Seoul in 5 days - {girl friend's trip}

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


This is Ehwa woman's university main gate and interection



I finally made a point I shall at least start to update my blog for every few months as I am not able to do it for every few days or few weeks (laughing pathetically). That is a terrible excuse, I feel sorry for my blog :). I was planing to write about my last family travel post after we came back from Japan, and it was happened like.... last November 2014. It was long overdue until I have no more desire to journal it. So recently when I came back from Seoul for girl friend's trip (or to be exact fansgirl trip..), I decided to blog about it before my desire die off again.

For the past three years, I have been traveling  with the same group of girl friends for attending our idol concert. We have the same interest, obviously! and our traveling style are rhymes. We are slow traveler, we do everything in slow tempo. Meaning, we do not rush in doing things, we love to hang out in coffee shop for few hours and we love to visit one or two places only  in a day. Our Seoul trip has the same style of tempo, but unfortunately due to individual commitment, we could not stay longer than a week. This is my first time visiting Seoul, I would love to return to Seoul for a longer trip. Our short itinerary was focusing on shopping and exploring local foods!  So the next time I visited again, I shall at least go to some mainstream tourist attraction (even I do not really fancy them, but at least I would like to visit the palace or Jeju island :p).  

During the short stay, I conclude my 5 fave spot that fun for a short girl trip holiday (not in the particular order).

1. EHWA Woman's University - for affordable clothing, cosmetic and street snacks  


This egg bun seem to be famous in Ehwa street, recommended by my friend











My friend from Singapore advise us to visit Ehwa Woman's University. The university is the first university for women, founded by an American missionary in 1886. I read about it and as an Educator my self, I feel so inspired to have a university that dedicated for woman and encourage gender equality. And obviously, when there is a woman, there must be a shopping places.. haha!

In surrounding of the university, there are so many small shops (not to mentioned shops in small lanes too) selling more affordable yet fashionable clothing (mainly for ladies) compare to other shopping area. The cosmetic's pricing somehow is cheaper too. And there are few stalls that selling cheaper Americano compares to other area, what a steal for a coffee drinker like me :). I guess the prices are adjusted accordingly toward the university students affordability. Nice!

Verdict: A must for those who love to buy Korean brand cosmetic (mask, lipstick, etc) and seasonal fashion (more toward youngster style).

2. Garosugil {the neighborhood of Sinsadong and Gangnam Gu} - for upscale eatery and Indie boutique 








We had lunch at Cola Mercato in Sinsa dong and then we explored the rest of the day in Garosugil before heading for a dinner appointment. I really like Sinsadong and Garosugil area (they are side by side road) . There are so many hips eatery and cafes that worth to explore. Because it is an upscale are, there are more diversity in food choices. We spent 3 hours for our lunch in Cola Mercato, our lunch cost could be spent equally for our breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Gwangjang market area for 2 days :p. I heard during Autumn the Gingo tree around Garosugil street is beautiful. When we were there, the Autumn had not really kick off.

The Indie boutique in Garosugil area are along the main roads where the Gingo tree are. The fashion suits me better than shops in Ehwa street, The styles are more for working adult, but comes with the more expensive price tags :p. I skipped mainstream brand store and explore those smaller boutique that has character of  Korean fashion identity, such as simple stripe, basic colors and smaller in sizes :).

Verdict: For those who enjoy life style and diversity of dining options and sense of simple fashion style. I would like to go back with my husband for dinner date in this area :)

3. Bukchon hanok village - Home for 900 hanok  (Korean traditional house) 



Pic 1,2,3 are shop in between the Bukchon village





pic 4,5,6 are shops and area in Samcheongdong



If I would like to choose my most fave places among these five areas that I listed, it would be Bukchon Hanouk village. I am falling in love with the traditional charms and the juxtaposition of old and new Korea in one location. Bukchon means north village, it hosts the largest hanouk village (around 900 plus) in the city. There are few other smaller village in the area, but due to the limited time, we only visited Bukchon area. We spent about half day at there because we had to meet with another friends for dinner. To explore Bukchon and Samcheongdong shopping area (a walking steps from Bukchon. I said steps because we really has to go to stiffs steps to the area :p), we definitely need a full day itinerary.

In Bukchon, the hanouks are actually people residents, so we have to talk quietly when exploring the area. To explore the village, please wears the walking shoes as the roads are stiffs and ups and downs. My traveling buddy was wearing 3 inch of wedges shoes, I could imagine the suffering :).

There are art galleries, souvenir shops and Hanbok studio in between the hanouk village, very enjoyable to explore those small traditional shops. Then we can go down to the stiffs steps toward Samcheongdong to shop clothing and grab a meal or coffee in more modern set up.

For an easy reference, please visit the Bukchon Tourist information center before heading to the area. It is huge area so the chances of getting lost is very high :0.

Verdict: For those who loves arts, traditional culture and hips fashion and cafe equally, Bukchon is the place. 

4. Hongdae (Near Hongik university) - for urban arts and Indie music culture




Hongdae is one station away from Ehwa Woman's university, where the Hongik university resides. Unlike Ehwa where the essence of femininity is dominant, in Hongdae I feel the freedom of expression is prominent. There are many Indie music/art performance along the street and there are many urban art display along the roads. Hongdae reminds me of Harajuku in Japan. Or I guess Hongdae is the Korean's Harajuku :).

Personally I can't find any clothes to shop in Hongdae haha... I guess I am too old for Hongdae fashion style. But I enjoy the street performance very much. Viewing Hongdae from my perspective, I feel that the youngster nowadays are much more energetic and creative in many ways.

Verdict: I may skip this place for shopping but I will have a cup of coffee and enjoy the street performance . There is Tricky 3D eye museum that fun to visit ( according to my friend, as I skipped the museum). 

5. Narrow lane of Myeong Dong







We stayed in Myeong Dong, therefore we visited Myeong Dong shopping area many times. I personally feel the area is the most touristy shopping area, the shop seller are very aggressive to pursue visitor to enter their shop. I guess businesses are very competitive in that area. Myeong Dong area is my least fave as I dislike too much crowds. But the narrow lanes are worth to explore, it is often forgotten and businesses are quieter in this area, indeed, that is the better part , so we could walk freely and more enjoyable to view things. There are many small eatery places in the narrow lane that  I feel more locals.It reminds me pretty much like Yokoco in Japan.

Verdict: Stay in Myeong Dong area is advantages for location wise, especially when you commute a lot using subway. Myeong Dong cathedral is nice to visit too.

Epilogue
The next time I visited Seoul again, I would love to explore Insadong and Itaewon :). And I seriously does not favor Dongdaemun :). This is merely my personal opinion and hope it gives you a decent guidance when you plan to visit Seoul just for shopping and exploring Seoul city.


{Images credit : some images are courtesy of my sister} 


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