Category Archives: South Korea

7 Days in Seoul (서울) – Part 2

Continue from previous post

07/01/2017

20170107_121608.jpg
Common Ground (커먼그라운드)
20170107_121815.jpg
We were here to get pictures as well~

Made a morning stop at Common Ground, a small pop-up container mall located near Konkuk University. It was alot shorter and smaller than I expected.

wp-1485876306015.jpeg
Famous Rainbow cake at Dore Dore cafe

Did we try the rainbow cake? Nope we didn’t.  It does look pretty but I wouldn’t spend money to try it.

20170107_131552.jpg
Budget lunch at 7-11

We decided to visit Gangnam (강남) for a short while this afternoon. Originally our plan was to visit this:

_86547518_029995491-1.jpg
Gangnam Style Sculpture at Coex Mall (picture by  BBC)

However when we got off the station, another attraction caught our eyes immediately.

20170107_150722.jpg
SMTOWN in Coex atrium

Not a SM fan, but it was sure interesting to see a 5 floor building full of activities and merchandises produced by SM for SM fans.

wp-1485912576486.jpeg
This is like heaven for SM fans

They even have a theater that showcases hologram musicals and recordings of their tours.

However at the exit of Coex mall, a massive rally was going on. We were not sure what was it about, but it has something to do with the recent scandal of their president Park Geun Hye. That’s when we decided to halt on our little visit to Gangnam and make way to our next destination.

Namsan Seoul Tower (남산서울타워). You can either walk uphill to the tower or just take the cable car like we did. According to this blogger, it’s a 30 minute hike downhill. It was kinda late when we got there and we were tired (maybe lazy ><), we rode the cable car up and downhill. It was 8000krw/person for a round trip ticket, 600krw/person one way, a great excuse for us to prefer NOT WALKING, saves time, unless you want to enjoy the view of Seoul from above, then walking might be the better option for you.

wp-1485913523717.jpeg

I know this place is famous for their love locks, and did I mention almost all of the visitors here are couples?

wp-1485913769956.jpeg
single all the way #Foreveralone

It was crazily COLD up there! It was around 4°c that day, but the wind was so strong it felt like -4°c instead. We couldn’t handle the chilly sensation that was piercing through the many layers of our clothing and left after an hour. I swear I’m gonna come back again to visit, not in the winter, before the sun sets and somebody to accompany me 😉

08/01/2017

The brunch day that I’ve been waiting for

Gwangjang Market (광장 시장)

They sell all sorts of things here, from clothes to food, a lot of food. However they are more or less the same varieties, just different stalls selling the same food.

It was 10,000krw for the octopus, 10,000krw for the yukhoe, 5,000krw for kimbap, and 5,000krw for bindaetteok.

We went back to Hongdae again after this. As my friend decided to purchase the pink coat that we saw there the other day before our trip to Dongdaemun. Lucky us, there is still one coat left for sale.

Haha’s grill meat shop was located in Hongdae as well. It’s called 401 Loco Quan Restaurant.

It was our first time having grilled meat in SK, and I’ve heard that grilled meat in general is quite pricey here. It costed us 40,000krw for this meal, 30,000krw for 400g of pork and 10,000krw for pig intestines (곱창). The amount of money we spent on FOOD only today, there goes our food budget for 2 days!

*Short story: later that night after our meal, we decided to go shopping for goods at Lotte Mart near Seoul Station. After lots of walking while enduring the attacks of icy winds on the streets and the subway tunnels, we finally reached the exit of Seoul Station. I can assure you that we were not very pleased to see Lotte Mart without any lights on inside. A lesson for everyone–please check the operating hours of any attraction or shops before you visit so that you wouldn’t end up like us, wasting time and energy for nothing, lesson learnt!

09/01/2017

The only day throughout this trip where we left our room before 9am.

Nami island (남이섬) here we come!

About how to go to Gapyeong Station (가평역) from Seoul. Any station will do [Yongsan(용산) or Cheongnyangni(청량리역) in this case] as long as they have an ITX stop there. For us we took the ITX from Cheongnyangni Station. We bought our tickets on the spot at the ITX ticket machine, you can purchase them online as well. The ITX journey took less than an hour.

wp-1485915958917.jpeg
Economy class ticket

We bought free standing tickets  instead on our trip back from Gapyeong, It was cheaper and if you are lucky, there might be seats for you too 🙂

{Economy class= 4,300krw, Free standing=4,000krw] your choice.

