48 Hours in Seoul: Day 2

24 Feb

48 Hours in Seoul: Day 2

An Itinerary for Getting the Most From A Too Brief Trip

See the introduction here.

See Day 1 here.

Note that all directions & prices were true as of mid-late 2012; I haven’t check back since then. I’m headed back this summer, so I’ll look and see then if I can. 🙂

Itinerary Summary–Day 2

  1. 8:00 a.m.-9:30 a.m. *** Breakfast at Myeongdong 
  2. 10:00 a.m. -11:30 p.m. *** Namsan Tower and the Cable Car
  3. 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. *** Lunch in Coex Mall
  4. 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m. *** Shop and visit the Aquarium in Coex Mall 
  5. 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.***  Korean National Museum
  6. 5:30 p.m.- Whenever you leave *** Shop and enjoy Dondaemeun 

I tried to leave enough time for travel between each stop, but this means you may have a little more or less time depending on how long it takes you to move from one place to another.

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Breakfast/Shopping: Myeongdong

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Why?

Most touristy places in the city aren’t going to open up this early, so this is a good time to wander around and grab some  breakfast if you’re an early riser.  Myeongdong actually opens up pretty early because it caters to tourist shoppers; in fact you may hear people calling out in Japanese, since most of the tourist come from Japan.   Myeongdong is traditionally considered a shopping central for all fashionistas.  It’s got purses, clothes, glasses, beauty supplies, shoe stores, beauty parlors, etc.  Honestly, I preferred some other places more for actual bargain shopping (note that this is where the upper crusts shop as well; we’re talking Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana stores) , but it is an awesome place to grab coffee of a morning.  They have plenty of pastry/coffee shops like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, etc.  Plus, the stalls are fun to wander if they’re up before you leave, and you can sometimes walk away with a handful of free stuff from the hawkers. If you’re low on funds, maybe save your shopping $$ for later though.

Tips

  1. Note the closest subway station when you arrive and use that as your marker.  If you can’t find it later, head down the first one you come too. You can always follow the English signs to get back to Myeongdong Station there, and some are actually connected by long hallways.
  2. Myeongdong has an entire underground shopping center as well in the subway station below.  I found an awesome Music store there where I picked up my “DBSK” (when it was all 5 members) cd/dvd and the “Gentleman’s Dignity” soundtrack.  It will seem expensive, but those things just cost a fortune in Korea.  I spent $50 on those two easy, and that was with a discount since they liked me.
  3. There is one street that has no crosswalks; you will find the stairs heading down and there is an underground crosswalk that comes up the other side.  The street is so busy that they avoid to risks to the vast numbers of visitors walking the area.  So don’t cross if there isn’t a crosswalk.  Just follow the crowds down and under.
  4. Don’t get too far off the main street.  It’s hard to explain Myeongdong, but it was described to me as a Spider web.  Indeed, it seems to have about a billion side streets running in any direction and it is easy to lose your subway landmark.  
  5. Don’t get caught up in all the shopping.  I’m going to direct you to cheaper places later.  
  6. A very popular location is Lotte’s Myeongdong Plaza and the store next door.  This is where Zara and other familiar brands are located.
  7. Don’t forget to check out the buildings that aren’t stores.  There is an awesome old bank, beautiful cathedral, and cool architecture located there that makes for great pics. 🙂

Extra Information

  • Directions:
    • Taxi:  Hand them a paper with the address listed here. It’s easier to grab the subway though.
    • SubwayFind the map here
      • Take Seoul Subway Line 4 to Myeongdong Station (Exit 5, 6, 7, 8)–my recommendation
      • Take Seoul Subway Line 2 to Euljiro Il-ga Station (Exit 5)
  • Further Details

    • @ VisitKorea here
    • Page 5 of the Seoul Guidebook Here

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Photographs & Fun: Namsan Tower & Cable Car

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Why? 

You can either go to Namsan Tower or 63 City for the best views of the city.  While 63 City is amazing, it’s a little out of the way for a brief trip.  Plus, Namsan Tower has a little extra to offer.  Namsan Tower (aka N Seoul Tower) is located on Mt. Namsan, and has amazing views of Seoul.  The walk up to the tower is awesome too; you can see some beautiful flowers and the walk is a good plan after breakfast.  There are several things to do here.

