Seoul is an even more popular travel destination as compared to my previous visit but it’s hardly any surprise when the city has so much to offer its visitors. The immense popularity could be due to feverish K-pop culture and K-drama inspiration. Or it could be for the loads of familiar Korean food which we have gotten so used to. Or perhaps, it’s the K-beauty frontier with all the facial creams and masks. And how can I not mention the shopping scene with some unearthly opening hours? I suppose it’s definitely easy to find a reason to visit Seoul then. Just like some friends of mine who travel to Seoul on an annual basis.
I have plenty of good things to say about Seoul back then and the airport staff added another this time. I left Incheon Airport on a bus bound for Myeongdong without realizing that I have dropped my money belt. The belt contained 800,000 Korean Won, some Singapore Dollar, credit cards and a photocopy of my passport. Alas, a cleaner found it and informed the airport office. The kind staff tracked down my flight and contacted me. I returned to collect it, thanked them for what they did, and requested to personally thank the cleaner.
But he left a reply saying that he was merely doing his job and thought the owner will be worried since there were so many valuables. A big thank you shout out to whoever you are, for making my day, Gamsahamnida!
The happening street of Myeongdong
Myeongdong is the place to visit even if the numerous Korean skincare brands is not in your travel agenda (it’s definitely not mine). But there are so much going on in Myeongdong that it’s definitely worth to be here and soak up the vibrant atmosphere. The chilly weather in early December was another huge plus for me.
I lost count of the numerous skincare boutiques around this area. As always, the free samples are given out generously by the boutique’s assistants and they seem to stuff even more samples into the shopping bag after purchase. I also see people going around different boutiques just to collect free sample packs.
I am of course more attracted to the numerous food available around this happening district. Especially for these 2 places where I settled both my breakfast and late-night supper throughout the trip.
Breakfast at Isaac Toast
This is my breakfast go-to place and it’s Bulgogi sandwich all the way! We avoided the long queue as we were always there around the stall’s opening time. The outlet here operates more like a street food kiosk with no seating arrangement. It’s also fun to watch how the Ajummas speedily prepare the sandwiches.
The delicious and crusty Bulgogi sandwich packs quite a lot in it. There are patty, egg, cheese, cabbage, pickle and the overly-sweet sauce. But the blend somehow works damn well and I returned for more every morning. Isaac Toast has many branches around Seoul but this was nearest to our hotel. It’s now available in Singapore with a branch in Plaza Singapura but I have yet to try it.
Isaac Toast Myeongdong
105 Toegye-ro, Chungmuro 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Supper at Sinseon Seolleongtang
This is a popular 24-hour eatery known for their traditional ox-bone soup with a milky appearance. That milky white broth had me thinking that it will be all flavourful but it’s not. Instead, it tastes more like a natural and healthy kind of soup. The seasonings such as salt and black pepper are available for those who prefer a stronger taste. There are complimentary side dishes like Kimchi and Pickled Radish as well.
I was hooked to the taste and had the same Seolleongtang for supper every night. I particularly like the sliced brisket which makes the soup for me. It’s a great comfort food during the cold weather. Sinseon Seolleongtang has got many branches all around South Korea and has been in business since 1981!
Sinseon Seolleongtang 神仙雪濃湯
56-1 Myeongdong 10-gil Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
A night at Seoul Tower
The iconic Seoul Tower is perched high up on Namsan Mountain and is visible from almost everywhere in Seoul. We walked towards Namsan Oreumi Elevator (it’s FOC) that transport visitors to the cable car station. And it takes a little more walking to the tower since the cable car queue was still crazy at night. Everything looks familiar even though it had been such a while since I was here years ago.
The night views are still as gorgeous as I remembered.
STAY: Myeongdong ECO House
Myeongdong ECO House is a budget guesthouse located directly across the road from Airport Bus Stop. It’s easy to find the hotel after using Myeongdong Station exit 1 or 2 since it’s situated in the same area as Hotel Prince Seoul and Seoul Namsan Elementary School. The room and its attached bathroom are small in size but serve its function well with basic comfort. The heated floor is adequate for the cold weather together with the foldable bedding. Its location is a big plus for being near to Myeongdong district.
Perhaps the con is the uphill walk towards the guesthouse and the lack of an elevator for travellers with big luggage. Else this is definitely one very affordable accommodation in Myeongdong.