「慧入韓國 #3」

So I finally got my butt down to editing all my photos from Korea… Boy, I miss that place.

Now that I have been home for 4 months now, I really can’t wait for the day where I can be back in Korea, for good, perhaps. Since this exchange programme, I have been thinking about what I want to do in the future, partially also due to the hard truth that I will be graduating in a year’s time. I first entered University thinking it would still be a long way to go but hell no, I’m left with only a year. How on earth did time fly past so quickly?

To cut the long story short, let’s just say, I’m in search for job opportunities in Korea. I just hope all that would work out somehow. *crosses fingers*

Spending a month in Seoul has been wonderful and I can imagine myself living there. I could eat Korean food all day and all the cheap cosmetics and stationery is just pure bliss. God bless the amount of stationery, stickers, letter paper etc. that I bought home. Seoul is probably the perfect city for me to live in, minus the fact that I’ll probably have major self-esteem issues of not being skinny or beautiful (Korean standards) enough.

A month definitely wasn’t enough to explore the city though I have been to several beautiful places, and spent a lot of money on coffee that all tasted so ridiculously good. Maybe it was the cold season, that’s why anything warm tasted nothing short of delicious.

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Lots and lots of snow, on the way out of Seoul to Daejeon. The thing about long travelling distances and hours is that it makes you appreciate how convenient Singapore is. I certainly do not need 2 hours to travel to the other end of Singapore.

Thanks to Kyung Hee University (경희대학교), we managed to attend the Magnolia Concert and I saw some Korean singers!

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Davichi (다비치), which instantly blew me off my seat and I was sold.

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G.Na (지나) as usual being really sexy but she slimmed down so so much it was a bit scary.

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First time listening to Juniel (주니엘)!

The weather was great for walking around all day and not break a sweat. It would get chilly but there is always a coffee place around the corner where you can seek warmth and chill with wifi!

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Insadong (인사동), one of my favourite places. All the small lanes with small shops and hidden cafes.

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Ssamzigil (쌈지길), which was an interesting building with many stores selling DIY stuff. Abit too expensive for my wallet’s taste though I guess.

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Going to Gwanghwamun (광화문) was kind of surreal because I only knew it from the infamous ‘almost-bombing’ scene from IRIS.

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Gyeongbokgoong (경복궁) was really huge that we really did not manage to explore much at all. Everywhere started to look pretty much the same, and the palace sort of ended up being a maze.

It was also at the main entrance when I realised this was the palace where they filmed Queen In-Hyun’s Man (이현왕후 의 남자). The thought of being at the very same place as Yoo In-Na (유인나) and Ji Hyun-Woo (지현우) was extremely surreal as well.

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One of my favourite parts of travelling would be looking at the city’s infrastructure. Sometimes, the densely situated tall buildings in Singapore just makes me feel extremely squeamish, and I kind of do appreciate other countries’ architecture more. There is also something different about the ancient Korean houses..

I am glad my friends and I did not give Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을) a miss!

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Another thing that I love about Korea would the the random street art all over the city that is extremely beautiful and not just some hot mess.

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We did not miss out on Seoul’s amazing night view too, so what better place than going to the Namsan Tower and look at Seoul from high up in the sky.
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The Lovers’ Chair, meant for couples to slide down towards each other.

The night at Namsan Tower was extremely memorable since we bravely fought the unforgiving and harsh winds that nearly made me give up on putting up my lock, which was not an easy task considering the number of locks that were already being hung up. After endless strings of vulgarities, we finally made our way down Namsan alive (so smart, for some reason we decided to get a one-way cable car ride up, hence we had to walk all the way down the hill). It was also the night where I realised my Korean name was quite a common one too. Bleh.

Of course, the best part of Korea is her cuisine; the wide variety of food catered well to my tastebuds. Ever since my return, I have yet to try anything that has given me the kick which truly brings me back to Korea. Korean food in Singapore is pretty much catered to the Singaporean taste, I suppose? Either that or the great disparity in the quality of ingredients (*cough* sweet onions, cabbage, garlic etc.) and the lack of generosity (Most places here pretty much serve watered down soup with little to no ingredients).

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Soondae (순대)… Which was so good. Something as simple as stuffed rice in blood sausages, dipped with a little salt could taste so good. I love how the sellers are usually pretty generous with the pig innards too (thumbs up) but I don’t like how most places do not really process the meat well hence there is a stench, which I really do not like.

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I could survive on odeng (오댕) all day long, though I would die from hypertension.

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Hotteok (호떡), which I should have eaten more of.

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Ginseng chicken (삼계탕) – not really my thing.

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First time having Korean spicy braised chicken and holy shit it was so good. The sweet onions, with the well broiled potatoes and chicken. Best part of this was dumping the rice into the leftover sauce at the end, mixing it all up and just eating it like that. The description probably makes it sound like swine food but it tastes like heaven.

Another thing I love about Korea is how serious their coffee culture is. Coffee shops everywhere – huge international coffee chains (Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Coffee Bean), huge Korean coffee chains (Ediya Coffee, Holly’s Coffee, Mango Six) but the best ones are the small hidden gems. These cafes usually have amazing decor and they feel especially warm and cosy (Cafe Noriter, Rousseau & Rousseau, Hoho Myoll).

Both Hoho Myoll and Cafe Noriter are extremely cute with their decor, which makes you fall in love with the place in an instant but I love Hoho Myoll for its vintage touch and Cafe Noriter can be quite inconvenient (since customers had to remove their shoes).

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The amount of effort that the owners put into decorating the cafe… Loved all the drawings on the wall. Loved the cat that was freely roaming around in the cafe too.

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Koreans must be ridiculously talented because there were so many amazing doodles on serviettes stuck all over the cafe.

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There were mini Volkswagen buses placed around the cafe…. And a real one inside the cafe, where customers can sit inside and enjoy their cup of coffee.

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Even the cups were gorgeous.

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ET in his ride.

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Singapore has an insanely strong cafe hopping culture but the local cafes have got nothing on those in Korea. Cat and dog cafes can be found everywhere in Korea (and probably at a much lower price too), and they even have a cafe with sheep. Try beating that Singapore.

When a cafe in Korea has a theme going on, that theme is really strong and consistent. The props used, the atmosphere they create, it’s perfect. The owners really do have an eye for details and that is what makes the cafes so distinctive.

 

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죽기전에 나는 ……. 싶다.

 

 

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