South Korea, Singapore · 369 Days · 73 Moments · May 2016

Korea journi

6 May 2017

The point of going to 응뢄산 is for the night view, we were there a little too early because when we reached the top we had a little over an hour until sunset. It was a tough climb, now we know why people chose to drive up 🀣 It was also really windy and so cold that my fingers were freezing, which made it hard for me to snap pictures, but i endured! The night view was fantastic and completely worth while!
Time to hit those slopes! There is this vantage point at the top of Eungbongsan where you can see the city lights, that's where we were headed too but you know,Korea hills and slopes are no joke. It's like a 45 degrees angle! Almost died climbing up. Gotta say the view is fantastic on the way up though!
We went looking for this particular restaurant owned by 'Itaewon King' aka korean celeb Hong Seok Cheon, that we wanted to have dinner at. He actually has alot of restaurants so you are spoilt for choice! Settled for this Thai fusion restaurant. Not a huge fan of fusion but this is actually pretty good!
Definitely more foreigners in Itaewon. Love how there is a blend of the western and Korean influence around this neighborhood.
Had a lot of time before having an early in Itaewon and then going to see the sunset that was our main highlight. So we headed to Dokseogung Palace stone walkway where many popular dramas film a scene or two, the most recent one being 'Goblin'. Wandered around slowly for awhile before we made our way to Itaewon.
After a great R&R session, made our way to my favourite cafe (Fritz Coffee Company) I found out about a year ago. Also there were more cute guys working behind the bar today 😍 Food and coffee as good as ever but we were here at lunch time so the inside was really packed. Ended up outside having brunch but it was fine with us!
First stop of the day was a popular Korean jjimjilbang. Had a great experience but wished we took some photos with the lamb towel and cracking eggs on our heads to eat. Will definitely be back someday - enjoyed their hot room and fell asleep in one of the other cooler rooms. A morning gone just like that! Foreigners should take note of the rules and etiquette when entering. Similar to the Japanese hot springs, remember to bathe before entering the hot tubs! :) And don't be shy walking around naked, seriously, no one so much as blink at you. They're all busy chatting with friends or putting on make up after their spa session and what not!

5 May 2017

After roaming around the palace at night, made our way to a night market to just take a look a fill our stomaches! It was late after the night tour in the palace so we didn't stay long because the market would close in an hour!
Caught a performance that was happening - about 8 different sets of dance and music. Appreciated the dance much more. This week is the Royal Culture week so they had night tours and performances etc which was really cool! A hot cuppa in hand would have been great while watching the performance. It was a really cold night! The palace at night was beautiful yet haunting despite having quite a number of people wandering around - but you can't help but wonder how it was and what are the things that had happened or spoken about at that spot where you are walking at many years back.
Took a 20mins walk to Gyeongbokgung Palace to wait around to buy the night tickets. Only 500 foreigners are allowed inside at night so we were early to get our tickets. We waited around for 1hour for the ticket booths to start selling the night tickets.
Ikseon-dong is a quaint little hanok area. It's probably smaller than Buchon Hanok but just as charming. So, found out that this area we were at was where I found myself slightly lost last year! I still remember the cafe we were at! Of course a lot has changed since then. There wasn't as much renovation and it wasn't raining so it was great to just explore that quaint area leisurely!
After putting our loot back in the apartment because the post office was closed, we headed over to explore a less touristy Hanok area - Ikseon Hanok. But first, grab some late lunch. Omok and kimchi pancake. So good and so homely! It was a restaurant ran by an elderly couple that we just popped into because, why not?
Headed to Myeongdong to conquer the cosmetic shopping! I love how they give you so many free samples when you shop in Korea! I definitely bought much lesser things as expected though (as compared to last year). Initially I wanted to ship back my loot, only to realize that the post office was close today because it's a national holiday (Children's Day), i wish that was a national holiday back home too! :(
Breakfast to start of my first full day at a bakery around the corner of our airbnb apartment.

4 May 2017

Trained down to Yeouido. Popped into a random stall that specializes in octopus! Loved the handmade noodles soup which totally warmed our bodies. Very satisfying meal! Called it a night after dinner.
First stop when we met up = Banpo Bridge to chill by the river while watching the 'light show' and enjoy the cooling weather, if only we bought chicken and beer on the way, we could picnic there like what everyone else was doing. To be honest, the light show was underwhelming. People just come here to chill and enjoy each other's company really.
By the time I reached Incheon airport and found my way to my airbnb, it's already evening. Pam arrived a day earlier than me and was off exploring a traditional area, so I took the opportunity to settle down and freshen up while waiting for her to meet me at our airbnb.
μ•ˆλ…•! Last year (2016), I told myself that in 2017 I will visit Korea again and explore more places. Well. It's 2017 and I'm heading off to Korea again! I'm terrible at updating when traveling with people. I can't concentrate on updating my posts, so it's a lot of throwback and reminiscing the fun times I experienced! πŸ˜…

