Shopping fun in Seoul – 14D Korea Part 9

Hangang Park

Day 9 – Shopping Craze and B-Boys!

This was one of the simplest day – just shop, eat, and repeat!

I had a little craving that day and was thinking a lot about this Nakseo Pajeon that had raving reviews on many blogs out there. It was a little out of the way, outside of the city center where I was staying and I took a long time to finally decide to go there. And at 10am…

It wasn’t opened. 🙁

Sigh…a good 1 hour+ trip to get back to my city center. Anyways, at least I returned with a photo ><!

Hoegi Station Pajeon Alley
Hoegi Station Pajeon Alley

Shinchon ladies street & Ewha Woman’s University & Fashion Street

Next, headed off to Edae region (short for Ewha University) area. There wasn’t much photo I have on this journey…but to spare a few:

Fried Chicken towards Edae
Fried Chicken towards Edae
Brown - LINE Store near Edae-Shinchon
Brown – LINE Store near Edae-Shinchon

Plenty of clothes store and in this region – ladies heaven really! This place felt like Bugis street but more spacious and easier to shop at.

Next stop, was heading for Hongdae, but decided to try going on foot – I can’t really remember why I did that, but I passed this region which was near Sinchon metro and there was a huge crowd over there – so I got curious and try to see what huge crowd was screaming about.

Accidentally Attended Fan-meeting

UNB - Fan meeting
UNB – Fan meeting

I tried to find a spot where I could watch, and ended up behind the idols. The front facing section was fill with people standing on stools. Impossible to get past!

I hadn’t any idea who they were but might as well join in the fun! Shortly, their manager decided to clear a path for them to exit later on, and they chose to split the crowd right where I was! Talk about luck! We waited patiently and soon, they, 7 of them, were walking passed us and waving goodbyes! Everyone had their hands out trying to get a hi-5. I joined in late however! Got 1 hi-5 though! 😀

Later, I learned that they are UNB – formed by the idols survival show – The Unit. And when I did came back to SG, I followed their journey on the show!

Hongdae

It was a long walk, I decided. So, I continued on metro to Hongdae to visit Hongdae Free Market, which is only opened on weekends. This is a little market where students (I presumed) set up stores to sell stuff and mostly handicraft works. I didn’t linger around much.

Spotted this One-Piece while wandering around the Hongdae region! I didn’t venture in further, but it seems like a theme cafe?

One Piece
One Piece

Eventually, found a dinner spot before my BBoys concert! It was a korean-jap fusion restaurant, and I got a simple meal here:

Next, was then searching for the location of the BBoys concert. I walked this stretch of road repeatedly back and forth, because on my Google Map and GPS showed that I keep missing my spot. Yet I just couldn’t reach that place! Obviously… if only meant 1 thing but it wasn’t so obvious to me back then.

During the search, 2 Koreans guys approached and ask me directions (XD). Sadly I couldn’t be much of a help, but we chatted a little after they learnt that I wasn’t a local. Hehe, honestly I was happy for this little chat because in Seoul, I haven’t have got much of a chance to interact with people. I was really missing my stay at Busan, Gwangju, or Jeonju! Just before we part our ways I asked them for help on directions, and they pointed to that building where I had been pacing right in front for the past 10 minutes!

So in short, its actually situated just 1 level below the bank.

Kung Festival Battle B-Boy Season 2
쿵 페스티벌

121, Wausan-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul – B1 one of the bank building
서울특별시 마포구 와우산로 121 (서교동)

BBoy Kung Festival

Before concert starts!

BBoy Kung Festival
BBoy Kung Festival

Aftermath! (Phototaking time!)

 BBoy Kung Festival
BBoy Kung Festival

I raved this concert! Its a rather small stage area but it provides a better view for the audience and dancers will sometimes get out onto the floor. No-speech, awesome dance moves, and a simple story line with plenty of comedic expression. 😀 There were some interactions with the audience, asking a few of them to show off their dance moves or help out with some tricks. Really enjoyed the session throughout! And afterwards, audience are free to take photos with the dancers.

Afterwards, I hit Hongdae streets…and look at that crowd!

