Sunday, 7 June 2015

Seoul-ful Travelling (March Seoul Trip) Insadong, Bukchon Hanok Village & Samcheongdong

Hi Lovelies! Welcome to my third post about my Seoul trip - I do hope you are enjoying these posts - something different to my normal beauty posts, right? 

It's day 3 of my 6 day trip, and it's a big one. We checked out some of Seoul's most popular attractions - places that are favourites to locals and tourists alike. 

First off, we started the day with a good meal. Nuri was a restaurant in Insadong that I had picked online, and it didn't disappoint. If you want to try a 'typical' Korean meal, this is the place. They serve prettily presented bento-like meals, and of course the other main attraction was the traditional look of the restaurant. 

The top left corner is vegetable bibimbap. You dump all the vegetables and sauce into the rice bowl and mix it up. It looked delicious! 

I went with Kimchi pancakes, plus side dishes ^^ 

The meals are so beautifully presented - look at all the vibrant colours! It's mostly side dishes with mixed grain rice (hence the purple colour) and seaweed soup. It looks expensive and fancy, but my friend's Korean friend says she typically eats like this at home all the time, lol. 

We thought it was 'special' but she was 'meh', so funny ^o^

The rice is different to the Jasmine rice I eat at home - Korean mixed grain rice has this unusual colouring, and is quite chewy. It's definitely really filling, so I ended up getting fuller faster. 

After our yummy meal we were off to explore Insadong - or more specifically Ssamziegil, which is a famous shopping place for souvenirs and gifts. 

Somewhat creepy looking Pinocchio figures, lol. 

What Ssamziegil is known for, asides unusual and traditional gifts, is also it's 'crooked' type infrastructure. At a glance it seems like each floor is haphazardly stacked upon each other, creating a sloped appearance. It has a very quaint charm to it ^^

Birdhouse and tree decorations on one of the upper floors, so cute. 

Creepy wooden figurines. 

At the very top floor is a place that sort of mimics the love locks concept from Namsam Tower, except here the love messages are written on cards and tied to the railings. Still pretty, isn't it? 

Random picture of metal giraffe sculptures on a roof top. I had a lot of fun looking at the rooftops of buildings  in Korea, because they make so much use of the space. I saw many rooftop gardens and the such - really wish this would become popular in Australia too. I just love the concept! 

Anyways, there are some really nice shops here - it's a bit more expensive as many products are handmade or of high quality, but if you want to buy gifts for loved ones, Ssamziegil, or even the general Insadong area is a good place to start. 

I bought my little sis a wooden cat charm. And it was packaged so cutely! 

After we finished shopping we decided to find a cafe to rest, and we circled back to a cafe we had spotted earlier. 

Sandwiched between a convenience store and a knitting related store is Miss Lee's. 

Miss Lee's is quite popular for serving traditional style Korean desserts, with a bit of a more modern edge. I've seen many tourists blog about this place so I wanted to check it out too. 

Miss Lee herself. 

We ordered bingsu again (yummy shaved ice), but this time it was a more traditional style with walnuts, almonds and mochi. There was even traditional sweets on the side.

Another appeal to Miss Lee's is you get to leave written messages within the cafe, so here's the one I attached to one of the potted plants, lol. 

After our yummy bingsu, we were off to Bukchon Hanok Village. Again this is another must visit place for travellers. Hanok are the names for traditional Korean houses, and Bukchon Hanok Village is lined with Hanoks that have been well preserved. 

Along the way you'll get to pass some pretty shops and cafes. 

Pretty flowers outside a florist shop. 

A cutesy looking cafe stacked on top on an convenience store - how random!

Loved this shop's display - check out the cute little rabbits! 

First glimpse of a Hanok - it's been converted into a pop up store! 

More converted Hanok style stores. 

Cool store front display outside a boutique. 

And then we gradually left behind the shopping district as we started the steep-ish incline to Bukchon Hanok Village. 

The view halfway there...

A helpful sign to let us know we were going in the right direction...

Finally beginning to see the Hanoks...

The streets are narrow and so quaint. 

Ugh, so pretty. The colour of the wood is lovely. 

Love this shot! It's just a random moment caught in time - a picture of people going about their daily lives...

