Sunday, December 29, 2013

Jocelyn & Lennart's Free & Easy Trip to Seoul, Korea 01/11/13 - 06/11/13 : Day 3, Part 2, Lunch at the famous Chuncheonjip Dakgalbi Makguksu & shopping at Sinchon Ladies Street, Finale of the day at Namsan Seoul Tower

After taking countless pictures with many many many different scenes at Trick Eye Museum, time for us to go for lunch! You get hungry very easily in cold weather.

We walked back to Hongik University Station and took the train to Sinchon Station, it's only one stop away. Jocelyn said we should go try the famous dakgalbi there, lots of good reviews of the dakgalbi.
Below is the map that we found from another site to share with you of the location.

Directions to Chuncheonjip Dakgalbi Makguksu:
1) Take Subway Line 2 to Sinchon Station.
2) Exit from Exit 1, go straight turn left onto the first side street and then turn right at the end of the street (Hyundai Department Store is a landmark there)
3) Go straight for 130m and cross the street
4) The restaurant is next to Changcheon Children's Park

Ok for those we don't know, dakgalbi means Chicken Hotplate, it's a Korean dish where the marinated chicken is cooked over a hotplate infront of you, there's vegetables, onions, chicken meat, Korean chilli paste, you can choose to have rice or ramyeon cooked together with it or you can have the rice and chicken separately.

We ordered dakgalbi with ramyeon, the fresh chopped uncooked chicken meats and vegetables were delievered fast to our table by the efficient staffs. At first look, you would think that you need to cook your own food however you are wrong, the staffs would ask you to sit down relax, have a drink and the side dishes while they move around and help you with the cooking. Service is good!

Look at the crowd and this is around 1.30+pm cannot imagine during lunch the crowd would be like how. Lots of tourists and locals come to this shop to eat the dakgalbi, 4 out of 5 stars for the food and service!

And they provide you with an apron to protect your clothings from any spurting from the pan. We added cheese to it, it kinds of mellow downs the spicyness and gave it abit of saltiness to it.

We ordered rice to be added later into it after we finished about 1/2 of the chicken and all of the rice cakes. You can order without Ramyeon and have rice instead because it is really very full afterwards!

After the filling and tasty lunch, getting some directions from Rachel earlier, we decided to walk to Sinchon Ladies Street Market.
It is not very difficult and you can tell if you are on the right track because you can see alot of people walking the same trial, lots of local young and old also walk to Sinchon Ladies Street.

Ok so from the restaurant, we crossed the street and walked along and turn left into the first side street and then go straight again until you passed Pizza Hut and you would see alot of people walking along these street and you would need to cross again at a T-junction traffic light. Follow the crowd and continue walking till you see this!

Sinchon old train station!, that's the landmark, continue walking along the street and straight ahead is Sinchon Ladies Street.
This is the start of the Ladies street, lots of cosmetics, 10,000won shops, ladies tops, street food etc etc.
A place where many locals and tourists alike like to shop.

Well Jocelyn personally like this 10,000won bag shop, all bags, big or small is only at 10,000won at this shop. She bought 2 bags one for her daughter and one for herself. I got myself a sling bag =D

I also got myself a nice lanyard with money clip at 15,000won at one of their road stalls, lots of nice things to buy, look and eat here!

After walking, window shopping, shopping, tasting street food till 4+ we decided to take a cab back to Hotel, drop off our shopping loots, rest for awhile before going to the Concierge and ask for directions to Seoul Tower.

Well silly me, I didn't realise that Seoul Tower is just so close to our hotel hahaha, it is just a walk across the street. Well the walk took us about 20mins - 30mins, as the pathway is rather uphill, good excersise to burn off the Dakgalbi this afternoon and such a nice cooling weather to walk. You won't even break a sweat at 18degrees celsius!

Finally we reached the Cable Car Station! Queued up to buy tickets, there's alot of people since it's a weekend, many locals and tourist alike wants to take the cable up to see the scenery.

Got us both a round trip ticket at 17,000won. Queued to go up to the topmost level of the cable car boarding platform.

