Last leg of my March Korea posts! It's been so wonderful reliving my short time here and I terribly miss the cold. So excited to go back this June and fully explore one of my absolute favorite places: Hongdae! Read on to see my last few days in Korea!
Hongdae is short for Hongik Daehakkyo meaning Hongik University and they're pretty well-known for their art programs. And it isn't just a school district but also an up and coming commercial district in Seoul! It's filled with such a fun and youthful energy where students can chill and do so many fun things; from shopping to karaoke.
It's also worth mentioning that in my entire stay, the clothes were the *cheapest* here! On average, a sweater only costs about 400PHP! Perfect for the student budget.
The area is filled with small independent stores and your usual skincare brands.
And they also have huge international boutiques! Still not over this huge New Balance shoe! :)
VANS adding to the hipster Hongdae vibe with their awesome mural.
So many areas to explore here, it's overwhelming.
The Trick Eye Museum is also located in the same alley as above beside Bershka. With the limited time my parents gave us, I opted to shop around Hongdae instead and mainly got a few sweatshirts.
Another thing I love about Hongdae: the performers! There are various performers here that aim to make you laugh or simply just amaze you with their talents. I particularly loved listening to the vocalists. :D
My sister and I still had time before the rest of the family finished exploring the Trick Eye Museum so we finally had some Tteokpokki! They were absolutely marvelous. *o*
We met up with our family to have so Shaved Ice! At first we thought it was Bingsoo but it turned out to be Taiwanese Shaved Ice. You see, Bingsoo usually has beans and different types of toppings and sauces while Taiwanese Shaved Ice focuses mainly on fruits. It was still one of my favorite treats in my entire stay, though! Strawberries are the bomb forever.
You can enjoy your shaved ice while people-watching!
That silver bean over there is a Tourist Information Area. I absolutely LOVE that Korea values their tourists this much. They've got beautifully designed tourists information areas everywhere even though there only very few people who use it. It just goes on to prove how eternally ready they are to accommodate people interested in their culture and that really made me happy. :)
We rushed all the way back to Myeongdong to catch the Nanta show which made me honestly a bit sad at first as I didn't want to leave Hongdae just yet.
But it turned out that the Nanta Show was pretty great. It's pretty much the funniest show I've ever seen in my life and I didn't know at all what to expect. It's basically a comedy play that has very little dialogue and focuses on percussion-heavy dances. No need to worry about the language barrier, they usually act through gestures and whatever words they use are either in English or commonly known Mandarin. It's just a really awesome show to catch in Seoul. :)
They switch their actors every night and we got to see the Brown team which apparently had the best actors. Talk about lucky! My favorite is the actor for the Head Chef. He consistently nails his performance and had me laughing til I cried. Literally!
The Nanta show is available in different parts of Seoul so you don't have to limit yourself to catching a show in Myeongdong! ;)
Afterwards, we hit the streets of Myeongdong again to do some shopping and my discovery for that day: Top Ten! Their style is hard to describe but I feel like it's the Korean equivalent of UNIQLO except with noticeably edgier designs and oriented towards high street fashion. My family shopped the most here especially with their top floor being dedicated to just sale items! You can get a jacket, sweater, or a pair of pants for just 400PHP! :O
The next morning was our last chance to do any last minute stuff. Also, finally got to try Pablo's Cheesecakes! Indeed super fluffy and creamy. Paired with fresh strawberries, they are absolutely heavenly!
I opted to go back to Dongdaemun to fully explore the other malls I saw on my last visit.
Hello again, DDP!
I didn't have a lot of time because we still had to go to the airport later that day so I decided to go to Migliore. Photography isn't allowed in most malls but...
I did sneak a shot when I visited the Migliore in Myeongdong for blogging purposes. Don't worry though it's basically the same thing when you go to Dongdaemun. The only difference is that Migliore in Dongdaemun is so much bigger.
As for my experience, it wasn't the most pleasant one, but don't get me wrong, it wasn't horrible either. It was just surprisingly different from anything I've ever experienced before. As you can see, the stores in Migliore aren't your typical boutiques. They're small stalls similar to when you shop in Greenhills or 168 here in Manila only much more organized. The clothes in places like this almost all come from the Dongdaemun Market and they just resell it at their own desired price. For the most part, they will all carry usually the same thing so you have to shop around for the best price.
You're probably thinking, then why not just go to the Dongdaemun Market? I totally agree, but I didn't have the time during my visit and I think these malls were probably made for those who didn't want to deal with the crowd at the market. But anyway, you can be sure that the clothes here are a LOT cheaper than in Doota and you can find most of them here as well. The only thing I really want to note is that the store owners can be too helpful. So helpful that they actually become legitimately aggressive and it can be so overwhelming. Don't worry though, I didn't experience this in Hongdae; just in malls with this sort of set-up.
While I looked around in Migliore, my sister looked around Hello APM, and it turned out that Hello APM sold similar stuff but at even lower prices. It was so weird! It's like the further you go down this street, the cheaper the clothes become, and they're all selling basically the same thing. I don't know if it'll be even cheaper if you shop at Sunshine City, but this is a shopping experience unlike anything I've ever seen before. Haha!
Most definitely, I'm going to be doing my clothes shopping at the Dongdaemun Market when I go back, and maybe do a quick run in Hello APM just to see the stuff.
I'm not really sure about Lotte Fit-In, but given Lotte's high regard in Korea, I assume the prices will be similar to that of Doota. :\
After all that shopping craziness, it was time to go back to Myeongdong to pack. :(
For lunch, I just opted to go to CU and had a roll of Gimbap, Samguk Rice (Kind of like an Onigiri), and Melon Milk! Seriously, I could live on these the next time I'm there. So affordable and satisfying!
And that's pretty much it for my trip to Korea! There is absolutely no question that I enjoyed my visit here and I am absolutely ecstatic to go back this June with friends!