Seoul adventures, part 2 🇰🇷

This is the second part in a two-part series on our honeymoon stop in Seoul, South Korea. Have a read of part 1 and stay tuned for the rest of our adventures in various locations in Japan!

Me and Nick in a traditional Korean garden

Day three: Bukchon village, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Insadong, Myeongdong (again)

After grabbing breakfast at a cafe near the apartment we were staying in, we headed to Bukchon village. We saw a more traditional side of Seoul today. Most of the people dressed up in traditional dress are tourists though, and pay to rent the costumes.

The main street near Seoul Station
The main street near Seoul Station, where we crossed to catch a bus after breakfast
Streets lined with shops on the way to Bukchon village
On the way to Bukchon village
Another view of the street on the way to Bukchon village
A church in the distance

On the way we passed Gentle Monster, a store that sells luxury sunglasses and eyeglasses. Nick had heard about it in a YouTube video and he liked the look of the inside of the store. He was also interested in buying some new sunglasses. But I had already bought him a cool new pair since then, so he wasn’t really looking for them anymore.

Slightly side-on view of sunglasses sitting on shelves in the store
Inside the Gentle Monster store

We still had a look inside and I was really impressed with the way the store was set out. Gentle Monster’s stores all seem to have unique, artistic and conceptual spaces. This one was like a bathhouse and had some remnants of tiles, visible parts of stone walls, and demonstrated bathhouse piping.

Past and present coexist in gentle monster’s 4th flagship store, ‘bathhouse’. we chose coexistence as a means of remembering the things that we don’t want to forget, but will be forgotten. thus we retain the origin of bathhouse and reenact the concept of created preservation with identity of the brand. Gentle Monster

I am not big on sunglasses as an accessory. I wear them more as a necessity because I am blind whenever the sun is out. 😆😎 But I tried some of the sunglasses on and ended up buying a pair. They are the kind with big frames and not aviators. Although I like my current Fossil sunglasses, I don’t like when I wear them on top of my head and the part that sits on my nose ends up getting stuck in my hair. I had thought about getting black, but I ended up getting some funky statement ones, brown with a bit of a tortoiseshell pattern. I will probably pop them in an upcoming Fashion Friday post!

Front-on view of sunglasses with some old bath tiles visible
More sunglasses in the bathhouse-turned-store
A man taking a photo of a girl in one of the streets of Bukchon village
Down one of the streets of Bukchon
Some girls dressed in traditional Korean dress
Some girls dressed up in traditional dress
A slightly side-on view of people walking up an incline in a street
Some people walking up an incline in one of the streets of Bukchon
People walking up the hill, a photo taken from the bottom of the hill
A view back up the small hill

We got a bit of a feel of how a traditional Korean house looks like, when we stopped by a tea house run by a family in the area. Nick chose ice grapefruit tea (I notice that is popular in Seoul and I love it) while I went for fermented rice tea. We sat on cushions at a low table, and had to take our shoes off before stepping foot on the bamboo-tiled floor. The owners were pretty excited that they had visitors from Australia and we got some photos in their garden.

Close up of grapefruit ice tea with visible shaved ice
Nick got grapefruit iced tea
Fermented rice tea in a bowl next to the grapefruit ice tea
With the fermented rice tea
Grains of rice in my rice tea
Nothing like a homemade drink. Mine actually had rice in it!
Me and Nick sitting next to each other on a bench in the family’s garden
The family encouraged us to take photos in their garden

There were two palaces we thought about going to see, and they were close to each other. Changdeokgung wasn’t open that day so we ended up going to Gyeongbokgung. Some of it was under construction but it was otherwise picturesque.

A garden before the entrance to the palace
Garden before the entrance to the palace
Wide open walkway with people dressed in traditional dress
More people dressed up!
A tall shrine we weren’t allowed to go up to but were allowed to photograph
We couldn’t walk up but this shrine made for a nice photo
Wide view of the walkway with mountains in the background and trees in the foreground
Wide walkway, that’s a tourist centre on the right
A shrine with not as many steps to its entrance
Another shrine with far less steps
Wide view of the trees and the open gravel area, from the top of a shrine
A view of some of the visitors, from the top steps of the shrine
Tall shrine through some of the trees
The shrine through some trees with yellowing leaves
Pink/red fall leaves on a tree
Pretty fall/autumn leaves
The main shrine as seen from a bit further away
Nice view of the main shrine
Doors from one shrine to another
Open doors

Even though the palace was huge and there was a lot to see, after some time it did start to get “samey”.

Beautiful lake view of a large tree and a traditional structure
Beautiful lake view, this was actually on the palace grounds
A closer view of the traditional building
A closer look at the structure on the lake
A view into one of the areas we couldn’t actually step into
Beautiful decor, we could only take photos from the outside looking in.
The exit of Gyeongbok
Facing the exit to the palace
A view from the exit of Gyeongbok, looking back
Looking back on the palace

We stopped by Insadong, which had some nice shops and stalls. Tara suggested a tea house but it turned out that she accidentally recommended a place with a similar name that was not the one she meant to suggest! It was still good though – I went for the plum tea and Nick had iced yuza tea.

A view of a street in Insadong
The streets of Insadong
Another view further down in Insadong
More of the streets of Insadong
The set of stairs lead up to the tea house
You wouldn’t have guessed that the stairs leading up would be a tea house in the Michelin guide!
A glass of yuzu ice tea and a cup of plum tea
Yuzu ice tea (left); plum tea (right)

We ended up eating dinner at Myeongdong again, this time to have KFC – Korean Fried Chicken! We had it at a chain called BHC. It was so-so; it was not really amazing. At least the walk down towards Myeongdong made for some good photos.

