I LEFT MY HEART IN SEOUL - PART II/III

SATURDAY IN SEOUL <3 **insert all the HEART EYES!!**

Is there anything more perfect than an entire free day in a city you've never been to before?? nope. 

Miri and I had rough plans...see the famous BUKCHON HANOK village and go stop by this coffee shop i've been dreaming about seeing that has a vending machine as a door!! But besides that, we didn't really have much else planned. We decided to just roll with it and see what could unfold. 

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A few cosmetics that I bought on Friday (From Stylenanda and toocoolforshool) and the view from where we were staying. I love city life!! 

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So, Miri and I headed to the famous BUKCHON HANOK village and decided we should get breaky on the way. We were a bit hungry so decided to just grab Dunkin Donuts HAHAH. This became even funnier when, later that day, we walked down the same street and realzed there were about 10 other adorable Korean style coffee shops we could have gone to -__- LOL. Buy anyway, it was the fuel we needed on this hot day! 

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TA-DA!!!! This is BUKCHON HANOK VILLAGE, a super famous spot in the city that is basically a few hills lined with traditional Korean houses that people still live in today. Obviously it was super touristy and there were even signs up from the neighbors that said stuff like, "please stop coming here! this is our home!!" which made me feel pretty awkward hahaa. But hey, it's a beautiful beautiful place to see in Seoul. Highly recommended. 

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The village in smack dab in the middle of all these winding streets with cute shops and cafes. We were in search of a nice cold drink (it was super hot and dry out) and stumbled upon one that looked like a library...

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We ordered traditional Korea drinks (I can't remember the name!) but Miri's was fresh ginger soda basically and mine was really fresh lemon and pomegranate soda! So delicious! 

Ok by this time...we were ready for lunch. We decided to find a place that served good BIBIMBAP and gogoled this placed called GOGUNG in Myeondong. It had a bunch of reviews and basically said it was the best BIBIMBAP in all of Seoul so we went to check it out. 

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A few things I love about Korea food 

1. It comes out FAST. Like...we sat down and within 35 seconds the server brought out all these side dishes. YES.
2. It's cheap. This meal cost us only about $10 USD (aaaand not to mention they give you free tea!) 
3. It's spicy. I LOVE SPICEEEE!!!! And everything in Korea is spicier than average. UHHHMAZINGGGG.

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GLORY GLORY HALLELUJAH. This is the standard BIBIMBAP from GOGUNG. A bunch of amazing pickled veggies, hot sauce, ground meat, salty seaweed, and a raw egg atop fluffy rice. I want to eat this every day. 

 

Ok so after lunch we cruised on over to a different area of town to find this coffee shop I had been dreaming about for a while. I saw a photo of this place on insta and immediately knew I had to come! Does it seem like our whole day was driven by food? haha. 

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ZAPANGI!!! Apparently, Zapangi literally translates to "vending machine" in Korea which sounds cool to foreigners but must sound weird if you speak Korean? Anyway...some brilliant human decided to make the front door of this coffee shop look like a pink vending machine that you walk into. GENIUS. 

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Upon walking inside, I was immediately in awe of the delicious looking sweets for sale. WHAAAT!!!!! They really know the way to a girls heart. 

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I got this strawberry cake in the cutest tin can and Miri got a crazy rainbow latte thing. I almost didn't eat it because it was so aesthetically pleasing!!!! MY GOODNESS. 

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Also can we just give a hand to the interior design in this place **clap clap** Whoever these Korean cafe creators are really know what is on trend and what is going to bring in that young, hip, instagram generation. 

 

Ok so after our little afternoon coffee... we walked around a local market on our way back into the city.

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KIM CHEEEEE EVERYTHING!!! WOWOWOWOWW. Side note: I used to be really obsessed with Kim-chee until I realized it was made with fish sauce and other questionable sea items hahaaa (I can see my brothers both rolling their eyes as I type this) 

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All kinds of Korean style fried chicken. yummmmmm.

 

Well, that's part II of my SEOUL post and only half of what we did on Saturday. More to come!!!

I LEFT MY HEART IN SEOUL - PART I/III

Earlier this month, my good friend Miri and I hopped on a short 2 hour flight from Tokyo --> Seoul for a weekend of spicy food, cheap cosmetics, and insta-worthy sweets! We had been planning this trip for a while now and since neither of us had ever been to South Korea before... we were stoked! 

