After getting some good rest in our Bbungalow, we were ready for Day 2! Today we wanted to hit up Myeongdong, which is famous for tourism and shopping, and Hongdae, which is popular for clubs, bars, and art.
Luckily Myeongdong was only a 15 min. walk away from our place and we wanted to see the city more while we were at it. To get to Myeongdong, we had to cross the man made stream Chonggyecheon, where many people go to relax by the water.
Chonggyecheon Stream on a beautiful day
The weather was excellent and really made Seoul more charming. Piggy didn’t like that it was windy but she still looked great.
Piggy posing in her outfit for today
The walk over to Myeongdong wasn’t bad at all and we stumbled upon some neat things along the way like this giant O in front of Citi bank.
O! A random circle in front of Citi bank
Also we found this patio area decked out with Snow White characters and a giant shroooom!
We started approaching the heart of Myeongdong and picked up an appetite on the way. So we randomly picked one of the many Korean BBQ joints and went with it. This place was called something like Mokgocheon and the waitress knew bits of English and brought us an English menu. That made it soooooo much easier and we got the skirt steak for 9,000 won or $9 USD.
Korean BBQ in Myeongdong
Also we got the stir fried octopus and pork which was delicious and only for 6,000 won! This dish easily goes for $10 in Amurrrica.
Stir Fried Octopus and Pork
The food here was delightful and the meat came with a side of shredded onions and a light soy vinegar dressing. The waitress instructed us to eat the meat with the onions and slap on some bean paste sauce. And wow! It was good. The flavor of the bean paste (tenjang) was much more flavorful than what I’m used to having in the States. Piggy was very pleased too.
Piggy with some grilled pork (!!!)
After filling our growing bellies, we were ready for SHOPPING!
Myeongdong shopping and food
We proceeded to walk through Myeongdong’s edge towards the department store section so we could loop back to cover more ground. For those who have never been to Myeongdong, it’s like a network of alleys and small streets PACKED with restaurants, tons of beauty stores (more on that later), and clothing stores. So it’s easy to get lost or miss a few alleys.
But before getting into the heart of Myeongdong, we made our way through the Myeongdong Underground Shopping to get to the department stores across the street from Central Myeongdong.
Myeongdong underground shopping
The underground shopping is comprised of a wide corridor of small shops but unfortunately we forgot to snag a pic.
We made our way through to the Lotte Young World department store. And heading in we saw some amazing art haha.
Random wall art that was AMAZING!
It’s silly but I thought it was cute. So the Lotte Young World department store is like the many in Korea where each floor houses a variety of name brand clothing stores and other miscellaneous shops setup in a loop so you can circle the floor then head up to the next floor. The basement floor even had a SM entertainment pop up store which sold merchandise from various Kpop groups like EXO and SNSD. But one of the best stores we came across was… LINE!!!
For the non-LINE users, LINE is a wildly popular chat app in Asia which features awesome LINE characters.
Moon from LINE!!
Isn’t it great? We were so ecstatic for this place since both Piggy and I use LINE with our friends. You should too.
Look! More awesome LINE characters.
Brown and Sally from LINE!
We seriously spent 20-30 mins. in that store. It was great. Grrreat.
LINE Friends store
After finally departing the LINE store, we did the trek through all 6 floors of the department store passing by many unknown brands and a handful of familiar ones (like Muji, Zara, and Uniqlo to name a few). But once we got to the top we were met with a pleasant surprise.
There was a rooftop garden! And even better was that it had full sized cardboard cut outs of the SNSD members including one of my favorites–Tiffany~
Pork with Tiffany from SNSD
It’s pretty easy to see why she would be one of my faves. No worries, no real romance here. I’ve still got Piggy. 😉
The garden was really a nice getaway and some locals looked to be enjoying themselves in the patio area, escaping the crowded city.
