Here’s a little story that I’d like to share to all my fellow K-lovers. I had the luckiest first day of first trip to Korea last March 2016. Words cannot describe the excitement I was feeling when my trip was nearing. I kept joking around about wishing to see a Korean celebrity and hopefully have a selfie with him/her. Well, jokes are half meant!
That one lucky night in Dongdaemun, I did something that I didn’t think I’d do in my life.
My day started in Myeongdong. Then, met some friends in Garosugil. I didn’t know what to do after that so I met up with another friend in DONGDAEMUN. I was telling her that I wanted to go to Nike ’cause I needed a new pair of sneakers. She helped me look for the nearest Nike which was just accross Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Unfortunately, when I arrived, the store was closed already! So I walked back to DDP disappointed ’cause I’d been looking for the sneakers I wanted all day!
Just when I was about to lose hope, I suddenly heard music playing. “Hey, this is live”, I thought. I wondered where it came from. I didn’t really want to check ’cause my feet were dying. The music kept playing then I realized, “wait, they sound like Bigbang! But, they’re not. Is it Winner?” I mean, it could be a recorded live performance playing so I ignored it and kept walking. I was heading back to the station but got lost in DDP and found this:
I still had no idea. There were people around but not enough to convince me that I might know them. The song sounded familiar, though. I was about to leave but just to make sure (and because they sounded so good), I asked the people around. NO ONE COULD GIVE ME AN ANSWER. I asked about 6 people. The first ones were Chinese so I thought I should ask someone else. Fortunately, the last guy was Korean. “Excuse me! Hi! Who are they?”, I asked. He answered, “YG! YG!”. I was like, “Huh? Who?”. ” WINNAH, WINNAH!”, he said. O. M. G. – it’s Winner! I WAS ECSTATIC.
Okay, I’m sorry. It was so obvious! My glasses weren’t on. Their voices sounded 100% Winner to me but I couldn’t really see their faces to confirm. I had to take a photo to have a closer look on my camera and there they were, Seungyoon and Mino, standing right in front of me. I did not zoom in my camera for this photo, by the way!
They were so freakin’ COOL! I had seen all the Bigbang concerts in Manila but I wasn’t this close, so forgive me.
They were rehearsing with one of the songs on their new album, Immature, for their performance on Style Icon Asia that time. The quality of their voices is so good! Seeing and hearing Seungyoon (the main vocal) and Mino (the main rapper) together was more than enough to make my trip.
This was at the upper level of DDP. I was hearing all of the members’ voices but only these two were in sight. I could see Seunghoon, too, but he was moving around too much. Lol!
And just when I thought they were done rehearsing, on my way down, I saw this:
In gray hoodie is Jinwoo. The guy with the jump shot is obviously Seunghoon. And on the farthest right is NAM TAE HYUN – he’s really gorg in person!
So when I said that I did something I never thought I’d do. T’was sneaking these snaps, like a real fan! Lol! There was a huge guy who was trying to stop us, but I saw the other girls still holding their phones up discreetly while taking photos/videos. I thought I might never see them again so while the huge guy wasn’t looking, I’d sneaked some photos.
I think they were rehearsing with YG models since it’s Style Icon Asia they’re performing for, so don’t worry girls. Lol.
SO COOL <3
I had stayed until they were done rehearsing. The energy was like Bigbang’s. YG idols are so natural, so talented and have so much swagger. They seem like they’re really having fun when they perform. Just look at the photos! You can see that they really love what they’re doing.
Paparazzi shot because Taehyun is <3
Wow. Winner night is Winner. Thank you for being so kind to me South Korea! I wish I had taken more photos for you guys but I need to level up on my paparazzi skills. I hope next time I’d see Bigbang, or GG, or Suzy, or Got7 or maybe for the second time around, Winner. I know, I’m asking too much. Lol!
It’s true that working will make you miss school. I’d been working for only 1.5 years but I already sorely miss it – wearing uniform, eating cafeteria food, having long breaks and seeing my professors. I remember being so excited to finally get out of school. In my mind, I’d kept asking, “can’t this end already? Can I graduate already?”. I didn’t realize what it meant to be out there. Well, I think anyone wouldn’t until they’re actually there. Suddenly, the world has gone immensely bigger. School was definitely the funnest.
Going to Ehwa Womans University made me think about all these. Korean girls were rushing to there classes while I was on vacation. It felt a little bit weird, like maybe I was slacking off. This university is obviously exclusive for women only, the first in Seoul and the largest in the world. And by the way, the name really is “Ehwa Womans University”. I didn’t spell that wrong.
Why we went here? If Hongdae being a home of arts colleges is very artsy, Ehwa is a special place for us girls. If you want to do affordable shopping, this is where you need to go. Since there is an all-girl university in the area, expect cute clothing stores around. I regrettably wasn’t able to take photos of them, but I can advise you that just the main street going to this university is full of them!
There’s even a 10,000 won bag shop where you can find cute backpacks! I swear, you are so gonna want one after being here for 2-3 days. You can find the store if you scrutinize the alleys.
