Korea Trip Day 3: Gwanghwamun, Insadong, Konkuk University, Apgujeong

Our third day was probably the best day I had in Korea. The calm and relaxing Cheonggyecheon opened the perfect day. There are lots of ways to go there. In our case, we went to Gwanghwamun Station and got out at exit 8. Since we planned to go to so many places that day, we didn’t walk through the whole stream. Still, we felt relaxed by the sound of water in the morning.

Cheonggyecheon

We walked from Cheonggyecheon to Gwanghwamun Square. Here we took pictures with King Sejong and another famous person (I forgot the name lol). I was amazed by the fact that all these things were located in the middle of Seoul, a hectic metropolitan city.

Gwanghwamun Square

Our next destination was Gyeongbokgung Palace. Unfortunately, due to the lack of time (and money), we just looked around the outer part of the palace without entering it. Still, we managed to see guard-changing performance which is held every hour, even though we did not plan to arrive at 11 sharp.

Guard-changing Ceremony

Behind Gyeongbokgung, there is the National Museum of Korea. Further behind, we can find Bukchon Hanok Village and Samcheon-dong. Again, because of the limited time, we only walked through some parts of the famous areas.

Bukchon

We had lunch in Insadong, a road famous with unique food stalls and traditional Korean merchandise. Of course we also took the chance to buy souvenirs. I did not count the price carefully but according to Dea, the seller gave us a little bit of discount. We also went to starbucks which is located at the end of the road.

Ssaemzzigil in Insadong

Next, we took the subway to Konkuk University Station. This station is not located underground, though. Getting out at exit 2, we tried to find Yesung’s Mouse and Rabbit Cafe. I was afraid we could not find it since I didn’t prepare proper map and there was no wifi connection to find one either. Luckily we could find the place which is actually not located on the main road.

Mouse and Rabbit

Getting into the cafe, I was so excited to see Yesung’s (handsome) younger brother which was standing behind the cash register. Unfortunately, costumers are not allowed to take pictures around that area. Knowing this rule, I just ordered a cup of (again) green tea latte then we went to find seats. Then suddenly I was shocked because Yesung was outside! Pardon me for being an over-excited fan girl but that moment was just so precious. What made me more excited was that Yesung asked “apa kabar” or “how are you” in Indonesian!

Again, green tea latte

I was still in my fan girl mode when we moved to Cheongdam Station. Yes, we were ready to find Cube, JYP, and SM Entertainment buildings. We definitely could not go inside but at least my fan girl soul was relieved to be “separated by my idols with only a layer of wall”. The good thing: we could see Henry from Super Junior M! After a long wait, of course. And we could only see his back and blonde hair.

SM Old Building

Being hungry after waiting for some “virtual boyfriends” outside SM Building (the new one, of course, because the old SM Building is currently under reconstruction), we caught a taxi and went to Donghae’s Grill5 Taco. Yes, he just opened this restaurant a while ago. Maybe this explains why we didn’t find any sign that shows Donghae’s possession there–unlike Mouse and Rabbit which was full of his photos.

Donghae’s

Super Junior was in Turkey at that moment so we couldn’t meet anyone but Yesung (who is in Korea to fulfill his community service obligation). Nevertheless, I could sleep very well at that night–with a beautiful dream, of course.

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Korea Trip Day 2: Heyri Art Village, Hongdae, Edae, Myeongdong

We started our second day in South Korea by riding a bus to a city near Seoul called Paju. Our first destination was Heyri Art Village. Following guidance from Visit Seoul website, we rode a bus from Hapjeong Station. It was a little bit confusing because there was no schedule on the bus stop, but we didn’t need to wait that long. The bus ride took around 1 hour.

In front of the bus stop

Another difference I found between Seoul and Japan is, the bus drivers in Seoul are more impatient than those in Japan. Well, this might not happen every time, but I was upset that the bus driver just closed the bus door before we step out of the bus. The good thing is, there are several bus stops around Heyri Art Village, so we could actually get off at the next bus stop.

