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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Korea March 2016 | Namdaemun Market & N Seoul Tower

One of the saddest things about being a victim of the academic calendar shift is getting the worst vacation days. If I'm not buried in schoolwork during holidays, I'm dealt vacation days that are the worst times to travel to almost any country because it'd be the height of summer. Luckily enough, my Easter was free and I finally got to visit Korea which still had some pretty cold weather! (Yas) So read on to see the first part of my Easter Korea travels!

We arrived at around 5 in the morning. No worries though, slept throughout the plane ride there and got all the energy I needed. Super beautiful express train. Korea is the first country I've visited where it's a lot cheaper to take the train to the city (or anywhere for that matter) than a bus! Isn't it ironic how the faster, more convenient way is more economical? Still cannot get over this fact!

T-Money is Korea's equivalent to Hong Kong's Octopus Card. Both can be used for public transport as well as convenience stores!

Took less than an hour to get to Seoul Station all the way from Incheon as opposed to 2 hours by bus and a fraction of the price! Can my fellow Filipinos relate to my frustration?! Haha!

We still couldn't check into our AirBnB apartment so we left our luggage at the lockers in the station and explored Namdaemun Market.

This all felt very surreal. Hard to believe I was in Manila just a few hours back. Added to the fact that this was my family's first time exploring a foreign city with just ourselves and a mobile Wi-Fi connection.

Socks at 1000W a pair! That's about 40PHP! I really need to remember to hoard socks when I come back this June! :)

Pretty sure Namdaemun Market would have a hundred times the people in the afternoon. We were almost the only people there at the time so it was a pretty chill morning just shopping around.

Came at the start of Strawberry Season!! To this day, I still crave anything with strawberries. In my opinion, Japan has yummier strawberries but these fall just right behind them! <3

All the leather jackets a bad boy or bad girl needs.

First street food cart sighting!

Everyone needs to try Korea's sweet potatoes. These are roasted and are so incredibly sweet and smooth, it will blow your mind!

Bought face masks at Beauty Castle while my parents replenished their Nature Republic arsenal. One thing about Korea I will always remember, Nature Republic is as easy to locate as any convenience store and they're consistently in large branches!

The way they sell face masks here is quite aggressive at 10 or 20 pieces a set with a Buy-One-Get-One deal, and at a bargain too! I remember visiting an Etude House and realizing buying a 10-pack set of their I Need You Masks would get you a free 10-pack of your choice which meant you got 20 sheet masks for just roughly 30 a piece! The thrill of the great deal amps up your consumer instincts but I'm pretty sure that these deals are year-round so don't worry about missing out! :)

Street food everywhere you turn! My dad is always up for a snack and I feel like I inherited his crazy appetite minus the fast metabolism TT.TT

Tried their Hot Dog with a French Fry crust and it tastes just as the name suggests! Such fun to eat but not something I'd exactly recommend.
Lunch was still a few hours away but slightly messed-up body clocks and an eagerness to try the local cuisine begged to differ. Haha!

First taste of Tteokpokki! Their glutinous rice cakes served with a spicy sauce. Since this was just a free appetizer, it wasn't that great. The best Tteokpokkis are the ones you find on the street as well as specialized restaurants!

Had octopus bibimbap and it was fine. I was expecting this burst of sweet and spicy but I honestly felt a little underwhelmed.
After our super early lunch, we headed to our apartment in Myeongdong and got a little bit lost. We left our stuff and went on ahead with our day.

Before making our way to the N Seoul Tower we stopped by this random underground cafe along Myeongdong called Cafe Marengo mostly because I was intrigued by the flavors! The Cheese flavored one is my favorite!

Conceptual art can be found anywhere in Seoul.

Finally, the famous Myeongdong shopping street! So surreal seeing this particular intersection a.k.a. the street we usually see in travel videos anywhere. However, it wasn't our time yet to visit Myeongdong so we just passed by.

There's also a small Migliore in Myeongdong which is a fun place to shop in Korea if you don't mind vendors which can sometimes be too pushy. More on this later in the series! :)

Making a vow to include myself more in my travel posts! Haha! This is the road leading to the first cable car that takes you up to the main cable car leading to N Seoul Tower.

