Posts Tagged With: Seoul

What I bought in Korea

Seoul is a shopping paradise for me! Here are a few of the things I bought.

Myeongdong – Cosmetics

My friends and I bought lots and lots of cosmetics when we were in Myeongdong.

1)      Laneige Firming sleeping pack 50ml (30,000 won) & Laneige Water sleeping pack 80ml (25,000 won).  Singapore selling at S$49 & S$45 respectively.

2)      Innisfree, Korea’s No. 1 natural cosmetic brand will be launching its first flagship store in Singapore this November. I bought their Green Ginseng Scalp Tonic for 10,000 won.

3)      I also bought the Faceshop Lip and eye remover. After trying their sample tester in Singapore, I felt that this make-up remover is very suitable for me as I have sensitive skin. It can even remove my waterproof mascara.

4)      To compliment the make-up remover, I bought the Faceshop’s rice water cleanser. This cleanser doesn’t dry my skin and gives a milky feeling after rinsing off. I love it so much.

5)      The Faceshop facial mist, could be used for travelling. Keeps the skin refreshed and moisturized. Costs 6,900 each

6)      I couldn’t resist buying the Faceshop rose cushion blusher costs less than S$4!

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7)      Innisfree sunblock lotion (below) at 12,000 won. Once you apply it, effective results could be seen immediately. Your skin instantly turns fairer and moisturized.

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8)      Etude House Hello Kitty travel perfume makes a very cute gift to your friends.  It is around 5 x 5cm in size and comes in 3 different fragrance. Costs around 5,000 won each. (pic below)

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9)      Assorted Masks from Innisfree, Missha, It’s Skin, Beyond, Faceshop and many others. Prices start from 1,000 won onwards.

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Lotte Supermarket, Seoul – Food

1)      Seaweed – You can find lots of it in the supermarket. It is one of the MUST BUY items in Korea. Don’t buy them at the airport or off the streets as it is more expensive. You can get it at a cheaper price in the supermarket.

2)      Ramyeon (ramen) – Korean instant noodles. I bought the one in the picture (after some sample tasting from the makeshift counter). Definitely cheaper than what is found in Singapore.

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3)      Choco pie – This marshmallow-filled chocolate biscuit cake is one of my favorite snacks in Korea. You can find this in Singapore also, at a higher price.

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4)      Market O real brownie is another of my favorite snack. Each brownie is packed individually, making it a convenient gift to colleagues and friends.

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5)      Market O choco crispy compliments the real brownie. Also individually packed.

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6)  O’sulloc Wedding Green Tea – This is something that I cannot find in Singapore. It costs 15,000 won per box. Alternatively, you may visit the O’sulloc store at Myeongdong for more variety though the cost is the same.

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Ehwa Women’s University / Hongdae – Accessories

1)      Accessories – These can be found all over the streets of Ehwa, Hongdae and Dongdaemun. The prices are much cheaper in Ehwa Women’s University compared to Dongdaemun. Per necklace & earrings costs around 10,000 to 12,000 won.

It is difficult to find unique designs of such necklaces & earrings in Singapore, even if found, it costs around $20+ or more. I saw a pair of similar earrings in Singapore that costs $45.

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2)      Make up pouch/bag (18cm in length) – costs 5,900 to 6,900 won. I found exactly the same pouch for $29.90 in Singapore.

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3)      Cute paper clips (around 5cm in length) which I managed to find it along the streets of Hongdae. It makes a cute gift for friends. (3 for 5,000 won)

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4)      Handmade camera case which I found at one of the shops in Ehwa Women’s University. (5,000 won)

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5)      Korean fashion – Clothes, bags and shoes could be bought at these areas. Similar clothes and shoes could be found in Dongdaemun at a higher price, make sure you do your research in order not to get ripped off.

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Categories: Korea, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Discovering Cafes in Korea

As there are simply too many nice cafes to visit in Korea, I’m just going to list some of them that I’ve been to, during my 5 days trip to Korea. Most of them are cafes which we stopped over for drinks or dessert.

