Today, we continue my narrative of our time in Seoul, South Korea. My friends and I had a lot of fun overseas. It was around this time that the new-ness of Seoul started to wear off, and we became slightly homesick, but we also started to become a lot more comfortable with navigating the city and getting ourselves around. It was during these days that we did some of my favorite things, and this also when one of our craziest “we got lost” stories happened! Read on!
Be fore warned: this is a long one.
Day 6: Myeongdong
If I had to pick one place in Seoul that was my favorite place to go, it would probably be Myeongdong. As you can tell from this photo, this is a very crowded place. Myeongdong is a really big shopping area, with streets filled and literally jam-packed with stores. Like sardines or something.
Walking down the streets, you could probably find a million Tony Moly, Etude House, and Nature Republic stores, so if you have a beauty-related need, you can find the answer here! But they have literally any shop or restaurant you could ever need.
To put it simply: I love Myeongdong.
So here’s what we did while we visited!
The first thing we did was hit Starbucks, mostly because we needed to use the restroom. ^-^ But I took this as an opportunity to try a new drink. I don’t remember what this was called, but it was basically a banana and yogurt blend with strawberry purée in it and oatmeal granola stuff sprinkled on top of it. The only way that I can describe this drink is “breakfast”. It was literally breakfast in a cup. And I loved it so much.
It actually made me a little homesick, because I missed breakfast at home. In our apartment, we really didn’t eat breakfast a lot, but at home, I love eating breakfast, so it tasted like home to me. ^-^
We went walking through the stores, and we ended stopping at a couple of places. First we went to a beauty store that tried to sell my friend a sheet mask that was hella expensive, but also like really, really good, because Korea, and when we walked in, we realized that this was a Shinee endorsed store! None of the products stood out to me, but I loved looking at all the Shinee pictures!
After that, I ended up buying stuff from two places. First we saw a cute sock stand. I didn’t realize how many people like to sell socks at these little stands in Korea, but there are tons of sock carts, and they are all really cheap, and really cute! I ended up buying just three socks. Two were from a brand that was really popular over there, but I forget now what the brand name is (😬), and they are really cute. They have little hearts on the ankles. ^-^ Then I bought some Jin socks. Jin is a member of BTS, and BTS is my all time favorite Kpop group. Hands down. I only bought Jin because in all honesty… All the other ones looked a little weird…
After that we went to one of many Kpop stores. It was so cute walking in, because their were girls standing at the entrance, probably middle or high school aged, looking through calendars, and we couldn’t understand most of what they were saying, but occasionally a idol’s name would pass their lips, usually followed with “aigooo~~”.
Anyways, I ended up buying some BTS merch while I was there, including their Young Forever night album, a desktop calendar, and some photo message cards (which I will never use).
After that we got some gelato that was suuuuper pretty! As we were walking into Myeongdong, we saw people eating them, and we all looked at each other and all knew in our hearts that we needed to find these ice cream roses. Eventually we did, and they had a few different flower options! I got the one that was strawberry, green tea, and yogurt flavored. It was very, very good!
The next thing we had to do was get some food. We were all starving. So we decided to go get some food at a restaurant called Mr. Pizza. It turned out that I was the only person who enjoyed it, but hey. My pasta was amazing. I ended up craving it for the rest of the trip. Truly.
Day 7: Another “We Got Lost” Story
This day, I actually didn’t go out. I stayed in the apartment. It was pretty rainy out, so I think we all took it as a day to relax in our actually pretty nice apartment. We didn’t do much that day, so when one of my friends suggested we go out and get some KFC, I jumped on the chance to stretch my legs a little and get out into the city, even if it was just for a little while. Four of us ended up going.
Well, this is how we got lost…
First, we though that there was going to be a KFC at the Yongsan Station. Because that’s what Google said. However, we learned pretty quickly to not rely on Google while in Korea. Google may be #1 in America, but in Korea, they use other search engines, with Naver being the top search engine. They don’t really use Google a whole lot.
