Two weeks in Korea, I still haven’t bought anything besides food and drinks for the time I’ve spent here. I haven’t bought any souvenirs, were holding myself back from buying street food, and were acting as a shopping companion for my friends. Until one day, right on the deadline of a very important essay on South Korea (I will post the essay on Collection soon!), I was convinced to get out of the dorm and visit famous lifestyle places around Seoul that I have yet visited. My friends and I decided to go out in the evening — from what’s supposed to start off at 4 p.m. and took a train ride to Gangnam.
It was Sunday, January 31st, and the street was pretty crowded with people walking in and out of restaurants, clothing stores, pubs and even offices. The famous Gangnam were really a great district filled with both elements of business and pleasure. It really is the metropolitan area with modern technologies and up to date fashion. I get how Psy’s cynicism of the lifestyle of the people in the area was translated into his song but it really is an interesting sight. Too bad I didn’t take many pictures as the crowd was really fast-paced around the area. We continued from sightseeing in Gangnam to Coex Mall to buy souvenirs. However as we came about 8.30 p.m. many of the point of interest, such as the aquarium, is closed, so we decided to just explore the stores inside the mall to buy goods — primarily beauty products and dinner, which we had the latter at Lotteria. This is the first time I purchase several goods to bring back home so it’s something hehe.
I regret not exploring the SMTOWN part of the COEX Artium as well as the COEX Aquarium. I figured out there’s a 3D Photo Studio only yesterday from watching The Return of Superman and I regret not knowing it earlier. I also regret not making a proper itinerary for myself before coming to South Korea because I was thinking to just ~go with the flow~ but this South Korea trip I learn to plan everything in advance: where to go and how to get there, what to buy and how much is the price, who to get the souvenirs and why. Regardless, this nightly exploration is very interesting for an early bird like me and the ride back home was some of the most fun experience I’ve had in Korea. I then get back to my dorm to finish up my essay which I submit two minutes before the deadline. #modelstudent
The next day, February starts and most of the students stayed around Heukseok-dong area as we have three courses until late. The dread of studying is getting more and more apparent and it became a wake-up call that this is not just a holiday trip for us students haha. Thank God the weather were gorgeous that day so I took pictures and video during the day around campus for my personal documentation and to gather materials for a group project. Most of the shots I took were for the purpose of the video project, hence there are not many pictures I can show you guys.
The rest of the night was spent by the students from all groups; all one hundred something to spend from having dinner at a restaurant nearby my campus and spend the rest of the night singing our heart out in a noraebang (how Korean refer to karaoke) in three rooms divided by the group assigned to us. Being a member of Group E were supposedly hanging out at Room 3 alongside with group F but I ended up staying in Room 2 supposedly with group C and D. I realize as the singing session begin, the rooms were sorted out not by the group assignment but by our taste in music.
- Room 1 is filled with people singing melancholic Chinese songs.
- Room 2 is filled with people jumping out to Billboard Top 40s songs.
- Room 3 is filled with people dancing with a synchronized choreography to K-Pop songs.
It was such a fun night even without drinking. Imagine how much fun is it for the people who drinks, as they continue out the night hanging out at the bar. Being a homebody, of course, I got back to the dorm early.
Within the last week of my stay in Seoul, I decided to spend one day alone by myself to explore the city at my own pace. As I was reminded that I have yet bought enough gifts for the people back in Jakarta, I decide to buy out some stuff I’ve been eyeing since the trips I made in the past few weeks. I set up the day visiting Insa-dong, Namdaemun market as well as Myeongdong — the latter two were not included here as my battery ran out because of my carelessness #amazing #problogger #commited. The good thing is I got enough pictures taken in Insa-dong, where I spent most of my time shopping there. I personally didn’t buy anything for myself aside from a set of postcards and many of the things I purchased were for my family and friends. These are some of the beautiful sights I gather around the vicinity of Insa-dong — particularly the Ssamziegil, a destination which I reached by using the bus and a little walking.
There’s a wide array of selection of both traditional and trendy items in varying degrees that you can see along the street of Insa-dong. It was an interesting sight because there were so many cute and interesting things you’ll see as you walk through the street. I visited enough to fill in most of my to-buy list, which the rest I got easily in Namdaemun market. That day was a bit of a challenge as I was alone with my limited Korean speaking, listening and reading skill but the people I interacted with on the streets were all helpful and polite that there were no significant difficulties
(except for the time I wanted to buy a gimari from an ahjumma and got ignored for a good five minutes and left as she dismissed me from trying to order the gimari with steaming hot tteokpokki without the added sundae). It’s just sad that I didn’t take enough pictures to get ahold of the memories of the sights and experiences I had that day.
I really enjoyed the time I spent traveling with or without company in South Korea. One thing I realize is that I shop so much less whenever when I am with people hehehe. I got so many lessons in the last few week here. It is sad that the trip is about to end but the next post will be the last part of my series of the stories from my South Korean trip so you better stay tuned!
Read my other posts on the South Korean trip, here: