bad I didn't plan to cook, I doubt I would have time to cook anyway, if not it would be great as I don't have to the washing after cooking up a storm.

We went down for breakfast after surveying the apartment because he need to go off to work soon. Breakfast didn't have much varieties as in big hotels, but it was good enough. As I stayed longer, the main menu hardly repeat itself even after two weeks except for those fixed items like bread, cereal, fruits and yoghurt.

After our breakfast, I returned to our apartment and unpack everything followed by ironing all his shirts and mine so that I didn't have to do it again next time. I spent almost 4 hours for all these and only had my lunch at almost 3pm.

Our neighbourhood is in an old town of Seoul, famous for art galleries, tea houses and many rice cake shops. It is also within walking distance to three of Seoul five palaces. A tourist area indeed, you could find many souvenir shops here.

A souvenir shop at Insadong

One of the many art galleries

The weather was quite chilly because of the rain since morning. I didn't see much people on the street, it's a rather gloomy day. Most restaurants were closed during this time, so I ended up at a tea cafe for some light snacks.

I ordered some rice cakes and a cup of tea, they were very pretty to look at but taste wise, it was rather tasteless. From those four I ordered, I only like black rice and ume flower tteok. As for the tea, I just randomly ordered something unfamiliar. The Mogwa tea was fine, it had a mix flavour of sour and sweet, quite a unique taste.

Rice cake (tteok) was a traditional sweets of Korean.

Mogwa tea is analyzed to stimulate physical vitality and minimize fatigue and lethargy. It is especially good to prevent sunstroke and lessening symptoms of cough and constipation (that's what the menu says)

Take away some tteok for hubby to try.

Tteok in a gift box. It's not cheap at KRW 30,000 (SGD 35)

It comes in pretty packaging.

Actually I planned to continue exploring the area, but the rain had not stopped. It was difficult to carry an umbrella in one hand and taking photos on the other, so I returned to the apartment to explore their facilities.

Fraser Suites facilities

Breakfast area

Heated swimming pool

Children wading pool

Ping pong table

The saunas and jet pools are separated for guys and ladies. It is very common to see naked people in here, especially the Koreans. The foreigners are usually covered in swimsuit. :)

Dry and wet saunas side by side.

Hot and cold water jet pools, with shower rooms in the background.

Frasers also have gym and a rooftop golf driving range which I forgot to take pictures. :( The gym is fully equipped, not as big as in the sports club but it was more than enough.

I found out more about them from their monthly newsletter. Other than the great facilities, they also have great services. For example, complimentary yoga classes twice a week, Korean lesson once a month, golf lesson once a week, free babysitting once a month, and shuttle service to markets/hypermart daily. Furthermore, they also arrange some trips outside Seoul and outdoor sports activities every few times a month for their residents. I'm not sure how other service apartments like, but Frasers really pamper their residents so well.

After I knew they have the yoga class, I quickly signed up with the receptionist for today's class. :) The teacher was a Korean lady and she taught us Ashtanga yoga moves. It was only 4 of us in the class and we were all newbies. It was really a fun evening.

After the class, I went back and taking more photos on our apartment.

Our apartment

The corridor to living room, a 3-door shoes cabinet on the right.

The living room

TV and study desk


Microwave and fridge

Dining table

Master bedroom

TV and dressing table

Second bedroom

Shower room and bath tub

Washing machine room

The view from our apartment.

How much should I earn to get this view from our own house? As for now, I would just enjoy it as long as I could. :)

The view at night.

We had our dinner at a small eatery in Insadong. The dinner was great, we ordered a dinner set for two of pork ssambop.

The restaurant

Decorated with antiques

More antiques

This door is actually on top of us, as a ceiling decoration hehehe...

The main dish, pork ssambap. Wrap it with fresh leaves below.

Comes with brown rice, the rest are side dishes.

More side dishes, that I couldn't take all in one shot.

Spicy soybean paste soup (doenjang jjigae), also a complimentary side dish.

We finished everything except the chilies. :P

It was a hearty meal indeed, only cost us KRW 16,000 (SGD 18). I just love how they include everything in the price. What you see in the menu is what you pay. No peanut charge, wet towel charge, plain water charge, service charge, GST charge. It should be this way everywhere in the world, I hate hidden fees.


Anonymous said...

Hi Irene,

Thank you for your detailed blog on Seoul. My family will be traveling to Korea for a visit in July and will be staying at the Fraser Suites. Will you be adding more to your blog? I hope so. I'm taking notes on everything you write. We are bringing our two adopted Korean sons back to Korea for their first visit. We are very excited.

Thank you and I look forward to your future posts.

Heather from the US

Irene said...

Hi Heather,
Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm glad that you find the information useful to prepare for your trip.

I would continue updating it, but it might take awhile to finish all the 22 days of my Seoul trip. Hopefully it would be completed before you depart for Korea.

I'm sure you will enjoy Seoul as I do.


Anonymous said...

Cheers Irene!

I like your posts, also find it interesting; you provided the most information that I need (it's my first time to manage trip's itinerary).
My family and I will be spending the week in Seoul.

I promise I'll drop by at your website when we're already at Seoul :-p