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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Seoul Food Trip: What and Where to Eat When in Seoul

7/17/2018 01:33:00 AM 0 Comments
It's amazing how you can easily find food everywhere in Seoul. Just like us Filipinos, they also love their street foods. But if there's one place I would highly recommend where in you can sample many different Korean delicacies, it would be Gwangjang Market. I already mentioned this on my Day 1 post.

Some of the foods that we tried were inspired by what we saw in Korean TV shows. Please note that I only included here the local and traditional foods. For me, that's how you get to know more about the country. So, here we go!


Tteokbokki (Stir-Fried Rice Cake)

This is one of Korea's most popular food and also one of my favorites!

plain tteokbokki

This is usually seasoned with chili paste (gochujang) and sometimes being served with fish cakes or boiled eggs. I love it when the rice cake is so soft and chewy.


Bukkumi

It is a half-moon shaped pan-fried rice cake with sweet red bean filling. We had no idea what it is before we come to Korea. We just noticed a very long line of people waiting to buy this, so we thought we must try it.
yummy bukkumi
It is delish but at the same time heavy since the rice cake is made from glutinous rice. We just had our bibimbap that time so, we had a hard time finishing it. It is best eaten while it's hot!


Gyeran-ppang

This is also called the Korean Egg Bread. It's an oblong-shaped cake with a whole egg cracked on top of it.

it's like french toast and egg in one!
It is fluffy, sweet and savory. This is perfect as a snack or for breakfast.


Bungeo-ppang

This one I'm already familiar with because I've seen it so many times in variety shows and Kdramas. This is a super popular Korean snack.

i like snacking on this on the street :)
This is a fish-shaped pastry stuffed with sweetened red bean paste. This is like a smaller version of Japan's taiyaki.


Bibimbap

It literally means "mixed rice". Bibimbap is one of the most well-known Korean dishes to many people.

veggie bibimbap
This is served as a bowl of hot white rice topped with veggies, soy sauce, chili paste (gochujang) and fermented soy bean paste (doenjang). Slices of meat and egg are sometimes added to make it more special.


Ogyeopsal

I'm always looking forward to night time in Seoul. There are so many good eating places to choose from. At night, we always make sure to treat ourselves with their famous Korean barbecue!


eyes on the meat! handsome oppas are so distracting hahaha! ;)

Most of us are already familiar with samgyeopsal (three-layered pork), so let me introduce you to ogyeopsal. It means five-layered pork. Yes, five! The fifth layer is actually the pork skin. I also noticed that ogyeopsal has thicker slices than samgyeopsal.


wrap it up!
It's always a fun dining experience. The grilling, the wrapping, the multiple side dishes and the soju shots over stories. Those are happy memories.


Restaurant Recommendations:

Being a foodie traveler, I researched some must-try restaurants that we should visit while in Seoul. I actually do this in every country I visit. I don't mind giving recommendations when I really liked the food and the place. I'm not being paid to do this. I just want to share good stuff to other people. :)


Tosokchon

We came here for samgyetang. I always hear about this dish in Kdramas and it sounded like it's a delicious and a comforting dish. So I looked for the most famous restaurant where we can try this and they say Tosokchon is the place.

the best place for samgyetang!

Tosokchon is just walking distance from Gyeongbokgung so after touring the palace, this was where we had our lunch. It was a cold spring day, so having a warm soup is perfect. I actually find it weird that Koreans prefer to eat this during summer. Keep in mind though that this is a popular resto, so be prepared to queue.

samgyetang
Samgyetang is also known as the Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup. It has a whole chicken stuffed with rice, ginseng, jujube, chestnut and garlic. The broth is very light but pleasant. It's already a complete meal! They also serve kimchi-all-you-can and a shot of soju along with it. Don't miss this when in Seoul!