Of course, shopping wasn’t the only reason!
There’s also this! Just jaw-dropping!
This landscape! *.*
This huge wide space is so pretty, it made me want to roll over it. Hehe! Okay, that doesn’t make sense. #weirdo
I miss all my school friends! Imagine if we hung out here. Honestly, I could have died. Lol!
One out of eleven is not afraid of the sun. Hehe!
It would’ve been nice if we had something like this at school.
THE YUMMIEST STREET FOOD. Like I mentioned in my Myeongdong post, here it is. The place where I had the best street food. Mandu, tteokbeokki, spicy chicken, blood sausage – name it! The mandu is my personal favorite!
This guy was so happily serving them. You have to try his scrumptious mandu!
You can easily find these at the main street going to the university. Believe me, I had some in Myeongdong but really they were expensive and not as tasty.
Walking on a dream~
Such a pretty university! I heard that the passing rate is very low.
Okay, I’ll just be here, lazing off. Kidding! I’m actually thinking about taking up a master’s degree. One day!~
Happy hump day! <3
Annyeong! How’s it going? Hope my recent posts didn’t bore you. Did they? Worry not! Today’s gonna be very interesting. We’re gonna do some shopping! Who loves shopping? Oh, sorry. The right question is, “WHO DOESN’T?” Let’s go to Myeongdong!~
Located in Jung-gu, Myeongdong is no doubt the most popular tourist shopping district in Seoul (and one of the most expensive in the world!). That’s probably why I didn’t do any splurging here. Hehe! If it’s your first time, I have to warn you now that shopping in Myeongdong IS expensive. However, don’t worry about buying make-up. Make-up is cheaper everywhere in South Korea! You can take my word for it. Now, I will share some tips on what to do when shopping in Myeongdong.
First tip? Most shops in Myeongdong are TAX-FREE. You can read about it here. Or if you’re lazy, Just ask the store clerks if their store is tax-free. They will give you a form to fill-out. You can get your tax return either at the airport or at Seoul Center which is also in Jung-gu. (If you don’t want to shop in Myeongdong, there are stores outside that are also tax-free.)
Let’s start shopping for make-up!
How to survive in Myeongdong with money still in your wallet? Don’t fall for the free samples. Store clerks would give them away to lure you inside the stores. They really know what they’re doing. They will offer you promo packs that you cannot refuse! I almost fell for it. /guilty
To be honest, I don’t think that there’s a Korean make-up brand not to like. All of them have something that sets them apart from the others. When I was here, my mind was set on not buying from stores that are already locally available (like Etude House, Nature Republic, Tony Moly) unless they have special/limited edition collections.
But since you’re already there, some brands might be a lot more expensive locally so if you’d been eyeing a certain product that you wouldn’t buy affordability-wise, go grab them here!
A store you need to check out? ARITAUM a.k.a. South Korea’s Sephora! They have really good eyeshadows. *.* You can shop for some of the really good brands like Iope and Laneige here.
*faints* The first three brands have some of the best cushions. Fourth brand is known for their rice skin softener. Aritaum is Aritaum! <3
My cushion collection includes the Iope Air XP Cushion in Matte 21 and the Laneige Pore Cover BB #13. You can ready about them here.
Mamonde! I don’t know why I haven’t tried any of their products. Where do I start? I heard that their rose water toner is good but I’m really not into trying skincare products that much. I only trust one brand which I’ll blog about soon! 😉
The famous Nature Republic display. :O I love Nature Republic! I get my hair bleach and aloe vera gel (FAVE) here.
Brands that I’d been dying to try. I don’t know why I didn’t buy anything here. I was too overwhelmed.
3 must-haves at Club Clio: eyeliners, lip tints, and KILL COVER!
Still not over Missha x Line Friends! Cuteness + quality = WIN.
Where my bb, Crissey, gets her cushion!
Looking for your favorite Korean make-up brands in Myeongdong is no challenge at all. Each brand has about 10 branches in the area! /exage
When you’re lost, find these guys and they’ll show you the way! They speak English!
Now, let’s move on to CLOTHES!~
Say hello to my ULTIMATE favorite Korean clothing brand, Mixxo (and Seohyun)! If I would describe my style, this is it! Everything in this store just sparkles in my eyes. <3
Sailor shirts, collared tops, lace details, pastel colors, simple & clean silhouettes. Can I live here?
Their stuff are a little bit pricey, though. 🙁 Gotta make sure I’m equipped to shop ’til I drop here next time! <3
Teenie Weenie! Like a younger version of Mixxo!
Aland! <3 A must-visit! They carry super nice clothes, cute accessories and my fave skincare products brand, CosRX!
Lapalette! This brand is famous for producing quality bags in South Korea. I really loved their collection when the Jung Sisters were their models. *.*
The backpacks were really tempting and pricey (of course). Quality comes at a price. I almost bought one here, but decided to look further. If you’re on a budget, you have to find the 10,000 won bag shop (found one in Ehwa). All backpacks at 10,000 won only!! O.O Quality’s not bad and they’re super cute, too!
