Seoul 2019 Day 12 – Dongdaemun and Lotte Outlet

This day was planned as a break in between to rest the tired legs for everybody. At the same time, mommy would be flying off at night while my niece was celebrating her birthday and thus their family wouldn’t be joining us until dinner.

We initially planned a trip to COEX and the aquarium but changed our minds because of the fatigue. We decided to go Dongdaemun instead.

Everyone woke up later than usual and slept in till we had enough. I went to get some breakfast for everyone as our loaf of bread had ran out. I reached Lotte Mart only to find out that the Mart only opens at 10. With 30mjns to spare, I went to Seoul Station to find other choices in which I bought what looked like butter cake from a shop called Ding Dong for 14k and some pastries from another shop.

Ding Dong Cafe
Kiseki cake

The cake was pretty tasty and wasn’t really butter cake as it was quite sweet. After breakfast, we then got dressed and got out of the apartment by 11 plus. 2 stations later we arrived at Dongdaemun station and we got lost for a bit trying to find the toys and stationary wholesale street. Finally got to Exit 4 and turned in at the second street, the shops that lined this street was selling tons of toys and stationary to choose from.

Cheonggyecheon Stream at Dongdaemun
Toy street
Full of toys
Store full of stationeries.

We were searching for a toy for our niece but ended up buying one for each (K got his whack-a-mole tiny arcade machine) and even granddad bought 2 toy parrots for his grandsons. From the stationary store we also managed to get some cartoon themed item and I bought K a pair of learning chopsticks with Pikachu pictures and a container to keep them for 8k.

After this visit that effectively ended at the 2nd store, we tried to search for Korean bbq as mommy wanted to try that before flying to Hong Kong. From TripAdvisor I managed to get a location that was about 600m away and not too low in position. We crossed the Cheonggyecheon stream and ended up in a building that didn’t seem to be opened at that time. Took the lift up to the ninth floor and seated down with a nice view and 2 tables with burners inside Dachai Dongdaemun store.

Dachai Dongdaemun store

We ordered the pork meat for BBQ and a grilled fish, together with a bowl of cold buckwheat noodles and steam eggs. Vegetables was buffet style self service and there was 4 varieties of rice, including normal, brown rice, barley rice and porridge. There was also 2 types of soup.

BBQ goodies!
Slightly spicy but delicious cold noodles.
Saba fish.

It was pretty filling for all of us as the portions were quite a lot. This cost us about 64k for a really full lunch.

Mommy left for the plane to Hong Kong after 330pm while I brought the rest around to see the wholesale market there. I couldn’t remember which was the building with the wholesale clothing and went to the Dongdaemun shopping complex first. Entering the huge building we found the stores selling mostly material for clothes making and this was the same for the 2nd level.

Dongdaemun shopping complex
Clothing material for sale.

We decided to walk over to Pyoung Hwa clothing market instead and took an elevator to the 3rd floor but the entire floor was dark and shops were all closed. Went to the 2nd level and it was the same! We were surprised and 2nd guessing if the opening time was supposedly much later. Went to the first floor and saw that the shops here were opened. We walked through the length of the building and saw shops and shops of hats and caps. When we reached a section where there’s access to the upper levels, we went to the 2nd floor and this level was for clothings. My parents continued to walk while I brought K to the toilet that only had 3 cubicles, one of which that was in used had a toilet bowl while the other 2 had squatting ones. Was reprimanded by the user when he came out pissed because K was making a fuss outside the cubicle but I couldn’t really care less as K really needed to poop and he couldn’t do so squatting.

DFWM mall
More clothing for sale here though not all fully opened.

When we were done, my parents were also done exploring and said they couldn’t find anything to buy so we got out of the building and boarded the train to return back to the apartment.

A 2nd hand book store
Interesting 3D advert on a building.

My parents wanted to go Lotte Mart to get something and so I brought K to the Lotte outlet to use the toilet and took the opportunity to have a look too. Went up to the 3rd floor, there was a toys and a small Lego section and spent some time browsing. K also tried a Gacha machine. Before anything, I had to set his expectations first to avoid disappointment if he didn’t get what he wanted and fortunately, that worked well.

There was a North Face section but we didn’t get anything there too. There was a Hatson section that carried the popular Elstinko caps that we often seen worn by the Running Man celebrities and K took a liking to a black Ironman cap. Bought for him for 32k after a 30% discount.

3 floors of Lotte Outlet.
At the 3rd floor.
Cute milk kids tees.

We returned to the apartment to find that we were earlier than our parents! They came back a few minutes later and after a short rest, we were out again to Myeongdong, meeting my sister for dinner.

Classic looking theatre.
Back to crowded Myeongdong.

