japan & korea 2017, travel

Japan and Korea 2017 Day 12: Tokyo to Seoul, Naengmyeon, Hongdae, a Book Cafe, and Chimaek

Welcome to my travel post about Day 12 of my Japan & Korea 2017 trip! While I absolutely loved telling you all about my adventures in Japan, I have also been quite excited to start telling out about the week we spent in South Korea! And it all starts with this post! Read on to see what we did on our first day in Seoul.

We should have known not to party so late the night before an early flight, but sometimes you just have to! I won’t lie, my body was not happy that I had to wake up when I did, but overall I was so so happy and excited to finally be able to visit South Korea! I’ve been listening to kpop and watching kdramas for around 10 years now (if not more), I’ve studied the language in school, learned how to cook some Korean dishes, and am overall quite fascinated with the culture! So, being able to sneak a short trip to Korea into my Japan trip, was a dream come true! I think that it was also quite awesome that before, during, and after the trip to Korea, I was reading my very very first book with a Korean MC (I Believe in a Thing Called Love)!

Checking in and boarding all went fine, and within just a few hours, we landed in South Korea! And I was so happy that I literally had a grin on my face the entire time. Once we picked up our luggage and everything, we took a trail from the airport into Seoul, and from there walked to our absolutely stunning Airbnb apartment! (Note: I didn’t take those photos, because for some reason I didn’t think to take any pictures of the apartment. These are directly from the Airbnb page! Also, I highly recommend!)

Note: I picked the little bedroom sitting on its own on the rooftop (shown in pictures 4, 6, 13, 14, and 15), mainly because of the kdrama Rooftop Prince hahaha.

Once we finished exploring the apartment, we immediately went back out into the city for some food. Even before this trip, all four of us were already fans of Korean food, and we had a really hard time deciding what to try first! Eventually, because it was a hot day and because the one friend who had already visited Seoul before recommended it, we went to a small little naengmyoen (cold buckwheat noodle soup) shop. Before this trip, I would say that I wasn’t very into naengmyeon, but the bowl that I had at this place definitely changed my mind, and it’s one of my favourite dishes now! To explain, naengmyeon is buckwheat noodles in a cold beef broth (usually with ice in it) that is garnished with sliced cucumber, pickled radish, slices of beef, egg, sesame seeds, and potentially other yummy goodies. You can also customize it by adding mustard and/or vinegar. I know that this may sound strange to some of you, and it did to me too, but like I said, this is one of my favourite dishes now, and I especially like eating it on very very hot days because it’s refreshing!

When our hunger was sated, we explored the city some more! It was all so exciting, and Seoul was everything that I expected and more! Since my friends knew how much I enjoy books and reading (and also coffee), we all went to a unique cafe! It’s a bookstore as well as a coffee shop, and while here in Canada we have mini Starbucks locations inside Chapters/Indigo bookstores, the way that this was set up was definitely unique. The atmosphere was quite cozy, and the coffee was one of the best coffees that I have ever had in my entire life. I can still remember the taste, and it’s been over a year.

After we relaxed at the cafe for a bit, we explored the city a little more because the excitement of the last few days finally caught up with us. So, we made our way back to our beautiful Airbnb, relaxed there for a bit. Since was hadn’t had time to find a grocery store (they’re a lot harder to get to in Korea than in Japan if you’re on foot or using the subway), we decided to get some takeout for dinner that night.

After a lot of deliberation, again, because we love all of the food, we decided on a classic: chicken and beer! We took a relaxed stroll just down the street to a place that specializes in fried chicken, and then headed to a corner store just around the corner for some beer! I absolutely love how convenient it is to do this in Asia, or in big cities really. Where I live in Canada, you have to drive everywhere, because absolutely nothing is within walking distance (unless you want to be walking all day and have your food spoil)!

But back to the food for just a second. Fried chicken is one of the best things ever! It’s called chimaek (치맥) in Korea, and it has seriously changed my life. I first came across the combo in Korean dramas, and tried at home in Canada. It was definitely delicious, but that did not compare to being able to experience it while eating Korean fried chicken and drinking Korean beer on our private rooftop patio in Seoul, while a man on the streets of Hongdae serenaded us (footage/proof of the lovely serenade below)!

Needless to say, we had a fantastic first day. I slept quite soundly in my little rooftop room, looking forward to the next day. And I can’t wait to share our adventures from Day 13 with all of you (all about Gongcha, Gangnam, the SM Town Museum, a beautiful temple, and a cat cafe)! Be sure to subscribe (if you haven’t already) so you don’t miss the next post! Also, which experience from this post do you think you’d enjoy the most?


16 thoughts on “Japan and Korea 2017 Day 12: Tokyo to Seoul, Naengmyeon, Hongdae, a Book Cafe, and Chimaek

  1. Sounds incredible, and the pictures are great! I have fond memories of Korea as well, though from many more years ago . I’ll have to go back and check out your posts about Japan.

  2. This is so cool!! I’m glad I got to see pictures of you in SK, that coffee looks SOO GOOD. That setup is definitely unique and different, but not bad at all! The Air BNB you stayed at looks so cute and cozy!! I think it’s really cool you got to take Korean in school. I’ve not really been exposed to much of the Korean culture except listening to KPOP

    1. Thank you! And I wish I’d been more confident and had asked my friends to take pictures of me in Seoul…haha. I might include some selfies in some of the next posts though! And listening to kpop is how I started too!

  3. This looked like so much fun ergh. I should definitely look into staying in an Airbnb when I travel places instead of a hotel (is it cheaper?) Plus I love how close it looked to everything. THAT BOOKSTORE OMG!!! I definitely need to track that place down when I go to Seoul one day hahaha. That coffee looks delicious too. I’m excited for your next post especially as a K-Pop fan since you visited the SM Town Museum <3 And cat cafe ahhhh (wish i wasn't allergic :/ )

    1. You should! It’s definitely cheaper, plus we got a whole apartment and terrace to ourselves, and definitely felt more immersed in the city and culture than we would have if we stayed in a hotel. It feels more like you’re living in a place for a little while, than just visiting, if you stay in an Airbnb, in my opinion 🙂 And yeah, we were in the middle of Hongdae, and it was so so great! And yeah! I’ll have to ask my friend what that bookstore was called hehe. And awe yay! I’ll try to write and publish the next post ASAP! <3 Also I'm sorry to hear that you're allergic to cats! Thanks so much for reading! <3

      1. That’s a good plus too – that you get your own space. It’s like temporarily living there as a resident haha which is cool. With all of the cat cafes in korea and japan i’ll have to skip them or take a lot of allergy pills lol.

        1. Yeah! Same with Japan too. There’s no way we could have gotten a room or rooms with tatami mats at a hotel without paying a fortune, but we got a really good deal on a traditional apartment with 2 tatami rooms just down the street from where my friend lived. And haha yeah! There are doggy cafes too though 😉 we went to one on our last day in Seoul hehe. There was also a like…African animals cafe too, and maybe a fox one or something? I forget, haha. Would have loved a fox one, but you can’t really touch the wilder animals, whereas the cats and dogs are in the same room as you, and are cuddly.

        1. Hahaha yeah it’s not cheap! I think I spent between 4000 to 5000 CAD….maybe more. Haha. But my trip was 20 days long, and I’m including the flight tickets in there (1000 for Canada to Japan and back, and 400+ for Japan to Korea), the Airbnbs (500-600), my JR rail pass (300+), what I spent on taking the trains in both Japan and Korea, and then shopping and food.

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