Address: 5, Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Operating Hours: 10:00 AM-10:00 PM
Price: KRW 15,000/person


Yoogane

We were shopping around Myeongdong and we didn't know where to eat. I remembered seeing this when I was researching so we used Google Maps to find it - and we found it!
 
dak galbi

Yoogane is famous for dak galbi or spicy stir-fried chicken. This is made of gochujang marinated diced chicken with rice cake, cabbage, sweet potatoes and scallions. After you order, the server will cook your food right in front of you, so you don't have to worry on how to do it. They also have a self service station where you can get unlimited kimchi and other side dishes.


tired of shopping? eat!

It is a popular choice for friends who want to get together to eat. Yes, I've seen this in dramas too haha. They are also cheaper compared to the other restaurants that we visited, so thumbs-up for that!

Note: They have 2 branches in Myeongdong. We visited the first one (the one further from the station).

Address: 3-1 Myeong-dong 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Operating Hours: 10:45 AM-12:00 AM
Price: KRW 8,500/person


Palsaik

I'm totally saving the best for last. You guessed it, now it's time for samgyeopsal! Yes, this was my most favorite dining experience in Seoul. Palsaik now have branches in 6 other countries. We visited their main branch in Seoul which is said to be the best.


Palsaik Sinchon

We know this will be way more expensive than our usual food budget but we didn't give a damn about that. I mean, what's going to Korea without feasting on a high quality samgyeopsal? Right? With that said, we ordered the most expensive set.


Seafood Doenjang Soup
Palsaik Samgyeopsal Set comes with a complimentary huge pan of soup or stew (depends on your choice). We went for the seafood soup. 

4/8 flavors
What's so special about this place? Palsaik actually means 8 colors. They serve fresh local pork belly meat seasoned in 8 flavors. If you want to know what those 8 flavors are, they are Original, Wine, Ginseng, Garlic, Herb, Curry, Miso Paste and Hot.
 
can't wait to eat it!
With all of this you are also getting unlimited salad, kimchi, fresh greens and sauces.

what a feast!
   
Everything on this table was sooo good. From the soup to the meat to the sides. Quantity and quality are both superb! It was the best samgyeopsal I've ever had up to this day.
 
very happy tummies :)

I don't know how we managed to finish all that haha. This is definitely one of the best meals I had during my travels. I highly recommend this restaurant!

Address: 121-100 Mihwa Building B1F, 18 Baekbeom-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Operating Hours: 11:00 AM-12:00 AM
Price: KRW 43,000 (good for 3-4 persons)


I hope this gives you an idea on what to eat when in Seoul. There are still so many foods that we weren't able to try like sundae (blood sausage) and jokbal (braised pork trotters). But it's okay, so I'll have more reasons to go back to Seoul. If you've also been to Korea and have additional suggestions, feel free to leave comments below. :)



The only thing I like better than talking about food is eating.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Korea Day 3: A Perfect Day Trip from Seoul

7/15/2018 03:27:00 PM 0 Comments
I was super looking forward to this day because we get to go out of Seoul. On our 3rd day, we visited the Gapyeong county located in the province of Gyeonggi. This area is known for its natural beauty and mountainous landscapes.

It'll take us about 2 hours to our first destination, so we woke up at around 7:00AM. Note: It's really a struggle to get out of bed on a cold spring morning! We planned our day trip itinerary the day before. So when we got up in the morning, we already know where we're heading and what transportation to take. This is all DIY.

spring blossoms

Our Gapyeong Day Tour Itinerary:

  1. The Garden of Morning Calm
  2. Petite France
  3. Nami Island

Here's how we went to Gapyeong by subway train. Our starting point in Seoul was in Hongdae.

  1. Hongik University Station (Line 2) to Wangsimni
  2. Transferred to Jungang Line then alighted in Mangu
  3. Transferred to Gyeongchun Line then got off in Cheongpyeong

It was multiple transfers but all their subways are interconnected and super efficient so it wasn't really a problem.

Cheongpyeong Station: jump-off point of our day tour

On our way to Cheongpyeong, we noticed that this is a quite popular route for the locals too. In the train, we were riding with so many oldies geared up for hiking. Some rowdy ajummas are even shoving past us. But it's cool to find out that old Korean people loves to hike and stay fit. Those things that we saw in KDramas are real!

