Korea Travelogue: Day 5 - Changdeokgung, Insadong and Lotte Mart

IMG_9547.jpg
Day 5 itinerary
  • Korean traditional food (Breakfast)
  • Changdeokgung 창덕궁
  • Miss Lee Cafe 별다방 미스리카페 (Lunch)
  • Insa-dong 인사동
  • Natuur Pop (Tea break)
  • Lotte Mart
Back with Day 5 of this Korean travelogue. Hope you're enjoying what you're reading so far!
Do check out Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4's posts if you haven't :D
Starting off with... bread (no la! I don't really like bread.)
This greets us every morning without fail when we step out of our guesthouse because a bakery is situated opposite.
Looks very nice and fluffy right? ^^
IMG_7818
Waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread can be very tantalising...
Ran out of ideas of where to eat breakfast at so we decided to just have traditional Korean food at Kimbab Heaven round the corner of our guesthouse.
296117_10151497199592857_991208876_n
IMG_7819
More kimbab for us!
IMG_7820
My cheese ramen #fatdieme
931288_10151497200372857_1871642621_n
I think this was the day I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and got really grouchy.
Lack of sleep + rude people = Angry Paula
Will elaborate why later on.
Took the metro to Anguk Station to get to Changdeokgung, the destination for that morning.
You can find out more information about Changdeokgung here.
IMG_7822
Big Bang for GMarket! :D Ad in one of the trains

Directions

Take the metro to Anguk Station and exit via Exit 3. Follow the signs and walk straight ahead until you reach the entrance of the palace. It'll probably take you approximately 5-10 minutes to get there. Make sure you're not walking in the opposite direction which takes you to Gyeongbokgong instead.
Now lemme explain why I got so angry that morning. Please skip this to the next picture if you do not wish to hear me rant.
Was really annoyed when a Korean middle aged man pushed me to walk past me at Anguk Station while I was waiting for the girls outside.
It got me really riled up because it wasn't the first time that it had happened.
Over the past few days, we've all on different occasions encountered really rude behaviour from the locals.
Now don't get offended right away, nice citizens of Korea.
I am not a stuck up tourist who expects locals to give in to my every whim and fancy when I go to their country.
I abide by their culture as best as I can but pushing people around and shoving your way through public areas is really very rude and inconsiderate I feel.
Heck, if it helps I also get very pissed and mad at fellow Singaporeans who are very inconsiderate on public transport (HELLO PERSONAL SPACE PLEASE).
I most certainly wasn't blocking the way (I was standing at the corner outside of a convenience store) and there was ample space on the other side of me except that a group of students were there because their teachers had to take their headcount.
Why couldn't you walk around them, or even said Excuse me very nicely? I may not understand you but if I heard someone talking to me and from their body gestures I believe I can decipher what you were trying to say.
So yes, when the girls came out I was very angry and upset at what had happened and totally hopping mad that I was prepared to murder whoever pushed me next without saying excuse me.
I find that only the older generation tended to do that but there was nothing we could do about it.
Perhaps a courtesy campaign should be set up la. Like Singa! Altho he quit LOL.
FYI later on in the day someone else did push me again by pushing me aside and shove their way through.
I went on a rampage screaming in English because I was that close to bursting already.
But oh wells. Part and parcel of overseas culture I suppose?
Back to the travelogue.
Tickets to Changdeokgung and the Secret Garden costs 8,000 KRW in total (5,000 KRW for entrance to Secret Garden and 3,000 KRW to Changdeokgung).
Do note that the palace is closed on Mondays while Gyeongbokgung is closed on Tuesdays!
IMG_9447 IMG_9451 IMG_9453 IMG_9456
Mandatory tourists shot hahaha
IMG_9469
IMG_7849
When you want a group shot... Selca heh.
IMG_9481 IMG_9482 IMG_9484
Interior of one of the palace areas.
Now the highlight of Changdeokgung was actually the Secret Garden tour (or so I read online)
So of course we had to go and attend the free guided tour.
There are timings so do check the website before your trip ok.
IMG_9491
Booth to purchase the Secret Garden tickets if you haven't bought it at the entrance.
IMG_9502
Ta-dah!
IMG_9516
The lady in the middle is the guide lol.
I will not bore you too much with the pictures of the Secret Garden.
The tour is about 90 minutes long and you get to do a fair bit of exercise (which involves climbing up a steep slope).
Is it worth it? Well, in my opinion, yes if you haven't been there before.
I didn't visit any of the palaces on my last trip so this time I really wanted to.
And between Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung, we ended up choosing Changdeokgung because of the Secret Garden tour. Perhaps next time I will visit Gyeongbokgung.
And the good thing of joining an English speaking tour? Fellow tourists who can converse in English when you ask them to take pictures for you! Heh.
IMG_9539
IMG_9547
Enough of palaces. We walked back towards Anguk Station in the direction of Insadong.

