Namdaemun market

September 29, 2015

After visiting the Gyeonghuigung Palace, we walked all the way to Namdaemun market. I didn't even notice how far we walked because I was too busy taking pictures of everything I saw while walking, haha. The best way to explore for me is always by foot (the bonus is it's a workout). 

Namdaemun market is filled with different stalls selling food, clothing, shoes, accessories and various knick knacks (kdrama and kpop memorabilia). It was hard for me to shop because you really have to bargain and know the price of what you're buying. When you are a foreigner, you always get the inflated price rate so I didn't even bother shopping although before I learned my lesson not to shop at this market, I was looking for shoes. I went to a shop and one of the sales person there was friendly at the beginning. He welcomed us to his shop and I was poking around and found a pair I wanted. I was trying on the shoes when the sales person started asking me a million questions including my heritage and could not stop grilling me about my life. I was getting so annoyed that I just left the shop without buying anything. I lost my appetite for shopping and I went to the food section of the market instead. 

I had better luck there. I ended up sampling various street food. I recommend eating here than shopping. For that, head to Myeong-dong (more on that later). 

Walking around Seoul

September 25, 2015

I was so nervous when I was picking my apartment location in Seoul. For a first time visitor, I'm glad I picked the Jongno-gu area in Seoul. It was walking distance to a lot of historical places or a short metro ride. I ended up walking a lot anyways because it was so nice to pass by all the shops and see all the neighbourhoods. 

The Jongno-gu area has a lot of business buildings.  During the day, I saw a lot of people going to work or picking up coffee during their break. Seoul is littered with cafe's. Every street has at least one coffee shop! And no shortage of restaurants either. It was never a problem finding a restaurant. My problem was which one to go to and what to eat. 

I felt really safe in Seoul. Most people are helpful and could speak English so it was easy to ask for directions. 

Next time I go back, I think I will stay in the more upbeat Gangnam area since I won't be doing as much sightseeing.

Gyeonghuigung Palace

September 21, 2015

We spent our official day in Seoul not doing much. We settled in our apartment and grocery shopped instead of sightseeing. We wanted to relax before diving in into tourist mode. 

The next day was a beautiful but crisp autumn day. After having our breakfast in our apartment, we started walking around our neighbourhood. Armed with a map, we ended up at Gyeonghuigung Palace. It was empty. We wandered around the buildings and I was so happy to take photos without 50 people photobombing me. 

We walked around and admired all the buildings. I love how intricate the designs on each building. It must have painstakingly long to paint all the designs. I even love the designs on the window. I wonder how they survived in the winter? Must have been cold in this palace.

Seoul, South Korea

September 18, 2015

When I was planning my trip to Japan, I knew I wanted to split my time to visit Seoul. My good friend Jess lives there and I have been dreaming of visiting her. And not to mention Seoul has been on my radar since I used to be a Korean soap opera addict (haven't been watching lately since I can't find a good show to watch - let me know if you have any recommendations).

I admit that I went overboard in Japan with my planning and trying to cram every single place to visit and I wanted to slow down in Seoul. It was the perfect time because it was much cooler in temperature than in Japan. 

I used Peach airline to fly to Korea. It was cheap! We took our flight from Kansai, Osaka airport to Incheon airport. Incheon airport is massive and it looks amazing. Lots of samsung television's everywhere ;). It was a bit of a culture shock once we arrived as people were more aggressive at the airport than in Japan (people are quiet and orderly). I had to quickly adjust.

I booked an apartment through airbnb. We stayed in the Jongno-gu area. It was the perfect apartment! The area was close to all the historical buildings and waking distance to Insadong and Myeongdong. I walked so much in Seoul!
The apartment was perfect for 2 people. It's an open space layout. I had everything I needed for a great week long stay. Convenience and grocery stores was below the apartment building. It was very convenient and restaurants everywhere when I was too lazy to cook. I only made breakfast in the apartment. And ate out for all meals since I wanted to eat a ton of Korean food.
The owner of the apartment was super nice!! I met her on the last day of my stay. She came to say hello and even gave me presents. She was super sweet!
This was my first meal in Seoul. I was so hungry after the bus ride from the airport to the apartment. Walked to the nearest building and found a food court. I immediately ordered bibimbap ;)

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