Downtown Seoul

August 2, 2011 § Leave a comment


Greetings! This is the last post on my adventures in Seoul series.

Posted below are the photos of the places I have visited in Seoul during the last leg of our stormy stay. First, let’s revisit my beloved Insadong.

How to get there: Take the Subway Orange line (Line 3) to Anguk station. Go to exit 6 and walk straight for about 500 meters.

The first place I like to highlight in Insadong for this post would be Ssamziegil, which is a place rich in art and young pop culture. Imagine big art/vandalism walls and crafts and art shops. I could have posted more photos of the boutiques inside but picture-taking in some of them are prohibited.

Inside Ssamziegil, everything you rest your eyes on would have something written on it. It’s a place where every wall’s a freedom wall. Too bad, I didn’t have a pen with me at that time.

Who’s up for cute Purikura/Photo booths?

My cousin and I just had to have out photos taken here where SNSD’s Sooyoung and Super Junior’s Donghae had a dance sequence for the Seoul Song.

Between Pages Cafe, Ssamziegil

Location: 4th level, Ssamziegil, Insadong

Between Pages Cafe is a perfect place to unleash creativity and just relax. The place’s ambiance is perfect for artists who want to find inspiration and peace from the loud Insadong crowd. What attracted us about this cafe is the fact that We Got Married couple Seohyun and Yonghwa had a date here where they left notes. All customers have access to papers and pens for them to leave posts within the cafe.

Posts and notes everywhere!

Of course, we didn’t leave without making our own notes.

What we ordered: Cafe Americano + Cake of the Day (8,500 KRW)

Going back to Insadong, we saw various shops and food stalls including this one (see photo below). They are selling sweets made of glycerin in a form of hairy strands that cover various flavors of nuts and other flavored goodies. In Insadong alone, I think there were 4-5 shops who sold these. Funny thing though, is their special way of attracting customers. They would randomly call anyone crossing the street and start chanting how they are able to make the sweets.

I seriously could not stop myself from laughing while I was watching them.

Deeper into the smaller alleys connected to Insadong are restaurants that offer various Korean dishes.

Here’s my cousin posing and giving a warm smile after the ahjussi gave her a good discount!

Still in Insadong, we opted to have lunch in a traditional Korean restaurant where people sat on floors and ate on short-legged tables.

What we ordered: Cold soy buckwheat noodles (6,000KRW) and Meat Dumplings (6,000KRW)

After leaving Insadong, my cousin and I thought of exploring Seoul more. The picture below shows the Deoksugung or Deoksu Palace. It’s one of the many grand palaces within Seoul.

Another place that I adored is Hongdae. The place is just so lively and interesting. 

We opted to grab dinner at Chamsaebang where our Korean friends wanted to take us the previous night. We weren’t able to get in because all the tables were full at that time.

How can I resist not having my favorite pajeon? Pajeon is a savory pancake with vegetables and squid.

YES. That’s makkeolli, a Korean rice wine. It’s funny a young Korean couple on a table beside us were looking at us after we ordered this alcoholic drink. I assume they were worried we didn’t know what’s inside it.

Nearby Hongdae (Hongik University Station) are a few interesting cafes one must visit! How about some cute stuff at Hello Kitty Cafe? This ultimately cute and pink cafe will be a nice feast for the eyes for tourists.

1st Shop of Coffee Prince is also located near the Hongdae vicinity.

We stayed and ate at the 2nd shop of Coffee Prince ran by MBC.

What we ordered: Americano + Waffles (5,000 KRW)


The interiors of the shop was splendid. It was relaxing and homey.

We practically took photos on every corner. Good thing we came in early before other tourists arrived.

After a bit of a walk going to Cheonggye Stream, my cousin and I decided to stop at Baskin Robbins for a bit of cold delights.

Seoul Square

Cheonggye Stream/ Cheonggyechon

This stream was reconstructed by the Korean government and turned it into a beautiful park where people can hang out and relax. This spot was also featured in the Seoul song, which is so cool.

Before leaving for the airport, we had to grab an early dinner. Nothing’s more Korean than this: Kimbap and Bibimbap!

This is where my Korea post ends but I hope this won’t be my last post about it. Will I come back? Definitely.

I will also take this opportunity to announce that I will be living in Taiwan for 2 years starting this September so if my succeeding posts will all be in Taiwan, there would be no surprise. Here’s to life!

