29.1.18

Autumn in Korea 2017, K-Drama Tour Part 1: Hongdae, Myeongdong, Namdaemun

This is it guys!!! The moment we've all (kung maka all eh noh hahaha) been waiting for. I'm finally sharing with you the first K-drama locations I visited during my 7-day solo trip in Seoul, South Korea! As I said in my previous post, I had a week to myself (with Hongdae as my home base) before my family arrives. So being a huge K-drama fan, I spent my alone time exploring, discovering new places and immersing myself in this country's beautiful culture. Photos and stories below...



On my 7th day in Seoul and my 2nd day alone in the city, I decided to walk around Hongdae and visit a few K-drama locations in the area. Through hours of research, I found a few and it was just so surreal seeing each and every one of them. Grabeee, I'm finally fulfilling one of my K-drama dreams! Shempre the ultimate dream is to meet or have a photo with my favorite actors and actresses, but sitting in the same chair as they did or being in the same place as they once were was good enough for a faney like me! :) So armed with my phone (with google maps open), I started my journey...

But first, OOTD! Wearing my new coat which I bought from Myeongdong for 35,000 won & my super comfy Primadonna sneakers :)

 Mantra haha

 Dongmak-ro 3-gil street in Mapo-gu, Seoul!

 Took another photo of this pretty store!

 So many cute shops! Hahaha!

Navigated the streets using my google maps! See that oppa? Cute yan sobra!!! Kinilig ako. Haha. I'm not stalking him okay? Same way lang talaga kami. Lol.


 Hongik University!!!

 Hongdae:) If you go straight you'd reach the market and the area where the street performers are. But I just crossed the street and walked straight.


Passed by this restaurant called Hungry Tiger and decided to eat here!!! 

 Affordable dito bessy! Here's a tip! Convert won to php easily by dividing the amount by 20. 

 They do not have an English menu so I ordered by pointing at the photo. Nagets naman ni ate. Hehe.

I ordered the Beef Bowl topped with Melted Cheese for only 6,000krw or P280. So good and sulit! They also serve free kimchi, water and soup :)

FIRST STOP: 1st Shop of Coffee Prince

I walked some more until I reached Wausan-ro 29ga-gil (it's the name of the street where the cafe is located) in Seogyo-dong. Just type "1st shop of Coffee Prince" on Google Maps and it will come up!


It's on the left side of the road if you're coming from Hongik University. Thanks to the nice pinay who took my pic!:)

 Mejo masukal na gubat ang peg mga bes

Looks familiar ba???

K-Drama TRIVIA: ‘The 1st shop of coffee prince in Hongdae’ is the same cafe which was broadcasted in the 2007 MBC drama ‘The 1st shop of coffee prince’ with Gong Yoo (my love and main oppa) as the lead & Yoon Eun-hye as his love interest. In the series, the cafe was one of the main shooting locations because it was being managed by Choi Han-gyeol (Gong Yoo). 



Ever since it became popular, the owner put up this sign. Baka before, people just come here to take photos. Now you could only enter and take photos if you're a customer and you're actually gonna order something. Wise move! 


Ang strict po

 It looked old and unkempt but still cozy

 Grabbed this photo online. In reality, there were no customers when I got there.

One of the most famous corners inside!

 Hi cutieeee

Where the famous kiss happened! Eeee kilig.


Got the whole cafe all to myself!!! Woots! Thank God for Fujifilm XT10 camera's phone remote haha.

 Photo the owner took

 The shop is filled with memorabilia from the popular drama! May signature pa ng cast including Gong Yoo. Huhu. 


Posted this photo on IG but cropped. This is the original! Obviously I positioned the camera on top of the table (and bag and coat). Self-timer is lifeeee.

 Inavail ko lahat ng corners and tables

 Another group arrived and they're Filipinos! Ang hilig talaga natin sa K-drama. Hihi.

 Menu and price list. Sorry mejo blurry. Since it was cold, I ordered a cup of Cafe Mint Mocha for 8,000 won. Sakit bes. Butas bulsa. But worth it na din coz I was able to take photos inside. Haha.

