South Korea: Ihwa Mural Village

A village covered entirely in art is a sight out of a dream. Ihwa Mural Village was my favourite place to visit in Seoul. It was truly remarkable to be surrounded by so much creativity. The local Art Committee carried out this art project to improve the environment of the village. Which in my opinion was a success! Everyone is welcome to visit the village and enjoy the beautiful murals, artwork and sculptures.  It was really fun capturing and viewing the several murals. At everyone corner there was something new and interesting to look at. I really enjoyed my stay.

_DSC0943

_DSC0944

_DSC0940

_DSC0942

_DSC0945

Untitled-2

iwha4

_DSC1104

_DSC0953

_DSC0954

_DSC0955

_DSC0956

_DSC0957

_DSC0958

_DSC0959

_DSC0960

_DSC0961

_DSC0969

_DSC0972

_DSC0987

iwha7

iwha6

_DSC0989

_DSC0991

_DSC0994

_DSC0999

_DSC0995

iwha5

_DSC1000

_DSC1017

_DSC1002

_DSC1003

_DSC1012

_DSC1018

_DSC1019

_DSC1030

_DSC1023

_DSC1031

_DSC1032

_DSC1035

_DSC1036

_DSC1037

_DSC1039

iwha3

_DSC1088

Iwha1

iwha2

_DSC1046

_DSC1048

_DSC1051

_DSC1052

_DSC1053

_DSC1058

_DSC1066

_DSC1061

_DSC1064

_DSC1080

_DSC1086

_DSC1082

_DSC1102

_DSC1103

South Korea: Namsan park & N Seoul Tower

If you’re in Seoul, it’s impossible to escape N Seoul Tower. Almost everywhere you can spot the tower. But, if you want to enjoy a beautiful view of Seoul city it’s a must to visit the 236.7 meter high tower. N Seoul tower is located on top of Namsan mountain (243 meter). I visited Namsan park and intended to take the cable car from there. But while searching I ended up walking the whole 243 meter high mountain instead. What the hell am I!? I was crazy tired, I can tell you that. Thankfully, I was greeted by a splendid view at the top of the mountain.

_DSC0227

_DSC0224

_DSC0261

_DSC0273

_DSC0276

_DSC0278

_DSC0279

_DSC0282

_DSC0294

_DSC0308

_DSC0314

_DSC0318

_DSC0329

namsparkseoultower1

_DSC0335

_DSC0341

_DSC0342

_DSC0344

I reached the tower in time. The sun was already setting, so I had a beautiful sunset covering Seoul with a radiant orange yellow blanket and when night was falling, a beautiful illuminated cityscape. The admission fee was 10,000, which in my opinion is reasonable, especially compared to other cities. On the way back I pretended to be a normal person and took the cable car. If I remember correctly the admission fee was about 6,000 (one-way). All around a very splendid day.

_DSC0381

namsanseoultower3

_DSC0385

_DSC0414

_DSC0416

_DSC0420

_DSC0426

_DSC0428

_DSC0401

_DSC0429

_DSC0433

_DSC0437

_DSC0442

_DSC0444

_DSC0472

_DSC0474

_DSC0484

namsparkseoultower2

South Korea: Han River

After days that consisted of shopping and sightseeing, I decided to take it easy and spend a day relaxing at Han river.  A lot of people come her to enjoy the beautiful park. I saw many people jogging, cycling, fishing or just taking a relaxing walk. Some passerby caught my eye because their faces were covered with masks and sunglasses. The person I was with told me that some Korean celebrities/Kpop idols visit this area. They’re covered up to protect their privacy. I’m not sure if that’s true. I rather think that they’re just protecting their faces from the bright sunlight.

I brought a few snacks, so I could have a little picknick along the coastline. I just had a  with meat filling inside, some crisps and Binggrae flavored strawberry milk. I actually drunk a lot of those flavored milk drinks.

I wish I could have beautiful relaxing moments like this every day.