The Most collection is too pretty for my life! Waaa.
Samsung Fashion? Not surprised since Beanpole is owned by Samsung. My dream bags are in Bean Pole!! One day <3
Batdog and Captain Bull~
There are also boutiques that are more affordable in Myeongdong, but you have to check Hongdae first (lol)!
OR the station! Imagine how I felt seeing cute clothes everywhere. O.O
Spot the tax free windor sticker! You will find this at any tax free store!
When in Korea!~ Sneakers are a little bit cheaper in Korea since they’re tax-free! More style options, too.
If it were me, I’d take the Bigbang banner, the SNSD poster (hello Sica!), and EXO poster (and cut it leaving DO Kyungsoo only). Lol!
Nanoblocks are my weakness.
Buy all the cute socks! 10,000 won (about 500 pesos) for 10 pairs! *.*
Quirky clocks at Art Box.
Woah! Suzy VS Seolhyun. Suzy fan here! Hehe~
EXO syndrome. I used to follow this group ’cause they’re so freakin’ talented but I lost the excitement when the members started leaving. 🙁 D.O., though!
Every street of every corner are shops, shops and more shops.
Myeongdong Theatre (if you’re a fan of theatre arts!)
An army of street food vendors at night! I suggest trying them elsewhere. The street food here is expensive! I’ll show you where I had the best-tasting Korean street food on my next travel post! Sadly, I wasn’t able to go to the famous Neoryangjin Fish Market which supposedly has the best street food in Seoul!
When in Myeongdong, try the Myeongdong Kyoja’s Kal Kuk Soo (hand-made noodle soup)! They’ve been around for about 40 years. A must try!
Myeongdong Cathedral, one of the most prominent Catholic church in Seoul.
End of shopping~ I’m tired. You probably are, too! Whew! I remember all the walking I did. My feet were already dying but my mind kept insisting that they weren’t. Lol! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed shopping with me! Sadly, I’m almost done with my South Korean travel series! 2 more posts to go. (Please don’t leave me!) Thank you for joining me today & have a great weekend. 🙂
Hey guys! Time for some palace-hopping on Happiness, etc.! Today’s travel diary covers the Gyeongbeokgung, the Changdokgung and the Secret Garden.
Before anything, I have a confession to make. Historical dramas are my least favorite of all Korean drama awesomeness. Please don’t hate me. I stereotyped them to having cliche heartbreaking plots. Like how the story would start with this good emperor, so good but ends up getting killed by either his evil son or a traitor in the palace – stuff like that. I passionately despise it. I know almost all Korean dramas have good endings, but I guess historical dramas are just too much for me. Lol! I’m so affected!
Despite all the hatred, I do have to break it that I love where they take place. I’m such a sucker for beautiful sceneries that I ‘d probably watch a whole historical drama but not really pay attention to the story line. Hehe! I started with this topic because I’m sure that the places below may look familiar. We can play a game of guess which drama this place appeared in. My sister who loves historical dramas geeked out upon seeing these.
One of the most iconic landmarks in South Korea, the Gyeongbokgung is the main palace of the 5 grand palaces in the Joseon Dynasty. It’s super easy to see why! But we’re not gonna talk about much of the history here. Let’s be real. I’m gonna save you from boredom for this one. Your tour guide will be 100x better at telling the story. Instead, let us take a moment to admire its beauty. You can find this in the drama, Moon Embracing the Sun! However, I will have to let you do the fangirl-ing alone since I didn’t watch it. Sorry for being useless. 🙁 (Kim Soo Hyun, though!) I can only advise you that this place is humungous. I missed some of the good parts so I suggest that you make sure that you see what’s really there to see (like the National Folk Museum and the National Palace Museum). If you’re planning to go on your own, the palace is easily accessible if you avail the hop on and hop off tour bus.
Statue of the Great King Sejong, the fourth king of Joseon dynasty. You can find this in front of the Gyeongbokgung. Why does he have a statue? He’s only the creator of the Korean alphabet – well, that’s one of the many reasons, I’m sure).
The main gate of Gyeongbokgung, Gwanghamun. If you saw the drama, Iris, then you have to remember! This place became a warzone!
You know you’re in Gwanghamun when you see these tall guys in colorful costumes guarding it. They do ceremonies that might entertain you.
Bugaksan Mountain on the background! It’s one of the major peaks in this city like Namsan!
Heungnyemun, the gate after Gwanghamun.
Korean tourists in their hanboks.
Huge gong at the center of the palace courtyard.
Geunjeongjeon. Imagine 1000 soldiers gathering up here.
One of the good things about coming here while in winter and spring transition is less people.
Geunjeongjeon up close.
Gyeonghoeru Pavillion, the palace’s events place.
I’m sure it’s prettier in spring, summer and fall.
The princess is exploring the palace!
This place is taking all my breath. Help me.
The lounge-est area in the palace.
Spongebob hair. 🙁
I like how these seats are in theme.