So a tip to all of you travelers who are thinking about going to Korea: Don’t use Google. Or at least, don’t rely on Google. If you do, make sure you and others realize that when you get to the address you are looking for, what you were looking for might not be there.
So, since we don’t know how to use Naver, we just kept on using Google, and we found another one not too far by bus. So we hopped on one and headed to the chicken.
And then we missed the stop.
So we had to get off at the next stop.
And walk 30 minutes back.
So when we FINALLY got our chicken, we actually had to deal with this rather rude worker who did not look pleased to take our order. But, hey, you just gotta shrug it off.
All in all, it took us four hours. What was supposed to be a quick run down the road for KFC ended up taking FOUR hours.
On the plus side, I got some beautiful pictures at Yongsan station that night.
A little side note: while we were at Yongsan station, one of the members of our little group got lost in the mall that’s there, so we had to wander around for about 45 minutes until we found her.
Day 8: North Seoul Tower
This was the part of the trip that was probably the most expensive. It also took a lot longer than I expected. But we had to get on the bus, which took about an hour, to get all the way to the Seoul Tower.
I was really looking forward to seeing the tower, because we were able to see the tower from the window in our kitchen. The Seoul Tower is built up high on a mountain in the city, and when you go to the top, it’s glass all around, so you can see out across the whole city. It was an amazing view!
I don’t know where I was facing in this picture, but you get the idea! The view would have been even more amazing if it wasn’t for the foggy atmosphere.
After going up the tower, we checked out this bridge that is there right outside the tower. It’s one of those lock bridges, where you write your name and your loved ones name on a cute little lock and lock it onto the bridge. This bridge is also pretty popular for romantic proposals!
They even had cute benches that were shaped like hearts, and the seats are angled so that you basically have to cuddle up with whoever you’re sitting with.
I want a couch like that in my home.
It was kind of complicated finding food there. There wasn’t a lot of options there, and we kind of wanted to just eat there. We found a buffet, but when we walked in, we tried asking what kind of food there was (because one of us is a vegetarian), and the hostess didn’t understand us. She pointed towards to food, and told us to look for ourselves. We were able to find some vegetarian friendly food, so we decided to take a seat.
This sounds like a simple interaction, but it actually took a few minutes because of the language barrier.
When she sat us down, she explained that we could specifically order food by putting our order in these boxes by the kitchen, and left. We sat down at our table and decided to just sit for a moment (we had been walking around quite a bit), and we all went on our phone for a second. I noticed the hostess looking at us over her shoulder, and she walked over to the kitchen and said something to the chef. A few minutes later, he came back out and told us that we have to go get our food ourselves.
Apparently they thought that we didn’t know how a buffet works.
They thought a table of Americans didn’t understand how a buffet works.
We quickly corrected that line of thinking and ended up bringing plates and plates of food to our table.
All we needed was a couple of minutes off of our feet!
The food was pretty amazing though.
When we got home, we sort of just crashed. We were actually pretty tired that day.
Day 9: Itaewon & Hongdae
This is the night that our greatest and biggest “we got lost” stories happened.
So for the most part that day, we didn’t do a whole bunch. We knew what we wanted to do that night, but we didn’t have anything planned for the day.
When dinner time rolled around, we headed back over to Itaewon to get some vegan burgers. Vegetarianism and veganism isn’t really a “thing” in Korea yet, so if you want to eat veggie or vegan friendly, Itaewon is your best bet since it is the international district.
We had the address that we wanted to go to, but it wasn’t on the main road. It was actually up a bunch of back roads. Given that Seoul is a pretty hilly/mountainous area to begin with, it wasn’t a very fun walk. Add to that the humid hot June night, and we were really struggling by the time we finally got to where we needed to be.
It was pretty bad, but not the worst thing to happen to us.
Once we got there, we walked in and luckily all the workers spoke English. They had some sort of European accent, but I don’t know where they were from!
However, the best part of this restaurant was the fact that they were playing some OG music. Think: Hilary Duff, Miley Cyrus circa 2008, The Pussycat Dolls. We were getting down at our table while we waited for our food. It was like a warm up session for our karaoke later that night!
