My Husband and I concocted our own itinerary for Seoul. All we wanted was to roam the streets and have a taste of life in Seoul, so we didn't sign up for any guided tour. Plus, we also wanted to own our time and have moments for rest. We didn't aim to see "everything"--that was impossible for just four days of staying there. We made an itinerary (a big thanks to the Husband's research) but we prepared ourselves to dodge some of it incase we get tired or wanted to do something else.
Our itinerary was based on some of the Koreanovelas we watched and suggested places we found on the internet. We also bought Lonely Planet's Guide to Seoul and read a few stuff from there.
After our breakfast and afternoon nap at the hotel on our first day, we spent whatever's left of our first day in Seoul at Hongdae. We took the train, got on LINE 2 (green line) and got off Hongik University.
Some things you need to know about Hongdae:
It is where you'll find the famous Hongik University, Korea's leading art and design centre.
It is the heart of Korea's youthful nightlife. You'll find hole-in-the-wall restaurants, pubs, live music dens, karaoke bars, and cafes.
It is one of Seoul's shopping havens. Endless lanes of boutiques that sell clothes, shoes, cosmetics and cute what-nots plus craft markets during weekends.
It is where you'll find numerous Korean Barbecue restaurants. So many that you'll have a hard time choosing where to eat.
What we saw in Hongdae:
Hongdae is a big area. So big that one afternoon of exploring is not enough. The first thing we saw as soon as we got out of the train station was this....
We noticed that Seoul has a lot of mini-parks scattered in the metro. In Hongdae, their parks are clean, vibrant and filled with graffiti.
Walking in the streets of Hongdae in Spring meant seeing flowers everywhere, from pretty little flowers to abundant Cherry Blossoms.
In the evenings, the Korean BBQ restos in Hongdae comes alive as patrons coming from school and the office drops by for dinner.
If not the Korean BBQ Restaurants, you can find these tents all over the city (not just Hongdae) with people indulging themselves in Korean street food.
When in Hongdae, shop! Lots of boutiques, fancy and affordable, can be found in Hongdae.
They even have a clothing store for dogs! Look how adorable their clothes are.
And when one gets tired from all the walking, there are so many cafes to check out.
We went to Hongdae twice. The second time we went here was on the morning of our 3rd day.
There's something very artsy about this place, even their bicycles seemed artsy haha.
During the day, you can find models having photo shoots.
What we did in Hongdae:
We checked out the cafe from the Koreanovela "Coffee Prince #1". We visited the cafe twice but sadly it was closed. We don't if it was under renovation or it was closed for good. There was a sign on the front that said "Closed" but it didn't say until when. We were kind of disappointed because we really wanted to try their coffee.
There were a few women waiting outside as well. They looked like tourists, too.
Notice that I'm only wearing a knitted cardigan here. I didn't bring any winter jackets with me, hoping that it won't be too cold anymore. But alas, the temperature in Seoul was still below 10 degrees when we arrived. I was really freezing here but right after hanging out at Coffee Prince's Cafe, the mission was to find me a proper winter coat. Went around the shopping area of Hongdae but didn't saw anything I like.
Husband and I decided to take a break and luckily found the Charlie Brown Cafe.
When we got out of the cafe, it was raining hard. We had to buy an umbrella so we can continue for my quest to find a winter coat. We weren't able to take more photos coz it was raining, plus had to focus on finding a coat for me. It was nearly dinner time when I found one, just in time for the colder temperature to set in.
One of the shops we fancied was this stationery shop in one of the streets of Hongdae. They have the cutest stuff (think "Morning Glory").
They have lomography cameras.
They seem to like Little Prince here...they have so many Little Prince stuff.
Kimmidolls!!!! I love them!
We found these earphones that Gil Ra Im (from the Koreanovela "Secret Garden") used and bought it for my mum who likes Koreanovelas too. She loved it! I wanted one too because it was so cute but it was a bit expensive so I just bought one for my mum.
After shopping, we looked for a place to have dinner. Took us awhile to choose--there were just so many Korean BBQs in Hongdae. Then we choose this...
We were hoping they'd have a menu but they didn't. The plan was to point at stuff on the menu, that was our lame strategy in ordering food (LOL). Good thing, they have this poster on the wall that had a plate of meat so we pointed at that and said "one order, please?" We also ordered two bowls of rice.
For only US$13.00 we got a plate of pork, the "Banchan" (english: side dishes) and a bowl of bean paste soup. We had to pay extra for the rice as it was not part of the US$13.00 meal.
When dining in Korean restaurants, if they don't give you cutlery, it is most probably hidden and boxed up underneath your table.
The friendly staff helped us set up the barbeque and then eventually left us to our devices. We could have ordered a bottle of soju but we wanted to stay sober for the whole trip so we fought the urge to order.