We took about 2 hours exploring the palace. If you’re thinking of visiting more than one palace in one day, I suggest that you purchase the integrated palace ticket at the Gyongbeokgung entrance. For 10,000won, you will already be admitted to four palaces: Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace (& Secret Garden), Changgyeonggung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, and Jongmyo Shrine.
The hop on and off bus stop for Changdeokgung Palace is in Insadong. Both are in Jong-no. It’s a long walk to get to the palace, but you get to see parts of Insadong. I deeply regret that I didn’t get to explore this place. I heard that Samziegil is a must-see.
Dainty porcelain figurines~
Insadong is known for looking more traditional. They have a lot of art galleries, antique shops, and cafes, too.
Random statues in the street.
And finally, Changdeokgung. After about 15-20 minutes of walking! This palace is also considered as one of the grand palaces in the Joseon dynasty. The drama Jewel In The Palace took some shots here! I watched some of it but that was a long time ago. I can still remember how it was one of the most awaited Koreanovela on Filipino television.
The outside of Changdeokgung is not as grand as Gyeongbokgung but the inside is definitely a remarkable sight. You can find the entrance the Secret Garden and Changyonggung here, too.
I don’t know why that guy is wearing a witch costume.
Wuhoo! All to ourselves! *.*
Feeling nasa k-drama.
The throne hall of Changdeokgung, Injeongjeon, where they used to hold the coronation of the kings.
Many of the visitors were foreign halabeoji and halmeonni. Kekeke~
I have this thing with roofs? So picturesque!
The Secret Garden is a really huge garden inside Changdeokgung for the leisure use of the royal family. The kings loved to seclude themselves here. It’s nothing but nature – pavillions, ponds, trees, and *insert all things pretty*. The experience was exceptional. Wish I came during autumn. Perfect autumn foliage everywhere. <3
The Secret Garden tour is free albeit scheduled. The tour is by batch and is strictly guided. Good thing, we made it to the last one! It was lean season that time so I’m not sure about the situation when it’s in peak. The reservation must be crazy.
Let’s just imagine more colors.~
There were many buildings in the garden with different purposes which are too many to mention. Hehe!
Cute restroom windows. Lol!
The gate of eternal youth. If I entered, will I become a baby? O.O
Most of the buildings are for reading and studying. The one on the left is for the crown prince I think.
Love of Lotus Pavillion since this pond is normally covered in lotus.
South Korea-shaped pond.
Hello from the other side~
Make sure to wear sneakers, especially in the summer. It’s like a hike!
Doesn’t this look like a bus stop? A beautiful one if I may add.
Where the king hung out the most.
There’s normally running water on these rocks. The king and his men would race bottles here and whoever loses will have to drink soju(?).
Suddenly, a rice paddy. This helped the king understand the importance of rice and farming to his people.
The noblemen’s house.
Ahh~ The Secret Garden is a place not to be missed. If you’re a lover or nature, then you will more than enjoy this. It’s always nice to be in a harmonious far-away place every once in a while. It lets you relax and be away from any negativity. That’s my idea of a good vacation. 🙂
The tour finished at 5pm so we weren’t able to go to one more palace unfortunately! On the bright side, Gyeongbok and Changdeok are supposedly the best ones. So that’s more than enough for me for now. The Secret Garden has to be my favorite. It’s just so alluring. *.*
Have a great weekend! <3
Named after Hongik University (one of the top fine arts colleges in South Korea), Hongdae in Mapo-gu easily made it on the top of my list of favorite places in Seoul. Okay, I keep saying “favorite”. How does one choose anyway? There are too many pretty places in Seoul, so you can’t blame me. BUT, this time, I’m 100% sure. Just look at my photo! Look how happy I am! Lol.
Kidding aside, what made me love Hongdae is how it’s a place where all things artsy come together. It’s known for street arts, indie music, CLOTHES, galleries, accessories, art markets and the hippest cafes! (You should know by now that Koreans are very artsy. Lol!) I’m so attached that I went here twice during my trip. You simply have to get off at Hongik University Station to get here. Can’t wait to go back!
*Lengthy post ahead!*
Apparently, pretty lighting was everywhere that week. <3
Walking is such a leisure in the streets of Korea. I’m obsessed!
Cheesy chicken! I looove Korean food but like any other country, each restaurant here is either a hit or a miss. Japan is the only exception.
Still pretty without the leaves!
Awesome street art!
Every 1m walk from one cute shop is another cute shop!
Shoe-fie with my atsi. We love white sneaks~
WITWACOMMA is Korean for Rilakkuma? For real?
A freedom of self-expression.
Spazzed out. Too many pretty clothes! I can’t!
Shoes that suit my taste! So creamy! <3
Top and bottom that I’d wear in a heartbeat. So pretty!!!
My closet needs. So me! <3
Super cute nano blocks! I almost passed out.
When in KR! NB will always be no.1 in my heart when it comes to sneakers!
