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Thursday, January 23, 2014

[Seoul, Korea] Beyang's Layover Itinerary (Day Itinerary) (Ewha Women's University and Hongik University Area)


Sorry I haven't had the chance to update recently. The last three weeks were extremely crazy. I went to Tokyo for a week then went back and got really sick and finished out my work in Kansai. After that, I flew to Seoul and spent 3 days finishing up business there and eating a bunch of food (future posts) even though I was still ridiculously sick. Then, I flew to Minnesota for a couple days and then now I'm back in New York as of Saturday.

To those of you who have emailed about itineraries, I promise to reply soon. I have just been super busy moving everywhere.

I did create an itinerary for my friend from Kobe who had a long layover in Seoul and it is as follows.

She had the free hotel from Korean Air. Korean Air provides a free hotel for passengers who have an overnight  layover in Seoul. They don't advertise it. You have to call them and ask about it.


Arrive at Incheon Airport
Put baggage in luggage storage

You should use the foreign ATM here…otherwise the foreign currency exchange at Incheon is known for not totally ripping you off. Otherwise, at the place I am recommending you go, there is a Global ATM at the exit (Woori Bank). Most of the places on your itinerary will not take credit card.

Take airport railroad to Hongik University station. Transfer to green line 2 towards Sinchon and get out at Ewha Women’s University station (2 stops).

This was my old neighborhood, so if you have any questions, let me know!
At Ewha University station, go out exit number 2 and start walking down the hill towards the school. You should see an Adidas store on your left.
I recommend stopping for a cup chicken from the guy at the top of the hill. There are many other carts that sell this, but I like his best. (See post about herb cup chicken)

If you continue walking down the hill, you will see a shopping centre to your left down a large hill. About the halfway point of this building is a lady selling the Korean spicy rice cakes (ddukbokki) and twigim (fried food…kinda like tempura) and kimbap (“Korean sushi”). Her stuff is really good and I highly recommend it.

This is a really good shopping area for young women and has all the makeup brands there are also tons of shoe stores. The shoe sizing is done by millimeters. I think Japanese size was by centimeters…

Also, if you are wandering around and see someone in a red hat and red vest, they are tourist information volunteers and you can ask them for help if you want.

At the end of the gray building, I recommend turning left and exploring all of the shops down that street/in that area for really cheap.

You had mentioned wanting a winter coat. There will be some ridiculously cheap/semi-okay quality coats around here. 

Otherwise, I recommend continuing to walk down the hill. Then you will get to the main gate of the university. Don’t cross the road, but turn left. You will see a store called Big 10 or something like that. They have some decent padding jackets and they were on sale last week when I was there.

If you keep walking along this road, you will come across a store selling tons and tons of accessories. You should take a look in here just for its novelty. There’s a cartoon of a cat with sunglasses and it’s a pink storefront.

In terms of makeup brands,
Missha – BB cream, eye makeup remover, eyeliner is pretty good and cheap, I also really like their “Liquidly” face cleanser (put it on without water before washing to get rid of your dead skin)
Etude House – known for its cute stuff, acne care line (in green bottles)
Face Shop – known for its mask packs
Tony Moly – known for “egg packs” that kind of look like eggs
Nature Republic – Super Aqua line of cream (get the green one for combination skin)
InnisFree – Primer and base

Geuridakkum Real Strawberry Milk and Oreo Mint Hot Chocolate
Then, when you start getting hungry, I have a few cafes to recommend for you:
There’s a takeout only drink stand kind of near main gate. There is an Olive Young on the corner. Turn there. You will come across a stand with what looks like a star of David on it, this place is called Geuridakkum. There, I recommend trying the Ocho latte (Oreo Chocolate Mint) or the Real Strawberry Milk or the Grapefruit ade.

Gongcha – Bubble tea back by the station exit, next to the bank/pizza store. I recommend trying the House Special Winter Melon tea with pearls.

Across the way from there is a patbingsu café (Korean shaved ice). (There’s a better one nearby, but this one is pretty good.)

For the better patbingsu place (Homilbat), go back to the street with the main gate/Big 10 clothing store and get on the side of the street with the main gate. You will see a roundabout. Keep walking past there. You will get to the first crosswalk. Cross the street and then cross to the left towards the Starbucks. Then continue walking in the same direction. You will come across a store with a brick front and the sign has a cartoon of shaved ice. I recommend the milk bingsu or the green tea bingsu.

I also recommend, going to Sinchon from here, too. You can easily walk there along this main road. Just keep walking straight. You will come across a large red chimney thing and that’s right out front of the Lotte Young Plaza department store. I really like two of the stores right inside. 8seconds is really good for casual wear and has a pretty good shoe selection. Then, in the basement, is A Land.

I then recommend getting back on the subway and going back to the Hongik University (Hongdae) area. It’s one stop from Sinchon and 2 stops from Ewha.

Jajjangmyun – You had mentioned you wanted some, so I have a good, cheap place in Hongdae for you (2500 KRW ~$2.50 USD for one). It’s right next to the Sketchers store, red sign. From exit 9, walk straight. Don’t take the first street. Walk to the second street and then turn left. Walk straight until you see the Sketchers store and the jajjangmyun place will be right there.

I think you will enjoy shopping around here, too. It’s more artsy and I think it matches your style.

Chicken:
Mubwassna Chondak – This one is my favorite chicken place. I get the combo. For the Hongdae branch, go out exit 9 and turn left immediately and walk straight you should see it. It’s a white front with some circles cut out of it and has a cartoon picture of a chicken. (Ridiculously terrible description, sorry). There’s also a branch in Sinchon. You would have walked past it going to the department store. It’s kind of next to Tom N Toms café.
The Frypan – The Sinchon branch is the easiest to find, in my opinion. As you’re walking from Edae you will come across this strange triangle island thing. Go on the right side of it, the more narrow street. Keep walking and The Frypan will be on your right. There’s also a pretty good Japanese restaurant to the left. The Frypan gives you fried chicken on a bed of potato chips.
If you still have energy/time, you can head over to Myungdong. Take the green line again towards Sinchon. Get out at Euljiro-1(il)-ga station exit 5.

Tutorial: How to use free WiFi on Seoul subways
Korean Shopping Tips
Other Korea Travel Itineraries

Recommended travel books:

If you are traveling to Korea, while English is often available on signs and at tourist destinations, it may be wise to know a few phrases since oftentimes the staff at restaurants and other tourist destinations, bus stations, do not know English well. I have looked over multiple Korean phrasebooks and I recommend the Lonely Planet Korean Phrasebook & Dictionary for its small size (makes it great to carry around) and its ease of use.


If you are planning on staying only in Seoul, I would recommend getting a travel book that is solely about Seoul. Top 10 Seoul (Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide) is great! It has color photos, great maps, and is also very compact, making it a great travel companion.
It gives you a feel of all the different neighborhoods and districts of Seoul and a brief overview of what each district is known and how the  city is laid out to help you plan the most efficient and fun trip!


I definitely recommend, if you get the chance, to get out of Seoul and really explore Korea. Each province and city has its own feel and personality. Plus, the country is about the size of Indiana and transportation options abound, so traveling around is definitely do-able.


Choosing the best country guide was a little more difficult for me. I am typically a Lonely Planet fan, but I found their guide to not be quite as current as this Frommer's guide.

Having an up-to-date guide is very important in Korea since things can literally change overnight!  



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