This time we navigated to the Myth Jokbal restaurant that my sister recommended. We got ourselves a table as we arrived first and sister’s family joined soon after. Ordered a large portion of the garlic jokbal, a steam egg and rice ball set and orden soup. The jokbal was cold pork which I thought tasted nice and the rest of the other items were ok too. The total damage was 72k.

Myth Jokbal restaurant.
Salad and pork trotters.
Steamed egg.
Some soup.


The return to the apartment was arduous journey with the kids but we managed to return to my sister’s unit for a quick birthday celebration. After the cake dessert, we went back to our own apartment. Prepared K for bed as he played a couple of times on his Whack-a-mole but he went into dreamland pretty quickly, as it was nearing midnight. I spent some time on my journal note before knocking out.

Night time Myeongdong.

Seoul 2019 Day 9 – Yeouido park, Noryanjin Market and Myeongdong

Everyone was mostly awoke by 9ish. The room warmed up pretty much and was even a little too warm that we had to open the door to let some cool air in. We took some bread for breakfast, something that was bought from Lotte Mart the night before. K got ready with the usual routine and soon we were all ready to leave by 10am. Then we realized my sister’s family had only just woken up! Should have informed them we were visiting the Yeouido park in the morning and that we didn’t plan shopping to take the entire day.

Went to their unit for a while before leaving to Lotte Mart to explore a bit while waiting for our our nephew, as he wanted to tag along with us to go to the park first. At Lotte Mart, other than the mega supermarket that we went to on the 2nd floor the previous night, there was also a 3rd floor that had some shops like Muji and Uniqlo and also a toybox by Toys R Us. Didn’t manage to spend a lot of time there as soon enough, our nephew was ready to leave.

Muji on the 3rd level
Toybox by Toys R Us
Lotte Outlet mall just next door

We met them on ground level and walked towards the subway for the train to Noryangjin Market followed by a transfer. We spent quite a bit of time trying to top up our subway cards, first not having enough small notes to top up and later the machines were unable to take 50k notes for top up for anything less than 40k (as we wanted to just top up 10k first). Then it was to the train tracks after clearing the initial confusion of which direction was the right direction.

The ride was pretty quick with 3 stops on the line 1 followed by a transfer and 2 stops to Yeouido. We weren’t sure if the express train actually stopped at Yeouido and skipped that to take the all stops train.

It was a 5mins walk to the Yeouido park but that took much longer with the kids in tow and the grandparents checking out the food stalls along the way. The roads were wide and missing the time to cross meant we had to wait for the next red light. I tried to quicken the pace by charging forward.

Across the street was Yeouido Park

There were a few more food stalls as we crossed the junction and we stop to buy some street food to munch on. K took a liking to the chicken on skewers while I tried one bug like stew that tasted a bit like crunchy cereal and not that bad. By the time we arrived at the center of the park where there was a big warplane on display, we had quite a bit to munch on already.

Street hawker
Tried this…crunchy
Yeouido Park
Warplane on display

There was mini scooter rental and bicycle stalls and we got one each for K and my nephew XJ, for 3k an hour with my passport as collateral until I returned. Then we proceeded to walk further down the park in the hope to see more consolidated and full cherry blossom trees as those that we had seen so far at the park were sparse and far from my expectation of a nice cherry blossom festival. We spotted a playground and left the kids there to play, and while my parents rested, I took a walk to find out the where the real deal was.

Huge pathway to scoot around
Park amongst tall buildings
Spring time
Park had a small pond

Walking towards Hangang Park, the street became jammed with traffic and hordes of people and of course the view became nicer as the roads were lined with cherry blossom trees. Then just at the location on Naver app that indicated cherry blossom broadwalk that I realized that the main location was here, at least another 15mins of walking from the park. Took a few pictures and headed back to the park to show my parents if they were interested but they declined to walk that far, which I thought so as well. We might have other opportunities elsewhere as we had learnt from our earlier exploration.

Hangang Park was location where the real party was

We met my sis at the park when they finally arrived and together we took the train back to Noryangjin Market, to visit the seafood market and to have lunch.

Was easy getting to the market following the direction signs

Once entered the huge building, the entire ground floor was filled with stalls selling similar stuff. They had huge lobsters and crabs and fishes and K were actually frightened by them. At one stall the staff took out the crab to show and weigh to us and quoted 300k for the entire king crab under 4kg, which we didn’t think was affordable. Huge lobster was 120k.

Crowded with visitors with so many seafood stalls

We moved on to another stall and bought the seafood there, 9 abalones for 20k, half a kilo of hum, 8 prawns for 10k and a fish of 20k totaling to 62k. The stall had a recommended seafood restaurant on the 2nd level and so we just followed the staff that brought us there.

