Searching for a Place to Stay, Good Korean Food, and Late Night Shopping

Seoul Winter 1st Day in Seoul: We had a mission in Seoul to seek out delicious Korean food and discover the loads of goods within the shopping markets of South Korea’s largest city.

On our return flight home, we opted for a long 22 hour layover in South Korea so that we can enjoy one last mini trip abroad before our vacation was over.  Upon our arrival once again in Incheon airport, Stace and I grabbed a map and directions from the tourist information counter in the airport (which is very helpful when traveling in Korea), looked for a place to stay online, grabbed some money from the ATM, and zoomed off towards Seoul on the efficient and timely Seoul Metropolitan SubwayAlthough Incheon airport is considered the airport of Seoul, it is actually about 1.5 hours away by subway.  It’s a comfortable ride, however with a squeaky clean interior and heated seats that toasted the two halves of my Gluteus Maximus which were frozen from the 18º weather, yes, 18 degrees farenheit, I didn’t want to leave the subway. Before coming to Korea, we knew it would be cold, but didn’t know up to what extent until we arrived.  Since we came from the Philippines which is warm all year round, we weren’t prepared to experience this extreme icy weather.

Our Place for the Night
After approximately  29 stops and 3 transfers, we arrived at the Hyehwa where we walked 10 minutes to our hostel – Backpackers Inside.  Although it has the title of “hostel”, if you choose to stay in any of their available accommodations beyond the dormitory, its actually a very cozy place with the feeling of home.  Our room had two comfortable beds, heated floors, spacious bathroom with a nice big showerhead that streamed out hot water, and a washing machine and computer with internet as an added bonus.  The price was a meager ~$50 US and you can’t complain with the outstanding guest service and location.  The hostel is within a 5 minute walk to restaurants and bars open deep into the night. 

Entrance to the Hostel
Entrance to the Lounge
Two Twin Beds
Our Private Room w/ Two Beds

Korean Bulgogi BBQ (Korean Sesame Steak)
Kalbi, bulgogi, kimchi, fishcake, Korean fried chicken…all of these delicious Korean delicacies are available in the area and at very reasonable prices.  Compared to our initial stop-over in Unseo, South Koreaon our way to the Philippines, there was a significant drop in food prices in Seoul.  Prices of dishes averaged out between $3-$5 US Dollars  Think about that the next time you are paying for a $12 bowl of Bibimbap in the United States.  The host at Inside Backpackers was kind enough to walk us through the area downtown to help us find a good place to eat. He was a well traveled young man and loved meeting new people from different parts of the world. He finally picked a spot for us to try and told the server in Korean what to order for us. We ordered Bulgogi BBQ (Korean Sesame Steak) and it came with lots of yummy Korean condiments. After our dinner, we then quickly headed back to prepare for a night out to experience the famed Korean shopping markets.

Bulgogi
Bulgogi BBQ
Korean Bulgogi BBQ

24 Hour Shopping Malls
After throwing on three T-Shirts. a sweatshirt, jeans, shorts, and sweatpants, I was ready to brave the freezing weather.  We rapidly walked to the subway station to get out of the cold and onto the butt warmer seats of the subway and from Hyehwa it took one stop down to Dongdaemun, one of the more popular shopping markets that is open 24 hours a day!  Although some of the stores were closed because it was already midnight, it didn’t take long to find a large strip mall with several floors of a variety of clothing:  dresses, jackets, dress shirts, hats, etc.  This Pyeonghwa Fashion Plaza seemed endless – upon entering it is difficult to see the exit on the other side of the building because it stretches for what seems like a few miles.  After our long stroll through the plaza we finally headed out to an underground shopping plaza that connected to a mall with 5 floors.  Fashion fanatics would indulge in these markets as the style and swag contained in these stores are top notch and are near-perfect replicas of high end brands only the prices are significantly lower.  By the time we decided to leave it was already 2:30am and we had to take a taxi home because we had discovered the subway shuts down late at night/early morning.

Heunginjimun (East Gate)
Heunginjimun
Dongdaemun Fabric Market
Dongdaemun Fabric Market

Read Day Two in Seoul: Things to do in Seoul During a 15 Hour Layover

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5 thoughts on “Searching for a Place to Stay, Good Korean Food, and Late Night Shopping

  1. Really?! It’s time to visit a nearby Korean restaurant! I’m sure there’s one in Walnut Creek, CA. Stace and I should take you sometime – before you head off to the U of Oregon!

  2. Pingback: LAKBAI

  3. Nice posting Stacey (as what you wrote on my blog…)!!
    It seems that you had a lot of fun in Seoul…fantastic!!

    anyway, thank you for linking your article to mine…that was really cool….

  4. Thanks Nasikun! We loved Seoul, I wish we could go back for more time to check out all of the great food and shopping Korea has to offer. Next time though!

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