To make the experience artsier, we visited the Trick Eye Museum! And well, my mom really wanted to. I wasn’t that interested at first but I really had fun. T’was a good choice to stop by!~
Hallo, atsi! With our busy schedules, we couldn’t really do these kinds of things back home. I’m very glad that I got to spend some time with my atsi at 1 of my 2 favorite countries!
I honestly don’t get the point of the water being poured into a pot with holes. Lol!
Atsi, Y U PULL MY HAIR?
Games for couples. You will not run out of places to date in Seoul!
Haha! Got my photo taken then this happened. It’s a video of 3 me’s dancing. I laughed so hard!
I’m an eskimo!
After our fun museum adventure, I suddenly remembered that Hongdae has branches of 2 of the most popular online clothing stores in South Korea that I’d been dying to see my whole life! So I pulled my mom and sister to go and find them.
The 2 stores are none other than..
They were facing each other! Now that’s what you call taking the competition head on!
Wuhoo! Finally – Stylenanda! I think we all know what this brand is- thanks to Park Sora. It’s possibly the no.1 leading brand in the Korean online clothing industry. I remember years ago, when I didn’t have a credit card yet (lol), I was dying to buy their stuff online. It was a dream!! I strongly admire how this brand really screams Korean street fashion. The oversized shirts, the skinniest of jeans, and how the models carry them is just divine!
Somehow I was able to take photos inside without the store clerks saying anything. Hehehe! Light VS dark colors!
Scarf game is strong! Love the whole outfit!
Konichiwa! Stylenanda Purikura~
The super popular 3CE! I had tried some of their products but I was kind of underwhelmed. I’m more inclined to make-up focused beauty stores.
I have to admit, though, I personally like Chuu better because I think I can relate to their style more. Chu is more on the girlier side. Their Park Sora counterpart is Seo Sungkyung. Despite my preference for this brand, I do like Park Sora more. Hehe~
See what I mean? <3
The higher the floor, the better! These are the stuff that I like most about Chuu!
Now why didn’t I buy this again? *sobs*
I’d heard about this coffee shop that’s supposed to have the best coffee in Hongdae. Being a coffee addict, I had to see it and get some beans for my boyfriend. The place is called the Coffee Lab if you’re interested! It’s definitely super hip! *.*
I tried their latte but I didn’t know what to think. It was a little too milky for my preference. Not sure if my boyfriend tried it yet so I have to save my comments. Next time I visit, it’s gonna be an iced americano (feeling local lol)!
My sister was told that it’s better to experience Hongdae at night ’cause that’s when live musicians pop out! I admit, Hongdae, is more fun at night but I’m biased to sunny days because photos are better taken under natural lighting!~ I loved the music, though!
That guy has such a pretty voice! They covered a lot of western pop music in such a soft and pretty way. You can hear them while walking around in the streets- best background music ever! Hongdae is also known for clubs. Not a club-type of person so I obviously didn’t check. Haha!
This adorable flower shop set-up! <3
Cutest plant shop! Huhu!
This ends my long Hongdae post! I’m tired. Haha! I promise that the next one will be short. I took so many photos here ’cause I found too many things that made my eyes sparkle. You’ll know the feeling when you visit or at least I hope this post has already convinced you! Enjoy the rest of the week! 🙂
What is a trip to South Korea without going to the tallest tower in Seoul, the Namsan Seoul Tower? Every country has one- Tokyo Tower, Eiffel Tower, Baiyoke Tower, Burj Kalifa and ours is probably in Makati. Lol! Seriously though, isn’t it nice to see a view of the city from high up in the sky? I don’t mind staring at it all day. If I could just live on a cloud while watching the tiny people! That’ll be fun!
The N Seoul Tower is a communication and observation tower located on Namsan Mountain at the center of Seoul. From Chungmuro Station, you can simply take either Sunhwan Bus no. 02 or 05. The bus no. 05 is also available at Myeongdong. If you’re not gonna be coming from any of these locations, Google is your best friend.
I got so kilig being here! If you watched Onstyle’s Jessica and Krystal, you’d probably be, too. They’re my favorite!
The way up is already so mesmerizing! I really liked the Sunny but cold weather.
And they were all yellow~
Around the tower is Namsan Park where you can catch a scenic view of the city even just from here while eating at one of the restaurants. The food is a must-try! I had some super good bulgogi, spicy seafood noodles and bibimbap here.
This gift shop has the cutest souvenirs! You better check the stuff out.
The famous locks of love. People would scribble out their love on the locks and throw the keys away. I think there’s too many already. I heard in other countries, love locks have been cut down. Well, not in Seoul. They even have a box where you can leave the keys and they will get rid of it for you for your love to endure (#MayForever) AND to keep this place clean.
A not so discreet way to get close. But it’s just me today.
View from Namsan Park- breathtaking!
I think I found my favorite tower. <3
This cute little kid- I cannot.
Tile messages! Cutiee~
Jessica & Krystal <3 I was looking for their tile messages but they obviously took it out ’cause fans might steal them!
Animal music boxes at the gift shop. This was what I meant earlier- so cute!
