Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 2 - Anguk Station, Namdaemun & Dongdaemun

Woke up early, had breakfast at the hotel and proceeded to Bukchon Hanok Village at Anguk Station. By the way, I loved our hotel, Myeongdong Skypark Hotel. It was located near Exit #6 of Myeongdong Station and was perfect for our needs, which was to basically shop till we dropped! We kept dropping by to drop off our shopping bags or buying some food from the many street stalls littering the streets of Myeongdong up to enjoy in the comfort of the hotel room.

If the price difference between the twin and double room isn't too big when you're booking a room here, go for the twin room! It's so worth it. The room is much bigger. Even the bathroom is bigger! The twin room has a bathtub but the double room does not! The only thing separating the shower area from the toilet in the bathroom of the double room is a shower curtain. So basically the whole bathroom gets wet everytime you take a shower.

Anyway back to posting about the day, we began the day with a stroll around Bukchon Hanok Village. There were a few traditional guesthouses there which looked pretty cool.

This is the only photo I have of the place. Lol idek.

There were a few hanoks that you could go into, but for a fee of course. We decided to go into this one about Korean royal costumes.

For ₩30,000 (SGD$35) you can dress up like this and take a photo:

After our walk, we went to a small tteokbokki restaurant, also near Anguk station that's supposed to be famous for their sauce. It's called 먹쉬돈나 (Mok Schwei Don Na) which translates to Eat, Relax, Pay & Go. I read about this on Seoul Eats and apparently it is the place to have tteokbokki. We went to the Tourist Information Center to ask for directions and tried to find it by locating the Korean Travel Bureau but the guy didn't know where it was. But when I told him the name of the restaurant, he immediately knew what I was talking about and showed us where it was on a map.

We ordered Seafood + Cheese tteokbokki and added fried dumplings and noodles. The entire pot cost us ₩11,000 (SGD$13) which I thought was pretty reasonable, considering it had super fresh seafood, and a small bowl of tteokbokki in the street stalls with just some fish cakes cost ₩3,000! And the rice cakes used in the street stalls can't be compared to this one. This was soft and chewy and the ones in the street stalls were a bit hard in comparison.

After eating we ordered a drink to share at Amandier, near exit #1 of Anguk station.

After ordering, I was given this. I was puzzled initially, what was I supposed to do with this? Then I figured it would probably make a sound or something to alert me to collect my order when it was ready, and I was right! After waiting for a while, the thing lit up and started vibrating, when I went to the counter, my tea was there waiting me.

I thought to myself, wow this cafe is pretty cool. But after staying for 10 days in Korea, I found out that nearly all the cafes have this little gizmo, even fast food restaurants like Lotteria. This is a great system that works well. You don't have to stand stupidly at the counter, waiting for your order to be ready. And the staff don't have to shout out your order or look at your receipt and try to figure out if that is indeed your order.

Iced ginger tea with a small cookie :D

Next we went to Namdaemun Market which was kind of reminded me of Chinatown in Malaysia. Seoul weather in June is kinda hot, almost as hot as Singapore, only less humid.

Shaved Ice and red beans with green tea ice cream @ Paris Baguette

Went back to the hotel for a nap after that and then went to Dongdaemun to shop! Managed to somehow get out of the wrong exit at the train station and walked like 3 blocks in the wrong direction lol fml. Finally decided to ask for directions and a kind stranger led us to Doota.

I don't have any pictures of the stuff we bought now, but will probably do a post on the haul at the end ;)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 1 - Tosokchon, Gyeongbokgung & Seoul Tower's N Grill

First of all, I would like to comment on the our flight to Seoul on Asiana Airlines. We decided to choose Asiana Airlines as they were named Airline Of The Year 2010 by Skytrax, that and the tickets were cheaper than Singapore Airlines lol. But I have to say I have trouble understanding how it won Singapore Airlines tbh. Seeing as it won the award, I couldn't help but keep comparing it to SIA.

