Seoul – Myeongdong, Le Alaska Cafe, Buchon Hanok Village, Ewha Women’s University

Hi everyone, this gonna kickstart a series of my Seoul posts. I have been to Korea before, but it has been so long I don’t even have much recollection of it. So this time round, I decided to give it a chance to relive some wonderful moments (well since I’m older now). Took a late noon flight which will land Seoul at close to 11pm, which is honestly quite a bad timing cos of airport transfer issues. So for people flying in, if possible, please avoid landing after 10pm (I highly recommend to save your headaches) but if you are in the same situation as me, then please read on

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My pretty Christmas nails to accompany me to Seoul

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On a flight with many Korean ajummas. For a moment, I thought I was flying the wrong aircraft

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The menu for dinner!

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Pan fried Chicken in Herb Gravy

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Honestly, the food was pretty good. I was pleasantly surprised

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But this chocolate bar looking icecream was really sweet. I gave up after one piece

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This piece of device is really important. I rented the wifi router from SK Telecom which could provide coverage out of Seoul and has unlimited data, and I thought the pricing was reasonable. You can make an online reservation here and collect the device when you land between doors 6 and 7 on the arrival floor. Don’t worry, it’s opened 24 hours. Even if you land at 3am, they are still there for you. The only grief I had was the battery runs out SUPER fast. It can only lasts an average of 5 hours so I try to off it whenever I don’t need it. If not, bring a portable charger with you

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Alternatively if you need only one day of data usage, you can purchase these wifi prepaid card from their convenience stores. They do sell by day and by data available as well

So, after much deliberation and consultation (I was still considering my options after I land), I decided to take a cab straight to my hotel. My flight landed earlier and after clearing immigration which took about 45 minutes, I was done at 11pm. I had missed the last airport limousine bus to Myeongdong at 10.50pm and the late night bus will only start at 12am. And I highly recommend to not take the subway cos the stations are SUPER not luggage-friendly. Trust me, it is HIGHLY not recommended

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You can spot the taxi stand from the SK Telecom booth and there are airport staffs guiding you to the cab. It took an hour from the airport to my hotel in Myeongdong and costs ₩70,000 (inclusive of toll charge of ₩6000+). Yeah, taking a cab from Incheon to city is pretty expensive but at the very least, I’m at the hotel when the late night bus starts operating

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Stayed at Sejong hotel for the first few nights. The location is great though the hotel seems a little old but all is fine

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They even had a sim card adapter to suit your needs

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Next morning I headed to the nearby (and famous) Issac Toast to get breakfast. It is quite to easy to locate when you come out of Myeongdong exit 5. Just continue walking straight. It is next to Days hotel

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This is the queue at 8.45am

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Frying the sausage

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Ham Special ₩2,400

Buttered Toast with Ham, Egg & Vegetables. Well, I think this place is made popular by tourists. I doubt there is a single local in the line. Honestly, these toasts are not out of the world. They are actually pretty normal. So try if you must, but it is not a must to try

Address: 105, Toegye-ro, Jung-guSeoul, South Korea

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Breakfast ended with a bottle of banana milk, which tastes like banana milk

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Got the T-money card (our ezlink card) from the convenience store as well. You can actually use this T-money for many purposes other than transportation

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Subway station

And while I’m on the topic of subways in Korea, lemme introduce to you this app I’ve used to commute in Seoul. It is called the Seoul subway app and it saved me a lot of headache

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The picture of the app

I really love this life-saving app for it is easy to use. You can choose the stations you want to start from and end at

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And they give you the the fare you need to pay. You can choose to transfer through the fastest possible time or the fewest possible stations

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And the transfer information in detail. So you know which line to take, which side it is bound for, which door to exit and how long it takes. And the best part is, you can use it offline without data usage (You are welcome)

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Wanted to see the umbrella display at City Hall but they were all removed 😦 So I continued walking and saw the statue of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin on the way to Cheonggyecheon stream. You can go google on the story of this famous general on Gwanghwamung square

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A very peaceful stream. It would be nice to sit on the steps when it’s not so cold. I sat for 15 minutes and I was freezing…

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Walked back to Myeongdong from the stream to grab lunch at Gogung, a place recommended for its bibimbap. The place is easily located as well for it is near Sejong hotel

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Went post-lunch hour so it was rather empty

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Jeonju Dolsot Bibimbap ₩11,000

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I thought the bibimbap was decent, rice cooked well with the right amount of hot pepper sauce. The kimchi was spicy and enjoyable. But I think you can find as decent ones in Singapore without flying all the way to Seoul to have this. So try if you must, but it is not a must to try

Address: 11-1, Chungmuro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

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Wandered around Myeongdong for the next few hours to get myself orientated. The first time at Myeongdong can be pretty confusing cos the streets all look the same, like there’s an Innisfree every 10m you walk. Myeongdong is also known for their beauty products so get all your cosmetics and skincare here. If you are into shopping (for clothes), I suggest Edae area and Express Bus Terminal for cheaper alternatives

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Pictures of spokesperson everywheree

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And I chanced upon Miss Lee cafe, but no I didn’t go in