Beans Bins

163-19, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Tel: +82 2 325 0737
Nearest Train Station: HongikUniversity station

Website: www.beansbins.com

Beans Bins can be found all around Seoul, it’s a speciality coffee and waffles café chain. We went to the outlet in Hongdae, which is located on the second level. As my friends are green tea lovers, we ordered the green tea waffle with green tea ice cream. Though I’m not a green tea fan, but I felt that this waffle is worth trying and surprisingly it tasted great! Firm and warm waffles, crispy on the outside and soft inside. As for my drinks, I ordered a banana nut milkshake which tasted exactly as what I expected it to be.IMG_4860

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Caffé Bene

Caffé Bene is another coffeehouse chain in Seoul. This is my favorite café in Korea! We went to the outlet in Ehwa. To arrive at this place, take the Seoul subway and alight at Ehwa Women’s University (exit 2). The café is situated outside Ehwa Women’s University, just beside Zoo Coffee. This café is so special and cozy, I was reluctant to leave! And did I mention that the food is fantastic too?? Their honey cheese thick toast is out of this world, I can never find such great tasting thick toast in Singapore. The blueberry yoghurt waffles are amazingly nice too. The outlet in Ehwa has 2 levels and we are seated on the 2nd level where the bookshelves are.

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This is the first level in Caffé Bene.
There is even a desktop for customers to surf the web or for students to do some research while drinking their coffee.

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The 2nd level of Caffe Bene where we had our brunch at the cozy corner.

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Miss Lee Café

Miss Lee Cafe is famous for their Lunch Box Meal and if you are a follower of the ‘We Got Married’ Korean reality Tv programme, you should definitely visit this café. We visited the outlet in Myeongdong.  It is situated towards the end of Myeongdong shopping area. Nearest train station would be Myeongdong station. There’s another outlet at Insadong though. This is ranked my 2nd favourite café out of all the cafes that I’ve been to during this trip. It is another special café which serves very delicious lunch box Kimchi rice. I am not a fan of kimchi and don’t like kimchi, but this rice lunch box meal tasted exceptionally good and do not have the sour taste of kimchi at all because the kimchi in this lunch box is thoroughly cooked. My friends and I missed this lunch box meal very much when we were back to Singapore. Their refreshing dessert contains countless of ingredients which surprisingly tasted great with everything mixed together.

You can check out their official website at: http://www.missleecafe.com/

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Look for this building in Myeongdong

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The dessert (top left), which contains countless ingredients, consists of watermelon, banana, kiwi, mochi, coco crunch, red bean, ice cream, sun flower seeds, pineapple, cherry tomatoes and other ingredients which I lost count! This sweet dessert is cold and refreshing especially during the hot summer in Seoul. The Lunch box kimchi rice (bottom left), consisted mainly of kimchi, seaweed, sunny-side-up egg and luncheon meat. This simple lunch box rice is so addictive I could eat it everyday. The rice barley drink (top right) is cooling and mildly sweet. The coconut & sesame biscuit (bottom right) is too hard for us.
None of us liked this biscuit.

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The cute looking handmade menu (top left) has a cloth cover and in the menu, they even teach you how to eat prepare the lunch box meal before eating. (bottom right) The café sells cute little items and candy too. (Top right)

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Café Schneeballen

358-30 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Tel: 02-308-8577

Nearest Train Station: Hongik University station

Website: www.schneeballenkorea.com

We managed to find this café in Hongdae after searching for it. We first knew about this café when we searched online and heard good reviews about it. This is actually a pastry originating from Germany. This German cookie looks like a snowball and besides the classical ones dusted with confectioner’s sugar, there are recipes glazed with chocolate and nuts. What was fun about this café is that you get to ‘smash’ the cookie up at the cracking zone. We ordered one chocolate ball to share; its texture is like the magnum ice cream’s chocolate coating, cold and flaky, after it had been cracked.

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Angel-in-us Coffee

We always wanted to visit the Angel-in-us coffee in Seoul as we heard that their waffles are superb. However, there are simply too many cafes in Hongdae that we did not managed to visit Angel-in-us, not until we went to Busan. We happened to spot this café and took a break after we finished our scenery viewing at Taejongdae. You can take bus no. 101 from the bus stop opposite Busan train station and alight at Taejongdae (태종대). You can easily spot this café from across the street.