_DSC0771

_DSC0773

_DSC0776

_DSC0780

hanriver20162

_DSC0779

_DSC0849

_DSC0851

hanriver20163

_DSC0783

hanriver20161

_DSC0792

_DSC0796

South Korea: Myeongdong

Myeongdong is the place for buying cosmetics. They have many stores reaching from Etude House to Skinfood. I really suggest buying makeup and skin products in Myeongdong because they often have amazing deals and sales. For instance, I bought a few things at Etude House and I got a facial cream for only ₩4,000. They also have great deals for facial masks and so on. The sale ladies can be very pushy and I suggest people to be beware of that. One lady talked me into buying a collagen cream and an exfoliate lotion, which I didn’t really needed.  When you entered the store they also tend to follow you around. It can be very handy if you want to ask questions but I’m more of a quiet shopper. I like to take my time and look at all the options before buying something. I’m really bad at ignoring people, so it made me feel a bit uncomfortable. It was something I really needed to get used to.

You can also buy clothes in Myeongdong but the prices are a bit higher compared to Hongdae. Although, I remember buying quite a bit of fashion items there. They have many cute clothing shops, therefore, I couldn’t help myself. There are a few department stores as well. My favourite one is Lotte Young Plaza. This mall fits the taste of a younger generation and combines street style with luxury. They have brands like Pinkage, Stylenanda, Wonderplace and many more. I took many pictures as well as photos from makeup items. But my memory card got corrupted and unfortunately, I’ve lost the data :'(.

_DSC9204

_DSC9195

_DSC9197

_DSC9196

_DSC9185

_DSC9211

_DSC9181

_DSC9184

_DSC0728

_DSC0729

_DSC0730

_DSC9236

_DSC9214

_DSC9216

_DSC9219

_DSC9225

myeongdongcitystreetsnap21

_DSC9228

_DSC9230

_DSC9231

_DSC9232

_DSC9233

_DSC9234

_DSC9238

_DSC9240

_DSC9241

_DSC9242

_DSC9243

_DSC9252

_DSC9244

_DSC9246

_DSC9247

_DSC9250

_DSC9253

_DSC9255

_DSC9264

myeongdongcitystreetsnap1

_DSC9270

_DSC9269

_DSC9268

_DSC9271

_DSC9273

_DSC9275

_DSC9276

_DSC9305

_DSC9312

myeongdongstreetsnapcity12000

_DSC0734
For dinner, I had Korean chicken. I’m quite the chicken fanatic if I say so myself and watching all those mouth-watering videos it became my mission to eat Korean fried chicken. Koreans take their chicken very serious. They have all kind of different flavors and ways to prepare it. You have plenty to choose from. I even saw fried chicken with whipped cream! I took a more simple approach and ordered the natural crispy with onions, garlic. I also ordered spicy fried chicken with potatoes (양념치킨). It was so so good! When I stayed in Seoul I ate about five times Korean chicken because it was just too delicious.  

_DSC9287

_DSC9290

_DSC9294

_DSC9295

_DSC9296

_DSC9297

_DSC9298

_DSC9299

_DSC9300

_DSC9301

_DSC9302

South Korea: Achasan mountain hike scenery

Although I already did a lot of walking in South Korea, I really wanted to hike through the mountains. In my country I don’t have mountains or hills. So, I wanted to take this opportunity. I decided to take it easy and decided to hike at mountain Achasan, which is suppose to be a 30-40 minute easy breezy walk. But…ok…first, I got lost. I couldn’t find the damn mountain and walked aimlessly throughout the city. Secondly, when I thought I actually “found” the mountain…it wasn’t that fucking easy as they promised. The tour map promised  an easy hike with lots of stairs but instead I was walking on slippery rocks and landed in the “jungle”. I wouldn’t be surprised if an actual beer would pop out and attack us! Later I discovered that I actually took a very difficult route on mountain Yongmansan which eventually connects with mountain Achasan. When I arrived at the top I saw another path with lots of stairs and it became clear that was the “easy Achasan route”.

