Seoul Exciting 2014 - Travelling Notes & Day 1

Monday, 19 May 2014

Yay! I'm travelling to South Korea, again! It's like my 'hometown', especially Seoul. My Korean friends say I travel to Korea more often than them (haha!) People ask me why I keep travelling to Korea, but they don't know that there's just so much to see (and eat!). It's like Hongkong to me, another favourite place of mine, where I eat and eat, and buy and buy, and stock lots of stuff. That said, I have already started planning for my trip this December (yes, to Korea, again) because I will be there to attend a children's camp for 3 days to teach them English! :)

Note: This will be a longer post due to the inclusion of travelling notes. :)

Travelling Notes:

How cold is it, and what should I be wearing?
Many Singaporeans are concerned with travelling to places that have 4 seasons, because they don't know how to estimate the temperatures, especially when we live in a tropical and humid country for 365 days.

Here are some notes on the temperature in South Korea during May:
The month of May in Korea is really cooling, which feels like you go everywhere and it feels like there's aircon! That said, really, you don't have to wear too thick (no thick mufflers and winter jackets, puh-lease!).

If you really need to have something around your neck, just make sure it's thin. When I went during this period, the weather was about 12 - 15 degrees. It was the coldest when the temperature dropped to 10 degrees on one evening when it rained. Even so, it wasn't cold, but do watch out for their winds. :) Just a thin jacket, a t-shirt and jeans will suffice.

If you're really feeling cold when you reach there, just get a nice jacket from their stores, there are plenty of designs for very affordable prices! Of course, please check your weather apps for the latest updates before travelling, no matter what. I use accuweather, it's pretty accurate. :)

Accuweather app / website (click below to access the relevant links):
iTunes for iPhone
Android Play Market
Website

How much money do I have to bring? 
Korea's food (in restaurants) are pretty affordable, and can range anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000krw (about SGD$12 - $25) per meal easily. That's sometimes cheaper than Singapore's restaurant prices. For the budget travellers, you can easily snag some kimbap or street food for meals and still feel very full, just estimate about SGD$5 per meal if you're planning to do that. For shopping, they are pretty well connected so you can bring along your credit card if you don't want to bring so much money. That said, just note that there is a exchange charge made to credit card purchases.

Most of the cheap stuff are from stalls which don't accept credit cards, so I will recommend the budget travellers to bring more cash to buy stuff. If you really run out of cash, make sure you at least have a good amount of Singapore dollars to get your cash exchanged at money changers in tourist places (like Dong Dae Mun). The rate for exchange is better than what you get here in Singapore! :D For me, I set aside about 300,000krw in cash for shopping (I buy ALOT of cosmetics from Korea, guilty of being a stockist).

What can I buy in South Korea? 
Pretty much everything you can get from Singapore. But they are a fashionable country, so you can expect good and cheaper buys from Dongdaemun for fashion, Myeongdong for cosmetics. Those who wants something more special can buy their unique souvenirs from Insadong (cultural / artistic / handmade Korean items by Korean people). Another place I love to get my souvenirs from are from the supermarkets (like Lotte Mart). Supermarkets in various countries have many different goodies that is worth checking out!

Please feel free to check with me if you have any other queries, I do not know everything, but I will definitely do my best to answer them as best to my knowledge as possible.

What's in this post:
Day 1:
- Hongdae Airbnb Apartment
- Mecentapolis Mall
- The Covent Garden Tavern
- Homeplus Shopping
- Palsaek Samgyupsal

Hongdae Airbnb Apartment
I enjoyed staying here at this studio apartment because it is safe and very close to the station. It was a totally covered walk and I didn't have to expose myself to the weather elements. Book through AirBnb here and check out more apartments!

Click here for the full review: Hongdae Airbnb Apartment

Mecenatpolis Mall
This mall is well decorated with lovely, colourful umbrellas. It's a open mall concept, which works out just fine with Seoul's cooling weather. A lovely walk around the mall, unless it gets too cold. Same like most malls, they offer food, fashion and sometimes hold small flea markets at the open space area on the ground level. Homeplus is very big here, with a full range of shampoo, beauty shops (Innisfree, Nature Republic, etc) and toiletries, if you require. :)

Location: 45 Yanghwa-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Website: http://mecenatpolismall.co.kr/main/index.html

The Covent Gardent Tavern 코벤트가든
We were hungry and tired. And just wanted a familiar type of food. So we picked this western restaurant, and it turned out to be a good choice. The restaurant, half bar-half restaurant, was empty on the bar side but full on the restaurant side. I recommend this to anyone who would like a enjoyable meal as a change from Korean food.

Location: Mecenatpolis Mall, 1F (near Gate 3)
Click here for full review: The Covent Gardent Tavern

Homeplus Shopping
Since we were around Mecentapolis Mall, we also took time to shop and stock up our little temporary home for the next 1 week. It's like GIANT Supermarket in Tampines. I was impressed by their encouragement towards a healthy life, as it seemed to have suggest as their trolleys had the calorie burner screen to tell you how many calories you've burnt whilst shopping in the store. Homeplus is also owned by the Tesco Group, British grocery retailer.

Website: http://www.homeplus.co.kr/

Palsaik Samgyupsal 팔색 삼겹살
Palsaik Samgyupsal was a restaurant recommended by many international travel bloggers, while it's an interesting experience because you get to try 8 different types of marinated meats, with the grilling done all in front of you, that's much about it. The flavours include: Plum, wine, ginseng, pine leaves, herbs, curry, miso paste, and red pepper paste (hot).

Location: 18, Baekbeom-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Click here for full review: Palsaik Samgyupsal 팔색 삼겹살

View the rest of my 'Seoul Exciting' trip here: 
Day 2 & 3
Day 4 & 5
Day 6 & 7
Day 8 & 9
Day 10 & 11
Day 12 to 14 (End of trip)