Sad to say, their waffles tasted nothing out of the ordinary. Probably I had high expectations of this café. However, my friend loved their lime yoghurt drink a lot. It is highly recommended. The berry yoghurt drink tasted good too, you might want to try it too.

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Take out coffee

Nearest Train station: Toseong Station

Take-out coffee is a small unique café that we discovered within Gamcheon Culture village. To get to Gamcheon Culture village, take Subway Line 1 (accessible from Busan Station) to Toseong Station. Come out from Exit 6. You will be facing an intersection. Turn right at the corner and walk straight. You will see a hospital on your right. The bus stop is right in front of the hospital. Take either Bus 2 or 2-2. This will take you to Gamcheon Culture Village at top of the hill.

I was quite fascinated with this café although they sell ordinary smoothie drinks and certain biscuits. This is because the whole café is very nicely decorated.

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They sell really cute penguin cookies! (bottom left) We noticed the 2 little ‘farmers’ sitting at the window ledge (top left). The café interior brick wall is neatly decorated with unique items. (top right)

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(From top left) At the corridor of the café, walls are painted with beautiful flowers. We ordered a refreshing lime juice drink to quench our thirst. (bottom right).

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O’sulloc Tea House

47-1 Myeong-dong 1-ga, Jung-gu,

Seoul, South Korea

Tel: 02-774-5460

Nearest train station: Myeongdong Station

 

O’sulloc is a place where tea lovers should go! If you are a green tea lover, you definitely must try their green tea latte and ice cream. How to get there:  Take the Seoul Subway line 4 and alight at Myeongdong Station, Exit 6. Upon exiting the station, turn left onto Myeongdong 8-gil. Go straight about 400m, until you see O´sulloc Tea House on the right. The Tea house sells a wide variety of tea and there are sample tea leaves for customers to smell the fragrance. My favorite tea would be the Wedding Green Tea. This tea is highly recommended for people who love floral rose fragrance. The floral fragrance is sweet and dreamy, giving a hint of rose petals and marigold. It is 15,000 won per box (10 individually wrapped sachets).

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The green tea waffles (top right) contains mochi in it. Therefore the waffle is crispy on the outside, but chewy inside. The toast (bottom left) contains chewy green tea mochi similar to the mochi in the waffles. Green tea latte (top left) is a MUST try for green tea lovers. The green tea swiss roll (bottom right) is sweet and the cream is very light and fluffy.

That’s all for the cafes that I visited. There are many other special cafes which you should visit in Korea. If you are an animal lover, you should definitely visit the Thanks Nature Café where you will get a chance to have a close encounter with sheep! We initially wanted to visit Thanks Nature café but those sheep were not in the café that day due to the hot summer weather. Thanks Nature Café could be found in Hongdae.

You might also want to visit the Lily Cat Café if you are a cat lover or the Dog café if you are a dog lover; both cafes can be found in Myeongdong. I hope to visit Korea again soon to visit those cafes which I missed out on. Sigh… I miss Korea so much!

Categories: Food, Korea, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colours of Seoul & Busan (5 Days Itinerary)

It’s been about 5 years since my last trip to Korea. This time, I’m going by free and easy instead of a guided tour, which makes my trip more personalized and exciting.

9th Aug 2013 (Myeongdong & Dongdaemun)

Upon arriving at Incheon Airport, if you are the kind of person who likes to be connected to the world all the time, you definitely should rent the wibro egg which allows you and your friends to get connected to wi-fi at around S$10 per day (the cost can be shared among all of you who are going together). You could rent the wibro egg at the airport (Passenger Terminal 1st Floor).

However, in Seoul itself, there are many cafes which provided free wi-fi, you just need to get the password from them. Sometimes, they might even share that password on the receipt itself.

From outside the airport, we took bus no. 6015 to the hotel we are staying, PJ Hotel, alighting at Chungmuro station. After leaving our luggage at the hotel lobby, we proceeded to MyeongDong for our first day of shopping! I love Seoul so much! It’s so convenient to get to Myeongdong as there is a shuttle bus service by the hotel direct to Myeongdong or Dongdaemun. If you miss the shuttle bus timing, the Euljiro-3ga Mrt station is just 10mins walk away from the hotel.

