Sunday, September 23, 2018 | By: purple taste

South Korea 2017 - Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁)

First attempt to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace was in 2014 but it was closed that day when we dropped by. In 2017, finally went inside to take a look. Built in 1395 and is the largest palace when compared against the Eastern and Western palaces.

On our way to the palace, we dropped by Yesul Gimbap for some snacks.

shopfront signage
ham gimbap

Afterwhich, we strolled over to the palace. Nice weather and clear blue skies.

main gate to Gyeongbokgung
Gwanghwamun Gate (광화문)
spotted a bee

While many were taking pictures of Gwanghwamun, the main gate to the palace, it was also worth admiring the plants outside of the gate. There were some tourists in traditional costumes, which I think other tourists may want to take a photo of them as well.

many tourists

Coincidentally, there was some special event going-on in the palace ground so we also 'kaypoh' to watch. Lots of people in soldier costumes, some in palace attendants costume and the King was there as well!

the King and his attendants
soldiers
martial art performance by kids
the King is watching

Nice to walk around the palace grounds and many were just looking for that right spot for OOTD.



lovely backdrop

Saturday, September 8, 2018 | By: purple taste

South Korea 2017 - Seoul (Hongdae/Hapjeong)

After Busan, it was back to Seoul again. This time round, my friends would be staying at the Hongdae area but am not in favour of the crowds. Searched for a while prior to the trip and decided on ROinhome, one of the many guesthouses available in the quieter side of Hapjeong, which was just a station or two away from the vibrant Hongdae.

Read more about my review of ROinhome in Tripadvisor.

ROinhome
outdoor patio
lobby
double bed
daily breakfast

The place was comfortable and quiet and the simple breakfast were mainly sweet stuff like muffin or a cake with a sweet drink. Along the way to the hotel, there's a convenience store. So I'd always stock up with my favourite banana milk drink.

banana milk

Worth trying is the mandu shop that one will pass by when getting to the Hapjeong MRT to/from guest house. Inexpensive and tasty.

Mapo Mandu shop
steamed beef dumplings
galbi mandu

We spent a day at Ewha and was trying to look for lunch around that area but unfortunately, many restaurants or food shops were closed for Chuseok. We had our Isaac Toast and street food but was still in need of something more substantial.

Found a dakgalbi shop and it looked like it was closed for the afternoon (since we only found this place at about 230pm). Fortunately, the lady re-opened her shop and let us in. It was empty and we got a bit worried if they have prepared any food for the diners since this was not their usual time for a meal.

dakgalbi shop nearby Ewha shopping street
stir-frying in progress
here comes the rice
almost ready
dakgalbi with rice topped with cheese
ginseng chicken

The meal re-energized our souls and back to Ewha for sightseeing and walking. There were some first-timers in the group so we explored quite a bit the University grounds.

EWHA
up close
familiar view

After that we headed back to the hotel to rest up before meeting up for dinner. Diner venue shall be in Myeongdong.

Myeongdong Cathedral
streetfood
gyeran bbang

We decided to get some grill meats for dinner but didn't know which restaurant to go to. Was just walking around and looking at makan places when a man called out to us. He suggested his restaurant and we thought why not.

Korean BBQ
our table
let's get the fire going
beef slice
beef shortribs
makgeolli
beef soup
Korean pancakes (jeon)


Monday, July 23, 2018 | By: purple taste

South Korea 2017 - Busan Gamcheon Culture Village 부산 감천문화마을

Gamcheon Village began as a refugee village in the 1950s. In 2015, local artists and villagers gathered began to revive the historical value of Gamcheon "Village Art Project" and soon this attracted various attention of businesses and tourists. As we know it today, Gamcheon is Korea's Santorini.

We had our hotel concierge write down the name of Gamcheon in hangul as we are taking the cab there from Haeundae. Thankfully, it was easily understood and we arrived there safely. There are also buses going up to the vilage but we were just too lazy to figure that out. It was pretty amazing on how the transports were able to manouvre up the steep slopes towards the village.

entrance to Gamcheon Cultural Village
Entrance is free. To get an English map of the area, simply walk into the tourist information centre located right at the entrance of the village. The price of ₩2000 will get you a map and a postcard. There are toilets located at the entrance as well as within the village. The map has demarkation for these as well. But do note that some of the toilets are located at quite a steep slope!

bus stop near the entrance
if you don't want to get the map...
What do foodies do when they go sight-seeing? Inevitably, we gravitated towards the food. We know we've been watching too many kdramas so much so that corn dog became one of our to-try items.

corn dogs and skewers

Corn dog is American food, similar to budae jigae which is also a remnants of that era and has become part of the food culture in South Korea. Corn dog is sausage battered with lotsa bread crumbs and flour and deep fried. After which it is drizzled with ketchup. I think kids would like this more.

corn dog with ketchup
steamed octopus

The village was easily walkable and plenty to see. Outside of the toilet, there was an elderly lady with a Ppopgi cart. 뽑기 (ppopgi) is an old-fashioned sugar korean candy. You'll get a pin to draw on the sides of the melted sugar and if you are able to do it without breaking the candy, then you can have another candy for free.

Ppopgi 뽑기 seller
As with any other tourist attractions, there are plenty of photo-op spots for Instagram worthy shots. We were there around noon, and while there are many tourists, the place was still quite comfortable to walk around.

behind-the-scenes
cafe with art installation at its rooftop
There are many nooks and corners to be explored as well but do watch your steps.

downwards

Soon, we came by a small cafe and decided to have some snacks. Downstairs sells knick-knacks and handmade accessories. It was more of a dessert cafe with traditional desserts such as red bean or pumpkin porridge, mochi and cold drinks.

cafe cum retail

It is semi self-service styled so order at the cashier and make payment. For items that needed to wait, the staff will bring it to you. There are seatings both downstairs and upstairs. Washroom is at the rooftop though.

souvenirs
lemonades, red bean porridge and choco-pie
so huge!

The rooftop view was superb. One could see those colourful houses from this cafe.

rooftop view
For the dessert, I'd recommend the hoobak juk or pumpkin porridge. So yums. Didn't like the red bean one because there is gui-pi in it.

very nice pumpkin porridge (dessert)
After resting our feet, we walked somemore to find The Little Prince.

ice-cream looks good but we've had our dessert
poop bread?
OOTD spot
ahh, we are getting near

There is a photography spot to take your photo with Little Prince. But it actually look kinda dangerous as one would dangle their feet while sitting one the edge.

queuing up for Little Prince photo-op

Here is what the people are queuing up for:
one could sit beside the figurines and take photo

taken near Little Prince photo spot

Was actually feeling quite famished by the time we stop for lunch. Had our food at a place called 'The Plate'. A British-esque place. More about that in the food blog.

Then, of course, we needed to exit the Village before everyone else starts to leave as well. But before that, some snacks, again!

물방울 떡 raindrop cake
물방울 떡 strawberry and mango flavour

All in all, Gamcheon Culture Village is worth a visit if you're in Busan! Allocate about 2 to 3 hours for sightseeing in the village.

Gamcheon Culture Village

Website: http://www.gamcheon.or.kr/