KOREA 2015

Hey guys,

I’ve recently just returned from my graduation trip to Seoul with my bunch of friends and thought that i’ll share it here since i thoroughly enjoyed it and actually went to a number of places!

I went over the period of 10th to 19th March and the temperature there changed quite a bit. The day i touched down was about -7degrees and over the span of 10 days, it went up to 22 degrees. Crazy but it was super fun, pity we missed the snowing period though! 














Lotte World

I went to Lotte World on a weekday to avoid the crowd. However, Lotte World honestly isn’t worth spending 46,000 won for the entry tickets.

Firstly, the rides were all super kiddish, the other rides are at least a 40minutes wait for a 2minutes ride which was crazy. 

The whole Lotte World was really small, it’s confined in an indoor space almost the size of a shopping mall and the outdoor part is located across a bridge around the same size. The rides are all pretty close together and they have three levels in total. The kid rides are located at the first floor which we did not know and got turned away multiple times because we thought we could play the rides so..
















(#Squadgoals?)


Honestly we spent a few hours and decided to bail since it was horribly boring and staying any much longer would be a waste of time.

I wouldn’t recommend you to go for this even though getting there was pretty convenient and quick but there really isn’t much! The best part for me of Lotte World was taking pictures in a mini trick eye museum thing and having the mini round ice cream… 

BUT if you really want to go to a theme park, read on!

Everland 

Putting Everland and Lotte World in comparison is like comparing your expired chocolates to Godiva. Goodness, Everland was SO MUCH BETTER. Even though the journey to and fro took almost four hours in total, it was worth every bit of it! The price tickets are 37.000 if you bring your passport or print out this piece of paper which shows a foreigner discount! 

I’m someone who hates rides and didn’t get on any and i still loved the place so much! It was almost, almost ALMOST Disneyland! 

There were a number of attractions and picture worthy places and if you are into Kpop they have this YG holographic concert which you have to pay extra for but i heard it was pretty good.

Yeap, moving on.. One of the coolest part about Everland is that they actually have a mini zoo in the theme park! How crazy is that?! You pay 37.000won you get to see animals and play rides and all that cool stuff, probably doesn’t get any better than that! They even have a mini-petting zoo but i guess because of the weather, a lot of animals can’t be taken out but it was still cool! 

Anyway, so in theme parks the staffs have this really unique way of greeting the patrons which looks ridiculously similar to when we signal to someone saying something has finished or there isn’t anymore like “no more no more.” Basically, you put both your hands up to your face and shake your hands. And because of this, we mistook that a shop sold of out ice cream ad we were so sad when we saw a korean head over to get it before realising the dude was waving to us and not telling us that there were no more ice cream.























































There were honestly a ton of things to see and do at Everland, so many pretty things to take pictures of and it is honestly worth the visit! Plus points if you’re into crazy scary rides because the rides are wellllll lets just say never in my life i would want to be on them! 

MyungDong 

Probably one of the few famous places that people go to shop and it is in my top 5 favourite places in the countries i’ve visited so far. The vibes are so good there, the street food is awesome and there are endless things to shop from!

The shops ranges from street shops to sports shops to facial and make up products (Innisfree, face shop, its skin, etude house, nature republic, laneige and more) and even clothing brands like F21 and H&M.

If you are into the following shoe brands (Nike, Vans, Reebok, Adidas, New Balance, Superga, Dr Martens, New Era, Pony etc), be sure to visit these two shops LesMore and ABC Mart for shoes that are cheaper and a pair of authentic nike can cost only 39,000won (usual prices of a nike can cost 99,000won and above)

Bring your passport along when you go to ABC Mart because they occasionally have 10% discount for tourists for original priced shoes. 

Myungdong is pretty huge as there are a ton of lanes in between lanes and i highly suggest that you spend a full day there especially if you are super into shopping! 

Must try street food which can easily be found when you walk down the lanes of Myung Dong are: 

  1. Potato Twister (3000 won)
  2. HoTok (1500won)
  3. Fishcake (1000won - 1500won per stick, free refill for soup)
  4. Squid (3000won, the grilled ones are the best!!)
  5. Strawberries (depending on the stall and size of strawberries, a box of strawberries can range from 3000won to 8000won)
  6. Pomegranate juice (4000won for a pretty small amount but it is so good, worth the try!)
  7. Custard cakes (3000won, 5000won and 8000won depending on the number of pieces)































HongDae

This place is more of small individual shops which sells clothes ranging from 10,000won and above! TIP for all these shops, always look out for the 10,000won rack, it has crazy awesome treasures and if you buy more than one pieces, DO BARGAIN and smile a lot to the shop owners! 

