After returning from a rather depleting trip to Nami Island on our supposedly last day in South Korea, my sister and I decided to extend our stay for another day because we didn’t want to end the trip on a low note.
We had spent much of the day waiting in line for the train, the taxi, the bus, and, finally, the ferry to Nami, and this sorely tested our patience. While the island itself is beautiful in autumn, I wouldn’t recommend going there on a weekend because tourists—both local and foreign—flock to the place. It’s a tourist trap, and the legions (yes, legions!) of people walking around the island take away from your overall enjoyment of the place. (It took a bottle of soju over lunch for us to finally calm down. Haha)
Needless to say, we were pretty disgruntled by the time we got back to our guesthouse in Hongik. And because we didn’t really want our first Korea trip to end with both of us feeling pissy, we turned a blind eye on the exorbitant airline rebooking fees (“This is our Christmas gift to ourselves,” my partner in crime reasoned) and extended for another day.
It was, it turns out, the best decision we had ever made. :D
We opted to spend our last day walking around in Insadong, a quaint neighborhood in the heart of Seoul that’s famous for its traditional antique shops, boutique galleries, street vendors, wooden tea houses and restaurants.
The moment you step out of the train at Anguk station, you’ll get a sense of the creative atmosphere that awaits.
One thing I love about Korea? You never go hungry while waiting for your main dish to arrive.
I don’t have any specific restaurant recommendation in Seoul, because every place we’ve been to had really good food. All hits and no misses. This beef bulgogi hot pot, for one, was to die for. I would go back to Korea for this—and all the other food we ate during our weeklong stay :D
After lunch, we were like two children in a playground. Insadong is ABSOLUTE HEAVEN for creative junkies like my sister and I.
While shopping in Insadong is a little more expensive compared to Dongdaemun and Namdaemun, it’s said to be one of the best places to shop for traditional Korean art, products and souvenirs.
Our favorite place, however, would have to be Ssamziegil.
Ssamziegil is a shopping complex that houses numerous stores that sell everything from fashion and art to food and accessories. Even when you have no plans of shopping (read: your plans will change), I highly recommend you pay this creative complex a visit.
Every corner is a visual feast.
It’s not just the walls that are covered with art. The floors are, too.
And the ceilings.
And even that tiny crevice below the stairs.
And when you make it to the deck of the building, you’ll find yourself facing this quirky corner.
You also get a great view of the street below.
Or you can just stare out into the sunset.
To say that this was the best—and most packed—day of our trip is an understatement. It didn’t end in Insadong, of course. We spent the rest of the night and the early hours of the morning wide awake in our home district of Hongik. Our flight was at 9 in the morning so we had to be in the airport by 6 so we ended up not sleeping until we were safely inside the plane back to Manila.
Our trip ended with half-awake, alcohol-laced conversations with new friends about the many things we’ve observed about South Korea during our respective stays. It was a great way to cap off a memorable first time trip to the land of koreanovelas. :D