I remember back then Katie and I would always pick the afternoon flight to Incheon, that arrives at around 8pm. I didn’t realise we were wasting one night every time, because of course once we get to our guesthouse in Seoul, it’s already around 10pm. The most we could do after settling down would be to stroll a little around Hongdae, and then return to our guesthouse to rest.
So for my Spring trip this year, I booked my Manila to Incheon flight with AirAsia, which meant we departed from Manila early in the morning, arrived in Korea at around 12 noon^^
2016 April 21st: Manila to Incheon
The flight took about four and a half hours, and after finishing my snack, I spent a good chunk of it just catching up on sleep. And before I knew it, we were about to arrive at the Land of the Morning Calm^^
Hongdae: New Guesthouse!
My flight arrived in Seoul a little bit past 12 noon. From the airport, I took the Airport Railroad that stops at Hongdae (so convenient!), which took about an hour. This time around I was staying at Grape Garden House for the first time. While Hongdae Guesthouse (where I usually stay) which is directly connected and is right above the subway, Grape Garden’s a bit of a walk from Hongdae Station Exit 8. It was however, located within more quiet yet stylish side of Hongdae, surrounded by boutiques and quirky shops, so I didn’t mind walking an extra 500 meters to get there.
I opted to take the elevator because I had quite a bit of luggage (I was staying for two weeks!), and also because I was guiding the two sisters I sat with on the plane. I gave them directions to their guesthouse, before bidding them goodbye and heading for mine.
When I arrived, Min, the owner and a staff member, Abby were there. Abby assisted me to the female dormitory, and also showed me around. I was supposed to pay upon check in, however I still only had dollars and a bit of won left over from my previous trip, which I used to load up my T Money. I would have to go to Myeongdong to get my money exchanged, I told Min about this and he was really nice and said I could make my payment once I’ve settled things.
I freshened up a little, and headed for Myeongdong!
Myeongdong: YG Republique, SM Pop Up Store at Lotte Young Plaza
Hongdae Station is on Line 2 (Green Line), and if you want to go to Myeongdong without having to transfer lines, you get off at Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station, 6 stops away. Take Exit 6 or 5, and you’ll come right out the other side of Myeongdong, which is less crowded.
My usual money changer is only a little walk from the exit, so after a quick stop, I decided to go around for a bit ^^
YG Entertainment’s YG Republique
Spotted the newly put up YG Republique. (This used to be a 3-storey Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf! Lol.) There’s a cafe on the first floor, and also an area with artist goods, on the other side and at the second floor, was 3 Birds Coffee & Kitchen. I wasn’t really up for eating, so I told myself I’ll come back to actually check it out some other day. : D
Walked around and passed by a couple of places! Can you spot JaeJoong’s Cafe Jholic?
^ The road to SPAO haha ^^
After this I went to Myeongdong Underground (the part right off Myeongdong station), and forgot to take photos. ><
I headed back and made my way to Lotte Young Plaza, which is connected to the other part of Myeongdong Underground.
Had to take this photo, Kim Soohyun for my sister Jadie, and of course our Junsu!
Myeongdong Underground is connected to Lotte Young Plaza’s basement, which houses the SUM Pop-up Store, a mini heaven for every SM Town fan!
These quirky SNSD, SHINee and EXO Phone Cases are such eye-candies!
iRings are also very popular in Korea, and they come in various colors and prints. (They sell them really expensive for around P600. You can purchase similar ones locally for only P100!)
SHINee’s Married to the Music goods!
Going up to Lotte Young Plaza’s ground floor, you’ll find more SM Town goods, but this time there are SUM Market products, like popcorn, chocolate and nuts and so many other stuff!
It took so much effort to stop myself from running off with this Chanyeol standee in tow! He seems to be the SUM Market muse, because you’ll see this shopping Chanyeol at other SUM locations too!
The special artist chocolates! Now wouldn’t you want that displayed in your room?^^
After spending a bit more time going around, I decided to return to Hongdae to check in and get a bit of rest before dinner!
Putting up ads in celebration of idols’ birthdays or group anniversaries have become a yearly tradition for fans! And since EXO’s Oh Sehun has just celebrated his birthday, I spotted many of these birthday ads at different stations. This one is at Hongdae Station Exit 1! : )
After going back to my guesthouse to leave some of my things and also freshen up, I went out to meet with my friend Bella for dinner ^^ We ate at a dak galbi restaurant that she frequents, and I must say it was really, really good! I wish I could have taken photos, or saved my snaps! Bella and I ordered two servings (because it has to be per person), and it was really quite a lot. After catching up over dinner, we decided to just walk around.
Hongdae at night is always filled with crowds. A mix of tourists and locals, either out for shopping, eating out with friends, clubbing, or just hanging out to watch the many street musicians and performers. There’s always something interesting to do! ^^
I’m not a Hite Beer fan, but tbh Song Joongki kind of influenced my beer choices during my stay. 😀
I personally kept stopping at every poster of Song Joongki that I could spot , and just snapping photos away! My April and May snap stories were filled with Song Joongki, and thankfully Bella was very supportive and pointed out every time there was a new one ^^;
We went around and eventually arrived at the Hongdae Playground, and of course I just had to have an Ice Waffle!!! An Ice Waffle is basically a waffle filled with scoops of ice cream. In this case there are always five or six scoops of different flavors. I love, love love this! ^^ It’s only 1,000won and is a really delicious treat ^^ I make sure to bring my friends to try it (especially if it’s their first time in Seoul), and has become sort of like a tradition for me, and also for my sister, Katie ^^
Bella and I hung out for a bit, and eventually it was time to call it a night ^^ Needless to say, this was a very nice start to my 19-day vacation! ^^