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!

20140409-154117.jpg
Streets of Samcheongdong in Spring

20140409-153754.jpg
Giant graffiti-ed Rose at Ssamziegil

20140409-153650.jpg
Artwork – photography at Ssamziegil

20140409-153321.jpg
Imperial entertainer masks – Insadong

20140409-152254.jpg
Cheongye Stream

20140409-152124.jpg
Overhead bridge at Cheongye Stream

P1010075
Traditional yangpan houses at Bukchon Hanok Village

P1010072
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.

20140409-154046.jpg

20140409-154101.jpg

20140409-154107.jpg

20140409-154112.jpg

20140409-154117.jpg

20140409-154123.jpg

20140409-154129.jpg

20140409-154135.jpg

20140409-154148.jpg
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.

20140409-154141.jpg

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

20140409-154202.jpg

20140409-154215.jpg

20140409-154209.jpg

20140409-154222.jpg

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 016: SNAPSHOTS @ INSADONG

20140409-153313.jpg

You know you’re in Insadong when traditional imperial-entertainer masks are sold at every corner.
20140409-153321.jpg

20140409-153331.jpg

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

20140409-153404.jpg

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 013: BUKCHON HANOK VILLAGE 북촌한옥마을

For history buffs who wish to experience a well-preserved slice of Korean history, Bukchon Hanok Village is where you need to be! The residential district of Bukchon (literally meaning north village) housed high-ranking government officials / nobility during the Joseon Dynasty. Here, traditional Korean houses known as Hanok (or Joseonhouses) were re-built or re-furnished from the olden days.

P1010051

Tourist information centers are tactfully located in all the right places so there’s no chance of anyone ever getting lost. Bukchon village has been urbanized, no matter what’s being said about its cultural antiquity. Along the way, stone-paved alleys between hanoks are dangerously steep (uphill and downhill), I was tired when I reached the highest peak of the alleys! Here’s a compilation of snapshots I’d taken on the uphill climb ~ Enjoy!!!

P1010052

P1010056

Neighbourhoods within the Bukchon area consists of Wonseo-dongJae-dongGye-dongGahoe-dong and Insa-dong, with many clusters of privately owned traditional hanoks. Each cluster generally look pretty much alike architecturally – it’s as if they have their own ‘themes’.

P1010057

P1010058

P1010060

P1010061

P1010062

P1010063

P1010064

Funfact: Hanoks are classified according to social class. The upperclass (yangban) houses has tiled roofs (giwa). House of commoners typically has rice-straw roofs (choga). No matter how hard I tried to differentiate, all of the houses looked upperclass to me. Can you spot any rice-straw roofs??

P1010065

P1010066

P1010067

P1010068

P1010069

P1010070

P1010075

P1010074

P1010073

P1010072

P1010071

P1010076

Other preserved Hanok locales:
彡☆ Namsangol Hanok Village – Pil-dong neighborhood of Jung-gu, Seoul
彡☆ Hahoe Folk Village – Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do
彡☆ Yangdong Folk Village – Gyeongju
彡☆ Gyeongsangbuk-do – along the Hyeongsan River.
彡☆ Korean Folk Village – Yongin, Gyeonggi

Really enjoyed this refreshing tour of hanoks! The village houses look a lot more sturdy and concrete than I’d imagined, though this could have been a result of refurnishing and preservation efforts. Best thing of all, people actually still live in them. From a certain time onwards, visitors to Bukchon Hanok Village are told to keep their volumes low so as not to cause disturbances to the residents. Next time round, I would love to stay at a Hanok guesthouse ^^

BUKCHON HANOK VILLAGE 북촌한옥마을
Exit 3 of Anguk Station (subway line 3)
종로구 계동길 37, 서울특별시, 110-250

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

 

P.S. This is cheating but since I took zilch selfies at Insadong and Bukchon Hanok… so here’s one from Jeju ^^

Viktoria Jean.jpg

I’m spending most of April in Europe. It’s so hard to find Asian food here! Right now I’m craving Jjajangmyeon and sushi!! ): Been surviving on fruits, nuts, chocolates and bretzels.
Anyway, have a good week ahead guys! \(^o^)/

 

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!

20140403-142903.jpg

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

The exterior of a hotel:20140403-142914.jpg

20140403-142925.jpg

20140403-142933.jpg

20140403-142940.jpg

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.

20140403-143000.jpg

20140403-142944.jpg

20140403-142953.jpg

20140403-143007.jpg

20140403-143023.jpg

20140403-143016.jpg

20140403-143036.jpg

20140403-143042.jpg

20140403-143029.jpg

20140403-143051.jpg

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.

P1000799

P1000801

P1000802

P1000804

P1000806

P1000807

P1000811

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