If you missed the last few posts, I'm sharing about our first trip to Seoul back in Nov 2022! We were waiting post-covid for everyone to go on their holidays before taking a big one and we finally decided to go on our honeymoon! It's also our first time experiencing Fall so we were double excited!
Last week, we finally began our Seoul adventure after arriving and checking our luggage at the hotel concierge. Since we arrived in the early morning, we wouldn't be able to actually check in until afternoon so we took the time to explore the city!
We had a breakfast snack at this very cute cafe called Cafe Swith SOL (yes that is how it's spelled). We weren't very hungry at the time but wanted a place to relax for a while and got some of their yummy pastries.
After that we took a walk around the nearby mall before intending to visit one of the many palaces here but it was under renovation at the time and we decided against it. But we did enjoy some nice fall foliage on the way.
Anyway, we're not even close to done with our first day so let's go!
9 Nov 2022. Wednesday.
We ended up walking all the way to this landmark with the Seoul sign which looks to be right in the heart of the city!
We didn't have a destination in mind and were just walking to places that attracted our eye. We ended up finding this really cool-looking Starbucks that had an imperial look to it with the oriental slated roof.
We're not Starbucks fans or even coffee drinkers for that matter but just thought the design was really cool.
It was a pretty huge Starbucks outlet too, just standing there on its own surrounded by tall office buildings. There was also a very pretty mural on it too!
We ended up heading into an underground mall and it reminded me of those we saw in Taipei where the underground stations would be linked by shopping streets like these and you could basically walk from one station to the other like that.
I don't think the same could be done in Seoul though, but they did have plenty of shops here in the Myeongdong underground.
We exited the underground and ended up in one of the other malls here but this one was less luxury and more hip I suppose? They definitely seemed more catered to young adults at least.
We came across a pretty big character store with so many figurines and blind boxes from different franchises, from different anime, movies and many others I didn't recognise.
They clearly liked their gacha here too, just like Japan.
I didn't recognise a lot of the characters though, and some of them looked kinda creepy imo like these baby ones.
But there were some I knew like those from Pixar and Snoopy!
I think the shop was 90% blind boxes though so it's a gamble which figure you actually get.
I'm not into blind boxes because I think they're a scam but I imagine it must be a nightmare/heaven for those who do like them.
We just looked around and didn't end up buying anything but it was cool to see all the different types of characters they have.
Of course since we were in Seoul, there was a KPOP section of this hip mall too. I'm not really sure what the purpose of this area was, other than showcasing some KPOP stars and blasting their music.
But there was a merch area as well of course. I think there might have been some from the more famous groups but I don't really follow KPOP so I couldn't recognise any.
The mall also had a Kakao Friends store, which is the Korean version of LINE, with their own cast of cute characters! They even use a bear as the main character just like Brown from LINE!
We're not as familiar with Kakao as we are with LINE but it was still cool to see all their cute characters and the merch they had in the store. We felt a little like traitors though since we were wearing LINE shirts at the time. XD
The rest of the mall was pretty much just regular retail stuff. But I guess these were more of the smaller designers since there weren't big names we recognised like in the luxury mall. You could tell they were more catered to a younger audience from the style as well.
We did see more cute stuff in one of the stores though we didn't buy anything.
We found out that this mall has a rooftop garden so we went to go check it out and get some fresh air.
There were quite a few people up here although some of them were smoking. But it was a pretty nice area with some benches around for people to rest.
There was also a statue of a man proposing to a woman near the entrance which was quite lovely.
The words below the couple translate to "Werther confesses his love to Lotte", which at the time we had no idea who those people were. I initially thought they were a Prince and Princess from the early 1800s or something judging from their outfits, and we wondered whether that was why the mall was called Lotte.
But after doing some research I found out this is a reference to a 1774 epistolary novel by Johann Wolfgang Goethe called The Sorrows of Young Werther who fell in love with a woman named Charlotte. I wonder why they chose this story in particular to model this garden after.
It was a nice garden though, and we sat at one of the benches for a while to rest. There were even some pagodas there.
After a while, we left to go wander around some more and just in case it wasn't clear that this mall was for young people, it's actually called Lotte Young Plaza. I believe it is still connected to the main Lotte Mall where all the luxury goods are.
But they certainly made it a point to distinguish themselves from the more "boomer" side of the other mall. They even had cool graffiti walls like this that just said Young which made me chuckle.
We wandered around a few more shops trying on some funny hats as we do.
After that we were getting peckish since we hadn't eaten anything since breakfast and decided to go to the basement where the Food Avenue was and check out some of the snacks.
I was craving something warm and savoury and wanted to try some Korean dumplings so we stopped by this shop selling handmade ones.
They had meat, shrimp and kimchi dumplings both steamed and oven-baked and even grilled!
We bought the half and half meat and kimchi dumplings which looked really good!
The kimchi dumplings were a little spicy as expected but it wasn't too spicy and was really tasty!
The meat dumpling was similar to the pork and chive dumplings we're used to at home but they're some of my favourites so I didn't mind. They were still really yummy!
The dumplings were definitely steaming hot which was a warm welcome from the cold weather outside.
There was a line of stalls outside the mall as well, selling all sorts of snacks and other random goods. We came across this roadside stall selling Korean sweet pancakes which I've heard so much about that we couldn't resist buying them to try!
In Korean these are called hotteok and they're sweet pancakes with brown sugar syrup. They smelled really good and we ordered one hot off the grill!
It was indeed quite sweet for my taste especially the bits concentrated with brown sugar syrup but it was still a yummy snack! The texture is quite gelatinous but not as sticky as I would've thought. Sean really liked it a lot and wanted to get more.
It was almost time for to check in to our hotel so we started making our way back but now that it was midday all the shops were open and there was so much more to see in Myeongdong!
We came across quite a few interesting looking restaurants and there was even a 24 hour hot spring bath just around the corner from our hotel, but it did seem a little seedy.
But that's gonna be it for today! Tune in next week for the end of our first day in Seoul!
Thanks so much for reading!
To find out more about me, check out my intro post here!