Monday, 21 May 2007

Highlights of OZ751

Flight: OZ751
Date: Saturday, 5 May 07
Sector: Seoul-Incheon (ICN) -> Singapore Changi (SIN)
Aircraft: HL7746, Airbus A330-323X
Scheduled Departure Time: 1600 LT
Arrival Time: 2124 LT

Incheon International Airport, voted the World's Best Airport for the 3rd consecutive year. View of the check-in area.
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Departure Board
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One of the departure piers. Plenty of natural sunlight is being let into the interior, and the simple layout of the area gives a sense of spaciousness.
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Asiana Airlines B767-300/ER with the "Jewel In The Palace" or "Daejanggeum" special livery, preparing to depart to Shanghai-Pudong.
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Korean Air is the official airline for Rain's World Tour, and has specially decorated a A330-300 with his photo and the caption "Rain's Coming".
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The aircraft for my flight, HL7746. Still no luck with the newest A330-300, HL7747 =(
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A sluggish and slow climbout from ICN. The fuel depot can be seen.
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Pretzels and Orange Juice was served while we waited for lunch to be prepared.
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Special Medical Meal - NB. As I specified no beef when booking the tour, a special meal consisting of fried rice & fried fish in spicy gravy and butter chocolate cake was prepared for me. Portions were adequate and the bun was one of the softest I had eaten. The normal meal options available were 'Seafood Festival' and 'Bi-Bim-Bap' (refer to Highlights on OZ752).
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Cabin view from the rear of the aircraft. The flight was only 65% full and many took the opportunity to have a good sleep across the centre row.
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The End. Thanks for reading! =)

Deoksugung Palace, Seoul

Day 8

Deoksugung Palace is one of the five royal palaces of the Joseon Dynasty, and was originally the residence of Prince Wolsan. The palace was given its current name, which means palace of virtous longevity, by King Gojong's son, Sunjong, in hope that his father would live long here.

Very busy entrance as it is a public holiday (Children's Day)
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Main throne hall. The court officials would assemble here according to their respective ranks.
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There are a total of 9 ranks, excluding intermediates.
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The throne.
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The original main gate of the palace, which is in line with the throne hall.
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Traditional palace amidst modern urbanisation.
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Extended Family photo at the palace grounds =)
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Next and Final Post: Highlights of OZ751

Namsan Hanok Village, Seoul

Day 7

Namsan Hanok Village is located at the foot of Namsan Hill, and consists of a number of traditional Korean houses, or 'hanok' that are sourced from different parts of the country and rebuilt here.

Long House
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Mock-up of a Korean wedding
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The earthen pots in the backyard are used to ferment kimchi and various types of sauces.
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Seasonal tress are planted to beautify the surroundings.
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Next Page: Deoksugung Palace, Seoul

Seoul Metro, Seoul

Day 6

The Metro is one of the most convenient ways to get around Seoul, as it is very easy to find a station entrance in the city. Moreover, the coverage stretches from Incheon in the west (where the International Airport is located) to Suwon in the south. Trains are frequent and well maintained, the only downside being that most of the announcements and signs are in Korean.

Typical "hole-in-the-ground" station entrance. A station has up to 8 exits, of which only 1-2 are wheelchair friendly with stair-lifts or lifts.
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Underground retail outlets.
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Ticket/information counter. The personnel on duty speak very little English, but as the English station names sound very close to the Korean pronounciation, it isn't much of a hassle buying the required ticket. Tickets start from 1000 won (S$1.67) and are distance based. I still couldn't understand why the guide maps available have English titles in front and only Korean station names on the map.
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Ticket turnstiles. The single trip ticket is a small, yellow disposable cardboard ticket with a magnetic strip at the back. Similarly, there is a contactless system similar to our ez-link system for frequent users.
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Platform area. Unfortunately, the LED screen that shows the destination & estimated arrival time are in Korean as well. Seoul Metro is also beginning to install platform screen doors at the busier stations.
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Station signs are in Korean, English and another Korean script. By some coincidence, most of the alternate Korean station names look like Chinese words and are pronounced as chinese, such as this.
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The design of the train carriages are a bit dated, even though the manufacturer plate states that the train was built in 2001.
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Very wide and bright carriage. I particularly like the placement of the hand holds to the side of the train as it encourages passengers to move in without fearing the hand holds constantly smashing against the sides of their heads. The seats are made of stainless steel for easy maintenance and durability. There are also LED displays located in the carriage to show which side of the train to exit to.
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Next Post: Namsan Hanok Village, Seoul

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Perennial Attractions, Everland

Day 6 - Everland (Cont'd)

European Adventure
Signpost near Carnival Square.
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Mystery Mansion where visitors zap 'ghosts' while moving along a track with laser guns. Definitely not scary.
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Skyway
There are 2 Skyways or chair-lifts located in the park, and they connect the lower area with the upper area. A trip on the Skyway is considered as a ride.

The busier & longer Skyway connects European Adventure with American Adventure. The queue is amazingly long due to the huge number of school children.
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A preserved Pontiac at the upper station =)
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American Adventure
Adrenaline-pumping attractions such as roller-coasters are located in this zone. One of the most exciting rides in the park, the Double Rock Spin as its name implies spins visitors around once they are launched into the air. Not for the faint-hearted.
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Waiting times between 40-70 mins are common at popular rides.
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Aesop's Village
This zone houses most of the children's rides and have brightly coloured structures & buildings.
A restaurant that serves both Western & Korean meals.
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Display cabinets stating the price and a sample of the meal.
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Flying Rescue, where the carriages take turns to drop down a small distance.
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Global Fair
Global Fair is the main entrance to the theme park and houses a number of gift shops.
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A popular photography location.
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A final look at Everland as we prepare to head to Seoul.
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Next Post: Seoul Metro, Seoul

Flower Carnival, Everland

Day 6 -Everland (Cont'd)

Flower Carnival
The main attraction of Everland at this period of time is definitely the Flower Carnival, which showcases gardens of brightly coloured tulips at the Four Seasons Garden.

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Various varieties of tulips are planted in the large garden.
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The rose garden located besides the Four Seasons Gardens would in turn exhibit Roses during the summer season.
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A festival train runs around the perimeter of the Four Seasons Garden in a minature mock steam engine.
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Level crossings complete with flashing lights, moving barriers and warning bells.
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Next Post: Perennial Attractions, Everland

Carnival Fantasy Parade, Everland

Day 6 - Everland (Cont'd)

No theme park is ever complete without a colourful parade, and Everland is no exception!

Carnival Fantasy Parade
The Carnival Fantasy Parade is the only parade out of the 4 daily parades that is held in the day. It starts off at 2pm and the floats ply along a short route starting from the Rose Garden and ends at the Carnival Square.

Everland's mascot leads the parade atop a gold coloured float.
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Confetti are released into the air to boost the carnival like atmosphere at regular intervals.
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A huge turnout along the carnival's route, each hoping to get a closer look at the colourful floats and costumes.
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Close-up of the mascots above a float.
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Marine-themed floats.
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And yes, most of the performers in the parade are interestingly Caucasians and not local Koreans!
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Next Post: Flower Carnival, Everland