SEOUL DIARIES 019: A DAY OF ARTS AND CULTURE

March 24, 2014: DAY FIVE

Itinerary
[09:00AM] Arrive at Anguk Station

[09:00AM] Explore Insadong streets: from Anguk Station, walk towards Jongno-3-ga via Gwanhun-dong, and back towards Anguk Station via Gyeonji-Dong

[11:00AM] Lunch @ Miss Lee Cafe 별다방 미스리, Insadong

[12:00PM] Bukchon Hanok Village 북촌한옥마을

[01:30PM] Coffee Break @ Cafe 5Ci Jung 까페오시정

[02:15PM] Explore Samcheongdong, walk back towards Insadong (Anguk Station)

[02:45PM] Ssamziegil – arts and cultural district 쌈지길

[03:30PM] Lemon and Mint-ade break @ Cafe True Us, Insadong 카페트루어스

[04:00PM] Walk towards Cheongyecheon Stream 청계천 and took a walk along the underground waterway.

[05:00PM] Explore Euljiro-1-Ga

[06:00PM] Travelled back to Hapjeong Station

[06:15PM] Iced Yuja-cha at Paul and Lina’s Living Cafe 폴엔리나 리빙까페

[06:45PM] Ethiopian Black Coffee at Cafe Miz Moren 카페 미즈모렌

[07:20PM] Tiramisu at Cafe Comma 카페꼼마

[08:30PM] Commence night-shopping at Hongdae!

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Streets of Samcheongdong in Spring

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Giant graffiti-ed Rose at Ssamziegil

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Artwork – photography at Ssamziegil

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Imperial entertainer masks – Insadong

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Cheongye Stream

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Overhead bridge at Cheongye Stream

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Traditional yangpan houses at Bukchon Hanok Village

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Hanok clusters – Bukchon Hanok Village

This is how I spent a day immersed in Korean heritage and the more ancient artsy fartsy side of Seoul! I can’t say that I’m passionate about their traditional arts, but I did learn to appreciate these a whole lot more.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 018: SAMCHEONGDONG 삼청동

At the peak of Bukchon Hanok Village overlooking Samcheongdong, I couldn’t wait to get to its bustling streets!20140409-154037.jpg

Samcheongdong is geographically the lane right next to Bukchon Hanok Village. It is the trendy mash-up neighbourhood with hipster cafes, luxury goods, private art galleries alongside traditional Korean diners.

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Not a showroom for cars but an art gallery. In Seoul, many motor vehicular companies are major art dealers and sponsors for private showcase like these. Makes for a good form of investment for the companies.

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Found: HANK’S Book Cafe, with a really enlightening signpost!20140409-154156.jpg

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From Samcheongdong, I headed back towards Anguk Station and walked down Insadong. The Jongno-Gu district is a combination of all the places I love for its aesthetically pleasing architecture, awesome themed cafes and vibrant arts and culture. It’s really a welcome change from crowded shopping malls and the tourist traps.

Love it here, so much.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 017: SSAMZIEGIL ARTS AND CULTURE 쌈지길

Indeed, Ssamziegil is the ‘Special Insa-dong within Insa-dong’.
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This arts and cultural heaven is made of over 70 shops, including handicraft and souvenir stores, art galleries, restaurants and eateries. Following a spiral-like staircase, you’ll arrive at Haneulmadang at the top of Ssamziegil, where you get a really good sky-view!

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Found: the legendary DUNG-BREAD! Bread shaped like shit. Tastes like awesome shit. For just 1000KRW.
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Just one man is single-handedly stirring up the shit.
Gosh I love this shit. #punintended

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This place has everything you will want to get from the streets of Insa-dong street. If you have only an hour to shop in the area, this is where you need to be!

I loved the hidden beauties along the walls, in the stores and between alleys at Ssamziegil. Everything here was beautified by people with mad artistic sense and skills.

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SSAMZIEGIL 쌈지길
Seoul-si Jongno-gu Gwanhun-dong 38
서울특별시 종로구 인사동길 44 (관훈동)

[Subway]
Anguk Station (Seoul Subway line 3), Exit 6
Walk toward Jongno Police Station and enter the Insa-dong one-way street of Crown Bakery & GS25, and go staright 100m.

Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, Exit 3)
Go towards Jogyesagil (pass 2 signals) and enter the alley next to the 7th Day Sabbath Church.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 016: SNAPSHOTS @ INSADONG

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You know you’re in Insadong when traditional imperial-entertainer masks are sold at every corner.
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And you find loads of antiques at pretty good prices.20140409-153339.jpg

There’s the occasional fabulous art gallery.20140409-153347.jpg

And tourist traps with iconic Korean souvenirs.20140409-153357.jpg

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Not forgetting name-stamps! I think these are just so cute. When I get to graduate school, I’m getting one to mark all my books ^^20140409-153411.jpg

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 012: ART @ ANGUK STATION

The thing about travelling alone is this:  you’ve got to find ways to entertain yourself.

Every empty street and silent alley is a selfie moment…
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or in my guesthouse room, every morning, before I see the world.

On my way to Insadong and Bukchon Hanok Village, I captured these paintings at Anguk station’s underground platform. To passers-by these might be very ordinary art-pieces but while I was alone, on an insanely early chilly morning, I found myself captivated by artwork along the subway.

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Going to foreign places alone is easy when you’re the extreme ends of the social-activity spectrum. The born-introvert embraces the loneliness while the social butterfly would gravitate towards making friends on every journey.

You don’t necessarily need friendship to make a lasting impression. The briefest conversation, the slightest smile and the quickest exchange of knowing glances. In my mind these images become the most vivid recollections.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 008: CAFES IN ITAEWON

Along the glorious and vibrant district of art museums and galleries are laid-back cafes offering all-day breakfasts and a myriad of flavoured coffees. In close association to the indie Hannamdong Cafe Street, coffee culture in Itaewon is self-directed and expat-friendly. Expect top-notch Americanos and loads of Seoul Design-Spot cafe galleries! Here are some of my favourites!

Glamorous Penguin

For more updates on Glamorous Penguin.

Ways of Seeing Art Cafe
For more updates on Ways of Seeing Art Gallery / Cafe.

Other amazing cafes in Itaewon / Hannamdong:

☆彡 Flying Pan Blue
123-7 Itaewon-Dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Daily 10:30am – 10:30pm
☎ +82 2 793 5285
Americano 4500₩, All Day Breakfasts 15000₩

☆彡 Passion 5
272 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Daily 730am – 10pm
☎ +82 2 2071 9507
Nearest Station: Hangangjin
Americano 7000₩, Cakes 5000 – 10000₩

☆彡 Take Out Drawing
140-861, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
☎ +82 2 790 2637
Nearest Station: Hangangjin

☆彡 Tartine Bakery & Cafe
Famous for: Being the Pie Shop from Running Man episode 71
4 Itaewon-ro 23-Gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Daily 10am – 11:30pm
☎ +82 2 3785 3400
119-15 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul
Nearest Station: Itaewon (Line 6) Exit 2

☆彡 Coffee Chu
682-10, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
(7 Itaewon-ro 54-gil)
☎ +82 2 790 6821
Nearest Station: Hangangjin

 

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 007: ITAEWON

March 23, 2014: DAY FOUR

Itinerary
[10:00 AM] Breakfast @ Thanks Nature Cafe 양카페 – Hongdae

[10:59 AM] Grabbed Kyeran Bang 계란 빵 from a street stall! My favorite street food from Korea!

[11:00 AM] Travel to Itaewon!

[11:20 AM] Sat down for a strawberry latte at Glamorous Penguin. Also to leech onto their WiFi for Google Maps.

[12:00 PM] Explored Itaewon on foot, to Hangangjin Station

[01:10 PM] Visited LeeUm Samsung Museum of Art (scroll to the bottom for more pics)

[02:15 PM] Walked to Hannamdong Cafe Street

[03:00 PM] Grabbed Iced Latte from Ways of Seeing Cafe slash Art Gallery

[04:00 PM] Walked across Hannamdaero Bridge to Jamwon-Dong (at Sinsa-Dong and Gangnam district). I loved the insanely strong winds! Nobody else was on the bridge. I was walking against the rush of traffic and enjoying the sea breeze. Will post pictures of this soon enough.

[05:00 PM] Explored Jamwon-Dong all the way to Banpo Station. This was an insanely long long walk, but absolutely refreshing!

[06:00 PM] Sat down for dinner at Banpo Station. For the first time in my life, I ATE SOONDAE 순대!!! Basically it’s blood sausage, made  by boiling or steaming cow or pig’s intestines that can be stuffed with pork blood, fermented soybean paste, glutinous rice, kimchi, and soybean sprouts. Best thing of all, I hadn’t realised it was Soondae ):  It tasted really good though. But now as I recall what it actually is…eurgh!!

