Prepaid GSM
Getting around

Pusan, Gyeongju, Seoul

4.10:  Taipei -> Busan
5.10:  Busan
6.10:  Busan -> Gyeongju
7.10:  Gyeongju -> Seoul
8.10:  Seoul
9.10:  Seoul -> Beijing

Overview and overall impression
In early October 2005 I spent five days travelling across South Korea, entering the country in Pusan (Busan) and leaving it from the Incheon airport (Seoul). It was a short trip which I did mainly to get a first impression of the country. South Korea is not your typical tourist destination and in fact I met very few western travellers.
Korea is a country tough to travel through as very few people in Korea speak English (not even the young people who learn it at school). Also, on the streets everything is written in Korean characters so you can't even guess what is the meaning. The situation is a bit better in Seoul, with more English names in the streets.

Pre-departure plan
This is the pre-departure plan for the overall  trip:

Sep 30
Oct 1
BKK-Taipei Arrive at Taipei airport 21:55
Oct 2
Oct 3
Oct 4
Taipei-Busan Fly 17:50-21:10 with GE702
Oct 5
Busan-Gyeongju Visit Busan; Busan->Gyeongju with bus in the evening
Oct 6
Gyeongju Gyeongju
Oct 7
Gyeongju - Seoul Gyeongju until afternoon; Seoul in the evening
Oct 8
Oct 9
Meet Shirley in the evening in Beijing
Oct 10
Oct 11
Oct 12
Oct 13
Oct 14
Oct 15
Oct 16
Chengdu-KL Chengdu-Lhasa Shirley flies Chengdu-Kunming-Kuala Lumpur; Alfred flies Chengdu-Lhasa
Oct 17
Do the Gyantse-Shigatse- Yam Tso lake loop

Oct 18
Oct 19
Oct 20
Oct 21
LXA-CAN Arrive in the evening in Guanzhou
Oct 22
CAN-BKK Afternoon flight Guangzhou-Bangkok
Oct 23

The overall trip is a bit ambitious, but doable. I don't have the tickets for the flights within Asia when I leave Munich (will have to buy them while I'm in Asia). Shirley already left for Malaysia on September 23rd. She'll leave the baby with the in-laws and meet me in Beijing on October 10th. We'll travel for one week across China, then we'll split and meet in Bangkok for the return flight. I'm planning to do a three-days circuit (Gyantse-Shigatse-Yam Tso) in Tibet.

The Goodwill guide system
To travel across Korea I used the Goodwill guide system. Goodwill guides are Korean people, who volunteer as guides for tourists in Korea. To get a Goodwill guide I emailed an application to the Goodwill guide organisation in Korea, with some information about myself and my planned itinerary. My Goodwill guide in Pusan and Gyeongju was a tourist guide from Pusan - let's call him "Frank" to protect his privacy - while my guide for Seoul was a lady - let's call her "Paula" to protect her privacy - a law student from Seoul.

In my personal opinion the Goodwill guide system makes sense in a country like Korea, where it is tough to travel around if you don't speak Korean. Goodwill guides in general are helpful for planning your trip, as they can provide you with local information which might be difficult to obtain. But Goodwill guides can also drag you down a bit, as you need to coordinate everything with your guide, set up appointments and inevitably end up losing some time. It is best to limit your time with a Goodwill guide to one day or two. After one or two days you are usually familiar with a place and have all information you need to continue exploring it by yourself.

Generally speaking, it is great having a local Korean who acts as an interpreter for you. In Seoul for instance, I had my first positive experience with Korean food (after four days of frustrations and fast-food) in a Korean restaurant, when Paula helped my choose some dishes and acted as a translator with the restaurant staff.

Why do South Koreans volunteer as Goodwill guides? For a number of reasons, I'd guess:
  1. They want to practise their English.
  2. They are interested in foreigners. Not too many (western) visitors make it to South Korea.
  3. Some Goodwill guides probably want to make friends from Europe or the USA.
  4. Koreans are helpful, generally speaking.

Korea is not a cheap country to travel around, although it is nowhere nearly as expensive to travel around as for instance a western European country. To save money I stayed in "love hotels", which, as the name says it, are hotels for couples who want to spend a night or weekend together and enjoy some privacy. These rooms are very good value - for around 40000 won you usually get a room with everything (see below), including a computer with fast Internet access, a TV with a (soft-)porno channel, perfumes, lotions and creams etc. The food and travel expense is moderate if you travel by bus, while my flight from Seoul to Beijing was quite expensive.

