Seoul Day 2: Gwangjang Market & Gangnam

Day 2. We started our our day with a delicious breakfast at the Gwangjang Market (광장시장). We got there around 10 am and might have arrived a little late because some of the stalls and shops were closed. Even so, many were open, so we got to sightsee the market for a bit. For a market, I think the place is very clean and organized. It felt very different than the markets I've been back home in Indonesia. We ate and tried a couple of different things and after we're done eating we just walked around the market. IMG_0469

IMG_0444 IMG_0467Bindaetteok (빈대떡)IMG_0409 IMG_0402 IMG_0415Pajeon (파전)IMG_0419 IMG_0425 Tteokbokki (떡볶이)IMG_0427 IMG_0428Jokbal (족발) - Pork's Feet // Gimbap (김밥)IMG_0430 Sundae (순대)IMG_0431 I tried it and it doesn't taste as bad as I thought. Very interesting taste and definitely taste better with the sauce/dip that the ajumma gave us. IMG_0437IMG_0432IMG_0439 IMG_0440 IMG_0447 IMG_0452 IMG_0455 IMG_0459 IMG_0462 IMG_0463 IMG_0464After we got our stomach full, we headed to the subway station to go to Gangnam. The subway station is quite different than the ones we've been to. And we got lost this time. I wasn't quite sure where we were, but we were definitely not at the place that we intended to visit. It was pretty funny because we wandered off to a fairly quite area. But, we made the best of it and just laughed it off. What is traveling without getting a little lost right?

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IMG_0509 IMG_0512IMG_0521On our way back to the subway station, we went through what probably the longest escalator we encountered yet in subway station. I'm amazed on how deep underground the subway system goes in Korea. IMG_0538Also, I saw this interesting advertisement. Not sure what it's for or what it means, but it looked intriguing.

IMG_0540After that, we arrived at the famous Garosu-Gil (가로수 길). We were sweating bullets from the hot sun and decided to make a quick pit stop at Caffe Bene for some cold treats.

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IMG_0573 IMG_0557IMG_0566The area is filled with restaurants, shops, cafes, studios, and galleries that are pretty upscale. So we just started strolling down the street and walked in to some of the shops that interest us.

IMG_0574 IMG_0585 IMG_0593 IMG_0605 IMG_0614 IMG_0615 IMG_0620 IMG_0622 We saw something that's totally unexpected: a couple of guys walking donkeys on the other side of the street. Seeing something new everyday here.IMG_0628 IMG_0632 IMG_0601After Garosu-gil, we headed to Apguejong (압구정), also known as the Rodeo Street. The area has a lot of foreign brand shops that are very familiar to us. We just took a quick look around the area since the brands we saw are available in the States.IMG_0650 IMG_0655Afterwards, we took two taxis to Gangnam because our feet kinda gave up on us from all the long walks in the past 7 hours.

 

Seoul Day 1: Lotus Lantern Festival & Cheonggyecheon Stream

We were still walking around the shops in Ssamziegil when we suddenly heard a drumming noise from the street. People started to rush out of the mall to the street, so we took a peek from the 3rd floor to see what's going on out there. Turned out, the Lotus Lantern Festival parade is passing by. We were there on Buddha's Birthday weekend celebration and I think the Lotus Lantern Festival ws part of that celebration. Apparently Insa-dong was on the parade route and we didn't even know that. We were thinking of going to Cheonggyecheon Stream later on tonight, because that's where we thought the parade's going to be. But I guess we lucked out. We also got a pretty good spot up front to see the parade clearly. I managed to snap photos and took a couple of footage of the parade.

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IMG_0334 IMG_0340Since it's almost 9 pm, we decided that it's time to grab dinner. We picked Gung (개성만두 궁) that's close by. They are known for their famous Gaeseong-style mandu.

Assorted Pancakes - Mung Bean, Ground Potato, Chopped Red Pepper & Leek, Chopped Kimchi

IMG_0349Gaesong Dumplings cooked in Casserole (개성만두전골) ₩30,000 IMG_0352Gaesong Steamed Dumplings (개성만두찜) ₩7,000 IMG_0341 IMG_0346After dinner, since we still have time before the subway closes, we decided to head to Cheonggyecheon Stream (청계천), where the Lotus Lantern Festival happened to have their installments at. It was around 10 pm on a Sunday night and we're very surprised that the place was still packed with people—young, old, families, kids, couples. One of my friend made a comment, "It's like they don't need to work or something. How come Sunday night can be this packed?". I have to agree that it feels very different than here in the US. The nightlife in Seoul is definitely more alive. Plus the weather was perfect for just walking around the stream or sitting down while looking at the lanterns. We enjoyed the cool night breeze while watching the people around us. It was a perfect way to end our first day in Seoul.

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Seoul Day 1: Gwanghwamun Square & Gyeongbokgung Palace

After stuffing ourselves with the nice cold patbingsu, we headed towards the Gwanghwamun Square (광화문광장) and Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁) and pretty much spent a good portion of our afternoon there. First stop is Gwanghwamun Square. There seemed to be some sort of festival or flea market when we were there. There were people selling stuff on small tents around the square. There were also some kind of music performances happening. The mood were very festive all around. IMG_9824

IMG_9829 IMG_9844Saw this cute little girl posing for her dad:

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After watching the performance for a while, we continue walking and found ourselves in front of the Gyeongbokgung Palace front gate. It's very majestic. The colors, the architecture, the guards, the size of the palace. Speaking of size, we didn't realize how big the place is. Well, we kinda know that it's big, but didn't realize how BIG the place REALLY is. We were there around noon, and I have to say with the sun and the rising temperature, walking around the palace drained our energy quite a bit. But since the palace is so fascinatingly beautiful AND big, I think it's safe to say that the five of us have an experience that we won't forget :)

IMG_9855 IMG_9863 IMG_9874After we passed through the entrance gate, this is the view we're greeted with:

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Seoul Day 1 - First Morning

"I love the feeling of being anonymous in a city I've never been before"—Unknown That probably sums up what I felt on my first morning in Seoul. Since this is my first time exploring the city, I'm pretty excited about it.

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We left the hotel around 9 and headed to Tosokchon (토속촌) for breakfast. Tosokchon is known for its signature Samgyetang 삼계탕 (chicken ginseng soup) made with glutinous rice, gingko nuts, ginseng, garlic and jujube, medicinal herbs and grains. From what I read, since the place is very popular, especially among tourists, the line could get pretty crazy. So we're trying to get there right when they open—which is 10 am—before they got busy with the lunch hour.

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The ahjumma who sitted us at the table quickly asked what we want to order, even before we sat down and look at the menu. From what I heard, this is pretty common in Korea. Nevertheless, we took our time and ask for the menu. There are only 3 items on the menu and we decided to try one each and just share them since it's still morning and we don't want to get too full on our first meal.

IMG_9726IMG_9731All in all, the Samgyetang were delicious and tasty.

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On our way back to the subway station, we passed by this cute little coffee shop—Café Mr. Minsuk (카페 민석씨)—and decided to stopped by for a bit just because the cafe seems to be really nice and cozy. There seems to be a couple of interesting places around this area. Check out this article to find out more.

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Next, we passed by a Twosome Place (투썸플레이스) after we got off the subway and decided to make another pit stop. The sun was up and the weather is getting hotter by the hour. We saw the sign for Patbingsu (팥빙수), a popular shaved ice dessert in Korea, and it sounds like a really good at the time to stop by and get something cold to cool us down.

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IMG_9801IMG_9794Next up, Gwanghwamun Square (광화문광장) & Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁).