Friday, July 15, 2011

Korea Trip - Part 2

Our Korea trip got off to a great start, but the second half definitely had some of my favorite parts - including some more unique Korean restaurants, an incredible palace, and something that I haven't gotten to do much of in the past couple of years... shopping in real "American" stores:)

Our second dinner of the trip was at a small restaurant that felt like we were dining in someones house... upstairs... in a bedroom... with a table instead of a bed. It was called Baedongbaji, and not only was it located in a house, but it was also very poorly marked, making it extremely difficult to find. We tried taking a taxi there, but this was apparently such a hidden place, that even the taxi driver had to pull over and ask for help. Actually, before he could, a very nice Korean (and English-speaking) man walking with his family stopped and asked us if we needed help. He didn't know the restaurant, but ended up using his iPhone to get the phone number and called the place for us! A side note here about the South Korean people: I've always had the impression that Koreans were slightly less than friendly, but after our trip, I've realized that quite the opposite is true - I found many of them to be incredibly nice and helpful.

The outside of Baedongbaji - literally a house!

Our room with a view

This was such an interesting meal, and they just kept bringing out more and more plates!

One of the things I really liked - spicy tofu

A cute little area in Seoul called Insadong

Insadong had many hand-made crafts, jewelry, soaps, candles and souvenir shops - this was a little outdoor mall where everything was handmade.

Absolutely hilarious candy stand guys!

Check out this clip of the guys making the Korean Candy on the street:

Korean Candy called Kultura - made from very fine strands of honey and filled with nuts - was really good!

The following morning, we decided to check out Gyeongbokgung Palace - the main and largest royal palace back in the days of the Korean Joseon Dynasty. It's name means, "Palace of Shining Happiness", and it was much larger than I expected.

Right as we entered the main courtyard, they happened to be having a change of guards ceremony beginning. It was a fairly large ceremony, with many guards marching and carrying colorful flags.

Very cool to see

This palace had my favorite architectural and design elements I've seen in Asia so far!

I'm in love with these Octagon-shaped windows!

The colors and detailing was incredible

There were so many buildings - we kept going through them and coming across more as we ventured from courtyard to courtyard. This is me looking a bit lost, but really, I'm just in awe of how many courtyards there were!

Beautiful mountains in the background

A photographer's paradise:)

gorgeous views

Pagoda above a museum that was part of the palace grounds

Gorgeous bridge and pavilion in a little lake near the back of the palace

Inside the Korean Folk Museum

Ancient UGG Boots!

These were less than comfy - I couldn't even walk in them!

Dinner later on that afternoon at a small but incredibly popular place that only had four things on the menu - it was a "no frills" place with great noodles and delicious dumplings!

We finally made it to the shopper's paradise known as Myeongdong, where I was excited (can you tell) to shop at their 5-story Forever 21 (after just having visited H&M)!

As the sun sets, Myeongdong became even more bright and loud as street vendors set up stands for food, clothing, jewelry, shoes, sunglasses - anything you can imagine - in the streets!

Me picking out some bracelets for my girlfriends:)

The streets of Myeongdong at night - my favorite district in Seoul! I could have spent all weekend there!

We couldn't leave without some night shots of the city, and we finally got a decently clear evening the last night of our trip. We took advantage of it by climbing back up to N Seoul Tower and taking some photos.

We had to leave for the airport early the next morning and could sleep the rest of the day back at home, so we decided to stay up quite late our last night and explore a couple of the night markets. While they didn't quite make our list of best night markets we've been to based on the items sold, the street vendor food was actually a great experience in itself.

The soup had some seaweed in it, which I really enjoyed, and those dumplings were delicious! We also drank some Korean beer and Soju (very strong Korean Rice Wine).

Fried Octopus


Toilet paper that doubled as napkins at the night market

We even made a friend in Korea - a Japanese man at the same food vendor tent that ended up giving us some of his food to try - definately a fun way to end the trip!

I love Asia! I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to experience so many countries that most people never will! We've visited a few big cities now, and Seoul is definately on my list of favorites.



  1. I think I just had a mini heart attack, a FIVE story Forever 21? Insane!!! Do you think So. Korea is kid friendly at all?

  2. Thanks for sharing...Yuk to the fried Octopus!