Cheongpyeong Bus Stop: probinsya feels... mabundok tas walang tao!
Just walk out of the subway station and find the bus stop where you can take the bus going to The Garden of Morning Calm.

We availed the Gapyeong City Tour Bus ticket for KRW 6,000. With this ticket, you can already visit the major attractions in the area without having to worry about your transportation.

marked in red is our customized route

Most people starts with Gapyeong then end their tour in Cheongpyeong. We did it the other way around because we all feel that we would want to spend longer time in The Garden of Morning Calm hence we started in Cheongpyeong.

We waited for quite a while because the bus leaves somewhere between every 45 minutes to an hour. There is a tour bus timetable posted in the bus stop so you will know what time the next bus is coming.


The Garden of Morning Calm

We made it here at around 11:30 AM. The bus from Cheongpyeong Station took about 25 minutes. The weather was very pleasant. It wasn't very sunny so it was perfect for a walk.

ahh... so pretty!

The moment we walked down, we were already greeted by beautiful trees in different spring colors. We got really excited! Feel na feel mong nasa ibang bansa ka, kase wala namang ganito sa'tin haha!



Indian Poet, Rabindranath Tagore called Korea as The Land of the Morning Calm. This is what inspired the garden's name. It is considered as the oldest private garden in Korea.

a relaxing hike

The garden is 30,000 sqm so no matter how many people are there, you will always find a quiet spot for yourself. It has comely manicured gardens, scenic pathways and dainty flower beds. I super duper love this place!

flowers in bloom

It has 20 different themed gardens that houses approximately 5,000 kinds of plants. One of my favorite areas is the Moonlight Garden which is full of tulips of different colors.

lovely tulips

Below is another favorite of mine. The Pond Garden seems to be the perfect setting for your imaginary period drama romantic scene with your oppa haha! :)


The Pond Garden

I think we spent 2 to 2.5 hours here. As expected, we enjoyed the place a lot. I think we came during the best season to visit the garden. Spring blossoms were so enchanting!


Operating Hours: 8:30 AM-7:00 PM
Admission Fee: KRW 9,500


Petite France

Our second stop that day was Petite France. The first time I saw this place was in Kdrama, My Love from the Stars. But it wasn't the only reason why I wanted to see this place. I truly loved Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry's The Little Prince.

spot the prince!

This small village was built in 2008. This is said to be based on a French rural village and The Little Prince.

colour everywhere
You can find The Little Prince in different parts of the park. Most of them were depicting scenes from the novel.

me with Le Petit Prince

The village has 16 French-style buildings. Some of the attractions you can find are the European Doll House, Saint Exupery Memorial Hall, Antique Exhibition Hall and the Orgel House.

Frenchie feels

I don't know but I didn't enjoy the indoor attractions. I just like admiring the village from the outside. It's just the atmosphere that I like here. It is a small village so, it won't take you that long to see everything here.

Operating Hours: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
Admission Fee: KRW 10,000


Nami Island

It took us around 45 mins from Petite France to the port going to Nami. Then we rode the ferry which only took around 10 mins to the island.

on board ferry going to Namiseom

Upon arriving, I already see the paths where Bae Yong-joon and Choi Ji-woo were biking in Winter Sonata. It instantly played in my mind haha! I won't forget that drama. It was one of the first Kdramas I watched that made me hook into watching more.

camouflaging :)

Back then, this tiny leaf-shaped island is only becoming an island during seasonal rains. But when the Cheongpyeong dam was constructed, it became an island all year long. It got its name from General Nami who is said to be buried there.

The Metasequoia Lane

The island has an area of 460,000 sqm formed with pebbles and sand. There are chestnut and poplar trees all throughout. There are 6 walking paths which offers different views for every season. I think this island is beautiful in any season. We actually didn't have enough time here. We probably just went around for an hour because we arrived quite late already. I will surely revisit this island in the future.

who can forget about this? :)

By the way, this place is very popular with tourists. It's really hard to take good photos because people are everywhere especially in the Metasequioa Lane. We have to wait for a long time, be quick  and get the right timing in order for us to get the shots that we want. You know those people who takes a hundred shots before they leave and give chance to others? Ugh! It made the experience a little less enjoyable.


