Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Road Trippin' South Korea - Arrival & Going Around Seoul

And the day has finally arrived that I get to set foot in the land I have always wanted to go to. I cannot count how many hours of my life I spent watching korean dramas. I am so addicted that I think I am starting to learn how to speak Korean. In recent years, I have even graduated to watching Korean Variety shows. And my obsession doesn't stop there, I also love Korean food, the barbeques, the soups, the side dishes, the desserts. And I knew that ultimately my feet will take me there and it finally has.

It was more fun that I get to experience Korea with 3 of my friends. And as always, here's the photo blog of the trip.

Since this was a barkada trip, we wanted to save as much as we can. So instead of a hotel, we booked through Airbnb . We got a 2 bedroom apartment in Hongdae

The second bedroom has 3 single beds. This is also suited for families

Small pantry. Notice the towels, I heard the towels are really this small so I suggest to bring your own. 

Our only complaint was the orientation of the bathroom where there is no divider between the toilet and shower. But I guess this is really part of their culture

The master's bedroom

I loved the Subway system, and like Japan, they have a very good subway system. Our entire trip, we never rode taxis, just the subway and walking. There is a lot of walking so you have to prepare yourself

Haechi is their official mascot for tourism

Our first stop is a palace

to watch the changing of the guards. Inside, there is also a kiosk where you can fall in line and you get to experience wearing a soldier's uniform

King Sejong's statue - he invented the Korean language or Hangul I think

And we were lucky to be there during their Kimchi Sharing festival. We got to try making Kimchi, and we took all the Kimchi we made home (for free!) 

Next stop was Insadong where there are a lot of shops to buy souvenirs, k-pop merchandise. Note that most of the shops around Seoul open late (around 10-11am) so you have to plan your itinerary correctly

Do not miss Samzegil - this is a mall along Insadong street with quirky and artsy finds

At the top there is a cafe that sells this - bread with beans inside shaped like poop

Do not miss the rooftop garden. The Koreans love to leave messages and their rooftop garden has this.

Since there were 5 of us, we bought a button with 5 heads 

And a couple button needs to be hanged of course

Third stop of the day is the Namsangol Hanok Village. This is where you get to experience a bit of traditional Korean culture as you see how they used to live during the Joseon Dynasty

When we were entering the village, these 2 students approached and asked us if we would like a free tour. We did. They were volunteers, I guess they also wanted to practice their English

Kimchi jars are common in Korean households

Shrine for their loved ones who have passed away

Shooting game

There are 3 traditional Hanok houses inside Namsangol. We saw a couple doing a photoshoot and this family celebrating the 100 days of their baby

Fourth stop is the N Seoul tower

Again, this is a place for couples to celebrate their love by placing love locks in the tower. We bought a lock to Korea but forgot to bring it here so we had to buy from their store. 

Love locks that look like Christmas trees

Fifth stop is the Lantern Festival at Cheongyecheon Stream

There were so many lanterns, if you decide to exit you can try their street snacks like this cuttlefish. This was good

Some tips, bring Salon pas, there really is a lot of walking that you feel like your feet will give up on you. You also have to be fit, so practice long walking months before you travel. If you have a smartphone, the Jihachul (Korea Subway) app is very useful and also works offline. This helps you understand the Subway better. If you go during winter season, you can bring insulated mugs and fill it with coffee so you fight off the cold. Next up is day 2!

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