Well guys, this is my last post about all the cool things we did in South Korea! This post will be our last few days there, and my next one will be about the souvenirs that I brought back home! (There was a lot.)
So, let’s continue!
Day 11: Insadong
If Itaewon is the international district, then think of Insadong as the opposite. This is kind of like the historical district, or like the uber Korean district. This is where a lot of cultural stuff is, including traditional restaurants and some museums. The way that you can really tell is by the name of the stores as your walking down the streets and alleys. Typically, stores like Etude House or Tony Moly are written in Roman letters, but in Insadong, all the store names are written in Hangul. I though that was actually pretty cool.
When we got there, we didn’t really have any plans on what to do. So once I got some wifi, I pulled up museums in Insadong, and I found out that there is a Trick Eye museum in Insadong! There’s also one in Hongdae, but we didn’t end up going to that one.
The Trick Eye museums are basically these exhibits where you walk up to these displays, and when you take a picture at the right angle, it looks kind of unreal! We got some cool pictures.
There was also a maze at the museum, and it was obviously more meant for children, but that totally didn’t stop us from going in there anyways. (To be fair, their were parents and couples there, but size wise, it was quite a squeeze.)
They also had some exhibits that were just meant to be funny or even breathtaking. They has winter wonderland scene, as well as these spots in the floor where you can look down, and it looks like it goes on forever. It reminded of the floor in Spy Kids.
They also had this beautiful room that was basically this big net that you can lie down in, and there is beautiful music playing in the background. The idea behind the room is that you write your worries down on this luminescent paper, you stick it to the wall, and then you lie down on the net and relax, kind of like letting that stress go. However, there was no paper when we got there, but we still laid in the net for while before we realize that it smelt like sweat and we got the hell out of there.
However, it really was beautiful and relaxing. I didn’t get any pictures because their were no phones allowed in that room, but even if there was, I wouldn’t have gotten any good pictures since it was basically a dark room illuminated by black light and glow in the dark walls.
Happy with our pictures and our experience, we headed back out onto the street, and guess where we went next.
This time I got another fizzy drink that was being advertised as a special drink, and once again, it tasted like it had alcohol in it… but it didn’t… so it tasted weird…
So, if you guys ever go to Korea and you want to get a Starbucks drink, and they ask you if you “want fizzy or no fizzy” in your drink, say no. Unless you love that pungent alcohol taste (like a wine) without the actual buzz of alcohol.
We decided to keep walking up the little walkway/alley that we were on, because their was a lot going on! And I was so happy that we did. Because I found one of the treats that I had been hoping to find ever since we stepped foot in Korea.
One of these babies.
I was mostly looking for anything with that fish shaped pastry/waffle thingy, because not only do they look super cute, but I had heard that they tasted amazing. And I was not disappointed.
This fish waffle thingy had a Oreo in, an actually honeycomb dripping with honey in it, and some super sweet vanilla ice cream on top. It was delicious! We all had to get one, and we all were fully satisfied with our choice. I miss it even to this day.
The best things in life are fleeting.
I will say though, that I’m not actually a huge fan of honey, and so when I got to the end of it where it was just the honeycomb, I had to stop eating it, and my friend took over for me. However, if you love biting into a big ‘ol honeycomb *gag* then you will love every inch of this treat!
After that we continued to just keep on walking, and eventually we found something amazing that we had been hoping to find: Cheonggyecheon.
So Cheonggyecheon is the name of the park and the stream. The stream naturally flows through Seoul, and it’s below street level. It has a walking park, and it’s basically a really long, narrow park that goes through Seoul. This is another super romantic spot in the city, and I can totally see why. It was so beautiful and peaceful down there. Pictures can’t describe it.
Sidenote: while we were walking, we saw this little boy on his dad’s shoulders, and as they were walking by, the little boy, with a big smile on his face, waved to us happily saying “Annyeong!” and we all waved back and said the same to him, and he was absolutely adorable. We walked away with a single tear going down our faces. He was so cute. >.<
Anyways, after that, we actually ended up just getting some Subway and going home. ^-^ We spent quite a bit of time at Insadong, a lot more time than we were anticipating!
Day 12: Gangnam
If this name rings a bell, it’s probably because you remember Gangnam Style when it was a huge international sensation for like a year. If you were to read the lyrics, you would see Psy actually talks about Gangnam district, which is basically the rich, exclusive area. This where a lot of idols live and work, as well as important business people and probably government officials. It’s a very nice area with expensive cars, nice apartments, and swanky restaurants.
So, definitely not a place where we belonged, but we enjoyed it anyways.
Ultimately, the reason why we went there was to go to a Mexican restaurant called Coreanos.
AND OMG. IT WAS AMAZING.
Seriously some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever had!
I got this shrimp quesadilla and a strawberry margarita. It was the bomb dot com.
I don’t even use that saying. But I will use it for this quesadilla.
The only thing I didn’t like was that is had a stripe of some sort of guacamole sauce across it, and I’m not really a fan of guacamole. I know, how un-urban and un-millenial of me. But I really, really don’t like guac or avocados in general.
The waiter also spoke some English, and even asked if we wanted cilantro in our food, because some people really hate it.
He was also really cute. Just saying.
As we were leaving, I noticed that there was a bunch of albums near the register. One was Amber’s solo album, and guuuurl, do I love Amber. ❤️ It was signed and everything, and I pointed it out to my friend. Then our waiter told us that Coreanos is actually one of Amber’s favorite restaurants, and she eats there a lot.