Operating Hours: 7:30 AM-9:40 PM (ferry schedule)
Admission Fee: KRW 10,000 (inclusive of round trip ferry fare)

Gapyeong Station: the end point of our tour

Upon coming back from Nami, we rode the bus going to Gapyeong Station. Along with Cheongpyeong, Gapyeong is also in Gyeongchun Line. You just have to trace back the same subway route you took from Seoul.

It was a long and tiring day but it was fun. We were able to see stunning places outside of Seoul and we got to experience how wonderful spring season is. If I can redo this day trip, I would probably wake up much earlier so we can have more time in Nami Island. :)



Let your joy burst forth like flowers in the spring...

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Accredited Travel Agencies for Korean Tourist Visa Application in the Philippines

6/23/2018 10:29:00 PM 0 Comments
Korean Embassy had already released the list of their officially designated travel agencies for temporary visitor's visa application. A total of 35 agencies have been accredited, 33 in Metro Manila and 2 in Cebu.


@ Gwanghwamun Gate, April 2015

Starting July 1, 2018, we may now lodge our application to the following travel agencies:


MANILA

ABOEX TRAVEL AND TOURS
Unit 14 Upper Ground Globe Tower Plaza 1
Pioneer St., Cor. Madison St. Mandaluyong
Phone: 246-1518

ADVENTURE INTERNATIONAL
G/F 3rd & 4th Floor Eurovilla 2, Rufino St. Legaspi Village Makati City
Phone: 884-9400

ARK TRAVEL EXPRESS INC.
146 Alfaro Place, L.P Leviste St. Salcedo Village, Makati City
Phone: 816-6416

BLUE HORIZONS TRAVEL AND TOURS INC.
23 Floor Pacific Star Bldg Makati Avenue Cor Sen Gil Puyat Makati City
Phone: 988-5000

BUDGET TRAVEL AND TOURS INC.
Suite 3, Metropolitan Tower, Mabini St. Malate Manila
Phone: 523-8120

CASTO TRAVEL PHILIPPINES INC.
2/Flr Tuscan Bldg., 114 VA Rufino St., Legaspi Village, Makati City
Phone: 810-0079

CITY TRAVEL & TOURS CORPORATION
LG8 Cityland 10 Tower 1, H.V Dela Costa St., Salcedo Village, Makati City
Phone: 812-9111

COME ON PHILS. GOLF & TRAVEL AGENCY INC.
A-36 HK Sun Plaza Macapagal, Pasay
Phone: 810-1959

CONSTELLATION TRAVELS, INC.
11/F Pryce Center Condominium 1179 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Bagtikan St. San Antonio Village, Makati City
Phone: 224-1730

FIRST UNITED TRAVEL INC.
Garden Level Corinthian Plaza Paso de Roxas, Makati City
Phone: 818-7181;  819-3919

GETAWAY TOURS INTERNATIONAL INC.
576 San Andres St. near corner Adriatico St. Malate, Manila
Phone: 524-2202; 524-2252

H.I.S. (PHILIPPINES) TRAVEL CORP
2/F Serendra Bonifacio High Street Bonifacio Global City, Fort Bonifacio
Phone: 718-5002

HANATOUR MANILA INC.
2/F Damon Bldg., Macapagal Avenue, 1011 Pasay, Metro Manila
Phone: 403-3993

HORIZON TRAVEL & TOURS, INC
490 Potenciana Mansion Sta Monica St., Ermita Manila
Phone: 521-2586

INTERNATIONAL JOURNEYS INC.
Unit 2 Third Floor Altra Center 1663 Jorge Bocobo Street Malate, Manila
Phone: 400 0550

ISLAND RESORT CLUB TOUR SERVICES, INC.
Unit 109-P, G/F Five Ecom Center, Pacific Drive, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City
Phone: 708-9999

JTB ASIA PACIFIC PHIL. CORP.
18th flr. RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Cntr., 26th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Phone: 894-5528