  • Namsan Plaza–Here you will find bakeries, music store, convenience stores, a souvenir shop, and ice cream stores.  
  • Korean Restaurant (Hancook)
  • The Observation DeckAwesome views!  This was perhaps my favorite place on the trip. I got gorgeous pictures of Seoul, and it’s interesting to see how large the city actually is.  There is also a prime view of the Han River, an important landmark in Seoul.
  • Teddy Bear Museum— Okay, I”ll be the first to admit I thought this would be a museum of the history of teddy bears (I thought there must have been a factory nearby or something).  Instead, it tells the history of Korea in teddy bear displays.  They even move when bowing, playing polo, break dancing, etc..  If you have kids, it’s an awesome place for them to take a break and enjoy themselves.  Frankly, we loved it even as college students.  Definitely worth the time.
  • “N Grill” –A revolving restaurant.  I cannot attest to this as I am never going to be wealthy enough to match those prices, but it had REALLY great food.  Not really the place for kids though I wouldn’t think.  This is like a date place, a really expensive date place.
  • Cable Car–This is really fun to do, and it will get you down to where the taxis are.  I’ll tell you how to find it in the Directions section.

Tips

  • Walk up, Ride down.   You could ride the cable car up, but the lines are often extremely long and then you have to find the cable car.  I recommend taking the bus up there.  It’ll drop you off a short ways away from the tower.  You’ll pass a school, and head up the mountain in the park.  It’ll be one of the stops up the park where most people get off.  Usually the driver will tell you when if you ask.  Then walk up the hill the short distance left.  
  • Check out the Lock TreesThe legend goes that if you and your lover each chain your padlock together on the trees/fences/etc. up there and throw away the key, you’ll be together forever.  They are an awesome sight!  Although a friend informed me that he has several locks up there with different girls, so I’m not really placing much stock in the legend. 🙂
  • To get a ticket to the Cable Car–The entrance (it’s a little building about the size of a kitchen) you go through to reach the car has a small machine set up that looks like a vending machine.  It’s actually the ticket booth.  Stick in your money, grab the ticket, and you’re on your way!

 Extra Information

  • Directions
    • To the Cable Car
      • Going Up
        • You can find directions here, but I’ve never been up the station by myself, so I cannot give good directions.  It always had long lines when I came down, and the bus has no lines. On my own I always took the bus.  Supposedly this should be easy to get to from Myeongdong Station thought, and it might leave you more time for other things.
      • Going Down
        • You can see the historical guardhouse in the pictures above.  Head toward that and you’ll see the path that leads to the beacons (also in the pictures above).  Walk past the beacons and down the stairs for a way.  It’s a few hundred yards;’ took about 3-5 minutes to reach.   You’ll see the building on your right.
    • To the Bus Station
      • Remember how I said that you would need to know where Chungmuro Station was in Part 1? Well this is why.  Take Subway Line 3 or 4  to Chungmuro Station (Exit 2).  You will see the bus station (marked by a sign with bus numbers and times) right in front of the subway station, next to a Subway (the restaurant).   Grab Bus 2 and ride to the N Seoul Tower bus stop.
    • Taxi
      • Not allowed.
  • Prices
    • Cable Car
      • Round trip: 6,300 Won
      • One-Way: 4,800 Won (although I thought the most I ever paid was 3,000; maybe prices have changed)
    • Bus
      • 550 Won
    • Admission (Seniors = 65+; Children = 3-12; Youth = 13-17)
      • Observatory
        • Adults: 9,000 Won
        • Children: 5,000 Won
        • Seniors /Youth: 7, 000 Won
      • Teddy Bear Museum
        • Adults: 8,000 Won
        • Children 5,000 Won
        • Seniors/Youth : 6,000 Won
      • Packaged (Both)
        • Adults: 14,000 Won
        • Children: 7,000 Won
        • Seniors/Youth: 10,000 Won
  • Operation Hours
    • Sunday-Thursday:
      • Observatory: 10:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.
      • Teddy Bear Museum: 10:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. (last entry 8:00 p.m.)
    • Friday-Saturday
      • Observatory: 10:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.
      • Teddy Bear Museum: 10:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. (last entry 8:00 p.m.)
  • Further Details
    • Check out extra information and some good pictures here.
    • Or Get som extra info and details on pricing/parking/etc. here.

Lunch/Shopping: Coex Mall

Why?

This place has fabulous shopping; I’d recommend you pick up your beauty products and maybe some hair bedazzles here.  It also has a wonderful bookstore if you want some books to pass the time back home.  However, the aquarium is an absolute must for any trip to Seoul.  Coex Mall also has about any food you could possible desire: America (Pizza Hut & Cold Stone Creamery!), Japanese, Korean, etc.   You can actually find out most of the information I’d recommend you know here where I discussed it in a previous post. Check it out! If you don’t go here, I’d recommend 63 City, a similar place.  I prefer Coex since 63 City has some huge lines for anything you want to do and you’ve already seen the observatory in N Seoul Tower.