Love is in the air.
Wow! I was about 2,625.7 km away from home last 19th March.
View from Seoul Tower- so high up, everything’s so tiny!
It was apparently Namsan day ’cause next up is the Namsangol Hanok Village which we easily found by the exit 3 and 4 of Chungmuro Station. This small village in Jung-u (central district of Seoul) is literally what the name says, a village of traditional Korean houses and garden. Like Japan, Korea also does an amazing job in maintaining it’s historical buildings.
You can wander around this village for FREE and it’s one of the most beautiful spots in Seoul! Too bad, I didn’t get enjoy the garden part that much since it was still early spring. *sobs*
JUST IMAGINE <3
Wish to see this during spring or fall! I miss living in a country with 4 seasons. When it’s winter, you get to look forward to spring. After spring, summer comes. Then the leaves start to fall in autumn in preparation for winter and winter means SNOWBOARDING!
This village is so pretty!
One of the several pavillions in this village.
Exploring in comfort.
Traditional Korean pots and a well!
How chimney’s looked like in the Joseon Era <3
Red and blue lanterns that illuminate this beautiful village at night!
What the Joseon era considers as home appliances.
I somehow felt like I was in a computer game.
Traditional Korean games which I didn’t try. Not good at these things.
I wonder what they cooked here. Some jigae, I suppose?
Spot the Seoul Tower!
Did you enjoy my Namsan Day? Lol! You can schedule 1 day for all these. It’s so easy find them. You’d even still have time to go shopping afterwards! <3 See you again one spring, Namsan!
Truly, it is a dream come true to be able to see the stunning landmark at the center of Dongdaemun, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza or DDP, in real life. As one of the most famous tourist destinations in Seoul, the DDP is easily accessible through subway train as it has its own station. You can simply go down at the Dongdaemun History and Culture Park station which is just a few stops away from Myeongdong.
DDP is basically a huge (and breathtaking) events place where many of the most anticipated fashion shows (like the Seoul Fashion Week) in South Korea are held. I was here when they were preparing for Style Icon Asia and the Hera FW16 Seoul Fashion Week which I’m dying to see one day! *dreams*
The coolest thing about the DDP is the walkable roof which I failed to go to both times I was there. Next time for sure (when there are greens already)!
So happy to have my photo taken with such an iconic background. I’d only seen this on some of my fave Korean models like Irene Kim and Jini Lee’s photos! This is also where street fashion photographers (like Alex Finch and Streetper) take their coolest snaps of style eye candy.
There are 5 halls in this plaza: Art Hall, Design Market, Design Lab, Museum and Dongdaemun History and Culture Park. I wish I had time to go through each one. I really only took pictures outside! Not actually sure if it’s allowed inside, though.
This is more than enough for now.
Amazing architecture is amazing! Not sure how it blends in in this city. It looks like it traveled from the future!
Shopping malls everywhere around it! That’s Dongdaemun for you!
You can shop inside, too!
Just a few days after I left! Waaa. *cries* One day!
The fastest way to get to all the tourist spots in Seoul = hop on and hop off tour buses. They stop at the DDP.
There will be leaves on these trees when I go back. *fingers crossed*
Every iconic place in Seoul is also a must-see at night. My Korean friends and tour guides would always mention how these places are prettier at night.
The future! *.*
Isn’t the DDP the coolest? You definitely have to see it yourself and experience the future. I’ll do a more detailed post the next time I drop by! Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this and always, always feel free to comment. <3
Rest in peace, Zaha Hadid.
If you’re looking for a CHILL place to eat, shop and drink coffee in Seoul, Garosu-gil is the place to be. Located in Sinsa (a ward of Gangnam), Garosu-gil which literally means tree-lined street, is probably my most favorite street in the whole of Seoul.
It would be so nice to just sit and chat with my girls, Tricia and Crissey, from one cafe to another and spaz with them from one shop to another in this area. I did, however, enjoy my first time here with two other awesome people, Liah (yes, THE Liah Yoo) who’s a local and Eileen (of Reward Style Asia) from Shanghai! <3 Travelling is more meaningful when you get to meet new people and hear their stories.
Since I stayed near Myeongdong, I walked around there a bit in the morning (which you will see on my next posts). Then took the subway to Sinsa-dong station. We had lunch at this place called Nodabowl, a fusion Japanese restaurant that specializes in seasoned rice.
Well, you can’t really go wrong with beef and rice cooked in Japanese style so I have no complaints. I recommend it!
Next is the best part- DESSERT & COFFEE. Two things you can bribe me with and will work anytime.
Eileen and I were both tourists so Liah was in charge of planning. She heard about this 3-story cafe called C27 that serves various delicious cheesecakes! She had me at cheesecake. Lol.
This place has CUH-RAZY interiors! I loved everything about it- the music, the atmosphere, the decorations!
How does one choose a cheesecake? They have 27 different cheesecakes, hence C27.
Have I mentioned that each floor of the cafe has a different look? This one is an apartment!