Some of the pubs, bars and eateries in the side streets
Walk this way~
Low angle view of the streets adorned with lots of bright signage
IF you spot the BHC, we didn’t eat at this particular eatery but at a different one
A street of eateries with their banners out front, advertising their products
Someone is advertising beef!
Korean fried chicken in a bowl
Korean fried chicken. It was OK

That night I went to some of the skincare stores and stocked up on a few necessities as well as picking up some face and foot masks for my mum. I got some samples of face masks, two of which I’ve used. I’m cheap so I didn’t want to buy them myself – who doesn’t love free shit? 😂

Day four: War memorial, chicken galbi, and totally hitting the gym

We tried to find breakfast in Hapjeong. Supposedly there are several “cafe streets” around the area, but we couldn’t find anything that was open, and a lot of the cafes didn’t have food that we felt like eating for breakfast, so we ended up at a bakery in a mall. Also, though we didn’t visit any themed cafes (cat cafes, dog cafes, maid cafes) in Seoul, we are planning to in Japan.

We spent most of the day at the war memorial. We looked at the outside exhibition of the aircraft and weaponry and then proceeded inside to learn more about the Korean War. Entry was free.

A dome with a statue of two soldiers hugging
Two soldiers hugging atop this dome, which had some colourful mosaics inside
The war memorial entrance with the flags of various nations
The entrance to the war memorial museum
The path down to the aircraft models, Nick walking towards it
Nick walking to check out some of the planes
A series of aircraft models
You could climb up and peer into the cockpit of some of these planes
Side view of some of the weaponry at the war memorial
Some weaponry on display
The inside of a tank
You can see the seating inside the tanks

I randomly got a nosebleed while we were reading about some Australian soldiers… coincidence? I probably got too emotional. 😜 I’m often prone to nosebleeds with sudden weather changes, and it was cold outside and fairly warm inside. I borrowed Nick’s handkerchief just to wipe my nose since I was sniffling (I also get seasonal nasal congestion, like light hayfever), but *boom!* …there was blood dripping from my nose. 😂

I had actually hoped to visit Namsan Park, and Tara suggested Seoul Forest (which I knew I would love), but it would turn out that we didn’t get to properly visit those places on this trip. 😞 Next time though. And we hope to do a DMZ tour and visit Jeju Island – there is a lot more to see of Seoul!

That evening we went to Myeongdong for dinner and had chicken galbi with famous Korean spicy samyang noodles. It was great! I had a hot hojicha latte for dessert while Nick chose to have mango juice from Gong Cha, tea/bubble tea franchise. We have Gong Cha back at home, but it’s not as common as in Seoul. There are fewer locations.

We had a gym in the Airbnb we stayed in. It was on the top level and it was well equipped with some pin-loaded machines, a couple of treadmills and a couple sets of weights. Since we were obviously in need of a workout, being the gym junkies we are, we did some weightlifting on our last night in Seoul. 💪

I edited the photos in this post to have a faded and vintage style. I know I don’t have a consistent photographic editing style but I would like to hear what you think. I know some of my regular followers might notice my different styles especially as I used to do concert photography and my style changed a bit, but I haven’t posted travel photos in some time. I’d like to hear your thoughts if you have any. ;) I know faded and vintage is not everyone’s thing.

Keep your eyes peeled for more posts about our travels – we are in Japan now and there will be a lot to recount. 😊 On the itinerary we have Osaka, Kyoto, Gujo, Hakone and of course Tokyo. I am excited to tell you all more about our trip!

You can follow our honeymoon adventures with the hashtag #thecookeshoneymoon on Twitter (mostly me) or on Instagram (mostly Nick). 💖

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Comments on this post

Korea and Japan look great during fall season. Ahh, the famous street of Bukchon… A lot of Korean TV series have been filmed on that street! K-Drama geek here having goosebumps LOL! Did you get to try their street food, like fish cakes? I’m happy you tried Samyang noodles, though!! <3 Yes, there's always next time, I hope get to visit Jeju island too!

I LOVE how you edited the photos!!! But I'm biased 'coz that's how I like to edit mine. 😅

And for Japan, make sure to eat their ramen, okonomiyaki, takoyaki and wagyu steak. YUM!

I hope you're fine, Georgie… My nose drips too when there is a sudden change in temperature so I hope that nosebleed wasn't anything serious. 😱 Enjoy the rest of your honey moon and have a safe trip!

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The interior of Gentle Monster is really interesting. If it weren’t for the sunglasses, I wouldn’t have thought it was a store at all! It really does have a bath house feel to it.

Aahh, Bukchon looks pretty. I love places that still have an old, traditional look to them, and that seems really relaxing to sit in a tea house there. The palace and palace grounds are also beautiful!

I really like your photos of Myeongdong too. There’s just something about Asian streets and all of the shop signs that looks cool to me.

I think it’s a good thing to try different editing styles and to use different ones based on what you’re photographing :) I like the faded style on your Bukchon photos, though on city photos, I lean towards higher contrast or saturation. Everyone has their own style though!

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A lot of things to see and do! It certainly looks like such an interesting place! The design of the Gentle Monster store is quite unique!

The photographs look amazing, and I like the style that you have applied to them. :D

Looking forward to more posts. :D I hope the remainder of the trip is fantastic. <3

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Your Seoul adventures look like so much fun! I think your photography in this post is wonderful. Considering that you visited a lot of ancient places, adding a tinge of vintage to the photography really made them feel like small blasts from the past. I definitely agree that shrines and castles can get a little boring, though, especially if you’re seeing very similar architecture everywhere. That being said, I do enjoy the scenery that usually surrounds shrines, temples, and castles. I’m not sure about Korea, but they preserve such places really well here in Japan. :P

I can’t wait to read about your Japan adventures! I know I got to be a part of them a little bit, but I’m really excited to see what other things you guys got up to here. ❤️

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