The sky started to turn dark around 5.30 real quick, that's the shot of the tower at last light of the day in the cable car

That's a shot of Seoul from the cable car

 We're finally at the base of Seoul Tower! Pretty lights in the night, like a huge light saber hahaha

Bought both of us a ticket up to Seoul Tower, it includes a visit to the Teddy Bear Museum at the base of Seoul Tower.

Oh for couples. this is a very romantic place to come and take photos with your loved ones. A place for families to come have dinner, walk about, take photos.

They even let you and partner write your love down onto a padlock, lock it around the fences and then throw the keys away. It's called a Love Lock =) 

For those who forgot to buy the lock do not worry, the convenience store at the Cable Car Station sells padlock for a cheap fee, just a simple lock. If you are looking for prettier, fancier ones, you can buy them at the shop of the base at Seoul Tower but they are abit more pricier.

 It's really cold up at Seoul Tower in the night, for those who are afraid of the cold please bring your jacket up. You will need to walk abit of steps up once you alight from the cable car. The temperature drops real quick in the night.

Took alot of photos and it's already 8pm, decided to leave and head back down to Myeongdong for dinner.
Need to sleep early tonight as we need to wake up early tomorrow. Tomorrow is the highlight of our trip! Our postponed trip to Everland since Day 2 due to bad weather. In the next post, we will give exact directions on how to get there using their public transport.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Jocelyn & Lennart's Free & Easy Trip to Seoul, Korea 01/11/13 - 06/11/13 : Day 3, Part 1, Meet up with Rachel our Korean tour guide friend & Visit to Hongdae Trick Eye Museum!

Day 2 was kinda slow paced and more of walking around and getting used to the locations around us like Myeongdong, Dongdaemun.

We received a sms from Rachel our Korean tour guide friend in the evening! Ahnyong hasaeyo! haha anyway, she just finished leading a tour group and is free to meet us up these 2 days! Rachel is a very nice and accommodating lady we met in Korea during our last trip with Chan Brothers Travels. She offered to meet us and bring us to Hongdae Trick Eye Museum! Weeeheee! don't need to self-navigate hahaha got local to bring us there.

Had a nice morning coffee and chat with Rachel at one of their nice and cosy cafes along the street of Hongdae. Told Rachel to let us play hosts should her and her boyfriend comes to Singapore!

Ok for those travelling by public transport below is some simple directions for you to find this museum;

Directions to Trick Eye Museum(Hongdae) from Hongik University Station Seoul Subway Line 2

1)Take Seoul Subway Line 2 and alight at Hongik University Station .

2) Exit subway station from Exit 9

3) Go Straight approx 150m, cross the road and turn left onto Hongik-ro Street

4) Go Straight 120m and turn right down the second side street in between TONYMOLY and Holika Holika shop.

5) Continue walking about 100m until you see Trick Eye Museum on the right.

Okay I know it's hard to visualise just by reading the directions sometimes so I've attached a map which I've put in arrows for a better understanding of the location.

I've attached one map with arrows and one without. Happy Trickeyeing!

Rachel with us at the entrance of Trick Eye =)

Here are some preview of what you will get to see and take photos with at Trick Eye Museum.

Looks fun right! =D

After many photos taking at various various scenes at the Museum we decided to have a caricature portrait of both of us done by one of the Artists at the entrance area, our last trip we did a black and white portrait and we told ourselves if we see one this trip we should get it done again haha, nice right!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Jocelyn & Lennart's Free & Easy Trip to Seoul, Korea 01/11/13 - 06/11/13 : Day 2, an unexpected twist of weather ended with a wonderful Nanta show and lovely dinner

Ok we off-loaded our buys from the afternoon in the hotel, Bailey's bed etc.

 Rested our tired legs from all the walking in the afternoon. Changed my wet loafers to the newly bought sneakers and new pair of dry socks, changed to lighter clothings and off we go to Myeongdong Nanta Theatre.

