Making use of the Easter holidays to travel, and this time, it’s destination: South Korea. 8N8D trip to Seoul was really eye-opening and amazing. We went in late April, where it is the beginning of Spring, and the weather was chilly and perfect temperature! Flowers were everywhere and I’m in love with spring.
Arriving in Incheon Airport
We arrived in Incheon in the wee hours of the morning, took the midnight bus to the heart of Seoul and then took a cab to where we were going to stay. (There are many ways to get to Seoul from Incheon airport) We stayed with Vale’s cousin, Kat and her family. It’s super lovely of her to host us and prepare tons of great food. I ate more Greek food than Korean food and I’m absolutely in love with Greek cuisine! We settled down in the room prepared for us and then went to sleep immediately.
Korea is an hour ahead of Hong Kong and we woke up really late, like 11am. We hadn’t had any plans yet, so we decided to visit the DDP; Dongdaemon Design Plaza.
Culture: Dongdaemon Design Plaza (DDP)
It’s a cultural centre designed by Zaha Hadid, who is a very successful architect. V is as happy as I am if I enter a chocolate shop. To be honest, the centre was amazing. It’s like a huge maze with complex and beautiful curves. We were lucky because it just opened when we were there. To get there, simply take the Seoul Subway to Dongdaemon History & Culture Park Station on Line 2,4 and 5.
One of the main purpose of the Plaza is the multi-purpose convention hall and exhibition halls. During then, there was a Zaha Hadid exhibition going on, as well as Adidas exhibition in preparation for World Cup 2014. Being a cultural hub, there are many design products and artistic pieces all around. (Also a prefect place for architects to check out this amaizng building structure.)
Night at Dongdaemon Design Plaza (DDP)
(Wholesale) Shopping: Dongdaemon
After which, we headed to Dongdaemon, which was just opposite. I heard many things about Dongdaemon, about how it’s a shopping haven with wholesale prices. Turns out it’s only from 9pm onwards and we were there too early. The clothes are not as stylish and exciting in the morning.
We went back to Dongdaemon again at night. It’s split into 2 areas, 1. the Design Clothes and retail shops, and 2. the Wholesale Clothes.
Design clothes are found in malls like Doota, Migliore and Hello APM are some of the shops. They do not sell designer brands, but rather local brands with an edge. The clothes are fashionable, quirky and artistic. They, however, come with a costly price tag. Migliore and Hello APM is much cheaper. A tip is to make sure the clothes are made in Korea instead of China. It has a better quality and might be cheaper.
The wholesale area has shops like Designer’s Club, Nuzzon and U:US. The shops operate late at night, from 9-ish pm with shoppers purchasing them at wholesale prices. They usually do not care about consumer shoppers like me cause they target shop owners from Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Japan and Singapore. However, I went there earlier and business was quieter then, making it easier to purchase single pieces.
Tip: Wear comfortable shoes! I accidentally shopped for like 4 hours and my feet were dead by the end of the night.
After which, we took a cab to Namdaemon where we met Kat’s Greek friend who lived in Singapore for 5 years. Namdaemon is another street market with much more food options. It has a few popular and good food places like korean buns and street side snacks. Basically everywhere with people are filled with good cuisine! PS: It is closed on Sundays.
Road stall BBQ
Ginseng is very cheap to purchase in Korea, than abroad. I think they look quite scary but I remember how awesome they taste so it doesn’t matter.
Namdaemon is always filled with people. With a chinese looking face, people will just speak mandarin to you and sometimes, I feel that they view chinese with a lower status. Nonetheless, street promoters can get rather noisy to attract tourists and shoppers.
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.