Travelogue: Annyeong Seoul (Yes, again)

When people heard I was going to Korea, they were like again? Didn’t you just go a few months back? I was like err, that was one year ago. lol. Time flies indeed. I remembered the last time I went was when travel literally opened up and the next thing I knew, I was on the airplane. I reached the airport at 10.10pm for my 12.10am flight but there was quite a queue to check-in. Collected my purchases from ishopchangi, changed some more money (the exchange rate was pretty bad but no choice) and proceeded to the lounge which was forever crowded. But, I still love Silverkris lounge. They really had one of the best lounge food. Made my way to the gate 15 minutes prior to boarding commences but by the time I reached the gates, everyone was boarding already? 

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It was my first time taking the short-haul business class so I was looking around my seat very curiously

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Well it definitely feels smaller as compared to the long-haul ones

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Though with plenty of legroom still. At least you get to lie flat straight instead of the slightly crooked design

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Storage space

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A pop-out vanity mirror (I looked like I was sleeping here. lol)

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And all the buttons for you to navigate. The console on the right had a touchscreen design so you can give it a little touch and you would be able navigate the buttons

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The crew came around to ask our meal preference, if we would like it for supper or breakfast and with the bulk of us just wanting some sleep, it was soon lights-off close to 1am. I managed 3 hours of light sleep and woke up for breakfast

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Started with fruits

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and a croissant

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and my choice of mains. I was surprised to see Hokkien mee as an inflight menu so I had pre-selected it before my flight. It’s funny how it’s not available as a BTC option instead

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All I can say was, there was lots of noodles. The flavour was there, but not quite there. lol. To be honest, if I was flying back from USA and they had served it on the plane, I would probably shed tears of joy

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After meal service, I watched a show while the plane was slowly edging towards our destination. Such a pretty picture with the clouds and light peeking through!

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Hello Korea! Never thought I would visit you so soon. lol

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It was definitely a vast difference from VTL days where the queue stretched out to as long as I could remember. It was literally a walk-through from the moment I disembarked to passport control in 5 minutes, flat. Passport control took awhile, and by the time I collected my bags, it was 8am

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Managed to find my driver arranged by the airbnb without much difficulties cos he had left not one, but 2 signs side by side with my name on it. Why? I had no idea. And he was talking non-stop during the whole 1 hour journey to my airbnb. I was pretty entertained and more so, cos he had 4 phones on display?!

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Anyway, finally reunited with the girls (who had so much fun shopping) so here’s a picture of us before embarking on our itinerary for the day

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First stop: Nori Hanbok

The friend was tasked on finding a hanbok store for our hanbok day so we decided on Nori Hanbok which I felt had some of the prettiest hanbok on collection

You can check out their website here: https://norihanbok.modoo.at/?link=4dwsuolf

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I love that it was more geared towards traditional hanbok designs and less so on the contemporary embroidery 

It’s a small place though and you would probably be left with lesser choices if you come later. We had our appointment scheduled at 10.30am and by the time we were done with changing / hair / accessories, it was close to 11.30am

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They provided hair service, norigae, and shoes included if you want to wear their shoes. We didn’t for the shoes cos we thought it would be more comfortable to wear our own white sneakers. Yeps, we wore white for a reason

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Here’s me with my final selection. I wanted pink/peach but they didn’t have my size so I settled for this ombre blue in the end. They had tied so much cloth/pompom on me I looked like I was 7-months pregnant. But I had to admit, their hanbok was really pretty

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The friend was emo-ing cos the shop assistant did her hair wrongly and refused to let her colleague take over, even though we translated and requested for change of hairdresser :/

There’s free entry to Gyeongbokgung Palace for anyone who wears hanbok, and so there were lots of people wearing hanbok. lol

And the palace was really crowded. We wandered for awhile trying to find a good photo spot 
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Then we came across this tree. And we settled down for a long time. lol

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The 3, 5 and 7-months pregnant friends 😀 #insidejoke

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And so we wandered the compound for more photos before leaving for lunch at Tosokchon Samgyetang which was a short walk away. Yeps we went there dressed in hanbok cos we didn’t want to waste time going back to the rental store

