This will be my third trip to the Land of the Kimchi, but it was our first time to experience the Cherry Blossoms Season in Seoul, South Korea, since having handled government payments in my previous job restricted me from traveling during tax season.
We happened to score last-minute promo tickets through Jeju Air, three months before our flight. Booking for the Cherry Blossoms season might tend to be a little bit tricky since most airlines have already sold their seats or most accommodations have already been booked. Nevertheless, it still pays to be more strategic and patient when looking for these deals.
Make sure to pre-book your tickets with Klook by signing up here. For a hassle-free travel, purchase the unlimited 4G LTE Pocket Wifi from Olleh, and I promise, you will definitely have an easier time navigating through the city of Seoul. Don’t forget to download GoogleMaps on your phone as well! For this trip, we purchased our Pocket Wifi, AREX tickets, Love Museum, Cooking Nanta Show, NSeoul Tower Observatory, Nami Island + Gangchon Rail Bike + Petite France Tour, Hanbok Experience, and Lotte World from Klook. You may start availing discounted tickets in Seoul, South Korea here.
Day 1 – Arrival, Hao Guesthouse in Mapo-gu, Haneul Park, Love Museum
Since we took a red-eye flight, we arrived at the airport at 4:05 AM on Saturday, April 7. Due to our lack of sleep on the plane, we found it challenging to start our day. However, this did not prevent us from pushing through with our plans!
We took the AREX train from the airport to our accommodation in Mapo-gu, Hongdae. AREX is an express train that would take you directly from the Incheon International Airport to downtown, Seoul (Hongdae) in 43 minutes. Book your discounted tickets here.
We booked a four-night stay at Hao Guesthouse (7-6, Wausan-ro 29ma-gil, Mapo-gu, Mapo-Gu, 121-836 Seoul, South Korea) through Booking.com. Home to hundreds of college students from Ewha Women’s University and Hongik University, Hongdae is known for its hipster-like vibe, which houses a lot of cheaper barbeque joints, coffee shops, and fashion boutiques. The guesthouse is a typical Seoul guesthouse, complete with free wifi, basic amenities, and breakfast, which we had to prepare ourselves. Since it was way too early for us to check-in, we just left our pieces of luggage at the reception area. Sign-up for Booking.com, and start your way to becoming a Genius Member to enjoy more discounts!
Since it was just 7 in the morning, and no shops were open yet, we grabbed some breakfast (banana milk and gimbap) from a nearby CU convenience store and ate under the beautiful Cherry Blossom trees in Hongdae.
Our first stop was Haneul Park, which is a vast grassland that offers breathtaking views of the city of Seoul. It houses various outdoor art pieces that are perfect for your Instagram posts! From the World Cup Stadium, we took a minivan ride for about KRW 2500 to get to Haneul Park. You may walk, but naah.
After an hour of strolling around Haneul Park, we got hungry and decided to go to Yogane in Myeongdong for lunch. We ordered Chicken Dakgalbi with mozzarella cheese on the side. Yummmmm. It was so good!
The Love Museum is a museum for adults, with 6 themed galleries. For only Php 296, we are able to purchase our tickets through Klook. Grab the opportunity to go to the Love Museum here. We had so much fun taking pictures and laughing at the ridiculous poses we had to do.
It was then time for us to check in to the guesthouse. Unfortunately, upon our arrival there, we had a minor miscommunication with our host, Martin, regarding the room. We informed him about our concern but asked him if he could check the room after two hours since we needed to sleep first. When we woke up, we had dinner at a restaurant that serves Korean barbecue. As expected, the grilled meat was wonderful. In fact, we were so hungry, and the food was so good, that we forgot to take pictures.
Just when we thought our day couldn’t get any better, Martin, our host, left a delicious cheesecake from Moobsie, in our room as a way of apologizing for the miscommunication. It was probably the best cheesecake I have ever tasted in my life. Legit good, 5 stars!
Day 2 – Ewha Women’s University, Shake Shack, Myeongdong Street Food, Cooking Nanta Show, Locks of Love, NSeoul Tower and Observatory
For those of you who don’t know, I enjoy going to school (which makes me consider pursuing my Doctorate in Business Administration degree). This passion for academics made me include a visit to Ewha Women’s University in our itinerary. I was this close to checking out their programs, but I forgot that it was a Sunday.
The flowers in Ewha Women’s University bloomed so perfectly that day. Shortly after, we visited the Ewha Women’s University Fashion Street, which houses various fashion boutiques selling clothes at cheaper prices since their target markets are the students. Sadly, I wasn’t able to buy anything.
We then visited Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Since my New York trip was seven months away, I had to settle for the next best thing: Shake Shack in Doota Mall, near the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. The restaurant was so full since it was lunchtime. It was good though that we were able to get a table right away. We had the famous ShackBurger, Crinckle Cut Fries, and Shack-made Lemonade. Hmm. I finally felt as if I was already in New York!
To make our gastronomic experience more memorable, we headed to Myeongdong and sunk our teeth on Odeng / Eomuk Tang (Korean fishcake), Gyeran-Bbang (Egg Bread), Baked Cheese, and Oreo Churros!
Being the food-loving people that we are, we proceeded to The Cooking Nanta Show at Myeongdong Theater at 5 PM. Because we wanted to better immerse ourselves into the culinary adventure, we booked VIP seats through Klook. This gave my boyfriend the opportunity to be called on stage, participate, and taste the soup prepared by the show’s main characters. Overall, the show was interesting – literally throwing around vegetables and plastic balls.
Only on my third visit to the NSeoul Tower were we able to place a lock on the Locks of Love Trees together. Since we also booked tickets via Klook to the nearby Observatory, we decided to explore.
It was already 7 pm, and all the walking made us hungry that we settled for a gummy egg candy we bought at the Observatory. After leaving the Observatory, we took a cab back to Hongdae.
We were just too tired to head out to eat dinner. We just settled for a nearby Korean Street Food Stall, a block away from our guesthouse. Little did I know, this place was a real gem! Odeng for only KRW 1,000 + unlimited odeng broth. Oh my, that was a good satisfying dinner! We ended up going back to this stall 3 times throughout our stay. Odeng all day, every single day!