SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
We were happy to learn that our second trip with Indah Tour would be our first ever visit to South Korea! We had a great time together on our previous trip to Taiwan, so we were very much looking forward to another crazy and amazing adventure together with the whole bunch.
Now, to be honest and totally real, South Korea wasn’t on the top of our bucket list of countries to visit beforehand. We had a phase in University where we loved Big Bang and listened to their songs, but other than that, we weren’t crazy junkies over K-Pop or Korean Dramas that are super popular here in Indonesia. But when we found out our next destination would be South Korea, we were happy in the sense that this was a country we had never visited before and excited for a new experience!
After our trip, we can tell you guys that honestly, South Korea exceeded our expectations! Above and beyond. We were quite pleasantly surprised and would recommend anyone to visit (even if you aren’t K-Pop or Korean Drama obsessed)! First of all, our trip was from the 3rd – 7th of April. This is a fabulous time to as it is the beginning of Spring and Sakura season. Yup, it’s not just Japan that boasts a beautiful sea of cherry blossoms, South Korea has it too! We came at just the perfect time as the cherry blossoms were in full bloom during our trip. This was our very first time experiencing and witnessing Sakura Season, so we were absolutely thrilled.
I’ll start from the beginning – where we went and what we did from day one. Indah Tour planned a great itinerary for us that included everything from eating, shopping, sightseeing to of course – visiting Instagramable places! :D
- Arrive at Incheon Int’l Airport
- Travel to Seoul (about 1.5 hours)
- Check in at the Grand Ambassador Hotel
- Dinner at Ginseng Chicken Soup Restaurant near Gwanghwamun Square
- Visit the Trick Eye Museum in Hongdae area
- Free time wandering the pretty streets of Hongdae
During this time, we decided to visit the newly opened café above the StyleNanda shopping store called Pink Pool Café. The interior is all pink, they have a miniature pool area and everything is just super duper Instagramable. Even their desserts were the cutest. You definitely have to give this place a visit!
Towards our way back to the main road, we passed by another all pink decorated café called Carin Hongdae Lounge. We didn’t have time to stop by for a cup of hot tea but I did manage to take a quick shot of it! Love how there were so many well designed interior shops/cafés and restaurants in the city like this.
- Yeouido Hangang Park, Seoul
We visited this beautiful park that was lined with blooming Sakura trees left and right. Everyone was walking on the sidewalks below the cherry blossoms and stopped every 5 minutes to try and capture the perfect shot – including us! The park was buzzing with people enjoying the chill Spring weather, delicious Korean street food and of course walking below the gorgeous sea of Sakura trees!
- Gangnam District
Now, everyone’s heard THAT Gangnam song by Psy right? Well this is the area that it’s named after! It’s a posh Korean area filled with high end brands for shopping, cafés and restaurants. I loved wandering the streets of this area as well (mostly window shopping). We did however get ourselves hella baked at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse! Their chocolate croissants are super delicious! Head to the second floor of their bakery, order a coffee and you can people watch for hours! Also, if you spot a really cute pink car on the side of the road, don’t be afraid to take a picture by (or on) it. We totally did.
- Lotte Tower Observatory, Lotte Tower Mall
Go up 123 floors in the tallest building in Seoul and feast your eyes on stunning views of the city.
- National Ginseng Center
- Common Ground Shopping, Gyongridan St. and Itaewon shopping town
You want to take a photo at that famous all-blue background? Well this is the place! Take your shot and do a bit of shopping afterwards.
- K-Turtle restaurant for a traditional KOREAN BBQ dinner (SO YUM!!)
You can’t visit South Korea and not have Korean BBQ. That’s just a crime. My favorite Korean dish has got to be hands down Korean BBQ. If you’re traveling in a big group, this place is great + serves very delicious BBQ!
- Checked out the night life at Itaewon
Other than Gangnam, this is definitely the area if you’re searching for a night out with friends. Either for drinks at a bar/lounge or dancing the night away at a club, this street is perfect for that. We stumbled upon this bar called Prost. This place has a good crowd (mixture of locals and tourists) and we had a fantastic time (we went here two nights in a row, lol). If you’re into dancing and pulsating music, go straight to Cakeshop. A tiny, underground club, yet has this fun/insane energy. We’re told this is a favorite spot of Korean celebs.
- Visit Bukchon Hanok Village and choose our very own traditional South Korean Hanbok to wear.
I absolutely loved this experience. We went to one of the many shops in this area that allows you to rent an entire outfit for a couple of hours. We had the opportunity to choose our own traditional tops, skirts, handbags and even hair accessories to wear. Just around the corner are traditional Korean houses that people can take pictures in front of for those authentic Korean snapshots. We felt we were transported to a Korean period drama. What an experience!
- Café Bora (Samcheong-dong Street)
About a 15-minute walk from the Hanbok shop is a small café called Café Bora that serves the most delicious dessert! We ordered the purple sweet potato soft swerve, sweet potato bingsoo, strawberry soft serve and sweet potato latte. My personal favorite was the strawberry soft serve – soo yummy!
- Head towards Seoul Train Station and take a 2-hour bullet train to Busan
Like I said in the beginning, Seoul really surprised us in the most pleasant way. We loved getting to know the culture, sights, different foods and lovely people. I would definitely recommend you visit Seoul in the Spring time during Sakura season or in the Fall when all the leaves turn gorgeous shades of orange, yellow and red!
You might have noticed I stopped right after mentioning our bullet train we took to Busan. Busan is South Korea’s second largest city and has many things to offer on it’s own. Stay tuned to our next post where we dedicate our second leg of our South Korean trip to Busan!