Hey There. For my first travel related post I am going to talk about my trip to Seoul, South Korea that happened from the 11th to 15th of August 2018. For your information when I went it was Summer and South Korea was experiencing some of the hottest days in its country’s history. The temperature was about 34 Degrees Celsius (93 Degrees Fahrenheit) and humidity around 50 percent. Before we arrived the weather report said that it was going to rain from 13th to 15th but thankfully it did not. Also to note at the time the exchange rate was 1000 Won to 1.22 SGD (Singapore Dollar). Andddddd lets get started!!!
Day 1 Itinerary
Arrival – Yongsan – Hongdae – Myeongdong
We took a overnight flight with Singapore Airlines from Changi Airport Terminal 3 to Incheon International Terminal 1. It was a 6 Hour 35 min Flight from 0010 Singapore time to 0745 Incheon Time (Seoul is ahead of Singapore by an hour).
When we arrived we decided to take the Incheon Airport Bus Service #6002 to go from Incheon to Hongik University Station (홍대입구역), which cost 10,000 Won (12.2 SGD). We chose to take the bus as it seemed like a more convenient option as compared to lugging our luggage around the subway. The trip took about an hour but the bus wasn’t crowded at all so the ride was quite smooth.
We also got a 7 day unlimited 4G/LTE card from the CU convenience store in Incheon. I can’t remember the price but I googled and you can get a 5 day unlimited pass from KKDay for 28 SGD so you can check that out. We also got T money cards which you can use for Public Transportation (i.e Metro and Bus) which cost 2,500 Won (3 SGD). Do take note there is no pre loaded value so you need to top up for every ride. Alternatively you can purchase a MPASS card which is exclusive to tourists which gives you 20 rides day. We decided not to as we did a lot of walking and the cost of transport overall did not reach the amount of a MPASS card.
After reaching Hongdae we walked over to our accommodation which was Amanti Hotel Seoul, which was a 5-10 minute walk from the station. Since it was only 10 AM and check in timing was at 3pm, we dropped off our luggage and went off to explore Seoul.
Hotel Address: 31 World cup buk-ro, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
We decided to head to Yongsan to go to I’Park Mall, reason being it has an Official Gundam Base Store and I wanted to pay it a visit. We walked back to the metro station and took a train from Hongik University Station to Yongsan Station. A app that I really recommend is the KakaoMetro App which u can download on your phone. The app helps you to navigate the Seoul Metro, giving you the fastest route to your location as well as travel time and price. Anyways after a short 10 min trip we reached Yongsan.
Not going to bore you with what I bought but here is a quick guide to navigating I’Park Mall which can be a little tricky
- I’PARK Mall is split into three sections, Living Park, Fashion Park and Culture Park
- Fashion Park is like your normal department store, selling name brands like Adidas, Nike, High end brands like Louis Vuitton and Coach, and cosmetic products.
- Living Park has Furniture stores which is not what tourists are looking for
- Culture Park has Bookstores and Instruments and the Gundam Base.
I visited the Gundam Base, Tamiya store which is located next to the Gundam Base, as well as the Twice Pop Up Store that was happening at the 1st Floor of Living Park (They were selling Dance The Night Away Merchandise and it ended on 13th August so I was kinda lucky HAHA as I did not even know of this).
After this we went back to Hongdae to explore the area. First off the agenda was to try this Korean Fried Chicken Place called Kyochon Chicken, widely regarded as one of, if not THE BEST chicken place in South Korea. We went to their Hongdae branch which was a 10 min walk from the station. While you can call Kyochon for takeout we decided to walk there for lunch as my Korean is not really that good. I tried ordering in Korean but the Waiter knew Chinese so i just spoke to him in Chinese. We ordered a Soy Garlic Set for 18,000 won (22 SGD) as well as a beer.
As you can see we got 10 Drumlets which we shared. I’m not really a food critic but I really enjoyed the chicken. The skin was crispy, the meat was juicy, however i felt like there was not enough of the dressing. There are other flavors available too as well as hlaf and half options so that you can get the best of both worlds. Overall I would recommend this place to anyone visiting South Korea.
We then walked around the area to find the thisisneverthat store in Hongdae. thisisneverthat is a popular streatwear brand in South Korea, compared to the likes of Supreme. My sister wanted some stuff from the store, so we set out to find it. The actual store is located near Hongik University and in the residential Area, and after 30 minutes of searching and going loop after loop around the area, we found it. However, that store was closed, but thanks to a kind passerby that we approached, we found out there was a pop up store THAT WAS NEAR KYOCHON. We then walked all the way back there to the pop up. They only allowed a certain amount of people at a time into the pop up, so it took us 30 minutes to enter. However, most of the stuff was actually only on display, and we only managed to get a white thisisneverthat worksout T Shirt for 39,000 Won (SGD 48). After a long search, we went back to the hotel to check in and wash up.
Oh we also dropped by ALAND in Hongdae on the way back. ALAND is basically a shop that curates fashion pieces from various brands in South Korea and sells them in their store. They also sell grooming products as well as cosmetic products from brands like COSRX, which I bought. I got the One Step Pimple Clear Pad, Good Morning Gel Cleanser, Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, and Honey Overnight Moisturising Mask.
Finally, at night we went to Myeongdong, widely known as a shopping haven in Seoul, especially for cosmetic products. Do not worry if you do not speak Korean, as there are tons of Chinese workers here so you can speak to them in Chinese. Most also speak basic English. A tip is that there are many stores of the same brand in the area so make sure to walk around and check each store to see what they offer and DO NOT COMMIT TO ANYTHING UNTIL YOU KNOW THE PRICES. We spent most of the time shopping for our family members who wanted various skincare and cosmetic products. We also went to Lotte Young Plaza, where there is a SM Store as well as a YG Store, selling merchandise of their artists. The SM store is hard to miss as it is one of only two stores in the basement, but the YG store is only a small booth on the 1st floor so keep your eyes peeled for it.
For Dinner we ate at this place called Myeongdong Gyoza (명동교자). Again the Ahjumma (Middle Aged Lady) spoke Chinese so she just told took our order in Chinese. We got two kalguksu which cost 8,000 Won (10 SGD) Each and a Mandu (Korean Dumpling) Set for 10,000 won (12 SGD) which was about 12 Dumplings. They also give free flow kimchi which the ahjumma will keep refilling even if you do not want it. If a restaurant is not your thing then you can always opt for street snacks, which are lined all along the streets of Myeongdong. From traditional Korean Snacks like ppopgi to Nutella Ice Cream, be sure to give all these snacks a try.
Also I met a celebrity at Myeongdong!!! I saw Joon Park of g.o.d while he was filming an episode of Wassup Man on the streets of Myeongdong. I took a short video of him then ran off cause I was scared to get caught on camera. He was walking down the same street as me for a while before he turned into the innisfree Flagship store. Unfortunately the free wordpress plan does not support video.
There, my first day in Seoul. Mostly spent shopping which kinda strained our budget for the next few days. Will be back with Day Two of my trip soon. Thanks for reading!!! If you have any questions you can leave a comment and I will do my best to reply you.
- M-Pass Card: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/TRP/TP_ENG_8_1_2.jsp
- Metro: https://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/TRP/TP_ENG_6.jsp
- Airport Shuttle: https://www.airport.kr/ap_cnt/en/tpt/pblctpt/pblctpt.do
- Wifi: Just google and search for internet in Korea and compare prices