Hongdae at night
Hongdae at night

Plenty of buskers, dancers, singers, and many more! This street is so full of life I wish I could “import” this back home. xD! With the crowd here, vehicles wouldn’t consider moving through this place. There was one exception once while I was there and buskers have to stop and everyone had to move out of the road for that lorry to pass through. Imagine that amount of eyes watching this little lorry driving through. xD

Hongdae, hongdae! Oh man, I seriously love this spot and I kept returning for the few nights later on. Same for Edae shopping streets. xD. I couldn’t get enough!

Day 10

Yeouido Hangang Park

Hangang River
Hangang River

Day started with a trip down to Yeouido Hangang Park – There seems to be some kind of games or cherry blossom event so it was quite crowded as well. I strolled through the park and there are some beautiful decorations:

Hangang Park
Hangang Park
Hangang Park
Hangang Park

…and life-size games:

Chinese Chess -Hangang Park
Chinese Chess -Hangang Park

In this picture above, there was an interesting game drawn on the floor above the Chinese Chess. A bullseye? Couldn’t figure out until I detoured back later and spotted some locals balancing on one-foot and then kicking out their other feet – sending their shoe on that feet flying towards the bullseye. xD

Hangang Park
Hangang Park

Beautiful painted tiles – this was at one of the far end of Hangang’s Park. Chilled for a little longer before setting out for my next stop.

Yoojung Sikdang 유정식당

14 Dosan-daero 28-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
+82-2-511-4592

Yoojung Sikdang - BTS frequented restaurant
Yoojung Sikdang – BTS frequented restaurant

This was a restaurant that BTS frequented during their early pre-debut days! They specialise in black pork, and I got the following pork-bulgogi which came with a tofu soup! Delicious and great value!

Bulgogi - Yoojung Sikdang
Bulgogi – Yoojung Sikdang

 

I actually started eating the in my asian way – a bit of rice, a bit of meat. The restaurant server saw me and gestured me to dump my rice in the bulgogi and mixed it up the Korean way. Ooooh! Yeah! Wished I had more people to share food with! There were many things on menu I wished to try – the pains of a solo. And heres a take of me and the restaurant internals – all of BTS posters pasted over the restaurant!

Yoojung Sikdang
Yoojung Sikdang

After that, decided to walk from the restaurant to Apgujeong Rodeo Street – where Google says fashionable people walks. I didn’t spot much people there and many stores were closed on that street when I visited. The description on blogs didn’t match up to my observation sadly. So, it wasn’t much of a fruitful trip there.

K-Star Road

Headed next to the K-star road for Idols Bears!

K-Star Road

Long street with Idol’s bear lined up! Took me to while to walk to the end…then think about walking back. xD

K-Star Road
K-Star Road

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If you were into K-pop, then this might be an interesting street to visit! Along the way, I spotted a SM building where they exhibited their creativity and ideas behind the icons and logo design. There was a small (fan) crowd gathering at the door where they were “queuing” to get their idol’s namecard? Wasn’t sure how that works however…

As this was near Gangnam area, so the next stop would naturally be the Express Bus Terminal underground shopping. A huge underground stretch of shops that I think would be an at least good 2-3 hours spent. After some while, I felt that the clothes was a little repetitive however. But its a good place for find cheap buys as well.

Evening time was setting in, and it was raining heavily at then. I headed back to Myeongdong region was jumping in and out of departmental stores to dodge the huge rain while trying to do some shopping. Finally, decided to head for my much anticipated dinner in Korea:

Gaehwa 개화

107-1 Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
서울시 중구 명동2가 107

Gaehwa Restaurant
Gaehwa Restaurant

This restaurant was located within Myeongdong region – and they specialised in Korean/Chinese cuisine I believed. I didn’t take much look at the menu because I already pre-planned before the trip to have…

Jjajangmyeon - Gaehwa
Jjajangmyeon – Gaehwa

…Jjajangmyeon! This dish I often saw it in dramas and dream of eating it! I found a good Chinese store that served this in Singapore, Causeway Point Food Republic years back but they had closed after the revamped. I haven’t found my replacement for this dish after then. And now, I am finally in Korea to satisfy this craving for the long years!

I was having some kind of internal conflict when you anticipated something for too long and when eventually it didn’t match the expectation. Especially after I had some non-tasty Jjajangmyeon before in Singapore’s restaurant. However, this dish met my dreamed expectations and it was delicious! Smooth, and non-too overpowering bean-paste taste! The noodles gave a good bite without being too tough. This will not be my last visit on this trip, and I will try to come back again!