 This is the ahjussi who owns the coffee shop! He's nice but strict. Anyway, is this counter familiar?

 That's because it's the same counter where the cast took this famous shot.

 I wanted a waffle but mahaliaaa

Stayed there for about an hour before I finally decided to leave and explore more. Prices of their food & drinks might be a bit steep but if you're a k-drama fan and if you loved the series, then it's worth it. Just be careful not to touch or re-arrange anything because you will get scolded by the owners. I've read a lot of reviews online about this. I loved it though and I'm so glad I went!

How to get there?
*Since I'm staying in Hongdae, I just used google maps and walked all the way there. 
*Or you could ride the subway and get off Hongik Univ. station Line No.2 / Hongik Univ. station Line Gyeongui / Hongik Univ. station Airport Railway


 From Coffee Prince cafe, I walked straight along the main road...

 What a unique shop concept! 


2nd Stop: Caffeine Planet
 Crossed the street and walked into this alley. Just type "Caffeine Planet" on Google Maps.

 I couldn't find it at first so I thought I was in the wrong place. But it was there all along! Haha. The place had a few changes pala. 


 This is it! CAFFEINE PLANET! Yup, that's the same building in the drama "Weighlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo"

Lookie!!! OMG this was one of my favorite scenes in the drama.

K-drama Trivia: This is the scene where Jung Nan-Hee (Cho Hye-Jung) sobers up and Bok-Joo (Lee Sung-Kyung) and Lee Sun-Ok (Lee Joo-Young) cool down after they got in a brawl with some men in a restaurant two buildings up the street in episode 3 of MBC Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (역도요정 김복주) (2016-17). This is also the same spot where Jung Joon-Hyung (Nam Joo-Hyuk) grabs Bok-Joo’s hand to flee from the exact same men some minutes later. (source: http://koreandramaland.com/listings/caffeine-planet/)


 Closer look!

 Can't believe I'm standing at the exact same place where Lee Sung Kyung once was haha

How to get there?
Location: 332-19 Wausun-ro 29ba-gil, Seogyo-dong Mapo-gu, Seoul
*Take subway to Hongik University Station, Exit 8


3rd Stop: Hongik Sootbul / Sutbul Galbi

A few steps away from Caffeine Planet, along the main road and near the roundabout (rotonda in short haha) is another Weightlifting Fairy filming location, HONGIK SOOTBUL GALBI! It's a korean barbecue restaurant featured in the drama. 

 They even have stills from the drama displayed in front of the resto

 The wall looks familiar noh? WLFKBJ fans would know!

K-drama Trivia: You would see this location in episode 7 of Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (2016), when Jung Joon-Hyung (Nam Joo-Hyuk) brings Kim Bok-Joo (Lee Sung-Kyung) here to cheer her up. I was alone and I was still full so I did not eat there. Next time!

This place looked familiar! This is the same area where street artists perform! Paikot lang sha haha.

How to get there?
*Location: Corner of Eoulmadang-Ro & Wausan-ro 29-gil
*Nearest subway station: Hongik University, Line 2, Exit 9



Since it was still a bit early, I decided to visit a few more locations. I hopped on a train at Hongik University station and went down at City Hall (coz I had no idea where I wanted to go). I figured I could always use my maps and walk. I love walking especially when its cold! 


 Shoes galore! 

 Love their efficient train system

 Train platform

 Love this station! 

 So I exited and found hundreds of policemen standing outside. Turns out Trump was there for a state visit. Umkay. Thanks Trump andaming pulis! Waaah. Oppas galore.