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Our Hotel Bedroom! 3 of us shared a room. There is even a small dining area with television and coffee machine. It’s a great area for us to chill at night with some beer and chips after a long day outside.

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This is the dressing table and wardrobe

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The bathroom consisted of a bathtub towards the left side and shower room on the right side of the toilet. It’s very spacious!

PJ Hotel

73-1 Inhyeon-Dong 2-Ga, Jung-Gu, 100-282 Seoul

Tel: 02-2280-7000

Website: http://eng.hotelpj.co.kr/

Nearest Train station: Euljiro-3ga station

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Hotel shuttle bus timing and route

Arriving at Myeongdong, we almost went crazy with the Annual August hot summer sales. In Myeongdong, they sell mostly beauty products, shops like Etude House, Faceshop, Innisfree, Missha, NatureRepublic, etc are side by side. In total, we spent more than S$1000 on that day itself on beauty products and cosmetics alone. I will elaborate more on my next few posts on the things I bought from Seoul. We decided to give our tired legs some rest after the whole day of shopping by watching Nanta Cooking show at Myeongdong. The tickets could be booked online in advanced.

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The Summer sale is only held in August. Lots of freebies would be given out in Myeongdong in most of those cosmetics shops.

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Cosmetics shops line side by side in the streets of Myeongdong

After watching the show, we proceeded to eat Bulgogi dinner and more late night shopping at Dongdaemun (Exit from line 1 or 4 of Dongdaemun station). Dongdaemun sells mainly clothes and certain accessories, bags, some shoes, etc..

10th Aug 2013 (Ehwa & Hongdae)

We took the train from Euljiro-3ga station and alight at Ehwa Women’s University station (exit 2). Ehwa sells mainly clothes, accessories, bags & shoes (prices are much cheaper than Dongdaemun.) Occasionally, you will see a few shops selling beauty products. There are many cafes in Ehwa and Hongdae. You might just walk into any café for a rest before you continue your shopping spree. I will elaborate more on the cafes I went in the next post.

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There are alot of sweet dreamy clothes and accessories shops in Ehwa. Since the prices are alot cheaper than Dongdaemun, I prefer to shop at this place.

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Rows and rows of clothes and accessories shops. There are also many cafes in Ehwa compared to Myeongdong and Dongdaemun.

After our lunch, we went to Hongdae, alighting at Hongik University Station (exit 5), Hongdae is a place with many cafes and shops selling clothes and accessories. The prices are almost as cheap as Ehwa. If you have time, you may want to visit the hair salon or do a manicure in Hongdae.

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Many cafes line the streets of Hongdae

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We came across a very special Hair salon and nail palor! Reminds me of a gingerbread house..

Our main purpose of going to Hongdae is to visit the 3D Trick eye Museum. This is a MUST go place in Seoul! It’s fun and interesting, anyone will love it. Look at the pictures below and you will know what I mean. Since we were there on a Saturday, the crowd is expected. However, I didn’t know that many young children and elderly also enjoyed going to this museum.

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There’s also the Ice museum just beside the 3D museum. They provided a small blanket before you enter the Ice museum. However, I suggest that you might want to wear more clothes before you enter this museum. For just around 10-15 minutes of viewing ice sculptures, the ice cold temperature in the museum wore me down physically and mentally as I was wearing sleeveless and shorts that day. But it was one of the experiences one will never forget.

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Some parts of the Ice museum are interactive, where you get to play on the slides and crawl into the igloo.

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At night, we went to one of the most well-known pub in Hongdae, Castle Praha; for our dinner and some drinks. The place is magnificent! They sell limited choices of western food but a wide variety of alcohol, beer, cocktails.

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The Magnificent Castle Praha. It looks beautiful during the day too.