It was plenty of shopping for 2 days, and the next day I shall go back to sight-seeing!

Simple 1 Day Seoul Itinerary – 14D Korea Part 8

Gyeongbok Palace

After the hectic week of running across South Korea for sights, finally, I headed for vibrant city, Seoul, and my final destination! I had a total of 5.5 days here. But for this first part, which is just a half day itself, I felt like I had stuffed plenty of stuff which is a little bit of everything within the same region. Need a simple 1 day Seoul itinerary? Try here: Read on for ginseng chicken, K-BBQ, historical and cultural indulgence at Gyeongbok Palace and Seodaemun Prison History Hall, and immersed in cuteness overload at BT21 and LINE merchandise at the LINE Flagship store at Itaewon!

Continue reading “Simple 1 Day Seoul Itinerary – 14D Korea Part 8”

BT21 – LINE Flagship Store Itaewon

BT21 - LINE Itaewon

Quick look at BT21 – LINE Store Itaewon – visited in April 2018. At then, BT21 merch weren’t for sale, and they were just for exhibition only. Things might have changed since then, and perhaps more merchandise offerings! Of course LINE merch were available, but I focused on BT21…

First up – Stationery:

Stationery - BT21 LINE Store Itaewon
Stationery – BT21 LINE Store Itaewon
Staionery - BT21 LINE Store Itaewon
Stationery – BT21 LINE Store Itaewon

Skateboard too!? Really super cool as collectible with the graphics!

Skateboard - BT21 LINE Store Itaewon
Skateboard – BT21 LINE Store Itaewon

All the huggables/wearables.

Wearables/Huggables - BT21 LINE Store Itaewon
Wearables/Huggables – BT21 LINE Store Itaewon

This following set felt more like a cool-kid theme?

Wearables/Huggables - BT21 LINE Store Itaewon
Wearables/Huggables – BT21 LINE Store Itaewon

Of all the exhibitions, I find the little homes of each BT21 characters most fascinating! Really cuteness overload!

TATA – with the game controller from Fire MV?

Tata - BT21 LINE Store Itaewon
Tata – BT21 LINE Store Itaewon

Chimmy got a boxing bag…maybe from Cooky?

Chimmy - BT21 LINE Store Itaewon
Chimmy – BT21 LINE Store Itaewon

I think KOYA is trying to grow a tree so it can go back to its natural habitat XD

Koya - BT21 LINE Store Itaewon
Koya – BT21 LINE Store Itaewon

MANG is so cool with the skateboards though!

Mang - BT21 LINE Store Itaewon
Mang – BT21 LINE Store Itaewon

Theres, just, plenty of SHOOKY everywhere. And no milk, no milk, no milk!

Shooky - BT21 LINE Store Itaewon
Shooky – BT21 LINE Store Itaewon

Cooky, muscular Rabbit in training! Now I feel the punching bag had no space here, so it ended up in Chimmy’s room.

Cooky - BT21 LINE Store Itaewon
Cooky – BT21 LINE Store Itaewon

RJ, the alpaca – I think he made the rug with his fur during summer. Teehee~!

RJ - BT21 LINE Store Itaewon
RJ – BT21 LINE Store Itaewon

The stairs!

Stairways - BT21 LINE Store Itaewon
Stairways – BT21 LINE Store Itaewon

And can’t miss the huge mascots!

BT21 LINE Store Itaewon
Mascots – BT21 LINE Store Itaewon
Mascots - BT21 LINE Store Itaewon
Mascots – BT21 LINE Store Itaewon

Do wish to go back there again!

Gwangju & 5.18 Democratic Uprising – 14D Korea Part 6

Continuing on my recap on Gwangju – in this city I hadn’t much sightseeing to do, but only included a visit to Songjeong market, some watching-out for architecture along the way. My main focus was actually all about the 5.18 Gwangju Uprising event. Additionally, on my trip so far, I had gotten 2 similar recommendation when I spoke to travellers or my airbnb host about this – “Have you watch ‘I’m just a Taxi Driver’ – the movie?”