Tips

  • Check out my post here to see what I’d recommend.
  • Grab some ice cream while you’re here; it’ll help cool you off for the adventures ahead.
  • Definitely see the Coex Aquarium!

Extra Information

  • Once again, you can find all those details here.

History: National Museum of Korea

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Why?

It’s the national museum, need I say more?  The Museum has hundreds upon hundreds(approximately 15,000 to be precise) of beautiful exhibits from around the world, but it is particularly awesome in the area of Asian history.  It has of course all the really important Korean artifacts, including Celadon, Calligraphy, Paintings, and several private collections.  But it also has stuff from India, Japan, China, Indonesia, and beyond.  There is an entire room of stunning and impressive Buddha statues.  There are also several halls of paintings, statues, artifact, and cultural resources.  This is definitely a must see!

Tips

  • Lockers–If you’ve done any shopping earlier or want to leave your bags somewhere,the museum has rows of lockers available for 100 Won. I would definitely make use of these since carrying all that around gets painful after a while.  
  • Skip the guided tour–There are tours available for English, Japanese, and Chinese speakers, but you can figure it all out yourself, and the timing is hard to maneuver.
  • Try out the tea garden!–There is a lovely little tea garden on one of the upper floors that makes for a great afternoon respite!
  • Don’t count on eating there–It will be WAY too busy to get a bite, so don’t wait to eat here!
  • Watch your time–This is yet another place where you could spend all day and never see it all.  So grab a map and glance through to see what you are truly interested in.  Between you and me, I’d skip the first couple rooms in the Korean history section.  It’s all that early man stuff that is the same in all museums–arrows, rock weapons, etc.  The cooler stuff is a little down.
  • Save time for the world history section!This area has a great deal to offer and shouldn’t be overlooked!

Extra Information

  • Pricing–FREE!
  • Directions
    • Taxi
      • Give the taxi driver the address shown here.
    • Subway
      • Seoul Subway Line 4 & Jungang Line. Arrive at Ichon Station and take Exit 2.  This will connecting you to the museum via an underpass.
  • Operating Hours (they close the ticket booth 1 hour before closing)
    • Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
    • Wednesday & Saturday: 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
    • Sunday, Holidays: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Additional Information:
    • Addition Information available here

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Last Stop! Dinner/Shopping: Dongdaemun

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Why?

The best shopping ever!!  Okay, so this isn’t really where you’ll find purses (as I discovered the hard way–head for Itaewon), but it is the place to get clothes. And jewelry. And great snacks. And shoes, yes most definitely shoes.  Okay, so if you are a clothes shopper, here is the place to go.  You’re going to have your nice stores on one hand (more like Myeongdong) and then you’ll have the bargain stores.  The bargain stores are the absolute best.  They are filled with stall after stall of dresses, scarves, jeans, t-shirts, sweaters, coats, jewelry, hats, headbands, etc.   This is technically one of the largest Korean shopping ares.  It has 26 shopping malls, 30,000+ specialty stores, and boasts more than 50,000 manufacturers.  This means that in the 10 blocks that make up Dongdaemun, you can find just about anything you want.  You will even find silk fabrics, office supplies, toys, books stores, food, etc.   So you will definitely want to save some money for your visit to this area!!

Popular stores include:

  • Doosan Tower/Doota!
  • Migliore
  • APM
  • You can tell whether or not it’s a bargain store by looking at the product arrangement and the number of clothes.  It looks like a flea market threw up clothing in the cheap stores, the others are more nicely laid out.

Tips

  • Bargain!!
    • I cannot emphasize this enough. Just like Itaewon, this is a bargaining locale. The really nice places no, but any of the mass/wholesale stores are really bargaining locations.  If they don’t have prices on the clothes, you’re meant to bargain.
    • Once again, try to get them to make the first move.  When they state a price, you just state what you think it’s really worth.  Don’t try to cheat them, but don’t go above what you think is reasonable.  If it looks like a $10 shirt and they are asking $60, don’t budge.  You may pay $12, but that’s a far cry from $60.  My friend and I were looking at a cute overshirt that I would expect to pay maybe $12-$15 max in the US for.  The Saleswoman said it was $79.  My friend said, no, I’m a student and we kept repeating poor.  Finally she shoved a calculator in our hands and we said $8.  She glared and asked for $50.  We said no, she asked for $20.  My friend was ready to cave, but I reminded her that it wasn’t worth that much.  We finally got it for $10.50.  She glared at us like we were robbing her, but hey, that’s the joy of bargaining!  
    • Don’t EVER let on that you are willing to pay higher or that you have money to spend.  They know that, you’re toast.
  • Shop Around!!
    • There are about a bazillion stores here, so shop around.  You will have tons and tons of choices so make sure you’re only carrying with you what you can stuff in a suitcase.
  • Don’t Ignore the Street Stalls
    • Don’t forget to check out the street stalls.  I got a beautiful sterling silver cross that hangs down on a 26+” chain. It’s really simple, no carving or anything, but it matches everything.  I grabbed it as a deal from an old man on the street who gave it to me for about $2.  I wear it almost everyday.  Plus, they’ll have GREAT FOOD!

