So a few months ago, I
Here's my itinerary for the 6D5N trip and therefore the trip journal will be covered in 6 parts.
Day 1 - Arrival at Icheon International Airport > Airport Shuttle Bus to Myeong-dong Station > Drop off luggage at Nine Tree Hotel > Gwangjang Market (early lunch) > Bangsan Market > Chungbu Market > Check-in Nine Tree Hotel > N Seoul Tower > Myeong-dong (dinner)
Day 2 - Hanbok rental shop > Gyeongbokgung > Tosokchon Samgyetang (lunch) > Samcheongdong / Bukchon Hanok Village / Traditional tea house > Kyobo Bookstore (Gwanghwamun branch) > Myeong-dong (street food for dinner)
Day 3 - Namdaemun (Lunch) > Ewha Women's University > Hongdae Free Market / Hongik University Street (dinner) > Lotte Mart
Day 4 - Gwanghawmun Square / King Sejong Statue > Jihwaja Royal Cuisine Restaurant (lunch) > Insadong / Traditional tea house > Cheonggyecheon Stream (Seoul lantern festival) > Myeong-dong (dinner)
Day 5 - Train from Yongsan station to Gapyeong > Nami Island > Noryangjin Fish Market (late lunch) > Myeong-dong (dinner)
Day 6 - Lotte Duty Free Shopping / Lotte Department Store > Shuttle Bus to Incheon Airport > Shopping haul
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We took a red-eye flight on Asiana Airlines to Incheon International Airport. Couldn't remember why we took Asiana Airlines instead of SQ but kind of regretted. The plane was an older model, seats on smaller side and entertainment system was lousy with poor resolution and limited selection of movies :( The flight there was still ok since we tried to catch some sleep for a packed itinerary. But our return flight was an afternoon flight, and hence a torture with limited entertainment. Worse of all, each passenger is only allowed one piece of 23kg luggage, which totally limited my capacity to buy things!!!!!!! There were so many stuff I wish I could buy!!!!!! No more Asiana Airlines next time.
Ok, enough of rant and back to journal. Touched down early morning and upon clearing the customs, we proceeded to the Shuttle Bus counter at the Arrival Hall to purchase our bus ticket to Myeongdong.
We were a little peckish so went to Tous Les Jours Bakery for a light breakfast. Love the selection of sandwiches at this bakery cafe.
Nine Tree Hotel Myeongdong (www.ninetreehotel.com:5004)
Nine Tree Hotel is just 1 minute away from the airport shuttle bus-stop, subway station exit 8, as well as the Myeong-dong shopping district, so it was fairly convenient.
And so we started on my planned itinerary for the day. But first thing first, bought the T-money transportation card from the vending machine. This card is like a smart card/store-value card which allows travel on bus and subway as well as merchandise purchase at certain retail places like c-stores.
First stop - Gwangjang Market 광장시장 (www.kwangjangmarket.co.kr), one of Korean's oldest traditional market selling street food, fabric, bedding, hanbok and foodstuff.
We were greeted with rows and rows of stalls selling different types of Korean traditional street food like Bindaetteok (mung bean pancake), Tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), Mandu (dumplings), Soondae (blood sausage), Mayak Gimbap (mini rice rolls), Odeng (fish cakes) and more!!
앉아 and try their food. Some of them even spoke a smattering of English and Mandarin.
Marinated seafood which we had no courage to try.
After Gwangjang Market, I wanted to visit Bangsan Wholesale Market which is nearby, opposite side of Cheongyechon Stream.
Bangsan Market 방산 종합시장 is a wholesale market selling a wide array of promotional and packaging materials and within the area, there are a small number of baking and cooking supplies shops. When I researched on baking supplies in Seoul, results all point to this area.
All in all, I was a little disappointed with the baking street here. But what surprised me was the packaging selection which is certainly more vibrant than the ones at Kappabashi-dori. I would return if looking for packaging materials and ideas, but not for the baking stuff.
After we exited from Bangsan Market, we saw this Chungbu Market across the street and decided to pop over to take a look.
Jungbu Market (중부시장) is another wholesale market specialising in dried food such as laver, seaweed, anchovies, squid, dried fish etc.
After a brief stroll around the market, we were done and found our way back to the hotel. It was 30mins to the official check-in time of 3pm but the staff was kind to let us check-in early.
HB stole a nap for an hour while I channel-surf, oh those kdrama, variety shows and CFs (I love Korean CFs, because most of them star artistes).
Next up, to Namsan Mountain / N Seoul Tower (http://www.nseoultower.co.kr/eng/index.asp).
It took us about 15 mins' walk from our hotel to Namsan Orumi which is the outdoor elevator that brings us to the cable-car station.
It's certainly a major tourist attraction as we saw throngs of visitors at the tower, which offers an observatory, several restaurants, gift shops, photo studios (hanbok experience), teddy beat museums, wishing pond etc.
Couples or lovebirds who came here would either purchase a "love-lock" or bring their own, write a love pledge and "lock their locks" here. Haha. Kind of gimmicky for us lah, we are beyond that already 老夫老妻了 :p
Once again, we were back in Myeong-dong and what better dinner than a Korean BBQ on our very first night in Seoul?
Wangbijib 왕비집 (www.wangbijib.com) is a mid-range Korean BBQ restaurant using charcoal grill and offers both beef and pork selection.
After the sumptuous dinner, we explored the Myeongdong shopping street for a bit before retiring back to the hotel to recharge for a packed full day's activity the next day.
Stay tune for Day 2, where we wore hanbok and walked around the royal palace, as well as explore Samcheongdong and Bukchon Hanok Village!