For budget, travel info, culture, see Itinerary Part 1.
For Seoul Itinerary Days 1-3, and Days 12-14, see Parts 2 & 8 respectively.
For Andong Itinerary Day 4, see Part 3.
For Gyeongju Itinerary Day 5, see Part 4.
For Busan itinerary Days 6-8, see Part 5.
For Jeju Island Days 9-10, see Part 6.
For Haeinsa at Gayasan National Park Day 11, see Part 7.
Seoul Itinerary Day 1: Korean House and N Seoul Tower
Sarang-ga Dance at Korean House is registered as UNESCO Intangible Heritage, showing lovers expressing love, with a narrator.
Depending on the time you arrive, have dinner and watch a pansori (Korean opera) at Korean House, a hanok (Korean traditional house) built during Joseon Dynasty. This is a MUST-GO. The one-hour performance was awesome, one of my highlights in Seoul. TIP: Don’t dash off. You can take a photo with the dancers after the performance. But If you don’t want to have dinner at Korean House–I didn’t–I’ll give other suggestions in the later part.
A very stunning Korean fan dance at Korean House, depicting the blossoming of peony.
After the performance, take train Line 4 to Myeongdong (exits 5, 6, 7 or 8), 9th most expensive shopping street in the world. Window-shop–there will be opportunities to shop later–and maybe have dinner here. Then Go to N Seoul Tower at Namsam Park, which gives you a nightview of Seoul. At the tower, there are a few cafes, bakeries and restaurants for dinner. Koreans come to the Tower to N’ Grill, an expensive steak restaurant by Michelin-starred chef, for special occasions. TIP: Lovers, bring a padlock to secure your love.
Pungmul-nori, an energetic folk dance, with men flinging ribbons with their heads. The next Olympic gymnast event?
How to Get to Korean House
Subway line 3 or 4 to Chungmuro (exit 3). You’ll see a petrol station. Korean house is behind the petrol station.
Address: 80-2 Pil-dong 2-ga, Jung-gu.
Budget: Performance: ₩50K
Dinner: ₩20K-100K (depending on menu)
Performance Time: 6.30pm, 8.30pm
How to Get to N Seoul Tower (9am-1am)
1. Bus: Bus No. 2 or No. 5 at bus-stop at exit 3 of Myeong-dong Station (line 4) or bus-stop at exit 2 of Chungmuro Station (lines 3 & 4).
2. Cable: At exit 3 of Myeong-dong Station (line 4), walk to the right side of Pacific Hotel for 10-15 minutes. Uphill climb. Round-trip: ₩7500 (adult)/ ₩5000 (kids); single-trip: ₩6000/ ₩3500. 10am-11pm.
Address: 100-177 Hoehyun-dong 1-ga, Jung-gu
Tower Platform admission price: ₩8000 (adults, 19-65)/ ₩6000 (teenagers 14-18 and elderly 66 above)/ ₩4000 (kids, 5-13)
What to Eat at Jung-gu & Myeongdong (Near Korean House & N Seoul Tower)
Jangchu Grilled Eel Restaurant
Jangchu offers a complimentary sake.
1. Jangchu KOREAN SEAFOOD The jang-uh gui (grilled eel) restaurant has survived for 3 decades and offers a complimentary sake before the food. The eel is marinated in special spices (including cinnamon). You eat it like you eat other Korean BBQ, wrapped it in lettuce with condiments. To be honest, the eel by itself was plain but the sauces brought out the flavors. About ₩40K a person.
Click to enlarge
Address: 58-8 Chungmuro 3-ga, Jongno.
Directions: Chungmuro station (lines 3 & 4) Exit 5. Before Kukdong building, turn right, and then turn left at 2nd street.
2. Myeongdong Kyoja KOREAN This 30 year-old restaurant serves mandu (dumplings) and kal guksu (handmade “knife” noodles 刀削面). The stock is boiled for 6 hours.
Address: 25-2 Myeongdong 2(i)ga, Jung-gu.
Directions: Myeongdong Station (line 4) exit 8.
3. Myeongdong Hamheung Myeonok KOREAN serves naengmyeong or cold noodles made of sweet potato in an oxtail broth. If you can take the heat, try the spicy version hwae naengmyeon.
Address: 26-1 Myeongdong 2-ga, Jung-gu
Directions: Myeongdong Station (line 4) exit 5.
4. Baekje Samyetang KOREAN GINSENG CHICKEN SOUP The chefs use only young chicken and you can choose between normal or black chicken, normal or superior ginseng. They gave a shot of insamju (ginseng wine) before the soup. I didn’t quite like the place – I thought there were too many tourists and few locals. The soup was so-so. Could be boiled longer.
Address: 50-11 2nd floor Myeong-dong 2-ga, Jung-gu
Budget: ₩12K onwards for a bowl of chicken soup (but two can share it)
Directions: Myeongdong Station (line 4) exit 6. Walk through the shopping area for about 4-5 blocks, then turn left.
5. Teumsae Ramyeon KOREAN RAMEN This hole-in-the-wall serves the Korean version of ramen, ppalgaeddeok. It is very, very spicy. Request for less spicy if you can’t deal with spice.
Address: 4-1-beonji, 2nd floor, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu
Budget: ₩4K onwards
M-Sat: 10am-9.30pm, Sun: 11am-8.30pm
Directions: Myeongdong Station (line 4), exit 10.
6. Namsangol Sanchae Jip BIBIMBAP (Hot stone rice)
Address: 8-16 Yejang-dong, Jung-gu
Directions: Myeongdong Station (line 4), exit 3.
Changmu gimbap (gimbap means rice wrapped with seaweed): Rating: 2.75/5
7. According to my new Korean friend, this changmu gimbap (pictured above) is the commonest food Koreans eat. They eat it with all sorts of dishes. This shop paired it with ggakdookgi (white radish kimchi) and spicy squid and they were REFILLABLE!!! ₩6K for all you can eat! Clientele all locals. Sorry I don’t know Korean and don’t know the name and location of this shop but it is near Myeongdong Station (line 4). I got the namecard:
8. Migabon KOREAN PORRIDGE Abalone-mushroom porridge is recommended. Good for breakfast. ₩8-15K
Address: 2F 2-23, Myeong-dong 2-ga, Jung-gu
Directions: Myeongdong Station (line 4), exit 8.
Bought this from an auntie squatting down outside Myeongdong Station Exit 8. I thought it would taste like muah-chee. But it was tasteless dough in peanut powder. Acquired taste.
To be continued…
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.