Korea Trippin’ 2016: Seoul Far Seoul Good

July 20, 2016

 

A photo posted by Roxanne C. (@lacedivory) on



 

Oh my God. This year’s trip to Korea has been nothing short of awesome! Should I write a blog post that’s more like a guide to fellow travellers, a diary of sorts for friends who read my blog, or something that’s more for beauty mavens who just want a dose of Korean beauty? Yet thinking about it, writing this blog post in only one of those formats doesn’t really do Korea justice. So here it is, my blog post that’s all of the above!

 




 

Here are my 11 top things to do in Seoul, in no particular order except for their appearance in the video above.

 

1. Shop at Edae (a.k.a. Ewha Women’s University Shopping Street)

Edae is where shopping comes cheap. Almost all clothing stores sell their items in free size, which is sadly too big for me. I didn’t do much clothes shopping but skincare is another thing all together. I finally went and found the Tomaru store after walking around for ages and realised I couldn’t find it because the store front had changed its design from the last time I visited. This is what it looks like now.

 

Edae Tomaru Store

The Edae Tomaru storefront.

 

To get to the Edae Tomaru store, just head straight down the main shopping street once you exit the metro station. When you get to the end of the street (it ends just before reaching the university), turn left. The Tomaru store will be on your left, maybe about 100m after you turn, and it is opposite a Banila Co store. I hope you find it, because it seems that the Tomaru store is the only place you can find Dear Packer masks, and that’s pretty much the only thing I bought this time there too! I featured these masks in my haul video last year, and you can check it out here.

Just a note that this is not the only Tomaru store in Korea. I’m not sure where the others are, but I’ve seen them around now and then during our trip. It’s just that this seems to be the most straightforward branch to find.

 

2. Shop or sightsee at Myeongdong in the day and night

Myeongdong is one of the most active areas in Seoul. It’s got all the skincare and fashion shops you can find, and is ever so lively at night. I skipped all the deep-fried food, but the strawberry mochis that are being sold at any street side food stall are a must-try.

 

3. Try Dakgalbi at restaurant chain Yoogane

We visited the newer of the two Yoogane branches in Myeongdong. It’s quite an interesting experience if you’re looking for authentic Korean food but aren’t quite ready to try live squid yet. The dish is cooked in several stages in the hot pot right in front of you, complete with a timer for 3-minute intervals and a member of the staff who would do everything for you each time the timer rings. Watch my video above and you’ll see what I mean!

Each order is for two servings, so go with at least one other person. We added one serving of ramen and lots of cheese in ours. That’s why it looks so good. You can also check out The Seoul Guide’s review on the main restaurant here.

 

4. Try Tosokchon’s ginseng chicken dish

The previous time I visited this restaurant a couple of years ago, there was no queue. But this year, the queue was pretty long. It was fast moving though, and I could tell the restaurant is always ready for the lunchtime crowd, as proven by their free umbrellas for queueing guests. Don’t let the number of people before you deter you from trying this. After all, it’s arguably the best ginseng chicken in Seoul.

 

5. Watch the changing of guards at Gyeongbokgung

If you lunch at Tosokchon, you can either do Gyeongbokgung before or after. The last changing of guards occurs no later than 1.30pm or 2pm, if it helps you to plan your itinerary. We didn’t make it in time because we slept in – I mean, it’s a holiday – but it was still a nice visit. It seems you can also rent hanboks to take photos around the palace. We didn’t do it because it was just way too hot.

 

6. Stroll along Bukchon Hanok Village

I love Bukchon Hanok Village for its quaint houses and quietness. Sometimes, tourists can be a nuisance, which explains the many signs telling people to keep our voices down. It is still a residential area, so just be respectful.

 

7. Indulge in your inner cafe hippie at Samcheongdong

Samcheongdong is my favourite part of Seoul, even after having been here thrice! I love the cafe scene here, which is mixed with other indie restaurants and shops. It’s like Singapore’s Haji Lane – but with more space and on a hill. My favourite time of the day to be here is during the early evenings, so I can just soak in the tranquil atmosphere as the sun sets. If you’re looking for a cafe here, try Cafe Breezin, where you can choose to sit by the window or outdoor patio above and watch the passersby.

 

8. Stock up on skincare at Innisfree Jeju House Samcheongdong

There is also the Innisfree Jeju house branch in Samcheongdong, which is the only other outlet other than the one in Jeju itself. I highly recommend this store because it’s the only one (other than the one in Jeju) that stocks Jeju-exclusive products. Like the Fresh Topping Pack masks, which I absolutely love! I’ll definitely blog about this star product of mine, so keep a look out for it.

 

Innisfree Jeju House Samcheongdong

Inside the Innisfree Jeju House at Samcheongdong.

 

Innisfree Jeju House Samcheongdong

Toppings for your DIY mask!

 

Innisfree Jeju House Samcheongdong

A little something about Jeju’s natural ingredients.

 

9. Collect crafts at Insadong

Our hotel, Makers Hotel, is located very near to Insadong. This little area is where you could go to if you need to get your hands on some crafts, such as paintings, pottery and art brushes. For some reason, I also decided I wanted to get some coloured contact lenses here. So I popped into one of the O-Lens stores and got myself a purple pair.

 

O-Lens Korea

Rubbery, googly eyes let you test the lens colours before you decide to buy them. So cute!

 

I bought my 6-month lenses for 45,000 KRW, and it came with a free decent-sized bottle of contact lens solution, a contact lens kit with rubber tweezers and tons of contact lens cases. I should have bought another pair or so! If you’re interested in O-Lens Korea, you can check out their website (in Korean only) here.

 

10. Visit the Dongdaemun History & Cultural Center

Of course, no visit to Seoul is complete without a trip to the Dongdaemun area. If you’re taking the metro, the correct stop you should alight at is Dongdaemun History and Culture Park, and not Dongdaemun. This is where you’ll get to see this cool architecture and all the 20-hour shopping malls located along the main road. We were here at Friday night, and it seemed like there was some food and music fest going on.

 

11. Visit the N Seoul Tower

View Seoul from the top at the N Seoul Tower. Check out Kampungboycitygal’s blog post about this cool stop here, complete with directions to get there (nearest metro stop is Myeongdong). If you’re the romantic type, you can bring a lock and write your couply message on it before locking it in “your spot” on this tower.

 

Bonus: If you’re in Myeongdong more than once, you can also give the Myeongdong Kyoja a try during lunch or dinner. Personally endorsed by food bloggers Ladyironchef and Daniel of Daniel Food Diary, it’s one thing you won’t want to miss if you can help it.

 

As most of these places are tourist attractions, you might come across guides in red uniforms. These guides will help you find places you’re looking for; they’ve got detailed maps of the areas they’re in and most of them can speak English. There isn’t free wifi in a lot of open spaces, so unless you have a wifi egg, it would be a good idea to just take some screenshots of the addresses or names of places you want to go to.

 

I’ll be blogging about my experience in Busan, our next stop in Korea. You can follow me on either Facebook or Instagram to keep up to date and be notified when I next update this blog on our exciting Korean adventure!

 

{Edit: The blog post on our trip in Busan, as well as what I recommend for you to do there, is now up. You can view it here.}
 

Annyeong,

Roxanne

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