After arriving at Gapyeong Station, you have to quickly make your way outside to catch the bus to Gapyeong Wharf. There is only 1 bus for every hour, definitely not enough to fetch everyone to the wharf. The bus fare was 6,000krw for the whole day, worth it if you are planning to visit other attractions nearby as well (like Petite France (쁘띠프랑스) & The Garden of Morning Calm (아침고요수목원)).

Nobody could bother to waste an hour waiting for the next bus, so we had to take the taxi instead, which was around 4.000krw from the station to the wharf.

We regretted not bringing any snacks with us and I feel like we could eat a horse when we arrived on the island. There were a few convenient stores and some expensive restaurants on Nami Island. I was so glad that we found this little ‘jjimppang’ stall:

I swear, when you are out in the woods fighting against gushes of icy wind, this is your best catch! It was soooo good, and only 1,000krw for one (the cheapest, warmest, most delicious snack on the island). This bun tasted somewhat similar to red bean paus we have back in Malaysia, which I liked better compared to the first ‘jjimppang’ I had in SK when I was in Busan, the red bean paste was salty instead.

wp-1485916379762.jpeg
The famous Metasequoia Lane (담양 메타세쿼이아길) where people take lovey dovey pictures to reenact scenes from Winter Sonata (결울연가)

wp-1485916428088.jpeg
Guess a lot of southeast asians visit Nami island often~

I was actually surprised and excited at the same time when I saw this. We met a few Malaysians at Gapyeong Station. I’ve never actually bumped into any Malaysians or southeast asians on the streets of Seoul yet (maybe I did, but I didn’t know).

Okay, I admit we are pretty bad at travelling. We did not finish strolling around the island. The furthest point we’ve explore to was the convenient store locted a few steps away from the ‘jjinppang’ stall. So how did we spent our entire afternoon doing? Trying to take good pictures of course, and also exploring the forest and the grassy fields beside the pathways.

Petite France & The Garden of Morning Calm? Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to visit there, maybe next time.

8 days of travelling has sure worn us out, it was time to relax.

wp-1485944183731.jpeg
Itaewon Land (이태원 랜드) SPA!!!

Basically we spent an hour and half sleeping in the heated room. The temperature outside was freaking -2°c!! I kinda enjoy sleeping in the heated room, at first I thought I would sweat like crazy and the whole room would smell like sweat, but it didn’t, laying there for an hour and half warmed my ice-numbed fingers well enough.

wp-1485945449079.jpeg
Comfy ‘jjimjilbang’ clothing

I did not enjoy the ice room and the salt room as much as the heated room, the salt room had a sandy sweaty smell that makes me feel uncomfortable. Again, we did not go for any massages or bath in the public bath, but we did had roasted egg(구운계란) and sikhye(식해).

wp-1485946058095.jpeg
The crew with our lamb towel hat

To know more about Itaewon Land, I recommend reading this post by Triplerin 🙂

10/01/2017

screenshot_2017-02-01-19-27-22.png
Isaac Toast @ Myeongdong

The Myeongdong branch had a limited menu and only makes mvp sandwiches.

image1.jpg
From: happiebb

However, there weren’t many people at the Hongdae branch, plus they had tables and chairs, but here at Myeongdong, we had to line up around 40 mins just for one sandwich!

Unfortunately, I had no pictures of my sandwich. I was so hungry I immediately gobble up my sandwich after the employee handed it to me.

wp-1485948100115.jpeg
View from Naksan Park (낙산공원)
wp-1485948238646.jpeg
Can you spot N Seoul tower?

We didn’t actually visited Naksan Park, we just happen to pass by it on our Ehwa Mural Village(이화 벽화마을) trail.

Our target was this:

wp-1485949774191.jpeg
And we made it 🙂

All thanks to the guidance of this blog, and with the help of Google maps, we managed to find our way.

