Thursday, 18 September 2014

✈TRAVEL: Seoul Week 2 Video Diary

Finally, I've finished the last vlog of Seoul (see first vlog HERE). I tried a new editing programme so it took me a while to get my head around how to use it but I got there! So enjoy and check below for description on all the places in the vlog.

*watch in HD


Sinchon Water Gun Festival
We actually only passed by this festival but it looked really cool Seriously, if I was there with more friends then I would have definitely joined in and it looked reallywell organised as well with places to store your belongings so that they stay dry, and apparently K-pop star Suzy from Miss A was there for a day as well. So if you're ever in Seoul in the summer, it's worth searching any festivals going on.

Namdaemun Market
We were originally here so that Carrie could buy a cheap carry on suitcase. They sell pretty much everything from clothes to homeware, all at affordable prices. To be honest, there wasn't a lot of stuff that I would actually buy but it's definitely worth just taking a look around. And it's fairly close to Myeongdong as well (roughly a 15 minute walk).
More info HERE

Puppy Café
 Literally a café filled with dogs, need I say more. It was ₩8000 (~$8/£4.60) for a drink and unlimited time with the dogs. I prefer the puppy café a lot more than the cat café because the dogs actually interact with you more. They provide you with a blanket to cover your legs when you sit on the floor (which is great if you're wearing a skirt or dress, and it does get a bit chilly because of the AC) and the smaller dogs tend to come and sit on your lap and doze off. There is also a seating area around the edge of the café. I advise you go early because the café filled up really quickly. The one that we went to was in Myeongdong, but I think there's also one in Hongdae you can try looking up.
Address: 4th Floor, 22-2 Chungmuro 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea 
Opening Hours 13:30-21:30

Seoul N Tower (Namsan Tower)
This is a major tourist attraction sight that everyone should go visit if you're ever in Seoul. The view is absolutely incredible and breathtaking. If you're willing to spend a fair amount of money, there's also a revolving restaurant higher up in the tower which would actually be amazing if you're celebrating a special occasion (or just wanted to treat yourself). We ate at 'The Best Burger In Seoul', which was cheapest of the restaurants at the tower and it wasn't actually too bad.

We went up to watch the sunset and left just after it got dark. I would say make sure the weather isn't rainy or foggy and try to avoid going too late at night because there tends to be a super long queue for the cable car. I think it's also worth walking down, rather than taking the cable car, if the weather's nice enough (which was not an option for us in the boiling heat).

The cable car boarding place is really close to Myeongdong station (roughly 10 minute walk) and I found this blog post had really useful directions.
Online website HERE
Cable car adult ticket prices: ₩8500 return / ₩6000 one way

Bukchon Hanok Village
Another big tourist attraction site, Bukchon Hanok Village is filled with very traditional houses. Going early may save you from having large groups of tourists ruin every photo you take but Carrie and I were both super tired that day.
We explored more of the area near the village and it was filled with small boutiques, art galleries and unique arts and crafts.
More info HERE

This complex has lots of small shops selling souvenirs, hand crafted goods, clothes etc. and also a couple of restaurants, cafés and food stalls. The complex is actually one big spiral so it's easy to work your way to the top.
Opening hours: 10:00 - 20:30
Address: 38 Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Bukhansan Mountain
Since there are no mountains in England, Carrie and I really wanted to go hiking in Seoul. On the most part, it was really satisfying to reach the top and take in the amazing view. BUT there were times when I felt like I was going to die (I'm probably one of the unfittest and least sporty people you will find), especially on the way down when my legs felt like jelly. We reached a peak in probably about 3 hours or less. We really didn't need any specialist equipment (which we didn't have anyway, because who's got space for hiking boots in their suitcase), but I would recommend bringing lot of water or lots of change to buy water at least, and towel because it gets unpleasantly sweaty. There were also some small stalls selling kimbap on our way to the mountain, which I recommend buying and saving to eat when you reach the peak, because you're probably going to get hungry. 

We did have a course in mind that we wanted to take, but we ended up buying a map for ₩2000 (~$2/£1.20)  at the entrance and winging it as we went along. We aimed for the lowest peak in the shortest time (the shorter the route, the harder it is) and tried to avoid any routes that were marked for expert hikers. I'd advise going back down the way you came up, because surprisingly, going down is harder and scarier as you're more likely to slip (gravity is definitely NOT on your side)

There are also temples you can visit in the mountains and I would really recommend hiking if you're in Seoul for over a week, even if you're not athletic or sporty, because the view at the top is breathtaking and the temples are gorgeous. Even if you don't reach the top, it's nice to get out of the city and surround yourself with nature and calmness. 

It took us about an hour to get there via underground, getting off at Gupabal station, then got a bus, which dropped us off roughly a 10 minute walk away from the entrance. If you don't know the way to the national park entrance from the bus stop, there's probably going to be groups of  hikers that you can follow. 
More info HERE

Remicone sell probably the coolest looking ice creams and the interior was so on point and completely my style. I've heard a lot of people haven't liked the ice cream but I think it might have been because the ice cream tasted like mascarpone rather than regular cream. I had a taste of Carrie's ice cream called 'Thunderbomb' and personally, I loved it but I will say it's on the pricier side.
Address: 547-12 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Boto Acai
This place was a two minute walk from Remicone, just off Garosugil. The base of the Acai bowl are acai berries (quelle surprise) and topped with a variety of fruits, making it super healthy. It's inevitably not cheap and Carrie seemed to really enjoy it.
 Address: 551 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Price: ₩5500 Small / ₩7500 Medium / ₩12500 Large

Chunggyecheon Stream
We went really early in the morning to avoid the crowds because during the summer (and probably most of the year actually) there are so many people playing in the stream or sitting by it. The water is very clear and it's nice to walk along the stream and watch the fish swim around.
Closest station: Dongdaemun station exit 7 or 8

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP)
The exterior was really cool (although personally not my cup of tea) and inside, there were loads of exhibitions which we didn't go to because you had to pay for most of them.  To be honest, I don't know a whole lot about this place and we only really went because Carrie wanted to take some photos of the buildings. But you can find more info on it HERE.

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA)
This place had really cool exhibitions. We went primarily to see Do Ho Suh's installation called 'Home within Home' which was amazing. It was a model of his two homes made out of silk and the detailed stitching was incredible. We walked around afterwards to look at other art pieces and there were quite a few videos which were interesting, and although these exhibitions may be over by the time you get around to going, the museum seemed very cool and definitely worth checking out.
Museum website HERE
More about Doh Ho Suh's exhibition HERE


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