Seoul D4 (BGSDNMK) – SK Trip 2014 # South Korea

Today we visit some place in Seoul. First destination is Gwanghwamun Square. Ride subway to Gwanghwamun Station then exit 2. The MRT Station interior is unique.

At Gwanghwamun Square, there’s the biggest book store in Seoul, Kyubo Book Store. You can enter the shop from MRT exit or from outside.

There’s Admiral Yi Sunsin statue and also famous King Sejong statue in here.

Under the square, there’s a exhibition about King Sejong and Admiral Yi Sunsin.

After see the exhibitions, we decided to eat lunch first. We found some restaurant in the small road near the Gwanghwamun Square. Then we go to Gwanghwamun Gate which is the main and largest gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Just like other palace, in Gyeongbokgung Palace, we can see the royal culture and kingdom in here.

Geunjongmun Gate (The Third Inner Gate)
The outside wall of Gyeongbokgung palace

When we arrive at Gwanghwamun Station, my friends said that she wants to looking for some book. So while she is looking for her books, I decided to back to Euljiro 3(sam)-ga station, to visit Jeonggwanjang Hongsam 정관장 홍삼 Store. Once you go out from the station, then you will see the store in the right side.

Jeonggwanjang Hongsam exclusively deals with products by the Korea Ginseng Corporation. Jeonggwanjang, with over 100 years of history, is a Goryeo hongsam brand that only uses high quality six-year-old ginseng roots through rigorous testing.

Credit: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=988479

They offer the product: ginseng roots, condensed products, liquid products, extracts, hongsam tea, hongsam jelly, hongsam candies, and hongsam chocolate.

I also have a discount coupon from Visit Korea site. But unfortunately, the ginseng roots that I’m looking for, only there’s the big package ones and there’s no smaller one. I didn’t bring much money, and my uncle, who wants the Ginseng, said that he only wants a little. So I didn’t buy it.

After that, I’m going back to Gwanghwamun Station to meet up with my friend.

Then we go to Ewha Women’s University shopping area.

Stop by Ewha Women’s University / 이대 station then exit 2 / 3 and walk for 5 minutes then you will see a lot of store.

I didn’t buy anything in here, just walk around, until I found the entrance of Ewha Women’s University. Because it’s university area, so there’s so many students in here.

There’s so many street food and cafe too.

From Ewha, I plan to join my other friends, who are at Odbo Cosmetic Store in Seoul which there’s only 1 outlet. I go to Mapo-Gu Office Subway Station.

Credit: https://seoulinspiration.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/odbo-outlet-in-seoul/

I found this website before and try to follow it’s instructions. Exit Mapo-Gu Office Subway Station exit 3, the area is different with others subway station. It’s quiet, only traffic.

I just drop by and then back to continue my journey. I didn’t found my friends there because they are already done.

Let’s take it as walking around Seoul.. Haha..

Next I went to Yeouido Park. Yes, it’s only me, because my friend is sick and she said she go back to guesthouse first to take a rest.

Yeouido Park is a large recreational area located on Yeouido Island in the central part of Seoul. It was once originally covered with black asphalt, and people frequented the place for bicycling and roller-skating. The construction began in 1997, and opened officially in February 1999. It is now the place where many people in the city come to rest and enjoy strolling around, play sports, and cultural events. 

The park is divided into theme-based sections: the Traditional Korean Forest, Grass Square, Culture Square, and Nature’s Ecosystem Forest. In the Traditional Korean Forest, only traditional Korean trees are planted, and it has a pond and an octagonal pavilion, with a trail walk that completes the feel of an elegant Korean garden. Grass Square has a low hill, with grass field and various trails, and nearby there are evergreens and deciduous trees to reflect the changing of the seasons. Many performances and events are held at the Cultural Square, and because there are many zelkova trees lined up nearby, it is a great place to rest. One particular part of the park that is most enjoyed is the Nature’s Ecosystem Forest – it is where you can observe nature and learn from an ecologically sensitive pond and forest, right in the middle of the city. Composed of a swamp area, waterline area, grassland area, and a forest, you can observe various kinds of life forms living in these areas. 

One of the must-see areas is the Yunjunro Street, behind the National Assembly Building. This place is famous for having the loveliest cherry blossom street in Seoul. Cherry blossom trees, 30 to 40 years old, line up for about 6km, and is very popular in the spring.