Our show is at 5pm, we left our hotel around 4.15pm and took a walk to the theatre through Myeongdong's shopping district. The district is bustling with a lot of activity the whole day and especially weekends and evening till night, you can find lots of cosmetics, facial, clothings, shoes shops, cafes, restaurants and street-food there.

 Took out my map and started navigating our way to the theatre, it's not very far off from the hotel, took us about 10 minutes to walk there and walking in the cool weather makes you feel as though you never wasted any energy.

 Walked up to the ticket counters, you can also take the lift. Showed them the booking number which the hotel's concierge wrote for us and we got our tickets.
Nanta is a like a musical show and the setting is the scene of a hotel's kitchen and the instruments are mainly the utensils and anything you can find in the kitchen. Very interesting and funny show, keeps you laughing from start till end. Worthwhile to watch while you are in Seoul, their casts alternate between weeks, different casts for every week.

No cameras are allowed during the show, this photo was taken before the show. Outside the theatre, they have memorabilias and cafe. They even have a set for you to take photos.
Oh yes, no food and drinks allowed inside the theatre.

The show lasted about 2 hours and ended around 7pm, just nice for dinner and our tummys are rumbling out to us already hahaha.

Walking along the street and undecided to eat on a wet and cold night, we walked past a stand where there are Tourist Information Helpers, they are stationed around the middle of Myeongdong giving free directions to Tourists in different languages, some are proficient in English, some in Mandarin, some in Japanese. Decided that we should have Buddae Jiggae(Army Stew), we approached the Tourists Helpers and asked them where serves the best Buddae Jiggae, they took out a map of Myeongdong and gave us a few options of the restaurants which serves good Buddae Jiggae and off we go in search of the yummy steamboat dinner.

The place marked with star is where we were and those circled ones are the restaurants which are well known for their Army Stew. We decided to try the one above the Faceshop at level 2, the Tourists Helper said its a very well known restaurant serving Army Stew.

Greeted by a very courteous shop owner ahjussi, they showed us to the table, knowing that we are tourist, they brought us an English/Japanese Menu. Ordered a Seafood Steamboat, Kimchi pancake and a bottle of beer. Ice water is provided on the house. Finally the steamboat came and then the kimchi pancake and 2 bowls of rice. Looks yummy isn't it! =P

There's crab, prawns, octopus, onions, vegetables, kimchi, rice cake, luncheon meat, minced beef and instant noodles and of course they have the other small side dishes like kimchi, pickled radish, anchovies etc.
The meal was fantastic! The stew is tasty, the seafood is fresh and the kimchi pancake is so fragrant mmmmhmm makes me salivate every time I think of it. The best thing is, it is not expensive, including Beer, our bill costs us about 40,000+ won. Definitely worth to eat.

After dinner, we took a slow walk back to the hotel, occasionally stopping to look at the facial shops, window shopping etc.

Our tour guide Rachel texted us! Rachel was our Korean Tour Guide when we travelled to Seoul last year on Chan Brothers guided tour. We had kept in contact and Jocelyn texted her before we left for Seoul and she is free tomorrow to meet us! Hehe, she will bring lead the way to Trick Eye Museum on Day 3 at Hongdae Area and also catch up with her =)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Jocelyn & Lennart's Free & Easy Trip to Seoul, Korea 01/11/13 - 06/11/13 : Day 2, an unexpected twist part 2......

First I got to apologise for not continuing with the posts, too much been happening lately, first Jocelyn got sick, fever for a week. Checked for dengue, luckily it turned out negative.

 Then Jocelyn's Aunt passed away(my condolences to her Uncle and Cousins) we attended the wake and helped out whichever way we could.

Finally got the energy and time to continue with the blogging this weekend. To recap, our planned trip to Everland got postponed due to the wet weather, we made some adjustments to our itinerary, that's the advantage of travelling free and easy, you're able to 'mix and match' and play by the ear or in our case bad weather.
Personally I prefer free and easy rather than planned tour packages. F&E(Free and Easy for short) gives us the flexibility of time and we can choose where we want to go, when to rest, when to eat, what to eat, what to play, what to do and see etc. Till date we have gone to Korea, Taiwan(Taipei)on free and easy, booked our own Air Tickets & Hotels, planned our own travelling route, our own itinerary. We intend to travel to Japan and Europe for free and easy in the future, so stay tune for it! =)
You can click the banner below to start planning yours now!