We reached the restaurant close to 1.20pm and gosh, there was a really long line but thankfully the line moved really fast so within 10 minutes, we were seated inside. And I felt like half of Singapore was there

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The menu was pretty straightforward and everyone had to order a dish so we had 3 portions of chicken

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The pickled radish was better than the cabbage one

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Ginseng chicken soup which the friend wanted to eat so much. I had this the last time I came Korea, so well, the taste was still the same. Not impressionable. lol. I’m not a huge fan of ginseng chicken cos I don’t really like glutinous rice. So to me, it’s just chicken soup lor

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Objectively speaking, the soup was pretty light in taste. The taste of ginseng wasn’t that strong so for those who feared the ginseng taste would be overwhelming, rest assured it’s not. Chicken was pretty tender though dry at some parts but when you eat it together with the salt and pepper, it was delicious. Most recommended to eat it this way. It would be pretty comforting to eat this in cold weather but we were sweltering in the heat. Seoul at the point was still pretty warm so there was no brownie to the meal. lol

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The friend mentioned this coffee place was quite popular so we popped by across the street after lunch for our post-lunch coffee fix

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Which I agree was pretty good. So if you are having lunch at Tosokchon Samgyetang and needed some coffee, you know where to head to!

On our way back to Gyeongbokgung Palace, we chanced upon a self-service photo studio and that kickstarted our nonsensical photo taking for the trip

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Okay, it’s pretty cute, and addictive and we pretended it’s FOC

We went back to the palace to take our TikTok before wrapping up for the day. The weather was getting warmer and by the time we reached our studio, we were sweating it all out. We wanted to grab a taxi to our next destination but nobody wanted to pick us, so we took a bus to Namsan Seoul Tower instead

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The vantage point when we alighted

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It’s definitely a different route up this time cos I don’t remember walking up the hill

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When 3 of us saw it was an upslope, we groaned and sighed. lol

 

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As you can tell, we were here for the locks though most of the locks were rusty and felt like they had been there for 10,000 years

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But it’s still a tourist thing to do

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Taking one last photo with the orange-red leaves before we made our way down to the bus stop for dinner

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Dinner was at Hwajak Sinsa which the team had been so kind in arranging this reservation. Cos you know most places on Catchtable need a Korean mobile number to make a booking. So they had guided me and was very patient with me to set up an overseas bank transfer. So much effort just to find a place to celebrate the friend’s birthday (which she did not join in the end. lol)

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It’s a small cozy place with hanwoo beef as its highlight. We went for the B course menu priced KRW83,000 per person that comprised of a 9-course menu

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The joke came when we decided to order a bottle of soju (cos we had round 2 of drinks later) thinking the soju would be the typical green bottle soju. So when this came, you could imagine our shock. This definitely felt more like liquor than anything and we were thinking to ourselves if we were able to finish it

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Starting our course proper with pickled persimmon as an appetiser

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Beef cutlet sashimi with seaweed

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Rest of the selection: Tongue, Tenderloin, Fillet, Flank, Ribs

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My friends know I don’t eat Korean BBQ but given this was yakiniku way of cooking, there’s definitely no issues for me

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Even better when the chef cooked for you 🙂

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There was also a small selection of vegetables, thankfully so, else it was just too much meat to handle

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The beef was oily and tender. In fact might be a little too oily overall so much that we had portions of radish and pickles replenished

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Specially arranged eggplant, all for photos

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Welcomed any form of vegetables

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To be honest, we were already full at this point and we had a last portion of meat to be cooked, rice and 2 pots of tofu stew. Oh man. Oh, and 1/2 bottle of soju left. lol

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The ribs and the mushroom were the best of all. Love the juicy mushroom and the nicely marinated ribs that went well with the claypot rice

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Claypot Rice with Corn

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Hwajak Sundubu Stew

And this sundubu jiggae was spicy, thick and so comforting. It was spicy and thick like we never had before. lol

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A glass of sparkling yuzu on the house for each of us

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Ending it off with desserts
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Which was fried mochi glazed in honey 

