There is something about South Korea that grips my spirit – something that pushes me to go back there. When I reached Incheon International Airport after a 5-hour plane ride from Kalibo (invaded by the Chinese – the rowdiest people I have ever met), there I realized how fascinating this country is, from the efficient systems at the airport to a wide array of tourism destinations you can choose from (I’m certain you’re gonna have a hard time so I suggest find a friend or a Filipino there or get a tour package when you reach the airport). This post is more about photo walks, food hunt and shopping for I only had a very short time (saving leave credits for the rainy days).Not a fan of K-Pop or Korean renowned cosmetics but the blogs and stories I have heard and read about this country amused me. So, let me share snippets of our 48-hour trip in Seoul, South Korea sleeping included.Since we stayed in Myeongdong (Vestin Villa via booking.com), we first went around the shopping district and enjoyed the -9 degree coldness like your ex. If in case you stay in this district, I suggest you ride bus 6015 because it’s last stop is Myeongdong Station. On the bus, there is Japanese and English translation.
You can check out options going to Seoul Center by clicking this link https://www.thepoortraveler.net/2017/02/incheon-airport-to-seoul-myeongdong-hongdae-jongno-bus-train/
MYEONGDONGBut wait, there’s more! Seoul can be like one pricier city in Asia. So be more choosy with the purchases when you go around Myeongdong shopping. There’s a lot of great great awesome buys you can choose from. You can buy cool sweaters at 10000 W (approx 500php) I got used to buying souvenirs at cheapest price but this street’s different. While most suggest to not convert money, I highly demand you do especially if our trip is on budget. But if you have unli-swipes with you, Myeongdong is a perfect hub. If you are looking for skincare products, be amazed with the discounts in Myeongdong Shopping Street. In my case, I downloaded an English-Korean translator and KW to PHP converter application for easy conversion or to prevent miscommunication.Yes, a street. It’s like a street full of Korean goods and foods on the side. And, you can beat the weather with a sip of a free hot soup if you buy a stick of Korean streetfood. I bought Nature’s Republic Aloe Vera Soothing Gel. It’s good for face, hand, and body moisture. But other than that, other products are soooo expensive!Myeongdong also goes so fun and vibrant at night and its quite crowded so I suggest to go shopping early morning. There is this energy that even with the lethal coldness and the suffocating atmosphere, you will not stop walking until your joints start to hurt.Now when you get tired of the walks, have a break by treating yourself with this yummy egg bread or gyeran bbang. It’s like a bar of butter cake with egg as a filling. Smells and tastes really good. Koreans are really friendly. As long as they can, they will try their best to communicate with you and I am more than happy to see how their people can now start speaking English. And at the airport, they speak very well especially the supervisors.
HONGDAEOn our second day, my good Korean friend, Luke joined us in a tour in Hongdae.It is one instagrammable spot which transforms at night. From coffee to craft beer, from traditional Korean food to global fusion of dishes, from school kids to party animals.
Hongdae is like a hub for students since a university is just next to it. So there is like a train of people hunting for winter clothes, coffee shops, restaurants and just a stroll with cream bread on hand. And then I blended in together with my half sister, Astrid and of course, Luke!This Fuhaha cream bread is a delight. It’s so extra you will become happier when you go shopping while snacking on this. And then, coffee. Nothing beats winter with a cup of coffee and good talk with your friends with layers of warmers.Jebi Dabang which means swallows’ café has day and night different. During the day, you can relax and have music live music at night.
Korean Bibimbap at a local restaurant.
DONGDAEMUNGoing places around Seoul is just within a snap of your fingertips using the subway. However, it is so complicated for me unless I choose to work there.Dongdaemun is every shopper’s beautiful nightmare. There are about 26 malls in this area alone which could be dissected into over, 30,000 shops, both aboveground and underground, so better buckle up to avoid frostbite when strolling around this place.Our fellow Guimarasnon who has been working in Seoul for almost 10 years gave us a tour of Dongdaemun and the sights that can be seen in there like this Filipino carinderia inspired eatery. You can choose two viands with a cup of rice for 7000 W (almost 400 pesos).Aside from shopping and going around, feast your eyes with everything artsy at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. This spot holds events like the Seoul Fashion Week but on ordinary days, products are sold here by new companies as test if the said stuff will thrive in the market.And during our trip, we had a glimpse of Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
During our entire trip, there was no snow. The very reason why the weather was freezing!
Notice I do not have pictures in this place because I felt like I was in a freezer that the moment I let my hands out, the freezes my blood. But you can have the best buys there. Caps, cute socks and sweaters.
We also went to the Catholic Church in Dongdaemun where Filipinos meet every Sunday and during the other days of the week.Seoul has so much to offer. Just by walking around the streets and other alleys, you can have beautiful photos and stories. Spend money on locals that sell streetfood and other goodies.So I started collecting memories in South Korea. It totaled to only 48 hours but I know I’ll be back for more.