Namsan Tower still far far away. You can also hike up to the tower yourself, but that's just for mountaineering enthusiasts as well as people who had a lot of time to spare, neither were applicable to my family lol

View from the Cable Car.

Finally at the base of the tower. I would go to this place in the autumn just to see the fiery foliage! At the time it was still coming to the end of winter, hence the dramatic scenery.

The place where Tao got his fried potatoes in EXO Showtime!

The love locks park is also in this area.

It's crazy to think how much this place will be covered in locks in a few years.

The plaza leading to the tower. Lot of shows to watch and I think dramas to film? Haha!

Cute benches for couples but was more astounded by the trees made completely out of locks! *o*
We rode the elevator to the observatory of the tower to get our first full view of Seoul.

Philippines represent! The windows on the observatory have countries on them with distances. It meant that this particular country was in that direction.

You can use the high-powered telescopes to try and look for your city! Haha!

Home for the next 3 days.

Afterwards, we made our way back to the plaza and had some coffee and burgers! Sadly, I've forgotten the names of the places but it's just right beside the exit of the tower. The burgers are pretty awesome! Stay tuned for more Korea spam! :D

19 comments:

  1. Looks like you've had an amazing trip! Loved your photos and the street food is so delicious. I've only been to a Korean restaurant once (I was in Germany at the time), and would love to explore more of their cuisine. I also know Seul street food comes in so many varieties, it would take you a while to taste everything.

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  2. U makes me so wanna visit Korea right now.. Such an amazing place to step in!

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  3. Wow! I wish the train was a lot cheaper here in Manila too. You didn't have to post all the food pictures, really. Now I'm seriously hungry! Lol. I would totally love it there, with all the food and the good bargain.

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  4. Korea is one of the places I love visiting. It is actually the food that I love about the place. Bibimbap is one of my favorites. Even the street food is so good one feels like it's not street food at all.

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  5. I remember my Korean trip. Oh, I want to go back there! I did the hop on hop off bus to get around the city and visit the various landmarks in the city. I simply love Seoul! I like the vibe. I was there when it was the beginning of spring but the traces of winter could still be felt. -Claire Algarme

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  6. You can really match well with Koreans when it comes to fashion choices. I hope to visit Korea too soon. It does look similar to Taipei in some ways.

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  8. One of the great place I wish to visit is Korea. Nice trip. You can also visit my site www.sabtrends.com

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  9. I love farmers markets so I would definitely visit the Namdaemun Market. Those strawberries looked perfect! And I would spend the rest of my trip eating street food!!! Everything looked amazing.

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  10. The love locks look so colorful and so adorable! Those minion socks are super cute. I too found them at a local store, but was priced at £5. That's about 350 peso. I just kept it back... Lolz..

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  11. I love Myeongdong myself. I also plan to stay in that district when we go back. Never tried taking the train from airport to town. Will check it out as you advised. I always used the bus before.

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  12. Cheese flavor dessert must be damn good. Also, the streets photos are catchy.

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  13. Minion socks are so adorable and visiting korea is on my list and love the way you have captured the photos like a local.

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  14. That looks like it was an amazing trip. The love locks are very interesting and the views are great from your photos. Now, I just need to try some of those hot dog fries!

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  15. Your first time, how very exciting! I'd be our just as excited as you are if we take a trip as a family for the first time too. I used to teach a young Korean boy who told me how beautiful his country is. I believe him so good for you!

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  16. Koreans are well known when it comes to Fashion. I like the outfit. Great one. Kindly visit www.sabtrends.com

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  17. Haven't been to Seoul but I have seen so many of the places you've been to on TV and variety shows! Thanks for sharing the wonderful photos... looking forward to visit that place soon~

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  18. I could totally relate about Migliore. i couldn't forget how angry the shop owners were when I just wanted to take a closer look at some items and not buy them after realizing I don't really need them, they're extra pushy!

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  19. I wish to go back to Korea again. The scenery and food there are awesome.

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