It is more of a shopping area and has a ton of lanes but the shops are selling quite similar things so you don’t exactly have to spend a full day there! Just a few good hours will do and if you like the brand Style Nanda, they have a flagship store there which has a FREE Photo Booth! 

















Bukchon Village

It’s a pretty small area but packed with tons of amazing goods. It has all the hipster cafes and street food, shops that sells clothes and jewellery and streetwear that sells brands like birks, superga and vans! Sometimes they even have really good sales, i saw a pair of vans for 19,000won! (usual prices are 55,000won and above)































Bukchon is pretty touristy since it’s one of the places that still has all the stacked houses/houses up very steep slopes which are definitely worth the walk up if you ask me! 

Itaewon

This places is known more of food than shopping. It has really good restaurants located all around the place and i heard that at night it’s where it comes to live with all the pubs and clubs! I only spent a few hours there since we went really early in the morning and there wasn’t a lot of things to see. 



















However, Itaewon is known to be extremely popular with foreigners so don’t be surprised if you see more foreigners than koreans there!  

GANGNAM

So apparently Gangnam is a like a giant umbrella and under the umbrella there are more tiny umbrellas such as Apgujeong, Sin Sa, Cheongndamdong, Garosu-gil.


















Sin Sa looks like  just a street but has a ton of hidden food treasures! The atmosphere around that area is SO GOOD, people are so chill and the shops are not crowded and it’s just a really nice place to take a slow walk and check out the shops! They have a super huge F21 there and shops like LUSH, Mango etc. 

Personally i think that the food around the area is more appealing than the shops because in one lane alone they have a crazy variety of food/bars from asian to mexican to irish pubs and more. 

Apgujeong has this shopping street called Rodeo shopping street and it is a pretty nice place but it’s dedicated to mainly streetcar brands such as vans, stussy and other sports brand like adidas, nike MLB and more)

Cheongndamdong is where all the Korean giants are located at - Cube entertainment, JYP etc. We only went to the Cube cafe to have some food but i guess we were around the time where there were some promotions going on for the artistes and there were some hardcore fangirls in the cafe which created a very VERY tensed atmosphere for us to enjoy our food!

As long as a van pulled in front of the cafes, you could see them bringing out their cameras or some even ran out of the cafe, it was honestly quite scary. 

Garosu-gil didn’t make a very big impression on me because i can’t remember much about the place but i’m pretty sure it’s another shopping street quite similar to Hongdae but on a smaller scale. 

Insadong

The place i was staying at was just a five minutes walk away from Insadong and it has a ton of things to see and do! I had a super hearty porridge for lunch at Insadong which was SO GOOD and there was just a lot of things to see along the street. From arts to traditional shops to shops selling facial products and of course, food! 

There is this mini shopping centre like thing called Ssamziegil which has a super cool concept which honestly all the shopping centres should consider changing too! The whole building is about 5 storeys high but there are no escalators, there are stairs though but the concept of this is like a slope that just leads you up each floor and all the stores are located along the slopes which means each store you pass, you are technically going up a floor! Super cool! 

If you are having a trip there, don’t forget to visit their neoprint shop where you can wear their traditional costumes for pictures! 






















Dongdaemun

It was quite a disappointment even though we had a great time chatting with some store owners. The prices are not that cheap at all, it is the same as all the stores from 10,000won and above and the things can be seen at places like Hongdae, Gangnam, and really everywhere. Things basically can range from 10,000won up tp 50,000won which is considerably pretty expensive! 

I guess the only good part of Dongdaemun is that it is opened all the way to 430am in the morning? Other than that nothing really special about it!

You could really just use the midnight time to catch up on some sleep or just go to the clubs?






It took us a pretty long time to get a cab back as well, no cab wanted to stop for us and we were stranded for a good 30-45minutes in the cold! 

Lotte Mart

This is the place you should go to stock up on your korean food/snacks such as your peppero, kimchi, seaweed and basically anything that has the word LOTTE labeled on the box. It was not exactly super cheap but definitely cheaper than Singapore and at their convenient stores! 











Bear in mind that it is crazy crowded even on a weekday and they do not provide plastic bags and you have to purchase them if you want to! However, i recommend that if you have a ton of things, they have a packing corner with free boxes and tape which is a more feasible method to pack your goodies!

