Can’t wait for our Seoul itinerary and Busan Itinerary? It was a very fruitful and challenging trip. We did a lot more research beforehand as KampungBoy’s parents were tagging along. We can neither make the elderlies walk too much nor to have a hectic schedule. There were also some minor changes to our planned itinerary due to the “adverse” weather condition in South Korea. It snowed in Seoul two days before we were there (yes, in April!) so the cherry blossom schedule was delayed by a week. We also canceled our trip to Jinhae (supposingly the BEST place to go for cherry blossom in South Korea) as it was raining heavily that particular morning. Nonetheless, we had great fun exploring Seoul and Busan. Koreans are generally nice and friendly; they have been very helpful in giving us directions using a combination of Korean words and sign languages. iPhone apps like i Tour Seoul & Jihachul have proven to be very useful (must download!). We have also tried most of the restaurants recommended by my Korean friend.
From the airport, we took bus 6050 as it stops right in front of our service apartment at Seoul Station (fare: 15000 won per person). There are two types of airport buses: deluxe and standard. Deluxe buses are KAL limousines that go straight to major hotels in Seoul. These buses make less stops and have more spacious seats. Standard limousine buses stop at more locations along their route. We’ll be elaborating more in our subsequent posts. There’s also a 1000 won discount voucher for airport buses.
Our first meal in Seoul – Lotteria Burgers
T-Money Card : 2500 won deposit (non refundable). You may buy a T-Money Card at any of the following convenience stores (GS 25, Family Mart, Mini Stop, Buy The Way) or subway stations.
Cheongyecheon has been restored from a road into a 5.8 km stream flowing in the heart of Seoul. We were only at the beginning of the stream, just look out for Chongye Plaza or an upside down ice cream cone sculpture.
Deoksugung. The Royal Guard-Changing Ceremony is a highly recommended event for tourists. It is held three times a day (11:00 / 14:00 / 15:30) in front of Daehanmun Gate at Deoksugung Palace. Getting Here: City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 2), Exit 2. Go straight 100m to arrive at Daehanmun Gate on the right. or 5 minutes walk from Cheongyecheon Stream.
Lunch at Lotte Mart’s Food Court.
We also did some groceries shopping at Lotte Mart as our service apartment does not provide breakfast. Korean strawberries is <3! Getting Here: Seoul Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 4), Exit 1.
Our loft unit for the first two nights. It costs us about USD 150 per night (4 pax, peak season rate). It has great location, MUJI style interior but we are not very happy with the toilet. Will elaborate more in our subsequent reviews. S.A. Seoul Station Poong-Lim I-One ,Seoul Station 219-17 Segea Dong,Young-San Gu ,Seoul 서울시 용산구 서계동219-17번지 서울역풍림아이원 Facebook Page Getting Here: Seoul Station (Seoul Subway Line 1,4), Exit 1. Directly opposite Lotte Mart Seoul Station.
Myeongdong for shopping & street food! From top left, clock wise: bun with egg on top (2000 won), flat bread (1000 won), tteokboki (3000 won), sausages and ham with rice cake (2000 won). Getting Here: Myeongdong Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 6.
First things first – change for won as we were running low on cash. There are many such kinds of money changer in Myeongdong area, just look out for the logo above. The rates here were so much better as these bureaus usually mark to market their rates instead of earning a wider spread. However, they’ll only accept major currencies such as RMB, USD, Yen but not RM. So we changed for USD in Malaysia and when in Seoul, we traded in USD for won. All in all, we saved about 5%.
Dinner at my favourite restaurant – Bongchu Jjimdak. Bongchu Jjimdak, Myeongdong Address: 25-2, 2-ga Myeong-dong, Chung-gu, Seoul, South Korea Tel: 02-318-6891 Website: http://www.bongchu.co.kr Operating Hours: opens daily from 1100 to 2300 Getting Here: Myeongdong Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 8. Walk the one-way road on the left side, go for 150meters and you will see it on your left.