Money  / Exchange rate (October 2005)
1 Euro = 1260 won
The cheap dollar (the Korean won is kind of linked to the US$) made my trip less expensive. For current exchange rates check the Universal Currency Converter.

Mobile phones / Prepaid GSM
South Korea unfortunately has no GSM networks. They only have CDMA mobile phone networks which are not compatible with GSM phones. These networks by the way suck as I had difficulties calling both the mobiles of my Goodwill guides in Pusan and Seoul because of network problems. In one case the Goodwill guide switched off the phone to save battery life, which implies that CDMA phones have a poor battery life.

Internet access
The Internet is everywhere in South Korea. In all three hotels I stayed I had an Internet connection in the room, although I could only plug directly my notebook computer into the DSL line in Pusan (in Gyeongju and Seoul I stayed in cheaper love hotels, which offered a computer with Internet access in the room, but not a DSL line connectable to your notebook).

Korea has a moderate climate with four seasons. It can get pretty cold in winter, with snow falling in Seoul (and there are ski resorts in the mountains in South Korea). During my visit it was quite fresh in Pusan and Gyeongju (in Pusan I had to wear a light jacket) and it rained a bit. It was warmer in Seoul, warm enough to walk around with a T-shirt (but at night you needed a jacket). On a couple of days there was some rain.

Health / Vaccinations
Seems to me that South Korea is a relatively safe place, and that no vaccinations are necessary. I didn't however drink tap water.

VISA / Entry requirements
No visa required for EU nationals as well as nationals of other developed countries.

Very high level of security in South Korea.

Getting around
I used buses to tour through Pusan and taxis and the subway to get around. In Gyeongju I "rented" a taxi for half a day to get quickly from one site to the other one. The bus from Gyeongju to Seoul was fast, comfortable and cheap. Seoul has a very dense network of subway stations, with so many stops that it is faster to get from A to B by taxi, despite the traffic.
Korea has a good railway network, with "bulllet trains" between Pusan and Seoul (and probably also between other destinations), but I didn't try it out. Korea also has many motorways, but most Korean drivers limit their speed to 80km/h, even when they are on the left lane, forcing other cars to overtake them on the right. My bus from Gyeongju to Seoul had to overtake pretty frequently cars which were blocking the left lane driving at 80km/h.

4.10:  Taipei -> Busan
Hotel Phoenix, Pusan. 68000 won for a room with TV, phone, bath+shower, ADSL internet connection. Not too pristine, looks a bit old, but is clean.
Weather: Quite fresh in Pusan in the evening.

The Transasia GE702 flight to Pusan leaves almost on time. The plane is full, for some mysterious reason lots of Taiwanese want to visit Busan.

The plane lands in Busan 15 minutes early at 20:55 local time. Immigration and baggage retrieval are very fast. A bit after 9pm I'm at the information counter of the airport and book a hotel. The lady at the booking counter keeps saying "Hotel Penis" instead of "Hotel Phoenix" (?!). Then I take a taxi (15000 won), and around 9:30pm I'm in the hotel.

Initially I feel lost. I can't speak a single word of Korean and can't read the characters. I even start speaking Chinese with the taxi driver. I guess I'll feel more at home when I'm in China (I speak some Chinese, having been studying Chinese for four years).

The guy who was supposed to guide me through Pusan (the goodwill guide Frank) is not available, kind of got lost. So tomorrow I'll have to do Pusan on my own. Around 11pm I go out to buy some water. Surprise, surprise I'm in a very lively area of Pusan, full of shops, food stalls, pubs etc. It's a bit chilly.

5.10:  Busan
Hotel Phoenix, Pusan. The bed in the room is very hard
Weather: Sunny with a more or less thick layer of clouds. Quite fresh and in the late afternoon it rains briefly. In the evening I have to wear a jacket when going out.

The alarm clock wakes me up abruptly at 8:20am. I rush to get ready, but only manage to leave the hotel at 9:15am. Luckily we reach the train station in Pusan before 9:30am, so I still manage to get into the bus for the Pusan tour.

In the morning I do the tour of "historical" Pusan (whatever that means), leaving at 9:30am and returning at 12pm according to the guy who sells the tour tickets (the company is Arum tours, www.arumtour.co.kr). Five places are marked in the itinerary, but we will only stop in two.