We had our last dinner in Seoul at a small local shop. Well actually, we were just passing by and decided to go in because it was freezing cold outside! The restaurant was owned by a middle-aged couple, the wife stays in the shop preparing delivery foods and the husband delivers them to the neighborhood area. They don’t speak any english but we still managed to place an order with our weak Korean. If you are interested in what we had there, I have to apologize beforehand because of my shaky hands, the picture turned out terrible.

wp-1485950243027.jpeg
2 bibimbap(비빔밥) & 2 kimchi jjigae(김치찌개)) + side dishes

Finally, our day ended with us visiting Lotte Mart for souvenirs and goodies 🙂

11/01/2017

Had to leave early to the airport to return the wifi-egg, settle our tax refunds and get or T-money balance as well.

wp-1485950344182.jpeg
Hangang(한강) OTW to airport

Super oily burger for lunch. It’s worth trying if you are curious but no seconds for me in the future.

20170111_132500.jpg
Lotte mozzarella and hash brown burger

I will be back Seoul, a promise to myself 😉

Advertisements

7 Days in Seoul (서울) – Part 1

Seoul -> Busan

Transportation: Train (KTX)

Accomodation: Airbnb (RM48.30/night)

Continue from previous post

04/01/2017

Yes and we made it!

wp-1484645054631.jpeg
3hrs ++ on the KTX and here we are

Seoul is way waaaaay colder than Busan.

20170117_190050.png
Still in Christmas mood I guess~

I’m so glad we stayed at Sinchon

  1. It was close to places that we wanted to go (a stop away from Ewha and Hongik University)
  2. Not too crowded but still lively (You should see the crowd at Hongik and Myeongdong station
  3. The rentals here were cheaper.

Staying around Subway Line 2 was a good choice, you can go to most of the attractions via this subway line. It is also one of the most heavily used subway lines around the world (according to Seoulistic).

One more reason why I love Sinchon:

Let me tell you!! This fishcake is just super cheap (500krw for one stick!!) and the soup is just delicious (the best I had so far). What touches me the most was how genuinely nice the owner (이모) treats us. We visit her stall almost every single night for supper and when she sees us, she immediately serves us cups of hot soup before we even start eating. I’m not sure if other stalls do this (cause we went to another one before and the owner was quite rude) but this small gesture of hers really warms us up during those freezing nights.

How to go: Sinchon station Exit No.7, you will see a few stalls in front of you. Just find the one that sells fishcake for 500krw/stick 🙂

05/01/2017

Kick start our morning with a visit to Gyeongbukgong Palace (경북공). Okay, not really Gyeongbukgong, just Gwanghwamun (광화문).

img126
credits to Travelers on Weekends

Okay so this picture may not be very clear, but we arrive from Yongseongmun Gate (용성문) and went out to Gwanghwamun Gate to take pictures. The entrance to Gyeongbukgong Palace is at Heungnyemun Gate (흥례문).

20170105_105850.jpg
See the crowd, they are all here to witness the Changing of Guards Ceremony 🙂

There were so many people wearing hanbok (한복) when visiting the palace. I only found afterwards that admission to palaces are FREE when you wear hanbok , only ourselves to blame for not doing enough research before we came (hanbok rental is now on my bucket list).

There were a small group of protesters giving speeches at Gwanghwamun Square (광화문 광장) on that day. A few anti-president flags, tents and sculptures can be found there as well (the pictures might be too political sensitive to be uploaded here).

wp-1484654784931.jpeg
Lunch at Tosokchon Samgyetang (토속촌 삼계탕)

I read quite a few blogs recommending this place. The food was great, but it’s more of a touristy restaurant (most of the people working here are chinese, so are the customers). I don’t mean to offend anyone but I didn’t really get the vibes of me eating at a local restaurant. Here’s a list of what we ordered:

FotorCreated.jpg
Credits to Top Left: One guy’s blog of eats, cooking, and travels, Top Right: visitKorea.net, Bottom Right: Will Fly For Food, bottom Left: Me 🙂

You can’t waste too much time on travelling from one place another. Close by attractions to Gyeongbukgong would be Bukchon Hanok Village (북천 한옥 마을), Samcheondong (삼천동) and Insadong (인사동).

20170105_145027_richtonehdr.jpg
The most famous view in Bukchon Hanok Village (ask the information guides around the area for more info 🙂
20170105_153848.jpg
The cute information guides I was talking about. They can be found along the streets of Bukchon Hanok and Samcheondong.

Basically the whole afternoon, we were just casually strolling along the streets, taking pictures and do some light shopping, shopping for clothes of course!

