Travel Diary: Seoul

Here it is! My travel post on my trip to Seoul, Korea!!! This is a little late. I had to go through more than a thousand photos, which was a somewhat difficult because I had so many favorites. Funny, I was only there for 2.5 days but it seemed like I was there for a week, only because I was able to visit so many places and do so many things. Of course, I was there for work (I would never jam pack my schedule while on vacation); we shot an episode for Season 2 of Trending Now, which will be aired in a few weeks. It was loads of fun, but also tiring haha. I swear I ran on adrenalin the entire trip!

It was all worth it though. Seoul is such an dynamic, fast-paced metropolitan city. It’s a great balance of old and new, as you get both skyscrapers and hanok (Korean traditional houses), yummy Korean barbecue and a wide array of Western cuisine, and local retail brands side by side with high street and luxury brands. I love Korean food so this gave me plenty to be excited about. I ate Korean barbecue as often as I could, and I seriously looked forward to every meal because that meant I’d get to eat Korean BBQ to my heart’s content. Another thing I love about Seoul is the shopping. There are so many great stores to choose from–there are the retail brands we all know and love, and then there are the fashionable Korean brands that carry on-trend, quality clothing and accessories (my favorites are TopTen10 and 8 Seconds). I swear Koreans are so fashionable. While waiting for the crew to set up I people watched (it must’ve been a good 15 minutes) and saw so many well-dressed people. Most of the passersby were wearing super cute, trendy outfits, even the men! I also noticed that a lot of couples dressed alike, which I found adorable. I wonder if Carlos and I can pull that off?! Hahaha!

Of course, I posted photos like crazy in Instagram (you must’ve seen them). I had a blast documenting my trip, and I did it with Globe’s Unlimited Data Roaming for P599/day. Seriously this is worth mentioning because I had such an easy time posting on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook, calling and texting via iMessage/What’s App/Viber and using all kinds of apps while hopping from one place to the other (like Waze, Translator, Word Lens and even my Kardashian game haha). This is one service I’ll definitely be using in the next couple of months–Globe Unlimited Roaming for P599/day is now available in 35 countries! For more information, visit bit.ly/globeunliroam.

I hope you like my quick tour of Seoul! This is going to be a long scroll with lots of photos so brace yourselves.

IMG_8787Busy Myeongdong. If you’re looking to shop, this is the place to go! They have so many brands in this one area–you can spend the entire day exploring this place.

IMG_8782Another great thing about Myeongdong is the street food! This is the perfect place to grab a quick meal/snack in between shopping. The food is so yummy!!!

IMG_8795There are so many food stalls to choose from! Salty, sweet, spicy, and all of the above–they have it all!

IMG_8800Of course, I couldn’t help but notice the K-Pop posters. These beautiful men were everywhere!

IMG_8809I learned how to make kimchi! It’s actually pretty easy once you have all the ingredients. All you need to do is mix everything together and massage the spices, etc. onto the cabbage.

IMG_8805To my surprise, this fresh batch of kimchi can be eaten right away. I thought you needed to let it sit for a few days. This is extra good with sesame seeds on top!

IMG_8815Myeongdong at night.

IMG_8823Turning Korean.

IMG_8852Gyeongbokgung Palace. A must-visit when in Seoul. This is the grandest, most beautiful of all five palaces. Built in 1395, Gyeongbukgung translates as “Palace of Shining Happiness” (it is also called “Northern Palace”), and truly that is what you will feel when you get here.

IMG_8839The reenactment of the Changing of the Royal Guard and the Patrol Ritual are performed every day between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in front of Heungnyemun (Gate). The guardsmen perform several ceremonies including the opening and closing the royal palace gate and the changing of the guard. The reenactment is followed by the Patrol Ritual in front of Heungnyemun.

IMG_8842Love the bright colors of their uniform.

IMG_8869From afar they look like mannequins. I was surprised to see actual people when I went up close.

IMG_8860A gate within a gate.

IMG_8866Passing through.

IMG_8871Looking up.