Mobile Futurists: Epic Korean Cultural Tour

July 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

It has been almost a month since I visited Seoul, Korea. While I do admit that I’m sad about leaving the country after staying for a few days, I also feel happy and blessed to have been able to experience it. If you’ve been reading my previous posts, you must have noticed that I divided them into portions because I don’t like making lengthy posts.

I especially made this post for what is for me the best part of my stay in Korea, meeting the Mobile Futurists. From my previous post, I have mentioned meeting them in Insadong. A cute girl named Sunny approached us and asked us if my cousin and I were foreigners and if we have plans for the weekend. At first, we had to turn her down because it’s the very same day of our flight back home in Manila.

And so we parted ways.

After a while my cousin and I realized that if they were to give us the tour that very day, we’d oblige to go with them. We scoured the long street of Insadong to look for students in red shirts. After finding them, we came to an agreement to have the tour that very moment. We started off by passing by the Coffee Alley which I already featured from my Seoul, Korea post a few days back. After a few photos, we headed off to Bukchon Hanok Village. This place is very nice because it shows how well preserved ancient houses are in Korea.

Bukchon Hanok Village

These are called “kiwajib”, meaning tile-roofed house.

Korea’s 1950’s street

Museum of Korea

This is where ancient tools, clothes, and other culturally significant materials are showcased. Below you can find clay pots where they prepare their famous kimchi; as well as their traditional hanbok and bed.

Walking to King Sejong’s statue at King Sejong Square.

Did you know?

King Sejong is responsible for Korea’s system of writing popularly known as Hangul.

Gyeongbok Palace’s magnificent facade.

After a few hours of walking, the M.F. guys decided to take us at the Olleh Square where they bought us coffee. Such sweet people! Another cool thing about visiting the place is the fact that we saw Olleh’s CEO. Olleh is one of Korea’s telecom companies.

Before parting ways, the M.F. guys gave us a “thank you” present for joining their tour. I was very happy getting a remembrance from them. 

Because we had so much fun with Sunny, Rene, Jake, Martin and Jinny, we decided to go out again, this time, just to hang out and have fun! They decided to take us to Hongdae, a buzzling spot for the fun-seeking youth of Seoul.

Jake-oppa showing off his card trick skills, which in the end turned out to be a funny gag.

In Korean culture, it’s considered proper to have both hands holding a cup whenever someone is pouring a drink.

This is a very delicious Chimdak.

Cheers! Konbe!

This is a traditional Korean rice wine called makkeolli. It fits so well with spicy foods!

What does it taste like? I say it’s something like the taste of beer.

The effects of the makkeolli is this:

After we had our dinner, they invited us to sing in a noreabang, a Korean term for a karaoke room.

They prepared this video of our tour. It was indeed a lot of fun watching it and reliving the moments.

youtube

Even though our stay in Korea and our time with the Mobile Futurists  was short, it was a truly memorable time. Having met them during the trip made our Seoul experience all the more fun and exciting. Good food, nice sceneries are some of the wonderful things Seoul has to offer but the people we met and shared time with, are definitely worth coming back for.

Thank you to the Mobile Futurists: Sunny, Rene, Jake, Martin and Jinny, for sharing your time with us. Konbe!

Credits to the Mobile Futurists (Sunny, Rene, Jake, Martin, and Jinny) for all the videos. Thank you for allowing me to share them here in my blog. Kamsahamnida!

Foodtrip: Korean Snacks

July 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

One of the best things about going to a different place is the experience of trying a different culture and cuisine.

For this short post, I am going to feature a few of the snacks I have tried while I was in Seoul. As we were touring, our Korean friends suggested a Ttukbokki (Spicy Rice Cakes) place for us to try. We also tried Sundae (Noodles stuffed in pig intestines- think of isaw) and Tigim (Fried stuff- includes squid and sweet potatoes).

Our friends suggested for us to try this drink, a Rice Juice Drink. It was refreshing!

I would like to thank Sunny, Rene, Martin, Jake and Jinny for allowing me to share this video to my subscribers. I love you guys!

Please watch out for the rest of my travel posts about Korea. Thank you!

Naminara Republic : Winter Sonata

July 13, 2011 § 4 Comments

Naminara Republic/ Nami Island became widely known by tourists because of the Korean drama, Winter Sonata. Although I personally haven’t watched the show, I still wanted to visit the place because of the relaxing scenery. My cousin and I purchased a package tour to Nami at Insadong,Seoul.