We flew in on a Friday morning, stayed three nights, and flew back on Monday night.
It was... dare-I-say... the absolute-most-perfect-seoul-weekend-EVER.

Here's part I of our trip: 

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Fun fact : the food at INCHEON airport is AMAZING. Our flight landed around noon, and we decided to grab a bite to eat before exiting the airport and it ended up being such a smart move! There is a place called Korean Food Street right when you exit customs which is basically a restaurant where you can taste all the classic Korean dishes! I loved the bean sprout pancake (bindaetteok) that was HUGE and was served with the most delicious pickled onions! YUMMMM. 

 

After that, we took an awesome bus ($15) that dropped us off right in the heart of SEOUL. The bus system from Incehon to the city is incredible!! I was so impressed by the ease of buying tickets, the location of the bus stops, and the comfort of the buses themselves! The ride into the city is over an hour so starting well was the BEST.

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We dropped our bags off at our place in MYEONGDONG and decided to go check out some shops. We stopped dead in our tracks when we saw this beautiful icecream.

 

Ok first cosmetics stop...STYLENANDA. They actually have this shop in Tokyo, but I knew I had to check out the main shop in MYEONGDONG. Get ready for the most dreamy make-up store ever! 

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OKAY...THIS LINE OF MAKE-UP (blush) WAS JUST TOO CUTE TO BE TRUE. OMMGGGAAHHHHHH.

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The building was 6 or 7 floors...make-up, fashion, and a cafe. UGHHHH they KNOW WHAT WE WANT!!! haha.

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This floor of accessories and under garments was called "LAUNDRY" ...CUTEST THING EVER. 

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The top floor was a denim shop with a cafe...all POOL themed because WHY NOT!??

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And...a cosmetic store wouldn't be complete without a rooftop chill nap spot with pink and white fluffy pillows - right!?? INSTAWORTHY. 

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MYEONGDONG reminds me a lot of Shibuya...only a little less crowded and a little more sketchy. haha take for example...

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A bunch of street vendors selling LEGIT knock-offs...like all these supreme bags and shirts. You'd never see this kind of thing on the streets in Tokyo.

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After spending some cash on cosmetics, we met up with Miri's high school friend, Jeong, for dinner! Jeong is a local so she knew the best places to take us to. 

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She took us to dinner at this incredible samgyeopsal (pork belly) place that was HANDS DOWN THE BEST SAMGYEOPSAL I HAVE EVER EATEN IN MY LIFEEEEEEE. Nothing can compare to this. This was just I N S A N E. The best part was actually these long garlic leaves that were soaked in vinegar that you used to wrap around the pork like a little slaty, tangy, delicious burrito and OHHHH MAN. I could not stop eating it!!!! 

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Top it off with cold beer and some spicy Tofu soup and my first night in Seoul was already the best of the best. 

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After dinner we walked to a nearby castle to experience some Korean culture and see ladies dressed in Hanbok, traditional Korean dresses. They are so ornate and beautiful!!

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BTW...something I noticed right away in Korea was how much PDA people are ok with! This might have had a greater impact on me considering I live in Japan where people are super ANTI-PDA...like you can hardly tell if people are siblings? friends? enemies? strangers? hahaa jk it's not that bad...but basically I never see anyone show any form of PDA here so it was more shocking to see couples hold hands, hug, and be all lovey dovey in public! 

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This is (ready for it...) GYEONGBOKGUNG, is the largest of the five grand palaces in Korea and a super popular spot of people to visit. 

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I love how detailed and colorful the painting is on these buildings! 

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They had special lights up around the castle that made it a pretty cool spot to check out even at 8pm at night.

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Our last stop for the night was the famous CHEONGGYEONCHEON (say that 5x fast) which is notorious for being a date spot in the city. What made me laugh was when I asked Jeong, "so, have you come here on a date before?" and she answered, "yeah, i've been here with about 5 ex-boyfriends" HAHAHAHA love it. 

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DAY ONE IS SEOUL...AND I WAS ALREADY IN LOVE!!!!

S E O U L <3

Guys, it finally happened! I WENT TO SEOUL!!!!!

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Now, as a resident of Japan for the past 2.5 years...it was about time I hopped on a short 2 hour flight over to our neighboring, Korea. I had been dreaming of this trip for some time now and it was even better than I had imaged!!! I'm currently editing through my photos so I will be posting TONS about my short weekend there. Let's just say...i'll definitely be planning a trip back soon :)