[Korea Summer 2016] Songdo Central Park

Winter has already started in Korea but this is a recap of our trip there in September. That day, we went sightseeing at Chinatown in Incheon which was a total tourist trap and unmemorable. There are rows and rows of shops selling cheap, useless trinkets and majestic looking Chinese restaurants which serve mediocre Korean-Chinese food. To give an idea of how we got ripped off, we paid 50,000 won for 2 people for an “8 course set lunch” which didn’t fill our stomachs.

I also twisted my ankle. Nothing but bad memories. Despite the pain, I insisted on going to Songdo Central Park because it’s where the triplets Daehan, Minguk and Manse from Superman Returns live at. They’re all grown up and not-so-cute anymore, but my husband also wanted to check the place out.

Songdo is built on reclaimed land and is touted as one of Korea’s “smart cities”. It’s a business district as well and there’re quite a number of foreigners residing there. Right smack in the middle is a hanok village hotel which we were unable to access. There are many such hanok villages in Korea which have yet to be demolished (unlike in Singapore where old residential buildings are marked for SERS or flattened to make way for redundant expressways or underground train stations).

There were bicycles for rent. We were with Elise so we decided to rent one of these family bicycles (10,000 won for 30 minutes).

Our very experienced bike driver, preparing to take us around the park.

“I’ve got this, mom”

She was so experienced, she didn’t even need to steer with her hands. I mean, what could go wrong? This little lady had it all under control. The family bicycle requires quite a bit of legwork so both adults have to cycle and while there are three steering wheels, only one is working.

There’s a little river with kayaks, canoes and paddle boats for rent, but we didn’t manage to take them. The river reminds me of Clarke Quay, and my husband also agreed that both places have a lot in common. Since Songdo is newer than Clarke Quay… copycat, kiss the rat, go home let your mother slap -_- I wonder who came up with that nonsensical chant.

We hung out on the top floor of a cafe for a while doing nothing, enjoying the scenery.

As dusk fell, we did a bit of shopping at the nearby Lotte Mart. My husband couldn’t control himself and bought 1 large carton of grapes because they were on sale. They were very tasty but we lugged them back on public transport. We had dinner at the food court. In Korea, you purchase your meal from a main counter and receive a buzzer to collect your meal from the respective stalls.

My dinner was this tonkatsu set which came with chiraishi don and hot udon. The entire set cost S$9 and was chock full of ingredients.

This tonkatsu set with chiraishi don and udon cost 7,800 won (~$9)

After dinner, we strolled around the park and took the subway home. There was another building which reminded me of the Artscience Museum at MBS. The building hosts plays and performances. Overall, I enjoyed that day because it was relatively quiet and we were away from the crowd. It’s quite a distance from Seoul station, so I’m not sure if it’s worth the visit specially for this place.

Reminds me of the Artscience Museum.

Songdo Central Park

Directions
[Subway]
Central Park Station (Incheon 1 Subway Line)

[Bus]
Regular Bus No. 6, 6-1, 8, 909, 780, 91
Red Bus No. 1301, 9000, 9100

[Korea Summer 2016] Travelling with an Infant on SQ (Singapore <-> Seoul)

We’re back home safely after visiting our second home in Korea!

It was our first time travelling overseas with Elise so my first choice was Singapore Airlines. It turned out to be the most affordable option at S$1,660 for 2 adults and 1 infant (S$767.50 per adult, S$122.40 for an infant), even cheaper than what the budget airlines quoted!

SQ has a 30kg baggage limit per adult and 10kg per infant with no limit on the number of bags. We brought two empty 28″ luggage bags, 2 backpacks and a diaper bag and brought home the same items, stuffed to the brim plus an extra bag of clothes. 

For better rates, purchase their promotional fares if you usually plan your trips a few months in advance or see if your credit cards allow you to redeem mileage points.

Tip: When planning your holiday, check if the dates coincide with national holidays in that country e.g. We spent Chuseok there, where major malls and supermarkets were closed for the holidays. 