Underground shopping

Is crazy awesome in Seoul, they have a ton of things and they are pretty affordable as well! Again, look out for the 10,000won racks! Underground shopping is almost available everywhere but the one I enjoyed the most was the Gangnam underground shopping! 

Korea University, Seoul National University & Ehwa Womans University

Went to check out these Unis and honestly i was blown away by them even though i only checked out the Comms/media building! Nothing much that i can share about these visits other than that the Unis really take pride in making their school look amazing and every school has a baseball jacket which look SO COOl. They even have their course(?) and name sewn on. 



















































N Seoul Tower

This is possibly the most touristy thing we’ve done on this trip! It is honestly nothing much, you just get to see Seoul from a super high view after climbing a super crazy steep uphill slope in the crazy cold weather that made me almost want to faint because it was SO HARD to breathe! 

But the view was pretty and that is about it really! I didn’t take the cable car up instead i took a bus that took about 25minutes! You can take the bus from myungdong exit 3, bus number 5! 



















The entrance fee for the observatory deck was 9,000 won but honestly the view from the bottom of the tower was breathtaking enough (literally)

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Some of the Korean food that i highly recommend you to try when you are here would be: 

  1. Ginseng Chicken
  2. Yoogane
  3. Fried Chicken
  4. Ramen in the food tent
  5. Patbingsoo
  6. Korean BBQ
  7. Porridge 
  8. Spicy chicken leg

TIPS

Taking the cab is sometimes cheaper than taking the subway (1050won for a trip, insadong to myung dong costs about 3700won so if you have four people, it’s definitely more convenient and cost less than the subway)


Specs are super cheap, the lens usually costs about 30,000 won and frames ranges from 10,000 to 100,000+, you can get your own frames and get the frames done by the stores but check before hand because i had to go to a couple of stores before they would do that. Since they would definitely want to earn the money from the frames too right?

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BARGAIN when you are shopping on the streets especially street stalls which you will see a ton of along myungdong. It doesn’t hurt to try to get the price lower! 


Don’t slam the taxi doors too hard! Apparently taxi drivers are pretty particular about this. If you haven’t heard of my horrific incident on my social media which led a taxi driver to call me crazy, let me share it with you here.

So bear in mind that 8 out of 10 taxi drivers can’t speak english, they can understand very little of it so most of the time they speak in korean or show them through gestures. So i have a habit of slamming doors harder than i should because since really long time ago, i can never close vehicle doors properly which is why i decided to slam in really hard ONCE and done.

Also, the lights in the cars/taxi in Singapore switches off when you close the door hard enough to show that you closed it right,right? 

So using this “prior knowledge” i just slam the door really hard but the taxi driver mumbled something and since the taxi light was still on, i assumed that he meant to close the door again and harder this time and so i did, but the light did not switch off, so i did it again. 

But then the taxi driver still continued speaking in korean and now opening and closing the door so i just thought that i had to close the door harder so seriously, i just kept slamming the door until my friend told me that he meant to close the door gently….

It was ridiculous and i couldn’t stop laughing after that. Just imagine you telling someone to close the door gently but she just kept on slamming it harder and harder. I know i sometimes may do things to annoy people but it was definitely not my intention to annoy the taxi uncle. 

For the record, i apologised and the lights are controlled by the taxi driver...

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The facial products shops are EVERYWHERE. Shops like nature republic, innisfree and all that, they are everywhere so don’t fret when you forget to get something from the shops because honestly you can find them every where you go at the subway stations, in the theme parks, seriously, everywhere. 

Also, look out for the sales because their sales can be ridiculously good sometimes! Such as 20 pieces of masks for only 6500won (only saw it once though)


The toilets are surprisingly very clean in Korea, even the ones in the subway station or the theme parks. They always have toilet paper and the floors are mostly dry and doesn’t stink at all. So if you need to get some business done, there is no need to hold it! 


At stores such as the supermarket or convenience store they don’t provide plastic bags and it will cost from 100won to 300won for it! So if you have a bag already, save the money!


Cards are accepted almost everywhere except the street shops so you don’t have to carry so much cash around!



I wear glasses almost on a daily basis when i was in Seoul because it was so cold and the wind gets pretty strong sometimes and it just hurts my eyes quite a bit and specs make them tons better!!

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Most of the koreans are super nice and friendly! My friend and i got lost and were almost on our way out of Seoul on a train when we asked a dude for help. He missed his train just to bring us to the right station! We got lost at SNU as well and two students very kindly brought us to the bus stop so we could get to where we wanted to! 

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I guess that’s about it! My trip was super fun and i can’t wait for new travel experiences! 

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