Although I was dying and trying my best not to fall. It was all worth it in the end. At the top, you have this really beautiful view overlooking Seoul city and Hangang river. The photos don’t do it justice. It’s so much more stunning in real life.  

Oh yeah…after succeeding in not falling, on my way down…reaching the ground, I fell out of nowhere.

_DSC0875

Achasanseoulhike1

_DSC0876

_DSC0877

_DSC0881

_DSC0883

_DSC0882

_DSC0886

_DSC0885

_DSC0888

_DSC0892

_DSC0893

_DSC0894

_DSC0896

_DSC0899

_DSC0901

_DSC0905

_DSC0907

_DSC0908

_DSC0912

_DSC0914

_DSC0918

_DSC0919

When I went home I ordered pizza at the Korean Pizza Hut and chocolate oreo boba tea. Very deserving for our hard hiking accomplishment. If I remember correctly I ordered a bulgogi pizza, with cheese, green and red peppers. The pizza was of course was very delicious, I could eat the whole thing just by myself.

_DSC0921

_DSC0924

_DSC0929

_DSC0926

_DSC0935

South Korea: Jongmyo Shrine

Jongmyo Shrine was the only shrine I visited in South Korea. I had a hard time remembering it and had to look it up. It slowly came back to me when I recalled seeing the racoon dog scavenging around the shrine grounds. One of the few instances I saw wildlife in Seoul. Although the shrine was impressive, it still felt a bit underwhelming compared to the other attractions I have seen. To be honest, I regretted skipping Jogyesa temple for this. It still haunts me that I didn’t went to see the pretty colorful lanterns at the temple.

Anyway,  Jongmyo shrine was a place of worships for the kings throughout the Joseon Dynasty. Here is where they performed the oldest ceremony and still reenact it to this day. Our tour guide also told us not to walk on the stone footpath. It consists of three separate pavements and the middle one is only meant for the king. If you would disrespect this, the king would come and haunt you. So, she made us jump over it! Haha!

After the tour I went and explore the city for a bit.

_DSC0143

_DSC0145

_DSC0152

_DSC0149

_DSC0160

_DSC0150

_DSC0161

_DSC0167

_DSC0163

_DSC0171

_DSC0175

_DSC0174

_DSC0179

_DSC0169

_DSC0181

_DSC0184

_DSC0200

_DSC0185

_DSC0205

Jongmyoshrineseoul

_DSC0204

_DSC0207

_DSC0209

_DSC0211

jongnocitystreet1

South Korea: Hongdae (Hongik University)

Travelling throughout Seoul is pretty easy. You have three transportation options, by bus, subway or taxi. I mostly travelled by subway. I also recommend getting the T-money card. T-money is a transportation card you can use for any public transportation and taxi fares. This card makes travelling through Seoul so much easier and it also offers travel discounts. You can recharge the card at a T-money vendor or recharging devices inside the subway stations. You can purchase the T-money card at most convenience stores.

_DSC9180

_DSC9386

Hongdae (Hongik University) is one of the most vibrant regions in Seoul. If you love shopping, urban lifestyle, art, indie music, street performances and a bright nightlife, then this is really the place to be. Hongdae is also known for its variety when it comes to shopping. Reasonable priced street fashion shops, to higher end boutiques and unique accessories. The prices may vary from store to store. Don’t be surprised. A lot of shops have the same item in stock but often with a different pricing. So, it’s better to explore to find the best deal. Also there are plenty of restaurants and cafés. I suggest checking out the newly openend Hello Kitty café.

_DSC8895

_DSC9014

_DSC9080

_DSC8915

_DSC9012

_DSC9013

_DSC9016

_DSC9017

_DSC9069

_DSC9076

hongdaestreet

_DSC8919

_DSC8898

In the main shopping district I came across a lot of familiar shops. I visited the LINE STORE and ARTBOX. These stores mostly sell stationary, home supplies and miscellaneous items. They really had a lot of cute products, which made it hard for me to choose. Looking back, I’m kind of dumbfounded why I didn’t buy more supplies. I guess, I will never know. Also there are some cosmetics stores, like Etude House, Watsons and The Faceshop. But I highly suggest to shop for makeup and skincare in Myeongdong. I will elaborate why in another blogpost.