The stall that we visited
Restaurant that we went to

We were given a room as we were a big group and made our orders on how to prepare the food. We had abalones made into porridge, grilled the fish and prawn, steam the hum and ordered an additional fish soup.

The food came and to my disappointment, it wasn’t as tasty as I thought it would be. Comparing to the experience I had in Tongyeong market, the food here tasted bland. Adding salt to injury, the food in totality wasn’t cheap at all. We had to pay an additional 94k at the restaurant which meant it costed us almost 160k for a family of 7adults and 3 kids with mediocre food and ended up being not too full. The service wasn’t fantastic too, a lot of times I saw the lady staff showing signs of impatience. I thought this would be my last time in this market.

Hum – very plain
Prawns, looked small

Our next activity after our late lunch that ended at 4 was to visit the Myeongdong shopping street. Sister went to Dongdaemun instead for their shopping and our parents followed us. Once arrived, we entered the busy streets and into a Savoy hotel 2nd floor where there was a Beans bins coffee. Parents wanted to rest and K had fallen asleep on my shoulder so we parked ourselves into that large cafe for some coffee and ice cream waffle while mommy went out on her own.

Beansbins coffee

I brought K around the area as well and we were both enticed into a toy shop. The store owner that introduced some Korea toys that got both our attentions! The toys were so action packed (literally) that I was wowed! Didn’t buy at first instance as these didn’t come cheap and after returning to cafe to reconsider and waited for mommy, we went back to the store to get the dual beast cars for K for 28k. He left a happy boy.

We proceeded to walk the street with mommy and my dad popping into some of the facial products stores to get stuff. Then we headed into the huge MCM Space store to check out the bags there as it was supposedly cheaper to get the MCM from Korea. The staff that was tagged to us was extremely helpful and even made our visit like a tour inside a museum. He gave us time to take photos with the huge bear and helped us with a family photo with the MCM products, my first time experiencing such moments in a luxury store. After being introduced to some the haversacks in the range of slightly more than 1k, we left the store empty handed to visit the street stalls for dinner.

MCM Space store
Rocket display inside the store
Photograph corner

There were a line of street food stalls crowded with people buying from them and also many passerby’s. We got some food along the way, getting egg omelette cabbage for 6k, sweet and sour chicken for 3k, cheese and butter scallops for 10k, dumplings which K loved, 6 small rolls of kimbap for 5k, chicken on skewers. We would buy, eat near the stalls and then left the rubbish to the stall owners who would help dispose them.

Cabbage+egg store
End product
Kimbap store
Grilled scallop store
Sweet and sour chicken store
End product
Mandu store
Still crowded by the time we left

After the dinner, we then returned to the hotel via the train. It felt like a long day after we when we finally arrived. Even so, K still had energy to play with his new toy for a bit before taking a bath and proceeding to bed. After he fell asleep we purchased our Lotte World tickets before we got into bed too.

Seoul 2019 Day 8 – Fairytale land, Chinatown and back to Seoul

Woke up refreshed after getting the sleep that I missed the day before. Gave K his milk before he went back to sleep and I completed my note before realizing that breakfast had ended at 9am, the one where we spent money to purchase for 6k per person during check in.

Morning was mostly similar routine now. The YouTube songs made the activities smooth, from getting out of bed to brushing teeth and then to eating breakfast.

We completed most part of the packing and left the room for the line of eating places at the promenade to have breakfast. Found one that was still in operations and opened and went in to find a nice decorated cafe, The Caffe Soul, manned by a single senior lady. Ordered a cheese cake, a cheese muffin and a chocolate muffin and a hazelnut latte and an americano for 16k. The muffin and cake was quite delicious!

Promenade in the morning
Heart with wings
Pretty empty in the morning
On the inside of the Caffe Soul
Yummy breakfast

As we walked back to the room, we went past a UFO machine that had some Hachiko dog soft toys. Thought we would try to win one with 1k won per game but the machine wasn’t taking my money note.

We returned to the hotel and checked out. At the reception tried my luck to get a refund but it wasn’t possible. Then we drove to Fairytale town 15mins away.

Found a carpark at the opposite side of the road and was guided in by the traffic warden. I supposed it would get messy later in the day and thus that’s why the wardens were there though it didn’t seem that busy. We crossed the road and found ourselves in a mural village of sorts with wall drawings and models made up by familiar cartoon characters. Had fun taking photos with them though we had to walk up a slope and then down again to see the entire street. There were also shops that that sold stuff like toys and other cute stuff. Mommy bought Pink Fong items that her friend had asked for from one of these shops.