Credit: Visikorea

Once out from the station, we can see the 63 building

It’s a nice evening to enjoy the park. Maybe next time, I could come here with someone, and enjoy more of it’s facility.

Yeouido Subway Station

From Yeouido, I decided to walk at Cheonggyecheon Stream. There’s so many subway that could lead to the stream, so I choose Euljiro 3(san)-ga to Euljiro 4(sa)-ga. 

Credit: Visit Korea

Until it was restored in 2005, Cheonggyecheon Stream existed only as a neglected waterway hidden by an overpass. Today, it has been transformed into a haven of natural beauty amidst the bustle of city life. 

Narae Bridge, representing a butterfly in flight, and Gwanggyo Bridge, symbolizing the harmony of the past and future, are just two of the more than twenty beautiful bridges that cross the stream. The Rhythmic Wall Stream, lined with fine marble, sculptures, and Korea’s 8th stone building, Palseokdam, adorn the Cheonggyecheon Stream. 

Cheonggyecheon Stream passes close to Deoksugung Palace, Seoul Plaza, the Sejong Center, Insa-dong Street, Changdeokgung Palace, and Changgyeonggung Palace, allowing visitors to easily visit major tourist sites after a leisurely stroll along the stream. 

It’s unique. Pity I didn’t have a change to explore more. Maybe next time. 🙂

It’s already evening, and I promise my friends to meet them at guesthouse at 17:00. So I decided to go back to the guesthouse. While on the way back, I drop by Wangsimi Subway Station, to go to E-Mart. I bought some snack, and also bread for my dinner.

Today is my friend’s last day in Seoul, tomorrow they will go back to Indonesia. So tonight we plan to watch Rainbow Fountain at Banpo Bridge.

Only 4 of us go there, the others feel tired already.

After rest for a while, then we go there. We stop by Gangnam Subway station and walk along their underground mall first. It’s cheap and many things sell in there. If you would like to shopping, this place is one of the suggestion.

The rainbow fountain show is 20:00 o’clock. At 19:30, we walk to Banpo Bridge directions. A lot of people go back after watched the 19:30 performance.

We passed by underground tunnel.

Banpodaegyo (Bridge) is a two-tiered bridge over the Hangang (River). Its lower level, called Jamsugyo (Submergence Bridge), is designed to be below water during the rainy season. In 2009, Seoul Metropolitan Government added the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain to the Banpodaegyo, creating the world’s longest bridge fountain (as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records) with 380 water jets and a dazzling array of multi-colored lights.

Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain is the world’s longest bridge fountain. The fountain is programmed to play different shows during the day and night. During the day, the fountain shows a hundred different configurations meant to evoke waving willow branches and willow leaves. When the sun goes down, 200 lights illuminate the fountain as it sends up dancing, rainbow-colored jets of water in the air in synchronization with music.

The Moonlight Rainbow Fountain’s water jets are dynamic and can move in time to music creating spectacular ever-changing displays. Add to that the hundreds of rainbow-colored lighting combinations when night falls, and it is easy to see why Banpodaegyo is a magnet for tourists year-round.

The park also has outdoor stage, eco-observatory and picnic spots.

Credit: Visit KoreaVisit Seoul

My friends said, that if you visit on weekend, there are a stall that sell Seoul Fried Chicken, which very famous. Too bad, I visit when it’s weekdays, so no one sell food in there.

The rainbow fountain is beautiful. I’m not regret come here during night, in the middle of autumn cold.

Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain Time:
> April-June, September- October (Duration: 20 min)
     Weekdays: 12:00, 20:00, 20:30, 21:00
     Weekends: 12:00, 19:30, 20:00, 20:30, 21:00
> July-August (Duration: 20 min)
     Weekdays: 12:00, 19:30, 20:00, 20:30, 21:00
     Weekends: 12:00, 19:30, 20:00, 20:30, 21:00, 21:30

Then we go back to guesthouse for rest.. Tomorrow is my last day, and tomorrow I’m gonna meet my Korean friends.

Seoul 서울 D3 (BGSDNMK) – SK Trip 2014 # South Korea

Today, we visit Apgujeong and Cheongdam Street at Gangnam. 

Before start our journey, I bought Banana Milk for my breakfast.

