Things To Do in Ikseondong | Wear Vintage Costume In Seoul

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

I've heard it so many times: There is more to Seoul than Myeongdong or Hongdae.

Last year, I was introduced to Ikseondong by one of my IG friends Ate Cris. On my first visit, I wasn't able to maximize my time there because of the huge local crowd, medyo na-overwhelm ako. But fortunately I had the chance to go back during my longer trip early this year.

Sharing some of the activities that you can do while you're in Ikseondong. Prepare you camera as it is a super photogenic neighborhood!

About Ikseondong

- One of Seoul's oldest neighborhoods, a hanok village dating from the 1920s.

- Currently a hotspot for Koreans for local cafes, restaurants, shops, and other small businesses. You won't see a big corporation skincare shop or famous western cafes here yet.

- How to get to Ikseondong: Take the Seoul subway to Jongno 3ga Station, Exit 4. Cross the street to the CU convenience store, and just walk to the right side street. You're already inside the alleys of Ikseondong!

- Most of the shops open at 11am-12nn. Get there as early as possible to avoid the afternoon crowds (especially for the popular restaurants).

1. Grab a Hotteok!

My recent favorite Korean street food is the hotteok, or sweet Korean pancakes! They are deep fried pancakes with different fillings like honey, sugar, walnuts, and even kimchi.

I love the savoury cream cheese variant I got from the first store I passed by in Ikseondong! A piece is at KRW 2000, served piping hot. 😍

2. Eat Dongbaek Fluffy Pancakes!

Walked a bit more from the hotteok stand, and saw the Dongbaek Yanggwajeong which serves fluffy souffle pancakes! According to the internet, Dongbaek is very popular at the moment so expect long cues before getting your table.

I was pressed with time because of an appointment in the area, but when I saw Dongbaek with no lines in the morning, I went in right away to order my strawberry souffle fluffy pancakes! They're a bit pricey at KRW 18,000 to 24,000 (around Php 1000), but really really goood! 🍓

To figure out the shop, keep an eye for the camellia flowers signage! It's also along the same alley as the right-side of CU where I entered.

3. Wear Vintage Costumes!

When you already have photos in a hanbok (Korean traditional costume), here's another option. Capture the Hotel Del Luna or Mr. Sunshine Korean drama vibe on your Ikseondong photos by wearing vintage outfits!

I was running late, but the shop was not strict naman when I arrived for my 1pm costume rental appointment in Ikseon Boutique. I only encountered around 3 groups in total during my whole stay in the shop, which made the experience of choosing your outfits and fitting more comfortable.

For the basic rate of Php 1164, you can try on 2 full outfits (dress or top and skirt), and then just choose one that you will wear for your photos. I am usually around XL-XXL in Korean sizing, so I am glad that they have clothes that fit me in this rental shop. 

There is a vanity section where you can fix your hair and makeup, and try on the different accessories. Inclusive in my package are the hair accessories (hats or headbands), gloves, necklaces, and a bag. 

Meanwhile, there is separate fee for the following:
Women Inner Top - KRW 5000
Underpants - KRW 3000
Stockings - KRW 2000
Socks - KRW 1000
Selfie Stick - KRW 3000
Smart Shutter - KRW 4000
Tripod - KRW 8000

They also do not provide shoes, so make sure to wear or bring a pair that will look nice with the dress, or just crop your picture like what I did! Hehe!

You can go out of the rental shop to take pictures on the streets of Ikseondong, but in my case, I just maximized the mini studio set-up that they have inside the shop. They have props and interiors that look straight out of the 1920s era. Okay na ako dito, since I can easily prop my self-timer camera on the desks and chairs. It was also winter time so medyo malamig to go out!

Other things to take note of:

- Bring your passport and KRW 5000 deposit for your rental (these will be returned after you surrender back the clothes and accessories)

- The store is open from 9:00am to 7:00pm daily. Do not exceed 10 minutes from your appointment time to avoid hassles or penalties

- Rental duration is for 3 hours

- Enjoy! Take lots of pictures AND don't forget to shoot videos too! 

4. Hangout in a Hotel Del Luna Location 

I finished with the whole dress-up activity after about 2 hours, and was ready for another round of Ikseondong cafe hopping. I was looking for a bread place, when I remember this tall pink building from my last visit!

Hotel Seine, a 6-floor cafe dressed as a vintage hotel, is one of the shooting locations for Hotel Del Luna!

Screenshots from episode 11, where Hotel Del Luna in the 1980s accepted newlywed human guests in their hotel during lunar eclipse.

The cafe looks intimidating at first, with the fancy red carpets, glum lighting, and the baristas dressed to the nines. But I pushed with it anyway, this time I can't leave Ikseondong without dining here!

You have to place your order at the "hotel concierge" before you can go around. Sharing Hotel Seine's menu for your reference:

Photos around Hotel Seine. Spot traces of Hotel Del Luna:

I really love this series, and consider it as part of my Top 10!

5. Ikseondong Shops Hopping

Lastly, make sure to take your time and really go inside the cafes and boutiques of Ikseondong. They have nifty finds like local perfumes, specialty breads, traditional tea shops, modern hanboks, and handmade jewelries.

There's a When The Camellia Blooms shooting location here too!

One of the interesting Ikseondong shops is a perfumery, where the saleslady slipped a knotted cream lace bracelet on my wrist after spraying it with one of their signature scents. It's so simple but also very memorable. If I live in Korea, I'll most prob go back to this store to get the scent.

I just love the aesthetics and marketing ideas of these local businesses. It sparked my long-time dream of setting up my own shop.

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