Korea Travelogue 2016: Myeongdong + Heritage Tour in Seoul
Further to my 8D7N Seoul Itinerary, I will be elaborating on the actual stuff we did during our first 2 days in Seoul. As we arrived at the Incheon Airport pretty late in the afternoon, we were only left with the evening to ourselves on the first day. The actual fun begins on the second day where we did a Heritage Tour in Seoul.
As usual, I did a vlog for my Korea Trip and you might want to check it out below:
Day 1: Bye-bye Singapore, Hello Seoul
We had a quick breakfast at the Singapore Changi Airport prior to boarding the plane. We chose to fly with Singapore Airlines as the hubs wanted extra comfort for long flights.
Arrival @ Incheon Airport
We arrived at the Incheon Airport and was appalled by the crowd at the waiting area to board the train to the Arrival Hall.
It was already 6pm in Seoul when we boarded the Airport Limousine to our Airbnb Apartment.
The sky had turned dark at 6pm.
Anna’s Studio Myeongdong
We booked our apartment via Airbnb and we chose to put up in Anna’s Studio due to it’s location.
As we would be traveling around Myeongdong quite often, Anna’s Studio became our ideal choice naturally.
We paid SGD120 / night for our 7 nights’ stay there. 😉
- High-quality king-sized mattress, goose-down duvet, and goose-down pillow that make you feel comfortable.
- Light-blinded curtains.
- New technology number lock with security system for door
- 24-hour hot water, heating system, and air conditional can be controlled.
- 42 inch LED TV and Internet TV(= HD Cable TV) service with over 100 channels
- Wire and wireless internet
- Hangers, Built-in Wardrobe, Drawers, Shoe Rack, dryer.
- Vacuum cleaner.
- Washing machine, clothes rack.
- Sofa bed
- Tea-table and chairs
- Hair dryer
Night Life in Myeongdong
It was raining when we touched down in Seoul. It did dampen our spirits a little and we were wandering aimlessly in the streets of Myeongdong.
As much as we wanted to stick to our original plan, the cold and wetness sank in and we simply popped into a random Korean Restaurant (which looked very traditional) for a simple dinner.
LINE Friends Flagship Store Myeongdong Station
The main highlight of our Day 1 in Seoul has got to be visiting the LINE Friends Flagship Store.
It has been on the top of my to-do list as both hubs & I love LINE characters.
LINE Friends Flagship Store
9, Myeongdong 8na-gil, Jung-gu
Seoul 04536, South Korea
Tel: +82 2-318-7942
Operating Hours: 10:00 – 23:00 daily
Day 2: Heritage Tour in Seoul
Waking up early is definitely not our habit.
We woke up at 9am+ and walked to Myeongdong to grab a quick lunch.
Over at Myeongdong Station, we took the subway to Bukchon Hanok Village.
Bukchon Hanok Village
We began our Heritage Tour in Bukchon Hanok Village.
This is a village consisting of hundreds of traditional houses (called hanok) that date back to the Joseon Dynasty. This village is surrounded by various palaces such as the Gyeogbokgung, Changdeokgung & also the Jongmyo Shrine.
Bukchon Hanok Village
37, Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 종로구 계동길 37 (계동)
Nearest Subway: Anguk Station
We saw some ladies wearing their hanboks taking photos with the buildings.
Gyeongbokgung Palace (Northern Palace)
Next stop of our Heritage Tour is Gyeongbokgung Palace.
The Gyeongbokgung Palace is built in 1395 and is commonly referred to as the Northern Palace as it is located furthest north when compared to neighbouring palaces of Changdeokgung (Eastern Palace) & Gyeonghuigung (Western Palace).
The Gyeongbokgung Palace remains as the largest of all 5 palaces.
161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161 (세종로)
* Last admission: 1 hr before closing
CLOSED on Tuesdays
It was an omission at our end to plan a visit to Gyeongbokgung Palace on a Tuesday when it is closed.
On our way to the Gyeongbokgung Palace, we tried to speak to the police officer on duty along the roadside to check our directions. We were being ushered to the backdoor of the palace by one of the officer as we were told that the main gate was closed. However upon arrival at the back of the palace, we were being redirected to the front. It was really confusing due to the language barrier. We spent an hour walking up and down to find out that the palace was actually CLOSED. 😡
How we wish that Koreans can be as helpful and courteous as the Japanese in terms of their culture. It was truly a pity that we wasted too much time trying to enter the palace especially when it is closed on that day. 😅
National Folk Museum of Korea
As the Gyeongbokgung Palace is closed, we continued our Heritage Tour exploring the National Folk Museum of Korea.
The National Folk Museum of Korea houses over 4,000 historical artefacts that were used in the daily lives of Koreans.
Today, the National Folk Museum of Korea comprises of 3 permanent & 2 Special Exhibitions as well as a library, souvenir shop, & other subsidiary facilities.
National Folk Museum of Korea
37, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 종로구 삼청로 37 (세종로)
March – May, September – October: 09:00 – 18:00
June – August: 09:00 – 18:30
November – February: 09:00 – 17:00
Saturdays & Sundays, holidays : 09:00 – 19:00 (May-August)
* Last admission is 1hr before closing.
How can our Heritage Tour not include wearing the Hanbok (traditional Korean costume)?
We came across several Hanbok Rental shops of which some were closed on Tuesday as well.
We compared the prices and perks and decided to rent from the shop located at the underground shopping area of the Anguk Subway Station instead.
The lady boss of the Hanbok Rental Shop was very sweet and helped me style my hair into a Ttaheun meori/ Kwimit meori (땋은머리/귀밑머리) to match my traditional Korean look.
This hairstyle is also known as Daenggi Meori (댕기머리) and is worn by young Korean girls before they get married. 😂
More Palace Hopping
We were only left with a very short time to take photos in our rented hanboks as we spent too much time trying to enter the Gyeongbokgung Palace earlier.
Evening @ Dongdaemun
We visited Dongdaemun next and had the best dinner ever at the Dakhanmari restaurant.
Dakhanmari is literally means ‘a whole chicken’. This dish consists of a 35 days old chicken served in a basin containing Dakbaeksuk (Chicken Stew) and garlic. This dish is boiled under fire till the chicken is cooked.
The boiled chicken is then eaten along with sauce consisting of chives, chilli & mustard. We were surprised that the Dakhanmari tasted delicious although it doesn’t look appetising at first glance.
Jinokhwa Halmae Wonjo Dakhanmari
Seoul-si Jongno-gu Jongno 5-ga 265-22
Operating Hours: 10:00 – 22:30
We shopped around Dongdaemun for a while after dinner.
Lotte Mart – Seoul Station Branch (롯데마트-서울역점)
Our last stop of Day 2 was Lotte Mart @ Seoul Station. This was the place where we bought the most stuff – mainly goodies for our friends & relatives.
Our Lotte Mart Hauls include:
- Tteokbokki Crackers
- Fire Noodles
- Lotte Anytime Candy
- Ginseng Candy
- Ginseng Teabags
- Butter Caramel Pringles Potato Chips
Lotte Mart – Seoul Station Branch
432, Cheongpa-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 중구 청파로 426 (봉래동2가,서울역(철도청))
Operating Hours: 09:00 – 00:00 daily
It was pretty late when we were done with our shopping and I was down with a bad cold.
Hence we took uber back to our apartment straight & had a good night’s rest to prepare ourselves for our Nami Island Tour the following day.