11 May 2016

Headed back to pick up our bags then head over to the airport. It's been an eventful and fun trip and Korea is so huge, 1 trip is not enough to satisfy my need to explore Korea. I will definitely be back. People will say things like "But didn't you go to Korea before?" My answer will be yes, i did, but unlike Singapore, Korea is so big, there are so many other cities and towns to visit. Of course I want to visit our countries and I will but that doesn't mean I won't visit Korea again in the near future! I would probably be back again in 2017! 🀣 So for now, goodbye Korea, you've been great and most definitely, I will be back again!
Apparently just across the street of the intersection was another small cafe, that served some really good Irish Coffee. Like, why am i only finding out about these when I'm leaving?! And both cafes was within walking distance from our apartment! What was I suppose to do but go grab a cup of good ol' Irish coffee (with baileys of course) even though I just had one, barely 15mins ago!
Morning of out last day! Back to my newfound favourite cafe for breakfast, and got to meet the lovely owner who gave us a tiny souvenir from his shop! He didn't have too but he did and that was really sweet of him, awww~! Fritz Coffee Company! I'm definitely gonna make a visit here the next time i'm in town! Another lovely thing about this cafe is that it's open early! YAS!

10 May 2016

Ended up in Myeongdong for our last night here in Korea and decided to head over to Haha's BBQ restaurant. Just had to pose besides his standee. On our last night, we decided to headed over to take a stroll along Hangang River, just sitting by the river and relaxing, thinking of all the fun we have had during the past few days.
At the bottom of the hill is this lovely restaurant (Jaha Sonmandu), famous for it's mandu (λ§Œλ‘) also known as dumplings. What we had was their λ–‘λ§Œλ‘κ΅­ or rice cake and dumpling soup. Doesn't that make a pretty picture? The price was pretty as well πŸ˜…
Heading over to explore Buam Dong - a charming neighborhood with a quaint atmosphere. It's where the cafe (from the drama Coffeeshop Prince) μ‚°λͺ¨ν‰μ΄ is located (riiight up the hill). Gotta do some work to get up to the cafe but the view is definitely rewarding!
Visited Tongin traditional market where there was suppose to be a doshirak man at the beginning of the market where we can exchange some coins for tokens used to buy food from the market stalls. We were still full from breakfast so we just walked through and then went exploring the area around, and somehow ended up doing a little hike at the mountain behind. The hike was refreshing and totally unexpected but it was still a great hike and the view was amazing. Envious of the people staying around that area, they don't have to go far for a hike!
Split ways with Fi after that to meet with Lena, my cousin's lovely girlfriend! She brought me to this Korean buffet restaurant which had traditional Korean food and fusion cuisine for me to try. It was at this restaurant that I found out about the taste of Sundae. It is kind of like blood sausage? with pig or cow intestine stuffed with other ingredients. Nope. Do not like it. At all. She brought me around shopping and then we had coffee at Marley's Coffee which is a cafe co-owned by Running Man's HAHA i believe. Coffee and some htht before she had to leave to meet a friend for a school project. Glad we managed to make time for each other and catch up!
Breakfast at this award winning barista cafe near our airbnb before we start the day. Some really good pastries and hand drip coffee, and i cannot believe we didn't know about this place earlier!
Anyone up for second breakfast? Coz we are! headed to the popular Gwangjang Market and had pancakes and kimbap that are called drug kimbaps for good reason! It was so addictive! Bought baby octopus aide dishes home from the market too. Would have bought more if i my luggage could take more, but it was nearing the end of our trip and I've already bought way too many things (face masks sheets in particular)
Breakfast at one of the oldest bakery in Seoul! Again it was raining β˜”οΈ but thank goodness the bakery is near the train station so we just dashed across. The bakery is huge, with many different selection of cakes, bread and pastries! Walk further in and that's where the coffee bar is. P.s.: the washroom was pretty darn cool!

9 May 2016

Dinner at YG's BBQ restaurant. The have a cafe besides and a bar upstairs and a wall filled with the polaroids of their artists visiting the place ✌🏻probably one of the more expensive dinners we had but so yums! Even though we were so full after, we headed straight for the street food sections almost right after! πŸ˜‹
Went back to the airbnb to meet back up with Fi then headed off to search for YG Entertainment building to soak in whatever energy it is that makes its artists so cool.
Spent a good few hours at Ihwa. Frelijg peckish, I decided to go to another similar sounding place after that for late lunch. Raintree cafe is located near Ehwa Woman's University. Was told by a friend that this cafe was open by avid travelers so there were maps on the wall and tons of photo albums of the owners own travels for cafe goers to browse! Was jealous of how well travelled he was and it inspired me to go home and create my own photo album. Had some lovely pancakes and iced tea to go along with my light reading.
Spent a good few hours just exploring.
Mainly a day of solo explorationg today! Fi's meeting her colleagues from her company's Korea branch this afternoon. So after breakfast we split ways. Decided to go exploring around Ihwa Mural village. This neighborhood is filled with street art and cafes. Say hello to my Avengers friends! πŸ€—