That’s when I remembered that I had actually seen a video that Amber had done with a friend of hers on YouTube, and they were in the same restaurant that we were in! I had my fangirling moment, to which the waiter just smiled (sooo cute).
When we walked out, my friends (who are big SM stans) looked up the address for the SM studio, where all my magic happens. We walked around a bit to find it, and it was actually kind of weird set up.
You had to go through a bunch of alleys and back roads, and the studio is actually across the street from a little park, and it’s situated between apartment buildings. It seems a little too low-key, but whatever…
It was kind of cool to walk by there and see an important part of the entertainment industry in Korea.
Guess where we went next.
This time, I tried to order another special drink, that was supposed to be a Strawberries & Creme type drink, but I think that the person taking my order misunderstood, and I ended up getting this milky drink with strawberry purée in it, with a little bit of cream in it. It tasted good, but it also kind of just tasted like strawberry milk.
Not a bad thing though.
While we were there, we looked up the addresses for two different places that we really wanted to check out. One is the Coex Mall, which is a HUGE underground mall, and the other is Olympic Park. We found out that they were kind of a bit away, but we decided to go there anyways.
First we went to the Coex Mall, and it really was giant. We kind of just wandered around for an hour. Since it’s underground and it’s all white, it’s very easy to get lost in there. Very easy. They have big touchscreen stands that tell you where you are and how to get to somewhere, but it’s still a kind of intimidating area.
It is a monster.
While we were there, we came across this huge, beautiful library and I just had to take pictures. I had never seen a library to this scale, especially not in a mall.
After that, we headed over to Olympic Park. This is a huge, beautiful park that was obviously built around the Olympics that took place there years ago. The coolest part of it, I think, was the little workout area that they had there. These are actually very popular in Seoul. A lot of parks will have workout “machines” that everyone can use to keep in shape. I kind of wish this was a thing in more cities in America, because it’s basically a free public gym.
As we were heading out of the park, I couldn’t help but get emotional yet again. I took these pictures as we were walking out.
Yes, I am one of those people that get easily moved by the littlest or seemingly insignificant things. But I love city lights. I love them. I love being in a metropolitan setting. I love seeing the lights like this. And I realized how beautiful this city is, and how much I was really going to miss it when we went home. Even looking at these pictures as I’m typing this, I feel a little pang in my heart. Because I miss it. It was beautiful.
On the ride home, an hour long bus ride, I just sat, listened to music, and thought about how grateful I was to be in this beautiful city and how thankful I was to be able to travel with my friends, and how badly I wanted to come back.
Day 13: Myeongdong
Today, most of the group stayed in the apartment all day. But I wasn’t okay with that! I wanted to get out and buy some more souvenirs, and knock a couple of things off my list before finally leaving.
I decided to head back to Myeongdong. Partly because I like it so much (😊) and partly because I wanted to get some more souvenirs for myself and for my family.
I headed back over to Tony Moly to buy some sheet masks. They have this amazing Pokemon line that was popular on the internet a while back, and I wanted to at least try and buy some stuff from that line. I decided to go with the sheet masks, because they were having a “Buy 1 Get 1 Free” sale, so I ended buying another 20 sheet masks (they come in packs of 10) 😊😊😊😊😊😊. I also got some mascara and a face mist there, because they were too cute to pass up.
After that, I headed over to ArtBox to get some stuff for my mom. I ended up picking up a pack of hand creams (which she loves btw), some pens, a notebook, some stickers, and even a shirt. I was really hesitant about buying clothing in Korea because I’m pretty sure I’m like 25XXX in Korea, but I actually found a really long, stretchy, cute shirt that looked like it would fit me, so I just went ahead and bought it since it was on clearance.
I kept walking around a little, and I decided to go back to the Kpop store. I was hesitant to go all out at the Kpop shop, because when we first went to Myeongdong, it was closer to the beginning of our trip, and I was paranoid that I would run out of money, but by the end I still had more than enough money to spend, so I just went ahead and let myself buy what I wanted. Because hey, you only get to travel so few times, and it’s expensive as hell to buy Korean albums in America. So I bought two more BTS albums, and I was really happy I did. ❤️
It was harder trying to pick something out for my dad and my brother. I tried to think about the things that they liked, and I remembered that my dad has a few coffee mugs that he takes to work, so I decided to get him another one from the Starbucks there. I got the least feminine looking one (because they are all kind of pretty…) and I bought it for him.
As for my brother, I went down into the underground shopping area, which is mostly just little stalls that people rent out and they sell their own stuff. I found some Pokemon keychains, and I figured he already had a lot of Pokemon stuff, so what’s a couple of more little keychains?
I didn’t take any pictures this day because it was kind of like running chores – I needed to buy a few things before we left. If you want to see pictures of Myeongdong, check out my second post about Seoul!
When I came back, we didn’t do much (I got back a little late). By the time we started to feel sleepy, we realized that we would have to leave the apartment by 5 in the morning to get to the airport in time for our flight, so we ended up staying up the whole night. We watched TV and ate and did our best to keep ourselves awake so that we would be all tuckered out for our long ass flight home!
I hope that you all enjoyed reading these posts. Writing them has made me thoroughly emotional and has made me miss the city even more! It’s like a weird feeling of homesickness, even though I’m writing this while laying in bed at home… IDK, it’s weird! But I miss it!
My next post will be about the souvenirs that I bought while I was in Seoul! And then my Seoul series will end.
Feel free to ask questions, share stories, or just say hi in the comments! I would really appreciate it!