Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Asian Eyes' Korea - Gimpo

Gimpo airport, 2nd 
largest airport
in Korea
        Day 2 - Nov/18/12, 1.30pm: After lunch we departed to Gimpo Domestic airport to take a 3 pm flight by Jeju Air flight to Jeju Island. Gimpo International Airport, commonly known as Gimpo Airport, is located in the far western end of Seoul and was the main international airport for Seoul and South Korea before it was replaced by Incheon International Airport in 2001. It is now the second largest airport in Korea after Incheon International Airport. 
        As we walked into Gimpo airport, the security was tight. Many policemen were about, and we saw a policeman walked towards our way with an Alsation dog leading the way, slinging a M16 machine gun across his shoulder. He just look ahead as he walked with a stony face. As the dog came to us, Little M tried to reach out to pat the dog, as he will always do when he saw a dog, but I quickly pulled him back. We looked around but could not see any commotion or raucous in the airport.  Maybe it was just a routine exercise. Anyway, as we are waiting for check in, little M pulled me to a nearby Dunkin' Donuts chain, his favourite snack. We bought half a dozen and snacked on it as we waited for to board Jeju Air flight, to Jeju Island, also spelled as Cheju Island and also known as Jeju-do. Jeju-do (Korean for Jeju Province, short form of Jeju Special Self-governing Province or Cheju Island) is the special autonomous province of South Korea, situated on the nation's largest island. Jeju-do lies in the Korea Strait, southwest of Jeollanam-do Province, which it became a separate province in 1946. Its capital is the city of Jeju.               
           At the Gimpo airport, there were a couple of exhibits on display. Among them that caught my attention was a colourful Korea drum and a Palanquin (Korean - Gama) that was placed strategically at the centre of the airport, complete with description what it is, what it the use and who used it. It is a good way to educate the public and tourists alike. The flight to Jeju-do took about 1 hour and we arrived there at about 4.38 pm. Jeju was a little bit warmer than Seoul, about 12 degree C. Once we exited Jeju airport, we saw Jeju-do's famous tree -  Jeju tangerine trees, everywhere. As it was its fruits season, the trees were laden with yellow and orange coloured fruits and they looked mouth watering. Welcome to Jeju-do, the honeymoon land. 
           Here are some information and pictures I took on the way to Jeju-do:

Jeju Air Website:
A policeman and an Alsation dog patrolling Gimpo airport building. Policemen in Korea are always stern and stony face. May be they are being trained to be such.

Kent and Jeff, our tour guide and tour lead, helped us check in for our Jeju Air flight, a low cost carrier, to Jeju-do. I saw many other low cost carriers like Jin Air and T'way

Samsung's brands are everywhere in Korea. Here its product provides large LCD screen that displayed all flights information in Gimpo Airport.

Security screening check is standard fare before entering the boarding area.

Colorful Korean big drum (Dagu) and small drum in display in the airport exhibition hall between the security area and the boarding area. 

A palanquin (Korea - Gama), was olden days taxi carried by 2 or 4 human carrier. Now we can see Palanquin in many old Chinese Kungfu movies.

Plaque explaining the what and the use of the palanquin in Korean, English and Japanese language.

Salted fish for sale in an airport?? I had never seen one for sale before in an airport. This picture was taken in a convenience store inside the boarding area at Gimpo Airport.

A lovely Jeju Air stewardess demonstrating the pre-flight procedure before we took off to Jeju-do.
Jeju city from the air

Finally we arrived at Jeju-do after an hour in the air. 
Jeju-do's most famous tree - the tangerine, which was in its fruiting season when we came a visiting. The tangerines grew well in the dark rich but porous lava soil of Jeju-do.
Taxis lining up outside Jeju airport waiting for passengers. Business were good as Jeju-do, nicknamed "honeymoon island" stemmed from many years of poverty in the 1960s, resulted in government banning outbound travelers to saves on forex. Many young peoples, especially those who had just married, turned to Jeju-do for their honeymoon, resulting to many tourists flocking to this island.
Jeju International Airport, which also caters for flights from China and Japan, apart of domestic flights from Peninsula Korea.
Our bus that will take us round Jeju-do for 2 days, also another big 42 seats bus for the 16+2 of us.

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