8 May 2016

So it's during this trip that I find Busan people generally more friendly. We took a bus back from Oryukdo to Busan station to have dinner around the area and maybe do some shopping in Busan. So the stop we are suppose to get down from is Busan station (λΆ€μ‚°μ—­). Work Fi up because she was dozing off and got down the bus only for the entire bus and he bus captain to call out and gesture to us to come back up because this was NOT Busan station stop although it sounded damn hella similar πŸ˜‚ so embarrassing but thankful they called us back up! Got down the right stop only for the bus captain to keep and eye on us, to make sure went in the right direction (even though we really wanted to look for food right now). Humored him and walked towards the station the make a U-turn when he drove off. So sweet of him really! I miss Busan and wished we had stayed there for a few days because there are so many places to explore that we didn't get to... well, there is always next time!
So we wanted to take the city tour bus that would bring us to most of the places we want to go. Ended up hopping onto the wrong bus. Got down and took a cab to Oryukdo skywalk instead. The weather was bad but the view overlooking the island was still fantastic.
Since it was past lunch and we were hungry, took a bus to Jalgechi Market, fresh seafood everywhere and we tried live octopus too! I wasn't going to pass a opportunity, allowed myself to get lured by this one stall and requested for a small octopus - they chopped it off course but it was still wriggling! We were sat besides 2 middle ages guys, enjoying their own plate of love octopus (nakji) and sharing a bottle of soju. Got into a conversation (Welcome to Busan! πŸ˜‚) and shared a glass of soju with them. They were so friendly and open!
Had a lovely breakfast at a cafe there, got tempted to getthe colourful candy floss and fell in love with Hotteok - kind of like a pancake stuffed with yummy fillings.
First stop, Gamcheon Cultural Villaged filled with beautifuland colourful street art! Took a cab there so as not to waste any time, we only had a day here after all (what a waste!)
Day trippin' to Busan! Holla!

7 May 2016

After a lot of hiccups and not being able to explore the other attractions nearby (due to long queues and traffic - that day was really a bad day to be there!) we ended up heading hack to Seoul and went to Seoul Tower to catch the sunset - which we caught in the cable car.
Namiseom is beautiful though and peaceful and the weather was great which helped my mood a little. There was a photo of the Winter Sonata actor (Bae Yoon Joon) where all the ahjummas were rushing and queueing up to take photos with, it was too cute! Spent the entire afternoon walking around and just chilling, taking in the fresh air, watching families and friends take photos and picnic alongside them! Before we left I happened to capture a beautiful moment of what looks to me to be an elderly couple in the distance, walking together. It was unintentional- I didn't even realize they were there but I'm glad I got the shot!
Training to Gapyeong then taking a bus to get to Namiseom ferry terminal! All excited because instead of taking the ferry to Nami Island, I want to reach the island by ziplining across the water! Excited! Excitement that got crushed brutally when the queue to zipline was a whole 5hours MINIMUM. Ended up taking the ferry and feeling really sore about it.

6 May 2016

We were supposed to rest when we got back to our airbnb but got tempted by the fried chicken right below the apartment we were staying in. x Guilty as charged x
Because this shot deserves it's own post. Gyeongbokgung Palace at night. The lights illuminating the walls gave the palace its grandeur at night!
Dinner at a popular dosirak cafe - Miss Lee cafe at Insadong. Think it was made even more popular from the Korean reality dating show 'We Got Married'. Cute concept though!
Headed off to relax by Cheongyecheon stream which was filled with more lanterns! Very pretty display of storytelling.
Nearby the Insadong area we were at was Jogysea Temple. It's around the period of Buddha's birthday I believe, so the city was preparing for the celebration with beautiful lanterns around the temple. Got photobomed by a monk 🀣
As if having the Korean snacks at the tea house wasn't enough, here we are, snacking on cakes at O'sulloc Tea House in Insadong. Have heard rave reviews about their green tea products and I' glad we stopped by! Bought home 3 jars of green tea spread πŸ˜‹
To complete the experience, we had tea and traditional snacks at a quaint teahouse on top of one of the steepest slopes i've had to walk up.
Afternoon spent exploring Bukchon Hanok village. A quiet and charming little neighbourhood lined with rows of traditionally styled houses that have been converted into little shops, teahouses, galleries or stayed as residential. The wet weather kind of spoiled the whole atmosphere because having to go around exploring in the rain with an umbrella is such a hassle. Plus there was a lot of slopes to climb!! Definitely did our fair share of exercising! *huff huff huff*
The rain became a drizzle so we dashed across to what seemed like a lane filled with stalls of food. We needed breakfast, our hungry tummies led us there πŸ‘€ Walked past this stall that had rows of Kimchi Soup heating up on the open stove. I spotted with my little eyes a picture or 2 of Yoo Jaesuk (TV personality) and some other Korean variety stars on the posters put up in the little shop. Went in, ordered the Kimchi soup (of course) and some steam egged. Dayuuum, so good!
But first, coffee. We were lucky to have find shelter where we did. There was a cafe right there to satisfy our daily caffeine need. It was connected to a shop on the other side and Fi managed to find a gift for her cousin in there.
Morning in Namdaemun market. It started pouring while walking over from the station. Had to find shelter since I didn't bring an umbrella and Fi's one wasn't working.

