Monday, August 01, 2016


Guess what? This was my Korea trip in August 2015 with Ming (and at the end, I featured a little of my June trip with mom lol). The draft for this post has just been rotting in a corner and I thought I should really publish it ASAP (it really is about time...). It's mostly visuals with some specific information on where to go, what to eat and where to stay. Some of you emailed me for tips, so I hope this helps! It may not be the most comprehensive guide there is on the Internet, but feel free to share with me your recommendations too!!!! I'd rly appreciate that :')

P/S I excluded Busan and Jeju in this post.

Yi Ming: This GIF makes me happier than it ought to
(more info below on where to eat)
Korea is well-known for its affordable spectacle-making services, so we decided to each make a pair!
Both  cost less than SGD100 each.
(more info below on where to eat)
(more info below on where to shop)

I didn't manage to buy any cushion foundation then because I was sooooooo tanned from my Europe trip!
We took a day trip out to DMZ and learnt a lot about Korea's history that day. We have so much respect for this country, which had/has to tirelessly fight or its independence.
(more info below on where to eat)
Yi Ming: Drunken cheek pinching after a single round of Soju
(more info below on where to eat)
Everland is both a full-fledged zoo and themepark! How amazing is that????
(more info below on where to eat)
Yi Ming: Unseen cut from this GIF is the part where she tries to take the whole rack with her
(more info below on where to eat)
Also, by now, you've probably realized how much we eat.................................
Yi Ming: The live octopus was actually really good!
Looking back at these pictures, it's amazing how much Ming and I have grown as a person, and as a couple over the year. Also, how much our appearances have changed(/aged).
Bought bb this baby!

Disclaimer: I'm no expert but these are the places I know of and frequent when I'm in Seoul! I'm sure there are better ones out there, so share if you know any! Thanks in advance hehe.

Where to eat
1. Yoogane Dak Galbi
Note: Both my mom and Ming love this place. It's a huge relief because my mom is hard to please when it comes to food haha. I'm not particularly in love with it but I'd have to say it's pretty good.
2. Andong Jjimdak
Note: I've tried Yeolbong's Jjimdak (by the Korean celebrity, Se7en), Wicked Jjimdak (famous for their jjimdak with cheese), etc. but I'm still on a hunt for the perfect one! Lmk if you have a favourite!!!
3. Saemaeul Sikdang BBQ
Note: I don't think it has the best samgyeopsal BBQ, but its 7-minute kimchi stew with the seaweed rice is a pretty dope combination!!!
4. Myeongdong Gyoja
Note: One of Ming's faves!!! Their gyoja will probably remind you of our xiao long bao. If there's only 2 of you, and you're not very hungry, I suggest sharing a bowl of noodle + one tray of gyoja! 
5. Jjajangmyeon
Note: I've always wondered how different is their jjajangmyeon compared to the Chinese's. I had the hotel staff (at Novotel Gangnam Seoul Ambassador) to help me call for a delivery, "Can you recommend me a good jjajangmyeon that delivers? Can you help me order?" I remember it being very affordable! The meal + delivery didn't exceed SGD7!
6. Bibimbdap
Note: I haven't found a place with WOAH bibimbap yet. Everywhere seems to serve pretty decent bibimbap hehe.
7. Jokbal
Note: If you're into pig's trotters, you can check out the Jokbal Street. I didn't go but the taxi driver mentioned it to me!
8. Samgyetang
Note: Ehhhh...... I'm sorry I haven't found a local and authentic place to recommend. I'll be a cliche and recommend Tosokchon. The taxi driver sniggered at it being the best representation of samgyetang. He wasn't very fluent in English hence, he didn't understand when we tried asking for an alternative.
9. Japchae Hotteok
Note: Ming and I love this shit!!! You can find it at Namdaemun Market. It looks like a mini pancake! On the inside, it's stuffed with glass noodles and fried vegetables. A-MA-ZING.
10. Kalguksu
Note: I always return to Namdaemun Market's Kalguksu Alley for what I perceive to be pretty authentic knife noodles. I quite like the experience of squeezing with the other ahjummas and watching how the locals interact in that tight space. (Yi Ming: In the last sentence, Irina has basically admitted to being an ahjumma) (Irina: hey!! hey!!)
11. Chimaek
Note: It's the combination of eating fried chicken wings and drinking maekju. I don't have a specific place to recommend but do try this out!

P/S: To all my Muslim readers out there, I'm sorry that my list isn't Muslim-friendly at all. However, I did notice how Korea is very accommodating to their Muslim tourists' dietary needs (definitely more so than some of the other countries I have been to)!

