March 25, 2017

Seoul Travel: Hongdae Night Chill (Day 1)



Finally, I'm sitting down to share about my trip to Seoul, South Korea last year. I know some of you have been requesting about this ever since I came back, I'm sorry to make you wait! #guiltyascharged. Anyway, it was a pretty last minute trip and I only get to stay there for 5 days 4 nights. Some people might say it was long enough of a visit but for me who has been dreaming of going to Korea since forever, it was a really short one.
My initial plan was to visit early this year but I changed my mind as we got invited to attend my CFO (Chief Finance Officer) wedding ceremony. It was a really one of a lifetime opportunity to experience a Korean wedding and I also wanted to visit our colleagues in Althea's Seoul office so everything felt like it fell right into their places. Despite not having anything saved up for the travel, I managed to adjust my finance to cover the expenses there (and mom helped a bit too LOL). Thankfully, Air Asia was doing a promotion at the same time as well and I managed to save a few hundred off for the return tickets as well.

My journey there was smooth sailing. It was my first flight ever so I got a bit sentimental on board (and I was sick too at that time!). You can read about my random rants here. Thankfully my colleagues were there with me so I wasn't really worried about the check in procedures. We left Malaysia at around 1 AM and arrived in Seoul about 15 minutes past eight in the morning. As soon as we arrived, I remember being really impressed at how big the Incheon International Airport is! We actually need to take an underground train in order to get to the arrival hall. In overall, I didn't encounter any issue passing through the gate.

Even after everything is settled, it was still early in the morning & check in time at the guesthouse we booked was still hours away, so we decided to drop by at Althea office in Gangnam first. My Korean colleague who was coming back with us that day had kindly arranged for a transportation to take us there. The van was big enough to fit 5 of us and all of our luggage (although it was still a bit cramped). It was a Wednesday morning and at the peak of the rush hour so the traffic was pretty bad. It took us longer to arrive because of that and with the driver ahjusshi (uncle) 'scary' driving, we didn't exactly get to rest on route either LOL. Still, all is well and we arrived in one piece.
After greeting our Korean colleagues and staying to chat for a bit, I finally left with my colleague Jen to go to the guesthouse we planned to stay at which is located in Hongdae. Tammy decided to stay somewhere near Gangnam instead as she was not taking any leave and needed to work close to the office. Technically, I was in full tourist mode alone as Jen was also working in the office the next day.

Being the only Muslim in the group, I also had to take care of my meals by myself (had to skip the company gathering because of this too as I don't want to bother our colleagues and make them find a restaurant where I can actually eat at sobs). Haha, kidding! I am a full grown woman, of course, I can take care of myself. I did enough research before I left Malaysia so I was not worried about food at all. If worse come to worst, I decided to just live off my beloved Banana Milk instead! HAHAHA. If you want to see what I ate during my trip there; I've posted a write-up about the Halal food places in Seoul that I've visited.

My cozy room

The guesthouse where I am staying at is about 10 minutes walking distance from the Hongik Station (Exit 3). According to my Korean friend Sue, it's located at the new hip spot of Hongdae and I definitely agree with her. The area is so charming! Whichever alleyway I stepped my feet into, there are plenty of little shops and cafes (and bars) to discover. Speaking of cafes, no wonder they call Hongdae the 'hip' part of Seoul. There are literally tonnes of cafes there! Even if I drink coffee every day for the rest of the year, I don't think I'll be able to cover all of them. Unfortunately, since my schedule was pretty packed; I didn't get to do much cafe-hopping either.

Me and Go Eun

Later that night, I met up with my Korean friend Go Eun. We already had a dinner plan together that night and I was really touched that she spent quite sometimes researching for a place where she can bring me to eat with her. She decided on a vegetarian restaurant that's also located in Hongdae area. It felt really good to finally be able to meet her in real life after countless Skype and FB messages! We talked about a lot of things, and after dinner ended she brought me around to experience Hongdae night life.

Hongdae


My Sailor Moon Squad socks

There are three universities located around the Hongdae area so you can say that it's a youthful place to hang around at. The area is more alive at night with street food stalls, bars, karaoke places and cafes being filled up with people especially students. You can also see different bands busking on the street and with the passerby stopping to watch, it was really loud and full of energy. I had the chance to shop for some souvenirs there too. My best buy from the night is my cute Sailor Moon socks! They are so cheap, costing only 1000KRW each (which is around RM3.5 each at that time). I got myself some other designs as well. They're just too cute to pass.
After that, we also dropped by at Mango Six branch in Hongdae. If you are a true K-drama addict, you'll know this franchise! They were on The Heirs and A Gentleman's Dignity (and others that I can't seem to recall now) and was often be the cause of my late night cravings. The taste is surprisingly less Korean than I thought it would be & have a more tropical feel to it (mango and coconut). It was really nice nonetheless! Luckily, if you want to try them, now you won't have to fly off to South Korea like I did as Mango Six has finally opened their first store in Malaysia. I think it's located in Puchong area but I haven't got the chance to go and compare the taste yet.


We hanged out around the Hongdae area until around 11 PM and then my friend Go Eun dropped me off at the guesthouse where I'm staying at. So yeah. Here is the end of my Day 1 in Seoul. I'll be back with a part 2 soon, covering my trip around Gangnam and Itaewon next. Stay tuned!

Till next post, toodles~! ♥ミ

1 comment:

  1. nice trip. still havent got a chance to visit korea

    ReplyDelete