KP JOEUN CONSULTANCY INC.
Retail 9, Goldland Millenia Tower J., Escriva Drive Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Phone: 854-5514; 451 1282; 998-6639

LAS PALMAS TOURS AND TRAVEL AGENCY, INC.
G/F Unit b2 Imperial Bayfront Tower, 1642 A. Mabini St. Malate, Manila
Phone: 711-7069

MARSMAN DRYSDALE TRAVEL INC.
19th Floor Robinsons Summit Center Ayala Avenue, Makati City
Phone: 887-0000

MNK TRAVEL & TOURS CORP.
802 One Corp. Center, Julia Vargas Cor., Meralco Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Phone: 687-4443

NORTH STAR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL, INC
19F Trident Tower 312 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City
Phone: 485-7272

PAN PACIFIC TRAVEL CORPORATION
353 E.T. Yuchengco Street, Binondo, Manila
Phone: 243-6666

PARTY-ON TRAVEL AND TOUR COMMUNITY INC.
Unit C2 17th Flr. Strata 100 Bldg. F. Ortigas Jr. Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Phone: 470-2000

RAJAH TRAVEL CORPORATION
3/F 331 Building, 331 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City
Phone: 894-0886

RAKSO AIR TRAVEL AND TOURS INC.
3F Rico Bldg. #112, Aguirre St., Legaspi Village, Makati City
Phone: 651-9000

RELI TOURS AND TRAVEL COMPANY
3rd Floor Dusit Hotel Corner Edsa Pasay Road Makati City
Phone: 894-1214

SHARP TRAVEL SERVICE (PHILS.) INC.
Suite 504 Alexander House Bldg. Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City
Phone: 817-0071 to 4

SWIRE TRAVEL PHILS, INC.
6th Floor Country Spacel Bldg. Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City
Phone: 817-1082

THE BARON TRAVEL CORPORATION
3F PCCI Corporate Center 118 L.P. Leviste Street Salcedo Village, Makati City
Phone: 817-4926

TRAVEL PROS
5F SM Megamall Bdlg B. Edsa Mandaluyong City
Phone: 634 0265; 634 0266

TRAVELSERVICES, INC.
2F Trinity Insurance Center 7504 Bagtikan Street, San Antonio, Makati City
Phone: 706-8600

UNI-ORIENT TRAVEL, INC
447 Juan Luna Street, Binondo, Manila
Phone: 243-3888


CEBU

GRAND HOPE TRAVEL, INC.
Lower Ground Level, SM City - NRA, Cebu City
Phone: 032-234-0764

HANKOOKCEB CORP.
Trans Asia Building Room 301 Cor. MJ Cuenco Ave, Osmena Boulevard, Cebu City
Phone: 032-238-2595; 02-776-0253



I will be updating this post once I have already experienced applying through one of these agencies. If you happen to try them first, feel free to leave comments here to share the details of your experience. :)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Korea Day 2: Retracing Traditional Seoul

4/21/2018 07:06:00 PM 2 Comments
We rested so well after a long day and after downing some soju shots on our first night. We did nothing fancy. We just acquainted ourselves to the city and enjoyed our first sights of Seoul. We were so ready for our very packed Day 2 itinerary!


a serene corner in the palace

We got up early because we had a lot of plans for the day. When I woke up, our host Mr. Hong already had a message inviting us for breakfast. We got ready very quickly so we can still spend time with him despite our hectic schedule for the day.


Thank you for the breakfast, Mr. Hong! :)

He prepared some bibimbap, seaweed soup and omelette for us. It was a simple yet very filling meal. Koreans also eat rice for breakfast, yay! Mr. Hong doesn't have to do this really, but he is a very sweet host. Kamsahamnida, Mr. Hong! :)


Gwanghwamun Square

Our first destination for the day was originally the Gyeongbokgung Palace. But we arrived too early and we want to watch the changing of guards which is at 9:35 AM, so we killed some time first at the Gwanghwamun Square. This place was opened around the same time as the Cheonggyecheon Stream which I featured on our Day 1.

