Last April 17-21, I went to South Korea with family. It was my first time in Korea, and I was excited to explore a new country—at least, a small part of it anyways, haha! Going into this trip was refreshing as I didn’t really know what to expect from the trip. I did the research and planned the itinerary alongside my aunt and this is what we did during the five days we had in Seoul. (Brace yourselves for a picture-heavy post!)
We made our way to the airport in the morning and flew using Asian Airlines (another first for me!) and it was a pleasant experience over-all. The in-flight Bibimbap meal they served was fun to “make” and delicious—a great meal to welcome us to Korea.
The in-flight bibimbap came with sides + instructions on the side.
Fast forward to a few hours and we finally landed. We claimed our luggage and our rental wifi device and hopped into the express bus to Myeongdong. The views during the ride there was beautiful and the lengthy bus ride allowed me to catch some Zs.
We stayed at the Ibis Ambassador Myeongdong Hotel, which was located right beside the famous Myeongdong shopping + street food area.
View from the lobby.
After we checked in and dropped our things off in our rooms, we went down to the streets and had a variety of street food for dinner. I tried to take as many photos as I could during this portion, but it’s hard to simultaneously stuff your face with food and take good photos, hee hee.
Some mini gimbap—selling at a set of 6 per order. Yum.
A variety of sausages on a stick—also yum.
Large dumplings? Yes, please.
Finally got to try Korean banana milk—it’s so good! One sip and I’m hooked.
As expected, the entire area was flooded with stalls and people. It was overwhelming, but not in a bad way.
So many people!
Out of all the things I’ve eaten during the first night, the most memorable bite was the Korean Egg Bread (which I now learn is called gyeran-ppang)—my goodness, it’s sooo good. I wanted to hoard several pieces and bring them home.
Don’t mind me; I’m just here drooling just looking at this picture.
With stomachs full, we walked back to our hotel and called it a day.
Our first official full day in South Korea was dedicated to sightseeing. We booked a tour to Nami Island and Petite France via Klook for this day. Waking up bright and early, we walked to Myeongdong Station to grab a quick bite at a nearby bakery and met up with our guide for the tour.
Potato + bacon + bread = yum.
We boarded the tour bus and headed for Nami Island. The bus ride from Myeongdong to Nami took around 2 hours—a great time to catch up on some sleep or to watch the scenery passing by.
Finally made it to Nami Island!
Once we got to the docks of Nami Island, we got our tickets from our guide and boarded the ferry.
Great place to take photos and enjoy the view.
My aunts, my grandma, and me!
Another option going to Nami Island would be via zip line. It’s a pricey but quick way to get to Nami, for sure.
You can hear them screaming from the ferry, haha!
Look at all these people!
The Nami Island mascots are so cute!
As soon as we got to Nami Island, we headed for a walking path to avoid the crowd.
Peace and quiet—aaahhh.
We were lucky enough to find an area filled with cherry blossoms—naturally, we took a lot of photos!
Waiting for my food to get served, heh.
After snapping a few photos, we continued down the walking path until we entered the main area.
Statue of the famous couple from the K-drama Moonlight Sonata.
We skipped lunch and continued to explore the area, stopping only for a quick snack.
Hotteok with ice cream—surprisingly very filling.
One of the highlights of our Nami Island visit was the Children’s Picture Book Library!
Inside was an inspiring display of children’s books from all over the world.
Pretty soon after our visit to the museum, we made our way back to the bus and headed for Petite France.
The Little Prince!
Petite France is really a visual treat. Everything is just so colorful and wonderful—plus points if you’re a fan of The Little Prince, of course.
Beautiful and colorful houses!
Different versions of The Little Prince.
The closest thing I’ll get to the real thing for now, hehe.
After exploring the area, we headed back to the bus and returned to Myeongdong just in time for dinner. We decided to have dinner at Gangnam Myeonok for some Korean beef short ribs (otherwise known as galbijjim.) My goodness. This is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. The meat is so soft. It falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. Absolutely delicious.
I lost count to how many ribs I’ve eaten, lol.
In addition to beef ribs, I also had some cold noodles to accompany it.
For dessert, I bought an Oreo churro (which was okay) and had strawberry milk.
Tired, happy, and full, we called it a night and went to bed.
After a tiring second day, we had a relaxing third day sightseeing around the area. We started off with a breakfast sandwich at Isaac Toast. I ordered the ham and cheese sandwich and it was delicious! If I end up returning to Korea, I’d go back here for sure.
Long line for affordable and delicious sandwiches.
Delicious. Different from any other sandwich I’ve tried.
After breakfast, we headed for the National Museum of Korea. The weather was perfect and the entire area was quiet; it was incredibly relaxing. The museum itself was stunningly impressive. The exhibits were interesting and were presented neatly and the guided tour we went on gave us a lot of insight into the pieces displayed.