Cookin’ Nanta Show – ticket price from 40,000 – 60,000 won. It was a great show; hilarious with a lot of action! Ticket booking – http://www.nanta.co.kr/ Myeongdong Theatre Getting Here: Euljiro 1 Ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 4). Go out exit 6 and walk for about 10 min. or Myeongdong Station (Seoul Subway Line 4). Go out exit 6 and walk for about 10 min.
Gyeongbukgung Palace Admission Fee: Adults (ages 19-64) 3,000 won / Youths (ages 7-18) 1,500 won Operating Hours: March to October 09:00-18:00 / November to February 09:00-17:00, closed on Tuesday Interpretation Services (1 hour): * English: 11:00, 13:30, 15:30 * Japanese: 10:00, 12:30, 14:30 * Chinese: 10:30, 13:00, 15:00 Getting Here: Gyeongbokgung Station (Subway Line 3), exit 5. or Ganghwamun Station (Subway Line 5), exit 2 and walk 400 meters.
Samgyetang (chicken ginseng soup) @ Tosokchon. It is a very popular restaurant amongst the locals and tourists; so be prepare to queue. Tosokchon Address: 85-1 Chebu-dong, Jongro-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Tel: 02-737-7444 Operating Hours: opens daily from 1000 to 2200. Getting Here: Gyeongbokgung Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), exit 2/from Gyeongbokgung Yeongchumun Gate Go 120 meters towards Hyoja-dong direction. You will past “popoyes”, then look for GS25 convenience store, turn into the small lane at the corner of this store. Turn left onto Jihamun-ro 5-gil and go straight for 10m.
Cheongwadae (Blue House). The signature markings of the Presidential Residence of Cheong Wa Dae are these blue tiles. Getting Here: Gyeongbokgung Palace Subway Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), exit 5 and walk 10 minutes. or Exit from the back door of Gyeongbukgong.
From Cheongwadae, we walked to Bukchon Hanok Village. Bukchon Hanok Village is home to hundreds of traditional houses called ‘hanok’ that date back to the Joseon Dynasty. Today, these hanoks operate as cultural centers, guesthouses, restaurants and tea houses. Getting Here: Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), exit 2. Go straight for about 300m to arrive at Bukchon Hanok Village.
The downhill of Bukchon Hanok Village is Samcheongdong; a very artsy area with a lot of unique cafes and boutiques. If you realise, day 2 is all about walking. We walked from Gyeongbokgung to Tosokchon to Cheongwadae to Bukchon to Samcheongdong! Getting Here: Anguk Station (Subway Line 3), exit 2. Walk straight for approx. 700 m. or Gyeongbokgung Palace Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), exit 5. Walk 10-15 min along the stone wall of Gyeongbokgung Palace to the starting point of Samcheongdong Walkway.
Dinner was galbi at Wangbijib, Myeongdong. It is a very popular restaurant amongst the local. Wangbijib Address: 26-2, 8-ga Myeong-dong, Chung-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Tel: 02-3789-1945 Website: http://www.wangbijib.com/ Getting Here: Myeongdong Station (Subway Line #4), exit #8.
*UPDATES: heard a lot of bad reviews on wangbijib.
my lovely Korean friends
After dinner drinks at a beautiful tea house in Insadong.
Tapgol Park. The park is of great historical value and national spirit as it was the starting point of the March 1, 1919 Independence Protest. Getting Here: Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Subway Line 1, 3, 5), Exit 1. Walk 5 minutes toward Jonggak.
Shuttle Bus to Nami Island (23.000 won per person, inclusive of return bus ticket, entry visa and ferry ticket) Getting Here: Shuttle Bus (From Seoul to Namiseom Island) * Bus Stop 1) Insa-dong (Jonggak Station, Subway Line 1, Exit 3): Next to Tapgol Park 2) Jamsil Station (Subway Line 2, Exit 4): In front of Lotte Mart * Shuttle Bus Schedule: Insa-dong, Jamsil Station → Namiseom Island: 09:30 Namiseom Island → Insa-dong, Jamsil Station: 16:00 ※ Advanced reservation required. (Inquiries +82-2-753-1247)
It is a perfect tourist spot for Winter Sonata fanatics.