Day 7 – Evening

Came back from my Damyang day trip, although exhausted I continued on my itinerary, very much anticipating the 5.18 Memorial Park.

18th May Memorial Park

Took the bus 518 to reach here – and it was evening about 6pm plus by the time I had reached. The light was dimming and the park looked so huge with only a few souls wandering – I had to admit, it was feeling creepy. So I quickly snapped a few photos:

5.18 Gwangju Uprising Memorial Park
5.18 Gwangju Uprising Memorial Park
5.18 Gwangju Uprising Memorial Park
5.18 Gwangju Uprising Memorial Park

There are quite a few items regarding the 5.18 Gwangju Uprising event around this area that I didn’t manage to get to visit/see as it was already after office hours. At then, was somewhat disappointed as this was the only 5.18 item I had in planned ahead for Gwangju – and I was really looking forward to check out the full history behind it.

Nevertheless, I had one last stop to complete my night:

1913 Songjeong Market

13, Songjeong-ro 8beon-gil, Gwangsan-gu, Gwangju
광주광역시 광산구 송정로8번길 13

To get here: take metro to Gwangju-Songjeong Station, and it will be just across the street – rather well directed by the signs.

1913 Songjeong Market - Gwangju
1913 Songjeong Market – Gwangju

I read about how they tried to revive this market with the 1913 theme. However, it wasn’t really opened in the evening so there wasn’t much to see – only handful of stores were opened:

1913 Songjeong Market
1913 Songjeong Market
1913 Songjeong Market
1913 Songjeong Market

Evening was the time-out for this market – it wasn’t exactly convenient to reach here (located at the almost far end of the west of Gwangju by metro) and it fell short of expectation with most of the stores closed. Supposedly – I had this “ddeok galbi street” near the Songjeong market area in my plans – I wasn’t craving for it since the mega ddeok galbi lunch – skipped it altogether. Decided to call it a night and return home:

Awesome night time by myself

Part of the enjoyment from my airbnb – they have a CD player! And yes, they’ve got some CDs as well. Decided to blast it at reasonable noise level and make the living room more lively. And of course, do some work by studying the map and deciding what to do for my next half a day at Gwangju.

Day 8: Gwangju rushed city exploration

I set out early, packed up my baggage and locked the doors behind me. Goodbye, my short (fantastic) airbnb stay – and set out to the U-square bus terminal – decided to get there ahead, lock up my stuff, and go wander in Gwangju – also, to get a ticket to Jeonju

Weirdly, I guessed my luggage locker was faulty as it sort of automatically unlocked itself or something. Anyways, my luggage was sitting in there safe and sound – but for its comfort I had to pay for it to lock up again at full price – which was a waste of money. 🙁 As far as the counter staff had advised, if you had locked it overnight, the next morning when you wanna retrieve it, it will just ask you for additional top-up cash.

I remember there was one stop I made and I kind of believed I may have returned to the 5.18 Memorial Park again to visit the library/center by it – I didn’t have much recollection though. I remembered there was a pictorial exhibition, but little to zero transcript on those photos. There were books on the 5.18 Gwangju Uprising and I stayed for 10 minutes or so trying to rush reading through them. But that idea didn’t work out well…

Anyways, I set out for my first stop:

Breakfast at Cheongwonmomil (청원모밀)

174-1, Jungang-ro, Dong-gu, Gwangju
광주광역시 동구 중앙로 174-1 (충장로3가)

This had been recommended around on sites online – so of course, I was out hunting for this as my breakfast. So I got off the nearest stop which is Geumnamno4(sa)-ga, and imagine my surprise when I chanced upon this billboard on a building right outside the station exit…

Joy Dance, Plugin Music - Dance academy home to many kpop stars!
Dance academy home to many kpop stars!

I wasn’t even trying to find this although I did read up and did consider including this in my itinerary – it was home to TVXQ Yunho, BTS J-hope, and of course a lot more Kpop stars! I didn’t go in however, was really surprised with my finding though. 😀

Shortly, reached the restaurant but there wasn’t staff at the counter and I stood there for quite some time before poking into the kitchen looking for a waitstaff to take my order. I understand I might have been a tad too early, it was just past 10.30am which was their opening hours.

Menu at Cheongwonmomil
Menu at Cheongwonmomil

This place is popular for their Buckwheat noodle (momil-guksu) or in my interpretation – momil is “buckwheat”. So essentially, most of the items on menu are talking about variants of the Buckwheat noodle. I went for the simplest variant which was the momil-guksu: Buckwheat noodle soup.

Sad part of going solo – not being able to order items to share. I’d been wanted to try wang-mandu for quite some time, having seen it on so many menus 🙁

Momil guksu
Momil guksu

Back to my momilguksu which arrived rather promptly – I felt it was rather underwhelming, in a way – it is comfort food. Locals might appreciate it more? And given the raves (even recommended by Michelin) – it didn’t unseat the mulmilmyeon from Busan for me. I might still return to try the dry version which some blogs prefers over the soup version though.

Out on Gwangju street for Follies

After the comforting breakfast – I am back out on the streets, and just wandering along as I head to my next spot. But – I have a few sights to catch. If you googled around, you might have read about Gwangju’s Follies – art-architecture? They were scattered in areas surrounding Geumnamno4(sa)-ga. I recommend you get a local map which should already have marked those spots, and then mapped out the artsy locations and then take it to the streets.

And heres a really in-depth blog post by another wordpress that documented the Follies visiting.

I wasn’t bent on catching all of them – just so that these were along the way:

Gwangju Folly
Gwangju Folly
Gwangju Folly
Gwangju Folly

Truthfully, I wouldn’t have noticed if I wasn’t out looking for these follies ><

Hopped into one of the NC wave stores at Gwangju and got this:

Shoes from NC Wave - Gwangju
Shoes from NC Wave – Gwangju

I could walk in this, but I kind of regret purchasing as the size was still a tad too small. Like I said, EU 40 and above, don’t try too hard finding shoes in Korea ><

5.18 Archive – UNESCO Memory of the World

Continued on towards this archive exhibition on the 5.18 Gwangju Uprising – I was really glad to have included this based on previous night effort on analysing the map. I actually immersed myself in this archive exhibition as it was very informative and there were plenty of English translations.

5.18 Archive Center - UNESCO Memory of the World
5.18 Archive Center – UNESCO Memory of the World
Bloody Geumnamro - Splendid Holiday - 18 May
Bloody Geumnamro – Splendid Holiday – 18 May

Terror on the streets – when the martial law was in placed and finally set to action, the troops took to bludgeon anyone looking like a student (or) demonstrator – yes just civilians in fact – and they don’t even care if the citizen really participated or were even hostile at all. Beat them, stripped them down, and humiliated them. This was a really terror event. And wait till you read about this operation’s code name – Wonderful Vacation / Splendid Holiday – wtf? Of course, down the future, this code name would totally smear the operation upside-down even if they had *ever* meant to do good any at all (bring peace etc etc) – I mean, FFS why did they even choose that name to begin with???

In the first place, the civilians had no part in it at all. The demonstrations actually began with students peaceful participation to put an end to martial law. But, on the 2nd day of the terror, when civilians came out to street and saw all the terrible state of the yesterday aftermath – blood, bodies laid strewn on streets, and injured people everywhere – imagine that sight, how angry would you have been. This brought them altogether – to give aid, to come together and put a fight back at that abuse of power. The Civilians Army was formed.

At that point in that archive center, I felt a chill from behind me.

While people were happy with the successive retaliations, they were eventually really tired out and there were disagreement on negotiations and how it should be continued. It wasn’t an easy task for the civilians who were barely armed or trained to continue the fight against well-nourished and equipped troops. Some wanted to fight on, while many more wanted peace. Those who persevered as demonstrators were eventually massacred. The most chilling part – they knew of their impending doom, and were waiting for it. In the very last moment, they broadcast the message – as quoted from the book (see below):

“My fellow citizens, the army is entering our city now. Our dear brothers and sisters are being killed by their guns and bayonets. We will fight against the army to the last. Let’s fight together to the last. We will defend our Gwangju to the last. Please remember us…!”

With that, the massacre started and the “so-called riot”, came to an end. While it had been concluded as an ending, this was the spark that awaken the civilian spirit and eventually led to the an end of martial law. It was a slow process, but a fruitful one.

