Unique Korea Experience: Aromind + K-Style Hub + Tongin Market + Innisfree Green Cafe + Pojangmacha (DAY 2)

Sunday, November 26, 2017

If I have to recommend a hotel for your South Korea trip, I will most probably answer L7 Hotels Myeongdong. Not only because I haven't tried any other hotels except this and some guesthouses, but just with this one-time stay it is already Anagon-approved.

L7 Hotels is located right smack in the middle of Myeongdong. There's a nearby subway station so you can easily transport to your day's itinerary. And imagine going around every night at the neighboring beauty shops and street food lanes this area is known for. Price per room starts at around Php 6500+ / night for two (with breakfast).

But if like me you're on a tight budget when traveling, then a stay in my favorite New Sun Guesthouse will do! Location is good, price is super affordable (Php 1600+ / night), and you have a private room and CR.  If you ask me, hindi na sya masama at all! I always go early, and stay out late anyway.

Back to L7 Myeongdong....

I enjoyed our daily buffet breakfast in the hotel's Villa De Charlotte. They do not serve the typical Korean foods for breakfast, but I sometimes prefer my usual hash brown, scrambled egg, fried rice, and brewed coffee in the morning. Good food is always the +++ points of staying in a hotel! 

At 9am sharp, we met the whole media group at the lobby. I intentionally copied Paxie's gold pleated skirt OOTD for twinning's sake, but we coincidentally also matched with our tour guide Alice!

We had really unique activities for the day, most if not all I haven't tried or haven't been to in my four times in Seoul. Our organizers described the day's tour as "chill", so yey! First stop was a create-your-own scent in a room located in the middle of cultural Bukchon Hanok Village.

DIY Perfume with Aromind

The first thing I asked when we entered the perfume class is how do you pronounce their brand name? Is it ah-row-meend or ey-row-maynd? Then our teacher overheard us and said it's ahrow-maynd for aroma. Oo nga naman!! 😂

As mentioned earlier, the school is located at the Bukchon Hanok Village, one of the go-to area for Korea first timers where you can see traditional Korean houses well-preserved by the government and the people. If you're looking for an activity here other than wearing a hanbok and strolling around, then try reserving a slot for a perfume 101 class. It feels good to learn something new and at the same time take home something during your trip!

The classroom is just enough size for around 10 persons. I fell in love with their simple aesthetics, it's as if I went inside the pages of a Kinfolk magazine.

Already arranged in our long table are the stuff we needed for the class:

They served tea for everyone, and the class immediately proceeded without any fuss. Here's our teacher showing strips of papers sprayed with a scent. We passed them around and take one strip per scent, label it with its code, then (of course) take a whiff of the scent before taking down notes on provided sheets of paper.

The task is to write down our "feelings" for each scent handed to us. Do we liked it or not? Nakakatawa coz Pax and I took every scent seriously! "Ay amoy to ng first crush ko!" "Smells like a good friend." or "Amoy CR!" Hahaha!

Btw, the black mug in front of me contains coffee beans to neutralize our sense of smell after going through so many fragrances in one seating! Magkaka-time talaga na parang pareparehas na sila!

We picked one scent for each: Top, Middle, and Base Notes. When combined in different proportions, that's the scent that's uniquely yours!

My Picks: Citrus Green Tea, Muschio, Magnolia. I usually lean towards musky, manly scents.

Like a science experiment, we measured, dropped, and poured the oils and alcohol to create the perfume.

Aromind also lets us choose from these three bottles for our packaging:

My final creation! We took home one regular sized bottle with a fancy box and paper bag, and one small travel size spritzer. 

Thank you very much for having us in your fun class! Make your reservations by messaging Aromind on Facebook. Fee is around 60,000 KRW, or about Php 2,700 / head. No minimum number of students required.

