Wow. Our first international trip since the pandemic. We flew to South Korea on Hawaiian Airlines and thankfully, I had enough miles in my account AND Hawaiian had first-class seats available for us to upgrade to for this long flight. This gave me the chance to board early and enjoy a a preflight champagne and get me ready for a 9 hour 20 min flight. 🥂
My favorite part of the inflight meal was the souffle cheesecake with pineapple sauce that is a collab with Chef Michelle Karr-Ueoka and Hawaiian Pie Company. About 4 hours prior to landing, we were offered ramyeon and my husband was so happy! They even put it in a “real” bowl rather than serving it out of the disposable container. We must have been speeding in the air because we landed at Incheon Airport early at 6:20 p.m.! Yay!
Once we landed, there was a station with a high-tech temperature check that didn’t slow down the line of departing passengers. Next, we submitted our COVID QR clearance code at another stop—again, with no line. There was an additional stop to check out passport that was also very efficient. The longest wait was for our bags to come out. Once we got our bags, we went through customs and declarations and since we had nothing to declare, it was another smooth process. I had a car reserved from International Taxi to take us from the airport to the RYSE hotel and Mr. Kim was waiting for us right outside of baggage claim and we were in the car by 7 p.m..
We checked in to the RYSE hotel in the young and hip Hongdae neighborhood. The front desk clerk was so wonderful and answered all the questions we had including where we should go for chimaek (fried chicken and beer). We ate at BHC for our first meal in Seoul. Next, we walked around the lively neighborhood and took in the energy. I made a quick stop at Daiso right next to our hotel to see what they had. I also stopped at a convenience store and picked up some soju, chips, ice cream, and beef jerky.
The ice cream was a corn ice cream that I saw was a trending thing. I love ice cream but this corn ice cream was a one time thing. I enjoyed a lime soju and a sparkling green apple soju with the chips while hydrating my skin with the complimentary face mask provided by the hotel before getting to bed. Living Hilo Style in Seoul.