Unlike bringing kids, to bring baby along to a forein city is a whole different challange. The challanges are; how to keep him comfortable, how to keep him well-fed (not knowing if the food in the destination country will suit his system), how to keep him entertain all that while the adult explore the city and get to know it.
To us, Seoul as a metropolitant, has served as a friendly city for baby and the nursing mother. These are the conveniences and priviledges we had while we were in the city with 1 year old Mozi for couple days. The website is very helpful too.
We were really fortunate that the hotel that we booked online turned out really to be satisfying. We looked for a family room, big enough for 4 adults and 1 very active baby, prefereably with kitchenette. We got all that and more, as a hotel slash residence, our room in Hyundai Residence had washing machine, drying room (a special room with laundry wire and a fan from the airco), cable tv, two humongus window overlooking 2 different side of the city and a convenience store in the ground floor. Oh and not to forget the park just across the street and rooftop garden just to relax and enjoy city view. Truly recommended because it’s on budget too.
As for bath time, it is quite impossible to bathe Mozi under the shower, and we don’t have inflatable baby bather with us, so let’s get creative and use the wash basin for a temporary bathtub. 😀
For his meal we bring all kind of (practical) raw ingredient; carrot, brocolli, hard boiled egg, home-made nugget, pasta and oatmeal. To process them we bring our own slowcooker (rice cooker will also do) where we can cook them all at once, plug it in and go. If only we know that we will have stove in our room, we don’t have to bring cooker.
The first day we eat out we didn’t dare to choose Korean restaurant, for we were not sure with the taste, the price and most of all the environement and if it is convinence for baby. So we pick Lotteria, some kind of a fast food restaurant where they have small playground, kids meal and baby chair. Pretty safe
On the go, we always bring unch box with his meal, snacks and mineral water. So anytime we hit traffic, or when he is simply hungry we can feed him right away.
Knowing that we will spend a lot of time on the road, we pick just the most convinience transportation. When we fly the long haul (7hours) from KL to Incheon we pick the seat with extra leg room, bigger chair and a bassinet. It sure gives Mozi more space to move and play. Although that doesn’t guarantee enough room to have a good night sleep (poor baby). If I have to make such arrrangement in the future I’d pick the seat by the window instead of the middle row, for Mozi is no longer fit in the bassinet and he prefer to see the view outside.
In the city, people use subway to commute. Although Mozi himself didn’t get the chance to try, I think it’s not a bad choice either. In every car they have designated chairs for people in need (elderly, disable, pregnant women and child) which never gets occupied by regular people. I mean, if I were with baby it’s a guarantee that I will get the seat. Oh and according to seoul metro website, they also have nursing room in major stations now. It’s their action to promote breastfeeding for women with babies. way to go!
To travel from one spot to another, we prefer taxi. As Lonely Planet has suggested, in Seoul, it is cheaper to take a taxi especially if you share it with 2-3 other people. The cost is very reasonable. Although you have to be prepared when you get the driver who doesn’t speak English (which is most), and have your destination written (in Hangul) to be shown to him. Taxi is our chosen transportation to and from the airport. With our extensive luggage, we took taxi van which you can book a day before by phone.
While we walk around the city an
d tourist attraction, Mozi is on his stroller or being carried on a baby carrier. Although less convinience for us, baby carrier is the best choice to take a baby with us. Because not every path in the city is stroller friendly, also, not every spot is wide enough to take a stroller along with us. However, in major places, they do provide stroller free of charge. Check out korea tourism website, they will tell you if such place have stroller to rent, stroller friendly or even pet friendly. For the baby carrier we took the one that can carry baby on sitting position as well as sleeping. One will never know when the baby decided to sleep.
Again, unlike traveling with kids, it is quite a challange to keep a baby entertain. For a one year old boy who is just walk, Mozi quite satisfied with the room where he can explore without too many potential danger. But once he’s bored, the outdoor playground in the park is a good change of view. Although he still couldn’t play by himself he’s quite happy to be able to touch new things and play outside again. A park with playground can be found in almost every district in Seoul (for all I know).
While indoor, they always have a children play area in major mall and shopping area. This one in the picture though, is the play area and nursing room in the Incheon Airport. Very toughtful and convinience indeed. It can be found in several spots in the airport, some has only nursing room, some has playzone like this. We were fortunate that near our boarding gate we found one like this and even book cafe where we can find all kind of book to kill time with while drinking coffee to tea.