That’s bout it, and we head of to Myeongdong (명동) to do some serious shopping this time.

The original plan was to have Isaac Toast for dinner, but by the time we were craving for dinner, they were already closing and not accepting anymore orders. So a change of plans lead us to—– JJAJANGMYEON (짜장면)!!!!!

20170105_204310.jpg
One bowl of jjajangmyeon was enough for 2 ppl

Thus after filling our stomach, we continue on with our shopping.

If you are Chinese, or look Chinese, don’t be to surprised when the shop employees starts rattling on and on about their products in super fluent Chinese (they sound like they are from Mainland China). I was so amazed when I hear them speak for the first time, like wow their pronunciation is even better than mine! There are tons of Chinese people shopping in Myeongdong, and to cater the needs of their large Chinese market, speaking Chinese has become a must for these employees.

Most of the employees also believe that if you speak Chinese, you must be super rich (a so-called 土豪 or 暴发户 in Chinese). Therefore, they will keep on pushing their sales with you, pressuring you to buy more of their products. If you are not interested, just firmly say no. Their facial expression will darken, but they will still pack the others things that you have purchased nicely into a paperbag. DO NOT be intimidated by them, keep a list of what you are suppose to buy, so will not end up spending more than you need ( a really basic shopping tip lol), it will hard to find luggage space by then, plus carrying a big, heavy luggage to and fro the subway is not a wish move, unless you take a taxi or follow a tour bus.

06/01/2017

We departed quite late today, around 11.00am.

The food shown above is Fire Rice (불밥). I know in the picture it does not look very appetizing, but trust me, this is definitely worth trying when you are visiting the area near Ewha Womans University (이화여자대학교).

wp-1485000579469.jpeg
The famous Ewha Womans University campus center building designed by Dominique Perrault
wp-1485002248990.jpeg
Injeolmi Bingsu (인절미 빙수) & Injeolmi Toast (인절미 토스트) at Sulbing (술빙)

We stopped by at Hongdae (홍대) for a while, just strolling around and doing some window shopping.

wp-1485873630823.jpeg
Isaac Toast (이삭 토스트) at Hongdae

Oh, in case you need to ask locals direction to any Isaac Toast shops, you have to pronounce Isaac as ‘ee-sa-k’ because they do not pronounce Isaac as the english ‘Isaac’ but korean’이삭'(ee-sak) instead 😉

wp-1485873824248.jpeg
Banana on a cake = banana cake?
wp-1485873729931.jpeg
Well a carrot on the cake, so that must be a carrot cake right?
wp-1485874015583.jpeg
Winter night in Cheonggyecheon (청계천)

Dongdaemun

wp-1485874492808.jpeg
Doota Mall (두타면세점)

Doota mall is more of a department store. If you are looking for wholesale fashion mall, it is located at the opposite Doota, near Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). It’s called Fashion Mall U:US (패션몰유어스)

wp-1485874996955.jpeg
Fashion Mall U:US

My friend was looking for a pink coat. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a winter coat that was in the shade of pink that we like. Overall, we didn’t enjoy shopping in there as the clothes on display didn’t have a price labeled on them and none of clothing really caught our attention. We left Dongdaemun empty handed that night.

20170106_221537.jpg
Sea of LED roses at DDP
wp-1485875745338.jpeg
There were quite a few sculptures like this one scattered around DDP
wp-1485875819175.jpeg
That is one fancy security guard house at DDP

3 Days in Busan(부산)

Kuala Lumpur -> Seoul -> Busan

Transportation: Flight (Airasia) + Train (KTX)

Accommodation: Welcome Busan Guesthouse (21,875 krw/night)

02/01/2017

Happy New Year!!! Spent my first night of 2017 on my flight to Seoul. Finally!!! I always wanted to visit South Korea every since the K-wave a.k.a. Hallyu hit me. It’s a dream come true oh yes!

Travelling to Busan was kind of a last minute addition to our plan. If not, flying to Busan then going back from Seoul would be a much cheaper option, but it’s okay, at least we got to take a TRAIN TO BUSAN ahaha (great movie IMO).

