Throw a stone in the air and it will probably land on a Singaporean blogger’s 5d4n Seoul itinerary. So I won’t dwell much, just noting some afterthoughts for future reference.
Best place to stay: Myeongdong hotels are where all the action is. More interesting boutique hotels can be found further away, but I would not trade in my convenience. Skypark, Ninetree and Pacific hotel are safe bets.
Things to buy: Korean cosmetics are *arguably* the country’s biggest draw. Do note that Laneige there is about the same price as Singapore though. MUST BUY: IOPE Air Cushion XP. You can’t get it in Singapore and it is definitely the best cushion make up around. Perfectly natural looking dewy finish!
Definitely buy a pair of sunglasses from homegrown brand Gentle Monster. They are the one big thing in Korea and the next big thing worldwide. Their mind blowing flagship store at Garosugil is a MUST VISIT.
Where to shop: Underground shopping at almost every metro station is kinda already shopping heaven. For cheap street shopping, people enjoy going to Ewha and Hongdae. If you prefer something more modern contemporary (like urban outfitters concept), do check out Korea’s pride and glory – Stylenanda and A Land. For high end Korean designs and international designers, Lotte Department store. There is also a Lotte Young Plaza beside it that’s more affordable.
Word of caution; shopping in korea isn’t cheap… BUT if you like cheap, I discovered the gem that is Star 101, a shop at Myeongdong that has nice stuff at nice prices. It is near A Land Myeongdong branch and Spicy Color.
Things to do: Korean perms originated from Korea, duh! Get one here @ Juno Hair Salon.
Spend a day doing the JSA (Panmunjom) tour to see the mysterious North Korea. Highly informative, and now I want to know more! Remember to book the tour through a tour agent online, and provide your passport information a week before. This is very important.
Things to skip: Nami Island, Gangchon Rail Park and Petite France. Trust me on this please.
Time to go: Anytime but summer. There have been Korean dramas like “Winter Sonata”, “Autumn In My Heart”. I’m sure there’s one about spring too. But I bet there aren’t any about Korea’s hot hot summer.
What to eat: Uh where do I start?? I love Korean food so much! My fave was Maple Tree BBQ (MUST VISIT) for a more posh and modern take on Korean bbq. I had fried chicken at Two Two. Andong chicken at Yeolbong Jjimbak. Ginseng chicken at Toksokchon. Seafood at Noryangjin Wholesale market. Dumplings at Myeongdong gyoja. Korean porridge at bonjuk. Chicken galbi. Army stew. Cold noodles. And all the street food!! Never not eating.
Transport: Just take a cab. It’s cheap.