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!

Gwangjang Market

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 in Seoul
Gwangjang Market in Seoul

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!

Gwangjang Market in Seoul
Mung bean pancake

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!

Gwangjang Market in Seoul
Enjoying their mung bean pancake – local style with free flow tea!
Gwangjang Market in Seoul
Another stall with spicy ricecakes and noodles
Gwangjang Market in Seoul
Noodles with fish cake and sprinkled with seaweed! Perfect for cold weather. Also ordered kimbap and spicy rice cakes

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.

Maple Tree House BBQ @ Myeong-dong
Charcoal grill
Maple Tree House BBQ @ Myeong-dong
Marinated Boneless Short-Ribs + USDA Prime Aged Ribeye Steak

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!

Cat Playground

Level 3, 37-14 Myeongdong 8-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul | 12.00 – 23.00 |

Cat Cafe in Myeong-dong
Cat Cafe in Myeong-dong. Can you count how many cats are there?
Cat Cafe in Myeong-dong
Admission charges and menu
Cat Cafe in Myeong-dong
Baby E feeding the cats!
Cat Cafe in Myeong-dong
Cats with blue collar are more aggressive

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.

Read our other adventures in Seoul

Day 2: Hongdae Shopping Street | Day 3: Gyeongbokgung Palace | Day 4: Namdaemun Dongdaemun | Day 5: Lotte World | Day 6: Siloam Sauna

5 thoughts on “Seoul Day 1: Arrival | Gwangjang Market | Myeong Dong | Maple Tree House BBQ | Cat Playground”

  • Hi Newborn mummy, thanks for sharing your Korea travel itineraries. I will be travelling to Korea in Dec with my 3 children and my mil. Can I check with you which Airbnb accommodation did u stay in? Since ur accomodation is near Seoul station, does it make ur travelling with kid more convenient? I am looking for a convenient place for my big family to stay together in one apartment. Thank you!

  • Hi there! I stayed at this airbnb in Seoul station: It was clean but I wouldn’t recommend with small kids as the neighbours doesn’t seems very accomodating with noises at night. We got complained when we used the washing machine at 8+ pm.. Also while it is near Seoul Station, walking is inevitable as one exit to the other exit can be a good 10 mins walk away.

    Staying near Seoul station is quite convenient, with a huge Lotte Mart and Siloam Sauna nearby, plus it is only 2 stops away to Myeongdong. For the airbnb I stayed at, there is a convenience store, a cafe and some restaurants just below the building. And if you fly with Korean Air, you can simply check in your luggage at Seoul Station on the last day of your trip while you continue to shop or even go to a bathhouse.

    Hope this helps!

    • Hi, I remembered seeing some stalls selling red bean porridge and there are stalls selling noodles. I ordered the mung bean pancake and noodles for my 3yo then and she loves them!

  • Hi mummy, thanks for the informative details blogged.

    i will be travelling with my 2yo on a red eye flight as well. May i know if let’s say they were to fall asleep before the plane takes off, do we have to wake them up for water or something to relieve the clogged ear?


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