So artsy, I love it. I dreamed to be an interior designer once. I passed the exams already then shifted right away on the day of enrollment.
Metallic! Mango’s April campaign
Even the staircases are amusing!
After some research, I found out that the 3rd floor actually has different themed rooms. Why didn’t I check?
Sunlight and wooden chairs
After dessert, Liah and Eileen had to go already. I had such a great time. I’m so thankful to meet them!
I decided to stay and walk around a bit more. I’m definitely giving this place another day next time I fly to Korea.
First thing that caught my attention. Even the Korean kids are so artsy!
Ahh, love the shops here. Photos aren’t allowed inside, though.
Rekken has some of the coolest kicks in the world!
Low Classic Since 2009!
I remember Dore Dore from Channel M’s Tasty Road. They’re famous for their RAINBOW CAKE! + The actual Goen J store. <3
This is so hipster- I had to.
Colors that POP.
I see what you did there!
Sinsa-dong and Apgujeong are just next to each other. You wouldn’t notice it when you’re actually on in either. Some of the photos on this post were taken in Apgujeong but I don’t know which ones anymore. #confusedtourist
Steve J and Yoni P! Irene recently walked on their fashion show. Ahh! So happy to see these stores in real life. Finally!
Sulli is such a Goddess!
HUGE GOLDEN MANGO IN SINSA <3
Chupa Chups had an event going on!
I WANT EVERYTHING- CAN I LIVE HERE?
Some EXO and AOA. This woman is taking over South Korea! She’s everywhere!
Believe in truth
Coffee after shopping? Good idea, 8 Seconds!
In the sea of cute cafes in Garosu-gil, this particular one stands out! Two words: LINE. FRIENDS.
Greeted by this GIGANTIC Brown!
I wanted one of these but how do I fit it in my luggage?
They have so many branches, you’re not gonna have a problem looking for them.
Bye, Brown! Can’t wait to go back~
Missing these trees already. Just imagine how pretty this street must be during spring-summer! I really want to fly back as soon as possible. The stores, the cafes & the people (and their fashion) are a MUST-SEE. South Korea, please adopt me!
Hope you were able to connect with my emotions for this place! Let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or whatever. 😉 Stay tuned for the next ones!
Yes, I left my heart in Busan. And all it took was one day. <3
As promised, here is the first of my South Korean adventure where I’ll show you the places I saw in Busan and how I got there. Sorry for the negligence as I forgot to charge my camera! *sobs* Only used my phone for these photos. But still, I hope these will make you want to include this on your itinerary ’cause I’m very happy I did! (Warning: Lengthy post ahead!)
How To Get to Busan
My day began commuting to Seoul Station. I stayed at a guesthouse near Chungmuro Station (walking distance from Myeongdong). Seoul Station was just a few stops away. I left Chungmuro at around 7am and arrived at Seoul Station at around 7:10am.
Important: If your planning to visit any places outside of Seoul. I recommend getting a Korail Pass.
What is a Korail or KR Pass?
The KORAIL PASS provides foreigners visiting Korea with an unlimited access to the Standard
Class seats of the KTX, KTX-Sancheon, Saemaeul, Mugunghwa and Nuriro trains for a fixed period of time.
To get a KORAIL PASS, you can purchase a voucher from an overseas travel agency, KORAIL website or KORAIL Travel Center and redeem it at a KORAIL station.
I decided to take the KTX train to Busan. The trip to Busan via KTX takes around 2 1/2 hours only (which is the fastest compared to the other trains available.) A normal round trip to Busan thru KTX costs about USD100. You can save 40% of it if you purchase the KR pass which costs around USD60 only for 1 day. I reserved a 1 day pass online thru their website then printed my voucher. Note that the voucher is NOT the pass yet. You will exchange it with the pass and pay for it at the Korail information kiosk in Seoul Station. Using the pass, I went straight to the KTX counter and reserved my ticket to Busan which left at around 7:40am and arrived at around 10am.
Getting around in South Korea via trains is super easy. I suggest downloading their Subway app. Using it, you can search any of the places that you wish to visit and the app will guide you on which trains to take to get to your destination. You don’t have to worry about getting lost ’cause I didn’t! Plus, many locals can understand / speak basic English.
Also, if you are travelling alone, I highly recommend renting a sim at the Incheon Airport. I purchased a 5 day unlimited data sim at Olleh for 30,000won which made my life so easy! This will help you communicate with any of your friends who’d been to Korea or your hotel who can assist you as well.
One of the reasons that made me brave enough to do this alone is my dear Korean friend, Sofiah, whom I hadn’t seen in 6 years. We were classmates in high school. She’s one of the kindest, smartest and most hard-working people I know. She planned our adventure and guided me for the day. I’m beyond grateful! *happy tears*
Our first stop was the Gamcheon Culture Village. This place alone is DAY MADE. Once you scroll down, you might find some of the spots familiar as this place has also become popular due to the number of Korean TV shows it gets featured on.
