Mapping Seoul: by Subway Line no.2

People ask me to recommend places to go in Seoul and I don’t know how to answer that, because Seoul is very diverse and you can spend few weeks if you go deep in each area in Seoul. To travel Seoul, you MUST get familiar with subway lines. Koreans often refer to a place with the name of a subway station (even specific exit number of the station) or a number of subway line. Seoul people heavily uses subway because it is really cheap compare to other cities and comes frequently and on time. It costs about 1-2$ and you can basically go everywhere by subway in Seoul. But Seoul has more than 10 subway lines and it can be pretty complex for people who are not familiar with subway. Subway station in Seoul is also a place to shop and eat because there are lots of stores, restaurants, and restrooms or used as an underground pathway when it is cold, hot, or rain.

Because it is difficult to know different neighborhood names, knowing subway lines is useful to plan your trip and move around in Seoul. Line number 2 (Green) is the most often used subway line that goes major places, such as Hongdae, Myeongdong, Dongdaemun, and Gangnam. So I recommend to find your accommodation near the subway line number 2 (or No. 3).

Basic mapping of Seoul by Subway line No. 2. 

If you see the line No 2 on the map, it is like a square shape line that is located at the center of the map. This is my subjective choice of grouping, but these are major areas where young people hang out and where touristic places are.

http://www.korea4expats.com/korean-subways.php

You can joom-in/out at this link ↑

Subwaymap_Eng

  1. [TOP CENTER] City Hall – Eulgiro 1ga – Eulgiro 2ga – Eulgiro 3ga – Dongdaemun : Joong-Gu & Dongdaemun-Gu
  2. [LEFT] Ewha Univ – Sinchon – Hongik Univ – Hapjeong : Mapo-Gu
  3. [BOTTOM LEFT] Silim – Seoul National Univ – Sadang : Gwanak-Gu & Dongjak-Gu
  4. [BOTTOM RIGHT] Gangnam – Seouleung – Samseong – Jamsil : Gangnam-Gu

 

First, the [TOP CENTER] stations are where the famous touristic places and landmarks are located. Gwanghwamun (line no. 5)  and Jonggak (line no. 1) is not far to walk from City Center Station so it is better to walk rather than transferring subway. Sometimes, you have to walk more to simply transfer to a different line, than walking to the next station. Along with the historical places, there are lots of museums, art galleries, and performing arts centers in this area which tourists might not know. As a performing arts major, I recommend “Myeong-dong Art Theater (명동예술극장)”, “National Theater of Korea(국립극장),  and “Namsan Arts Center(남산예술센터)” . 

Places to go

  • Historical & Tourist Places: Gwanghwamun, Gyeongbokgung (Palace), Deoksugung (Palace), Changdeokgung (Palace), Changgyeonggung (Palace), Gyeonghuigung (Palace), Jongmyo, Namdaemun

  • Cultural Places: Seoul Plaza, Cheonggyecheon,  Jogyesa (Temple), Myeongdong Cathedral, Kyobo Book Centre, Insa-dong, Seoul Metropolitan Library, Gwangjang Market, NamSan, Seoul Tower, Namsangol Hanok Village, Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), Nakwon Instrument Arcade (낙원상가)

  • Shopping Places: Myeong-dong, Several Duty Free Shops & Department Stores (Lotte, Shila, etc), Dongdaemun Market, Namdaemun Market, Bangsan Market

  • Theatre & Arts Centers: National Palace Museum of Korea (국립고궁박물관), The National Folk Museum of Korea (국립민속박물관), Sejong Center Chamber Hall (세종문화회관), Jeongdong Theater (정동극장), Seoul Museum of Art (서울시립미술관), Ho-am Hall of Performing Arts (호암아트홀), 명동예술극장 (Myeong-dong Art Theater), 국립극장 (National Theater of Korea), 남산예술센터 (Namsan Arts Center)

All of the places listed above is not located on the subway line No.2, but you will be able to easily transfer to different lines (No. 1, 3, 4, 5) from No. 2.

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http://www.kwangjangmarket.co.kr

Except those historical places, if I choose one place you must go here…. I would choose “Gwangjang Market (광장시장)” instead of Dongdaemun Market where everyone goes. Gwangjang Market, with 100 years of history, is known for vintage clothes and street foods (especailly Yukhoe (육회), which is seasoned raw beef dish similar to a steak tartare. And Small Kimbap (마약김밥) which is called as drug kimbap because it is addictively delicious). There are lots of different types of foods that you can enjoy in this busy and lively market atmosphere.