There is a bakery called Chocolat Yum. They sell the most adorable bake goods I have ever laid my eyes upon. The store’s interior design is very beautiful and feels so comforting. I wanted to buy everything in the store. I planned to come back another day because I was already carrying a lot of bags and was afraid that the pastries would break. But in the end I never got the chance to revisit. It still haunts me in my sleep!

After a while of exploring we came across a street full of cute boutiques. I never saw so many cute clothes at once in my life. The prices are bit higher in comparison but the quality of the fabric is much better. The STYLENANDA flagship store is also located in this area.

_DSC8880

Linestore_DSC8876

Linestor_DSC8873

Linestor_DSC8872

Linestor_DSC8871

Linestor_DSC8870

Linestor_DSC8869

Linestor_DSC8868

Linestor_DSC8867

Linestor_DSC8866

Linestor_DSC8865

EtudehouseHongdae_DSC8882

EtudehouseHongdae_DSC8894

EtudehouseHongdae_DSC8889

EtudehouseHongdae_DSC8886

EtudehouseHongdae_DSC8888

EtudehouseHongdae_DSC8883

EtudehouseHongdae_DSC8884

EtudehouseHongdae_DSC8890

EtudehouseHongdae_DSC8891

_DSC8896

_DSC8897

watsons_DSC8900

watsosn_DSC8914watsons_DSC8911

watsons_DSC8909

watsons_DSC8901

watsondcc8

watsons_DSC8910

watsons_DSC8906

watsons_DSC8905

watsons_DSC8908

watsons_DSC8900

watsons_DSC8903

ARTBOX_DSC9054

ARTBOX_DSC9052

artboxproductskorea

ARTBOX_DSC9050

ARTBOX_DSC9048

ARTBOX_DSC9047

ARTBOX_DSC9045

ARTBOX_DSC9043

ARTBOX_DSC9042

ARTBOX_DSC9039

ARTBOX_DSC9035

ARTBOX_DSC9034

ARTBOX_DSC9032

ChocolatYum_DSC9018

ChocolatYum_DSC9019

ChocolatYum_DSC9020

ChocolatYum_DSC9021

ChocolatYum_DSC9022

ChocolatYum_DSC9023

ChocolatYum_DSC9024

ChocolatYum_DSC9027

ChocolatYum_DSC9028

_DSC8918

_DSC9078

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9056

_DSC9055

_DSC9083

Hongdaestreeststyle_DSC9088

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9061

Thefaceship_DSC9094

Naturereplublic_DSC9084

Forever21Korea_DSC9070

Stylenandabilboard

_DSC0695

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9103

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9109

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9111

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9110

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9108

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9130

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9114

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9115

hongdaefashionshop

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9117

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9120

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9121

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9122

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9125

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9126

hongdaestyleoutfit

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9129

KoreanfashionHongdae

KoreanfashionHongdae_DSC9133

_DSC9136

_DSC9137

_DSC9139

_DSC9140

When night time was upon us and it was close to dinner time, we decided to go for Korean BBQ (Gogigui). You can eat relatively cheap in Hongdae and there are a lot of restaurants/cafés to choose from. Thinking about all the Bulgogi, Galbi and Samgyeopsal make me drool. What I love about Korean culinary are the many side dishes that goes along with the food (banchan). The Korean side dishes that are served the most are kimchi, guk, gochujang and jjiggae. There’s also a Korean way to eat grilled meat. Korean BBQ always comes with sangchu. You’re meant to wrap the grilled meat like a decorative present. The savory juicy taste of the Galbi goes well with the green leaves. I mostly just add garlic and spices and wrap it together and just cram it into my mouth. Yeah, I’m not really ladylike while I’m eating. But I just really love Korean BBQ after a nice long day of shopping. It was a successful day. A day I will always keenly remember.