And  here we have it - the quintessential shot everyone needs to take, as it's the most famous view of the village.

So lucky I could take this in a rare moment when it wasn't filled with tourists! 

View from the bottom end. 

Kind of bizarre to see such old houses hooked up to modern conveniences, lol. But I love that people still live in these Hanoks, and may have been for generations. Very cool. 

Hanok turned business~ 

The whole place is very picturesque, though because the Village is still part residential it's courtesy to be nice and quiet when wondering through the village. 

 Photography buffs will love this place I reckon!

And heading back down, and towards Samcheongdong, a place known for good shopping and cafes. 

We had one destination in mind - Innisfree Jeju House! You may know Innisfree as one of my favourite Korean beauty brands, but did you know they also have a makeup store slash cafe? 

I just had to check it out - they serve organic cakes and drinks upstairs, while downstairs you can stock up on some makeup and skincare ^^ 

I ordered the sweet potato latte (that purple frothy drink) and the widely raved about carrot cake. 

The potato latte had an unusual taste, but it definitely tasted like sweet potato! Not really to my taste, but I ordered it for the novelty factor anyway. The carrot cake was good - firm and moist ^^

If you spend a certain amount in store, you'll get a coin to use in a lucky machine which deposits surprise sample boxes. Cute concept huh?  

Later that evening we went to another cute little cafe so my friend could meet up with her Korean friend. We got to try Korean fried chicken and a traditional walnut tart. Everyone raves about Korea's fried chicken, and after trying it I can definitely see why - it's delicious! 

We spent a long time chatting about makeup, plastic surgery, Korea's beauty standards, the culture - it was really fun ^^

And that's how day 3 of my trip came to an end. 

Aww, writing up all the entries for my Korea trip is making me miss it all the more! 

Hehe, anyway the next post is probably the last travel post, as Day 4 was spent finding a doctor and then once reassured I wasn't dying, we went shopping like crazy at the infamous Express Terminal Bus Station (despite being in pain) :P As you might expect I didn't bother taking any photos. 

Doctor's are soo cheap in Korea! I'd actually been limping around for most of the trip - I thought I'd pulled something and naively assumed it'd go away on its own. Nope - it got worse instead - I was so lucky that the woman we rented our accommodation from came and took me to a doctor >.<

She helped fill out the forms and translated for me. Turns out me and long flights don't get along, the doctor said the blood vessels in my leg were affected from the long flight and cramped seating, but luckily it wasn't DVT! It took me 3 weeks to heal up, plus I caught a cold at the same time too, which also took about 3 weeks to leave T.T I've never been so miserable, lol. 

But back to my main point! If you ever get sick in Korea, don't hesitate to see a doctor! The appointment only cost me 14000 Won, which is about AUD $15-16. You think that's cheap? Koreans normally pay less than $10! Appointments here in Australia cost me $65 (though I do get half back since I have health insurance). I was so surprised - if only I had gone to a doctor earlier, I was too stressed about what it would cost >.<

So yes, the next travel post will cover my last day in Seoul, and that was spent at Gyeongbokgung Palace - one of the most famous and most must visit attractions in Seoul!  And after that I will do a haul post! Hope you look forward to it ^^

If you haven't already you can check out my other Seoul travel posts below~

Day 1: Myeongdong & Namsam Tower
Day 2: Ehwa University, Edae, & Hongdae

Thanks for reading! 

xoxo Tulip

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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Seoul-ful Travelling (March Seoul Trip): Ehwa University, Edae & Hongdae

Hello! Here's the next instalment in my Seoul travel posts. 

Haven't read the first part? It's here :P

It's day 2 of my 6 day trip and what's on the agenda? More shopping, yay! 

This time it's clothes shopping instead of makeup, as we headed to Ehwa Women's University. 

Yup, a university just for female students. 

So of course the campus is super pretty - widely regarded as the prettiest university in Seoul, with beautiful architecture. 

But what's that got to do with shopping? Well not so far from the campus is Edae, lined with little shops and boutiques that sell trendy but super affordable clothing - perfectly aimed at young women who want to look fashionable on a budget. 