Flight Timing

It takes 6h 10min to fly from Singapore to Seoul. Many parents prefer night flights because it’s when their babies will be naturally sleepy. We took an outbound afternoon flight and inbound midnight flight. 

Bassinet

After making payment, I logged in to reserve bassinet seats for both ways. The bassinet seats are also close to the exits and are spacious enough to stretch your legs out fully! 

In-flight Meals

I selected Child Meal for Infant for Elise because it’s more filling and closest to what she’s currently eating. Remember to reserve meals beforehand! 
Baby Meal (BBML) Suitable for infants less than 1 year old, this meal consists of 3 jars (approximately 80g/3oz to 110g/4oz per jar) of baby food – main course, vegetables and dessert.
Post-Weaning Meal (PWMLM) Suitable for infants between 1 and 2 years old, this meal is more substantial than a Baby Meal. Food items are easy to bite, chew and digest.
Child Meal for Infant (CHMLI) Suitable for infants less than 2 years old, this meal is more substantial than a Post-Weaning Meal (PWMLM) or Baby Meal (BBML). Food items are easy to bite (soft) type of food items with lighter-based sauces.
Singapore to Seoul: Mashed Sweet Potato, Minced chicken patty, Potato patty, Milk jelly & Milk

This meal was surprisingly flavourful and Elise had quite a few mouthfuls. 

Seoul to Singapore: Omurice with cocktail sausages, spinach, fruit, cookies, a muffin, bread bun and fruit juice
This meal was served as breakfast at 3am and I didn’t want to wake up a snoring baby. Just as well, because the omurice was dry and the sauce was spread around the omurice instead so it was like a plain rice omelette. I kept the snacks for myself! The snacks don’t seem very healthy for children. 

Preparing for the Flight

Some babies cry incessantly on flights because they’re just not used to the environment. It also depends on your baby’s temperament. If it’s due to the pressure in the airplane, let your child suck on something – a boob, a pacifier or a bottle.
I stuffed her rice crackers into Hegen storage containers as well as nesting cups, a light-up bear, a bib, infant cutlery and a milk bottle for water. All these fit nicely into the Jujube Fuel Cell. I brought along her favourite “臭臭” pillow in my carry on bag for her to hug (which I left at her grandmothers’ place ;;)

You may want to use noise-cancelling earmuffs if your baby is a light sleeper. 


Baby Items For Flight
– 2 spare sets of clothes
– 4 diapers
– Baby snacks
– Small toys/books
– Bib
– Bottles

SQ frequently gives out toys or books to young children on its flights as well! They also have wet wipes, diapers and other baby essentials but it’s still safer to prepare your own. 

The covers are inter-lockable and the square based design maximizes storage! 

Before the Flight

Our flight was scheduled to depart at 3pm and we arrived unfashionably early because it is no fun to run to the gate last minute, much less with a baby and all the bags. We had enough time to do some shopping and have lunch before boarding. 

I’m bored. When can we fly?

The Flight

I did some research and was determined to latch her during takeoff and landing to ease the pressure on her ears. I faced her towards me and fastened the infant seatbelt before latching her. I’m not sure if it worked, but she didn’t appear uncomfortable or afraid when the plane took off. 
“Here, put them on!”

She had snacks, played with the crew and entertained herself with her toys before dozing off for the rest of the flight. GREAT JOB ELISE! I even got to watch Me before You and Zootopia! I haven’t been to the theatre since she was born! 🙁 


Wrong example over here – the bassinet is supposed to be zipped up when the infant is inside.

There was some turbulence so we had to remove her from the bassinet and onto my lap. This happened about 3 to 4 times and she whined a bit, but didn’t make too much of a fuss. When the plane shook, scary thoughts and “what-ifs” crossed my mind. I just hugged my baby tight and tried to focus on other thoughts. 

After two movies and a meal, the plane landed at our destination!