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One more thing I highly recommend is an old restaurant, “Pildong Myeonok (필동면옥)” where I used to go after classes at Univ and is listed as a Michelin guide choice of 2017 and 2018. The plain cold noodle, called Pyeong-yang Naengmyeon (평양냉면) can be quite strange for someone who tries this for the first time (even some Koreans say it tastes like water), but manias of this noodle dish travel different regions to just try this specific type of cold noodle dish. If you are brave to try, go there and order the steamed pork dish (제육) too! This place is in a residential area not in a touristic place, but it is not far from Nam mountain, Seoul Tower, Namsangol Hanok Village, National Theater of Korea, and Namsan Arts Center. These places are not located exactly on the subway line No. 2, so you need to transfer to line No. 3 at the Eulgiro 3ga station and get off at the Dongguk Univ Station.

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There are too many places just only in this first section as I listed, so you will need further research and choose where interests you the most. I will introduce other sections of the subway line No. 2 next time 🙂

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Busan – List of Hip Cafe♡

I love coffee and I like to go to small, hidden and unique cafe. For our Busan trip in 2018, I accumulated list of cafe that interests me. Although I will not able to try all of these places, I would like to share my list for travelers from different country! I hope this will interest you as well 🙂

#1. In the Mood for Love (인더무드포러브)

  • Address: 12 Millakbondong-ro 11(sibil)beon ; 부산수영구민락본동로 11번길12 
  • Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/MEqKd6j8mP12
  • Feature Menu: Einspanner  (5.0)

inthemoodforlove2

inthemoodforlove

#2. BIBIBI-DANG (비비비당)

  • Address: Jung 2(i)-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan.
  • Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/o2kVBqv9zJ52
  • Feature Menu: Tea and Dessert 3 Course (20.0 / 30.0)
  • Tea snack is included when you order a cup of tea (10.0)

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Traditional Korean winter dessert/snack – Sweet Pumpkin Porridge

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Korean summer dessert – Sweet Pumpkin Bingsoo in traditional brassware

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#3. Before Sunrise (비포선라이즈) & Before Sunset (비포선셋)

Two different locations run by the same owner.

Before Sunrise

  • Address: 383-6 Beomjeon-dong. Busanjin-gu, Busan. (H 11:00-23:00)
  • Feature Menu: Financier (2.0), Sandwich (6.0)

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Before Sunset

  • Address: 690-2, Jeonpo 1(il)-dong, Busanjin-gu, Busan. (H 12:00-23:00)
  • Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/uyGyEC5332S2
  • Feature Menu: Fig Cream Cheese Toast (6.0), Matcha Ice Cream (6.0)

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Beforesunset

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#4. Paper to Concrete (페이퍼 투 콘크리트)

  • Address: 168-136, Bujeon 2(i)-dong, Busanjin-gu, Busan. (H 12:00-22:00)
  • Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/4HzpoYK9RPM2
  • Feature Menu: Vienna Coffee (5.5)

페이퍼투콘크리트

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페이퍼투콘크리트2

Next time, I will come with a different list. Click “Like” if you find this post helpful. 🙂

*Photos from Instagram

Jeju Island – Unique Accommodations

I am excited about this post because it is what I intended for this blog. Although I listed some of hotels in the previous post, those are listed in every hotel booking websites and you can find reviews on TripAdvisor. However, for foreign travelers, the access to information of these kinds of local pensions in Korea is very limited. It took several hours for me to find this nice pension which meets my requirements. Pensions in Korea are a house type accommodation (some are entire house or some are separate units with different themes or structure), similar to Bed & Breakfast and AirBnb but not exactly same. Pensions are popular for couples and families because it is more spacious, private and allows cooking, laundry, BBQ and sometimes private pool and/or jacuzzi.

Best 1. Wollyeong Suninjang Pension (월령선인장 펜션)🌵

  • Homepage: http://www.suninjang.co.kr
  • Instagram : @wollyeong_suninjang
  • Photo Credit: CASA (http://archiry.com/220932987730)
  • Point: Awesome Interior, Close to beach, Private Pool and Jacuzzi. 
  • Sleeps 4 adults (max 8, additional charge per person. About 28CAD; no charge for up to two babies under 24 months old.)
  • Living room, Kitchen, Dining room for 8 people, Two Bedrooms with double bed, Two Bathrooms (each bedroom), Pool, Airtub, Jacuzzi,and Rooftop.
  • Price varies by seasons and weekdays/weekends: from 500CAD to 880CAD/night.
  • Toaster, Nespresso Coffee machine, Electronic Kettle, Dishes are equipped, Towels and Bathroom amenities are provided.

