If you have a chance travelling to Seoul, what do you like to do? I like to enjoy a little bit of everything….
1. Meet the Hallyu Star
Though I don’t want to admit, there is always a little bit of tiny hope in my heart that I will unexpectedly meet with one the Kdrama star (I don’t really follow KPop, so I might not know if I met one of the KPop singers except those who have participate in KDrama). Of course, as expected I did not meet any one of them. But I took a picture with one of the standing banners that scattered around Seoul. You can found them everywhere. I happened to take it with Nichkhun at Apgujong Rodeo Station (Lee Min Ho standing banner can be found in some of Twosome Coffee outlets and Kim Soo Hyun standing banner can be found literally everywhere).
2. Where do they shoot that scene?
It was never in my agenda to visit famous scene places. When I was told that “Mango Six” is where Park Shin Ye do her part time job in the drama “The Heirs” I was quite amazed that someone is actually paying attention to this detail. However, when I realised that I’ve been in one of those places used for a scene (by accident), I was quite excited and immediately took some pictures. They usually put some pictures on the wall if the place was part of some show(s).
I went to the famous N Seoul Tower (turned out one of the episodes of We Got Married Khuntoria couple was shot there) and ate at a Tteokbokki restaurant in Sindang Tteokbokki town (turned out to be one of the places shot during Yong Hwa CNBlue and Seo Hyun SNSD “We Got Married” episode) …^_^
The other famous place is Nami Island which are famous due to KDrama “Winter Sonata” but I did not go there this time.
3. Living like a local
I have no idea how the Seoul local people lived although I spent 2 days at a local’s home rented through airbnb. So this is what I pick up from the KDrama and I put it in my list to try living like a local:
a. Pojang Machas – the tent restaurant that people usually go for soju or late night dinner (checked). Usually open after dark, you can find it in most places. I tried the one near Ibis Insadong area. I don’t know whether it is supposed to be expensive or because I looked like a tourist, but I spent 12,000 KRW for 5 chicken sticks (ouch).
b. Karaoke – unfortunately I do not have friend who want to go here with me (next time)
c. Korean Sauna (Jjimjilbang) – (checked). I went to the one near Seoul Station : Siloam Sauna. Get out of Chungjeongno Station exit 5. Just go to the opposite direction towards Seoul Station. You will find a big sign of Siloam from across the street. After paid 15,000 KRW, the receptionist will give you two towels. Go to the locker room, put your shoes on the shoe rack. Go get your locker key. Strip down and head to the shower place downstairs. Although it was a little bit uncomfortable at first, I just applied my life principal that I tried hard to do – “Don’t talk about people in their back so that you don’t have to live worrying about what people talk about you” in this case “don’t look at other people naked body so you don’t care if they are looking at you ….It worked for me, you can try…but I guess it is not for everybody. From the shower room, we headed to the sleeping room. It was late so I tried one of the health drink persimmon vinegar (gam sigcho). Again, it is not for everybody but I do love it. Don’t forget to take picture with the yang mori (Korean towel) – I learnt that from this youtube video, definitely a night to remember.
Note: The jjimjilbang is actually a pretty good and cheap place for transit if you are comfortable sleeping in a room full of people and took a communal bath together.
d. Hiking in Seoul. I think this one of the activities that Korean like (at least in KDrama). We have booked a hostel for one night in Mt. Seorak, unfortunately we were planning to go there during National Holiday weekend and did not get any ticket. No regrets though, since I did hike some stairs in Seoul hahaha…..
4. Shopping, Shopping, and more Shopping
There are many opportunities to shop everywhere in Seoul, they even have an underground shopping in most of the subway stations. Among many places, my favourites reside around Myeongdong area.
a. Namdaemun market – everywhere is available and grouped based on category. Within walking distance from Myeongdong or take subway station and get off at Hoehyoen Station. Find the tourist information and get some map before you start or you can print from this site. I bought Korean souvenir here, Korean T-Shirt for 10,000 KRW / 3 pcs.
b. Myeongdong – this is the place to find your Korean cosmetic brands : Face Shop, Missha, Etude House, Skin Food, Tony Moly, Holika Holika, etc etc. Don’t forget to ask for samples. Just across the area, there is Lotte AvenueL, Lotte Young, and Lotte Duty Free. Besides cosmetic places, I like the food stalls and smaller stalls in the middle of the street also. I bought very cute socks for 1000 KRW/pair, so happy….
c. Seoul Station – there is Lotte Outlet if you get out of exit 1. I don’t know whether this is normal for Lotte outlet to have cheaper price or it was just a coincidence I came during sale time, but I bought Etude Collagen CC cream at 30% cheaper price compared to regular Etude House in other areas. The Lottemart is also huge, definitely a go to go place to buy some last minute gift for people back home.
d. Dongdaemun – Visited this place twice but still like Myeongdong better. Maybe because it feels more familiar, I don’t know. Although the Dongdaemun Snack food is something must try and Dongdaemun Design Plaza is too beautiful to be missed out.
e. Times Square – Located at Yeongdeungpo Station (Line 1) , it is a little bit further away from Myeongdong compared to the other shopping place. I only spent two hours and it was not enough. It is supposedly the biggest mall in Seoul. Visit the Sky Park … nice place to take a zip …
f. Samcheongdong – Located near Bukchon Village, many cute cafes and small cute stores. Loved this place.
g. Apgujong Rodeo – Galleria and other name brands can be found here. Not my style, but just in case some one is looking….
h. There are many shopping areas that I cannot review since I did not go there to explore the shopping part: Itaewon, Sinsa, EWHA, Hongdae, etc, etc….
To summarise my Korean Experience : 서울을 아주 좋아해요 I love Seoul and need to do some saving to go back ^^