Heyri

Personally speaking, the village was not as amazing as I expected. It doesn’t look like being maintained properly–maybe because not many foreigners come. I didn’t regret going there, though, since we found something interesting: Trick Art Museum! We initially planned to visit the one in Hongdae, but since we were there anyway, we just got in and took thousands of pictures.

Tric Art

After getting ourselves chilled in Farmer’s Table cafe, we went back to Seoul. This time we were heading to Hongdae to meet Dea’s high school friend. She is currently studying Korean language at Seoul National University. Our main destination was Hello Kitty cafe, so we headed there right after lunch. I had Sundubu Chigae (tofu soup) for lunch, anyway.

Sundubu chigae

Hello Kitty cafe was super cute! I had a cup of green tea latte with Hello Kitty face on top. Another good thing: the price was not that high even cheaper than other famous cafes in Seoul.

The cutest calling machine ever

Our next top was Hongdae’s neighboring university, Ehwa Women’s University or Edae. We were amazed by the architecture of the university which was… fabulous. After taking pictures, we strolled around and grab some cheap bags sold in the shopping area around Edae campus.

Ehwa Women’s University

I actually wanted to go to Yeouido to visit KBS and MBC building that night, but according to Dea’s friend, the place was quite far from Edae. Since we did not have much time to explore Myeongdong the day before, we decided to get back to Namsan Guesthouse for a while and walked straight to Myeongdong.

SPAO by SM Entertainment

We tried to find Siwon’s Twosome Coffee but it turned out that the map we got was wrong: it lead us to another Twosome Coffee. Were we finally able to find the right one? Keep reading my next posts to know the answer!

Korea Trip Day 1: Incheon Airport, N Seoul Tower

Long time no blog!

From now on I’ll share some stories about my summer trip to Seoul and Busan in Korea. This is my second “big” trip with Dea, after our 12-day adventure in Tokyo last year. However, one of our senior joined our trip this time.

On Friday, September 6, we got on the plane from Osaka Kansai Airport at 2 pm and arrived at Incheon Airport at 4 pm. Right after landing, we went to the airport train station and bought Arex (Airport Express) ticket to go to downtown Seoul. Our guesthouse was located in Myeongdong, but since there is no direct train to Myeongdong Station, we took the one going to Seoul Station instead. One ticket costs 8000 won.

Airport Express

From Seoul Station, we took subway to Myeongdong Station. It was a little bit tough to move to the subway platform since Seoul Station was very hectic and we were with our luggage. The subway train was also very packed with ajumma (half-aged women), just like in dramas. One thing I suddenly realized was that unlike Japanese people, Koreans are more “violent” in terms of trying to get their way in the middle of the crowd.

Seoul Station

We checked into Namsan Guesthouse at around 6 pm. The guesthouse is really close to Myeongdong Station exit. After putting our luggage, we went outside to find some food. I’ve heard that Korea is a food heaven, yet I wondered if there were many choices for halal/vegetarian food. The first restaurant we went in proved that my worry was useless: I could eat a super yummy kimchi cheese fried rice.

Restaurant in Myeongdong

Knowing that we can reach N Seoul Tower just by walking straight up the hill, we ate dinner in Myeongdong and walked to the tower right away. N Seoul Tower is indeed very beautiful at night. Moreover, riding the cable car, we can see Seoul’s night view clearly. Even thought we had to wait quite long for the cable car, the experience was totally worth it.

N Seoul Tower

Besides the observation deck we also visited Teddy Bear Museum I and II inside the tower. Museum I shows Korean history through Teddy Bear dioramas while Museum II shows modern Korea. There are also a shop selling Teddy Bear merchandise.

Psy in front of Teddy Bear Museum II

Our first day was ended by our first attempt of Banana Uyu or Banana Milk. To be honest it was not that “wow”, yet I liked the taste.

Banana Milk

Stay tuned for our second day!