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and a cold Ume tea to wash off everything

We wanted some small bites so that we had something to munch on with the remaining liquor. So we asked if the chef had any small bites for us. To our horror, he asked if we wanted stew or stir-fried beef. We were like no no no, it’s okay then

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And so, we had free beef sashimi on the house. lol

We did finish the liquor in the end. Basically it was a 2 pax responsibility cos one gave up at the start

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It was a good meal with awesome service. I wouldn’t say the quality of the beef was the best (I had better hanwoo beef elsewhere) but it was good enough and we were so full we walked 30 minutes to our next destination

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which was Bar Tea Scent, a tea-room themed cocktail bar

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The place was filled with couples. It was like every other table came in pairs. We joked this must be a popular blind-dating/dating spot cos at 10pm, each pair took turn to leave the bar. And we were like ? is this an unspoken rule or something? lol

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Garden Mist

Silver Needle White Tea, Gin, Spearmint, Ylang Ylang & Rosemary Fog

Probably the most instagrammble drink

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The staff playfully blew another bubble for us while it floated and burst

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Quite interesting isn’t it?

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And popped it went!

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The drink was pretty good. It was light, aromatic and really easy to drink, definitely suited the friend’s palate

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Tea & Tofu

Hojicha Green Tea, Bourbon Whisky, Mandarin, Bergamot & Tofu Foam

I could taste the mix of hojicha and bourbon and a creamy foamy aftertaste. I felt like presentation was on point but it was a little hard to drink from this square box

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Bubble Bath

Earl Grey Black Tea, Scotch Whisky, Grapefruit, Lemon Honey & Lavender Bubble

This was a strong drink. I wished the friend good luck. Ha. Though it felt quite nice after awhile

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Ginza Matsuri 

Matcha Green Tea, Rum, Pineapple, Chocolate Cream & Hinoki Origami

Ooh, I really enjoyed this. This felt like dessert, like just a matcha green tea, creamy & sweet!

Something interesting about this place was they allowed outside food and they would actually plate it for you. I joked what if we brought sundubu jiggae? lol. I doubt it matched the ambience of this place

And then we cabbed back home cos it had been a long day. Taxi in Seoul is actually pretty reasonable especially if you have friends to share with. It’s usually like SGD2-3 per pax

We started our morning with breakfast and we wanted to have Eggdrop. The nearest store was at Dongdaemum so we made our way there by train but unfortunately the store was busy with some big orders so we could only return after 9.30am. We walked around the compound for coffee cos the friend needed her coffee fix. And we chanced upon this unassuming coffee store nearby with the biggest and cheapest coffee

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A hot Mocha that cost less than SGD4 and with a cute teddy in the background 🙂

But unfortunately it was too huge to finish, so I didn’t finish mine. The friend decided to try her luck to bring it inside Eggdrop and you could actually do it! Lol #welldone

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And here’s breakfast finally. It was as good and satisfying as I remembered. I’m glad the friends loved it too

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We made our way to Seoul Forest cos we wanted to see if there’s any nice leaves left for photos. Well, there’s really not much left unfortunately but here’s one for memory

And it was also here that kickstarted our ticket purchase for BP concert. Lol

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I guessed it would be really nice if you come in the right season. I could just imagine the photos. Stayed here for sometime before proceeding for lunch that was nearby

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The lunch we wanted to have – Chori Sanggyeong was located in this building. And there were lots of people standing around outside the first floor. So we went to take a queue number. Then after receiving the SMS, I realized something wasn’t right after translating everything. It was then we realized we had virtual queued for the wrong restaurant. Lol

Chori Sanggyeong is located on the right of this building, on the second floor. So uh, we repeated the process. Thankfully we realized it early cos the wait seemed to be pretty long. Then curiosity got the better of us. What were we queuing in the first place then since it seemed to be a popular place too? Lol. It turned out it was some Japanese-fusion restaurant. But nah, we decided to stick to plan to have our claypot rice

We went to walk around the area since it was gonna be quite a wait. And guess where we went? Lol

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Yup, self-portrait studio again