Extra Information

  • Directions
    • Subway Lines 2 or 5, Dongdaemun Station.  There take Exit 14 
    • Subway Lines 4 or 1, Dongdaemun Station. Take Exit 8.
    • At least one of the major stores actually has an opening in the subway, but I cannot remember which one or how we got there.  It has a pretty obvious opening next to the exit though.  I’m thinking Exit 14?
  • Operation Hours
    • This is actually one of the things that makes Dongdaemun so popular.  It has always had a long night-life operation because it was where buyers came to shop so as to have products in their stores by day.  So most of the stores are open from 10 or 10:30 in the morning to 5 a.m. or later
  • Further Details

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DAY 2 is DONE:

(w/additional ideas if you’re not leaving yet)

Hooray! You’re trip around Seoul is officially finished.  You have tried out Korean food, shopped till you dropped, caught up on some history, and had time to see the most beautiful sights of Seoul.  Odds are, you now need to head off to Incheon International Airport.  If so, the best way is to grab the subway and take it up there.  Or you could catch a bus.

  •  Subway
    • You can find the map here.
    • Dongdaemun is above the river where the Purple (Line 5), Green (Line 2), and Light Blue (Line 4) lines intersect. Incheon International Airport is the really light Blue line on the far left called Airport Railroad.
      • Grab the purple line (Line 5) headed for Banghwa and ride it to the Gimpo Int’l Airport Station.  Switch to the Airport Railroad line and ride it to the Incheon Int’l Airport Station.
  • Bus 
    • The Airport Limousine bus stop is between Exit # 10 at Dondaemun Station and Exit # 4 of Jongno 5-ga Station.  Grab Airport Limousine Bus No. 6002 (headed for the Incheon International Airport).  You can see the map here.  It will show you the two stations (they are on a direct line with Jongno to the left).  Just zoom in on that area until you see the bus symbol.  It’s close to Jongno Station, so you might want to ride the subway there.  
    • Don’t wait too long to do this; it may take you quite a while to find it and you don’t want to miss the bus.  Plus, the bus may take a while to get there.  The Airport Buses are notoriously annoying to catch.

Once again, if you aren’t ready to head off yet, you might try out any of these options you didn’t do the night before!

  1. Visit the Dragon-Hill Spa
    1. It’s open 24/7 (details and directions are on my other post here.)
  2. Head up to Apgujeongs Rodeo (ROH + de + O—-not the way we say it in the US) Street
    1. You will find some drinking, dancing, and partying.  I recommend writing the name down and taking a taxi; the name is impossible to say and it’s a ways from the station.
  3. Head up to one of the city’s clubs
    1. Here is the low-down on those.  I’ve tested:
      1. Club Eden
      2. Ellui
      3. Monkey Beach
  4. Wander Itaewon bar hopping (My recommendation).
  5. Reserve a room at a Karaoke or Norebang place.
    1. Usually Norebang involves less drinking; most people start with the bars/clubs and end up here to sober up a bit. Karaoke lets you keep drinking. You can read about these and find the spelling of Norebang to watch fohere.

ENJOY!

7 Responses to “48 Hours in Seoul: Day 2”

  1. ramonade February 19, 2015 at 6:32 pm #

    Very well written and lots of helpful yips. Thank you!

  2. Dan Adams March 31, 2015 at 11:21 pm #

    I would like to say, thank you very much for this. I’m heading to Korea this weekend, and all this information is perfect. Thank you.

    • GO August 14, 2015 at 9:23 am #

      Excellent suggestions. Well written. I’m leaving in 2 weeks and will be using this. Thanks for taking the time to put this together

      • deceptivelyblonde August 14, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

        Have a ton of fun! Seoul is an amazing place, you should enjoy your visit 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 48 Hours in Seoul: Day 2 | deceptivelyblonde's Blog - February 24, 2013

    […] For better photos, look here […]

  2. 48 Hours in Seoul: Introduction | Deceptively Blonde - March 18, 2013

    […] Day 2 […]

  3. 48 Hours in Seoul: Day 1 | Deceptively Blonde - May 8, 2013

    […] See Day 2 Here. […]

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