Spring in Seoul v.3 (Day 1)

So, we’re back to the motherland. It’s the spring season and we’re hoping to be able to go cherry blossom watching and walk without having to worry about the heat.

We got flights via Jeju Air. The flight is at 11:00 PM so we didn’t have to add another work day leave. After work (and after our colleague’s last minute flight booking), we headed straight for NAIA Terminal 1. There were reports that due to problems with the Bureau of Immigration, you need 5 hours to go through the whole check in process.

See, it was just 7:19 PM and we’re already eating at Jollibee. One good thing is that this branch is transferred from it’s original and horrendous location. Hoping, though, that there will be other stores and shops because there clearly isn’t enough room for everybody.

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We didn’t have any problem with checking in or immigration. Although, the Jeju Air I know is strictly punctual. This time, they were a little late. Although, compared to my experience with local airlines, this tardiness is negligible.

A few short naps later, I’m back in South Korea. I am with my dear friends and it couldn’t get any better than this.

We topped up our T-Money. I didn’t buy one because I still have mine from my first trip in 2015. Then, we rode Limousine Bus 6015 bound for Myeongdong.

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Good morning, downtown Seoul.

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Wake up, sleepy head. We’re in Seoul!

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Hello, Bank of Korea!

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Upon arrival in Myeongdong, we dropped of our bags in Guesthouse the Hill, our home for the next four days. After some freshening up, we made our way to Jamsil via subway. We made our way to Exit 2 and we were on our way to Seokchon Lake.

You will see the newly opened Lotte Tower on your right. You wouldn’t miss it as it is South Korea’s tallest skyscraper, as of the moment. We wanted to go up but it was too early for it to be open.

NOTE: South Korea has a delayed work day for shops. They mostly open at 10 – 10:30 AM so you don’t have to wake up early to enjoy the sights.

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Upon crossing the street, you have reached Seokchon Lake. It is serene because the cherry blossom festival has already concluded. Last year, it was lively. There were people walking around, have a picnic, and singing live.

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The only extraordinary thing this time around was that a Korean drama was filming. We were not advised of the title and we were not familiar with the lead characters. Maybe I’d recognize them once the drama airs.

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My friend and I who have both been to Korea before decided to sit down on one of the outlook areas of the lake. We asked our first-timer friends to explore the area especially the one near Lotte World – on the other side of the lake.

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We wanted to see what the top of the Lotte Tower looks like but PHP 1,000 does not seem to justify what we’ll experience. They don’t even have food, even coffee, for that price. Maybe some other time and in some other life. We had lunch at Hyundai Department Store. I ordered bibimbap for KRW 8,500.

Then, we made our way back to Myeongdong to check in, rest, take a bath, and have a little afternoon siesta.

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At around 5 PM, we woke up from our slumber and decided to go to Namsan Seoul Tower. We waited at the nearby bus stop for Namsan Bus No. 5. It’s the bus stop that’s just outside of Myeongdong station Exit 3.

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This bus will be a little crowded because it will be full of locals, on their usual day, and tourists, who opt for the cheaper way of going to Namsan Seoul Tower. The other option is a cable car ride for KRW 9,000 per way.

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On the way up the mountain, there’s still a plethora of cherry blossom trees.

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We went up the Namsan Seoul Tower during the golden hour because it offers one of the best views of the city and, frankly, who doesn’t love a sunset view. We were dropped off at a mini bus terminal with a convenience store. From there, we’d hike our way up the Namsan Seoul Plaza.

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Wouldn’t you love this sunset?

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The Namsan Seoul Tower is a working telecommunications tower. It’s famous for the love locks and the rotating restaurant. Sometimes, there are galleries held here like the Hello Kitty Museum and Teddy Bear Museum.

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We took the same bus, Namsan Bus No. 5, and we were back to the same bus stop. It was time for a trip to Myeongdong. Myeongdong is the shopping mecca of Korea. Every street is lined with different stores.

This is one of the most famous entrances to the Myeongdong area. It’s outside Exit 6 of Myeongdong station. It has Nature Republic on the left and a big Uniqlo store on the right.

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And on that spot is my favorite Seoul street food, gyeranbbang or (literally) egg bread.

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Since it was a bit chilly that night, and, mind you, Namsan Seoul Tower will really give you the chills, we wanted to find some noodles with hot soup. We found this gem of a restaurant that sells different udon dishes. It’s just outside the Chinese embassy.

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The noodles were perfect. What was better is the tempura breading when added to the noodles. They were also selling vegetable and shrimp tempura. They will prepare the noodles in front of you and it’s part of the dining experience.

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After dinner was a complete shopping exploit. I couldn’t take a picture because I have my hands full. Actually, most of the items I bought aren’t for me. Once people know or realize that you’re in Korea, they somehow manage to put on a shopping list for you. I don’t mind. As long as my luggage don’t reach the overweight limit, I’d be willing to buy for them.

What day would be complete without dessert? It’s time for bingsu. And when I think of bingsu, I think of Sulbing. There are two branches in Myeongdong. I’m more familiar with the one near Myeongdong Exit 8.

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We tried the matcha and chocolate flavor. Usually, I order one for myself. Since we’re still too full from the dinner, we decided to order one split four ways.

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I promise you, Sulbing has good presentation. It was just so good that had to dig in as soon as we received the order. Delicious and it isn’t as sweet as it looks like.

After dessert, we had to drag ourselves back to the guesthouse. It was an awesome first day back – definitely chill (literally and figuratively).

 

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Others in this series:

Spring in Seoul v.3 Day 2

Spring in Seoul v.3 Day 3

Spring in Seoul v.3 Day 4

 

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