Ralph and I were supposed to go to Everland on our 4th day but knowing that it is the largest theme park in South Korea and is much farther than Gapyeong (I believe), we didn’t think we still had the energy to explore. So we both decided to just stay in Seoul and relax. However, we kinda had different ideas of relaxation in mind. LOL.
While I wanted us to stay at the hotel and just go out whenever we’re hungry, Ralph wanted us to leisurely stroll around and food trip. He told me it was our last and only day in Korea that 1) we can explore the city at our own pace, without worrying about catching scheduled tours or getting lost, and 2) we can go shopping…for food.
Okay. His idea wasn’t bad at all. And he actually got a point there! So, yes! I agreed to go! Food shopping here we come! Woohoo!
Address: Taepyeong-ro 1-ga, Jung-gu
Station: EULJIRO 3(SAM)-GA – green/red line, exit 1 (there are definitely other stations that are near the stream but this is the only one I know)
We meant to visit Cheonggyecheon Stream late in the afternoon. But since we discovered it was just a few blocks away from our hotel, we decided to check it early.
To give you a little overview… Cheonggyecheon Stream is about 11 kilometers long and it runs through the heart of downtown Seoul, where a lot of major tourists sites are close (e.g. Myeongdong and Namdaemun). It used to be a neglected waterway hidden under a bridge before it was restored and transformed into this haven of natural beauty.
It has now become a favorite spot of a lot of people who want to relieve their stress from hard day’s work. It also became famous to many visiting foreigners, including us, who want to marvel at the beauty of it.
I couldn’t remember how much time we spent there enjoying the picturesque views and the relaxing sound of the running water but we definitely took a while before we hopped on to our next destination, Myeongdong.
Address: Myeongdong-gil, Jung-gu
Station: MYEONGDONG – blue line, exit 6
Myeongdong is among the most popular shopping destinations in Seoul! From Retail Outlets (H&M, Forever 21, Zara, etc.) to Beauty Stores (Nature Republic, Innisfree, Olive Young, etc.) to Souvenir Shops and to Restaurants (Yoogane, Hello Kitty Café, etc.) and Food Stalls (Tornado Potato, Grilled Cheese Lobster, Tteokbokki, etc.)! You name it! Everything seems to be there!
It was actually kind of overwhelming to see too many brands in just one place. Not to mention the Beauty Stores where hundreds of brands and different kinds of Korean cosmetics and skincare were present at every corner. Here are some of the stores that I remember:
- Etude House
- Nature Republic
- Olive Young
- The Body Shop
- The Face Shop
… and the list goes on. That’s how important beauty is to Koreans. No wonder a lot of them have beautiful skins.
Believing our skin would be as smooth as theirs, we jumped into the bandwagon and went on skincare shopping spree! (And I thought we were shopping for food? Anyare? 😂) We bought mostly face masks from Innisfree and Nature Republic for our personal use and some cosmetics for pasalubong.
After shopping, our Korean Food Adventure began…
We started off with this famous Spicy Rice Cakes known as Tteokbokki. It was cooked in spicy red pepper sauce and mixed with eggs, noodles, fish cakes and cheese. So yummy!
I wasn’t able to get the name of the restaurant where we had this because it was in Korean, but if you ask me, it was at the second floor of the building beside Hello Kitty Café in Myeongdong.
Hello Kitty Café came next. Since it was just around the corner we might as well try it.
Besides, their kikay stairs were very inviting!
We ordered their Green Tea Latte and Strawberry Cheesecake (an ice cream cake that was good enough for 2). Both were really good!
Uhmm…. Ralph? What’s with the pose? 😂
After stuffing ourselves, we went straight to Lotte Mart to go food shopping! What else? 😆
LOTTE MART (Seoul Station Branch)
Address: 432, Cheongpa-ro, Jung-gu
Station: SEOUL – blue line, exit 1
While Lotte Mart offers a wide range of products such as electronics, clothes, toys, cosmetics, groceries, daily essentials, and a lot more, we went there mainly for the snacks.