Me: basically eating all the time

Where to shop (for girls)
I'm not sure how I should begin to elaborate on each of these places. They're mostly same, but different? The Korea Tourism Organization website provides really good information on each of these places. They also include food and shopping recommendations - lol now I begin to second guess myself and the significance of this post. Nonetheless, I've attached the links below, if you ever need!

1. Hongdae - Hongik University Station (read more here)
Note: It is close to StyleNanda and Chuu store! They've got several really good shoes stores here as well!
2. Myeong Dong (read more here)
Note: If you need a place to do all the cosmetic shopping, Myeongdong is kinda ideal!
3. Ewha's Women University (read more here)
Note: Walking distance from Hongdae. As the name goes, the shops in that area sell more female apparels than male. For those travelling with a boyfriend and/or male friends, Hongdae and Myeong Dong would suit them better.
4. Garosugil (read more here)
Note: While the price point of the clothes being sold here might be slightly higher than the ones sold in Hongdae and Myeong Dong, you might be able to find more unique pieces here.
5. Express Bus Terminal (read more here)
Note: Underground shopping! Lower price range!
6. Konkkuk's University (read more here)
Note: Common Ground (the one with blue containers). Within that area, there is this road with consecutive sports retails. If you're looking to shop for sports wear, this is a pretty good place to start. They've cafes and mini bars in the same area too.
7. Dongdaemun (read more here)
Note: If you like shopping at Bangkok's Platinum mall, you should visit the old building next to the shopping mall (Doota). In it, the layout is very similar to Platinum. The clothes are also priced at an affordable range.
8. Namdaemun (read more here)
Note: It's a great place to shop if you've gifts to buy for mothers and grandmothers. Check out UV umbrella! I bought one for my mom and she loves it!!! Theres's a stark difference between the UV umbrella vs non-UV (in case, vendors try to cheat you). The UV one has an additional protective layer that prevents light from penetrating.

Where to stay
If you intend to meet people from all walks of life, I'd suggest staying in hostels! Hostels are a popular option in Korea, as it can be as inexpensive as only SGD15 per night. However, if you're travelling with your partner/family, it's always nice to fall back on what we're used to: Airbnb and hotels haha.

1. Airbnb
Our Airbnb host prepared all the information (transportation, food, shopping etc.) we needed in this file - mad useful!
If you're interested, here you go:
If you're interested, here's the link:

IMPT: If you're new to Airbnb, you should totally sign up here: for SGD40* credit! I know most of you are probably Airbnb users by now, but if you happen to have other unused email accounts, you can use it too! I have two, so I basically gave myself $60 credit hehe. The credit is legit free money for your next booking, so why not right?

*the rate flunctuates - sometimes it's higher, sometimes it's as low as $27

2. Bukchon Hanok stay at Bonum 1957 (read more here)

For aesthetic reasons, I definitely did enjoy myself staying at Bonum 1957. There were plenty of ootd spots, if you're into that. They have a good mix of traditional and modern rooms for those who with specific preferences.

Otherwise, objectively, it is situated strategically for tourists. The popular street behind Bonum 1957 leads directly to the Bukchon Hanok Village. It was never dull staying at Bonum 1957 because it is at the heart of the tourist spot. There was a lot to see and experience.

I also like that Bonum 1957 has a rooftop that gives an amazing overview of the area. James, who attended to my needs during my stay, is a local who speaks both Korean and English. If you ever need any recommendation on where to go, he's your guy!

3. Novotel Gangnam Seoul Ambassador

Due to reasons pertaining to security, moms usually feel more comfortable in hotels. This is the other hotel we stayed in. It's located in Gangnam, another popular district. I found out that the popular BBQ restaurants all seemed to be in the same area near out hotel (about 7 mins - walking distance). The hotel staff were friendly and they were very willing to help when I needed my jjajangmyeon delivery haha.

Also, I thought it's quite cute that they provided various phone cables. A Korean follower mentioned this is a common amenity in Korea, which goes to show how considerate and ahead they are in terms of hospitality and service.

Recommended Apps
I don't know if currently there are better apps out there that supersede these, but these below had definitely helped me in a way or another. 

1. Food: MangoPlate
Note: It's the Korean version of Yelp or Burpple. It helps to recommend and suggest food you can try around your vicinity.

2. Public Transportation: Seoul Bus and Subway

3. Taxi: KakaoTaxi
Note: It's their version of Uber or Grab.

Ok! Finally, it's the end of my very lengthy post. It feels good to complete something that was due a year ago haha. I hope you guys find some of these information useful. If you've anything cool to share, do share!!! I'd love to know them. Have a lovely week ahead people!