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SEOUL SEARCHING FINALE: Gangnam & Dongdaemun

Waking up on that morning knowing that I would be spending my last day in South Korea made me feel a little sad. With heavy reluctance to return to Malaysia, I made myself get the best out of my last few moments here.

 On a side note, I did feel a slight relief because I was finally getting a break for my fatigued and aching feet after spending more than a week of walking and days of Seoul searching. I pretty much looking forward to today’s plan as we were going to the famous affluent district of Seoul, Gangnam. The Gangnam Style song playing in my head set me into the right mood for exploring Gangnam-gu.

Chuncheonjip Dakgalbi Makguksu

Before we began exploring the popular district of Seoul, we decided to settle down for brunch at Sinchon. We had been in South Korea for almost 10 days and we had yet to try dakgalbi, Korean stir fried marinated chicken with a variety of ingredients such as cabbages, sweet potatoes, and tteokbokki in spicy sauce on a hot plate. We were quite early as there were many empty tables available when we arrived. As midday was approaching, more patrons started flooding the place.
 We had cheese chicken dakgalbi, the restaurant’s recommendation. I only tried dakgalbi once in Ipoh and I was close to tears while eating them. I was told that Uncle Jang Korean Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur offers an even more spicy experience. Thus, I never touched dakgalbi ever since.

 Now that I was in South Korea, shedding a few drops of tears and sweat would be worthwhile. Once the marinated chicken slices, cabbages, and other ingredients were cooked, they were set aside to form a circle. The bowl of coarsely shredded cheese was poured into the centre of the hot plate. As the cheese was melting, it became a glorious cheese dip for the stir fried chicken. The marinated chicken stir fried with the hot sauce was not spicy at all! The chicken was perfectly seasoned. The melted cheese intensified the taste of the succulent meat.
They even gave us a complimentary cultured drink

Not to mention their springy ramen was superb as well, and was my favourite. Nothing was better than starting my last day in Seoul with this amazing dakgalbi. 

Price: 10 000 won (RM35) per pax
Address: 1, Yonsei-ro 5ga-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
How did we get there?
Sinchon Station (Subway Line 2), Exit 1.
Turn right onto the first side street (Hyundai Department Store).
Go straight for 130m and cross the street.
The restaurant is next to Changcheon Children's Park (창천어린이공원).
 Operating hours: 10:00-06:00 the next day


The Cafe 

This place is truly a haven for all LINE fanatics because this is where you get the all cute and fancy LINE merchandise, eat Brown and Cony macarons, cakes or soft serve ice cream in the LINE themed café, and also hug the gigantic Brown bear, or Sally the duck, if you prefer. As someone who is not a fan of LINE, I thought I had no place in here. However, I was fascinated by the concept of this first and largest flagship store of LINE Friends in the world. 
Show some love to Sally, the duck too!

Brown on shelves

There was even a girl hugging a medium sized Brown bear for almost 5 minutes! Guess visiting the LINE store for Brown’s hug is therapeutic!
Getting hugging therapy from Brown

Besides the main purpose of coming all the way to Garuso-gil to hug the giant Brown bear, we came for the experience of checking out their wide range of merchandise. From plushies coming from many sizes, stationeries, clothes to beauty products, you may be spoilt for choice!
Brown is chilling!

There was a section in the LINE store where you can have a virtual reality experience with LINE creatures. Imagining having these fictional LINE characters coming to life in front of you. It was my first time playing the Samsung Gear VR as they had a demo using these LINE characters. 
Address: 535-15, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu
Opening Hours: 10:30pm – 9:30pm
How did we get there?
Sinsa Station Line 3 Seoul Subway Exit 8 walk towards Garosugil Street

Express Bus Terminal Underground Shopping Centre

Seoul has always been known to have many shopping destinations. This includes underground shopping malls! I was so amazed at how well Seoulites utilized space at the subway underground stations, turning them into a shopping paradise. There is always a place for you to splurge in Seoul! Even while you are waiting for a subway train. In addition, whether it rains or shines in Seoul, you can still shop!

These underground shopping centres were no secret and not confined to the inner circles. In fact, they were packed with crowds of shopaholics! I had to be extra careful to dodge my way through the throng of people and avoid myself from getting aggressively pushed by the overexcited ahjummas. Eventhough these underground shopping centres are hidden from plain sight, the real deals are here! The Express Bus Terminal underground shopping centre is basically divided into two sections: Apparel & Household items.

The apparel section had a more vast range of choices compared to Ewha shopping street despite the price range being similar. I heard that they were also cheaper than the selections in Dongdaemun market. The cheaper range of clothes were decently priced at 5000 won (RM18) which mostly included basic wear. At the range of 10 000 won (RM35) - 20 000 won (RM70), you may get a good quality piece of the latest trend. Of course, the top notch pieces were 30 000 won and above. There were also cute Korean socks priced at only 500 won (RM1.70) - 1000 won (RM3.54) per pair!

The apparel section was huge and there were so many shops to check out! I actually browsed every shop and surveyed their ranges twice. It was a tiring and unpleasant journey having to go through the bustling crowd to get to another shop. I managed to find my desired Korean outerwear from an outlet which was having an opening sale! Priced at 19 000 won (~RM67+), it was the cheapest outerwear of great quality that I could find.

Because I was too engrossed with my shopping, there were no photos taken in this underground shopping centre.

*currency conversion was based on 1000 won ~ RM3.54. The current exchange rate is 1000 won ~RM 3.77

Address: jiha 200, Sinbanpo-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul
How did we get there?
Express Bus Terminal Station (Seoul Subway Line 3, 7, 9)
Operating hours: 10:00-22:00 (Hours vary by shop)

Jinokwha halmae wonjo darkhanmari (Jin Ok-hwa Original Chicken Restaurant)

Jinokwha halmae wonjo darkhanmari which directly translated to “Grandmother’s One Whole Chicken”, has been established for 30 years. Living up to its name, this restaurant offers a whole chicken to be cooked with chopped leeks and sliced potatoes in a large metal bowl of boiling broth. The best thing is they are known to select only fresh young chickens!

The chicken was soft and smooth, much to my delight. This appeared to be a healthy dish to me, probably because its cooking method was just boiling. The broth tasted great, but if you are feeling adventurous and would like to spice things up, you may add kimchi and some red sauce (from the basket of condiments) into the boiling soup. I was not in the mood for antagonizing my taste buds, hence, I liked the soup the way it was. There were three bottles of condiments where you needed to mix them in specific ratios. You may dip a piece of chicken into the blend of sauces.

Overall, it tasted pretty much normal to me. I was probably not impressed with the boiled chicken broth. However, it is definitely a must try when you are in Seoul as it is one of their specialty dishes.

Price per pax: 10 000 won
Address: 18, Jong-ro 40ga-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
How did we get there?
Jongno 5-ga Station (Subway Line 1), Exit 6.
Turn left onto the street and walk 300m.

 Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Built with an artistic and futuristic design, Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) serves as a venue for many design-related events and conferences. Recently, Seoul Fashion Week featured many runway shows staged at this iconic building. Its modern design has become the background for many Instagram worthy shots. No wonder DDP was selected to be the most Instagram tagged location in Korea in the year of 2015.

The colourful lights illuminating the buildings made them look alive at night. The beautiful night view and calming atmosphere serves as the perfect location for a date. We were thinking to ourselves that Seoul has so many ideal dating spots! Down across the buildings, you may find rows of stalls selling Korean street food.
Walking past the stalls, we finally reached the LED rose garden. Ahead of us was a sea of 25,550 LED studded roses blinking at us. From afar, it looked like thousands of sparkling diamonds scattered on the ground. The view was beautiful and looking at it was just so therapeutic.

281, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
How did we get there?
Get off at Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, 4 ,5) and Exit 1.

Korean Hanbok Experience @ Incheon International Airport

If you read about our adventures in the “Joseon dynasty” in the previous post, you would know that we missed out on the chance to wear hanboks. Well, lucky for us, we still had the opportunity to don the traditional costumes at the eleventh hour at the Incheon International Airport. Located at the Korea Traditional Cultural Experience Centre, you can try on the hanbok for FREE!
A Korean lady dressed in a hanbok greeted us at the entrance. Besides wearing the hanbok, there were also other activities available such as Korean traditional crafts making. But, one person is limited to one activity. Of course, nothing beats a hanbok experience. After donning our hanboks and headbands, we were given sufficient amount of time to take photos.

Address: Incheon International Airport 3F Departure Area 272, Gonghang-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon-si
How did we get there?
Walk up to the 3rd floor of passenger terminal and concourse

That was a wrap for the Seoul Searching series as well as my Korea summer graduation adventures! Thank you guys and girls for staying with me throughout the series. If any of you missed any of the posts, you may check it out :

Happy reading! Feel free to drop some comments below to tell me what do you think about my travel posts about South Korea.

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  1. Replies
    1. you should visit! Now I am missing Korea already :')

  2. I want to visit Korea, and enjoying their nice food! Personally love toppoki so much, wish can try all out all the various type of toppoki dishes!

  3. Wow, what an adventure you had in Seoul. I wish I could visit soon. Thanks for sharing very detailed information of your trip!

  4. I missed out on many of these places also... though I was at Dang dae mun.... want another trip to Korea... huhuhu

  5. I miss Korea! Will want to visit Express Bus Terminal Underground Shopping Centre next visit to Seoul

  6. My family members at in Seoul now. Wish I can revisit South Korea with them again.

  7. I have not been to Korea but this looks really nice and surely a reason to visit there.

  8. Now am wishing to revisit Korea again huhu
    I love shopping there

  9. u make me miss my korea trip!!!Just back from there~~~

  10. been to seoul twice, but i'm missing it so much now. superb place to visit

  11. nice tips. would love to follow your itinerary if i happen to visit Korea one day.

  12. There's so many BROWNSSSSSS there!!! I need to visit this place when I'm in Korea TT

  13. I 've never been Korea before. But you make me have to go there in next year. Really love coffee shop there! Thanks for information

  14. All the Korean food make me feel hungry. My family is planning a trip to Korea soon.

  15. My goodness, brown shop selling this cute brown clothes. I feel like flying to Korean now.

  16. The food, the place, and the culture, is what makes me eager to travel to Korea... I feel sad for you too babe...for having to leave that place..

  17. Haven't been to Korea before, will bookmark this post for my travel reference :)

  18. Those yummy food and cute LINE characters are my fav!


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