When in Korea, you go to Seoul!
I made a weekend trip up to Seoul. Thanks to Debbie Kim, my highschool friend that I haven’t seen in a while, for helping us save on hotel costs. Plus she planned out the entire weekend, which is great for me. I love plans, but I hate making them, because they always end up wrong. Especially when you are with people that don’t go by the plan.
Since arriving in Korea, I have noticed that it seems Canadians are the only ones that follow plans. Some people are just not too fond of planning. They like to move with the flow. Which sometimes is nice, but sometimes it’s not so great. Especially when you only have one weekend in Seoul.
We arrived in Seoul around 9PM via KTX train. We had a hell of a time getting to our KTX station though. Gyeongju’s KTX station (Singyeongju yo) is not in the best location. It is about 20mins taxi from where I live. Buses are even worse, apparently it takes about an hour to get there by bus due to all the stops and longer route it takes. I was lucky enough to find people that were heading there on the same day around the same time, and we shared a taxi.
On a side note, ever since I came to Korea, I have not ran into a taxi driver that spoke English. My friend had told me when he was here, some of the best English speakers were taxi drivers, and so I was a little disappointed. The taxi driver that took us to the KTX station however, spoke really good English. We were able to have a conversation. And found out that he had a nephew in Toronto.
Anyways, we got to the station just in time. I was about 10mins from catching my train. My friend, Amanda, however was no where to be seen. I called and called and no answer. She finally made it to the station with one minute to spare. Turned out she thought the train was at 7:30 and not 6:58, and ended up taking a taxi (was going to take a bus), who decided to go through downtown during rush hour (how smart). But we both made it in time.
The KTX ride was ok. The train was comfy but loud. It took 20mins to get to Daegu (normally an hour bus ride), and we were both very surprised by this.
We got the Seoul in one piece and found Debbie. We had our first meal in Seoul, which was delicious BBQ beef (OMG was I craving steak).
We took an early day and went back to get some rest, as we had a very long day on Saturday.
Saturday morning, we got up fairly early and went to Seoul Square in Gwanghamun
It was known as the financial district in Seoul, what is special about it is that it’s got a “park” smack in the middle of the street, and also a traditional palace.
We took a short walk around the palace. It was HUGE! Then we headed over to Insadong, which was not far away
Insadong is all about artistic scenery and had this building that’s all about hand made things.
Ssamziegil is probably my favourite place in Seoul. I regret not buying some of the stuff in there.
And of course when shopping in Seoul you just have to go to Myeongdong
It was packed of people, and shops. The shops are so small that it’s hard to manoeuvre through them. I bought a few things and saw a few things that I wanted (but ended up waiting for Dongdaemun, but it didn’t happen). It was a whole other experience from Busan.
After Myeongdon, we met up with our adorable homeroom teacher from orientation and had some dimsum. I thought it was funny for me to travel all the way to Korea to eat at a Taiwanese restaurant, but it was a nice change from all the Korean food I’ve been eating.
We took a walk by the Gwanggyo river after dinner.
The river really reminded me of the Love river in Taiwan, as they were both once heavily polluted, until recently the government decided to clean it up.
Our original plan was to walk off dinner than take the subway to Dongdaemun, but the walk was so nice we ended up walking all the way to Dongdaemun LOL.
Shopping was both good and bad. There were definitely a lot of selection, but I didn’t particularly enjoy being yelled or gabbed at by the merchants. Most of the merchants on the lady wear floors were fine. But the men’s wear floor, boy are they aggressive. Because we were with Amanda, who is as white as a white person can be, they kept talking to us in English. A few asked if Debbie and I were Korean. We decided to ignore them. After about 10 mins on that floor, I wanted to get out of there.
I got my loot and we were out of there. It was a long long day. We started at 8 in the morning, and got home a little after 12.
Special thanks to Debbie who was a great tour guide and planned out such a nice day. Seoul needs to be revisited again for sure.
And here are my loot from Seoul