IMG_8848Gyeongbokgung Palace served as the main palace until the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–1598), when all of the palaces were severely damaged. It was not until about 1868 that the palace was reconstructed and expanded to a 410,000 square meter complex with over 500 buildings. Gyeongbokgung Palace flourished for several decades in this state until the Japanese once again demolished the palaces during their occupation of Korea (1910-1945). Most of the restored buildings were torn down, Gwanghwamun Gate was relocated and the Japanese General Government Building was constructed in front of the main area of the palace.

IMG_8877All that detail.

IMG_8858This is beautiful.

IMG_8872An effort by the Korean government has been ongoing since 1990 to rebuild and restore the buildings that were destroyed during the Japanese occupation. This 40-year restoration project aims to fully restore Gyeongbokgung Palace to its original form in the next twenty years.

IMG_8878Currently, the palace is open to the public and houses the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum of Korea. Although only about forty percent of the buildings have been restored, there are still many beautiful things to see at the palace, as you can see.

IMG_8875So grand.

IMG_8956Dongdaemun Design Plaza (also called DDP) is a major urban development landmark with a distinctively neofuturistic design. Known for its powerful, curving forms of elongated structures, this is considered to be the centrepiece of South Korea’s popular tourist destination.

IMG_8952Dongdaemun features a walkable park on its roofs, large global exhibition spaces, futuristic retails stores and restored parts of the Seoul fortress.

IMG_8943It looks like a giant U.F.O. The structure is amazing!

IMG_9139The Seoul Tower from afar.

IMG_8995Korea House is located in Jung-gu (central district), Seoul, near Chungmuro, the center of the Korean film industry, Namsan traditional Korean House Village and Myeongdong. It allows guests to learn about the Korean culture through the five senses.

IMG_8997At the courtyard.

IMG_8998Happy Koreans.

IMG_9013Korea House serves both Korean and foreign guests traditional court cuisine including Daejanggeum Table d’hote and Eojin Dinner that are cooked on the basis of the records contained in ancient literature. We went through 14 courses and it was amazing.

IMG_9003These were just our appetizers.

IMG_9015IMG_9019Each dish was delicious. There was so much to choose from but they were all equally good.

10646747_10152682291251168_1929494397290440933_nWhat an amazing meal. I had a little of everything and it was just a non-stop explosion of flavors. This comes highly recommended.

IMG_9038IMG_9039After our dinner, we headed to the Korea House Arts Performance theatre. It’s incredible that this has been staged for over 32 years and is the most time-honored show. It has run for over 16,000 performances and has been enjoyed by more than 1,600,000 people from all around the world.

IMG_9073This was so entertaining!

IMG_9151Shopping at Insadong. Located in the Jongno-gu district of Seoul, Insadong is known to have the best souvenir and antique stores in town.

IMG_9152Best way to travel.

IMG_9164Found these giant calligraphy brushes in one of the shops.

IMG_9189This is perfect for arts and crafts.

IMG_9187Cafes and quaint restaurants everywhere. The trick is to look up.

IMG_9158These wooden massage things looked interesting.

IMG_9168Rubber stamp shop.

IMG_9175Cards and stationary.

IMG_9167Colorful paper and fans.

IMG_9156I found these everywhere!

IMG_9172IMG_9174Intricate rubber stamps.

IMG_9178Lunch! This restaurant looked good.

IMG_9182And we were right! This was delicious. Really spicy, but I swear I couldn’t stop eating.

IMG_9191Dessert!

IMG_9198The cone tasted like breakfast cereal (Honey Stars). I needed this after a super spicy lunch!

  1. Mico Reply

    While you’re there you better watch Nanta, a long-running Korean non-verbal comedy stage show. Two thumbs up!

  2. Rose Reply

    Ang ganda! Thanks for sharing photos from your trip. If given the chance to go there, I’d love to try out their street foods too. Says a lot about the culture of a place. Pero winner talaga ang food presentation nila every meal. Very intricate process yet the taste is never compromised.

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  5. viajerose Reply

    Nice photos. I will definitely include korea in my list! Someday! thanks for the travel tips and advice.

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