The first thing that will catch your attention will be the enormous King Sejong Statue. Sejong the Great is said to be one if not the most outstanding King in Korean history. His greatest contribution was his invention of Hangeul or the Korean alphabet. His reign is considered as the Golden Age of Korea because of the great cultural and intellectual accomplishments during that period.


Statue of King Sejong

Another notable figure in the square was the statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin. This undefeated naval commander has won 23 battles in his lifetime - all against the Japanese during the Joseon era. In front of his statue is a fountain to commemorate all the battles he fought with 12 warships. The fountain is called the 12.23 Fountain.


Statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin and Korean History Timeline

The square is surrounded by royal administrative buildings. North of the square, behind the big King Sejong Statue is the Gwanghwamun Gate which is the main entrance of the Gyeongbokgung Palace.


Gyeongbokgung Palace

This palace is one of the most iconic attractions in all of Korea. It is the biggest among the Five Grand Palaces and it served as the main royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty. It is also often regarded as the most beautiful among the five.


Geunjeongjeon (Throne Hall)

The Throne Hall is the largest hall in the palace where the King used to formally greet his audiences and give official declarations.


eye candy!

The palace architecture is a combination of ancient Chinese and Joseon Dynasty tradition. I love that they are so prettily painted.


spot the pink flowers!

I lost count on how many structures are inside the palace. It actually doesn't matter that it's crowded because the complex is so huge, you will surely find a spot just for yourself.


must have been lonely living in a palace this huge

This palace was burned down during the Japanese invasion in 1592 and was abandoned for almost 300 years. They just reconstructed it in 1867.

Operating Hours: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM (Closed on Tuesdays)
Admission Fee: KRW 3,000


Royal Guard Changing Ceremony

At 9:35 AM, we went back to the main gate to witness the Changing of the Guards. I was so looking forward to this because I really wanted to see this traditional ceremony.


Sumunjang in action

During the Joseon Dynasty, the gates of the royal palaces are being guarded and patrolled by the royal guards. They are called the Sumunjang. They were also responsible for opening and closing the gates and inspecting all the visitors of the palace.


love the royal guard uniform colors

This fascinating traditional royal court ceremony is being re-enacted exactly as it used to be held, completed with the guards wearing royal uniforms, traditional weapons and accessories. They say it is comparable to that of the Buckingham Palace in England.




just splendid

Of course, I grabbed the opportunity to take a photo with a royal guard!


feeling royal :)

The Changing Ceremony happens everyday (except Tuesdays) at 9:35 AM and 1:35 PM. Don't miss it when you're in Seoul!


time to go back exploring the palace :)


National Folk Museum of Korea

We found this museum inside the Gyeongbokgung palace grounds.

National Folk Museum of Korea

The museum houses historical artifacts mainly consisting of what the Korean people in the past used on their daily lives. Over 4,000 artifacts are on display immersing local and foreign visitors in rich Korean history.


the artifacts

The museum has three permanent exhibits: 1) History of Korean People 2) The Korean Way of Life 3) Life Cycle of the Koreans


traditional Korean people clothes

All the exhibits were interesting but my favorite was the first one.


Korean Gama

If you like museums and history, I'm sure you will also enjoy this as much as I do.


Operating Hours: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM (Closed on Tuesdays)
Admission Fee: FREE with Gyeongbokgung Palace ticket



 ***
We continued exploring traditional Seoul and headed to the Bukchon Hanok Village as soon as we finished our lunch nearby the palace. We decided to just walk because we've read it somewhere that it should only take 25-30 minutes by foot. We got a bit lost but guess what? We stumbled upon a cool neighborhood and a park with cherry blossoms and many other lovely trees!


with lil bro and the blossoms :)

We were ecstatic because we didn't expect to see cherry blossoms anymore since it's late April but we found them! We took a lot of photos at the park so our walking trip to Bukchon took more than an hour.


Bukchon Hanok Village

We finally found the village! This historic village is located between the Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung palaces. Bukchon actually means "northern village" as it is located north of the Cheonggyecheon Stream.


