Day 1 in Korea: Myeongdong, Dongdaemun

Myeongdong, The Heaven for Korean Beauty and Skin Care Products

October 9th, 2016. It was 7am local time. At that time, the five of us had arrived in Incheon International Airport. When we’re still in the plane, the crew of airlines said that the temperature outside was 9 degree Celcius. We’re almost couldn’t believe it, maybe we’re misheard. Because it’s still early autumn, how can the temperature was that cold?  Yes, our first day in Seoul was greeted by the cold weather.

After picked up our baggage, we searched for convenient store inside the airport that sell T-Money card. It is used as the transportation card in Seoul (subway and bus). The card’s fee itself was 4,000 won, then I put 20,000 won into the card. So, I spent 24,000 won for T-Money card that day.


Brrrr.. once we went out from the airport, we were greeted by the cold wind. Really excited, finally I had arrived in Korea! Annyeong Haseo, Korea 🙂

Welcome to Korea!

Then, because of the cold weather, we immediately rushed to the train station of Incheon Airport to go to our guesthouse in Hongik Univ area. From the airport to Hongik Univ, we can go by train (Airport Railroad Express or AREX), without any transits. It’s because they both are in the same line.

After one hour journey, then we arrived at Hongik Univ station. The stupid thing was none of us remembered where’s the nearest exit to our guesthouse. We eventually went out from the exit that really far to our guesthouse. We’re really exhausted (around 7 hours in the plane from KL-Seoul), then we had to go around Hongik area to find the guesthouse while we also carried the heavy luggage, plus the cold weather on that day, so our misery was completed! Well, actually this was a valuable lesson for us. Next time we must remember where is the nearest exit to the guesthouse. So this won’t be happened again.

Finally after go around for a quite long time, we arrived at our guesthouse, named Uwa Guesthouse. Read more about Uwa, here.

Our schedule for the first day is Shopping!! Why Shopping? We thought that on the first day, we didn’t want to take a walk too much, because already tired in the “plane journey”. And besides, if there’re some stuffs that we wanted to buy (hat, jacket, socks,etc), we can immediately wear it on the next days. That day, we went shopping start from Myeongdong, the center of cosmetics and skin care in Seoul. After Myeongdong, the next shopping destination was Dongdaemun.

Around 2pm local time, we left from our guesthouse to Myeongdong. Before went to Seoul, we had some research on how to go to Myeongdong from the guesthouse. We also had downloaded some mobile applications to made it easier when in Seoul. However once we’re there, we really confused on how to go to Myeongdong! Maybe because we’re all really exhausted on the plane, so we couldn’t think so clear. We just know we should take a subway, then transit in somewhere, then arrive in Myeongdong. We’re 5 persons (2 boys and 3 girls), so the boys were struggling to see the maps in Google Maps, while the girls asked a local person (oppa) who sit next to us on the subway. He said we must transit in Seoul Station, then continued to Myeongdong.

We were going to ask the Korean guy about directions in the subway
This is how Seoul Subway Map looks like! We’re from Hongik Univ to Myeongdong
4 station in total to go to Myeongdong from Hongik Univ, transit in Seoul Station

Myeongdong, here we come!

The first thing we did in Myeongdong was to find a restaurant. We’re really starving 🙁 In Myeongdong, there are so many restaurants and street foods. Because people said there’s a famous Yoogane restaurant in Myeongdong, so we had a struggle to find the restaurant. Finally because of the help of Google Maps, around 3pm we found the famous Yoogane Restaurant. And finally we had our first late lunch in Seoul. We’re all satisfied with the food, Marinated Chicken Galbi Fried Rice.

Yoogane Restaurant

Myeongdong is the heaven for Korean cosmetics and skin care lovers. I spent so much time to shop at Olive Young. There are so many stuffs here, such as mask, armpit whitening cream, teeth whitening, international brands of cosmetics, etc. It’s like we can found everything at Olive Young. I also bought cosmetics at Etude House, Nature Republic, and Innisfree. At that time, there are so many discounts in October.

Myeongdong can be called as China Town, because there are so many Chinese people come to Myeongdong to go shopping. And even most of the shopkeepers in Myeongdong can speak Mandarin Chinese fluently. One of my Korean friend told me that she is working in one of the store nearby Myeongdong (not in Myeongdong), and she said everyday there must be Chinese people come to the store to go shopping. She can speak Mandarin as well. So, no wonder why when you come to Myeongdong, you would hear Mandarin everywhere.

Myeongdong, The Heaven for Korean Beauty and Skin Care Products

Myeongdong is so big and spacious, and really bustling with noises. If you don’t want to lose from your group, you must holding your friends’ hands. There are some Free Wifi available in Myeongdong, but the signal is not that good. So, if you lost you must rely on the poor quality of Free Wifi.

At that time, because we’re 5 persons, we had to separate. We set the meeting point, as well as the time. We planned to meet at 6pm, but it’s late until 7pm, because there’s one group who forgot how to go to the meeting point. LOL. It’s because Myeongdong is so spacious. For example, we said the meeting point is “The Saem”, but actually “The Saem” itself has several stores in Myeongdong. So in my opinion, it’s better to set the meeting point at Myeongdong subway station and in which exit. Because it’s only in one place, we can ask the local people to know where is Myeongdong subway station exit A (For example).

The girls when in Myeongdong~

Even though we still wanted to explore Myeongdong, but we had to continue our journey to Dongdaemun. Our planned was to buy the clothes or jacket there, because it’s cheaper than Myeongdong. The journey from Myeongdong to Dongdaemun was taking by subway.

From Myeongdong to Dongdaemun by Seoul Subway
3 stations to go to Dongdaemun from Myeongdong

Buttt, we’re so disappointed because Dongdaemun is not as we expected before. Once we arrived Dongdaemun, we only saw the luxury mall, such as Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), DOOTA, etc. Our plan was to go to Dongdaemun Market, the place for shopping the cheap clothes. And it cancelled. Because when we checked on Google Maps, it’s too far from our place (DOOTA’s entrance). But, at that time we went inside Pyounghwa Fashion Town. But because we arrived there at night, so a lot of stores had closed. Finally I only ate street foods in Dongdaemun, such as odeng (fish cakes), chicken, and even sundae (blood Korean sausage made generally by boiling or steaming cow or pig’s intestines that are stuffed with various ingredients). We also spent so much time to lounging around, and take pictures in front of DOOTA Mall.

Street Foods in Dongdaemun
Lee Min Ho welcome us on the first day we arrived in Korea 😛
Cute Cotton Candy in Dongdaemun
Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP)
I love those wall decoration in Dongdaemun Subway Station

That’s our first day in Seoul. Full of dramas, and silly stories that we won’t forget. At the end of the day, we thought, “Aiyo, this is still the first day, how about the next days huh?” Our journey in Korea was still 9 days left. Yea, on the next next days would be more fun, exciting, and crazy than this first day 😀


    • Hi Hui Ping,
      It was “Korea Subway“. But now as I search “Korea Subway”, it didn’t appear. I don’t know why. But I’m sure you can find similar apps like that with those keywords. I didn’t buy any SIM Card, because I used the pocket modem wifi. I used Passpod, but it’s only available for Indonesian and Filipinos. For worldwide user, I’d suggest to use Klook instead.


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