I am planning to go to Jeju with 11 people, therefore I tried to find a big place where all of my friends can hangout together. I found this amazing place and all of my Canadian friends are excited to go this place. We completed booking for 4 nights and I will be able to review our real experience next May!

One of the top Korean actor, Gong Yoo took a fashion photography here. This place is designed with the theme of “cactus” because this neighborhood is the only place that wild cactus grows in South Korea. The name of pension, “Sun In Jang” means cactus in Korean.

image_9469930891496913702787Wollyeongri Cactus Village (월령선인장군락지)[/caption]<

he price is pretty high but it is just about 70CAD per person if 8 people share, so it would be a good option of a large group or family. The place has two nice bedrooms and every spaces are fascinating enough with its unique structure and design, and modern furniture.

2f3529bf05be92a664576b0bc6f65e638495a1f9444KakaoTalk_20171024_234930102KakaoTalk_20171024_234936117 In addition, this pension has a swimming pool that is suitable for adults, private jacuzzi, and air-hot tub. This place is rarely included in any hotel booking website (not in Hotels.com, Agoda, Expedia) and this place seems less busy although it is very close to the Hyeopjae beach, one of the most beautiful beach in Jeju.

KakaoTalk_20171024_234928425555 The photo below is the bedrooms and bathrooms, which has a good enough space and privacy. Although I haven’t been here yet, I think it is worth to try because this place is very Jeju-like, at the same time, you can see what Korea’s contemporary life styles and trends is like.

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Best 2. Sky Whale Pension – White / Blue / And (하늘고래 펜션- 화이트/블루/앤드)

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Sky Whale Pension – Blue

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omepage: http://skygorae.com/

Instagram :@jeju_skywhale<
oint: Ocean View, Three different Styles, Simple and modern Interior

White House :  Living room and Kitchen, One Bedroom, One Bathroom, Extra Sofa-bed. Sleeps 2 adults (max 4, additional charge 11CAD per person).

Blue House: Building A (Living room, Kitchen, Two Bedrooms with Queen size bed, One Bathroom), Sleeps 4 adults (max 5, including kid).

And House : Two-floor, Living room, Kitchen, Two bedrooms with double bed, Two bathrooms, Kids Pool. Sleeps 4 adults (max 6, including kid).

  • If you stay for more than two nights, there is about 22CAD discount per night from the second night.

white3 Because we have 11 people including two older adults, I tried to find a separate place which is near Wollyeong pension. This old Korean house-type pension has a simple interior design with a great ocean view. Although we booked “Blue house”, they have three different options, so you will be able to choose what you like.  All of the three houses are equipped with a fancy kitchen supplies, mainly SMEG refrigerator, coffee maker, toaster, and electronic kettle.

sky3 Sky Whale Pension – White and3

Jeju Island – Best 3 Hotels

This posting is not reviews of the accommodations that I have been, rather it is the result of my research for my trip next May. I am going to Jeju with about 10 people so we probably rent several rooms in a resort/hotel or several different places for each one’s preferences. As the only native Korean among the ten people, I am going to research and suggest several options.

My criteria of choosing accommodation is 1) clean (especially I care bathroom the most), 2) reasonable price$, 3) location (especially ocean view in case of Jeju!)

The way I usually search of the accommodations is to skim photos on Instagram with hash tags, such as “제주숙소 or 제주숙박 (Jeju accommodation)”, “제주호텔 (Jeju hotel)”, “제주리조트 (Jeju resort)”, “제주 호스텔 (Jeju hostel)”. If you don’t speak Korean, copy these Korean words and use for your own research. Since Koreans love to post of awesome places they stayed during trip on either Instagram or Naver Blog (www.naver.com), these are the best place to see the real reviews than trip/hotel websites.

*The price that I listed here is from HotelsCombined.com. I always check several websites rather than one site.

Luxurious Options

The luxurious hotels are mostly located in Seogwipo-Si, the southern area of Jeju island.

1) Lotte Resort Jeju Art Villas (롯데 리조트 제주 아트 빌라)

This is probably the most luxurious and expensive place in Jeju. The villa with two bedrooms is 1400 CAD per night and up to 6 people (+ 3 kids) can stay together. But to me, this place is too luxurious so I would feel like I cannot make any noise 😛 I will just show you some pictures for fun. There are five different types of villas designed by different architects. For instance, the last picture below shows a different style of interior.

2) Hidden Cliff (히든 클리프) : This hotel starts from 580CAD per night for a room with a double bed and a single bed in high seasons (April-Aug). But the same room is 185CAD in January. This hotel is known for its awesome infinite pool and the water is warm temperature for all seasons, although it is outdoor pool. But as I feel, this hotel is quite isolated from other places so it would be suitable for relaxing trip than traveling.

3) Kensington Jeju hotel (켄싱턴 제주 호텔)

The Kensington Jeju Hotel seems like the best choice among the luxurious hotels for the high season. It is 350CAD (including tax) in May and just little bit less than 300CAD during the off-season. But it is absolutely possible the price will go up more than 500, as getting closer to spring and summer. This hotel has both a main pool and a rooftop pool. And I like their walking route around the hotel.

Must do in Korea No.1: Hangang Park

*The inserted other blog posts are what Korean people post to share their daily lives and it gives you variety of images.

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What I miss the most of Seoul life is going to the Hangang parks (= Han River parks) with my friends. We often went to Yeouido Hangang Park (여의도 한강공원) among various locations, because it is nice and easy to get everything we need.

Yeouido Hangang Park
330 Yeouidong-ro, Yeoeuido-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
+82 2-3780-0561
https://goo.gl/maps/5ow31V2pH772

The Han River is the main river that crosses Seoul and divides the Gangnam (south of the river) and the Gangbuk (north of the river). The letter “Gang” means river and “nam” means south if you want to know what Gangnam actually means. Koreans go to the Han River for lots of reasons such as for biking, cherry blossom (in late April-early May), running, date, family picnic, walking dogs, yachting, ice-skating in winter, etc. But most people go there to “eat” :)!

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Chimaek (치맥) Chicken & Beer. Photo Credit: 공대이끼

If you go to the famous Hangang parks, there are plenty of spaces you can sit down and street stores that sell food, mats, and so on. The awesome thing of Korea is the delivery service and you are legally allowed to drink in parks (but No Smoking).

Get beers from a convenient store and, bring/buy/rent a mat there. Renting a mat is a new thing and you pay 4$ (2$ as deposit) and get back 2$ when you return it. And you will find tons of flyers of delivery services for fried chicken (치킨), McDonald’s (We call it McDelivery), pizza, Korean-Chinese foods (짜장면, 짬뽕, 탕수육), Bossam (보쌈), etc.

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The Most Popular Delivery Food in Korea, Jajangmyeon (짜장면). Photo Credit: Bong Bong Travel

But it would be difficult to order something if you don’t speak Korean… But don’t worry!! There will be also tons of street foods including BBQ chicken and pork (Sam-Gyup Sal 삼겹살). You can simply bring anything you like or buy some chips and cheese from convenient stores at the Hangang parks.

If you want to have a real “local” experience, there’s one more thing to do. Eating ramen at the Hangang parks! There is a special ramen machine that you can boil ramen in a foil container in convenient stores near or in the Han River parks. It is about 2-3 dollars (2-3000won) and adding an egg is 50 cent (500won).

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How to make ramen at the Hangang parks?
– Buy a foil container ramen at a convenient store. (It is the special menu of convenient stores at the Hangang parks.)
– Put the ramen and powder in the foil container.
– Scan the barcode of the container to the ramen machine, place the ramen under the water spot, and push the start button (the most left one).
– Add eggs when about 1 min and 30 seconds left to finish.
– special tips: you can be more creative by adding cheese, sausage, or kimchi sold in convenient stores.

There are lots of YouTube videos that can help you to experience this. I highly recommend to go to the Hangang parks either day time or night time when you go to Korea! (but not in winter :P). I am excited to go to the Hangang parks with my fiancé and friends. I am going to post our times in the Hangang parks next April!

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Ramen Machine at the Han River Convenient Stores (Photo Credit: 꼬우)

Lastly, there are several new activities you can do at Han River, such as Night Kayaking” and Wind Surfing. For me, kayaking at night sounds really exciting and I am looking forward to doing it with my other half, enjoying sunset and night view of Seoul!

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For night kayak, you need to make a reservation in advance to 잠실수상레저파크 (https://jamsilpark.modoo.at/) which runs multiple water activities at Han River. You can also make a reservation through apps such as “Frip (www.frip.co.kr)”, “Class Pick” or “Ficnic” which lists outdoor activities and let you make a reservation. The activity companies provide boat and life vest, and basic instructions for your safety. (2 hours kayaking is 30$). However, those apps are in Korean and they are in process of making English version…. For this part, ask help from a Korean or someone who speaks Korean!

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