The first stop is at the Mt. Youngdu park between 9:50am and 10:10am. Not too impressive park, but never mind. After that we drive to the end of the Taejongdae peninsula, where we stop between 10:35am and 10:55 am. Very scenic spot, with a nice view of the ocean and the cliffs. This is the best Busan has to offer, as I understand later.

We are back in the train station at 11:30am. There the guy who sold me the tour ticket passes me his mobile phone and, surprise, it's my Goodwillguide Frank on the other end of the line. He tells he is going to come soon.... at 12:10pm. I say 'ok' without thinking about it, and this turns out to be a mistake, because the afternoon tour starts at 12:50pm and now it's 11:35am and I would have enough time (1 hour 15 minutes) for a lunch in a restaurant, if I didn't have to be back at the train station at 12:10pm to meet Frank.

So I start looking for a place where I can have some kind of fast food. The road behind the train station road has surprisingly shops with signs in cyrillic characters. At first I don't notice this, but suddenly a shop lady starts talking to me in something which sounds like Russian. Later I learn from Frank that that is "Little Russia" and Russian people come to Pusan to make business (?!). So the lady must have assumed that I was Russian.

After some time I walk into the French bakery on the station square and order two sandwiches. It turns out later, that one of these sandwiches (chicken & green peppers) is uneatable, as it is way too full of chilli. The other one, the cheese one, doesn't taste good. I have to get into a 7-11 and buy some pastries for lunch.

At 12:10pm I meet Frank. We chit-chat for a while, he has many questions about me. At 12:50pm we take the bus for the next tour. I only have to pay another 10000 won (the ticket for Frank), as my ticket of this morning is still valid.

Frank tells me he is a professional tourist guide. This tour will bring us over the next three hours to three places of "modern" Busan: the museum, the UN memorial (which is closed for works) and the Haeundae beach. The museum actually is, but I end up paying 12000 won for an entry ticket to a totally boring "British museum exhibition", with copies of the originals instead of the originals.

The Haeundae beach is supposed to be the "largest beach in South Korea", but is actually nothing so special. The whole of Pusan is nothing special, to put it nicely (I might add that the organisers of this tour have a strange sense for what is interesting for tourists). There is no building older than 40 years and the whole town looks like it didn't exist 40 years ago. Or perhaps they tore down all old buildings to make place for new ones. I get the impression that South Korea is a country which hasn't been able to afford to have a cultural heritage. I remember that an Indonesian friend of mine told me six years ago that the Indonesian government in Jakarta tore down a number of old, colonial era buildings instead of preserving their heritage.

Anyway, had I known how Busan looks like, I would have skipped the town and would have gone directly to Gyeongju from Busan airport when I arrived.

By the way, when walking on the street with Frank, this guy has the habit of walking very close to you, and touch you all the time (!). After a while I start walking away from him, trying to keep a minimum distance, and then Frank will try to get as close as possible.

I'm back in the hotel at 4pm and spend the rest of the day not doing much. In the evening I get out at 6:30pm to have some dinner. I end up in a "steak restaurant" in Nampudong, where nobody speaks a word of English (in the whole of Pusan virtually nobody speaks a word of English and most neon signs are written in Korean characters only). I order some chicken dish and try to explain that it should not be hot, no chilly etc. The waiter says "yes, yes" (sort of nodding symphatetically).

In this restaurant in the middle of each table there is a pan, where they will cook for you. When the waitress arrives with the ingredients I start having second thoughts. It turns out that the red sauce on the chicken meat is full of chilli sauce. Also, the ingredients and the way they are cooked don't look appealing. I pay the bill and leave before the waitress finishes cooking the stuff. End up having dinner at a MacDonald and start meditating whether I should shorten my stay in Korea and leave earlier.

In the evening I try again calling Paula, my goodwill guide in Seoul. Her mobile is not available all the time. I email her about that and she tells me that she kept it switched on all the time. Since also yesterday I couldn't reach Frank on his mobile (also a 010 number), I start thinking that there must be something wrong with the CDMA network in South Korea. Frank told me that he switched off the phone yesterday to save battery life (!). Possibly these CDMA phones have short standby battery lives and the CDMA network is either full of holes or will cut off the service erratically.

