Thursday, January 29, 2015

Travelogue: Winter in Seoul Part 4 (Changdeokgung, Samcheongdong, Hongdae)

It was sunny this day and I expected no snow falling from the sky. True enough, there weren't any falling but there were so many fallen. I was happy that on this day, I finally got to see what I came to Seoul for - snow. 
Changdeokgung - being a UNESCO world heritage site, you would expect nothing less from this palace. True enough, it lived up to such. The Secret Garden is an added tour worth going for. It was just stunning! The whole tour including the Secret Garden lasted about 2 hours. There are slopes and hills and some parts are a bit slippery so make sure you wear the right shoes if you ever visit. Entrance to is 5,000.00KRW and an additional 3,000.00KRW will be charged if you want to visit the Secret Garden (you have a choice to go or not). You can only enter the Secret Garden in a guided tour.

There are 5 palaces - including a shrine - that you can visit and purchase just one ticket (about 10,00KRW if I am not mistaken) but my mom and I decided not to. We've already been to Gyeongbokgung the first time we were here and is considered as the largest of them all. It is also known for the changing of guards ceremony which we were lucky enough to catch last time. The other 3 sites may be worth visiting if you have the time. Otherwise, I would recommend just Changdeokgung and Gyeongbokgung. Also, their palaces have basically the same architecture so you get the gist. 

Samcheongdong - this is our favorite neighborhood in Seoul. The vibe is eccentric and a bit artistic; you will find various murals as you walk along the street; stalls selling handmade/homemade stuff like jewelry, organic food, shopping bags are also present. The stores you will find here have that indie and artistic vibe - very different from what you will usually find in malls but quite pricey if you ask me. Nevertheless, that did not stop us from coming back here and simply just looking around. They also have a lot of cute themed cafes here so if you suddenly find yourself hungry or just want to sit down and warm yourself up, you have a lot of options. This also happens to be the neighborhood where we saw the Hello Kitty cafe last time which is another reason for us to go back. Unfortunately, it was shut down - or so we think. It was near a stall that sells quirky and eccentric toys but we didn't see it there anymore. 

Hongdae - since we couldn't find Hello Kitty cafe anymore in Samcheongdong, I suggested we go to Hongdae where the original one is. It was a bit difficult to find because the locals are unaware of it. I thought it was quite a popular cafe but when we asked people around, they have no idea where it is - or what it is. So we decided to just ask for Trick-eye Museum as I know it is located near there. We found the museum but it still took us a while before we finally saw the pink establishment. Turns out it was located at the next street. Unfortunately, this branch is also shut down. It was replaced by another cafe. I could still see the markings of the signage that says "Hello Kitty" but it was already removed. If any of you knows where they relocated or if they have any other branches, please do let me know. Next time I visit Seoul, I'll be sure to check it out.

Though our initial intention of going here is because of Hello Kitty Cafe, my mom and I were happy to look around. We didn't reach the part where there are street performers as my mom was worried we'd get lost - which already happened 3 times since we arrived - so we decided to stick to just one part. We saw the Coffee Prince cafe though I am not sure if this is the original one as it looks so much different from the one I know of (yes, I watched the drama so I know how it looks like). Or maybe they renovated? We also happened to stumble upon this area that sells so many clothes and shoes at very affordable prices. Priced for students perhaps? I bought a pair of brown boots for only 10,000.00KRW which is about 400.00PHP. I will go back here again just to shop. I was stunned to see a 3-story building of Forever 21 and H&M here. I never thought they were that popular here as well. Can you just imagine how much clothes are in there? Heaven for addicts like me!

Our second day was truly well spent and memorable. Aside from Samcheongdong, Hongdae has become another favorite of mine. I will make sure to allot more time in looking around Hongdae next time we visit Seoul. 

Watch out for Nami Island and Petite France on my next post.


  1. wow!! I loved the photos it looks like the perfect place to take OOTDS right? Hope to visit someday :)

    1. Oh yes! The best spot for OOTD's. Plus the snow in the background...magical!

  2. Wonderful place ! Your photos are beautiful, thank you for this travel in pictures :)

    1. Thank you! I am glad to bring you on a journey through my pictures.