Directions

Take the subway to Anguk Station and exit via Exit 6. Walk straight all the way once you come out and you will see the long stretch known as Insadong on your left after approximately 5-10 minutes.
Now why were we there in Insadong? Because I wanted to eat the bento box from Miss Lee Cafe 별다방 미스리카페 again! Oh, and their 빙수 too!
K-pop trivia: YongSeo (Yonghwa of CN Blue and Seohyun of Girls' Generation) couple from We Got Married Season 2 visited here on one of their dates!
Yes, at this very outlet haha. There's also one more outlet at Myeongdong so if you haven't got time but want to try the food just find it around Myeongdong.

Directions

As you enter Insadong from Anguk Station, look for a GS25 convenience store on your right. You should see the banner or even the mascot Miss Lee (the girl) hanging above this GS25. Walk to the side and up the stairs to the 2nd floor.

IMG_9557

IMG_9561

IMG_9562

Interior of the café

IMG_9568
IMG_9563
IMG_9565
Grab a sheet of paper and a pen then leave your notes hanging anywhere in the cafe. As long got space can already haha!
IMG_9569
Like this.
We ordered 3 of their bento boxes or 도시락 (do-si-rak) to share again to save tummy space for other food lol!
IMG_7840 IMG_7839
What's inside: Rice, kimchi, fried egg, sausages and seaweed
IMG_9578
IMG_9579
How to eat the food in the bento box? Shake it like crazy once you put the lid over.
Be careful of spillages ok hahaha!
IMG_7841
All of them trying to shake the box but most of them failed and I had to do all 3 in the end :O
IMG_9580
It should look like this after mixing hahaha! Of course you can just eat it normally but where's the fun right? Try it if you can ok lol
IMG_9582
IMG_9583
LUNCH!!! /digs in/
IMG_7843
Our dessert! Very yummy ^^ 5 of us shared this huge bowl and gobbled everything up quite quickly actually lol
After that awesome lunch we went to walk around Insadong.
Something unique about Insadong is that all the chain stores like Starbucks, Missha, The Face Shop etc all had their store names written in Hangul or Korean alphabets.
You cannot find the Hangul store signs in other outlets except at Insadong.
Not too sure why but I think it's really cool, brings out the Korean culture there.
Plus Insadong sells alot of traditional items and souvenirs albeit at a steeper price. This is a tourist spot after all.
IMG_7860
Visited Ssamziegil inside Insadong to bring Juyin to this store where I bought my luggage tag last time.
IMG_7861
IMG_7862
IMG_7863
Damn cute please! "Poop" bread hahahaha
IMG_7873
Shopped around (bought more bags FOL) and then decided to go and eat waffles LOL!
It came to a point where whatever we see and looks yummy we'll just go and buy to try.
Crossed the road to the place where we went before entering Bukchon to find this cafe that sold waffles (we saw the sign when we were going to Bukchon).
Waffles remind me of Mir from MBLAQ. 'Waf-fur' <<<< how he pronounces waffles
IMG_7883
Again, 4 of us minus Qiu ordered this to share HAHAHAH plus the 3 perpetually thirsty people (Juyin, Lirong and I) ordered drinks too.
IMG_7912 IMG_7913
So our original plan after that was to go and visit the sauna room then go Lotte Mart.
However, I think we lost track of time so we decided to postpone the sauna trip to another day and just go ahead to Lotte Mart to buy food!
Before that, I was dying to visit Natuur Pop 나뚜루팝 to eat some ice cream and get the free Infinite files they were giving out. (I'm also an Inspirit by the way!)
Totally panicking because I had only printed out directions to 2 outlets and the only outlet I saw was at Lotte Department Store's foodcourt (a very tiny one by the way).
By Day 5 I still hadn't located any outlets to eat the ice cream so my very nice friends decided to accompany me to this Natuur Pop outlet at Jongno 3-ga Station which I had printed out directions to because it was on the way from Anguk to Seoul Station where Lotte Mart is located.
Ok, then we got very lost. The map from the official website was wrong! T.T
For some strange reason when we got out of Jongno 3-ga station we realised something amiss because it looked like an industrial area and there were alot of old people.
Not some place where you'd expect young people to hang out and have ice cream to be honest :/
Was that close to giving up because despite asking a Korean guy (who Naver-ed the address and allowed me to take a screen shot of his phone) and asking another Korean girl (who very nicely called up the outlet and told us it was at Jonggak Station instead even when she was rushing for time and Naver-ing the location again), we still couldn't find our way there.
Then came our saviour in the form of Shannon LOL.
Shannon is this really nice Korean girl I told Kai Kee to approach and ask for directions to Jonggak Station.
Turns out she was heading towards the exact same place because her English school was next to Natuur Pop!
THANK YOU K-IDOL GODS!!
We followed her to the place and she even exchanged Facebook accounts with Kai Kee and of course we thanked her for her help.
Yay to nice Koreans! Makes up for the shitty ones who push people around D:
IMG_7890
IMG_7889
HOYA AH!!!! ANNYEONG!!!
IMG_7892
IMG_7894
Myungsoo ya Sungjong ah! Annyeong!!~
IMG_7895
IMG_7893
IMG_7896
Myungsoo /inserts lovey dovey eyes/ is my bias!
IMG_7899
IMG_7902
IMG_7901
IMG_7916
I treated the girls to ice cream because I felt bad for making them walk so much just to find my ice cream #lifeofafangirl
IMG_7915
IMG_7914
HAPPY ME GOT MY FILES!!!! victory.jpg