Bukchon alleys

This village is consisted of different alleys featuring traditional Korean houses called Hanok.


blast from the past

During the Joseon Dynasty, government officials and wealthy families lived in this village. It actually still has the same feel until now. The houses there looked like they belong to rich people.


traditional x modern

There are about 900 hanoks in the village today. Most of them have been restored still with the traditional design but now with modern materials. The alleys and streets are steep, so wear a comfortable walking shoes.

Since this is a residential village, there are no fees to visit this attraction.


Insadong

I actually contemplated weather to include Insadong here or not because honestly, I did not take a lot of photos in the area. I don't know why but I just realized it when I revisited our photos at the end of the day haha.

Anyway, Insadong is still part of our "traditional" walking tour for the day. Though I don't have photos, I can still vividly remember the galleries and shops selling exquisite arts and crafts. In fact, this was where I bought my cute Korean Folk Dolls as a souvenir and bunch of "pasalubongs" for my friends. This place is also known for their old tea houses.


Shin Old Tea House

Another reason we went here is to visit one of their traditional tea houses. My friend is very keen on trying one and well, I also like that kind of stuff so we just followed him. It was quite an adventure to find the famous Shin Old Tea House as it is tucked away in an alley far from the busy area of Insadong.


we found it! :)

We successfully found the place! When we arrived, the two halmoni (grandmas) welcomed us with warm smiles and gave us their simple menu. It was quite late in the afternoon and we were the only guests at that time. It is said to be a hundred year old house and is nicely decorated with antiques and old paintings. They offer about 20 different types of Korean traditional tea.


gangjeong and tea

I opted for the plum tea which turned out to be a little sour but sweet and smooth. Our tea came out with gangjeong. A hollow rice puff coated with honey and toasted sesame seeds. It complemented the tea really well.

We had our much needed rest at the tea house after walking all day. The dim lighting and floor seating made us relax while sipping our tea. Though the halmonis can't converse in English (except for a few words), we spent a great afternoon with them. Needless to say, we loved our experience here.


Shin Old Tea House
Address: 164 Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Telephone: +82 2-732-5257
Prices starts at KRW 6,000



N Seoul Tower

So from Insadong, we decided we can still squeeze in one more place to visit - the N Seoul Tower! If you frequently watch KDramas, I'm sure you're already familiar with it. It is a popular dating place for Korean couples, especially at night.


Namsan Seoul Tower

I guess this was where we made the worst decision during this trip - to climb up the stairs all the way to the tower! We've been walking all day from one attraction to another since early morning and yet we did not take the cable car going up. We think we were so fit that it wouldn't matter but boy, half way through and I'm already dying haha. Just pure torture.


well hello there, Namsan Tower!

More than an attraction, the Namsan Tower is actually built as a broadcasting tower to send out signals to TV and radio. Until now, it is still broadcasting signals for companies like KBS, MBC and SBS.


Seoul city lights

There is no sense tiring yourself going up if you won't proceed to the observatory. There was just a short queue when we arrived, mostly couples since it was night time. The views from the observatory was stunning. The 360 degrees panoramic view of the entire city of Seoul lit-up is just wonderful.


Locks of Love


Why is this place famous for lovers? At the roof terrace in 2nd floor, you will find these countless love locks hanging just about everywhere. People would hang padlocks here to symbolize a never ending love. It's so romantic, right? Yes, we've seen it in so many KDramas haha. For the record, I did not hang my own padlock here. Maybe not until I find my Gong Yoo, oppa. :)

Because we were so dead tired already, we decided to take the cable car going down. That is one thing I would recommend, dear readers. Take the freaking cable car! Go for the two-way tickets. It is a better deal!

Operating Hours: 10:00 AM-11:00 PM (Mon-Fri, Sun); until 12:00 AM on Sat
Cable Car: KRW 8,500 (Return); 6,000 (One-Way)
Admission Fee: KRW 10,000



We just bought something to eat for dinner in a nearby convenience store from our apartment. We were all too tired to dine out. We will be out of Seoul on our next day's adventure!




This is Part 2 of my Seoul travel series.