Seoul DIY (Day 1): Autumn Traces and Royal Failures

Sharing here our DIY trip to Seoul in November of last year! 

Our first day in Seoul day started with us deciding that we can’t follow the first day in our itinerary, because we had to buy some gloves to prevent our fingers from freezing outside. After a breakfast of triangle gimbap at 7-11, we headed to Ewha Womans University

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This is the neighborhood right outside Hotel Maui. How do I say this…it was very non-touristy??  :))

The road going to Ewha Women’s University, lined with a lot of shops. I must say that in the early morning, it looks quite sleepy. But by the time we got out of the university, the roads were full of students going to and from the area.

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Along this road we bought gyeran-pang or egg bread! It was steaming hot when we got it but 5 minutes into the outside world and it became quite cold and dense already. Didn’t enjoy it that much. Also, the ajhumma selling gave us this sweet-tasting fruit! We don’t exactly know what it’s called but it’s tasty and we kind of love that small act of kindness. 😀

Finally, the building I’ve always seen in pictures! Oh man, the architecture! ❤ I just love the idea of an underground building that incorporates the outdoors and daylighting quite beautifully.  And ironic as it may seem, this walkway in between feels quite grand but intimate, highly accessible but quiet.

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The last traces of autumn! I probably can’t count how many times I’ve said ‘Ang ganda’ (it’s beautiful!) while walking here. Hehe. It’s my first time seeing autumn colors, obviously!

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We walked around a bit from the underground building. We spotted this sort of park, and had a very quick photoshoot. Haha! It got kind of awkward for me because suddenly a bell rang and students came walking out the building through this park. It must be weird for them, how their school is visited by a lot of tourists.


When we got out of the university, we saw an Artbox branch near Ewha station and maaan we must have spent an hour here. You could find all sorts of stationeries, crafts things, art tools, clothes, and other cute little things–aka my kryptonite.

After Ewha we went to Chuncheonjip Dakgalbi Makguksu, (link to the map) probably a ten to fifteen minute walk or one subway station from Ewha Women’s University (take the subway to Sinchon station.)

We rode the subway and got quite a bit lost looking for it. Haha. We were contemplating just settling for the next restaurant when we saw it beside Changcheon Children’s park. It was totally worth it. The dakgalbi had various ingredients like tteokbokki (rice cakes), noodles, chicken, vegetables, stir-fried with the awesome gochujang-based sauce, with a crater of mozarella cheese in the middle. I mean, how could you say no to that? 😀

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The servers did all the cooking for us, and they signal when it’s time for you to eat. hehe. Our server was particularly nice and told us stories of his visit to the Philippines during his honeymoon. Oh, they also serve a great-tasting macaroni salad, kimchi and soup with the dakgalbi.

After what we consider quite a successful morning, our failures began. Haha. supposedly, this was our afternoon to go to Nami island. But for some unknown reason, we decided to go to Gyeongbokgung and wear hanboks. On a Tuesday. 

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Look at our clueless, happy faces.

We then find out it was closed, and suddenly remembered why we didn’t schedule it originally on a Tuesday. Gyeongbokgung Palace is closed on Tuesdays! Picture above is my sister showing her elaborate hairstyle done by the Hanbok ajhumma, and also the closed gates of the palace. *cue crying*

My sister’s elaborate hairdo done by the ajhumma at the shop, and the closed gates of the palace. Hahaha!

But ohwell, what can we do. haha. We made the most out of it by taking lots of pictures which I won’t bother people with. :))

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After that catastrophe, we went back to the hotel to rest and recharge our phones and cameras. Apparently, according to google research, phones discharge more quickly in really cold temperatures. My sister’s iphone shut down altogether.

We were scheduled to meet my sister’s friend later in the evening so we had Two-two chicken for pre-dinner. Haha. I read about this in so many blogs, but I am sorry to say that this might be one of the worst meals we’ve had in our stay here. The chicken was really, so very, average tasting.

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After Two-two chicken, we decided to go to Dongdaemun Design Plaza, which was quite far for walking from where we were (near Dongmyo station), in the freezing cold. We rode the subway and ended up asking a traffic assistant for directions, and he ended up taking us all the way there! :O We thought it was a very kind effort because the walk must have taken 8-10 minutes.

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If you’re very much into architecture and design, you can’t miss this place! It’s quite an iconic design, and it would make you think about so many possibilities. (with the right engineers haha!)

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We entered the building itself and found ourselves spending some time just looking around the shop filled with designer items. I just love how local artists are given such a premium space to be able to sell and showcase their products. It gives me an impression that innovation and creativity is highly valued in this society.

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Since we were close, we also dropped by Cheonggyecheon stream, but of course it was quite empty. The temperature simply was not reasonable at this time. :))

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We close the night with a Samgyupsal dinner near our hotel with Ate Ai, and a sip of makgeolli that sent me to a deep sleep.


Lesson of the day: check and re-check opening hours and times OR follow your itinerary, there must be a reason why you planned it that way! 😉


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