“May 18 – Gwangju Democratic Uprising” – a free copy of the book was available at archive center here. It was perhaps hastily translated into English from Korean version(?) as there were many inconsistencies with the names such that I was confused half the time through the pages. Still, this provided a good insight of the various events that eventually led to the massacre and the fight for democracy.

5.18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising Book
5.18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising Book

Going up the archive center, there was also a photo exhibition about the Sewol ferry sinking event.

Photo Exhibit on Sewol Ferry Sinking Event - UNESCO Memory of the World
Photo Exhibit on Sewol Ferry Sinking Event – UNESCO Memory of the World
Photo Exhibit on Sewol Ferry Sinking Event - UNESCO Memory of the World
Photo Exhibit on Sewol Ferry Sinking Event – UNESCO Memory of the World
Pondering on history, violence, and peace...

At then, I was thinking of how people in the past can initiate violence on each other so easily, especially when they were of the same root? I mean, theres no problem with race, religion, and soldiers and civilians were practically same skin color same nationality same root. Of course they have stronger pride for their respective cities and are proud of their Satoori, but how can violence be so easy back then? This might be a whole lot of history and human nature behaviour I shall just leave my disbelief up to here ><

Democracy was a tough fight for especially in the past for many countries not just Gwangju-Korea itself. Peace we now enjoy doesn’t come free and easy – don’t take it for granted and remember the past events that led to achieving it.

Gwangju – it was a short trip here, but I was a lot more satisfied with this stay here than expected. It wasn’t just blatant sightseeing, but historical indulgence which I found it really meaningful with lots to ponder on. Additionally, there are some spots which I hope to visit the next round – Penguin village, Geumnamno-sa-ga, and Songjeong market in the afternoon. The 5.18 Memorial Park as well as I did it really hastily this trip.

And I realised later – there were no cherry blossom photos in my Gwangju stay! 

Day trip to Damyang – 14D Korea Part 5

Juknokwon Bamboo Forest Entrance

Heading to Gwangju next, again I was there for about 1.5 days – a really short stay. Gwangju is pretty small, but I found out more things to do after I was there so, regretted the really short stay. Part of my reason for visiting Gwangju was the day trip to Damyang, to take a walk through Juknokwon bamboo forest, a scenic walk through Gwanbangjerim, and the amazing trees at Metasequoia-lined Road.

Continue reading “Day trip to Damyang – 14D Korea Part 5”

Haeundae Beach and Jjimjilbang Experience at Spaland – Korea 14D Part 4

This is my last day of fun at Busan and I concluded it with a Haeundae Beach visit and at the gigantic mall – Shinsegae Centum City – but I am there purely for the Jjimjilbang at Spaland! Also, at the Centum City – I found my favourite delight from Daegu – stay tune!

Continue reading “Haeundae Beach and Jjimjilbang Experience at Spaland – Korea 14D Part 4”

Day Trip to Jinhae – Korea 14D Part 3

Jinhae Day Trip

Still based in Busan, I would be going on a day trip to Jinhae – famed for its abundance of cherry blossom and scenic takes – a place you surely can’t miss in the Korea’s Spring Festive. Another highlight at Jinhae would be temple visiting – I was very much excited to go for Sammilsa Temple after seeing the pictures online! Can’t wait to view it in its full glory!

Continue reading “Day Trip to Jinhae – Korea 14D Part 3”

Gamcheong Cultural Village and Nampodong – Korea 14D Part 2

Prince and Fox Cultural Village

In this post, we continue on from our journey from Cheongdo to Busan where I would stay for about 4 nights. First day of Busan I had initially planned Gamcheong Cultural Village, Busan Racecourse Track, BIFF square, Gukje Market, Bupyeong Market. But things doesn’t happen as it goes, so read on!

Continue reading “Gamcheong Cultural Village and Nampodong – Korea 14D Part 2”

Exploring Daegu – Korea 14D Part 1

Here is the first part of my 14 days solo travel to South Korea in late March to April 2018 – gonna start with exploring Daegu! Daegu is quite a very laid-back city, and you may wonder what are the things to do in Daegu? I had only a short stay of 1.5 days and was basing here basically to get use to my solo-ness part of the trip and getting familiar around with the all-things-korean and transportation mode and stuff. Can’t help including a thrilling paragliding (first!) experience as well!

Continue reading “Exploring Daegu – Korea 14D Part 1”