Ssamziegil Mall, Insadong. Just walk along those spiral-like stairway and do some window shopping. Getting Here: Anguk Station (Seoul Subway line 3), Exit 6 (towards Jongno Police Station). Enter the Insa-dong one-way street of Crown Bakery & GS25, and go staright 100m or Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway line 1), Exit 3. Go towards Jogyesagil (pass 2 signals) and enter the alley next to the 7th Day Sabbath Church
Gwangjang Market, where the local have their daily dose of bindaettok (mung bean pancake), sundae (pork blood sausage) and kimbap (korean sushi). Getting Here: Jongno 5(oh)-ga Station (Subway Line 1), Exit 10. Make a U-turn and enter through the North 2nd Gate. or Euljiro 4(sa)-ga Station (Subway Line 2, 5)– take a bus and get off at Euljiro 5(oh)-ga Station
Mid night shopping at Dongdaemun, stocking up for The Patbingsu. There’s Doota Mall (most expensive), Hello APM (cheapest) , Migliore (medium pricing) and many other malls which open till wee hours. Getting Here: Dongdaemun Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 8. Cross the street, and walk 130m forward to arrive at Doota.
Toyoko Inn Dongdaemun, where we stayed for the next three nights. It is a no frills Japanese chain hotel (~RM200 per night with member card). Will highly recommend it to anyone who’s heading to Seoul. Toyoko Inn Dongdaemun Address: 73, 2Ga Gwanghui-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, 100-412 South Korea Tel: +82-(0)2-2267-1045 FAX: +82-(0)2-2267-1046 Website: http://www.toyoko-inn.com/e_hotel/00208/index.html Getting Here: 1 minute walk from exit No.3 or 4 of Dongdaemun History & Culture Park (formally known as Dongdaemun Stadium Station) on the No.2,4 or 5 Subway Lines. or No. 6001 airport limousine bus stops right in front of the lobby too.
Changdeokgung Palace Admission Fee: Regular Tour (Changdeokgung Palace)-Adults 3,000 won/Children 1,500 won Huwon Tour (Secret Garden area)–Adults 5,000 won/Children 2,500 won Interpretation Services-Changdeokgung Palace: Korean: 09:30, 11:30, 13:30, 15:30, 17:30 English: 10:30, 14:30/Japanese: 12:30/Chinese: 16:00 Interpretation Services-Huwon: Korean: 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 15:30, 16:00, 16:30 English: 11:30, 14:30/Japanese: 10:30, 13:30/Chinese: 12:30 Getting Here: Anguk Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 3. Go straight for 5min. or Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Subway Line 1, 3 or 5), Exit 7. Go straight along Donhwamun-ro Street for 10min. It’s spring time! Lunch @ Myeongdong Gyoza. There’s only three items available in the menu: mandu dumplings, bibimguksu, and kongguksu. Myeongdong Gyoza Address: 25-2, 2-ga Myoung-dong, Chung-gu, Seoul, South Korea Tel: 02-776-5348 Operating Hours: opens daily from 1030 to 2130 Getting Here: Myeong-dong Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 7. It is located near Watson. Shopping @ Myeongdong FREE hanbok experience @ Korea Tourism Info Center in M Plaza, Myeongdong. M Plaza houses Forever 21, Zara and Kosney so it’s hard to miss it. Take a lift to level 5, registered yourself at the counter (English/Chinese/Japanese language options available) and wait for your time slot. Awesome right? There’s also FREE wifi and locker services available. Superb bibimbap at Jeonju Jungang Hoekwan, a very old and traditional restaurant with long history. Jeonju Jungang Hoekwan Address: 24-11 Chungmuro 1-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul Getting Here: Myeong-dong Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 6. Look for Uniqlo, there’s a smoothie king next to it. Walk into the alley. Day 5: Ewha Women University Getting Here: Ewha Woman’s Univ. Station (Subway Line 2), Exit 2 or 3. Ewha Shopping Area Authentic chuncheon dak galbi at Sinchon area. So much better compared to Uncle Jang’s! Chuncheonjip