Apgujeong and Cheongdam are located right at the entry of Gangnam (literally meaning, “South of Hangang River”). Gangnam is known for advanced industries, venture capitals, global business centers, expensive apartment complexes, and high-end villas. If one lives in Gangnam, he or she is regarded as having “new money”. This is also area of K-Pop Entertainment. Many entertainment company, located in here like SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, Cube Entertainment and F&C Entertainment.

We decided to stop at Apgujeong Rodeo Street Station. At the station, we can found 2PM 2D stand-picture.

Apgujeong and Cheongdam-dong are the main shopping districts for the rich in Gangnam. Many young people interested in fashion and hair crowd the district. Considered to be ‘hot’ places, Apgujeong and Cheongdam-dong typically lead in new fashion styles and social trends in Korea.

Connecting Apgujeong and Cheongdam-dong, Apgujeong-ro (ro meaning ‘boulevard’) is the center of luxury fashion and is full of a chic department stores and luxury brands. Korean and international designer shops, galleries, and multi-shops (designer goods in smaller boutiques), and entertainment venues can easily overwhelm casual visitors. Designated as the ‘Special Fashion District’, Apgujeong-ro attracts leaders in the fashion industry and fashion enthusiasts and holds various fashion festivals and events every year.

Aside from fashion, Apgujeong and Cheongdam-dong are renowned for offering high-end total beauty care from nail art to hairdos, skin care, and plastic surgery. Top-notch beauty shops provide comprehensive luxurious services to international tourists.

Apgujeong and Cheongdam-dong embody the modern wealthy lifestyle in Korea, evidenced by the young professionals that flock to the area’s chic cafés, bars, and restaurants.

Credit: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SH/whereToShop/whereToShop.jsp?action=about&cid=995827

The street from the Cheongdam Station intersection to Galleria Department Store is lined with luxury brand stores and designated as the special fashion zone “Cheongdam-dong Fashion Geori (Street). Often frequented by celebrities, the area became a popular tourist destination for Hallyu fans.

Credit: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=1389275

Some of my friends, are Kpop fans. And this is why this trip is made. I’m not a big fans, but I know some of idols. And I’m curious, about the entertainment in Korea.

From Apgujeong Rodeo Street exit 2, make a u-turn, you will greet by Apgujeong Street which is very big. Just like Orchard Road in Singapore, but bigger and not too crowded like Orchard Road. You can see clearly the shop in the road side. And all is branded.

1st destination is SM Entertainment. Actually, there’s an office in the road which we passed, but it has been renovated. So we keep move on. We plan to visit the other office. I remember my friends said, keep walk until you found Citibank. Then turn left. So, we keep walk to Cheongdam Station direction. We passed Galeria Department Store, and many fashion boutique. The weather is nice, so it’s really comfortable to walk.

After the main road turn to right, we found the citibank, then we turn left, to a small alley. Just walk straight until almost the end of road and you arrive at F&C Entertainment. If you know CNBLue, AOA, FTIsland then this is their company.

Walk again to the end of the road then turn right. Then you will arrive at SM Entertainment new office. Super Junior, TVXQ, Girls Generations, F(x), EXO, this is their company. My friends is fans of Suju, and we took some picture in here. In front of SM Entertainment, is Han River. But you can’t see it from here because there’s a small hill.

Then we walk straight, and turn right. We found JYP Entertainment in there, right in front of Dunkin Donuts. This is the company for 2PM, Miss A, GOT7, etc.

There’s 2 alley in there, and we go to the left, and found CUBE Entertainment, the company of Beast, 4Minutes, BToB, etc.

After that, we arrive again at the big street cheongdam but different alley. Actually, from here you can turn left and walk to Cheongdam Station. But, because we still need to visit a cafe at Apgujeong, then we turn left. Stop by KFC first to eat because it’s already lunch time. Then we decided to ride bus to back to Apgujeong Rodeo Street Station. Fortunately, some of us know how to read Hangeul. So I know how to read bus line. (But I forgot the bus number).

From Apgujeong, we ride subway to Chungmuro Station go out from exit 4. Once out from subway, you could see a lot of people in there. Yes, many people go to Namsangol Hanok Village. It’s Korean Traditional Village. You may consider it interesting to find this area standing between the tall buildings. This village has five restored traditional Korean houses and a pavilion, a pond and a time capsule, which make it a perfect spot to take a walk. 

When you enter the front gate, you will see the vast valley and the Chunugak building to the left of the pond. Along with the pond, it is a splendid place where performances are held.

cute kids, with hanbok

I saw an Ahjussi making Sandals. It’s interesting.

