Korea has always been part of my “immediate to do” list. This is my must do by mid twenties type of list. It was a place a lot of people encouraged me to visit for the food and fashion. This, Japan and Bali were the top three.
One night during a random drinking session in Anton’s rooftop, my friends and I talked about the CebPac sale happening that day. We never really got to travel complete outside of the country, and the places we all wanted to visit were pretty similar. After a few drinks, we ended the night with a trip to Korea.
Korea, truly, did not disappoint. A lot would compare it to Japan, and your favour would really depend on your preference and priority when traveling. I have fallen in love with both.
To give you an idea of South Korea, here are a few things I loved about the place.
MOSC was our Airbnb located in Itaewon. We were around 10-13 people, so we needed a pretty big place. The house has seven rooms, almost all having its own bathroom. It could actually hold 16 people, had a mini kitchen area, a balcony, and a small studio in the first floor which the public could rent for events or meetings. The owner, MJ, was the most perfect host who helped us with just about anything.
Lucky for us, there was a really good Korean BBQ place right beside MOSC, with a Filipino waiter that made ordering so much easier.
This deserves another #danielaeats post. But really, Korean BBQ, their soup, and their unli side dishes are the bomb. I can eat that all day.
According to MJ there aren’t spectacular Korean restaurants in the Itaewon area. Since Itaewon is the tourist/party area, there are a lot of international restaurants like Taco Bell, The Halal Guys, KFC, Burger King, and more.
Street food at Myeong-Dong.
And we had Soju + beer in almost every meal. It was the beeeeessst.
Their Local Brands
This is just a glimpse. I tried as much as possible not to shop , but I did give in to those black slides with the horsebit. Now I know how much Korea has to offer in this department, I am definitely going back with a bag full of cash. Myeong-dong, Hongdae, and Gangnam are my favorite shopping areas.
The Beauty Products
Myeong-dong is the place for this. Literally, store after store selling beauty products and makeup. You could stay there forever just experimenting. And with how beautiful Koreans’ skin are (they look like porcelain!), there’s no reason to doubt.
With or without leaves, the place is beautiful. We weren’t able to explore it so much (my friend proposed, we couldn’t concentrate on anything else), so we just really took photos, ate in one of their restaurants and drank soju by one of the picnic tables. It was pretty awesome, but we were freezing.
Street and Store Designs
I love places that have distinct, unique design. I’m guilty of being one who experiences places through my phone half the time, but when you’re surrounded by this, you can’t help but take photos nonstop.
There are waaay more stores you can get inspiration from, unfortunately just not enough photos!
Little Cuties Everywhere
The little Korean babies around are so. frikin. cute. This one was playing hide-and-seek.
Strawberries and Paris Baguette Everywhere
Their strawberries are huge, and they’re everywhere.
Noryangjin Fish Market
Your Korean Dampa, but with more options–king crab, octopus, lobster, tuna, salmon, uni, and a lot more. You choose your meat and you bring it to a restaurant for them to cook it for you. It can be a bit pricey, so make sure you agree on cooking fee before you handover your market purchase to them.
Song Joong Ki… also everywhere.
Posters, calendars, keychains, notebooks and socks… EVERYWHERE.
The Traditional Korean village. This was one of the last items on our itinerary that day, so we were pretty tired by the time we got here. The place was pretty interesting, a bit of a walk. We stayed only for 30 minutes or less.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza
This Future of Design museum was pretty cool, I wish I spent more time here. There were a bunch of local brands that had unique items, and I found some kitchenware I wanted to take home! Also, the 3D printing was soooo cool.
We took a cablecar up to Namsan. It was freezing when we went, but it was also so beautiful! We went at sunset, so the transition from day to night looked extra good from up there. This is the center of Seoul, so you’re able to get a 360 view of it from here.
We were there for 9 days. Is it too early to say that I already want to go back? I miss the cold weather so much. The food too! On my next trip to Seoul, I will most probably stay in Myeong-Dong or Hongdae. If you’re the type who likes to shop and get inspired, those two places might just be for you too!