The girls in Pusan are so-so. Not really pretty on the average. The only attractive girls I saw were the belly dancers performing in Nampudong to celebrate the International Film festival, and they probably were not from Pusan and perhaps not even Korean.

Tomorrow I'll take the bus to Gyeongju. I'm a bit skeptical about this place - I suspect that again it will not be that interesting.

6.10:  Busan -> Gyeongju
Hilltop motel, Gyeongju. 40000 won for a room with everything - TV with porno channel, VCD player, phone, fridge, hair dryer, water boiler/cooler, even a computer with Internet access, toilet with shower and sophisticated toilet seat, A/C, fan, several creams and lotions for the loving couple. Friendly staff, advance payment. This is a "love hotel" for young couples in need of privacy. There is even an automatic dispenser in the corridor where you can buy vibrators and other stuff.
Weather: Sunny with some clouds. Definitely warmer than in Busan. No rain the whole day. Fresh in the evening.

I get up at 9am and leave the hotel at 10:30am. The taxi drive to the bus station takes 45 minutes and costs 18600 won. At the bus station I meet Frank and get two tickets to Gyeongju (4000 won each). The next bus is leaving at 11:40am and the drive should take one hour.

The bus leaves on time and after some time reaches the motorway. It takes a while to leave Pusan behind us - Pusan is really a big city. Lots of roadworks initially, but after some time the motorway is free and the driver speeds up to over 100km/h. Funny that the cars drive so slowly and the bus so fast. Every now and then there is an idiot who is blocking the left lane by driving at 80km/h. But our smart bus driver knows how to overtake on the right side (this by the way seems to be a popular sport here in Korea - everybody is overtaking on the right side).

The bus reaches Gyeongju at 12:45pm. Then we jump into a taxi and Frank starts negotiating a deal with the taxi driver. For 50000 won (= 40 Euro) they will drive me around for five hours. Ok, fine with me.

The first thing to do is to leave the luggage in a hotel. Since I couldn't care less about the accomodation, I pick the first "middle class" place in the LP guide. Turns out this wasn't a good idea, because this place (Hansol Jang) is out of town around lake Bomun. Can't believe the LP guide puts this place on top of the list. Negotiations, discussions with the taxi driver and we decide to go back into town to the Hilltop motel. On the way back we stop at the Bomun lake (nothing to see, except for a few modern hotels) and at the stone pagoda of Bunhwangsa.

Time passes fast and by the time I leave the luggage at the hotel and am able to "start the day" it's already 2:10pm. We drive to a McDonalds restaurant for some fast food, then at 2:30pm start the sightseeing. Until 5:30pm we visit a number of places in the Namsan district, mostly tombs of Silla rulers. After a while I get tired of always seeing rounded mini-hills.

There are no big impressive structures left of the Silla period. Only some stones, some very basic ruins. Nothing comparable to the ruins of ancient Rome. The scenery however is quite nice - it's a good place for hiking.

Overall Gyeongju is a bit of an archaelogical place set up for tourists. In Pusan there was nothing old, here in Gyeongju everything is supposed to be old and interesting. The focus in Gyeongju is pretty much the archaeological stuff (of which not much is left).

In the evening I have some junk food at McDonalds. Later, while walking in town, I discover that there are lots of restaurants. Tomorrow I'll do the sights within the city and then get to the Bulguksa area by bus and visit the highlights there.

7.10:  Gyeongju -> Seoul
Hotel Ritz, Seoul. Tel. 02-7640353. Love hotel with TV (guess what channels they have), computer with Internet connection (I asked for that - initially they showed me a room without Internet), bath, fridge, VCD player, phone (local calls only), A/C, water heater/cooler. The hotel in Gyeongju was better.
Weather: Overcast in Gyeongju until when I leave at 5pm. It starts raining at 1:30pm initially heavily, then it continues very lightly (like it's not raining but you get wet anyway). Fog and clouds around Seokguram. No rain in the evening in Seoul.

The alarm clock wakes me up as usual at 9am (I still haven't adapted completely to the local time). By the time I've had breakfast, checked my emails, taken a shower and packed my things it's 11am. I check out, leave my bags in the reception and start today's sightseeing.

I first walk to the Tumuli park (admission: 1500 won), where there are several Silla tombs spread around. The park is full of schoolchildren, who behave as if they had never met a western guy in person. I'm at the centre of the attention, with lots of kids trying to practice their English.

