Busan ==> Myeongdong ==> Lotte World (Duty Free) ==> Heo Joon Jae’s House (Lee Min Ho’s house in Legend of the Blue Sea) ==> N Seoul Tower ==> Myeongdong Street Food & more shopping ==> Jimjilbang experience
Accommodation: Khaosan Seoul Insadong Guesthouse. 56 Gwansu-dong, Jongro, Seoul, South Korea.
Fresh Ginseng and Souvenir at Lotte Duty Free
We left Busan with a heavy heart. We felt that we could have had more fun had it not for the weather. After breakfast, we fixed our things and went to Busan KTX station. We arrived earlier than our schedule in the station so asked the ticketing officer if we could change it for an earlier schedule, and they allowed. By the way, we booked our hostel (Khaosan) for April 10 and 11, 2017, thinking that we have enough time to leave some of our luggage but we were not able to do it as we went straight away to the Seoult KTX station to wait for our train to Busan.
This is basically our first day around Seoul because we mostly went to places outside the metro. Our first stop of the day was in Myeongdong tourist information center. Hehe We were not very familiar with the area, and we didnt want to waste time searching for places without any hint. In the tourist information center they gave us instruction and map… several maps of Seoul and Myeongdong, actually.
Myeongdong was like a wonderland to us. Indeed, it’s a shopping haven. There’s sale everywhere! (However, my student told me that products are always on sale there.) LOL The shopping district was still busy despite the news on fewer number of tourist after the ban on group packages from China.
To be able to explore this urban jungle, we filled our stomach with several servings of samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly) and some soondubu jjigae (soft tofu stew). Then, we went around to look for a ginseng store but we could not find a store that sells ginseng in the bottle. Then we headed to Lotte Duty Free… and we found a ginseng store. It’s just that it’s not in the bottle. The sales manager instructed us how to make our own ginseng inside a liquor bottle. I did not buy anything yet as I will be staying longer than them. Plus I’d like to stroll around with my hands free. My phone, camera and shoulder bag was enough. I bought my ginseng on my 7th day. I placed it in a bottle with wine instead of soju and gave it to my parents. I’ll take pictures of them when I go my parent’s house.
Heo Joon Jae’s House (Legend of the Blue Sea)
Did I mention that my cousin is an avid Lee Min Ho fan? Well, she is and she is recently watching LOTBS. I remember I was tagged by my younger sister of a blog. This was seen by my cousin and she particularly saved it. Thanks to it, we were like teenagers in front of their crush’s house. It was very accessible. It’s just on the nearest stair on your right when you go to Namsan Tower.
Namsan Tower (N Seoul Tower)
We reached N Seoul Tower by cable car. But, going up to the cable car station was like a Holy Week hike. It was a tough climb for us who are not used to hilly places. However, the perseverance paid off because we were just right before the time the influx of tourists arrived. There was a queue but it moves fast. After few minutes, we were already on top…to be surprised of several more climbs. LOL
The temperature was dropping, added to the fact that we were on a higher altitude.
Myeongdong Street Food
My being foodie enjoyed exploring Myeongdong Street food. My friends loved it too. In fact, we didn’t get to have dinner because we stuffed ourselves a lot from fruits to bread and spicy stuffs. I did not and I could not take pictures because my hands were full. While my friends were looking for more souvenirs, I stopped over several stalls and bought snacks for us. I love the bread with egg on top.
When you finally had a chance to visit Korea as your dream tourist destination, you’ll probably regret not being able to visit a sauna. At this point in time, it was already like 11:30 in the evening. But, it was my cousin’s last night (My other friends already left for the airport. They had early morning flight and they could not risk missing the plane.) We decided to ask out hostel employee if there is a nearest sauna. We were just happy to know that there was one nearby… and so, off we go!
Philippines do not have a public bath culture. More so, naked people in the same place. I have expected this but still it shocked me. We just want to experience the culture. However, since it was already late at night, some places were already dark, the lights were turned off. So, kept on looking for a good place just to have our picture taken. We also searched Youtube for a video instruction on how to fold the towel. LOL
Korean Sports Massage
It was one of the most memorable experience I had in Korea. I love having a massage. In fact, I make it a habit to have it at least once a month. Massage is perfect to loosen up our muscle. And sports massage was perfect for me that that time. My entire body, particularly my feet were basically tired. The massage therapist was very good at hitting the right point. It felt really relaxing that I was able to sleep well. I’m definitely going to try it again when I go back. (I just wish I can find it here in my City.)
1. From our guesthouse we took the subway to Myeongdong. We went to Lotte Duty free to buy Ginseng and “pasalubong”. To get there, we went to a tourist information office and got free maps. Yes, maps are free and detailed. I got plenty of them. Myeongdong’s pretty big and there are many cosmetics shops. Actually, there are similar shops in every corner. Tourist information offices made our tour a bit easier.
2. Since we want to go to N Seoul Tower while there is still sun, we decided to stop shopping first and walked from Myeongdng to N Seoul tower cable car station. Just head to the direction of Pacific hotel. There is a bus going there from Myeongdong but since we were short of time, we just walked uphill…It was like a Holy Week sacrifice for us! LOL
3. Our exhausting climb seemed nothing when we came across Heo Joon Hae’s house. Yes, you read it right! it’s just near the stairs before you reach the N Seoul cable car station.
4. Since this is a popular tourist destination, expect long queue. We just got lucky because when we arrived there weren’t much tourist before us. But after few minutes, the station was already full.
5. If you expect all the climbing stops when you take the cable car, forget about it. LOL. There’s more climb to the get to the top. Plus, it’s unexpectedly chilly too.
6. Back to Myeongdong, we didn’t have dinner because we had so much of gastronomic delight from all the street foods.
7. There is tax refund. So, if you want to get it, you have to make sure that you inform the salesperson and request for a receipt you can use to claim it in the airport. In my case, I had regular receipt. I wasn’t aware that I had to exchange it for another one. So, it cant be scanned in the airport.
8. There was a jimjilbang near our guesthouse so, of course, my cousin and I took chance to experience it.
9. We had sports massage there for like 30,000W. I am not sure if it is cheap or not. hehe all I know was that it was a relaxing experience after all the walk.