Here’s an instruction on how to get there from Busan Station: http://headstandtravels.com/directions/gamcheon-culture-village-directions/.
We are entering!
Known for its brightly painted houses, the Gamcheon Culture Village, located in Saha-gu, just might be the artsiest place in Busan. It’s like an enormous stairs of houses full of art shops, cute cafes, street murals, etc. I spazzed. Too many of my favorite things in one place!
We basically followed the path highlighted in red on the map above. It guided us to the photo zones in the village. I warn you, though. Wear sneakers here! The streets are very steep. I lost my breath a number of times due to exhaustion and the BEAUTIFUL scenery. <3
It was a very nice day. It was cold but sunny which heightened the experience!
The walk around the village was very memorable. Even here, you will find a lot of cute cafes!
FIIIISHHH. Busan is known for their fish and that means EAT ALL THE FISH CAKES!
South Korea is for couples! I wish Calel was there with me.
Can I take all of these home? I love nano blocks!
Coffee and sunshine
Le Petit Prince <3 One of the most popular photo zones here! My legs were feeling ticklish.
Photo from Sofy’s phone- in case you’re curious about his face!
I could stare at it ALL day!
Running Man was one of the many shows that filmed here!
This ajumma is problematic. I wonder why? On a serious note, when you see her, you have to go up the stairs..
..to find the best view of the village! We came from the top and went all the way down to get here!
After such an artsy morning, it was time for some Korean food! We headed to Nampo-dong. Nampo-dong is the central shopping area in Busan. From the Gamcheon Culture Village, you can get there by taking the village bus to Toseong Station. From Toseong Station, take the subway to Jagalchi. Nampo-dong is just walking distance from there.
Living in Busan is the best of both worlds. The beaches and mountains are very accessible while you’re not gonna have a problem in finding your favorite shops here either.
Cheese Tak Galbi! According to Sofy, Koreans are all about cheese these days. You definitely have to try this! It’s basically chicken, rice cakes, kimchi with lots of cheese on a grill. Love it!
Like many crowded places in South Korea, the abundance of street food is crazy around here.
Hand prints of some of the famous celebrities who attended the Busan International Film Festival
Make-up stores in every corner. All the shops that you can ever think of is right here! Bought a new pair of Nike at Folder. I love the sneaker shops here. I recommend checking ABC Mart, too. Both are also available in Myeongdong but the stocks there sell like candy.
Sofy took me to Lotte Mall to see a fountain show!
Water came out from that circle on the ceiling.
This mall has a Line Friends Cafe. Hello, Moon and Cony! You will see more of them on my next travel posts.
Pretty clothes! No time to shop, though.
Next on the list is Yongdusan Park which is also in the area. You can simply ask people around or check Google Maps on how to get there.
Busan is in the south of South Korea. It is ahead from Seoul when in comes to season transitions as Seoul is up in the north. One of the reasons why I really tried to squeeze Busan in my trip is the hope of seeing some Sakura. Luckily, I did catch some in this park! <3 Sofy said that this year, the Cherry Blossom festivities in Busan is supposed to start this 26th March and I was there last 15th.
Busan tower in Yongdusan Park
Pretty park is pretty! There was a huge flower clock which I failed to take a proper photo of. It was too big!
The perfect background. The shrines were built by Japanese people.
Allelujah! Hello, Busan Tower~
If you walk further, you will find this!
Find the Lotte Mall.
Sofy and I agreed for me to take the 8pm train so we headed to the Gwangalli Beach right after visiting Yongdusan Park. From Nampo-dong, we took the bus 1003 then got off at the Gwangalli Beach stop. The Gwangalli Beach is such a nice place to just relax and think about life while sitting on the sand with Gwangan Bridge in sight.
I took some snaps of the neighborhood to the beach. Yet again, that area is full of cute cafes and more artsy things- I am very pleased.
The flower shops here really attract me.
Across the beach.
Gwangalli Beach & Gwangan Bridge! <3 This place is so serene.
My heart is buried in this sand.
Infinite peace~ Sofy’s advice is to come here at night. Colorful lights on the bridge- I can imagine! <3
We had some Korean BBQ for dinner in the area. Before I knew it, it was time to say good bye to this dream place. *tears* Time flew fast! We walked all the way to the nearest subway station then took one of the trains that stops at Busan Station. Another option is to just take the same bus and go down at Busan Station.
Back in Busan Station, I had enough time to buy my mom and sister (who were in Seoul) some fish cakes at the Samjin Fishcake Bakery. I regret not buying 50 of these. So good!
So I took the 8pm KTX train back to Seoul Station which arrived at 10:30pm. Took the same route back to Chungmuro Station and got home safely.
All these in one day. It’s truly an unforgettable experience. It’s not just the food, the people and the sight. Busan gave me butterflies. I guess I just really like how it’s the city meets the beach. It’s quiet and less crowded. It’s everything I like in one place! Thank you, Sofy! <3
I hope this will help you find your way to the wonderful place that is Busan. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions. Thanks for dropping by!
‘Til next time, Busan! 😉