Lunch in Bongchu Jjimdak

The word jjimdak literally means "steamed chicken of Andong", an area in the Gyeongsangbuk-do Province of eastern South Korea where this food originated. The restaurant where we're having lunch (Bongchu Jjimdak) is popular for this chicken and vegetables dish, served in a huge sized plate for groups of people to enjoy. The sauce kind of reminded me of our adobo, as the jjimdak also uses soy sauce that's semi sweet but with a tinge of spice. Our meal comes with really thick, slurpy glass noodles that's so good and filling. You can also eat it with white rice. 😋

Our table had a chicken-free jjimdak, yey!

Instant Cultural Exposure at the K-style Hub

I am not sure if more people know about this, but K-Style Hub is a MUST for Korean tourists. They have so much information for travellers, covering different Korean culture in every part of the 5-floor building. Best part is, there are NO ENTRANCE FEES for this experience hub!

I thought it's just a place for the usual brochures, tourist info center, and exhibits, but the K-Style Hub is actually very interactive and experiential.

On the second floor, they have the tourist information center with all the free magazines, coupons, and brochures--most of which have the faces of our favorite Korean actor! I made sure I took a lot, haha!

For the hallyu crazy like me, they have a photo section where you can take pictures with actors and Kpop celebs like the ones they have in MBC World. Again, free lang ito so YEY!

Kinareer namin talaga to! Hahaha:

With my fave unnie Dara:

At the Medical Tourism section, we took a short quiz on our body's requirements, and were able to try a Korean tea that suites our needs and with lots of health benefits. They also generously gave away gift packs when we posted about K-Style Hub's Medical Tourism on our FB or Twitter.

The 3F-4F is for the Korean Food Experience Hall, featuring the rich food culture of Korea. I also saw that they hold cooking lessons that you can participate in, but pre-registration is required for this. I think it's also the only activity at the K-Style Hub that requires a fee.

The 5F is the Cultural Product Hall where you can try on the hanbok (Korean Traditional Costume), or create Korean crafts. Usually, you pay for these kinds of experiences!! If you're on a budget during your trip, then wear a hanbok and hold your mini-photoshoot here at the K-Style Hub!

You can also make a magnet or a bag tag in the Korean crafting room. I picked this activity since nakapag hanbok nako before.

Photo op with the mascots for next year's big event in Korea! I wish I can fly next year for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics!

K-Style Hub is located in 40, Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul. To commute, take the subway to either Jonggak Station (Exit 5) or Euljiro 1 (il)-ga Station (Exit 2).

Tongin Market

When it comes to market or street food in Seoul, my go-to will always be Myeongdong. There's also a part of Dongdaemun and Namdaemun that I haven't explored yet, but this trip introduced me to yet another cool market in SoKor.

What sets Tongin Market apart from Myeongdong or Namdaemun is that they use the old Korean coins as currency in most of the food stalls. Feeling ko kasama ko si Crown Prince, haha! You just have to exchange your money at the customer's service to get a stack of yeopjeon (old Korean coins with holes, tied in the middle) and a black lunch box that you can fill up with foods! Very unique experience, and the selections are also very good and affordable!

Pax and I decided to finish our coins in this food stall that serves breaded cheese. :p I took several mozzarella sticks, while the seller heated everything in a huge pan of hot cooking oil before serving these gooey, rich treats in our lunch boxes!

It's so so good! Especially with our slurpee!

Tongin Market is located in 10-3 Tongin-dong Jongno-gu Seoul. To commute, ride the subway till Gyeongbokgung Station (Exit 2), and walk straight from the exit. Tongin Market is on your left.

We were still so full from the lunch and our early merienda, so I had no qualms when we walked from the market to our bus. Then we passed by this stream. Is this part of the famous Cheonggyecheon Stream?

Our kind organizers handed us a pack of Honey Butter Almond when we were settled on our bus, huhu! My family loves this so I save it for them!

Innisfree Green Cafe

And as if we weren't full enough, our next stop is at the Innisfree Green Cafe in Myeongdong. I've loved this brand for their cheap but effective sheet masks, and very aesthetically pleasing Instagram account, so finding out that they've branched out into a coffee shop excites me!