Anyway, in my last post after we bought the umbrella from 7-11, we walked to the Metro and took the train to Dongdaemun to do some shopping/window shopping at their indoor shopping malls since it's such a wet day. We walked to Myeondong Station Entrance 8, took out our T-Money, such convenience!
Walked to the train platform and took Line 4 bound for Dongdaemun. don't worry Myeongdong is not an interchange station, there is only 1 Line.
Their train carriages are pretty spacious, the common folks there are rather quiet on-board trains, no loud laughter or loud shouting. They are kinda courteous people, even when talking to each other they speak to each other softly in the trains.

Myeongdong to Dongdaemun is only 3 stops away, Myeongdong ---> Chungmuro ---> Dongdaemun History & Culture Park ---> Dongdaemun

We exited Dongdaemun and walked around the streets with our umbrella deciding which shopping mall to go to. Basically the shops there mostly sell the same things, clothings for guys and girls, shoes, socks, ladies accessories. Lots of ladies clothings, accessories and shoes, you can bargain with them at the shopping malls unlike Singapore, the prices are not fixed. Jocelyn got herself some new ear rings and hairband, she bargained them to a really low price.

Personally I feel that Sinchon Woman's Street items sells cheaper and the goods on sale there are more or less the same as Dongdaemun. I will talk more about Sinchon Woman's Street in our next post.

You can get really hungry easily in cold weather, it's already lunch and we decided to settle lunch by having a quick bite at their roadside carts. Makes you feel like their locals eating by the street stalls.

Getting bored, we decided to go explore Chungmuro as we chance upon some pet shops while on the Airport Limousine Bus to Sejong Hotel on our first day. We decided to check it out!

Took Line 4 from Dongdaemun Train Station and alighted at Chungmuro Train Station, got out from exit 8, walked along the main road till we got to the stretch of Shops selling pets stuffs, pet dogs, pet cats, etc etc.

 "How much is that doggie at the window? Woof! Woof!" haha very cute right these puppies, makes you want to buy them straight away and bring them back to a warm loving home.

We walked into a pet shop and decided to check out their beds for dogs, leashes and doggie clothes. Got Baileys a new bed from, a new T-shirt and leash! The thing about shopping in Korea is that they give you freebies, the shop owner gave Baileys a new squeaky bone toy haha.

 The rain is on and off, sometimes heavy sometimes very light, my loafers got all drenched from walking in the rain, decided to get a new pair of sneakers if we happen to see one. Something waterproof to shield my feet from the cold rain. If you realised while travelling in Seoul Train Stations, they have shops inside, some are after the gantries, some are before the gantries. Sometimes these shops have some clearance, special sale ongoing and they will shout to get your attention! haha, they got mine real good, 20,000Won for a pair of sneakers! Wow! so cheap! best of all, its all cushy inside, no hard corners or edges and keeps my poor cold and wet feet warm! Tried on size 9 which is their biggest and it fits! Haha!
A side note, for sales like this sometimes they don't have bigger sizes, tried finding for size 10 but they don't have.

Decided to head back to hotel now to offload our buys and rest for awhile before going to Nanta theatre for the show at 5.00pm.

Their operations hours are as below for Myeongdong Nanta theatre;
Monday-Friday, Holidays : 5PM, 8PM
Saturday-Sunday : 2PM, 5PM, 8PM
We got Sejong's Hotel Concierge to call and book the tickets for us in the morning before we headed out to Dongdaemun, 2 type of seats available, 50,000won for the upper level seats and 40,000won for the lower level seats, got them to bookt the upper level seats and paid the Concierge staffs on the spot with cash. They gave us a booking number which they wrote down for us. Only need to use the number to redeem our tickets later at the theatre.

Evening in Myeongdong Nanta Theatre and dinner to be continued in the next post..........