On the side you will see five traditional houses. These houses were rebuilt after the traditional houses of Joseon Dynasty and belong to those of various social classes, ranking from peasants to the king. The furniture in the house is situated to help guests understand the daily life of the past, and the clean, traditional houses and their antique items provide a great photo op.

If you would like to check out some souvenirs, stop by the traditional craftwork exhibit where you can buy small dishes and other items. You can also have traditional tea and refreshments.

On the grounds, there are traditional games you may try such as ‘neolttwigi’ (sea-saw jumping), ‘tuho'(arrow throwing) and ‘yunnori’ (traditional game of throwing wooden yut sticks).

Don’t forget to go see the traditional marriage ceremony! During the weekends, traditional marriages are shown at Bak Yeong Hyo’s Residence. The traditional marriage ceremony is an interesting event for both Koreans and foreigners and many gather to watch. During the winter season (November to February), there are not as many wedding ceremonies as held in the spring and fall. Weddings are typically held around noon or 1 p.m. and visitors can take pictures with the husband and wife wearing traditional wedding costumes. There is also a time capsule commemorating Seoul’s 600 Year Anniversary that was buried in 1994 and is scheduled to be reopened four hundred years later in 2394. Credit: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=264116

We can see Namsan Tower from here.

From Namsangol Hanok Village,  we go to Namsan Tower / N Seoul Tower. We will ride the cable car. So we go to Myeongdong Station exit 4, then until you see Pasific Hotel then took the right side and walk up to Namsan Cable Car.

Cable car return-trip fee cost W8.500/pax.

Once we arrive, we still have to climb for a while.

If you didn’t want to ride cable car, you can walk this road

Then we arrive at a big park, which sometimes there’s a performance in here.

Before we go to Observatory, we walk around the park. There’s a cafe and souvenir shop. There’s an upstair deck, this place is where you could put love lock.

You can buy the observatory entrance ticket in here. It cost W9.000/pax.

The observatory entrance located in the middle of the park, not the same as where you buy the ticket.

Once you are at observatory, you can see a very beautiful view of Seoul City.

There’s a cafe inside, and also candy shop and souvenir shop. You also can send a postcard from Namsan post. I try to send one, but because I wrote it using wrong ink pen, when I want to put it inside the red post office, the ink was spread. So I think it won’t arrive at home.

From observatory, we walk around the park in front of Namsan Tower. You can see the beautiful scene of Seoul city too in here.

It’s beautiful. We enjoy the view for a while. Then we go back to cable car. On the way back, we drop by a little food court and buy Twist Potato. It’s delicious. Too bad, the weather is more and more cold. When we eat the potato twist, firstly it’s hot. But in the end, the potato twist turn cold.

Then we go back to Myeongdong Station using cable car.

Link:
– N Seoul Tower Visitkorea
– Namsan Tower Cable Car
– Wikipedia

After finish visiting Namsan Tower, we go to Hongdae 홍대. Hongdae is the area in front of Hongik University. Also a neighborhood known for its youthful and romantic ambience, underground cultures, and freedom of self-expression. Unique cafes, cozy galleries, accessory stores, fashion shops, live cafés and clubs, art markets, and gourmet eateries make this a popular hang-out for locals in their 20s and 30s and a fascinating place to walk around. 

Also in this same area is the ‘A ballerina who loves b-boy’ theater and other theaters dedicated to the art of b-boy dance. Another big draw of Hongdae is the weekend ‘Free market,’ (1pm to 6m) where artists gather each week to display and sell their handmade crafts and accessories. During the market time there are usually a variety of open-air concerts and events as well. 

These unique place plus the cultural events, street performances, and festivals held here make Hongdae-ap an area that is always packed with people and excitement. Special streets such as ateliers’ street (with full of private institutions for art students preparing for university entrance exams), Picasso’s Street, and Club Street are also must-go places if you’re hoping to fully experience the Hongdae area.

Address: 
Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul-si 
서울 마포구 서교동 일대

Credit: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=1326972

Hongdae is a famous area for young. Because it’s in front of university, and there’s a lot of cafe and club in there. It is more lifely at night.

My friends wants to try Korean hairstyle, so she entering one of the haircut salon. It’s located at 3rd floor of a cafe. They can’t speak english, so my friends only choose the picture, and they do the job.

