Seoul, Korea: Cultural Sites


Exhausted from going around the entire Myeongdong the previous night, the girls and I woke up just in time for brunch. To our surprise, Simon and his family/friends had prepared a free meal for us!


Aside from the usual sides of kimchi & vegetables, we had a full tray of sashimi, fresh from the market. So fresh, in fact, that the octupus was still alive and squiggling on our plates! That was the first time I encountered such delicacy, which they apparently consider to be very healthy.

Normally, I’m not very adventurous when it comes to exotic food, but if it comes from the sea, it’ll most likely end up in my tummy. It took a while to chew the octopus, and I panicked a little since I imagined it still being alive in my throat & possibly strangling me with its tentacles & choking me, but it turned out alright. Slimy, yet satisfying.


Now fuelled with energy, we set off for a long walk up the village of traditional Korean houses called Bukchon Village.


People are currently living in these homes, so tourists are encouraged to keep quiet. A few of the homeowners, however, do let visitors in, either for a fee or free of charge.

Photo from Shyla's instagram

Photo from Shyla’s instagram

Nearby this village is a street called Samcheongdong, lined with coffee shops & stores. I was able to find a cute sweater, which you’ll see me wearing the day after, in Nami Island.


A stall I found in Samcheongdong, with a strange name

Our next stop was a few hundred meters across from Bukchon, the Gyoeongbokgung Palace. Unfortunately, we were late for the guided tour, so we briefly explored and walked to find Insadong.



PicsArt_1412846812870 PicsArt_1412844948409

Tummies grumbling, we decided to eat at a random restaurant with only one woman working, cleaning, taking orders & charging bills. The stone-bowl bibimbap I ordered exceeded my expectations, considering its reasonable price of 7,000 won (around 300 pesos/ 6 dollars). As did the fried chicken which was the best we’ve ever tasted in our lives, which we found it in a simple restaurant near our place later that night, the squid ink kimbap & spam kimbap I had once, and the paella-like, freshly cooked spicy & cheesy meal we had on our last day in Hongdae Central in a restaurant called Yugane. Eating almost anywhere in Seoul is a good guarantee, for as long as the place isn’t sketchy, doesn’t smell like dog, and doesn’t serve slimey pigs’ ears (no, not sisig! Pig ears that are perfectly shaped like live pigs’ ears… more on that later).


Our last stop before going absolutely crazy, shopping in Myeongdong, the result of which was having to lug my 20kg weighing bag around the airport on the last day, was Insadong. This time, instead of cosmetics and clothes, the alley was full of souvenir shops and quirky trinkets.


Insadong is where we stumbled upon this levitating man. Our theory is that he’s hiding a rope inside his sleeve, which is tied to his staff, which likely has a stronger base, covered by the black cloth.


Aside from the souvenir shops, Insadong is also quite an artsy place with unique artifacts and paintings. We sat in one of their many coffee shops to rest a bit, and get to snag some wifi, then off to Myeongdong we went.


Myeongdong street food comes to the rescue as we sample their delicious gyoza and barbeque, after shopping till midnight.  20141005_215146


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