After five days in Singapore (I’ll get to that later!), Giove headed to South Korea. The gang was back together again when Tim and I met them early Saturday morning. We were in Seoul for Soojin’s wedding, a friend from high school, and were so excited to be able to explore the city with friends!
We arrived bright and early Saturday morning, checked in at L7 Myeongdong, a Lotte Hotel property, and headed out into the morning.
We wanted to try all of the Korean specialties: milkis (a carbonated milky drink) and banana milk! (which really needs no explanation – think 90s era strawberry milk but with bananas).
Michelin starred restaurant, Myeongdong Kyoja 명동교자, was just around the corner from our hotel so we stopped in for a quick breakfast of their signature knife-cut noodles and Mandu dumplings.
After finding the Giove sisters, we picked up a snack and walked the streets of the Bukchon Hanok Village, a traditional Korean village smack dab in the middle of Seoul. The narrow alleyways wound up and down the hilltop, and from the top of the hill, the traditional cobbled rooftops blocked the street below. Pretty cool that people still live in the houses!
Next on the list was Gyeongbokgung Palace but this was no regular palace and we absolutely could NOT go in regular garb. We rented traditional Korean dress (a common tourist attraction!) and made our way into the palace.
Gyeongbokgung Palace was built in 1395 and was the main palace of the Joseon dynasty.
It seemed to go on and on forever! We made our way through halls and courts within the palace walls, stopping for pics and waving at other similarly dressed people.
We continued on through Jogyesa temple, also built in 1395, and one of the most important Buddhist temples in Korea.
We were surrounded by rainbows. It was magical!
Exploring Seoul on foot is amazing. There’s not much English, for one, so it’s easy to get lost and not worry about your destination.
We stumbled through Namdaemun Market, picking up some local street food on the way back to the hotel.
Had a few dinners of fried chicken (not very good)
and bibimbap (very good!),
sipped cocktails at Alice Cheongdam – one of the 50 best bars in the world!
and fell asleep, thoroughly exhausted but thrilled at Day 1’s turnout and excited for the rest of the trip!