After finish, we walk around for a while then back to hotel. Next time, I came here, I will spend 1 day in here for culinary and walk around the universi

Seoul 서울 D2 (BGSDNMK) – SK Trip 2014 # South Korea

Back to Seoul, it’s still evening. So we decided to walk around Insa-dong.

Address:
130-4, Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul-si 
서울 종로구 인사동 130-4 일대

Directions:
Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6.
Go 100m straight, then turn left.

Insa-dong (인사동), located in the heart of the city, is an important place where old but precious and traditional goods are on display. There is one main road in Insa-dong with alleys on each side. Within these alleys are galleries, traditional restaurants, traditional teahouses, and cafes. 

The galleries are the heartbeat of Insa-dong. There are about 100 galleries in the area and you can see every example of traditional Korean fine art from paintings to sculptures. The most famous galleries are Hakgojae Gallery, which functions as the center of folk art, Gana Art Gallery, which promotes many promising artists, and Gana Art Center. 

The teahouses and restaurants are the perfect complement to the galleries. At first they might be hard to find, but if you take the time to stroll around the twisting alleyways, the window shopping in itself can be very entertaining. The shops in Insa-dong are very popular among all age groups, because each one is unique. 

Every Saturday from 14:00 – 22:00 and Sunday from 10:00 – 22:00, some streets are blocked off from traffic and it becomes a cultural space. Stores set up booths outside and others set up shops (Korean candy merchants and fortune tellers.) There are traditional performances and exhibits as well. Insa-dong is especially popular with foreign tourists. This is where they can experience and see traditional Korean culture firsthand, and also purchase pieces of fine art. On the street you can eat Korean taffy and traditional pajeon (Korean pancake), and see many foreigners lost in all the joyous festivities of the street.

Credit: Visit Korea Insa-dong

This place is nice, the Korean Culture could be seen here even some store sell nowadays things. You can buy souvenir in here, even the price is not too cheap.

Not many people in here, maybe because of weekdays. The shopping street is nice, and comfortable to walk. After walk around, we back to hotel and rest.

Seoul 서울 D1 (BGSDNMK) – SK Trip 2014 # South Korea

After we go back to Seoul from Daegwallyeong Samyang Ranch, we are drenched by the rain. So we go back first to the hotel to take a bath because we are afraid if we get cold.

After cleaned up ourselves at guesthouse, we decided to walk around Myeongdong. Go to Myeongdong Station (line 4, blue) exit 5, 6, 7 or 8 or Euljiro Il-Ga Station (line 3, orange) exit 5. Once you get out from subway station, you will see a bright street with many store in there. That’s Myeongdong Shopping Street.

Address: 
30, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul-si 
서울특별시 중구 을지로 30 (남대문로2가)

Myeong-dong (명동) is one of the primary shopping districts in Seoul. The two main drags meet in the center of the block with one beginning from Myeong-dong Subway Station (Seoul Subway Line No. 4) and the other from Lotte Department Store at Euljiro. Many brand name shops and department stores line the streets and alleys. Common products for sale include clothes, shoes, and accessories. Many designer brands are sold in Myeong-dong. In addition, several major department stores include Lotte Department Store, Shinsegae Department Store, Myeong-dong Migliore, Noon Square and M Plaza. The department stores carry many premium labels and other fashionable goods at reasonable prices.

Myeong-dong also has family restaurants, fast food, plus Korean, Western and Japanese dining options. Many restaurants in Myeong-dong specialize in pork cutlet (donkas) and kalguksu (thick noodles). Other businesses include hair salons, banks and theaters. Myeongdong Catholic Church is also a well-known tourist attraction. It is pillar of the Catholic church in Korea and was built in the Gothic style. Behind the church is a quiet space for relaxation.

Link:
– http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=264312
– http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SH/whereToShop/whereToShop.jsp?action=about&cid=995821
– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myeong-dong

Don’t forget to go to M Plaza 5th floor at Seoul Global Culture and Tourism Centre. You can try Hanbok for free. But you have to queue. So when you have a chance to go here, registered first then you will got a number and time. Then walk around the area while spending the time. Then at the time, go back to the M Plaza 5th floor to take your turn. (Queue time is about 1 hour).

We spend time to buy cosmetics. The korean brand like Face Shop, Etude, Nature Republic, is much cheaper than in my country. So we spend time to buy it. Don’t forge to ask for tax refund form if you bought in there.

At night, there’s so many street foods in there. You can try it while walking around.