Sunday, September 7, 2014

Travelogue Day 3: 안녕하세요 Seoul! Myeongdong, Gyeongbokgung Palace, COEX Aquarium and Itaewon!

Back to updating my Korea Travelogue! I know it has been taking forever to complete and there is still 2 more posts after this post... As much as i want to quickly finish up this travelogue, it really takes up a lot of time and effort to do up such a post because of the time needed to edit the countless photos, then making sure that i include accurate/ relevant information for the benefit of those intending to travel to Seoul and that would mean i would need to refer to my itinerary every now and then while typing this post and of course, lastly share my personal experience for the trip.

Some people out there like to think that bloggers are people who gets free stuff all the time and all they have to do is take some selfies (with the free stuffs) and at the same time earn some additional income from advertisers. Sounds easy hor? What they don't see is time and effort behind each post. Shall leave the rant to another post, LOL Back to Day 3!!!

If you read the previous post ( we practically spent the whole day at Lotte world and returned back to the hostel late at night. Had a really good sleep and woke up later than usual the next morning :| Instead of having our usual breakfast (Isaac toast, lol) I decided to bring Don to have authentic Budae jjigae, also known as the Korean army stew! During my last trip with KTO, Elizabeth (polkadotyyan) brought me to this restaurant for late dinner and it was so good that i told myself i will be back again!:D
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Was led to the second level of the restaurant where the layout is like a traditional Korean house setting and we have to take off our shoes before stepping onto the platform. Sat in front of our table (on the floor but there's cushion. Quite comfy) and soon our table was slowly filled with random side dishes, and of course the main highlight, our army stew!
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Basically Budae jjijae (부대찌개) is a stew where in the past during the Korean War when food was scarce in Korea, people basically made use of the surplus food and incorporate them into a traditional spicy soup. Nowadays Budae jjijae consist of ingredients such as instant noodles, cheese, sausages, ham, green onions and many more random stuff. Something like our steamboat, HAHA Being such a picky eater, i was super happy the ingredients were all to my liking!
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I don't have the exact address of the restaurant (actually i don't even know the name of the restaurant, lol!) But it's located in Myeongdong street, just right behind the one and only Burger King so you have to go through the small lane on the left of BK. Not that difficult to find actually, the main thing is to look for the Burger King. After having an awesome early lunch, we decided to explore Myeongdong for awhile before proceeding with our itinerary. For the past few days by the time we returned to Myeongdong, it was already late at night and most of the stores were closing...
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As usual, poster of Korean celebrities were everywhere! Especially Kim Soo-hyun! He is practically EVERYWHERE. But i'm not complaining and i don't think anyone would complain. Doo MinJoo, where is my cheong songyi!!! HAHHAHAHA
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When you are walking around Myeongdong, you can never miss this huge SPAO store. It's something like our H&M or Uniqlo and the brand collaborates with SM Entertainment for marketing so you can spot your favorite SM entertainment celebrities like Super Junior, SHINee wearing SPAO on their posters! The apparels are not bad and is quite affordable.
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Moving on to the first stop of our itinerary, the famous Gyeongbokgung Palace 경복궁! Korea is famous for their rich history and culture so i felt that everyone who visits Korea should visit their palace at least once during their trip so i included it in our itinerary. At least Don can see how and what the place is about (and maybe grab a few selfies along the way!) To get to the palace, hop on to the Subway Line 3, alight at Gyeongbokgung Palace station and take Exit 5.
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Saw this pretty interesting way of getting your groceries while waiting for your train. Basically you download their app, scan the code of the product to add it to your cart and finally check out and have it delivered to your place! So innovative and definitely useful for those busy working adults who can't afford the time to buy their daily groceries.대박
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Arrived at one of the gates, the Gwanghwamun gate! #butfirstletmetakeaselfie
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The Gwanghwamun gate (광화문) is the main and largest gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace and was opened to the public on 15 Aug 2010 after restoration. Lucky us arrived when it's time for the Royal guards changing ceremony! The changing of guards ceremony is held in front of the gate every hour from 10am to 3pm, whole ceremony takes about 15 mins.
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When the ceremony was over, everyone had the opportunity to go forward to take photos with the different guards so i went up to this guard in blue and tried to take a selfie. Even before i could take the photo, i felt a push on my back and i was like, "TMD, who push me!" Apparently it was the guard and he said something like, "Too close." -_- So pai seh can. I went slightly in front and took the selfie anyway. I WILL REMEMBER YOU! Then again, they all look the same. HAHAHHA
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Did not go into the palace because we both know that it will bore us after awhile and i have already been to a couple of these palaces during my previous Korea trip. Anyway, the Gyeongbokgung palace is opened from 9am to about 6.30pm daily, and there's an admission fee of 2,400 won or 10,000 won for entry to the Jongmyo Shrine and 4 different palaces. 
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Dropped by the famous King Sejong statue which is just a short walk from Gwanghwamun. If the statue looks familiar, you probably saw it in some Korean drama or variety show. (I remember seeing in on Running Man!) I've been there once in 2010 but little did i know that there is an entrance to a underground museum 세종이야기 at the back of the statue!