The Innisfree Green Cafe is located in their flagship store in Myeongdong, with the beauty products on the ground floor, and then the cafe at the 2nd and 3rd floor of the building. There are actually 3 or more Innisfree branches in Myeongdong, so look for the biggest one if you want to try the cafe!

Even the comfort room toiletries are, of course, Innisfree!

Also at the cafe floor are these unique Innisfree merch. Not sure, but I think I saw notebooks, packed and bottled food, and recipe cards. Pretty soon, I can imagine Innisfree will become not just a beauty brand but a huge lifestyle brand!

Every corner is IG worthy!

These colorful boards are free for all! You can make an eco-phone speakers out of these.

Innisfree VR experience, featuring Lee Min Ho! Will try this next time.

At the top floor of the Innisfree flagship store is a room filled with lockers so you can stash your bags and comfortably shop some more in Myeongdong!

Innisfree Store

And of course, the tour's last stop for the day is around Innisfree's cosmetics and skincare section! One thing I discovered that day is that they changed the packaging for their sheet masks into a more minimalist feel. They also have a product that they call the "concealer" which turns out to be a cushion concealer for white hairs or quick touch-ups! Kaya pala black and dark brown ang available shades!

Aside from the sheet masks, I also use Innisfree's loose powder, which is a part of their "Best Item" section:

I also love their Jeju clay masks, they work well on my skin:

The two lines I've tried from this brand: Green Tea Seed and Volcanic Pore.

They also have an intensive range of makeup products:

So much packaging for Innisfree cushion foundation!

What I love about this brand is that their price range is pretty reasonable. Do you also use Innisfree? What are your recommended stuff from them?

Around Myeongdong + My First Pojangmacha Experience!

After the tour, I decided to let go of dinner because I was still super full from all the day's meals. I also only had that time to meet up with my high school friend Marj who is currently studying in Seoul. Pax and I freshened up a bit in our hotel, left all our things, before heading out again. I met up with Marj at our hotel lobby, and let her take me around.

Saw this vegetarian street food stall in Myeongdong:

I thought I've tried almost all veg-friendly foods of Myeongdong, but Marj introduced me to these sweet pancakes!! NAPAKA SARAP!!!

I also had buttered corn, akala ko ba busog na? Lol.

Final stop for the night with Marj since she has to catch the train: Osulloc for matcha latte and green tea cake. We also chose this place since it's pretty quiet so we can talk a bit more which is hard when you snake through the huge crowd of Myeongdong.

Third time to meet Marj in Korea! Sabi niya kinumpleto ko na daw ang four seasons nila, haha! Hopefully I get to experience winter too!

Met up with Pax right after so we can finally experience the pojangmacha, or soju tent, made popular by our favorite Korean dramas and reality shows. We only ordered one bottle of soju and a dish with kimchi and tofu, but they also served other side dishes like a huge bowl of clam soup and sliced cucumber with dip. Ang daming freebies! And sa totoo lang, even the serving size of the tofu-kimchi dish is HUGE.

Ang hirap nga intindihin ng menu, haha! But we just pointed on whatever looks veg-friendly! Salamat Pax! Hehe.

That's the clam soup that comes free for dining in:

And the free cucumber slices:

This pojangmacha is located in one of the streets of Myeongdong, sorry medyo mahina ako sa directions. If you just go around, you'll easily spot one filled with locals enjoying a round of soju after work. I especially loved our walk back to the hotel, when the soju finally kicks in to our system haha! 

Nakakatawa coz Pax was also oppa-spotting while we were eating and drinking inside the tent, lol! Sabi niya ang daming gwapong pulis na rumoronda sa area. 😂 Even our server is gwapo! Finally, the pojangmacha is a check on my K-bucket list! Bonus nalang that I shared the experience with one of my wacky best friends and fellow Korean culture addict! ❤

Watch my Day 2 IG Stories:

... To be continued!

Special thanks to Korea Tourism Organization, Cebu Pacific Philippines and Korea, JG Summit Holdings Inc., and Stratworks Inc. for having me and taking care of us for the whole trip!

Post a Comment

Your turn! Always excited to read your comments! :)