SARANGHAEYO PART 3: BACK TO SEOUL

Our last 2 days in Seoul. We stayed in Vestin Residence Myeongdong this time because of its superb location - subway station, Namsan ...


Our last 2 days in Seoul. We stayed in Vestin Residence Myeongdong this time because of its superb location - subway station, Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower all within walking distance, and most importantly, it's virtually opposite street to the shopping central of Myeongdong (I wrote down a long list of facial products to buy!). Since we were gonna spend the last 2 days mainly on shopping, the location of this hotel was ideal - Shop, drop our loots back in the room, take a rest, walk across and continue to shop again! 

That very night after we got back back from Jeju, we met up with a friend. Had a good chat over dinner and after dinner, he dropped us at N Seoul Tower. Since opening to the public in 1980, N Seoul Tower has become a much-loved Seoul landmark. Sitting atop Namsan Mountain (243m), the observatory of this tower offers panoramic views of Seoul and the surrounding areas. Being adventurous, we chose to walk and it took us about half an hour to reach the tower. Nice walk but wear sensible shoes as it is quite steep with lots of steps. 


N Seoul Tower (236 meters) from far, as we made our way up to the Namsan Mountain top.
A beautiful N Seoul Tower nightscape.
Close view of N Seoul Tower.
Night view of the city from the tower deck.
We didn't pay 10,000 won to go up to the observatory though. Didn't feel the need to as the view from the tower deck was already amazing enough. 


The Roof Terrace: a romantic place amongst the clouds. Situated on top of the N Plaza, the Roof Terrace is a spacious wooden viewing deck and a very popular spot for lovers to place their love promise with the 'Locks of Love'. Couples would lock their padlocks and throw away the key to symbolize that their love will be locked forever. Thousands of padlocks and love notes were attached to the fence. Finally I got to see this scene from Hello Stranger with my own eyes! (Seriously, you have to watch this movie! It's super funny and touching!) 

 However, to protect the environment, it is not permitted to throw your keys over the fence.
Definitely worth visiting. Go at night. The view of the city all lit up is simply stunning.

Lunch before heading to Insadong for more shopping:

Steamed spicy chicken @ Bongchu Jjimdak, Myeongdong. Delicious!!
Insadong, a quaint neighborhood in the center of Seoul, is another one of the Seoul's most memorable attractions. With its wooden tea houses, boutique galleries and stores selling hanbok (traditional clothing), hanji (traditional paper), traditional teas, pottery, and folk crafts, nowhere else exudes more local and traditional charm than Insa-dong. If one is looking for cheaper souvenirs, this is the place to go. Shoppers' heaven!

 The main road in Insadong. 
One of the many alleys.
Enjoyed a leisure afternoon tea in one of the tea houses when it started to drizzle.
Some rice cake snacks to go with the tea.
Ssamziegil Mall is a must visit place here in Insadong. It houses over 70 stores that sell various items, ranging from fashion and art to food and accessories. Each floor is connected by spiral staircases.

Ssamziegil - the four-storey Mall

Great place to shop.
Local artists exhibiting their artworks.
A bench on one of the stair landings.
People hang love tags here too.
Loved hanging out at this colorful and artsy building. Very unique Korean art and crafts, antiques, pottery or good quality souvenirs, you can find them all here.

There was one more thing on our food list that we haven't tried yet (the one my hubby was so Gung-Ho about), and that was the freshwater eel. Freshwater eel is a summer specialty food for Koreans. It is a savory masterpiece of land and sea - especially when basted with soy BBQ sauce, tangy chili sauce or simply with salt. Jang-o-rang was one of the best places for eel in Seoul and from what we read, it was the only place that served eel chips. According to our map, this Jang-o-rang place was right opposite the Samjin building, near the main entrance of Hongdae University, so, we took the subway and exited at Hongik University station. We walked round and round but this restaurant was no where in sight. We even tried asking some of the locals but none of them have heard or knew where this place was. One even tried searching using his mobile phone in vain. My thoughts were, this place either closed down or perhaps changed its name and moved somewhere else, but my hubby wouldn't give up searching. He even told us to stay put while he went on looking. Mannn, I was pissed!! Starving and tired, we just simply walked into a nearby restaurant and settled our dinner. Of course, he got an earful from me after that >.<

On our last day in Korea, my hubby headed to the Noryangjin Fish Market early morning by himself while I was still in La-la Land, cuddled under the warm comforter. Being a foodie's paradise, there are more than 700 stalls in this huge market that sell freshly caught fish, shellfish, squid and plenty of less-identifiable undersea treats. If you want to try eating live octopus, this is the spot. If you prefer your seafood cooked, take your purchases to one of the restaurants around the edge of the market. They'll prepare your food and you can eat it at one of the tables provided.

Saengseon hoe is one of the most commonly ordered items here. Just point to what looks good and the stallholder will slice it up for you.

Over 830 seafood items are available for wholesale and retail purchases. The fishmongers tend to give a higher price to tourists, so, be prepared to haggle.
The stalls all had excellent ware. Some focusing on shellfish...
And others focusing on fish.
My hubby bought some big scallops and salmon back to the hotel for us to try. Very fresh indeed. I don't usually eat raw food other than salads and oysters but I've done that twice during this trip; Once in Jeju with the raw sea cucumber & shellfish, and now, the scallops. :P 

The jumbo taxi that we booked was already waiting outside when we checked out at about 2 p.m. It came with comfy leather seats, a TV screen showing Tom & Jerry cartoon (Boy, I used to watch this when I was a kid) and free Wifi! The driver even bowed to us when we got off at the airport. Excellent service! Lol. Definitely worth paying extra for :D 

South Korea is indeed one of the most beautiful, interesting and colorful countries in the world. There is so much to see and so much to do; food, people, culture, shopping and breathtaking beauty of nature. We'll definitely visit this fascinating country again in the near future, perhaps to Busan and Nami Island during autumn/winter!


























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