Quick summary of this day’s adventure: Day 3: Bukchon Hanok Village, passed by Seoul’s Little Manila, Hyehwa Cathedral, Late lunch at one of Hyehwa’s tiny but high restaurant, Gyeongbukgoong Palace, Lotte World
We went for an early morning venture to Bukchon Hanok Village, for a traditional Korean village feel, as well as stop by the famed Sanggojae house. Upon leaving Anguk station, we walked straight ahead looking for the information booth. But we were there early (booth opens at 10:00 if I am not mistaken). Good thing a Korean student who speaks fluent English was walking by and she helped us get directions to the village (“Go straight until you see a green pharmacy, turn left, then,” pointing at the map I was holding, “go straight here, when you see this, turn right, straight ahead. At the end of it is the Sanggojae.”) She was so sweet she even told us she was the walking map of the area. (shout out to you!!) So we followed her directions but I guess I missed the turn right part, and turned left instead. My friend and I kind of walked aimlessly – getting lost and following a bunch of tourists who clearly were not looking for the Sanggojae, haha – until FINALLY we saw the house number. You can check my post here for a more detailed (and easier!) way of locating Sanggojae.
We also found really pretty sights from downhill, and a nice gate while we were making our way out. Right about this time, we saw a tourist group and some volunteer students who were the walking information center of the Hanok Village.
Note though that the place is actually residential, and that people actually live here, so avoid shouting and crazy laugh-out-louds.
After the village, we decided to meet up with my relatives who were working in Korea. We passed by “Little Manila” – a sort of flea market on the sidewalk (bangketa style) that is only open on Sundays, where Filipinos and locals sell authentic Filipino products at reasonably expensive prices. Kuya Manny – my relative – has been staying in Korea for 13 years; his wife Ate Mylene for 10 years without going back to the Philippines. I guess Little Manila helps them remember what authentic Pinoy products really are.
Straight from walking the sidewalk of Little Manila, we visited the Hyehwa Cathedral where there was a Korean Catholic Mass being held. After taking souvenir shots of the place, Kuya Manny said that we will have to proceed to Dongseong High School for the Sunday Mass.
After that, we went for a late lunch, passing by a Hello Kitty Café – which is easy access from Hyehwa station. From Hyehwa Station exit 4, turn left crossing the street. Keep your eyes on your left, you won’t miss it with all the pink. This just takes about 2-3 minutes of walking, really.
We had lunch at this restaurant that’s off an alley from the main street. I was too keen on finding refuge from the cold Spring wind that I forgot to ask what the name of the restaurant was. But it has a nice ambiance. We were seated at the third floor so it wasn’t really busy. But the 2nd floor was a different story. HAHA.
After lunch, we walked around Hyehwa district for a little bit more braving the cold wind. I was wearing leggings for Pete’s sake! Not your ideal early Spring attire. But while roaming around, we saw Korean teens wearing short skirts, baring their legs. Seriously, life is unfair sometimes. HAHA.
We went into this tiny Korean boutique in search for gloves, but Winter has passed and they no longer sell those items. Instead, I bought an extra pair of leggings instead just in case.
We rode the bus from Hyehwa district to Gwanghamun square, alighting near the Sejong Center for Performing Arts. Walikng a little bit more to the pedestrian, we crossed the street to the Gwanghamun Square where another flea market is being held – again in search for gloves.
Finally, we crossed the street to Gyeongbukgoong Palace, just in time for the changing of guards.
There were so many things to see inside the Palace, even Kuya Manny said he hasn’t really been to every nook and corner of it. We decided to pick the more popular places and rested inside the museum building.
After the Palace, went back to Gwanghamun Square and then to the statue of Lee Soon Sin. It was amazing to see the Palace right smack in the middle of urban Seoul.
After that, we went to Cheonggyecheon stream to make wishes and be tourist-y.
We bid Kuya Manny and Ate Mylene goodbye (and ‘see you soons!’), and set off to Jamsil Station where Lotte World is. We purchased after 7 tickets that’s a lot cheaper than the day pass. We weren’t interested on rides so the after-7 ticket was convenient. We took photos of the castle, of the Carousel; saw a bit of Girls’ Generation (not a fan though, but one of my companions in the trip was!), and more of this stage performance by more good looking people. Entertainment, y’all!
We were supposed to go to Banpo Bridge but misunderstandings led us to miss the show – not even sure if there was already one.
So this ended our third day. The next day will be up soon! Anyway, let me know if you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them!