Saturday, September 28, 2013

Adventures in Seoul, Korea: Day 2

So here we are - Day 2 of our week long trip in Seoul! We actually got back pretty late the night before and were supposed to get going around 9 that morning, but we ended up WAKING up at 9 and leaving around 10! We ate breakfast at in our room which consisted of fried eggs (bought from the supermarket!), bread, and cereal (mhm mhm, American style breakfast haha<3) and then headed off.

We had planned this day to be our shopping day in Myeongdong which is filled with countless numbers of shops selling beauty (the bulk of what we bought) and clothing items. Our first stop was the Lotte Mall where we visited Star Avenue and the EXO pop up shop in Lotte Mall Young Plaza. Of course I freaked out in Star Avenue when I saw all the giant Super Junior photos (but I'll spare you all and only share one photo I took ;P) and hand prints! And for any of you avid Running Man fans, there was even a hand print by Kwangsoo! Lotte Mall itself was filled with quite a few nice Asian brands including Stylenada and an official SM permanent store on the bottom floor. My mom got so bored waiting for me and my sister to look at everything in the entire SM store so she left and went to walk around the rest of the building which was good because I ended up buying a door-length poster of Kyuhyun which cost 54,000 won (yes incredibly pricey but I don't regret it one bit ^__^). We saw some girl pick up THREE of the door-length posters (all costing 54,000 won) and buy them all and my sister and I were just like O__o dang..that girl is either loaded or a dedicated fan haha.

Kyuhyun will always have my heart <3

Big Bang!
Kyuhyun's handprint! Ahh was so happy to just touch it despite all the germs it was probably covered in haha <3
Pop-up shop!

Random cute puff wall (you can move the colored cotton balls to make images)

After we finished exploring Lotte Mall and taking a ton of pictures in the garden area outside and at Star Avenue, we ventured out to find the Dr. Fish cafe (also known as T & Coffee which is the sign that you see on the outside of the building) which yes, took us ages to get to because of super unclear online directions and a failing Google maps >:( But nonetheless, we managed to find our way there and settled in for some delicious drinks and a relaxing 20 minute foot soak with little fishies eating our dead skin! Sounds like a weird combo right? Don't worry, they don't give you your drinks until you're done with the fish spa (or you can choose to have your drinks first and then have the foot spa) cause I guess they don't want anything spilling into the water tubs? Anyways, the way the Dr. Fish cafe works is a bit confusing if you don't know how to read Korean and the workers there only know minimal English so it was a bit hard for us to figure out how the whole shibang worked. What you have to do is buy a drink or food - anything on the menu - and then you can purchase the 20 minute Dr. Fish treatment for an additional 3000 won. Each person must buy one item and one treatment, and you CAN'T buy just the Dr. Fish treatment without a food/drink item. Why they do this? To get more money I suppose haha. But it is a cafe and they do want customers to try out their menu items - which were actually quite delicious! I got a yogurt smoothie, my sister got a blue lemonade, and my mom (of course) ordered an Americano coffee. We also got our choice of a free honey toast (one of those giant square sweet breads that are toasted and usually come with ice cream and fruits and other toppings) or a green tea rice mochi (we chose this because it sounded more unique). The drinks were all super yummy and the rice mochi wasn't too sweet (perfect for my mother who hatees sweets) and had a nice gummy texture that I enjoyed.

The store that one episode of "We Got Married" was filmed at. We passed by this on our quest to find the Dr. Fish cafe!

Look at all those fish getting some grub haha~!