Directions

To get to this Natuur Pop outlet, take the subway to Jonggak Station and exit via Exit 2. Turn left as you come out and walk straight. Look out for a stretch on your right with loads of food tents selling alot of street food. Walk down this alley and you should find the outlet on your left beside a building (where Shannon studies English lol!) I don't know if you can trust the maps from the Natuur Pop website because we got lost for a long time and thank God for meeting these kind people who brought us there. Your best bet would be to get a Korean be it the guesthouse owner you're staying at or some random passerby to call the outlet and check properly where is it.
970862_10151497214942857_1935212982_n
Fat die us seriously but after the whole ice cream fiasco we finally took the subway to Seoul Station to Lotte Mart.

Directions

Take the subway to Seoul Station and exit via Exit 1. You should be able to spot the huge Lotte Mart sign on your left.
IMG_7905 IMG_7906 IMG_7907 IMG_7911
Our trolley for the 5 of us HAHAHA!!
Oh my we spent a long time inside Lotte Mart, easily 2 hours at least buying all sorts of things.
Obviously, I couldn't control my spending once again and bought loads of things for people back home with the intention of mailing everything back to Singapore.
If you are like me and just wanna buy loads of Korean goodies, there's an EMS counter right after the cashiers on the supermarket level.
You can just box the things up (they provide boxes for you at Lotte Mart) and mail it back home. Easy peasy right?
We had to take a cab back to our guesthouse because there was way too many things already!
And then after unloading all our things, none of them were hungry except Juyin, Kai Kee and me :(
So we ordered jajjangmyeon through takeout service from the guesthouse!
We saw some other guests eating it so we asked the staff to order for us 2 bowls and a portion of fried dumplings because we were mad starving!
I also shared a bottle of makkeolli (rice wine) with them that I bought at Lotte Mart because it was very cheap.
IMG_7917
Delivery man! I only see them in K-dramas to be honest :/
936798_10151497215312857_942880921_n
IMG_7919
IMG_7920
306988_10151497215402857_1210839247_n
945263_10151497215547857_804537474_n
3 happy girls eating jajjangmyeon! :D
Alright and there you have it Day 5.
Check back soon for the next entry bye!