As a family we definitely love travelling and exploring new places. We have been a big advocate in getting Junior exposed to the world which is why we always brings him along whenever we travel. We also believe that he does remembers bits and pieces of where we went and what we did with the help of photos and videos. One thing for sure is that he remembers more than what we think he would.
With each new place is a new experience and although we don’t have all the answers to travelling smoothly with a toddler (we are still learning), I rounded up some answers to questions that friends have been asking me about out latest adventure in Seoul.
In case you have missed our travel stories, you can read more of them here.
Best time to visit Seoul
It probably has to be Spring or Autumn. As first time goers to Seoul, we thoroughly enjoyed the Spring weather and the cherry blossoms. We really enjoyed the cold but not freezing weather. I did hear though that while winter in South Korea is great for skiing, the winter can be brutal and it can be cold. So I’ll suggest anything in-between the warm summer sun and the frightening cold weather.
Is a day or night flight better for toddlers?
Because Seoul is about 6 hours away from Singapore, I knew I would have trouble entertaining the bub for a full 6 hours assuming he doesn’t nap. And without spoiling the excitement of going away on a holiday, we chose a night flight on our way there and a day flight on our way back. Both had it’s pros and cons but I think I prefer the night flight. For the night flight, we wanted to stay as close as we could to Junior’s nighttime routine in hope that he can sleep better. We changed the bub into comfy pajamas at the airport and gave him his milk drink as the plane taxi out to the runway. Moments later, he fell asleep and woke just as we descended. So that was 6 hours of bliss for us. However, on our way back Junior only managed to nap for 2 hours, so for 4 hours he was awake entertained by food, drinks and the inflight entertainment. The only downside to the day flight was the landing because Junior got restless and the plane took awhile to descend.
Carrier or Stroller?
We are stroller people, so definitely the stroller! Even when Junior was younger, we preferred the stroller as it is just easier not having the additional weight on us. Lucky us, Junior has gotten pretty used to resting, napping and observing the world in his stroller. But this leads me to the next point.
Is Seoul stroller friendly?
To be honest, the streets in Seoul and the aisle in department stores are fairly spacious so we had little problem getting around. However, the real challenge was getting into and out of the subway stations as not all stations have a ramp or a lift we could use. Most of the time we either had to get Junior out of his stroller or we had to carry the stroller up/down the stairs and that can be crazy.
How do you get around Seoul?
Subway trains of course! Seoul’s subway train system is so well connected that it is really easy to get to places. As long as you have a train map, you are covered and good to go. The signs and exit at the station needs some getting used to but that’s not something you can’t pick up quite quickly. Announcements for train stops are also made in a several different languages which is helpful. I’ve heard that the taxi fare in Seoul is also reasonable so that’s another option although we have not personally tried it.
Hotel, Apartment or AirBnB?
I’m really neutral on this one. All I wanted was a place that is convenient with easy access to amenities, clean and with friendly service staff. In the end we chose the SkyPark III Hotel because it was in the middle of Myeongdong and right next to the subway station. There was also a 7-11 convenience store and a pastry shop downstairs that opens at 7am. The room albeit small was clean and staffs are friendly. In some cases I would have preferred to have a small kitchenette so that I can prepare food for the bub if I had to.
Is the food in Seoul suitable for toddlers?
We struggled with this one slightly at the beginning of the trip. Due to a language barrier, it is not often easy for the service staff to understand us completely. Sometimes even when they committed to a non-spicy soup, the soup is still slightly spicy/peppery. But we have learnt that Korean BBQ, Beef Bulgogi soup, Ginseng Chicken, juk, mandu (dumplings), gimbap, works best for the bub. Junior who is often not very adventurous when it comes to food was keen to try new things during this trip which was a huge relief for us.
Is there a huge language barrier and are Koreans friendly to kids?
With globalization and plenty of Chinese tourist, some Koreans can now speak mandarin which does makes things so much easier for us. While not everyone is fluent in English, everyone especially the younger Koreans will try to understand/explain. When all else fails, body languages does the job! People are generally friendly and are happy to see kids around.
What are some of the kids friendly activities in Seoul?
Here are some ideas:
Yeouido Park – Plenty of space for the tods to run about and be sure to walk along the streams and even around the Hangang Park.
Changdeokgung Palace – A totally new experience and plenty of things to see for the curious explorer.
COEX Aquarium – I’ll be sharing more in a separate post.
Pororo Park at Lotte World – I’ll be sharing more in a separate post.
Line Friends’ Store and Café – Definitely a winner with the little ones as they get to take photos with brown and his friends.
I want to do some kids shopping, where should I go?
Namdaemum Children Shopping Centre – Exit 6 of Hoehyeon Station. This place has plenty of kids clothings at really affordable prices (approx 5000won). Some bargaining is involved but do check out those sale baskets as items in there can be really affordable.
Changsin-dong Toy Wholesale Market – Exit 4 of Dongdaemum stations. Well the name itself suggest it’s a toys haven at wholesale prices. Look our for characters that are unique to Korea (e.g. Pororo) as they are usually cheaper than those retailing in departmental stores.
I hope you finds this guide useful. If there’s something you’ll like to know or I’ve missed out, feel free to reach out and let me know!