Sunday, September 13, 2009

Manila to Incheon

Ninoy Aquino bust, NAIA Terminal 3

Every journey starts with a single step. For our trip to Seoul, South Korea, it started with one Cebu Pacific flight. We left in the afternoon and caught up with a storm that just left the country.

mountains of Northern Luzon

I wanted to see the eye of the storm and I did. My brother describes it as a chicken ala king pastry, which I think is quite appropriate. We got closer, but the shots don't show the scale of those dark and mighty storm clouds. *turbulence turbulence*

But there's always a rainbow in the end. And rainbows, according to Cent, are really round.

airline food and plastic utensils

If your no-frills flight takes 3.5 to 4 hours, you're bound to get hungry (smelling someone else's cup noodles).

If you think NAIA Terminal 3 looks pretty good, you will reconsider that when you get to Incheon International Airport, which looks very new. There are two main buildings separated by a train that runs every five minutes.

incheon airport train

It was 25 degrees when we landed, warm considering it was 9pm. Coming in, there were two levels of health checks. They even gave us some wet wipes.

What I quickly found out is that our GSM phones are of no use in Korea. Their mobile network is CDMA. You can rent a mobile phone at the airport if you need one.

From the airport, we took International Taxi, the official foreign-language taxi service, to Seoul city proper. The young man at their airport counter was smartly dressed and told us that he studied English in Baguio. He escorted us to our cabbie who spoke English quite well and gave us a lot of insights about Korean culture. We made arrangements with him for the return trip to the airport.

International Taxi charges a flat fare depending on the area and the size of the car. We got the medium-sized (standard) car, which runs on LPG taxi and is equipped with GPS. It is possible to take the coaches or the metro from the airport, but since there were four of us, we had luggage, and we were not familiar with the city, the cab was a good value at 65,000 won (~P2,565).