Half an hour later, at 11:45am I get out of the park and start walking towards the Cheomseongdae observatory (ticket: 500 won). Quite nice, but five minutes are enough to inspect it and take a few photos. Again lots of schoolchildren who have never met a western guy in person.

It's 12pm and I still have to visit two places before taking the bus to Seoul - the Bulguksa temple and the Seokguram grotto (what the hell is a "grotto" ???). They are about 25km away from Gyeongju, and Frank advised me yesterday to take a bus as the taxi will be expensive. So I start walking towards the bus station for Bulguksa and on the way I run into a Pizza Hut restaurant. I have some lunch there (pizza + drink is 16000 won). Wouldn't mind having lunch in a Korean restaurant, if at least I was able to communicate with the waitress and ask what is inside the dishes.

While I'm in the restaurant I decide to take a taxi, as it is already 1pm and my time is limited. Never mind if I have to pay 50000 won for the taxi, the problem is that getting to Bulguksa will be messy and time-consuming. At 1:10pm I get into a taxi and tell the driver "Bulguksa". The driver smiles and says "thank you" (must be good business for him).

The trip to Bulguksa takes only 20 minutes and costs 14000 won - much less than what I had feared. When I get out of the taxi at 1:30pm it starts raining quite heavily. I wait for a while for the rain to stop, but after 15 mnutes the rain is still not over, so I enter into the temple. The temple is quite nice and would be nicer if it wasn't being renovated and if the sun was shining. The entry ticket is 4000 won.

The Bulguksa temple has been destroyed by a fire laid by the Japanese in the 16th century. The structures you see today have been rebuilt about 30 or 40 years ago by the Korean government, trying to match as close as possible the original.

The temple is again full of schoolchildren. After I have set up the tripod to take a photo of a wall, too dark for a handheld shot, a young Korean lady, who can speak English, approaches me and asks if I'm a professional photographer. She says she's a teacher and the schoolkids want to know who I am. We have a short conversation and then I continue with my sightseeing (I have a feeling that she would have liked to speak longer with me).

After a while it stops raining and it becomes easier to take photos. At 2:45pm, over an hour since I reached the Bulguksa temple I start looking for a taxi. There is none in the parking in front of the temple, so I ask at the ticket counter and the lady tells me to go down. And true, about 400m below, there is the information counter and a taxi stand.

The road to the Soekguram grotto is a narrow and winding mountain road, leading to a parking at an altitude of about 700m a.s.l. From there (entry ticket is 4000 won) you have to walk for about five minutes to get to the grotto. The taxi from the Bulguksa temple to the Soekguram grotto costs 6000-7000 won. The "grotto" itself is kind of a temple, with some very nice Buddha statue inside (and other statues inside).

At 3:30pm I walk back to the taxi and get back to Gyeongju, more specifically to the bus terminal. It's 4:20pm and the next bus to Seoul would be at 4:30pm - too short term - so I get a ticket for the 5pm Seoul bus (price is 24200 won).

I get back to the Hilltop motel, which actually is very close to the bus terminal, get my bags and walk to the bus terminal. I first get into the wrong bus terminal (the two bus terminals are quite close to each other), then into the correct one.

The bus to Seoul leaves on time at 5pm. It is the comfortable 24-seater type and is half-empty. The traffic on the motorway initially is quite high, as if there were too many cars on too few roads in Korea. After 7pm the motorway is less crowded.

We stop at 7pm for half an hour in a petrol station, where I have some food, a Korean noodle soup. These are thick noodles which you have to eat one by one with chop sticks. The problem is that you can only grab one noodle at a time and these noodles are very slippery. You either suck them up, and then the soup nicely sprays on your face and clothes or you block them first and then try to grab the other end with the chop stick. In my case lots of noodles fall again into the soup bowl and it takes a while to finish the noodles. Feels like a bird trying to eat rainworms. The soup taste is not good by the way.

On the motorway the situation is again the same: people overtaking on the right side all the time. There is always some brainless guy driving at only 80 km/h on the left lane, refusing to move to the right lane and forcing all cars behind him to overtake him on the right side. Makes me wonder what kind of driving education people in Korea get.

The bus arrives in Seoul bus station on time at 9:25pm. After that I take a taxi to the Hotel Ritz (half an hour, 9000 won) and check in at 10pm. The hotel is a love hotel (I'm getting used to that...). I call Paula (my goodwill guide in Seoul) and check my emails.