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Myeongdong at night is very happening. The street vendors are all out in full force selling clothes and lots of food. You will never get hungry here at night

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The famous strawberry mochi, which I didn’t try cos I didn’t have any more stomach space

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And the equally famous Myeongdong egg bread

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Egg Bread ₩2,000

This egg bread is very interesting. It tasted more cake-like at the bottom, crispy yet soft with a cooked egg yolk inside and a runny egg white on top. It is a good snack to munch on if you are not so hungry

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Walked past this stall selling scallops

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And it definitely caught my attention

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Scallops with Corn & Cheese ₩6,000

This scallop dish is actually pretty good. Succulent scallops with sweet corn and melted cheese. You can taste the sweetness, saltiness and a little burnt aftertaste

There are many other street food that looks super tempting but I was full after 2. Ha =X So take your time to explore, and eat as much as you can at Myeongdong at night

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Took a trip to Le Alaska for breakfast the next day, a cafe that is near Garosugilgu area. This place is known for their freshly made bread pastries and is a joint venture between a Le Cordon Bleu chef and and a Tokyo Bakery patissier and the entrance, looks welcoming enough

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Spoilt for choices

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Breakfast ₩12,500

The pastries are really good. I love the evenly coated chocolate on the crispy and light croissant and the caramelized mixture of nuts are addictive without being overly sweet

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Surprise hidden inside. The smoothly blended nuts to give that extra texture

The place opens from 9am and I think it is definitely worth the trip to get your day started with a happy stomach

Address: 550-22 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-guSeoul, South Korea

I didn’t explore Garosugil area even though it is located at the next lane cos I had a little hiccup. So the next part of the day was spent exploring Buchon Hanok village which has a mixture of traditional hank houses and modern buildings. These traditional houses were the residential quarters of high ranking officials in the Joseon dynasty so it is interesting to take a look at how these buildings are preserved till today

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I got hungry so I decided to grab a little snack at this roadside stall

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Walnut Cake ₩2,000

These piping hot walnut cakes taste even better in cold weather. It has a pancake-like texture with a sweet walnut paste which could be mistaken for red bean

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Headed into Jaws Food on the way to the Anguk station cos I was craving for something soupy, so I ended up ordering Korean fish cake soup

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Eomuk Guk ₩2,000

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A typical street snack, shop-style

I don’t have the address for this but they are many outlets in Seoul with the most commonly mentioned in Myeongdong area. So maybe you would like to take a look at that

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Caught Nanta at Nanta Myeongdong theatre which was located on the second floor. I blindly walked past the building many times until I decided to approach one of the ‘tourist-information’ guide and then I realised the place was just right infront of me

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The number of performances they had yearly call for a need to have a different group each time to perform

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It is a light-hearted show with much laughter and noise (I honestly won’t call them music) and I think it is a good alternative to all the shopping and eating

Address: Unesco Building, 50-14, Myeong Dong 2 Ga, Jung Gu, Seoul

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Walked over to M plaza to have dinner at School Food. You might easily miss the building just cos the sign doesn’t really stand out. Spot the Forever 21, and you know you are at the right place. I would guess this place serves typical dishes you find in schools and perhaps you can even call them comfort food to the students

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And it was rather empty

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Jjigae Ramen ₩5,200

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I was craving for ramen so here’s a bowl of kimchi ramen, which tasted rather delicious. The broth was spicy and the noodles were cooked well

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Even though it was just a simple bowl of ramen, it provided much comfort in such cold weather

The place is also famous for their kimbap and I was tempted enough to order one to try. But finishing 30 kimbap is no joke, so the rational me decided to give it a miss. But if you are there, perhaps you can give them a try as well

Address: 27 Myeongdong 8-gil, Jung-gu, 5F M PlazaSeoul, South Korea

As I continued to explore Myeongdong, I ended up at A Twosome Place for desserts. The cafe is located above Olive and Young so you have to enter through O&Y and take the stairs from inside, which is rather strange if you ask me

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They had a Christmas edition of all the cakes which look so inviting

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Cake ₩6,000, Green Tea Latte ₩4,800

I picked this berry cake cos it had the least calories (lol). No, I’m not joking. They wrote the number of calories on the description tag. This place is known to serve really awesome cheesecake and I must say the cakes really don’t disappoint. I love how each layer in this berry cake is strong yet subtle and complement each other well. The strawberry jello was an interesting finish to the smooth and wonderful cheesecake. The green tea latte, on the other hand, tasted like sugared milk. It was… really sweet

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Spent the rest of the time people-watching and planning my itinerary while also waiting for time to pass. Travelling alone sometimes can be this enjoyable as well

Address: 21 Myeongdong 3-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

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Started next morning with a traditional fare of Korean porridge for breakfast. This place is called Migabon porridge and seems to be quite popular. It is right opposite Citibank for those who wanna locate it

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The morning crowd

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Abalone porridge ₩10,000

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I love the abalone porridge. The rice is a little chewy and immersed with the sweetness of the abalone and you taste bits of the abalone in it

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Pumpkin porridge ₩8,000

I wouldn’t call this pumpkin porridge. It is more like pumpkin soup. My companions like this very much for it is something different but I think it is too sweet and watery for my liking