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We ordered a simple mushroom and ham pizza and beer/ cocktail. The pizza tasted alright (nicer than a few that I’ve tried)

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The interior looks like a castle too

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Our dining area on the 2nd level

11th Aug 2013 (Busan)

On our third day, we decided to go for a 1 day trip to Busan. From Seoul station, we boarded the 6.40am KTX high speed railway train and had our breakfast in the train. You should reserve a 1-day KR Pass at the Korail website, have it printed and present it with your passport at the Travel Centre counter. The staff will check the reservation form against your passport and he/she will print a card with the date on it. With this card, you have to go to the ticketing counters located near the entrance of the Seoul Station to get your train ticket. It’s preferably that you get the return ticket as well unless you’re unsure about your return timing. The journey from Seoul to Busan takes around 3 hours.

The website where you can get your pass: http://www.letskorail.com/ebizbf/EbizBfIndex_eng.do

 

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KTX highspeed railway train to Busan

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I love this train! A table is available for us to have our meals on board the train.
The seats are comfortable enough for us to have a short nap.

From Busan station, we took bus no. 101 from a bus stop across the road and alight at Taejongdae (태종대). From there, we took a Danubi tram to the various stops for scenery viewing, mainly; observatory deck, lighthouse and Ji Woo Photo gallery.

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The Danubi tram which took us up to view the scenery.

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The lighthouse

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beautiful cliff

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At the Photo gallery~

After some scenic views, we had a light lunch at a café and took the subway from Busan station to Toseong station (Exit 6). From Exit 6, you will be facing an intersection. Turn right at the corner and walk straight. You will see a hospital on your right. The bus stop is right in front of the hospital. Take either Bus 2 or 2-2. This will take you to Gamcheon Culture Village at top of the steep hill. This place is perfect for people who appreciates art or love bright, colourful patterned buildings. The village is surprisingly quiet though it’s supposed to be a tourist attraction. I think it’s because people are actually living in this village, therefore visitors are supposed to be quieter in order not to disturb the peace of the people living there.

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beautiful paintings on the walls and jeans potted plants!

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I love the colorful flower steps and button house

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Birds with human faces and a very cute cafe~

After exploring the village, we had our dinner in Busan before taking the 9.30pm KTX high speed railway train from Busan back to Seoul, then took a cab back to our hotel.

12th Aug 2013 (Jongno & Anguk area)

In the morning, we took the train to Jongno 3-ga station (exit 12). The Kwangjang market (광장시장) is across the street. We went there for our breakfast. This is the first time I’ve been to a Korean wet market. A must try would be the mung bean pancake (빈대떡)& mini gimbap. This market reminds me very much of those night markets in Taiwan, where lots of food stalls could be found.

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I love the mungbean pancake! I don’t see it here in Singapore.

After our breakfast, we went to Bukchon Hanok Village (Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 2. Go straight for about 300m to arrive at Bukchon Hanok Village.

Bukchon Hanok Village is a Korean traditional village with a long history located between Gyeongbok Palace, Changdeok Palace and Jongmyo Royal Shrine. The traditional village composed of many alleys allowing visitors to experience the atmosphere of the Joseon Dynasty.

I love those traditional houses! There are a few shops selling clothes, shoes and bags in this area, however, they are much more expensive compared to Ehwa and Hongdae. Shoes & bags can cost up to Sgd$100 per pair (without discount). However, I personally think that the shoes and bags here are more unique and they have some nicer designs comparing to other places.

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After the tiring long walk under the hot sun and lots of photo-taking, we decided to go to the lotte supermarket to get our foodstuff. Take Subway Line 1 or 4 to Seoul Station and come out of Exit #1 or #2.

13th Aug 2013 (back to Myeongdong for last min shopping)

As our flight is at 4pm, we need to reach the airport at 2pm, therefore, we decided to go to Myeongdong for our last minute shopping in the morning, as Myeongdong is nearest to our hotel.

We checked out at 1230pm and took the hotel shuttle bus back to the Incheon airport. Remember to return the wibro egg and collect your tax rebate from the airport before you check in.

By the way, I ate as much Krispy Kreme donuts as I could before I finally leave Korea. Hoping to visit this place again soon! That’s all for my itinerary. If there’s anything about the route you are not clear about, feel free to contact me. 🙂

Categories: Korea, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 52 Comments

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