 Saw this restaurant serving octopus


On my way to Shinsegae Mall, I passed by this beautiful, historic gate called Sungnyemun (Gate of Exalted Ceremonies) also known as Namdaemun (South Great Gate). It's one of the Eight Gates in the Fortress Wall of Seoul, South Korea, which surrounded the city in the Joseon dynasty. The gate is located in Jung-gu between Seoul Station and Seoul Plaza, with the 24-hour Namdaemun market next to the gate. I just love how in the middle of this very modern & busy city, there's this beautiful (and this is just one of many) & majestic piece of history magnificently standing there as a reminder of everything they've been through, everything they've learned and everything they conquered to get to where they are right now. Powerful. :)

Photo of the historic 24-hour Namdaemun market and the 14th century gate during the 19th century

This gate dating back to the 14th century was erected by King Taejo, founder of the Joseon Dynasty. This historic pagoda-style gateway was the first National Treasure of South Korea. It was once one of the three major gateways through Seoul's city walls which had a stone circuit of 18.2 kilometres (11.3 mi) and stood up to 6.1 metres (20 ft) high. It was first built in the last year of King Taejo of Joseon's reign in 1398, and rebuilt in 1447. In 2008, the wooden pagoda atop the gate was severely damaged by arson. Restoration work on the gateway started in February 2010 and was completed on 29 April 2013. The gate was reopened on 4 May 2013. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namdaemun)

Namdaemun or Sungnyemun is one of the Eight Gates in the Fortress Wall of Seoul which surrounded the city in the Joseon Dynasty 

 Namdaemun market is literally just a few steps away

 Namdaemun Market at the present timee


Namdaemun Market is one of the oldest continually running traditional markets in South Korea, and one of the largest retail markets in Seoul. This market actually dates back to 1414 during the Joseon era as a government managed marketplace. In 1608, King Seonjo set up an office in the district to manage the tributes of rice, cloth and money. A trading marketplace took its form around that time and commercial activities flourished as traders set up various shops. Trade was active in grains, fish, fruit, and miscellaneous goods. 






Over the years, the area has been damaged by fire, controlled by the Japanese, ruined by Korean War until it finally opened in 1964. Now it has over 10,000 stalls selling a variety of items such as clothes, glasses, kitchenware, toys, mountain gear, fishing equipment, stationery, fine arts, accessories, hats, carpets, flowers, ginseng, and imported goods. They say it's also the best place to buy a camera in Seoul! 








The market is located between City Hall and Seoul Station and a few minutes walk to Shinsegae Department store. You could easily get here by riding a train to Hoehyeon Station, Exit 5

 Hoehyeon station , Exit 5 is located at the center of the market



Saw another affordable resto on my way to Shinsegae Mall

 Tip: Servings in Korea are usually for 2. So u could save money by splitting the food with someone!:)


4th Stop: SHINSEGAE DEPARTMENT STORE
Finally! 

The main branch of Shinsegae Department Store currently stands where Korea's first department store, the Japanese Misreukkosi Department Store, used to be in the 1930s. After undergoing remodeling in 2007, it reopened as a luxury hall, featuring diverse brands ranging from the top three international luxury brands to new designer brands. Meanwhile, Trinity Garden and the art gallery at the department store provide a cultural space that promotes a new lifestyle combining shopping and arts. In addition, its location in central Seoul offers plentiful sightseeing opportunities with easy access to such tourist attractions as Namsan Mountain and Namdaemun Market.

You could take the subway going to Hoehyeon Station, Exit 7. It's the nearest to the mall.

Looks familiar???

  It is also Ae Ra's work station in the drama Fight For My Way

My photo. Same spot in the drama!

Marker is that Jo Malone counter

Park Seo-joon as Ko Dong-man waiting for his bestfriend Ae Ra


K-Drama Trivia: Choi Ae-raA (Lee Han-seo) is a strong and sassy girl. She's working as a department store employee at the information desk but dreams of becoming an announcer. A lot of scenes were shot inside Shinsegae Department Store where she works!:)


Same hallway where Ae Ra walked!

Here she is in the show! Same MAC and Chanel counters minus the flower decors.

Episode 9 of Legend of the Blue Sea

The mall was also featured in the popular drama Legend of the Blue Sea! In Episode 9-- Sim Cheong (Jun Ji-Hyun) and Heo Joon-Jae (Lee Min-Ho) shops inside the mall to scam a rich real estate mogul and his fiancée from Dubai.