Address: 2F 2-23, Myeong-dong 2-ga, Jung-guSeoul, South Korea

We took an opportunity to go for the free hanbok experience at the Seoul Global Culture Centre, which is also located at M plaza. The place only opens at 1030am but try to go earlier if you can. We were fortunate to be the 5th in line (even before they opened) and gotten the time slot of 1045am. A minute later and we saw the snaking queue behind us and we overheard they have to wait till 1.45pm for their turn. Phew

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The reception area where you give them your name and they will call you when your turn is up

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So people just sit here and wait around

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The headband isn’t the nicest and the attire isn’t the grandest. But since it’s free, I shall not complain. I would gone for other option to rent a nicer hanbok and tour around Korea places if not for the cold weather. Can you imagine, wearing hanbok in freaking 2 degree celcius? Next time, perhaps

Address: 27 Myeongdong 8-gil, Jung-gu, 5F M PlazaSeoul, South Korea

Decided to do some shopping near Ewha Women’s University and also took some photos at the beautiful school. But on the way to the university..

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There was a pop-up giving out this =O

So generous. A full size bottle

Anyways, Ewha Women’s University is really pretty. It is a very good place for all your ootds. I am sure influencers and blogshop owners will love this place

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Shopping area/Main street leading from the subway to the university

And lunch was settled in the area as well. I didn’t have any place in mind cos I tried googling and there were not much suggestions. So we wandered along this street where all the restaurants are and ask a group of university students what’s good here. lol. And they recommend..

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Bongchu JJimdak!

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Really popular with locals

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Lunch Set: 1/2 Chicken + Nurungji + A bottle of coke ₩19,000

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I didn’t know what nurungji was. So I googled and it says scorched rice, and gave it a try. (I know the picture isn’t the most flattering here, but whatever ha)

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And you mix it with your remaining jjimdak

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Ta-da!

I like the scorched rice. It is awesome even without mixing with the chicken sauce. Burnt and fragrant, it was rather delicious. Mixing it with the jjimdak was a different texture and flavour, though I pretty much enjoy eating on its own

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I couldn’t believe I’m paying half the price here of what I paid in Singapore, for a bigger portion, and a better-tasting jjimdak dish. Really, this one is so much better. The jjimdak is spicier and the noodles are starchier – you really need to chew them. So for those who are thinking of trying it in Singapore, well, try if you must but it is not a must to try

Address: 20 Ewhayeodae-Gil, Seodaemun-Gu, Seoul, Korea

Continued shopping before having a break at Beans Bins Coffee, a place known for their awesome waffles. This place is located along the main street to Ewha Women’s University, so it is quite easy to locate

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Waffles with Fresh Strawberries ₩15,000

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They have an extensive menu and all look really delicious but we ordered the seasonal special (for their strawberries) and gosh, we did make the right choice. The waffles are light, crispy and fluffy and the strawberries are deliciously sweet that you can’t stop eating. It is definitely one waffle place not to be missed when you are in Seoul. They have outlets everywhere, so pop by in when you have a chance

Address: 56-125 Daehyeon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea

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Wandered back to Myeongdong at night and the Christmas light decorations are so beautiful

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And we wonder why we don’t get this back home

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Decided to try Nolboo for their army stew cos I really wanted to try the authentic army stew in Korea. And many reviewed this place served pretty decent stews. I tried following instructions and addresses given but when I went there, the restaurant was not located at the given address. So I gave up and walked randomly and hey, I found it somewhere else in Myeongdong!

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Makgeoli!

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Old-Style Budae Jjigae ₩7,000 per portion

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You have to order according to the number of pax present, so if you got 3 people, you have to order 3 portion. And the boss was really unfriendly. tsk

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I was really disappointed with the army stew. I think I can easily find a Korean place in Singapore that serves better army stew than this. The stew was not thick enough, and it really wasn’t any awesome in any way

Address: There is no address for this. But if you come out of Myeongdong station exit 8, just walk straight all the way. It is after Zara and before H&M

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Last stop for the day was at Osulloc Tea House, another ‘must-go’ according to all the blogs I read

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This place originates from Jeju and specialised in serving green tea

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So you get all your green tea related desserts as well

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A cozy cafe with pretty interior and nice furnishing

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Green Tea Swiss Roll ₩5,000 Green Tea Cheesecake ₩5,000

I prefer the swiss roll to the cheesecake. I think the cheesecake is a little bit too dense and has not much green tea taste. The swiss roll has a beautiful green tea flavour but I think it can be a little lighter, which would just taste a little much better

I think Osulluc Tea House is a nice place to rest if you are too tired from all the shopping in Myeongdong, but I honestly think the desserts are not the best that I’ve tried. Well, just individual preference 🙂

Address: 47-1 Myeongdong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

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Ending the first part of my entry with a map of Myeongdong area. Don’t fret if sometimes you cannot find the location of the place you are looking for. Honestly, there are many repeated shops in Myeongdong so you might just unknowingly chance upon the next outlet when walking around 🙂

Be back for my next part!