5 May 2016

Dinner at a Yoogane branch in Myeongdong! So much yummier than what we have in Singapore! Or am i just bias? πŸ€”
Nothing much, just went shopping from Gangnam shopping street, a very hipster street with cafes and boutiques, to Myeongdong.
walked around the Gangnam/Appujeong area after our late lunch. Stopped by a quaint cafe to have our fix of red bean binggsu 😬
Famish by the time we were done with the museum. Went to Gangnam looking for this restaurant recommended by Running Man's Gary in on of their episodes. Reached around 2ish in the afternoon and there was still a long queue! 😨
Trip to the museum today! I love museums, especially those about the history of the country. yeah i'm a history nerd πŸ€“

4 May 2016

Pick a stall among the numerous ones, choose your seafood and you'll be led to their restaurant somewhere behind the market or above! We had freshly caught crab, sashimi (not pictured) and spicy fish soup which totally warmed us up as the night was getting really really cold! Met a lovely group of Singaporean ladies who were sat right behind us in the restaurant! A great way to end our first full day in Seoul!
Headed to Noryangjin Market for dinner. Caught this beautiful sunset just behind the market.
From Cheongdokgung Palace (was really put out about the gardens) we found our way to Jongmyo shrine. When we entered, the place was peaceful. The whole atmosphere in the shrine was just... quiet, relax, calming - bringing you away from the hustle and bustle of the city just outside its walls. It felt so rich in culture and history - it's where Kings of old came to worship and where ceremonies (memorial) were carried out. Loved walking there, plus there weren't many tourists around either!
Walked for another hour or so before we got to Cheongdukgung Palace only to find out that the Secret Garden (Huwon) was CLOSED THAT DAY!
But we did come across the Wongaksaji Pagoda that was right in the middle of Tapgol Park! It was a forma temple site. How interesting is it that they have preserved the pagoda in middle of a park!
So apparently the palaces are within walking distance. Except they don't tell you how far it is if you get lost. Which we did. Not cool.
At Gwanghwamun Square, King Sejong sits majestically infront of Gyeongbokgung Palace. King Sejong was the one who created Hangul, the Korean language in hopes that his people would be able to read and write in a common language (i think). One of Korea's most important navy general, Admiral Yi also stands a short distance in front of him. He was the brains behind the Turtle ships, defeating the Japanese from invading with only 12 ships at his command. I was watching a Korean variety show and the theme for that day was 'Admiral Yi' and one quote really stuck me which he said when he was asked to withdraw. It was... "I still have 12 battleships" woah~
It took me a good long while to get a good clear shot of the Palace front!
Beautiful structure and colours. Just had to pose besides one of the guards at the entrance of Gyeongbokgung Palace 😎 The Phoenix throne was beautifully decorated with lots of red, you can imagine the king sitting there lording over his subjects 🀣 i might have watched too many Saeguk (historical koream) dramas πŸ™ˆ
We were lucky that we caught the Changing of Royal Guards performance at Gyeongbokgung Palace. The vivid array of bright costumes are so pretty against the blue backdrop.
Rise and shine! Thank goodness for the lovey clear weather! The day starts early here in Korea! Full day of exploring palaces and shrines today. But first, breakfast. Wandered into a random restaurant in one of the side streets near Gyeongbokgung Palace. The store seemed to specialize in rice cakes so of course we had to get that!

3 May 2016

Didn't do much. Wandered along Myeongdong streets, shopping for cosmetics and skincare products then headed to our airbnb for an early night rest. Both Fi and I didn't sleep well on the plane the night before so we wanted to recharge for a full day of sightseeing!
It had been raining since the moment we got to Korea. Warmed ourselves and filled out bellies wirh warm handmade noodle soup and dumpling at MyeongdongKyoja (λͺ…λ™κ΅μž), a restaurant that had been around for more than 40years!
Myeongdong Cathedral - just round the corner from Myeongdong shopping street. It's gothic exterior coupled with the dreary background makes an eerie picture, something out of a Tim Burton movie perhaps?