Here you can find cute clothes from 5000 Won up - that's USD$5! Actually most of the sale racks are at the 10 000 to 15 000 Won price point and up. Still, that's some great bargains! 

By the end of our shopping trip my hands had gone numb from carrying my loot around, lol. Hence the lack of photos since I was too busy draining my wallet, lol. I'm sorry.

A wall plaque near the university. It's basically like a representation of the area - so pretty! 

First glimpse of the campus. 

The side 'walls' are actually a building in of itself! I think it's a library/study area? 

It's all glass - very cool. 

Quick selfie before heading out to shop! My skin and lips got so dry from the long plane ride and harsh Winter wind :(

Edae's pretty big - you literally can shop until you drop, lol. I consider myself a pretty good shopper, but even I had to admit I was done after a few hours. 

You can try and bargain for some things, but if you're buying $10 to $15 sale items you won't get further discounts. Most full priced items you can start with asking for a 'cash discount' (a discount for paying in cash) - sale assistants will understand if you say this phrase. It's normally about 5-10% discount, and from there you can try to haggle it further. 

The language barrier will be an issue but ask for a calculator and put in the price you want, and then they'll counter offer, and so on. 

It's worth being determined, but I found women were less likely to give in compared to older men. I didn't end up bargaining too much since I was mostly buying sale items anyway! 

Check out this amazing hair salon and cafe! It looks like a magical supplies shop straight out of the Harry Potter universe, doesn't it?

From Edae we were off to Hongdae, because it's pretty lively at night.

Tip, rent a locker at the train station so you don't have to lug your shopping bags around or go back to your accommodation. 

Didn't get any good pics of Hongdae, oops. There's some really nice shops here too - the vibe of the fashion is less girlie compared to Edae, with more 'edgier' clothes as well as higher end boutique type stores. There's still bargains to be found of course. 

And there were quite a number of restaurants and cafes too. 

So much effort is put into making businesses stand out! I love the pottery on top of this little shop. We ate at the restaurant behind it - the one with the bear signage ^^

Haha, I love all the side dishes that come with a main meal - I can get full just eating those plus a bowl of rice! 

 Pretty fountain outside of the restaurant~

After dinner comes dessert (obviously). We went to a cute little bakery called Chocolat Yum in Hongdae, to try some strawberry shortcake. This cake is everywhere in Korea! Spongecake, cream, and fresh strawberries are a super popular combination - every cafe we walked past had some sort of variation of this cake! 

Asides from cake, Chocolat Yum had the cutest array of cookies, jams, and other sweets. Sooo cute! 

Wish I could have one of everything :P

Cake <3 I really like the cream here - it's lighter and tastier to Western cream cakes, which can be a bit too heavy for me. The milk must be different somehow, lol. 

The sponge cake was soft and fluffy too, yum yum. If you don't like anything too rich or heavy this is perfect for you. 

Mmm, next stop is to another dessert place - Peony, where we bought another two strawberry and cream cakes. Because you know, we're insane. This one above had chocolate cream and bananas <3

We were literally eating cake for breakfast the next few days! 

More cake at Coco Bruni - please don't judge me, lol. It's a pretty crap photo, but this Earl Grey cake was the most amazing cake I've ever eaten in my whole life. If you only go to one dessert place, I reckon this would be the one I recommend. 

The interior is pretty cool too - the ground floor has a super pretty antique concept going on, and then you walk up to the second floor and it suddenly turns sci-fi futuristic on you, with a cold library, maze like, science like concept. Bizarre but cool! 

At this point we're 90% sugar, so we head back to the apartment to unwind. 

And I finally get to taste that banana milk drink that everyone loves, lol. It's good! 

And before I end this post, here's a mini tour of the apartment we stayed in. It pretty much had everything we needed - kitchen, bathroom, two double beds and one single bed, storage closet, even a tv ^^

It was super bright and airy, really nice overall. 

I slept upstairs - the ceiling's really low so you can't stand up in here, but I hear many apartments in Korea are like this ^^

I think it was nicer and more fun than staying in a hotel~

But anyway, this concludes day two of my Seoul trip! 

Hope these travel posts are interesting - more to come soon. 

Other Seoul Travel Posts

Myeongdong & Namsam Tower

Thanks for reading! 

xoxo Tulip

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