I wasn’t able to take a picture of the place and all the snacks we bought as we were too busy shopping. Also, most of them were in Korean so I won’t be able to name each of them. These were some of our hauls:
- Binch Cookies
- Farm on the Road Green Tea Choco
- Farm on the Road Chocolate
- Market O Real Cheese Chip
- Market O Real Brownie
- Tteokbokki Crackers
- Binggrae Banana Flavored Milk
- Orion Moist & Chewy Cake
- Lotte Sand Green Tea Cookies
Like in Myeongdong, there were way too many Korean snacks in just one place. And they all looked yummy no matter how unfamiliar they were! If it weren’t for the maximum baggage allowance we would have grabbed everything there!
We went back to the hotel to unload all our shopping bags then we headed for dinner.
Station: CITY HALL – blue/green line. I can’t remember which exit though. All I can remember is that the restaurant was just a stone’s throw away.
When Ralph’s former colleague, Si Young, discovered we were going to Korea, he told us he’d love to take us out for dinner and drinks. This was where he brought us… Hanradam.
Not only did we enjoy the yummy Samgyeopsal and Galbi (which by the way were oozing with flavors), we also enjoyed the company! Si Young taught us a lot of things about Koreans – dating rules, table etiquettes, drinking culture, unusual yet traditional dishes not common to people, and many more!
Thank you, Si Young, for a lovely night! We’ll see you in Busan soon! 🙈
After dinner, we decided to go back to Myeongdong to check how it looked like at night. We were told that it gets busier and even more crowded during nighttime.
True enough! The crowd doubled from the last time we were there (like 7 hours ago). But I wasn’t complaining. I actually enjoyed Myeongdong even better because of the food stalls that lined up along those beautifully chaotic streets.
Sadly though, I was too full from dinner. I didn’t get to try at least one of the famous Korean street foods we encountered:
- Tornado Potato
- Roast Lobster with Cheese
- Fishcakes on Skewers
- Baked Scallops with Cheese
- Kimchi Pancake
- Steamed Corn
- Potato Rolled Shrimps
- Deep Fried Giant Squid
- Croissant Bungeo-ppang
- Korean Softserve Icecream
…and the list goes on. There were way too many to mention!
Ralph, on the other hand, still has enough space for some Corn and Roast Lobster with Cheese. Grabe! Forever matakaw!
We were back at the hotel way past midnight, with a happy heart and a rumbling tummy. 😆
After checkout the following day, we went to Dongdaemun to have lunch before we headed to the airport for our 7:00 PM flight to Manila.
DONGDAEMUN DESIGN PLAZA
Address: 281 Eulji-ro, Euljiro 7(chil)-ga, Jung-gu
Station: DONGDAEMUN HISTORY & CULTURE PARK – blue/green/purple line, exit 1
There are actually 2 Dongdaemun stations in the subway. So we randomly picked one hoping that it will lead us right to the famous Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP).
Thankfully, we chose the right one! As soon as we got out of exit 1, we were greeted by this astonishing neo-futuristic building (which actually looked like a gigantic alien structure! lol). If only we had longer days in Korea, we would have explored what’s inside of it. And we would have seen DDP’s popular LED Rose Garden. Oh well. Maybe next time. 😊
KYOCHON CHICKEN (Dongdaemun branch)
Kyochon Chicken is known to be one of the best Fried Chickens in Korea, so we made sure to try it! They have branches in Manila already but we seriously never thought about trying it. Not until this trip. Hehe!
We ordered the Half & Half Combo (garlic soy sauce + red spicy sauce) as we wanted to try both. The taste and texture of both flavors were really good, especially when paired with their craft beers! Yum!
We went to collect our luggage at the hotel as soon as we finished lunch then off we go home.
Korea!!! Thank you for giving us so many beautiful memories! We will definitely go back!
March 18-19 2017
For our detailed itinerary and actual expenses, see Seoul: 5 Days Itinerary & Estimated Expenses.