Friday, January 3, 2014

Travelogue: Korea Winter Trip 2013: Day One (Seoul Guest House, Hello Kitty Cafe, Hongdae)

After a super long flight over and my inability to sleep on plane made me really grouchy in the beginning. But thanks to the chilly weather, I was wide awake the moment we touched down Seoul at about noon.

Here's a snap shot of what we had installed for us today.

We made it a short day as we're quite tired from the flight.

We had planned to get either sim-card or egg-wifi to share before coming to Seoul. But the moment we saw the prices for both, we decided not to get it. I can't recall the exact prices for each but the getting a sim-card is horribly expensive and not worth it. Though the egg-wifi thingy was about SGD$13 for each person (total 4 of us) of total 10 days unlimited usage, we still decided to drop it because our apartment had wifi and before we went on the trip, everyone's saying "wifi is everywhere". And so, we didn't get any wifi. Although wifi isn't at every-single-place but still it was good enough for us. It didn't really matter because most of the time we'd be sight seeing or shopping. When we get back to the apartment that's when we have time to sit down and update our social media.

After dropping the idea of getting internet data, we headed off to look for the airport railway that will lead us to Hongik University Station.

This was the machine where we bought our cards.

Of course for the rest of the journey we bought T-money card.

For those like us travelling for the first time, T-money card is equivalent to our Ez-Link card. It pays for 7-11 purchases as well as transport for all lines. Just like Taiwan, you get the cards from 7-11 convenience stores and you can top up there too. (There are quite a few 'brands' of T-money equivalent cards but we chose to stick to this since it's more widely known.)

It was a pretty long ride over from Incheon Station. 

I swear I was so darn excited because it was the first time I see snow (even though they have all fallen on the ground) but I was still very very very ultra super excited and I couldn't keep my mouth shut. (Sorry guys, you had to put up with my excitement back then.)

Interestingly they show you your "journey" throughout the ride.

We met up with our apartment owner, Robert Jung at exit 3 of Hongik University Station and he brought us to the apartment. I swear it's really just 1 minutes' walk away. Really convenient!

Comfy beds with really thick and comfortable blankets. (Craftholic is not included)

And that's Robert Jung the apartment owner explaining to us how to operate the TV etc.... (I wasn't really listening, I was busy taking photos)

After settling down we went out to hunt for our Hello Kitty Cafe!

Huge dog beside our apartment in this small temple.

We really took a long time to find this place and man, I would say it's worth the walk. The food is pretty decent even though it's slightly expensive. But for Hello Kitty lovers, it's worth to go.

Anyway, in order to ask around for location, it's best to print out a picture of it so the locals would be able to understand you. We tried asking them where is "hello kitty cafe" they just didn't understand what is that. So picture is advisable.

Not sure if you can see the prices if you zoom in. But each drink starts from ₩5,000

Photo credits: Allynn

Photo credits: Allynn

Photo credits: Allynn

Photo credits: Allynn
Panoramic shot of the top level.

Green tea latte ₩5,000, Mocha ₩5,000, waffle ₩4,000, Tiramisu cake, ₩4,200 (hidden behind my green tea latte)

Can't recall the price for the toast. :(

Here's the super nice Tiramisu!

We spent some time in the warm before braving the first night of cold.

Finally ate my rice cake! ₩3,000 for a really big bowl of it!

Here's our food ration for the next 9 days!

And then.... I was the first to concuss for the whole night. (hahahahahaha)



Robert Jung's apartment

Exit 3 of the airport express station OR Robert Jung would personally bring you there
Address: RN903, Magellan21 Officetel, 156-2, Donggyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea

Hello Kitty Cafe(depart from Robert Jung's apartment)

Exit 5 of Hongik University subway station (green line)
Disclaimer: We only managed to find the cafe after asking the tourist information counter. It was quite a long walk from exit 5. Best to ask passer-by with a print out of the cafe.
Address: 358-112, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea.


Day 2 preview...


  1. Nice travel post on Seoul! I will be reading more, I will be visiting Korea end of this year. :)

    1. Thank you! I hope the information is useful for you :)

  2. Hi, so happy i came across your blog, provided so much information. Im travelling to Korea this coming Nov~ Just wondering, how do we communicate with the locals? Do most of them speak english? And what about the subway station? Are they in Korean words, or spell them out in english?

    1. Hi Ivy, I'm very glad that you find this post useful! :) It's my pleasure to share my experience with you.

      Not to worry, most of the locals can speak simple English. Subway stations are spelled out in English too! :) Just try and follow the 'color lines' and look out for staff in full red 'uniform' they have this 'i' logo on their uniform to indicate that they are mobile tourist information personnel. Most of them are Jap/Chi/Eng speaking to help you.

      Nov might be slightly getting colder, please do keep warm!

  3. How much did you spend on Robert Jung's apartment per night? Does he accommodate other guests as well?

    1. He has a couple of different units for you to choose depending on how many pax you have. You can check out his listing page on Airbnb :)

  4. Hi Asia's hope, each of us spent $345 for 10 days. There were 4 of us, that amounts to $1380, so per night it was $138nett (including all charges such as cleaning etc from Airbnb)

  5. Hi Ranielle.. u spent $345 for 10 days. Is it in dollar?

  6. Hi, I was just wondering if the rates there are better than sg? The current rates are horrible but I was just wondering when you went over, we're there much difference? Thanks in adv!

    1. Hi nstlgk,

      If I didn't remember wrongly, the other time I went it was about 828won for SGD1. At Incheon airport, the rates were lower, but I cannot exactly recall the amount, but likely is about 810ish.

      I recall seeing one particular shop along the roads of Myeongdong, they do have a decent rate but then again, you have to travel all the way there just to change. I would suggest you change in Singapore.

      So far my favourite place to change has always been the Marina Square Fountain Money Changer. The other time I went hongkong, other places were giving 6.16-6.18 but i got 6.20 there.

      Hope this helps :)