When we got the food, I actually didn’t really like it. Everyone else enjoyed their food a lot, but I didn’t really like it. The taste was just a little weird to me. I don’t know if it was just the one that I ordered, or if they all tasted that way. I guess that was my karma for enjoying Mr. Pizza so much!
When we came out, one of our friends insisted that we take a different way because of how hard the walk was on the way here. So we tried to take a different way, which ended up being even harder.
We tried going up another road, but this woman stopped us, and we are pretty sure (like 97% sure) that she was trying to tell us that the road ended up ahead, and we had to walk up a EXTREMELY long and steep set of stairs. When we got up to the top of the stairs, we had no idea where we were. It took about another hour for us to find our way back to the main road.
Once we ~finally~ got there, we got on a bus and headed back over to Hongdae to get our karaoke on!
We chose one of the best karaoke spots in the city. It was actually pretty cheap for all of us, and the rooms are all really big and nice.
Karaoke in Korea (called noraebang) is pretty big and it’s usually a popular, fun thing to do with friends, especially in a big college town like Hongdae. We had originally intended on spending one hour there, but we decided that wasn’t long enough, so we ended up going to put more time on our room.
There was obviously a million Korean songs, but there was also a huge list of American songs as well! We were really happy about that! We pulled out our best Mariah Carey and Miley Cyrus, and even a little Fergie.
So by the time we left, it was pretty late, past midnight. The subway was closed at this point, and the busses were making their last rounds.
Well, that’s where pt. 2 of our “we got lost story” happened. The story is a lot less complicated. We just got on the wrong bus and ended up going the opposite way of home, and we only realized that after about 15 minutes. Since we weren’t really sure what to do, we just decided to go ahead and get off at stop near the World Cup Stadium. It was basically a dead road with just one apartment building, but it was near the highway.
It took us about 30 minutes to wave down two taxi’s so that we could all get home.
So yes, this is the night that we got lost in the middle of the city at 1:30 in the morning.
Long story. Good story. But also… not a good story. Be careful in a foreign country, especially on city streets!
Day 10: Fountain Bridge
This was possibly one of the things I was looking forward too most! I have a friend who lives in Seoul. She studied abroad a year before and we met in a art history class, and she is one of the nicest, sweetest people I have ever met! I was so excited to meet up with her again! We had began planning meeting up the moment that we decided we were going to vacation in Seoul. I was so excited for her to meet my friends!
Unfortunately, that’s not really how it worked out.
So, we had decided to meet up at this beautiful fountain bridge. It’s one of the many rivers that cross the Han river. It spits out water from the side of the bridge at night time, with colored lights and everything. It’s a beautiful sight to see!
On the day of our meeting, things didn’t work out as I had hoped. First, two of my friends decided that they didn’t want to go. One went out to some other place in the city, and one stayed at home. And then the two that did want to come, didn’t start getting ready until the time that we needed to be at bus stop. So even getting to the bus stop made us 20 minutes later. And then, we started heading in the wrong direction on the bus, which made us another 30 minutes late. I felt so awful, and I tried to text my friend to let her know what was going on, but that was hard to do, since we didn’t have any wifi.
Once we got there, my friends that came with me found out that one of their favorite girl groups were going to be doing a free performance at the little stage at the park, and they decided they were going to watch them instead of hang out with friend and her boyfriend, who had been excited to meet them.
Part of me was happy that they got to see some of their favorite idols. Part of me was angry that they decided to ditch me, and my friend who had been waiting for almost a year to meet them.
And then the fountain show was actually canceled, so we didn’t even get to see that.
But, I digress.
We ended up going to the other side of the park and eating, and I enjoyed meeting her boyfriend and catching up with her. And even though the fountain show was cancelled, I still got a pretty cool light show.
So, I only have three days left to tell you guys about! Let me know what you guys think so far! I’m also thinking about possibly doing a post where I just talk about the souvenirs that I got on the trip. What do you guys think? Let me know!