Sunday, January 11, 2015

korea trip day one;

um, so grateful for the weekend because i finally got some much needed rest, finally got down to opening my christmas presents and finally feel like i'm settled into my new year with some direction after sitting down and writing my 2015 goals. 
i'm not great at keeping to my goals longer than the first few months of the year but it really helps me to get going the first half of the year with some sort of direction.

now that i'm settled into my new year, i've really been missing my korea trip hahaha.
it was seriously a dream come true to go back there again after 3 years and with my sisters too!
we had all been separately but never together (sam and i together once but never all three of us).
it seemed like i kept talking about going back every year and it just never happened and then i finally got down to planning it and then finally made it there. ahh miss it so much.
anyway, people always ask me where to go in korea and so i decided that i would blog about what we did each day in a series of blog posts. 

korea is one of my favorite places to go because there's good food, amazing shopping and because my sisters and i speak korean and know a lot about the korean culture. 
we took the red eye flight to korea and landed early in the morning. 
the moment we landed, all around me were korean people speaking korean and it was like music to my ears hahaha. 
when we landed, i picked up the portable wifi egg that i had rented prior to our trip at the departure hall level. i highly recommend pocket wifi korea
it was super cheap and the wifi connection was good (only downside is that the battery will not last you all day so you have to make sure to turn it off when you're not using it to conserve the battery).
i paid a total of $50 for 9 days plus a $50 deposit that is fully refundable. 
the picking up part is a little tricky cause they don't have a counter or booth. 
they have people sitting at the bench outside the shinsegae pharmacy and you just kind of have to look for the person sitting with a ton of charging devices and a list of names haha. just go near the bench and usually they'll spot you before you do. 

after picking up our egg, we headed back to the arrivals hall and bought our airport bus ticket from the counter near exit 9. there's another indoor counter located near exit 4 as well. 
you can look up the bus routes beforehand and most of the time, your hotel website will tell you which airport bus goes to your hotel/close to your hotel. 
the person working at the bus counter can also tell you what bus you need to take and they usually speak english. 
early morning fresh excited faces waiting for the bus hahaha

we alighted at anguk subway station since that was the closest stop to our hotel and it was quite the journey dragging our bags through insadong (the roads were slushy because it snowed the day before we arrived).
we didn't know exactly how far the walk would be so it just felt extra far when you can't see the final destination. you know that feeling?
thankfully, the directions i had were good and we made it to our hotel without getting lost haha.
we stayed at sunbee hotel and i really liked it! i would definitely stay there again.
it's a family business so there aren't very many rooms but the rooms are nice!
when you first walk in, there's a little shoes area and then you step up into the room. we had a lot of bags so you can't really see the living room area well but it was a good amount of space. there's also a nice big tv that was really great cause we watched korean shows late into the night each night haha. there's also a dvd player if you want to watch any dvds but honestly, korean tv programs are the best, you don't need your other dvds haha. 
a single bed and a queen bed - just right for the three of us 
the bathroom had a tub and a shower area so two people can bathe at the same time 
the vanity area came with a basket full of things - hairspray, face moisturizer, comb, etc. 
in the shower area, there are also big full bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body foam. their products had a nice scent and my sister kept wondering what brand the products were haha. 

we started out our day with breakfast at 본죽 (bonjuk) at insadong.
it's a porridge shop that's a chain store so you can find their different outlets all over seoul. 
they have all sorts of different flavors and i can't remember but i believe they have english on their menus (we read korean so i forget details like these) and so you can slowly pick what kind you want haha. 
i got the beef and mushroom, sam got the beef and 5-grains/multi-grains (something healthy like that) porridge and rissa got the seafood and seaweed one. so yummy! they are pretty massive bowls so if you're not really a porridge person, make sure you share. 
water is self-service and can be found beside the fridge in the photo below.
you sit down and then when you're ready, the girl comes and takes your order 
ready to eat! 
mine. i actually preferred sam's to mine. i didn't want to order hers because everytime i try to order something that sounds healthy it always doesn't taste good but hers tasted much better than mine.  
wow, we definitely look tired and not photo ready hahaha

after filling our tummies, we walked over to bukchon hanok village since it's really close to where we live. 
it gives you a little peek into the traditional korean homes. 
and for a full cultural experience, some people even like to stay in one of the traditional homes for a night or two to try it out.
a lot of the homes in this village are residential homes and so just be respectful and quiet while walking through.
the traditional rooftops complete with the snow make for such a pretty backdrop 
there are also different museums with activities such a knot tying, etc. that you can explore in the area 
the view from higher up. we didn't go up high to the observation point because the ground was slushy 
thank goodness for the sun 
i brought my tripod to korea but i was soooo lazy to bring it out each day because that's one extra thing to carry hahaha. i didn't even bring my polaroid camera around because my winter coat complete with my gloves and scarf was heavy enough hahaha. 

since we were at bukchon hanok village, we decided to look for the houses used in the filming of heartstrings haha.
if you watched the drama (which i didn't love but i'm a jung yonghwa fan hahaha), you'll find these familiar haha:
i honestly have no idea how we even found the houses and if you ask me how to walk there now, i couldn't tell you either hahaha.

after enough exploring, we headed back to our hotel for a little afternoon break and along the way, we stopped by ssamziegil for some poop bread haha.
more streets of bukchon 
the poop bread is a must try at ssamziegil in insadong. it was basically right outside our hotel haha. they have chocolate or red bean flavor. we really liked the chocolate flavor.

i planned an afternoon nap into our day one itinerary since red eye flights are always hard and i didn't want any grumpy people haha.
so we went back to our hotel room, showered (seeing that we hadn't showered since the night before) and then all knocked out for a few hours haha. 
after waking up, we headed to the happening neighborhood of hongdae for dinner.
it was seriously happening on a saturday night and we took forever just to exit the subway station to the street! it was no joke really!
we slowly made our way over to 401 (running man haha's restaurant) for dinner. 
oh my, the meat was so good! 
we ordered three different cuts of pork (they sell the famous jeju black pig). they grill it for you and they serve it with two different types of dipping sauces and the sauce was just to die for!
i would totally totally eat there again!
the meat when it first came 
after grilling 
outside the restaurant. the restaurant is located close to sang sang ma dang, a pretty prominent building in hongdae.

we spent the rest of our night shopping around the hongdae area (there are a lot of street stores to explore) and then just called it a night. 
and i'm going to call it a night here as well and blog about day two tmr.


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