Tour Fee: 21,000 KRW

Package Inclusion: (Roundtrip)

1.)Bus fare from Tapgol Park,Seoul to Nami Wharf

2.)Ferry fare from Nami Wharf to Nami Island

My favorite spot would have to be the Sequoia Lane. The perfectly lined trees is such a good place to take photos.

Seoul, Korea

July 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ever since I’ve become a fangirl, one of my goals in life was to visit Seoul, Korea, the melting pot of K-Pop, trendy fashion, and pretty boys. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to have a break from work and fly to Seoul.

There are so many things to love and adore about Seoul. First, they are technologically advanced but still have a very well preserved culture. It’s a place with a perfect mix of modernity and tradition. Second, the Korean people are friendly and helpful. I was amazed about how caring the Korean people are. Truthfully, there are just too many words that I need to explain why I love Seoul but at this point, I guess I should let the photos do the talking.

Where we stayed: Seoul Backpackers MyeongDong (Walking distance from line 2’s Euljiro Il-Ga) The rates range from 55,000-65,000 won per night.

I have divided my blog entry about Seoul into a couple of entries because there’s just so much to put in. For this post I will be sharing the spots I have visited within the first 2 days I stayed in the city. Here are the places we visited:

1. Incheon>Downtown Seoul

Fare: 3,500 KRW (500 KRW is refundable upon the return of card)

From the Incheon Airport, we took the commuter’s train heading to Seoul station. I was so cool because I got a good 1 hour sleep and a free wi-fi to keep me up to date with my social feeds.

2. Mt.Namsan/ N Seoul Tower

This is Mt. Namsan’s Cable Car service going to the N Seoul Tower. We waited for a couple of minutes before our turn. A roundtrip Cable Car ride costs about 8,000 won.

It has been a tradition for Korean couples to place locks atop Mt. Namsan. It was said that whoever does so will have a good and lasting relationship. (I wonder if any couple could attest to this? – I kid.)

3. Teddy Bear Museum (N Seoul Tower)

Entrance Fee: 8,00 KRW

Apart from N Seoul Tower’s captivating lights at night, there are also other places to visit in the area. The teddy bear museum shows hundreds of cute and cuddly bears dressed up in traditional Korean Hanok. I believe the museum tells about Korea’s history using bears as the role players.

4. MyeongDong’s Street Food

As we were heading back to out hotel, we came across a couple of food stands along the sidewalk. My cousin and I knew we didn’t want to miss authentic Korean street food.

For dinner, we ordered Spicy Ramyun, Pajeon (Veggie and Squid Pancake) and a viand made with spicy squid.

5. Myeongdong Cathedral

If you’re familiar with the Korean Drama, You’re beautiful, then you’re probably aware that this is the church where the heroin (Go Mi Nam/ Go Mi Nyu) grew up as a nun. The church’s interior were simply stunning.

6. Myeongdong Shopping Area

7. Changdeokgung / Changdeok Palace

Operating Hours

April~October: 09:00~18:30 (admission until 5:30pm)
November and March: 09:00~17:30 (admission until 4:30pm)
December~February: 09:00~17:00 (admission until 4:00pm)
* Closed Mondays
Admission Fee
Adults (19yrs~64yrs) 3,000 won
Children (7yrs~18yrs) 1,500 won

This Palace is one of the 5 great palaces of the Joseon Era in Korea. It was added as UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.

8. Insadong

I will never get tired of saying that Insadong is my favorite street in Seoul. It just houses so many things that I love: food, art, culture, and wonderful people.

These are special Korean sticky ice cream that I’ve only seen in Insadong during the length of my stay in Korea.

From stall to stall you will encounter a lot of traditional Korean stuff like paintings, writing tools, pottery, clothes, accessories, etc. You can ever get a bundle of souvenirs for a very good price!

As if Insadong wasn’t already interesting enough, we came across Sunny and  the Mobile Futurists. We met them while walking along the shops of Insadong. She approached us and asked if she and her team can take us on a free Tour. So what happened in the tour? I’ll have to save that for the next post. Please wait for it.

9. Coffee Alley

As my we walked towards our tour spots, our group passed by this street. Almost every single establishment in this area is a coffee shop. This is definitely a caffeine-heaven for all the coffee lovers!

I have to cut through until this point for a breather. Our next stops include the Bukchon Hanok Village, Gyeongbuk Palace, Korean Museum, and more. Please watch out for these places on my next post soon. Take care! Annyeong!

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