Korea was not initially in our bucket list, but since we love Korean food and I had recently gotten into the Korean beauty craze, it was about time we booked a ticket to this popular Asian destination. We spent a total of five days exploring Seoul and immersing in the city life. Here’s a quick recap of where we went, what we did, and what we love about Korea.
First Stop: Hongdae
When we were doing research, we discovered that Hongdae was the place to be if you were young and into everything K-Pop. We aren’t K-Pop fanatics but we did consider ourselves young-ish (haha!) and we wanted to explore this side of town. We booked our Airbnb just a stop away from the main street.
Hongdae is full of character–from the street food, to the students that perform a whole repertoire of K-pop dances and songs on the streets. Everywhere you look, you’ll find something interesting. Small shops line the streets with unique finds and the most unusual of things. You’ll also come across thrift pop-up stores where you can find Korean fashion wear at affordable rates. We also had the BEST Korean barbecue in a restaurant in Hongdae called Red Piggy Bank. If you visit the area, please make room for a meal here. And even if we had quite a lot of time walking around this area, I felt like I still needed to see more of this lively place.
Visiting the Quaint Bukchon Hanok Village
I saw this place in many Instagram posts and decided I wanted to visit it. Bukchon Hanok Village is a small community where people live in traditional Korean homes. The stone walls and intricately laid roof details were what attracted me to this place. I wish we preserved more of our pre-war houses and buildings the way these houses were preserved. That extra care for culture and history is one reason why I loved traversing through this place.
Shopping at the Streets of Myeongdong
Okay, so this is where I went wild. Yeah, if you’re a fan of Korean beauty and skincare, everything you’ll see here will make you go nuts! I hoarded so many face masks, serums, and pimple patches–I have more than a year’s supply, believe me. You’ll also find smaller Korean fashion shops, street food, and international brands here. It’s shopping heaven especially for us, girls. Luckily, the men in our travel party were VERY patient and went in every store without a complaining–such troopers!
Playing Dress Up at N Seoul Tower
So, we had to do get touristy, too! How else would be able to enjoy the best of Seoul? The N Seoul Tower is a popular tourist attraction not only because you get to see a bird’s eye view of the city, but also because you can add a love locket at the top and because you can play dress up. We passed on the love locks but we didn’t pass up the chance to dress in the traditional Korean Hanboks! It was way too fun and I say we look cute!
Enjoying Nature at Changdeokgung Palace
Changdeokgung Palace is a beauty, particularly the vast gardens that surround the main structures teeming with the most lush greens I have ever seen. There are small ponds as well, making the place as zen as can be. I could imagine how nice it would be to come over after a long day and just sit there to let the serenity of the place engulf you and all your worldly troubles. It was quite a walk to see the whole palace–2 hours to be exact–but it was well worth it.
Enjoying all of Dongdaemun Design Plaza and the Surrounding Malls
I love Dongdaemun for two reasons. One, you have malls that are open 24/7. Mall after mall, after mall, you’ll burn your cash easily here. I bought so many basics here–I’ve been building my capsule wardrobe for a while, you see–but there are also trendy pieces at extremely marked down prices. Poch also enjoyed shopping here. The second reason why I love Dongdaemun is because there’s a huge design plaza right at the center. The dome-like architecture is the main attraction of the place and at night, the LED flowers come to life, lighting the whole place in a soft glow–it’s beautiful. Inside, you’ll find even more interesting goods including travel items, decorations for the home, and many more. One day is not enough so make sure you set aside at least 2 days for this one stop.
That wraps up our trip and if you ask me for just three reasons to go to Korea (or to go back again), I’d tell you to look forward to these:
- The food. Korean barbecue everyday!!!
- The skincare and beauty products at Myeongdong, duh!
- And lastly, the culture–remnants of their past sit in pockets within the city and you’ll feel every bit of their rich present culture all around you.