Sunday, 24 March 2013

travel: South Korea 2013: Day 1 Seoul: Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, Samcheong-dong, Gangnam

We woke up to a gorgeous (albeit very cold) day. Soriwool provided simple breakfast (toasts with jam & butter, boiled eggs, cereals, orange juice, and some milk). We had the toasts just to fuel us enough until lunch time, as we planned to spend our half day around the vicinity.

Our first stop was Gyeongbokgung Palace (we also stopped by National Folk Museum that is practically located side by side, but it is nothing to shout about. If you have limited time, skip this place during your trip). The palace is huge, but unfortunately a lot of the structures were not permitted for public access.

Gyeongbokgung Palace entry fee: KRW3000 per adult.

We did witness a special ceremony though - for choosing an honorary guard of the year (o_o), I think... unless the English translator was incorrect... .

Afterwards, we walked around Bukchon Village, a traditional village full of fully functioning Hanoks; some of them provide accommodation, others as restaurants and cafes, and the rest are still residentials. We also had our lunch in Samcheong-dong area, which is pretty much side by side with Bukchon village.

had lunch here. There was a bit of a queue, so we joined :P
The place we ate at is aptly named 'korean restaurant', which is the only english bit we saw from the banner. The place did not provide english menu, but the staff would patiently explain (albeit with their limited english and our best effort to understand body language...) what each item from their menu was.
We chose a set menu for two, consisting of a lot of side dishes, bulgogi, some soups, and rice (very nice rice cooked with special stock and mussels). The restaurant is small and patrons eat by sitting on the floor. Cue cramp legs. But hey, we are experts already in this whole sleeping and eating on the floor.

Total damage: KRW36000

After rolling out of the restaurants, we headed to Gangnam. It took us around half an hour to reach Gangnam station from Anguk station (the closest to our accommodation).

Our first stop at Gangnam:
Cafe Pawz

Furballs therapy. Nuff said.

The cafe is very clean (there is always a cleaning staff to clean after the dogs' natural businesses), does not smell at all, and all the dogs...

Oh God... all the dogs... . I want to kidnap them all.

You can spend however many hours here, provided that you buy a drink from the cafe. I had lemon tea and 1/2heart had matcha latte. Both were actually quite good.

This little cutie is my favourite (but it does not belong to the cafe. The owners brought her in today just for a little bit of funtime with the other dogs):

After spending a good at least one hour at the cafe, we bid goodbyes to our furry friends (relationships were quickly formed and bonding were sealed with extra help of some dog treats), and headed to...

Cat Cafe (also at Gangnam). Haha. 
You can reach this place by walking to the right (not the big main road) of exit 9 of Gangnam. Have a lookout of Cat Cafe sign on your left. It is located on the 4th floor of a building (take the elevator up).

The difference between dogs and cats? With dogs, they usually beg for your attention. With cats: you beg for their attentions.

You have to pay KRW8000 per person to spend however much time you want at the Cat Cafe, and the fare includes a drink. Treats cost extra, and believe me, people: unlike dogs, if you don't have a treat, you won't have fun with the cats.

After spending another good hour there, we headed back to Anguk and had dinner at a place nearby Soriwool. The weather was crazy cold (still is), so we had some soup: Samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup), and Beef Ribs Soup.

Then shuffled quickly back to Soriwool to our warm room with heated flooring  to turn in for the night... .

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