[06:45 PM] Travelled back to Hapjeong Station (Seogyo-Dong district at Hongdae) for more cafehopping adventures

[07:20 PM] Book Cafe Jaeum and Moeum 자음과모음 북카페 – Blueberry Banana Smoothie

[08:30 PM] Travel Cafe 트래블 카페 @ 홍대 – Cinnamon Earl Grey Latte

[09:30 PM] Late-night shopping at Hongdae!! For an entire week, I did this every night before heading back to my guesthouse. Hongdae only gets fired up after 9PM, especially on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. So much shopping to do, so little time.

[12 Midnight] Bought Kimbap from No.1 Seogyo BapJip for supper!

☆彡☆彡☆彡☆彡☆彡☆彡☆彡☆彡☆彡

Travel Diary

홍대에서 아침 식사
Breakfast was too good to be true!! Had the most amazing BerryNana waffles from Thanks Nature Cafe 양카페, Hongdae’s first and only sheep cafe, before making my way to Itaewon. Only in Seoul, you get to dine with a lamb! Strawberries + Bananas = BerryNana. My morning is complete with a cuppa peppermint tea.

Itaewon’s over-the-top architecture propels the casual pedestrian into a distant future. Stepping onto a set of a science fiction futuristic movie must feel like this!

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Love the exterior of this Starbucks – so much effort goes into designing it.20140403-142909.jpg

The exterior of a hotel:20140403-142914.jpg

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The further away you get from the artistic galleries of Hangangjin, the buildings get less dramatically sci-fi. Loads of cafes thrive in this area, for many expats that work in Korea live in this district of Itaewon.

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Walked the entire length of Itaewon to Hangangjin station, before diverting to art museums that require an uphill climb. This is where I visited the gorgeous LeeUm Samsung Museum of Art.

There are 2 separate galleries within, showcasing traditional Korean art and contemporary art. In both, photography is banned. This place is definitely worth visiting. Museum 1, designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta, houses the national treasures such as folk paintings, ceramics, manuscripts and traditional stoneware. Museum 2 is the masterpiece of French architect Jean Nouvel, boasting of permanent exhibits by Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, Yves Klein and Donald Judd. Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas designed the Samsung Child Education & Culture Center.

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Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art
747-18 Hannam-dong
Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
10:30 am – 6:00 pm
+82 2-2014-6901

The inspiring pieces from Museum 2 really had me filled with awe, whereas Museum 1 gave me the chills. Ancient art is too profound and somehow unreachable to me, in the sense that the millenium-old items show another chapter in human history that will always be a mystery to mankind, no matter how hard our attempts at recreating or reimagining the unknown era.

I left the museum deep in thought, having been exposed to such great inspirations. I headed next for Hannamdong Cafe Street, but found that I’d much preferred Itaewon’s bustling roadside cafes. The cafes at Hannamdong are small, and most of them were takeout cafes which didn’t provide much indoor seating. Itaewon is, all in all, a westernized zone, home to far-flung imaginations and art in all its re-created beauty.

In my next update, I’d bring to you some of my favourite cafes in Itaewon-dong ^^
Till then!

 

xoxo,
Vikoria Jean

Cafe True Us @ Insa-Dong | 인사동맛집 카페트루어스

Lemon and Mint-ade after spending a long afternoon exploring Bukchon Hanok Village and Samcheongdong. Cafe True Us 카페트루어스 is located along the antiques street of Insadong, with the nearest station being Jongno-3-Ga Station. Its triple-storeyed interiors are furnished to match its physical location – Insadong is home to cultural arts and crafts that go way back in time. Polished teakwood tables and chairs in Cafe True Us brings back the nostalgic air of the roaring ’80s.

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카페트루어스
전화: 02-722-4855
종로구 인사동 146 (인사점), Seoul
146 Jongno-Gu Insadong, Seoul

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES OO3: CAFE-HOPPING in GANGNAM

day Two itinerary seoul

Gangnam is, altogether, a fantastic spot for cafe-hopping. I spent the entire day here from morning till early evening, until I headed to KYOBO BOOKSTORE at Sinnonhyeon Station. The area is close to the Jamwon section of Hangang River Park, so take a walk to the famous South Korean river if you feel up to it!

Sharing a few cafes which I’ve managed to check out on days when I’d made my way to Gangnam:

Bloom and Goute Cafe
For more pictures and information on Bloom, click here.

