Wintery Korea- Day 5

It was the last day of the trip but 3 of us (Sarah and Carolyn) had extended for a few more days, so we would be leaving only on Monday. Still, the days seemed to have passed very quickly. That morning, we visited Bukchon Hanok Village.

Hanok is the traditional Korean house and in Bukchon, the whole village has been preserved, much like some of the Siheyuan in China and shophouses in Singapore.

There are various Hanok villages in Korea but Bukchon was mainly for the aristocracy in the old days, hence the tiled roofs.

Some of them are still living there whereas the some have been turned into cafes, shops etc.

Even with the preservation, there are still changes in the village…modern mixing with the old.

And guess what, Son Yeh Jin’s house in ‘Personal Taste’ was filmed in Bukchon. ^^ But no idea where though coz there are quite a few lanes and side roads within the village. It took us about an hour of walking about but if you really want to explore the place, make sure you wear comfortable shoes…it’s uphill most times.

It was really cold and we were in need of a place to escape the cold….so we went to this tea house. Now, I’ve spent half a day trying to figure out the name (I forgot to take the name card), so if any of you can figure out the name, please let me know? Many thanks!

It was very peaceful and calm inside the tea house. Great for refueling and or just having a morning chat with your friends.

And I couldn’t resist taking photos of the toilet whilst errr….sitting on the toilet bowl. Wahahaha!

There is a great variety of tea with prices starting from 7,000won. But some seriously look more medicinal to me…

I don’t have the exact address of the tea house, but I think it’s near Bukchon-ro, 11-da gil. There are also Hanok Guest houses you can stay in for that authentic feel. Check out KTO”s site for a list of places to stay in. To go Bukchon, alight at Anguk station, exit 3. And then, we were off. There wasn’t much time to say goodbye to everyone It was the end of the official trip. It has been an incredible 5 days. I’ve seen alot of places that I normally wouldn’t haven’t visited. I’ve also found out new places. I only wish it wasn’t so rushed and I had more time to explore the various places. But the guie, Julie has been great with all the anecdotes (too bad I couldn’t remember all of them) and the staff from KTO has been wonderful in making everything so comfortable for us. The next couple of days, Carolyn and I would be on our own and we were all hyped out to do shopping and mroe shopping. Good thing it was summer or we would be seriously broke at the end of the trip. hehe! Anyway, Sarah went off to her friend’s place and the rest of the group off to Myeongdong for a bit of last minute shopping before they board the plane. Carolyn and I went to our ‘home’ for the next 2 nights- Namsan Park Hotel. After the royal treatment the last few days, Namsan Park Hotel of course pales in comparison. BUT, it is clean, the room is warm, it is at a very convenient location (minutes away from the train) and within walking distance to Myeongdong (about 15 minutes). Most important of all, it was very affordable- about S$70 per night. There were quite a few Japanese tourists staying there and the receptionist speaks a smattering of English, Chinese and Japanese.

No meals included but there is a free water dispenser on each floor, plus TV, a small fridge and even a hair dryer! Not too bad for S$70 per night.

I was however, fascinated with this. Can you guess what it is? Yes, it’s a bathtub. You sit (literally sit) in it. How strange…..^^ Our room wasn’t ready, so we decided to leave our lugguage there and go shopping. I suggested Sinchon or to be specific, the shopping area around Ewha Woman’s University, one of my fav shopping area. To shop at this little gem, you must be prepared to explore the nooks and corners because the gems lie in the little lanes and back alleys. From shoes to accessories to clothes to bags, there is a wide range here and at affordable prices. The people patronising these shops are mainly students from the university..so they would be keen to buy a variety..to change frequently to be trendy but cannot afford the expensive range. I managed to buy a couple of cute ear-rings for 1,000won. Of course, there are the slightly higher end shops but by and large, most of the shops are mass prices. Besides the little individual shops, there are also your usual cosmetic chain like The Face Shop, Tony Moly, It’s Skin etc. I find that the staff here tend to be less aggressive and more generous than those in Myeongdong (where it can get very competitive).

One of the pleasures of being in Korea is the street food.

Sweet corn, sweet potato, bbq cuttlefish….

Fruit candy…only 1,000won By then, we had enough walking and wanted to take a break. But we didn’t feel much like eating (seriously, we were overfed the last few days) too much and then we saw this. How could we resist it’s calling? Hehe!

Cafe de Museum is one of the many small, cozy cafes there. Perfect for a girlfriends chatting session or a little holding-hands session with your BF/GF.

We both ordered a cake and a drink each and look what the staff did?

This truely made our day. ^^ Carolyn and I made our way back to the hotel in the evening for a much needed shower and to check into our room. I really liked the itinerary the last few days but I was also glad to have a chance to chill out and just do things at my own time. Later that night, wew decided to go down to Dongdaemun and leave Myeongdong for the next day. Dongdaemun is truely a shopper’s paradise in terms of hours. It is open nearly the whole day up till the early morning hour. In factm the busiest time seems from 8pm to 2am. Shopping malls there include Doota, Migliore and Hello apM. Within the big malls are small individual stores, so prices can be very competitive. However, remember to bargain. You can usually get at least a small discount off.

Street food in Dongdaemun. If you have all the time in the world, by all means start your shopping early there but I think even a shopping addict can only do so much and by about 9+, both of us were tired and hungry, which was early for me. In previous trips, I would shop with my group of girlfriends till 1am. I must be getting old…sigh…

Shop selling children’s hanboks. We had our dinner at the foodcourt at one of the mall. I wouldn’t say the food is great but it did offer a decent place to sit down.

This strange looking devise vibrates when your food is ready, so you don’t have to stand around and wait. Neat huh? I think the foodcourts here in Singapore should adopt it. To go Dongdaemun, alight at Dongdaemun Stadium Station (in my opinion, it is nearer) and sort of walk straight. If you do get lost, ask. ^^

 *Quirky note: Taxis become great in demand after midnight. Be prepare to fight for them.

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