8.10:  Seoul
Hotel Ritz, Seoul
Weather: Sunny with some clouds, no rain. Warm enough to walk around with a T-shirt most of the time.

I get up at 9am, just in time to pick up the call of Paula. She can't make it at 10am and postpones our meeting to 11am. Shortly after 11am I'm at the exit 11 of the Jonggak MRT station and call Paula. She is still on the way and arrives around 11:30am. Paula is 22, a law student and has been volunteering as a Goodwill guide for about a year now. She is kind of a Florence Nightingale, Mother Theresa who picks up and saves travellers who got lost in Seoul. Jokes aside, she is a very helpful and friendly person.

The first thing we do is to get to the travel agency and pick up the ticket to Beijing (Paula organised that for me). In the process Paula explains me the ticketing options for the MRT. I get a "cash card" for 5000 won. When we get out of the MRT we walk to an ATM, which however refuses to accept my ATM card. Luckily nearby there is a Citibank ATM, where I can get the cash for the flight ticket.

After buying the flight ticket we have lunch in a restaurant. This time, thanks to Paula's help, the food is eatable (and quite good too).

After that, at 1:45pm the sightseeing begins. We visit two temples, Insadong, the changing of the guard at the royal palace at 4pm, the royal palace itself and then Paula shows me the center of Seoul around the city centre.

At 6pm we split and I take the MRT to the Namsan tower (myendong). From the MRT station it's quite a long walk to a cablecar station, from where you reach the top of the Namsan hill by cablecar (5000 won), where the Seoul tower is located. Unfortunately today the Seoul tower is closed for repairs.

On the way back, at 8pm, I have some food in a restaurant, then walk to the MRT station, from where I get to the City Hall. There an event is taking place (a Korean drumming performance). Great atmosphere and setting among the skyscrapers; excellent audiovisual performance. At 10pm I'm back in the hotel.

9.10:  Seoul -> Beijing
Hotel Hilton, Beijing. We get the employee rate of USD 45 per night. Nice 4 star hotel, with free Internet in the lobby.
Weather: Sunny, but with a cloud layer, more or less thin. The weather improves in the afternoon. Warm enough to walk around with a T-Shirt. No rain. Dry and fresh in Beijing in the evening.

I manage to check out at 11am (am supposed to meet Paula at 11am at the Jinggok MRT station), and after leaving the bags in the reception, I rush to the exit of the MRT station where I will meet Paula. I get there a bit late (11:08am) but Paula is still not there. At 11:20am I call her on her mobile and she tells me she will be there in about 10 minutes. These 10 minutes become 35 minutes, as Paula only arrives at 11:55am, almost one hour late. As Paula explains, she is always late to appointments. Yesterday she was half an hour late, today one hour and yesterday evening she arrived half an hour late to her class (she is teaching maths in English to children). Paula probably is the friendliest person on earth and she definitely is a good guide,  but she comes late to appointments.

In any case it's almost 12pm so I call a taxi to go to the fortress above Seoul. There is a nice view of the city and there are several temples. The taxi drive takes about 10 minutes, but then you have to walk a lot up, as the viewpoint can only be reached by walking. At one point Paula is far behind me, removing the sweat on her face with a tissue (I feel a bit guilty). Nice temples and good view of Seoul, which could be better if it wasn't for this layer of clouds/fog around Seoul.

Since time is short (today I'm flying to Beijing at 6:20pm) we get down again and fetch a taxi to the International Convention Centre of Seoul at 1:25pm. The trip takes 40 minutes and costs around 15000 won. The convention centre and the area around it are nice - good architectural design. We then walk to a beautiful nearby Buddhist temple which turns out to be the nicest temple I've seen so far in Korea.

At 2:50pm we fetch a taxi and get back to the hotel, where I take my bags. At 3:50pm I say good-bye and thanks to Paula, and drive by taxi to the Seoul's international airport in Incheon. The taxi reaches the airport one hour later at 4:50pm (the distance from Seoul to the airport is 52 km).

At the airport I take some photos initially, then at 5pm queue up for check-in. There is a huge queue and I only manage to check in at 5:35pm. By the time I'm through security and immigration and have reached the gate it's 6pm and the plane is already boarding. The plane leaves a bit late at 6:40pm.

Copyright 2005 Alfred Molon