Lovely garden away from the city bustle
Another nice surprise was finding these Larva characters which happen to be very popular in Korea. Not really sure where they’re from but they look hilarious! hahaha.
Piggy and Larva characters lol
We finally descended from the Lotte Young World department store and skipped the main Lotte department store nearby since it was all high end and expensive Gucci and Chanel. So we made our way back to Myeongdong central and hit up the one of MANY makeup stores.
OK. To get the idea across, Koreans and makeup are like Americans to Starbucks. It’s freaking everywhere like an airborne virus. There are a handful of major makeup brands here like Etude House, The Face Shop, Missha, Nature Republic, Holika Holika, and Skin Food to name a FEW. We literally saw 4+ of each of these stores within Myeongdong. And Myeongdong AIN’T that big. It was like turning the corner to see the same set of stores over and over again.
Anyway, we did plan on going to Etude House as we got a long shopping list from my sister-in-law haha. Once inside, one of the 6+ workers approached us speaking Chinese. As this is a heavily touristy area, you will find a LOT of workers here speak Chinese (mainly Mandarin) or Japanese… but not so much English.
Extreme Etude House shopping
I snagged a pic of Piggy doing her intense Etude House clean out.
Once we finally finished with the makeup, we saw advertisements for a Dog Cafe. Yup, dog cafe.
Dog Cafe in Myeongdong
Where you go to drink tea and play with dogs that lounge around and poo/pee everywhere. These cafés are popular in Korea because come on… DOGGIES!!!
It costed us 8,000 won each ($8 USD) and you get a free drink which is totally worth it for the dogggiesssss. We found an especially cute pug that kept falling asleep.
Piggy and the pug
So adorable but it made me miss my own Piglet (Teddy bear!!) back at home.
We spent a good 30 mins. there before bouncing out back into Myeongdong to get some snacks.
Pro Tip: The street food carts all come out at 4 pm in Myeongdong so keep that in mind when visiting.
Me and Piggy shared one of Korea’s popular ice cream tube snacks which was nice and refreshing.
Popular ice cream tube store
Piggy and I enjoyed it.
Piggy and the ice cream thingy
Carrying on with our fattiness, I picked up a sweet cinammony pancake thing.
Street food sweets pancakes and savory bun things
‘Twas a nice contrast to the cold ice cream.
And of course we couldn’t keep our eyes off dem sausages.
Assorted skewered goodness
We also saw these insanely huge cotton candy balls.
Super huge cotton candy!
By this point, we were done with Myeongdong and were ready to head into Hongdae, a very popular spot for hip stores, restaurants, and art. Also it’s widely known as the party spot with clubs and bars.
One neat store we went to was Samsammadong, a butterfly wing art store, gallery, and studio. The store offers really creative artwork (remember, art doesn’t just come in the form of paintings) made by art students.
The building is super hip and snazzy in there with a gallery on the 2nd floor. But we passed as it had a 5,000 won admission fee.
At this point we were thoroughly tired with achy feet. So we rested at a dessert cafe and got some shaved snow or “patbingsoo”.
It was getting dark but that’s when Hongdae really comes to life.
Hongdae at night
The picture above didn’t do Hongdae justice but it was really lively and lit up at night. There were also artists that came out to play music with crowds clapping along.
Hongdae was great but both Piggy and I weren’t up for any clubbing and were ready to head home.
We got back to our building and opted to get food at the Korean shop next door. When Piggy and I were exploring the area near our building last night, we smelled that infamous Korean BBQ awesomeness as we passed by this joint. So Piggy pretty much demanded to have it tonight.
Pork and BBQ set
We got Korean BBQ here but they serve other common Korean food too. We opted for the MoDeum Gogi A (meat set A). The set came with beef and pork belly in all of its delicious juiciness.
Delicious BBQ goodness
Back in our room, we did a damage check and reviewed our haul from Etude House specifically.
Etude House haul!
This is just the first haul but Piggy definitely wants more. More to come… More to come…