Lmao, dude I am the worst at these vacation posts.
I think its because I take too many photos while on vacation,
and HATE sorting through them + editing.
But hey, I finally got around to post about my trip to Korea,
guess what… 1+ year past due! ~wtf~
Well lets get to it.
3 days and 2 nights in Seoul, Korea!
Read from the beginning of my trip.
(Japan not blogged about yet)
Prior to Seoul, I was in Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei.
We left Beijing early afternoon and arrived in Seoul, Korea on October 25 (2014) around 2pm. This is the first country that we visited during our Asia trip where we didn’t know the language. Since we both know Mandarin, it was a breeze getting through Taipei, Shanghai, and Beijing. We had no clue what to expect in Korea.
Exiting the airport, we first proceeded to exchange currency. We didn’t end up changing too much since we knew we wouldn’t be staying in Korea for too long. Towards the end of the trip we almost ran out of money to get to the airport and couldn’t afford anymore food, lol! #fail
Outside of the airport, we began figuring out how to get to our hostel. It was quite the challenge for us and we felt very dumb. Eventually, we went to a window attendant who seemed somewhat annoyed by us, but at least we figured out how to take the bus!
Fun Fact: While waiting for the bus I noticed that there were indoor glass rooms for smokers. Also, I noticed that all of the girls in Korea have very nice, porcelain, white skin. Its amazing.
Our hostel was at U*Wa around the Hongdae district. We took this bus across a freeway bridge to cross the water. The bus ride was about 30 minutes or so, but I didn’t mind the scenic view. Also, the bus was playing some historical Korea drama at the time, hehe.
Erick was pretty irritated by now because of how difficult it was to make our way to our hostel (in comparison to the other countries). However the rest of the trip did go up hill!
Once we figured out which exit to get off the bus, we made our way and rolled our luggages a few blocks over to the hostel. Walking along the way, we saw a ton of places that looked so delicious!! Oh and how the streets smelled of coffee and pastries. At the hostel, there was a place to leave your shoes outside. Inside there were many young Koreans who were hanging out playing games and singing with a guitar. They looked so happy!
Our hosts at the hostel were super friendly, and extremely helpful with our travels. I would completely recommend staying there for anyone who is traveling to Korea!
At the hostel, we stayed in room 305. I didn’t want to stay in a shared bunk bed room, so we ended up paying for our own (but with a shared bathroom). The room was super tiny, but had everything that we needed. I don’t think we used the AC since it wasn’t that hot. We did however make the mistake of accidentally letting some mosquitos in, yikes! Btw, I love staying in rooms that have keyless entry doors.
Once we settled in and finished exploring our new home for the next 2 days, we headed out. First thing we did was go and buy wifi. Wifi in Korea was probably the easiest out of all the countries because Seoul has wifi that covers the entire city. You just need to purchase access to it and you can get internet from anywhere!
Anyways, for dinner, Erick really wanted to get Korean BBQ at ChaKan.Kr. We went back to one of the places that looked popular when we passed by earlier in the day.
Fun Fact: It’s interesting because a lot of the restaurants that have a long wait place stools in rows at their store front. Customers in line sit on the stools facing towards the street and move over to the next seat every time a party gets called.
Korean food is one of my favorites because I love spice and kimchi. I couldn’t resist ordering some KimchiJjigae to go along with the BBQ. It did not disappoint. The sides were pretty different from what’s normal in LA Korea Town, but still good.
Fun Fact: All of the KBBQ restaurants have these extendable arm things above the grill that sucks up the smoke. Why don’t we have this in America?! Everyone leaves it just 3-5 inches above the grill for minimal smoke exposure.
The food wasn’t ayce though, and the meat ended up being quite pricey. We only got 2 types of meat and our bill ended up being around $50-60 USD. This price was pretty consistent with all of the KBBQ joints that we tried out during our trip.
Full and round bellied after dinner, we wandered the streets. Since it was a Saturday night, the city was hustling and bustling. There were street performers everywhere! Some of them had huge crowds, like this one dude, Mr. Ham @ The Happening, who was doing some fancy tricks. At the time of this photo, he was balancing his hat on his head and tossing items into it with his foot. He was about to toss his phone and tricked us by catching it instead. Truly entertaining, as you can see the young Koreans love it, especially the girls!
Selfie for me and Erick. As you can see I was excited to be out and about. It was definitely a new experience for the both of us and we were loving every second of it.
As we continued our exploration, we ran into these cute soju bottles walking around. Oh how Korea loves their soju. I do too.