Address: 57-8 Changcheon-dong, Seodaemun-gu Seoul South Korea. Operating hours: Opens from 10am to 6am the next day. Getting Here: Sinchon Station (Subway Line 2), Exit 1. Turn right onto the first side street (Hyundai Department Store). Go straight for 130m and cross the street. The restaurant is next to Changcheon Children’s Park. Hongik University Hongik Shopping Area Getting here: Hongik Station (Subway Line 2), Exit 5. N Seoul Tower N Seoul Tower Observatory Admission fee: Children (Ages 4-12): 3,000 won/ Teens and Adults (Ages 13-64): 8,000 won / Senior (Ages 65+): 5,000 won Getting Here: (1) By Cable Car Subway Line 4, Myeongdong Station, Exit 3. Take road to right of Pacific Hotel and walk 10 minutes. Fare: Round-trip: 6,300 won, One-way: 4,800 won Hours: 10:00~22:30 At hoehyeon intersectiom between Myeongdong and Hoehyeon stations on subway line 4, walk towards Namsan Tunnel #3 and take the Namsan Oreumi. (2) By Bus “Take Subway Line 3 or 4 at Chungmuro Station, and go out of Exit 2 to the right of Daehan Multiplex entrance -Take the yellow bus 2 at the bus stop in front of the subway station- Get off at the N Seoul Tower bus stop Day View Night View Dinner @ Bonjuk, everywhere in Seoul. Day 6: Took KTX to Busan, South Korea’s second largest metropolis after Seoul (journey 2 hour 45 minutes, fare ~RM200 return) Busan station and our hotel Toyoko Inn Busan I is located right next to it. Breakfast @ Paris Baguette, everywhere in South Korea. Taejongdae, a natural park with magnificent cliffs facing the open sea on the southernmost tip of island of Yeongdo-gu. Getting Here: From Busan Station, take city bus # 88 or 101 and get off at Taejongdae Park (10 min interval / 40 min ride). Jagalchi Fish Market Getting Here: Jagalchi Station (Busan subway line 1), Exit 10. Turn right onto Jagalchi 3(sam)-gil Street. Walk for 5min, then turn left to arrive at Jagalchi Market. We had nakji (dancing octopus), jeonbok (abalone), gwangor (some flat fish) and some other seafood here. Cherry Blossom @ Dalmaji Hills. It boasts beautiful cherry blossoms and pine trees, which are located just beyond Haeundae Beach, on the slope of Mt.Wausan. Getting Here: From Busan Station, take city bus No. 139 or 140 / city experss bus (jwaseok bus) No. 239 or 240 and get off at Mido Apt. Then walk 10-15 min along the sign (totally takes 1 hour). or In front of exit 1 of Haeundae station (Busan Subway Line 2), take city bus No. 100 and get of at Yeongnam Apt. Then walk 10-15 min along the sign (totally takes 50 min). So beautiful! Afternoon tea @ Angel in Us Cafe, everywhere in South Korea. Haeunde Beach, probably the most famous beach in the country. Getting Here: From Busan station walk 172m straight and take bus(# 1003) (31 min travel time). Get off at Haeundae Beach stop and walk 169m to Haeundae Beach Dinner @ Gukbap Alley, near Haeunde Beach. Gwangali Beach and Diamond Bridge view. Getting Here: From Busan Station, take city bus No. 41, 42, 140, 239, 240, 139 and get off at Gwanganlli Beach (runs frequently) or From Express Bus Terminal, take city bus No. 131, 131-1 or Take subway line no. 1 from Busan Subway Station and transfer from subway line no. 1 to Seomyeon Station. Get off at Gwangan Station(subway line no. 2, exit 3 or 5) and walk 5 minutes. Nampodong (shopping area) & PIFF Square Getting Here: Nampo-dong Station (Busan Subway Line 1). Day 7: Haedong Yonggungsa Temple Getting Here: Take bus 181 from exit 7 of Haeundae Station. Get off at the Yonggungsa Temple stop. So beautiful! KTX Bento (10,000 won) Back to Seoul, just in time for Hangang Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival’s opening ceremony! Getting Here: National Assembly Station Exit 1 or Yeouido Station Exit 4 or Yeouinaru Station exit 2/3 A perfect ending to our trip! Stay tune to our detailed Seoul Itinerary and Busan Itinerary!