But unfortunately we felt that the quality of this studio wasn’t that great. We still had lots of fun though. We walked around for about 30 minutes before it was finally our turn so we made haste back to the restaurant 

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The menu was in Korean, so we had to translate everything. It’s time like these you appreciate translation app. lol

And it was also then the official ticket window for BP opened cos it was 12pm SGT so there was nobody talking at the table cos 2 were simply concentrating on their phone and looking damn serious while the last person just enjoying her meal in silence. lol

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Banchan to go along

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This mushroom and shrimp ball was actually pretty interesting. It’s not something I would come across often but I would order it again

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The friend got the short ribs claypot rice which the ribs were served separately. These ribs were juicy, tender and so delicious though she was so stressed about the tickets she was just stuffing food into her mouth. lol

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The rice that was served alongside the ribs

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The other friend got the salmon which I had a mouthful and it was pretty good too! It was a generous portion of salmon we said

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And I got the abalone, which I totally did not regret ordering

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When you mixed it together with the awabi sauce, it was tender, sweet and flavourful. The abalone itself was really good

It was a satisfying meal and I was glad we got our tickets too 😀

We were making our way to our next destination when we chanced upon Song Joong Ki, well, the cardboard version. JTBC was promoting his new show – Reborn Rich so we decided to join the queue and see what was it about

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I had to say, I was highly amused

They also had some lucky draw going on which was a one-night staycation at some hotel. But thankfully we didn’t win, else we had to go back to Seoul? lol

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And while continue walking, we chanced our Dior Flagship store at Seongsu-dong, which had lots of people taking photos outside. The building was quite eye-catching I must say

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The friend wanted to go Haru & One day, which was owned by Super Junior’s Donghae so we gladly obliged. Well, we didn’t catch any stars here

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So we had coffee instead which was not bad

We did a detour to Xexymix cos the friends wanted to check out exercise wear before making our way to Prepix Dance Studio to book our dance classes cos they couldn’t accept payment online and finally making our way to 1 Million Dance Studio cos the friends were really excited about joining a class there

Since we were early, we decided to chill at Tenne, a cafe nearby 1M while getting something to munch too

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This place was a surprise find cos the desserts were actually really good. We love the choux puff. I highly recommend anyone to drop by there to try these puffs

And then the joke came when the friend said she couldn’t find her class booking online. It was only then we realised our class has been cancelled! Apparently we had received the notification via email in the morning but since it was in Korean and nobody understood, and we all assumed it did not mean anything, we clearly did not think much of it

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Well, we still decided to check out the place since we were already there. The building has a few floors and each floor is catered based on which difficulty level you had signed up for. The funniest thing happened cos we were standing outside the door looking at the people inside dancing (yes you can see through the door) and we were so impressed by the dancers inside we went to google what class it was. To our horror, it was a learner’s class. Well, Korean’s standard for learners are clearly different. We told ourselves, we were glad our class was cancelled. lol

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So we decided to take a photo for memory. At least we can proudly say we had been to 1 Million. lol

We were still in shock after that so we decided to cab back to Myeongdong to get our fried chicken dinner

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The friend recommended BHC which was highly popular. There were lots of fried chicken place along that same stretch too if you want other brands. I call it the fried chicken stretch 😀

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We also dabao-ed Jajangmyeon back cos I really wanted to try having JJM in a Korean home. We stopped short of ordering sweet & sour pork cos clearly we won’t be able to finish everything. So here’s a very scrumptious dinner for 3 people who didn’t manage to dance 🙂

I have to say this JJM was hands-down the best I’ve tried. The google rating for this place wasn’t high but the friend said they are actually quite famous for their JJM. Interested parties who wanna know, we got it from 개화 or 開花 in Chinese. It was cheap and good

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Was slightly disappointed by the fried chicken though. We prefer the saucy one but the original one was very meh. lol

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And finishing up with desserts were the choux puffs we detoured after 1M to get them again cos it was that good + cups of fruits we got from the street carts in Myeongdong

Clearly, we over ordered but we didn’t care cos hey, we were on holiday! Diet starts tomorrow! 😀

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