Outside the old wing of the mall is this beautiful fountain! I'm sure K-drama fans recognize this place! Malas ko lang it was not lighted that night huhu. The next day, I saw it all lit up but I was not able to go back na to take photos. So, okay nato. Haha.

My photo! I swear, this is the same fountain minus the lights. Haha.


Still from the drama Legend of the Blue Sea. Same db? Hehe

This is where Sim Cheong waited for Heo Joon Jae, only to be kidnapped!

Hello, it's me. Haha!

K-Drama Trivia: In the drama Legend of the Blue Sea, there's a scene where Sim Cheong & Heo Joon Jae stops in front of the fountain. And then Heo Joon Jae (Lee Min Ho) tells Sim Cheong to wait for him because he wants to surprise her with the pink octopus stuffed toy. But Heo Joon Jae got arrested before he could give the toy and Sim Cheong got kidnapped.

 Still from the drama:)

There's also a scene (Episode 9) from Goblin where the Grim Reaper & Sunny was having a conversation right across this fountain! 

How to get here:
*You could ride the subway going to HOEHYEON Station, Exit 7 (the subway is connected to the store)
* Take a bus and get off here: 
 Front of Shinsegae Department Store Bus Stop: Green bus 0014, 7013 / Blue bus 406, 503, 505 / Red bus 9502
Next to Shinsegae Department Store Bus Stop: Red bus 1016 / Blue bus 0014, 7013
Hoehyeon Station Bus Stop: Green bus 0031, 0014, 0211 / Blue bus 104, 105, 202, 304, 504, 507, 604, 700 / Red bus 952 / Airport bus 606-1
 Namdaemun Market Bus Stop: Green bus 0015, 0016, 7017, 7021, 7022, 7023 / Blue bus 103, 143, 151, 163, 201, 262, 401, 500, 501, 506, 701, 702, 704, 708 / Red bus 0014, 7013 / Yellow bus 01 


After Shinsegae, I still had a few hours before the last train so I decided to cross the street and explore Myeongdong again! 

Dapat pala bumili ako nito

Ola, Myeongdong 

Saw this stall in Myeongdong and decided to try one of Korea's famous street food, Tteokbokki or stir fried spicy rice cake! Shempre I also ate my favorite fish cake on the side. NOMNOM.

Texture is similar to malagkit or bilo-bilo. It's chewy and a bit sweet. The sauce is salty and spicy. Yum. Fish cake naman tastes like fishball. Fave!!! Paid 3,000krw for these.

Bought a hot sweet potato for 2,000krw

Finally tried another famous street food, hot egg buns! It was just okay for me. Not very spectacular. Paid 2,000krw for a bun.

Artsy ice cream!

 More stalls at the Myeongdong Underground Shopping Center! I bought more socks here and K-pop merchandise for my niece. :)


I got home before midnight and just bought a few snacks from the convenience store at the train station. Had to rest and gain more strength for the coming days as I explore more K-drama locations! Thanks for reading and hope this post helped you plan for your next trip. :) Saranghaeyo!


BUDGET (Airfare, Accommodations, Others in PHP)
Airfare - 5,700
Airport Tax - 1,620 (mine was c/o KTO but will include for total)
Accommodation (family, 5 nights) -  3,825
Accommodation (solo, 7 nights) - 3,780
Portable WiFi - 2.050
________________________________
TOTAL = P16,975


Budget for Solo Travel Day 1& 2 (KRW/Won)

T-Money load - 10,000
Convenience store purchases - 10,000
KFC dinner - 7,000
Socks - 4,400
Black coat (same as my brown one haha)- 30,000
_____________________________
TOTAL = 61,400 won or P2,941


Budget for Solo Travel Day 3 (KRW/Won)
Lunch at Hungry Tiger - 6,000
Coffee at Coffee Prince - 8,000
Street food at Myeongdong - 7,000
Convenience Store buys - 6,000
_______________________________
TOTAL = 27,000 or P1296


*budget depends on shopping habits and food preferences




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