When I passed by these egg pastries on the street, I knew I just HAD to have it. It looks so bomb no? Too bad it was just aiight. But worth the try. We got the crepes too…
Look how jammed packed these tiny alley ways are. There were a ton of these really small alleys that sort of weaved itself around the district. Tons of little small shops for fashion related goods and food. This was for sure a hot spot for young Koreans.
Later that night, we ended up meeting up with one of our old college mates, Scott! Unsure of what to do, but remembering that we passed by a hookah place, we decided to go check it out.
It was a nice place with a dark neon lighted atmosphere. The ambience was similar to that of a lounge and the seating was quite interesting. There was a 2 drink minimum per person, and the hookah service was strange. I’m not sure they understand how hookah works at this location? The workers wouldn’t let us touch the bowl, blow out ash, or replace coals. We had to buy a new bowl basically, which made no sense since the first bowl is perfectly fine!
Once we were over hookah, we left and headed towards a local park that was nearby a university that apparently has a lot of foreign exchange students. There were a ton of non-asians around this area, and they were all hooligans, lol! I liked it. Basically around this park are a lot of liquor stores, and everyone chills at this park to smoke and drink.
Fun Fact: I learned that South Korea (particularly Christians) likes to send over items such as food & Bibles via balloons over to N. Korea. Most items never make it to the people of N. Korea because they are shot down and kept by the guards. North Korea threatens to bomb S. Korea for this often.
When we got to the park, there were some locals having a freestyle hip-hop session, which was really fun to be a part of. Just wish I could understand what he was saying!
Next we decided to get some Chicken & Beer. It was good, and we got to enjoy some live music that was being played right outside the restaurant. They were singing popular American songs.
Fun Fact: Chicken and beer is a very popular type of Korean restaurant. Literally, people go for wings and beer/soju.
By now we’ve had our fair amount of shots, beers, and cocktails. Look at these two cheesing.
Our next stop was Cocoon Club. Since it was almost Halloween, there were people walking around in costume. The clothing attire for the clubs are a lot more casual than in America. I can’t believe they let all theses big no no’s go in, and not me because I was wearing flip flops! They said it was a safety hazard and I had to have close toed shoes.
Fun Fact: The club allowed guests with backpacks on, dirty a** sneakers, but not me with flip flops.
Since we couldn’t get into the club, and we were too lazy to head back to our hostel to change shoes since it was already late, we headed to a new spot — Thursday Party. Apparently this is the most popular spot for foreigners. I did see a couple of Korean girls, but they were busy making out with foreigners. Look how packed it was outside and just imagine the inside. People in costume, dancing, drunk, hooking up in corners, and shots!
We took a few shots inside and I remember using their bathroom. Jeez, made me feel like I was in America with all the wildness.
Fun Fact: US based military in Korea have a 1am curfew. In the past, Korea had a 10pm curfew for everyone.
Another selfie of the 3 of us. Can you tell we are buzzin’? We decided to get more food, lol. Passed by a Taco Bell and ordered a bunch of stuff. It was good! Tasted very fresh. Erick was all drank out, so we didn’t continue the night unfortunately. I would have loved to! Scott was prepared to go home at 7am, lololol. We ended up calling it a night at 5am instead. After walking our friend to the station, we headed to our room to sleep. Good night, Korea!
Fun Fact: At 3-5am, it’s common to see young Koreans stumbling through the street, or even throwing up! Saw so many…
One night has passed and its now another beautiful day in Korea. The weather in October is pretty good, not hot and also not cold to the point where you need to be bundled up. During the day time I was able to travel around in tank tops and shorts!
Our first stop in the morning was for KBBQ again. I told you Erick really wanted to eat it.. for every meal if possible. Here’s a better view of what I was talking about earlier. You can literally suck the smoke up from the meat inches away.
After splurging another $60 on BBQ, we got ready to venture out into the unknown! We took the subway train to make our way over to Gyeongbuk Palace. But on our way we took many detours.
Right out of the subway and surfacing to the streets, we discovered that Nike We Run Seoul was happening. It was a huge event with lots of people, music, and commotion.
We passed by this park which looked really nice from the outside. I thought it was neat that there were people (guards?!) standing in front. Anyways, we didn’t go in because we were being cheap and didn’t care too much to see what we didn’t know about. Maybe next time.
Instead, we walked around the perimeter of the park. Boy was that a large park. Along the outside walls of the park, there was what seemed like a farmers market type event going on with lots of local sellers.
