Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ferry trip from Inchon, Korea to Qingdao, China

* This ferry runs domestically in Japan, not the aforementioned Korea - China ferry.

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I travelled from Inchon, on the outskirts of the metropolis, Seoul, Korea to Qingdao, China by ferry on 23 Oct, 2008. Even though the cruise was choppy, as I slept the majority of the time, it didn't affect me a lot. The trip took one night.

I took the Seoul Subway Line 1 from Chongro 3-ga to Inchon Stations. The subway cost me 1,700 KRW, and the ride took 1 hour 15 minutes. The subway runs frequently.
Then caught a taxi from the station to Inchon Port. It was 2,000 KRW, and took 5 minutes.

Before the cruise, I made a reservation for the business class cabin accommodating four passengers via phone, though in reality I was only with a Korean man there. Then I paid for the ticket costing 112,300 KRW including the departure tax (currently equivalent to approx. 70 USD) at the Inchon ferry terminal just before boarding.

I wasn't asked to produce an onward ticket out of China at the ticket counter at all, although I possessed an AirAsia eticket receipt out of Hong Kong within 15 days. As a note, I'm a Japanese citizen so that I can enter China on a visa waiver up to 15 days.

Weidong Ferry website

Route guide ( Sorry for the blurry image...)

Inchon Port seen from the vessel.

Passengers on the observatory platform.

Reception Area.
This vessel used to ply in Japan, judging from some signboards and the facilities.

My room ( Business Class )



Convenience store

Duty free

Breakfast: The soup was lukewarm.

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Upon disembarkation at Qingdao, we were bussed to the terminal to clear immigration and customs. As far as my sight is concerned, there was no ATM in the terminal. You might want to prepare some Chinese Yuan in cash beforehand in case you'd like to catch a taxi etc.

Overall, it was a nice experience.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Be warned when you take the ex-KCR Line from Lowu, the frontier to East Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong

On my current trip, I took the Lowu - East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR, ex-KCR train as soon as I cleared the Shenzhen (China) - Lowu (HK) border. Bought a ticket from Lowu to Fortress Hill for 44.5 HKD. As the ex-KCR Line has been mergered into the MTR, I thought I could change trains at (East) Tsim Sha Tsui. That was wrong. I had my ticket to Fortress Hill swallowed by the turnstile at East Tsim Sha Tsui Station.

As I told a station clerk my situation, he told me to purchase another ticket to Fortress Hill for 10.5 HKD. It's not that big an amount, yet I wondered why the ticket machine at Lowu didn't clearly stated that I needed to transfer at Kowloon Tong instead of (East) Tsim Sha Tsui...

On my preious trip three years ago, KCR and MTR were separate operators so that that kind of confusion didn't occur to me.

Therefore those who plan to take the MTR after clearing the China-Hong Kong border, please be reminded this issue.

Hong Kong MTR network