 

50 FIFTY CAFE
Link to full blogpost on 50 FIFTY CAFE here.

 

deux creme

For more information on Deux Cremes: click!

 

Twosome Place Cafe
For more information on A TWOSOME PLACE: click

 

coffee chu korea
For more pictures of COFFEE CHU: click here.

Other amazing cafes in Gangnam:

☆彡 AllO
Converted from a private home, transformed into a modern, stylish brunch cafe
520-9 Sinsa-dong Gangnam Gu Seoul
02 541 6933

☆彡 Bless Garden
645-16 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu Seoul

☆彡 Butterfinger Pancakes
Excellent all-day breakfast pancakes, menu revamped every 6 months
88-9 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
02-3448-1070
Exit 10 Gangnam station (Line 2)
Daily 7.00a.m. to 3.00a.m

☆彡 Design Cafe 디자인카페 (내추럴퍼니)
646-5 1F Sinsa-dong Gangnam Gu Seoul
02-3445-2822

☆彡 Grand Ciel 그랑씨엘
650-22 Sinsa-dong Gangnam Gu Seoul
+82 2-548-0283
Daily 11AM – 10PM

☆彡 Grande 그란데
Mediterranean menu: Tea, Wine, Various Deserts and Pasta.
546-8 1F Sinsa-dong Gangnam Gu Seoul
02-548-8858

☆彡 May Island
서울 강남구 역삼동 816-6 용일빌딩 4, 5층
(Seoul, Gangnam-gu, Yeoksam-dong 816-6, Yongin Bldg 4F & 5F)
Nearest Station: Gangnam Station (Line 2), Sinnonhyeon Station (Line 9)

☆彡 Mug for Rabbit 머그 포 래빗
534-25 Sinsa-dong Gangnam Gu Seoul

☆彡 Paper Garden 페이퍼가든
653-11 Sinsa-dong Gangnam Gu Seoul
02 3443 8880
Daily 11PM – 1AM

☆彡 Sarubia 사루비아
542-3 Sinsa-dong Gangnam Gu Seoul

 

ANGEL-IN-US was where I had my breakfast before heading toward Gangnam. It’s just about my favourite coffee-chain in South Korea, right up there with Caffe Bene.
ANGELINUS COFFEE KOREA
For more pictures, click here

 

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES OO2: GANGNAM

On my second day in Seoul, I travelled to Apgujeong in the district of Gangnam. To catch a trendy side of Seoul without the unexaggeratedly touristy appeal (aka Myeongdong), head to this part of town. Gangnam has been revolutionized by a wave of new-age Koreans.

What I loved: this building dressed in a coat of leopard prints without looking over-the-top
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As expected of diners in this hip and classy community, every cafe which I slipped into for a cuppa coffee competed for style – each interior design was aesthetically magazine-worthy. In short, Apgujeong is first-rate uptown district: its roads are dominated by big brand names, posh restaurants, sophisticated cafes and nightclubs. Further down north, towards Sinsa station is the less ambitiously stylish locale of Sinsa-dong. Here, you can find independent homely eateries, roadside stalls, casual soju-bars and pubs.

Gangnam Gu

APGUJEONG:
APGUJEONG GANGNAM

SINSA-DONG:
SINSADONG

Cheongdam-Dong is the middle-ground that provides a balance between the two locales. I love Cheongdam-dong – the people seem to be in less of a rush than Apgujeong. Its streets and stores were well-kept, neat and tidy.

CHEONGDAM-DONG:
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Sinsadong’s Garosugil 신사동 가로수길 (which literally means tree-lined street) is the perfect romantic dating spot for couples and meeting place for friends. Though it’s a bit overrun by tourists, photographers and Euro-loving Koreans, Garosugil remains a popular hangout and must-go destination! Loads of popular dramas were filmed in Garosugil and Gangnam area, to be honest, for it’s really the posher side of Korea which foreigners would love.

I personally love people-watching at the Gangnam district because the guys here are really goodlooking. It’s no wonder, though, or perhaps it’s merely a coincidence, that plastic surgery clinics are everywhere in Gangnam. Clearly, the rich and famous have their nosejobs, boobjobs and facejobs done in the area. Private plastic surgery establishments as high as 50-storeys are not uncommon. Here, you could do plastic surgery in complete privacy and total isolation.

That somewhat sums up my Gangnam experience. Stay-tuned for my next post on…CAFEHOPPING IN GANGNAM! ^^

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean