One of the avenues, if it’s the right word to call it, that I fancy the most out of all the streets that I’ve walked on in the city of Seoul, it would have to be Garuso-gil. The idea of the street being tree lined is so fascinating for me and it did not disappoint when I went to be there in person.
Hours of walking out and about, we decided to hit Gangnam, a place famous not just for the phenomenal song but also for … plastic surgery! And yes, there are gigantic buildings, some are plastic surgery clinics that are just normally sitting (in a Korean sense) along the strip.
But in addition to that, this street is quite posh, where it’s actually the first time I see big shops of this designer brands, when I say it’s big, it’s really spacious and most have multiple storeys. And they are side by side each other.
Garosu-gil is just within few blocks and we didn’t have difficulty finding it. It was just a short strip comprised of nice shops and cafes and I find it less crowded and neatier than other districts. People seem to just be idly walking and the place is downright relaxing. To think it was actually raining the day we visited.
We also found this burger nook across 8 seconds store and I must say, the burger’s really a must try. The patty’s juicy and tasty and the cheese that they put really made the burger even more palatable. The place is called Alley Burger. Very fitting.
Another district that I fancy is the Rodeo street in Apgujeong. It is even smaller than Garosu-gil, likewise, it is also comprised of shops and cafes and restos. Koreans really have a lot of places to hangout in!
If I am to go back to Seoul, these will for sure be my go to spots again to just walk non chalantly, find a cafe to sit in and people watch. Oh, how I wish every days could just be like that! =))
I wanted to have one blog post for the entire trip in Korea, but I dont want to bore the hell out of you =)) So I’d just section them out. There’s heaps of streets and avenues that you can visit in Seoul, but of course there are those inevitable lists in most people’s suggested itineraries. Among these being Itaewon, Insadong and Ehwa University. I find that they somehow look the same, selling korean fashion clothing, cosmetics, cafes and Korean restaurants, not that it wasn’t pleasing at all, as I truly enjoyed all the walks and strolls that we did. 🙂
Insadong is crowd packed when we went. The street was just plain busy where everyone is walking, taking selfies, checking out the sidewalk stalls or like us, exploring and looking around for cool discoveries, cheap thrills or bargains. We stepped foot in Insadong, not directly at the street where most people flock in but we passed by narrow alleys with heaps of traditional Korean restos, it was like a maze!
In Insadong, we also passed by Sszamsigil, a youthful shopping enclave which looks industrial and the colors that paint the place are the stuffs being sold and the artsy stickers on the walls.
Youngsters flock and congregate on this place. You would see them chilling out on the steps, young couples being cute together, boy band like type of groups. =)) The place looks quite cool, selling mementos, tiny items, souvenirs, anything cute basically. But of course, I still find them pricey. Like $35.00 for a baseball cap, the quality of which you can find in Bugis street market of Singapore or Mongkok in Hongkong.
Back outside, at the main street of Insandong…
Coffeeholics that we are, we foraged Insadong to find where we can sit down and to have nice coffee at, as it was a seemingly nice and bright afternoon to just chill out. At one of the alleys, we find this establishment, I think about 3 floors of a cafe. Oh, we also wanted to finally try the Bingsu here, since we had the first taste of it in Singapore.
I wanted to get the chocolate bingsu which we saw on the poster outside but they said it wasn’t available that time so we resorted to the red bean one.
It was quite alright, not the type that I was expecting. The service crew wasn’t very pleasant too, they were not smiling and they do not seem accomodating. There’s quite a number of cafes to choose from in Insadong…
Itaewon looks similar, reason why I put them together in this post, is that they are like sisters, they do look the same. =))
Before going to Ehwa University, we went to Cheonggyecheon Stream. Though I believe this looks nicer in autumn or winter, we thought it might be nice to take pictures there.
It doesn’t have that much of an appeal at this time around compared to other seasons but I was amazed by how people actually visit this place and sit down, some even lay out picnic mats and kids are playing in the stream.
Continuing our walk to Ehwa…
The vicinity of Ehwa University is actually such a shopper’s delight, there are also heaps of clothing and cosmetic stores and street food stalls aplenty. The strip is nice and laid back. I was impressed by how big the space is, right around the university itself.
From among these three places in this post, Ehwa is the one that I fancy the most..
Seriously, I have never seen a place as Seoul that has so many stores closely situated from each other, long strip having just clothing and cosmetic shops!
I think a tourist can just come in Seoul without packing on anything since there’s a lot of stores to shop items at!
One of the sought after tourist spots in Seoul is the Bukchon Hanok Village which is a residential area that still has old, traditional korean houses preserved through time. Of course, you would notice that some has undergone facelifts or maintenance, but the essence, how these homes look like, still lives. From the train station, we thought it might take us only 10 minutes but it actually took us about 20-25 minutes of walking and some roads are even elevated. However, we saw shuttle buses passing by so probably you can get there aboard it but we said it might be worthwhile to walk.
We passed by cafes and quaint shops, the neighbourhood actually look homey, I am not sure if we were just lucky that time, but it wasn’t really that crowded.
There are several tourist trails or rather, observation spots scattered in Bukchon-ro. But I guess we managed to find the one where most tourists flock in. I find the houses beautiful, though you can only see the facades and the rooftops as they are still people’s residences. So we only had to make do with the visible portions of these houses to think they are enclosed with walls.
Lunch time, we decided to find a place that serves Korean food and that which we can rest ourselves first. We saw this traditional and cosy Korean restaurant and had our lunch there, the place is called Jokagbo.
We wanted the one where you have to sit on the floor, but the lady did not allow us and we were not sure why. Anyway, we ordered a meal set for two which if I remembered correctly costed us around KRW 47,000, roughly about USD 43.00 (I find this is usually the normal price range for local, korean food, a bit exy considering you are in Korea).
We love pork, so anything with it is such a treat for us. =)) However, the pork here was not as good as the one that we ate during our first night, which was in Myeongdong. I’ll dedicate a post specific to that soon. The set was also comprised of saba fish and of course, the inevitable platters of vegetables that always go with a korean meal. It was average though.
Going back to the station, we find bits and pieces of interesting things such as cafes and food.
Generally a good trip in this tourist spot, though I recommend that if one is not into walking, you can opt to take the shuttle bus that goes up and down Buckhon-ro. Also, we went on a weekday so probably why it was less crowded at that time.