Since there was 4 of us, we bought the Korail Flexible 2-Day Pass for groups (2-5 ppl), it means within 10 days, we can pick any 2 days to travel. However, the travel dates must be confirmed on the spot when you exchange your voucher for the pass. You can purchase the voucher to exchange for the pass online, maximum 1 month in advance before your trip or you can just buy the pass on the spot at the Korail counter in Incheon International Airport (인천국제공항). This pass is only available for foreigners staying for a short while and it can definitely save you some cash.

img_4007
After 4 hrs of sleep on the KTX~

As for the T-money card, you can purchase it at any convenient store, it’s 2500krw for one, unless you buy it in the airport, which is 4000krw for one!!!

20170114_141230.jpg
From C2You

I’ve been to Tokyo before and expected escalators at the subway stations when I arrived at Busan, but apparently, that’s not the fact.

20170114_140354.jpg
Imagine yourself carrying your big fat luggage up and down this flight of stairs @@

The guesthouse that we stayed in during our trip in Busan was Welcome Busan Guesthouse, located near Choryang (초량) station, it’s super close to exit number 3. The owner was very friendly and helped us with our luggage during check in and check out (We stayed on the 3rd floor). The whole environment was clean and tidy, and it was cozy as well, made us feel just at home. I booked this hostel via Hostelworld, will definitely recommend this place to other people.

img_4026
Ssiat Hotteok (씨앗 호떡)  is a must try in Busan
mvi_4042-20
Milmyeon (밀면) for dinner

For locals, it was kinda weird why we would wanna eat milmyeon during winter, but since it was on my wishlist on ‘Foods to try in SK’, I just can’t miss this opportunity. Don’t confuse milmyeon with naengmyeon (냉면), although both are COLD NOODLES, milmyeon is made from wheat flour while naengmyeon is made from buckwheat flour.

03/01/2017

We went stair-watching this morning. Yup, you didn’t read that wrong, stair-watching.

20170103_095258[1].jpg
Looks familiar?
Yup, this staircase was the place where Running Man members tossed their shoes to see who can reach the highest stair level (ep.111). The name is 40-step stairway on Culture and Tourism Street (40계단 문화관광테마거리).

After that, the rest of the morning and afternoon was spent in Gamcheon Cultural Village (감천문화마을) looking for stamps.

There are lots of places where you can get really beautiful pictures if you know which angle to take it from. I kinda regret not taking more pictures ><

Everybody wants to get a picture with The Little Prince statue, including us. However, we were kinda tired by the time we walked there so we didn’t bother to line up (Only took a picture of it with a random Korean girl).

20170115_143724.jpg
Budae Jjigae (부대 찌개) for late lunch at Seomyeon (서면)

According to my readings online, Seomyeon in Busan is like Gangnam in Seoul. Nothing much to do here really, just shopping. So we did went shopping, shopping for snacks at a local grocery store. I’m so glad we did that, or else I wouldn’t have found this:

This was my first cone of ice cream in South Korea and it was the best!!! I’m sure you will love it if you like yogurt 🙂 Sadly, I couldn’t find it anywhere else when I was in Seoul.

snapchat-839696178.jpg
Translates to: chicken & makgeolli

It was  a fried chicken party after that!! My first time having Kyochon fried chicken, never tried them before although there did open up a few stores in KL. The boneless chicken was easier to eat, however, the chicken with the honey coating tasted better.

04/01/2017

Last day in Busan. We were kinda indecisive about where to visit for the day as we have to rush back to our hostel before 5pm to collect our luggage.

snapchat-270274999.jpg
Pork soup with rice (돼지국밥)

To be honest, we had no idea where to visit after lunch, so we decided to visit Haeundae beach. However, on the bus ride halfway to Haeundae beach, we discovered another place that attracts our attention even more than Haeundae beach, so there were change of plans.

wp-1484376268135.jpeg
Oryukdo
img_4171
Oryukdo Skywalk

A skywalk at a cliff beside the sea, and it’s free!?! Why not? I swear you won’t regret coming here, because we didn’t. The view is just breathtaking, you have to come see it with your own eyes!

20170104_151553.jpg
The only thing you need to pay to come see this view is your transportation fees~

I wish we couldn’t have stayed longer till sunset but unfortunately, we had to rush back to collect our luggage before our hostel owners leaves the place. It was about a 40-minute bus ride from Oryukdo skywalk.

Next stop: Seoul!!!!!!