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Next stop on our itinerary, COEX Aquarium 코엑스 아쿠아리움! While i was searching for places to visit in Seoul, i came across COEX Aquarium as one of the recommended attractions and after reading a few blogs on the place, i decided to include it! To get to COEX Aquarium, take Subway Line 2, alight at Samseong Station (삼성역) Take exit no. 5 or 6 as they are directly connected to COEX Mall and the Aquarium is located at the end of the Ocean Walk Section. Follow the signage along the way and it will lead you to the place. Admission fee is 19,500 won and it opens from 10am to 8pm :D
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I think it's quite amazing to have an aquarium inside a shopping mall. Just when you think inside the aquarium are all fishes and fishes, you are wrong. There are other animals and reptiles inside as well. I've always been fascinated by animals and i can stare at them for the longest time (especially those that you don't come across often, lol) Amazing.
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As you can see, on top of tanks and tanks of marine life, there are animals/ reptiles that are somehow related such as the alligator and tortoise. They had a beaver enclosure as well! Saw the beaver feeding time chart so i looked at my watch and realised it will happen in 15 mins time so i just sat there waiting... and for the longest time nothing happened. I then realised my watch is still in SG time which is 1 hour behind South Korea. I waited for nothing, FMLLLL
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Can't remember the name of this animal but it's something dog one. Seriously which part of it looks like a dog?
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Went over to another section of the aquarium where they "incorporate" fish tanks into different items which can be found in our everyday life. Literally the last thing you would ever imagine that it can be transformed into a fish tank...
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Traffic Lights, Telephone booth, Mailbox and even vending machines! The phone booth one is damn kua zhang, LOL
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Every time i see big fishes, it makes my skin crawl. Literally goosebumps all the way from my arm to the back of my neck! It's like how can fishes grow until so huge?! The ocean is such an amazing place with all sorts of creatures from as tiny as a plankton to the largest fish in the world - the whale shark. Nice to see and watch, but not to interact, HAHAHA
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Feeding session for the Manatee, affectionately known as dewgong if you watch Pokemon, HAHAHHA
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Came across the Garra rufa also known as "Doctor Fish", you can put your hands into these slots and the fishes will forward and nibble on your fingers, eating off the dead skin. The feeling is super ticklish! Can try at those fish spas :D
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Don't ever know whether the starfish is alive a not. Or should i say, are they even real? #skeptical
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This tank houses like maybe hundreds and thousands of fishes. Like woahhhhhhhh~
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Loads and loads of baby jelly fishes. So tiny that you might not even realize them swimming next to you when you are in the ocean, hiak hiak hiak. Jelly fish can be really dangerous and poisonous even though they seem like pretty harmless.
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Some marine worm. Super disgusting omgggg.
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Just before you exit the aquarium is the penguin enclosure! Super cute!
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Upon exiting the aquarium (which was already 3 or 4 plus) we realised we didn't have our lunch so we dropped by this random hot dog place and got ourselves a hot dog set meal! Mine was super awesome with loads of cheese! Nom nom
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#Selfie while waiting for the train to Itaewon 이태원. Bought a backpack along the way at only 10,000 won which is about $12 and it's like one of the best buy for the trip as i get to dump all the things i bought into it compared to the Porter camera sling bag which i brought along. It was too small to fit everything, heavy and it's sling. My shoulders  T_T
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Itaewon 이태원 is one of the places in Seoul where you can find people of all sorts of nationalities, especially ang mos. Seoul even designated Itaewon as its first ‘Special Tourism District,’ to highlight it as a destination for internationals to enjoy a diversity of culture, shopping, and entertainment experiences. Nothing much to see so we left shortly after...
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Finally after 2 days in Seoul, we arrived back in Myeongdong early to shop! Even though our hostel is just across the road, our itinerary was so packed that by the time we arrived back in Myeondong, most of the shops were already closing. Myeongdong 명동 is one of the primary shopping districts in Seoul and it's the place to buy all the facial grooming products from famous brands such as Etude house, Face shop, Nature Republic etc. There is also a difference if you go to Myeongdong during the day and during the night. Definitely one of my favourite and must go place in Korea!
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Recently i took a liking to MCM products and i literally went crazy when i saw the outlet at Myeondong! Their backpack are known to be super expensive (The basic one cost around $900 to $1000 at MBS!) I was still considering whether to buy it. Anyway, i could bear to leave the store without getting anything so i bought a wallet for myself! :D #happyboy89
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Dinner was practically street food all the way! The above are just some of the street food i had! Super nice especially my favourite egg bread - Gyeran Bbang 계란빵! I can have one of it every single day without feeling sick of it. That's it for a pretty long and photo intensive Day 3 post for my Korea trip! Next up, Everland theme park!