Tuesday, 26 March 2013

travel: South Korea 2013 Day 3: Changdeokgung Palace, COEX Mall, COEX Aquarium, Kimchi Museum

Australia winter has nothing against South Korea's urm... spring... or at least beginning of spring... because it does not feel like spring.

Cold to the bone.

Rant over.

Today we checked out of Soriwool and headed to our next accommodation for the rest of the length of our trip. Lavinia is a modest but clean and very functional motel type accommodation located also close to Anguk station; but from exit 4 of the station (Soriwool is most easily reached from exit 1). We booked the room via airbnb site.

The room is small, but it has everything needed and most importantly - private bathroom.

After dropping our luggage, we headed to Changdeokgung Palace. I booked the Secret Garden tour in advance before I left for Korea, and it is recommended to do so, as the English speaking tours are quite popular and it was fully booked today.
Secret Garden Tour costs KRW5000, but you also have to pay KRW3000 for the general palace entry. (so KRW8000 all up). I prefer this palace than the Gyeongbokgung we visited a couple of days ago.

half expected something would come out of that eerie door...

Having enough of the palace, we headed to COEX Mall - can be reached by taking the green line (line 2) to Samseong station and towards exit 6. The mall is connected.
Had lunch at one of the many eateries inside the mall. Kimbap (the sushi roll thingy), Dumplings, and Tteokbokki only costed us KRW13500.

Then we headed to the Kimchi museum (KRW3000 per person entry fee). Nothing much to see apart from, well, kimchi. Actually, the replicas of various kimchis. They do provide free tasting of only a few of the kimchis though.

kimchi free tasting

replicas only
Then we headed to the Aquarium, still located inside the mall. Fare is KRW19500 per adult. I really think it is worth it :) Well, I love animals... I love fish... fish are yummy... urm... I'll stop there...

Their displays of incorporating various small fish into various daily objects is also amusing.

I love the prairie dog and the beaver. So cute.

look at his omnomnomsodelicious expression!
the rest of wacky animals...
Heading out of the aquarium and feeling a bit peckish again, we dropped by Angel-in-us Cafe for some sweet treat. 
Max Brenner who? Give me this waffle any day instead!

We headed back to Anguk station and had some very late dinner, but not so very light dinner. It was at a traditional Korean restaurant that sells mainly BBQ dishes. The Gal-bi (beef ribs) here is the most tender I have ever had at a Korean BBQ.

They were so generous with the side dishes and I have never seen most of them (except the cabbage kimchi which is the most common). It makes me think - Koreans can probably make kimchi out of plain grass growing in their backyards. 

Total damage: KRW43000 and bursting stomach.


  1. Hi! What's the inclusion of Secret garden tour?

    1. Hi Joie. It grants access to inner area which is not available for public viewing otherwise, and the tour guide (english or otherwise - you can reserve through their website). More info: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=264348

  2. Hi, Is Lavinia a good choice ? I read some comments from tripadvisor saying that it is quite a noisy hostel, with poor soundproof ? Some even mentioned they can't sleep at night, because of that. How was your experience there ?

    1. Hi Sing. It is a hostel, so I guess it really depends on individual tolerance. It definitely is not comparable to proper hotels. I do not recommend this for families as it can be quite cramped inside the room. It was very clean and well maintained though (don't know how it is nowadays). The only noise I heard during my stay was the vacuuming lady in the mornings :) But I always wake up early anyways to start my trips.
      A bit tricky to find, too. But if you have google maps, you shouldn't have any problem