KIMCHI_DSC9100

Gogigiu_DSC9096

Yakinuki3

Yakiniku2

Yakinuki1

Yakinuki

South Korea: First night, First day – Yongsan (Sookmyung Women’s University)

It’s already 2016. It’s kind of fascinating yet terrifying how time flies by. Last year a lot of great things have happened. Good and bad. But either way, I have gained a lot of new experiences. One of those experiences was travelling. When the year 2015 was almost nearing its end, I went on a trip to the Republic of South Korea. To be honest, I didn’t know much about the country. An acquaintance already visited South Korea once. The person suggested that I would love the country as well and that I really should visit someday. And so I did. I’m truly excited to blog about my travel adventure. I will first make mini posts with all the sightseeings, shopping and food. Later on, I will make a master-post with travel advice, tips, experiences and necessities. I have a bad long-term memory but hopefully I can recall a lot of things while looking at the photos.

I still remember the anxiety I felt when boarding the plane for a 13-hour long flight. With all the plane crashes happening I couldn’t help thinking that this may be my last flight. Yes, I’m always dramatic and I always over-analyse things. But this was my very first time travelling on my own. Thankfully, the flight went smoothly and I didn’t run into much trouble. I landed safely at Incheon Airport. I remember vividly the excitment I felt when walking through the airport. I even took a brief moment to look at the scenery. The fact that I was in a country I never visited and far away from home was indeed a new adventure. The airport is relatively large and very clean. Passing time here wouldn’t be a problem. There are lots of shops, lounges and eateries.

_DSC8845

_DSC1174

_DSC8852

I took the train from Incheon Airport Railroad to Seoul Station. The price per ticket is about 8,000 won and the ride takes approximately about 40 minutes. It’s kind of puzzling at first to find ones way and it’s best to just ask personnel for help. Most airport staff can speak English. Also signs are written in latin alphabet and they announce stations in English as well. I will elaborate more about the Korean transportation in my master-post.

_DSC8853

_DSC8860

When we arrived at Seoul Station we took a taxi to our accommodation which is located near Sookmyung Women’s University in Yongsan-gu. I was told that it’s better to make an agreement in advanced about the taxi-fare. Also you have to pay attention which taxi you take! Some are more expensive than others.

I did forget to take photos of the accommodation. But it was very comfortable and it had all the basic necessities. There was even a television, fridge, stove and a washing machine. In Korea they mostly use digital door locks. You only have to press the code and it plays a tune when the door is opened/locked. It’s truly innovative!

_DSC9169

_DSC0492

The location of our accommodation was ideal. There were lots of shops, supermarkets, cafés and restaurants. The subway station was also located nearby. The streets were filled with stylish college students. I kept forgetting to take photos of the city. So, you have to take my word for it.

Yongsan2

Yongsan1

_DSC0680

_DSC0678

_DSC0674
I decided to try out one of the dessert café in the neighbourhood. Most cafés or restaurants have menus in English but unfortunately this one didn’t. Thankfully, there was this lovely employee who could speak English very well and she helped us with ordering. I ordered Ichigo Daifuku, Injeolmi Toast, and a matcha green tea boba drink.

_DSC0687

_DSC0688

_DSC0681

_DSC0682

_DSC0683 Ichigo Daifuku大福餅
This dessert is called Ichigo Daifuku. It originates from Japan and it’s mostly served with tea. It’s made out of mochi (rice cake), filled with anko (red bean paste) and a strawberry. Mochi is quite chewy so make sure you always have a drink with it. The savoury sweet red bean paste goes awfully well with the strawberry.

Honeybread Injeolmi Toast (Rice Cake Toast)인절미토스트
I don’t really know how to describe this dessert. Just picture a toast drenched in lots and lots of honey. Well, maybe not that extreme. It’s a very sweet and sugary white grilled sandwich filled with a soft chewy rice cake, sprinkled with soybean powder, honey and almond seeds. Yeah, I’m really not the best when it comes to describing food. But it’s just so sweet and yet so evil. Combined with the Daifuku…I was afraid my teeth would fall out.

As you can see…my diet wasn’t really the healthiest in Korea.