The service was no where as warm and friendly or attentive. But And worst of all, there was no personal IFE on the flight to Seoul! I was quite shocked when I realized that upon settling down in my seat. No personal IFE on a 7 hour flight WTF! Idk I've always thought that this was something pretty standard, and certainly not too much to expect from a 5-star airline? The only form of entertainment, besides a crying baby, was a tiny screen in the front, which showed a few episodes of Just For Laughs.

On the return leg, there was personal IFE, but the movie choices were pretty limited. They had Unknown, Inception, Rango and a few other movies. Since I had already seen most of them, I ended up watching Big Momma's: Like Father, Like Son lol.

The only redeeming factor was the seat itself, which was probably the most comfortable plane seat ever. There was generous leg room and a thick seat back which made it most comfortable to sleep on. Although I had trouble falling asleep on the flight to Seoul as I did not have a neck pillow. I bought one at a Daiso in Seoul and it is a life saver. I can't believe I always refused to bring one on board as I didn't want the trouble of carrying it around. It is SO worth the trouble.

Anyways, enough about the flight. Now to post photos!

Airplane food: Omelette with potato and sausage. Quite yummy :)

After landing, making our way to the airport and depositing our luggage at the hotel, it was already near lunch time so we went to Tosokchon, which was near the first attraction we wanted to visit, Gyeongbokgung.

First purchase, a bottle of green tea haha.

 It's supposed to be a really famous restaurant, known for its Samgyetang. But nobody we asked seemed to even know what we were talking about lol. Just arrived and lost immediately -_- Fortunately my mum happened to look up and spotted the sign above the buidling just across the road! For people who are looking for it,  it's at Exit #2 of Gyeongbokgung station, walk towards the Paris Baguette, Tosokchon is somewhere in front, turn left in one of the lanes (can't remember which one sorry!).

Yay! We found the place! As you can see my mum was very anxious to go in and eat, didn't want to wait for me to take a photo.
Inside the restaurant. Everyone's sitting on mats.
Within minutes, our Samgyetang arrived, with a small glass of ginseng wine which you can choose to drink or add it to the Samgyetang.
Kimchi and pickled white radish (at least that's what I think it is...)
After our meal we exited the restaurant. Thank God we went there early, a long lined had formed outside!

With our bellies full, we made our way to Gyeongbokgung.

Just in time for the guard changing ceremony!

A snack by the pond.

The palace was huuuge! We were exhausted from the flight exploring the palace so we went back to the hotel to take a nap and also freshen up before going to N Grill.
Taking a cable car up to Namsan Seoul Tower.

Chillin' in the bathroom.
In the restaurant; Some champagne, a toast to a great holiday ahead :D
Amuse bouche.
Mozzarella Ravioli.
No idea what this was. But it tasted like some kind of potato soup?
Duck with some kind of orange sauce, I really loved this one.
Main course: Hanwoo beef (Korean premium beef). Highly regarded by Koreans due to its desired chewiness.

Damage to wallet...

Not cheap and food while good was not spectacular but I felt it was a worthwhile splurge for the view and atmosphere. I saw a guy proposing to his girlfriend at the table next to ours, it was so sweet!

Seoul Tower @ night!

Friday, June 24, 2011


Hello dear neglected blog! I haven't been posting much lately cos I've been busy. But I finally got some much needed R&R last week and spent 10 wonderful days in Korea! Will be posting some photos of my trip soon but tbh there aren't many photos cos most of the time was spent shopping lol. I bought a shit load of clothes and beauty products etc but I still have quite a bit of Korean won that I exchanged left! I think I'll be going back to Korea soon, maybe at the end of the year ;)

Recently I got an iPhone and I love it! I'm never going back to Android!!

Previously I didn't want to get an iPhone as I already had an iPod Touch and I preferred phones with a QWERTY keyboard. But I was so sick of my Android phone randomly freezing when I was trying to view a website and having to take out the battery to restart it. Maybe this isn't the case for all Android phones... mine was one of the cheaper ones so idk. But I had given up and Android at that point so I finally decided to get an iPhone before leaving for Seoul and it was the best decision ever.
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