Parking lot near Fairytale town
Fairytale land
Snow White and Rapunzel
The little mermaid shell seats
Stairs painted with giraffe
Noah’s ark
Alice of Wonderland theme design

Just a street away was Chinatown, characterized by the red displays all over. We went over into a really crowded street, I supposed it was very popular tourist destination. We went to a certain Gong Hwa Chun restaurant that was known for its jjajiangmyeon and queued up to get in. The queue thankfully moved pretty quickly and soon we found ourselves on the second floor ordering one jjajiangmyeong, one fried rice and one tangsuyu.

Gong Hwa Chun restaurant

The food was indeed delicious. The black sauce seemed to fit everywhere, in noodles and in fried rice where a bowl of it was given separately. The tangsuyu was really delicious, crispy on the outside and the right size that it didn’t tasted boring after a while. All this was for 48k.

Fried rice
Sauce and side dishes

The street in Chinatown offered other street food that we didn’t try, and there was one food stuff that looked like the traditional Hulu but instead made with a string of strawberries, a healthier version of the original I supposed.

Busy street of the Chinatown
Strawberry hulu

We retrieved the car from the carpark and paid 5.5k for the fees at the exit with a credit card. Then it was a 40mins drive to the airport. Before leaving I read the instructions with pictures on how to get back to the carpark to drop of the car in order to familiarize myself.

The route sent us up the majestically long Incheon Bridge that was a sight to look at even in the hazy weather. The drive however costed us 5.5k in tolls too. From the bridge, it was not too difficult before I pulled into the 2nd basement carpark at Incheon Airport and called the staff with the phone number also on the instruction list.

Incheon bridge

The staff came as I was emptying the car of our belongings and after settling for the fuel that I didn’t top up (as I didn’t see a single gas station along the way, only one in the opposite direction near the airport) for 50k for half tank of fuel. It might be slightly more expensive but heck. The payment was settled at the car itself with the staff’s mobile and I took a photo of the approved payment before we proceeded to Arrivals Hall to meet the rest of our extended family members that were joining us, flying in from Hong Kong and Singapore.

My parents and Aunt from Hong Kong had a delay in flight schedule and coincided with the time we arrived in the airport while my sister’s family had also arrived. In one big group, we then went to take the Arex straight to Seoul Station, after getting over the inertia of moving people.

Paid 56k for 7 adults for the train tickets and proceeded to the platform for the 4:08 train. Seat numbers were given to us and after the initial mess of getting so many big luggage into the luggage storage with so many other passengers, we settled down for the 50mins trip to Seoul. K was sitting with his granddad and yakking all the way with his cousin but at least I was physically resting and took a nap. For the first time, I felt the struggle that a tour guide would face given that he had to manage a group twice or thrice this size!

After disembarking, my sis realized that she dropped her hp and things became disorganized as people started to do things independently. After managing to get a staff via telecom on a top up machine (my dad thought that was easy whereas we could have exited the station and looked for a staff F2F), I brought the group up first to the ground level through 2 elevators. The elevators were very popular and even with a group of us carrying so many luggage, there were still many people who would still crowd around us to get into the lifts too.

After we finally got up the 7 floors to ground level and crossed the road, my sister had found her hp and rejoined the group. The sky then started to drizzle as we tried to find our Airbnb with the cryptic address and the navigation brought us to somewhere that didn’t looked like it had 15floors.

Seoul Station

I went alone to find the building, got up to one of the room and tested with the password and it worked! The rest of the group managed to find the building as I tried to bring 6 umbrellas from the unit to meet them, only to find that they have all arrived at the basement. Brought my sister’s family to the 2nd unit in the same building and settled them in before returning to ours.

The place where we stayed had a nice view of the surrounding but space was quite scarce since we had so many big luggage. Couldn’t open the luggage in full as we would like but we had to make do. There were enough bedding for everybody but only one toilet to share. We had to move to a smaller unit in another 2 days time but I leave that worry later as I sorted out the administrative stuff for my parents like getting the WiFi.

Main beds at the first level
Small side living room.
Kitchen with washing machine
Loft beds
View from Airbnb

We met up at 645 to visit the Lotte Mart just across the street to get some dinner. There was a food court there and we managed to settle our dinner there. Met up a cousin for a short period who was visiting Korea too before we got into the huge Lotte Mart to shop for daily necessities and food souvenirs to bring back to Singapore.

Food court at Lotte Mart
At the food court

Lotte Mart was huge but it was crowded as hell with so many people shopping and people were buying by the trolleys!


After 1 hr there, we paid for the goodies and returned back to the apartment on our own as the rest had all returned.

The night was spent preparing for bed, taking a much longer time as we shared the single toilet to bath. Then we got up to the loft where our beds were, taking care not to bump onto the low ceiling on the second floor. I got into bed last but was soon fast asleep.