Day 1 Nine Tree Hotel Myeongdong, Gwangjang/Bangsan/Chungbu Markets, N Seoul Tower
Day 2 Hanbok, Gyeongbokgung, Tosokchon, Samcheongdong, Bukchon Hanok Village, Myeong-dong
Day 3 - Namdaemun (Lunch) > Ewha Women's University > Hongdae Free Market / Hongik University Street (dinner) > Lotte Mart
Another full day of activities, and hence we made it to Namdaemun Market in the morning.
Namdaemun Market (남대문시장)
Namdaemun Market is the largest traditional market in Korea and upon reaching the area and getting an area map (from the travel guides stationed around the street), I realised the whole place is huge indeed! Besides the retailers lined along the streets, there are several wholesale buildings each around four to five stories.
The retail streets are divided into several categories like Children's Clothes Street, Watch/Jewelry Street, Fashion Street, Military Uniform Street, Bedding Street, Mountain Climbing Equipment Street, Camera Street, Stationery/Toy Street, Food Material Street. Food streets include Chopped Noodles Street and Fish/Stew Street.
This is definitely the place to go for sourcing goods, if you are conducting a business!
Apparently there's another staff at another entrance to the Market which is very famous for Hotteok. I only found it when leaving the market. The queue was super long though, which means it must be really yummy. Well, didn't matter, any hotteok was good for me!
We selected a shop randomly. HB ordered a pan-fried fish (cannot remember what fish is that already) and udon, whereas I ordered a beef rib and radish soup. HB's udon never arrived, but we were actually quite full after finishing these. Food quality was so-so only though.
And this is Sungnyemun Gate (숭례문), also known as Namdaemun Gate, currently Korea’s National Treasure No. 1.
After Namdaemun Market, we made our way to Ewha Womans University (이화여자대학교). Don't ask me why I went there :p Well, it seemed to be a popular tourist destination, judging by the number of blogs I read which recommended it as the campus is very lovely. The surrounding area is also one of the most popular shopping districts in Seoul with many fashion, accessory, shoes, beauty salons and cafes.
Already a common sight in Seoul, several street food stalls lined the streets leading to the University.
And here, Ewha Womans University.
And this is the supposedly most iconic complex of the University? Called the Ewha Campus Complex, it's Korea's largest underground campus, which houses library, bookstore, gym, movie theater, cafes, lecture rooms and an eco-park. Wow!
We were here on a Saturday and the whole place was crowded! But I guess mostly tourists like us, who were curious about the place. I wonder how do the students here feel? Proud that their campus became an attraction or disturbed by over-enthusiastic tourists taking countless photos all over the campus and being rowdy and noisy?
Next stop, Hongdae Free Market 홍대 프리마켓 (www.freemarket.or.kr), a weekend art and creative market selling handmade items. The market only operates on Saturdays from March to November, at a park within the Hongdae (Hongik University Street) (홍대).
Overall, a lovely creative market with nice ambience.
We walked around Hongik University Street for a while and came across a few UFO catcha shops and there were pokemons plush :) The HB did manage to catch one Squirtle for 2000 won at another shop. The retail price was 4000 won, lucky!
Actually after eating here, I recalled there's a Kyochon Fried Chicken shop in Hongdae area and I had wanted to eat Kyochon's fried chicken for this trip! My goldfish memory!!!!! Boohoooooooo....
Now, no way the two of us could finish all these, it was more for 3-4 people? Anyways, the fried chicken was yummy, super crispy on the outside and juicy inside. We selected garlic soy flavour and the sauce coated on the chicken was finger licking good. But then, still cannot finish lah.
After walking around for a while more, we felt tired and wanted to head back to the hotel. Took a cab and when we reached the Seoul Station area, the cab driver told us that some roads were blocked due to ongoing protest and the jam would take us much longer to get to Myeongdong, whereas taking the subway would be faster.
Lotte Mart - Seoul Station Branch (롯데마트-서울역점)
So we alighted. I had planned to visit Lotte Market on Monday night, but since we were here, might as well shop here. Spent a couple of hours shopping for snacks and grocery at the huge Lotte Mart which was packed with tourists, before finally heading back to the hotel.
Stay tuned for day 4, where we dined at one of Korea Tourism Board's certified Royal Cuisine Restaurant, visited Insadong and Cheongyecheon Stream for Seoul's Lantern Festival.