Outside the museum.
Look at how beautiful the museum is!
The impressive Ten-Story Stone Pagoda!
The famous gold crown!
The view of the museum lobby from the upper floor.
View from the entrance of the museum.
View from outside the museum.
After a calm and quiet afternoon in the museum, we had a light snack in the museum and headed for the Han River. We wanted time to walk and relax around the park before our next activity. We booked tickets for the Eland Han River Cruise and Ashley Marine dinner buffet ahead of time and were excited to look at the Han River from a different perspective.
Couples, family, and friends pitching up tents and picnicking on the grass.
The ship terminals where we would later board the boat.
We claimed our buffet tickets and eat what we could before boarding the cruise ship. (I didn’t take any photos of the buffet—I was too hungry, LOL.) The ship had two levels we could access; the lower level with seats lined up had a stage on the front for a live performance later on, and the upper level was the open area. I pretty much stayed on the upper area the entire time to properly soak in the view. I mean, just look at it!
The upper level without all the people…yet.
The water was calm and the weather was cool—perfect.
The view kept on improving as day turned into night. Lights played a huge role in the river cruise, and we enjoyed the fresh air and pretty sights as we sailed on.
Reminds me of a stoplight, hehe.
Do you see the little hearts on the ship?
The finale light show!
After the refreshing cruise, we headed back to our Myeongdong and hit the hay.
My last “hurrah” before I called it a night, hehe.
Our last official full day in South Korea! We started off with a hearty breakfast at Migabon—known for their scrumptious porridge. I ordered the mushroom and beef porridge. It tasted so different from any other porridge I’ve ever eaten growing up. It’s lighter than your average Chinese congee, that’s for sure. The taste is so delicate, and when you finish the bowl, you can’t help but feel warm inside.
After breakfast, we headed for Lotte Mart for some shopping (I hoarded on a lot of seaweed and snacks!) We dropped by the hotel afterward to leave our shopping bags and headed for the Myeongbo Art Hall for our next activity.
A quick cold soba and tonkatsu lunch at the Lotte Mart food court.
We got tickets for the JUMP Show via Klook and got great seats up at the front. The show was amazing and hilarious. Period. The cast was amazing and filled with energy! It makes me excited thinking about it. The stunts, the choreography, and the audience participation bits had me laughing out loud!
The Myeongbo Art Hall
Great show—we had a wonderful time!
For our last hurrah/our last dinner in Seoul, we went to Wangbijib for some Korean barbeque (as one must do when they’re in South Korea!) The staff cooked the meat to perfection for us. Everything was delicious (man, how many times have I used the word “delicious” in this blog post alone?)—I’m sure that the K-BBQ I’ll have here in Manila would make it pale in comparison, for sure.
We walked back to the Myeongdong shopping street/street food area and did our last minute shopping (and eating, in my case.)
Naturally, I had to eat one more egg bread before I start dreaming about it again in Manila, huhu.
My aunt and I wandered into a bingsu restaurant and we just had to have strawberry bingsu (it was in season, after all!)
Drool. So good.
I’ve lost count of how many strawberries and strawberry themed dishes I’ve eaten in this trip alone, HAHA.
Finally, we headed back to the hotel and finished packing up before resting for the day.
My luggage is 50% seaweed, 30% food, and 20% skincare products—HAHA.
After last night, you’d think that I would avoid strawberries for a while, but here I was eating strawberries for breakfast:
Breakfast with a view!
We wanted to maximize the remaining hours we had left in Myeongdong, so we got up early and headed for the Lotte Plaza across the street for some shopping.
Ah, that bittersweet feeling of the last day.
Last banana milk in Seoul, huhu.
We ended up at the supermarket/food hall and bought a couple of things (like a big box of strawberries, hehe.) We decided to have lunch here too, and I got a grilled salmon set:
Salmon is my favorite fish and I could eat it every day.
After lunch, we checked out of the hotel and headed for the airport via bus. The long ride to the airport felt like a “goodbye for now” to Seoul. Once we reached the airport, I returned the wifi device and we dropped off our bags for the flight. Walking around the airport waiting for our flight, we bumped into this place selling Korean fried chicken (yey!) I ordered one bowl to take home as another souvenir.
We also shared and ate a few small bowls while waiting, hehe.
In addition to that, my aunt and I (Snoopy lovers) found that the Baskin Robbins near our boarding gate had an ongoing Peanuts collaboration, so naturally, we took plenty of photos and ate some ice cream, hehe.
“Waah” indeed, Snoopy!
Finally, we had to board our flight going back to Manila.
Airplane food (huhu I was expecting something like the bibimbap again, honestly.)
Thank you for sticking with me until the end of this post! Seoul is such a wonderful place and I can’t wait to explore more areas around Korea in the future.
‘Till the next blog post,