Yes, we were there just last year. But also, yes, it is quite impossible to see everything you want in an awesome country in only a few days. So we came back!
We still booked our flights with AirAsia (the same airline we used last year) on almost the same time of year: end of fall, nearly winter, which is perfect walking around weather so long as you’re padded and layered properly. We booked the same accommodations, because we just LOVE Ji and the awesome folks at B My Guesthouse. And we revisited some of the places we weren’t able to take enough time to see last time, though of course there were more fresh sights on our itinerary. So, ready? Let’s go!
- And we’re back! Flying in to Seoul this time had more erm, color thanks to all the laglag-bala drama. Can you spell STRESS? But we caught our flight with no incident, zipped/locked/pocket-less baggage in tow, and landed in gorgeous Incheon International Airport before 12pm Seoul time, earlier than ETA. Last year we took the train, but we thought to try something more convenient this time (because Seoul train stations have stairs like you won’t believe) and grabbed a limousine bus. Bus ticket to Myeongdong costs KRW10k and is sold just outside Arrivals.
- Feels like home, B My Guesthouse and Myeongdong. We got off at the Sejong Hotel bus stop which is only one convenient underpass and a couple of hills away from our guesthouse. Yes, a couple of hills. Hiking and walking are pretty much the same thing in this city, which is basically why I do not feel too guilty that I eat so much there. Anyway, we found our home away from home and was welcomed by the owner Ji. My Seoul sister Tin was there waiting for us too. She arrived a day early (because Cebu-Manila logistics issues), then we hugged a lot, chatted a while, before finally paying attention to our rumbling tummies. The side streets in our area had a lot of restaurants serving local fare, and we found one called Jin Han Cook. Their jjajangmyun and kimchi stew were GOOD.
- Let’s try this one more time, Insadong. After lunch it was time to go back to Insadong (Anguk station, Exit 6) with a vengeance. We got lost getting there last year and by the time we arrived, everything was closed. Also we weren’t prepared for the cold then and my fingers felt like they were falling off. This year, we came with warm coats and gloves, so although night was falling fast we were able to take a leisurely stroll down the still busy streets lined with tourist trap shops (think idol postcards and keychains), shops of traditional Korean wares (think metal chopsticks and bowls), charming little tea shops and even vegetarian restaurants. We were even able to find an O’sulloc tea store (oh my gosh all the amazing tea, smelled so good!) and Ssamziegil Road, which is basically a shopping complex made up of a few floors of shops selling quirky things. We even found a MOMOT store there, then we got our first taste of street food with some poop-shaped bread (did not taste like poop) and a burdock rice cake.
- Bukchon Hanok Village. Next stop was Bukchon Hanok Village. We’ve been there last year, but we wanted to show the charming place to Tin. It’s a real residential area, so travelers are requested to be quiet and respectful. It’s a bit trickier finding it via the Insadong route unlike last year’s Gyeongbokgung route and it was getting cold and dark, but we were able to find it. It’s a picturesque hilly place where people still lived in hanok houses or converted these hanoks to shops and restaurants. Perfect Koreanovela drama location, FYI, if you felt so inclined to do some poses. We found a friendly harabeoji there selling eomuk and sweet rice wine from his hanok shop, and rested there a while, while keeping our wary gazes on a very loud drunk man wandering the streets. Then we walked some more before heading back for a proper dinner and dessert (big ass churros!) back in Myeongdong.