Saturday, November 17, 2012

Travel to South Korea: Seoul Story Pt. 1

Annyeonghaseo! Putri-imnida.. kekeke ;)

Just got back from Seoul few days ago and I miss that city already >.<

Now, let me tell the story about my 10 days journey strolling around Seoul with a quick visit to Jeonju and Busan. But this post is just the first part.

After a long flight with Air Asia from CGK - KL - INC, me and my brother landed safely at Incheon on 9 AM (local time). It took 6.5 hours from KL to Seoul. The sky was cloudy and the wind was chilly. When I checked Seoul weather forecast, the black cloud plus rain sign were continuously showed up for 3 days straight and fall was almost over so the air's getting colder. Aigoo..

Annyeong Incheon!

We took the Airport Express or AREX to take us from Incheon to Seoul Station. The commuter AREX just cost us 4000 KRW, it's kind of a best deal for a semi-budget traveler like us :) About 1 hours later, we arrived at Seoul Station and buy the T-Money card from convenience store then fill the card with 10.000 KRW balance. Using T-Money is the easier way to travel around Seoul. You can use it for SMRT, ITX, AREX, bus, taxi, or simple shop at several convenience stores. After that, we took the subway (or SMRT) to go to Myeongdong Station. But then I realized, it's a bad decision. Most of Seoul subway stations are unfriendly with a person who travel with a big heavy luggage because stairs are everywhere... There are some escalators to take you upstairs, but at some cases you just have to climb the stairs.

Arrived at Myeongdong Station, with a little help from a nice local boy, we got the right direction to go to Residence EO (a very great hostel with affordable price), just 5 minutes walk from Myeongdong Station exit 3 or 4. The owner, Mr. Lee, gave us an early check in. I will tell the story about this hostel on another post. After a quick shower and freshen up, me and my brother were going to Myeongdong shopping area to grab our lunch.

Three layers clothes

We found a local restaurant at a narrow alley with a friendly price for our pocket. I ordered dumpling ramyeon and my brother chose to fill his stomach with kimchi soup. I just have to pay 3500 KRW for a bowl of dumpling ramyeon. The one thing that I love the most from Korean restaurants is they always serve free mineral water for their customers! So it's okay if you just want to order your meal without an additional drink.

Full loaded, we took the subway to Yeouinaru Station. About 20 minutes later, we arrived and ready to walk around Yeouido area.

Yellow and red leaves everywhere! I love autumn! :) On Yeouido, we visited MBC building, Riverside Park, Yeouido Park, and KBS building.

 YongSeo Couple first meeting was inside this building!

Me versus the wind. And I lose.

A long bicycle and jogging track on Yeouido Park. I noticed this track was appeared on Innocent Man eps 19 ;) 

Lots of cafes across KBS building

Sadly, we didn't manage to find the SBS building and KBS exhibition hall. Because we couldn't get in to KBS or MBC, so we just looked up the building from the street.

Myeongdong was the most visited place for me and my brother, because we basically live in that area. This place is heaven for a shopaholic. You can find almost everything here. Clothes, shoes, cosmetics, accessories, etc. I chose to spend my won on a local brand like SPAO. This brand has 4 floors building with SM merchandise store, EverySing, on top. Super Junior and fX are the models for SPAO fall/winter collections, so I saw their faces on every corners inside this store. Lucky for me, EverySing also sell several albums from other entertainment company, so I bought CNBLUE's First Step and Ear Fun album and got some SNSD's official merchandise for my friends. I was looking for SeoHyun's poster or merchandise but I couldn't find the one that I like. 

 The second rainy day at Myeongdong

Aside from shopping at SPAO, Korean local cosmetics brand like The Face Shop also robbed me :p I couldn't stand not buying the colorful nail polish or blusher and lotion with the cutest package! The price still affordable though. These cosmetics stores are available on every alley at shopping district in South Korea (esp. Myeongdong). What brand do you want to visit? Etude, Nature Republic, Missha, Clio, Skin Food, Innisfree, Tony Moly, Holika Holika? I guess each of those brands has more than 3 stores around Myeongdong.

On our second day, me and my brother also had our lunch at Myeongdong. We visited a galbi chicken restaurant and ordered their Yoogane's marinated chicken galbi with 8000 KRW/portion. With a pan and stove on our table, the restaurant staff cooked the dish in front of our eyes. So Korean! :)

Later that day, we're going to Dongdaemun to see the famous market. But it turned out that this market is very huge and in the end we just made an express visit at the retail/wholesale market section for clothes and fabrics. We ended up walking around and took some pictures across Heunginjimun.

We changed our direction and decided to go to Namdaemun Market. It's the kind of market that we're looking for to buy some Korean souvenirs.

The other night, we spend our time at Apgujeong and Cheongdam area. It's the upstate area on Seoul. Fancy cars and branded stores are lined up along the street. I really love the decoration of these trees, white bulbs and balloons :) 

The weather was freaking cold that night. It's around 5-6 degress I guess. I found a mini waffle store and decide to warm myself up with goguma (sweet potato) waffle. Jinja mashissoyo!

Delicious Sweet Potato Waffle for around 2000 KRW

Everytime me and my brother walked from our hostel to Myeongdong or Myeongdong Station, we always passed this chicken restaurant called TwoTwo Chicken. The smell of its chicken was something you can't ignore easily. We finally had the chicken for our meal on our last day at Myeongdong. After Bon Chon, 4 Fingers, or other Korean chicken restaurant in Jakarta, does anyone want to bring TwoTwo Chicken here? Pretty please ;)

 One portion for two! Half fried chicken and half sweet & spicy chicken for 16000 KRW

The famous bakery in town!

Another Goguma piece :) A soft cake.

Lots of people always filled up this cafe, but I haven't tasted their bread or coffee.

Getting around Seoul is quite easy, thanks to SMRT! I barely got lost even when I travelled alone without my brother. There's a neighborhood map and exit directions on every station. I can reach all the places that I want to visit just by walking from the station, so I haven't tried to ride the intercity bus. As I told earlier, using T-Money card is beneficial and practical. The cost of using SMRT is around 1050 - 1350 KRW per ride (include transfer station) depend on the distance. 

I guess this is the end for the first part. Coming soon: Seoul Story Pt. 2! :D

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