Seoul Day 1: Arrival | Gwangjang Market | Myeong Dong | Maple Tree House BBQ | Cat Playground
Seoul, here we come! As it was a last-minute trip, we were left with the overnight flight option to Incheon International Airport. Which I guess, is a blessing in disguise as Baby E got so tired from waiting for the flight (at 1am), she fell asleep before we board the plane, and slept through until breakfast was served. Waking up to breakfast and entertainment, can never be a grumpy thing.
Once we reach Incheon International Airport, we began to look for the express train (A’REX) to Seoul Station. Don’t worry if you can’t find “A’REX” on the airport map, just follow where the express trains are.
This is a non-stop express train to Seoul Station which takes 43 minutes. We showed them our Korean Air tickets and got two A’REX train tickets at 6,900 won each (usual price 8,000 won)! Baby E (3yo) travels for free. ☺
It’s a comfortable ride with great free wifi!
We booked Airbnb, only to realise (from the host no less), that it is illegal in Korea. Not exactly the kind of news I want to hear on my first day of holiday. -.- Nonetheless, after putting down our luggages, we decided to head to Gwangjang Market for food!
88, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | General stores: 08:30-18:00 Restaurants: 08:30-23:00
Jongno 5-ga Station (Line 1), Exit 8. Euljiro 4-ga Station (Line 2 & 5), Exit 4.
If you have watched Running Man, you will be familiar with the setup of Gwangjang Market. Many variety shows were filmed here (judging by all the screenshots/newspaper cuttings on the stalls) and is one of the oldest and most popular traditional food market in Seoul. This place will be squeezy so stroller is not exactly recommended.
Gwangjang Market is a sheltered market with rows of small stalls, stools dotted the stalls for sit-in customers. It is uniquely local and great fun for us to see what everyone is eating. Not sure if it’s because it was a monday afternoon, or the effect of the ban of the tour agencies from China to Seoul, it was not as crowded and we managed to get seats quickly. Our first stop is the famous mung bean pancakes!
But alas, there are so many stalls selling mung bean pancakes, being clueless tourists, we opted for the one stall with more local-looking customers and sat down. We sat on the empty stools and made our order by pointing. The service was fast and there were free tea that you can fill up with the cups provided. It was in korean so we didn’t realised, until another customer took some drink from the dispenser. Soon our order came and it was piping hot! It was crispy on the outside and soft savoury on the inside. Both Baby E and Daddy E gave the thumbs up!
The good thing about mung bean pancakes, is that it is a snack which leaves us plenty of space to try other foods! We left and looked for other foods around. Ww saw the yummy rice cakes and piping hot soup (great for the cold weather!) and decided to sit down for our next round of food. We ordered kimbap, spicy rice cakes and noodles with fish cake. This noodles, baby E and me approve! It looks so unassuming but it is so yummy! She finished almost 1/2 the bowl. And the interesting thing about this stall is, the bench was heated! So our butts were warmer than our hands lol!
After this we were quite full!
Next we head to Myeongdong!
Myeongdong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul | Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station (Line 2), Exits 5, 6 & 7.
Myeong-dong Station (Line 4), Exits 5, 6, 7 & 8
Myeong-dong is the busiest tourist spot in Seoul. It’s the to-go-to for all the beauty/skincare products you want and can buy in Korea. They are also generous with their free gifts here! Baby E got a couple just walking past their stores lol. If you are the paiseh (shy) kind like me, it is suddenly good to have a kid who loves to take every thing that is handed to them lol. It’s also flooded with restaurants and street foods(at night) that makes shopping all the more better!
And what is a trip to Seoul with BBQ food!
Maple Tree House Myeong-dong
B1F, 8-1, Myeong-dong 1-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul | 11:30am – 10:30pm
This is a highly recommended BBQ place in Myeong-dong and it’s pretty good. But it feels like we were eating in Singapore as the prices were not of much difference.
We also ordered Korean Black Pork Collar which was good and one more serving of the short-ribs. These set us back about 110,000 won (~ S$138) including soju and beer. But we were really full after that!
We were just walking casually along Myeong-dong when we saw a cat and a dog mascot, each advertising for their respective cafes. Baby E choose the dog, but the mascot said she’s too small as they have big dogs. So we went to the Cat’s cafe instead!
Level 3, 37-14 Myeongdong 8-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul | 12.00 – 23.00 |
Daddy E is not a big fan of cats. But Baby E love little animals and had alot of fun feeding the cats as they surrounded her. And she went back a happy little girl.