Here’s a snap of what I was wearing. Obviously it was so hot that I ended up carrying around my jacket the rest of the afternoon. I noticed now that I’m getting older, I can’t seem to leave home without a jacket… just.. in.. case..
Around the corner was this interesting stone art piece. Isn’t it a trip? It really messes with my eyes. Too bad I don’t have a good photo of the statues next to an actual person. Otherwise you’d better notice that they were designed to look super squashed and mess with your perspective.
Aren’t the colors of these trees so beautiful? Fall is so gorgeous in Korea. Here we are sitting outside in front of Seoul Museum of Art.
Continuing our journey, we finally make it out of the park area past a school and into a more commercialized district. This street had so many cars (mostly Korean branded cars btw). In the center isle of the street were lots of historic figures that led its way up to the palace.
There was also a memorial for all of the students who perished in the boat accident a while back. We felt so bad for their families…
… and finally, Gyeongbuk Palace! We made it, yay! There was hella tourist here to see the palace. This was just the outer gates, but it was beautiful. To the left and right, there were stone lions (kinda similar to the Chinese ones that we always see, but different…). Wish I had gotten a better photo of the lions.
Entering through the outer gates, we found ourselves in what seemed more like the front yard of the palace. Isn’t it gorgeous with the mountains in the background? I really loved seeing the architectural differences between Korean design and Chinese. It was all so similar yet very very different. Ey and check out the Korean horse dragon.
Leaving the palace, we found a group of elderly folks sitting outside painting. So cute! I loved this so much. As we moved on, we realized that there was an arts and crafts festival going on. Lots of amazing and talented artists displayed their work, from young children to professionals. It was a great unexpected treat.
Ugh, looking at this photo of brick toast has me going crazy. I don’t think it was that amazing, but it was good regardless. Plus it gave us the chance to sit down, relax, and use their bathroom.
Walking more, we found ourselves in a huge Korean mall. They had EVERYTHING. I was going crazy for all of the super cute jewelry that they had and bought a few sets. I’m wearing them right now actually! It was too easy to spend a couple of hours there browsing. At the very top of the shopping mall was a nice roof top garden where we enjoyed the last bit of sun.
Leaving the mall we discovered a small street that was poppin’. There were tons of yummy foods, popup shops, and also actual retail stores.
Fun Fact: Did you know that Taiwan isn’t the only country that has night markets? Korea has them too!
Look at this delicous Ddeokbokki that we got. It was super fresh. In the photo on the left, the woman is serving a fresh batch. On the right, the other woman is making a new batch. Once the batch is done, they shift over the new wok batch to the left and start the entire process over again.
Also, if you want to order and get served, you don’t order from in front of them. You have to go around to the side to get food. There are also tables that you can stand at and eat. Most of the foreigners couldn’t figure out how to get the food and thus didn’t get any…
As we kept walking the night market, it began to rain!!! Everyone started clearing very quickly and before we knew it, we were drenched and eagerly seeking shelter. We found ourselves at Abiko Curry, which apparently is a chain restaurant. Unknowingly, I ordered their most spicy curry on the menu. Damn, why didn’t anyone tell me that it was their “special challenge”?! It was probably the spiciest thing I’ve eaten in my entire life. Just one bite and my head was ready to explode! We didn’t do any damage to this plate… Btw, the flavor of it wasn’t even good…
After my sad dinner, we took the subway back home. I love how their stations look, so clean and safe. You can’t jump into the tracks even if you wanted to since the doors only open when the train arrives.
Getting back, we hung out around our area more by checking out the Samsung store and a few coffee shops. One of the shops we stopped by was Twosome. We got some coffee and desserts, then it was off to bed!
We didn’t have too much time the next morning to do anything, and we were almost out of money. I was all shopped out and broke, lol. For breakfast we decided to get some ramyun. Hit the spot and wallet perfectly.
Fun Fact: Only in Korea can you open up a shop that literally sells garnished Shin Ramyun instant noodles for $5.
After arriving at the airport, I looked at how much money we had and realized that I only had the equivalent of about $3 USD, lol. So happy we made it without any issues. Erick happily used that money for some iced coffee.
In the airport, there was a parade of people in historical traditional outfits. Made me feel like history was passing by me. I love how Koreans are so proud of their culture and how they try to share it to the world at their airport!
Well that concludes my trip to Korea!
Hope you enjoyed the read and learned something new.
Sorry if I had any typos or awkward repetitive writing.
I didn’t do a double check, scan, or anything, just straight wrote away.
Until next time…
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2 Replies to “Asia Trip: Korea”
Thanks for your share . I like your article.