Saturday, April 16, 2016

Korea: Around Myeongdong and Dongdaemun Design Plaza


To me, Day 1 in traveling is meant for exploring your chosen neighborhood.

I am kind of excited for this trip because 1) It's a first for me and my friend Tracy to go out of the country together, 2) It's my first time in Korea, a dream that didn't happen last Fall 2015, and 3) I just love layering + colder climate!

Tracy was wearing heattech + scarf throughout the trip, while I just snuggled in 2-layer clothing. I realized how much I love the cold weather! My skin is better, my hair is better, and ang importante sa lahat, walang hulas-hulas at the end of the day. :D


We left our guest house around lunch time already. I availed the free breakfast (of course, haha), while Tracy snoozed a bit longer to recuperate from her sickness. The moment we stepped out, all establishments in Myeongdong were already open. For travel accommodations, I always choose the food and shopping destinations para palaging may nangyayari.


We picked a place for lunch first. It's so hard to choose from all the restaurants in Myeongdong, ang daming options, so we randomly based it on price, dami ng taong naka dine (para sure na masarap), and of course the food they serve. This one offers authentic Korean food, and I love the "vandalized" interiors.


I think I over-ordered? Haha! Sa excitement, I ordered two dishes for my first meal in Korea not knowing na ang dami pala ng serving size nila! They also ALWAYS serve kimchi and all sorts of side dish for free, so natuto na ako na one lang iorder on my next meals.

Kimbap and Cheese Kimchi Rice, both good!

Myeongdong reminds me of Taiwan's Ximending. Located in Jung-gu Seoul, Myeongdong is almost in the center of everything - A good spot to stay for a Korea first timer. I learned that it is also dubbed as the 9th most expensive shopping street in the world!

Sayang I am not as exposed to K-Pop and K-Drama as Tracy. So I just kept on pointing at random store endorsers to her to acquaint myself with this fun pop culture. 
 


Koreans also love Line Characters, here's a store dedicated to just Line merchandise:

A cool find: Unique scents with names such as Clean Soap, Laudromat, First Kiss, and Tears. Naadik kami ni Tracy testing each bottle, we left the store ng sobrang bango, haha!  

Gusto ko talaga yung tears, haha.

Mura and "normal" dito ang Evian water:

During our walks, we noticed a crowd of people and photographers forming in front of this tent. We have no idea as to who they are, but naki usi and picture nadin kasi in case celebs pala sila!

Trip-trip lang, we also lined up just for kicks, haha:

We were handed these book and plant, hahaha! Sayang hindi naman pwede mag uwi ng halaman, so we sadly left them din in one of the mall restrooms before proceeding.

UNESCO Street in Myeongdong. In the 1950s, UNESCO Korea assisted the war-torn nation by providing textbooks and printing machineries. A nice twist is that, with Korea's current booming economic condition, they continued on with UNESCO Korea not as recipients, but to share education to other developing countries.

I also noticed that they have a lot of underground tunnels leading to more shoppingan:

Entered the Lotte Young Plaza, the mall for the, well, young people!

Everything's cute and hip in this mall, even their restrooms: 

First day, so hindi ako nag shopping. I was telling myself paulit-ulit bawal mag shop, masaya na akong nasa Korea ako. Kinain ko lang lahat niyan nung last day, hahaha!

 Explored all the floors of this mall, sharing here some of the pretty things we spotted! 

Pastels overload (hi Tracy!)

Super uso dito yung sleeveless top or dress + shirt / blouse:


Keri ko kaya to, haha!

Rose Quartz overload:



Even Adidas Women naka Rose Quartz:

Inspo for the Team Black and White forever:


I love Muji's food selections, so we entered their store:


Unique TOMS designs:

First time to see TOMS' clothing line:

More than 6 floors! Rest and wifi while planning where to spend the rest of the afternoon:

We decided to hop on the subway and go to Dongdaemun.

I've read a lot of blogs and sites before this trip, and they highly recommend to use T-Money Card for paying transportation fares, including subways and buses. With T-Money, you can save 100 Won per trip, and free na the transfers which we had a lot during our tours. And like Hongkong's Octopus, you can also use T-Money in some convenience stores.


The vendo is located in the train station nadin, the card palang costs Php 120 na (or 3000 Won). This is reloadable, but card cost is non-refundable na.

After getting the card, we loaded it with 10,000 Won. Kulang pa to for the rest of the trip, but it's easy naman to check the balance and reload it. During our last day, inubos ko nalang laman niya sa 7Eleven by purchasing a chocolate bar!

Ang hightech:

With our handy Korea Subway app that you can use even when you're offline (download it!), off we go to Dongdaemun!




We realized that there are two Dongdaemun stations in the subway, so we randomly went off Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station (Exit 1). This lead us to the beautiful Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), Korea's neo-futuristic landmark designed by Samoo and the late Zaha Hadid. 


 It's so overwhelming IRL. And napakadaming photo-worthy corners.



Outside, you'll see art installations and vast gardens:




Here's the popular LED Rose Garden. Mukha silang totoo, but they are actually 25,550 electronic roses that light up at night.


We decided to go back when sun has set. Explore muna what's inside the structure.

So inside, DDP has art halls, conference halls, museums, and Design Shops. Some comes with entrance fees, so we entered the shops nalang.

Which is another temptation island! If you love knick knacks, you'll love it here! I actually missed my bazaar gigs while going around the artsy stalls.


 Box-y characters: 



Paper leaves display:

Giant maki pillows:

UNICORN CANDLES!!!

Vintage microphones:

Cute paper lamps:

Stamp stickers:

Different maps, I bought 2 (round and water color) for my growing map collection!

Cute Little Prince and Alice in Wonderland notebooks:
  
I like that every store is well-thought-out. The displays are inspiring, each product is unique.

I wonder if these are Cobonpue chairs:

Decided to take a break. We saw 2 coffee shops inside, and dined in AID Cafe while waiting for nighttime.



Indeed, the LED Rose Garden is even prettier at night. They open the lights from sunset till 10pm.

25,550 roses symbolize 70 (years of Korea's independence) x 365 (days in a year).

This was after the battery of my camera died on me, haha.

After witnessing that, we went back to Myeongdong for dinner. Suddenly, the streets were turned into Mercato where you can buy all sorts of Korean street foods!


I tried the Baked Cheese, which wasn't as tasty as it looks (but gooey).


And my favorite for the night, these long twisty potatoes on a stick. Had one with powdered cheese, which I devoured kahit messy kainin. Walked around the busy streets of Myeongdong, cool breeze blowing my face, and without a care in the world. Hay, the life!

Tracy and I bought one face mask each to end the day. Tracy and I thought that this store looks medical and legit, haha, so I bought their best-seller which is an NMF Aquaring Ampoule Mask.


Ended our first day, Korean style! :)

To be continued. 
Read more of my Korea posts HERE.

2 comments:

  1. So cute you guys! Loving your Korea posts, Ate Ana!

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    1. Thank you Tanariannaaa! <3 Yey thanks for reading :)

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