After our relaxing spa break, we hit the streets for some hard core shopping in the Myeongdong area. If you want to buy any makeup or beauty products, Myeongdong is one of the best places because ALL the makeup brands have at LEAST one shop located there and they all give out free samples for just walking in and taking a look around! Pretty awesome right? *looks at all my fellow freebie loving asians* ;D Most shops give out cotton pads, face masks, makeup remover wipes, or small skincare samples at the door but there are always better "gift with purchases" that they give out if you buy a product. Lots of Korea celebrities (especially kpop artist *__*) support/sponsor makeup brands and sometimes the shops will have posters of that celebrity that they will give you if you buy over a certain amount! Definitely an incentive to buy more makeup for me haha <3 If you find an occasionally nice salesperson (or maybe clueless), you can ask if you can have the poster and they might actually give it to you for free - that's what happened with me and my sister when we went into this giant supermarket near Seoul square that had small open beauty shops in the middle. Yoona has always sponsored Innisfree so when we saw a poster of her, we were like OOOH WE WANNT so my sister went up to the saleslady and asked her if they had the Yoona poster and the lady was like "Oh you like Yoona? *smiles* hmm.. *looks around* yes I think so, just hold on" and then she called up another saleslady and somehow they found a HUGE stack of the Yoona posters and she just handed us TWO! Was NOT expecting her to give it to us for free but the fact that she gave us two was super nice and awesome :)
The newest collection from Innisfree - with, of course, Yoona's delightful modelling :)
SPAO! This clothing store is sponsored by SM artists and of course, seeing Kyuhyun's pictures in beautiful clothing.... oh my I went crazy aha. But don't worry the clothes actually aren't too pricey - probably about the same pricing range and style as our American GAP.
There's even a Everysing store on the top level of SPAO which sells lots of SM products like posters, pillow cases, mugs, etc. There's even a photo booth where you can take pictures with the SM artists (obviously editted in but still pretty cool right?!) - it costs about 10,000won though so a bit pricey but you can decide if it's worth it or not XP (Me and my sister didn't do it but it was just cause we didn't have money on us at the time haha!)
We shopped around Myeongdong until around 7 when we decided to go get dinner from Myeongdong Gyoja (Address: 24 Myeongdong 2-ga, Jung-gu 100-809). It's a pretty famous place, or at least I think it must be because it was listed in one of our travel "must go to" places and there was quite a line for the restaurant. We had to wait about 7-10 minutes to get a seat and the entire restaurant was packed and waiters were bustling around trying to serve everyone. They actually only have 4 items on their menu, one being their famous mandu and the other three being either spicy something (forgot because we didn't order it haha :P), noodles (what we ordered), and some other thing that escapes my mind. We ordered the mandu and noodle soup for my mom, sister, and I and both dishes came out REALLY fast (which I suppose makes sense since they only have 4 dishes so they can easily prepare them a bit ahead of time) and we were stuffed after our meal (meaning the portions are a good hearty size). The great thing also was that neither of the dishes were spicy because we aren't used to all the spicy food Koreans love to make (not that it doesn't taste good!! But a break from all that spicy was nice). Their kimchi (freely provided of course) was REALLY spicy though! They use some sort of spice or something to flavor it that gives it this weird chemically (in my opinion) taste that actually didn't really  make the kimchi taste all that great. It could be that kimchi in America is just different and I wasn't used to the REAL kimchi since some other places we went to also had a similar flavored kimchi.
Entrance to Myeongdong Gyoja
The Kalgatsu (Noodle soup) dish

After dinner, we moved to our next location which was.... Namsan tower! It was a bit of a far walk from the subway station but it's pretty easy to make your way to the elevator that takes you to the cable cars which take you to the tower since all you have to do is look at the tower and walk towards it! :P You have to purchase a ticket to ride the cable cars and then wait in line to take the cable cars (we had to wait in line for about half an hour.. yes there was quite a lot of people..perhaps because it was a weekend?). They pack people into the cable cars quite tightly so make sure you hold onto your purse/wallet never know.. The cable car ride lasts about 1-2 minutes (it isn't too long) but long enough for you to get a nice view as your ride up towards the tower! Once you reach where the tower is, you have to purchase ANOTHER ticket that lets you into the tower. When you enter the tower, you have to wait in yet again, a line, that takes you up to the top of the tower. This line went by a bit faster and the elevator ride up was super fast and they have a cool video for you to watch so you get to the top in no time! Once you get up to the tower, there isn't actually too much to do though other than take a few pictures of the scenery, maybe grab a coffee from the Twosome cafe located up there, or visit the couples area (yes there's an actually section of the top tower dedicated for couples). There was also the Locks of Love area which is at the bottom of the tower. For some reason I thought it looked a bit different but basically there's these giant tree looking blobs that are actually all piles of locks building on each other and couples go there and hang a lock as a symbol of eternal love~<3
A view of the tower from the bottom of it. (Don't know why I took the picture with it slanted like the Leaning Tower of Piza -__-)
A view from the top of Namsan Tower~ !
Locks of Love
After we finished exploring Namsan tower, it was about 11:00 PM and we STILL had to wait in line to take the cable car down to the other station we had first went to and there were still people coming up the cable car to see the tower! Anyways, we got back down to ground level and took the quite long walk back to the station. I feel like we were all completely exhausted because of the long day AND the fact that we were each holding what felt like 100lbs of face masks and cosmetic purchases we had accumulated in Myeongdong. It was a relief to finally get back to our home in Mapo and hit the sack. ^o^

So that's the end of day TWO~! I hope you guys enjoyed the, once again, length and overly detailed post. Please comment down below if you do enjoy these or if you want any more specifics on places we visited. I will probably be posting more photos later but I don't have access to all of them at the moment so look forward to that~! I will also be posting up my Korea haul later on! UNTIL NEXT TIME MY FELLOW READERS ^__^

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