Thursday, September 30, 2010

30 Sep 10 - Day 7 (Seoul)

Morning call at 7am and had to gathered at 8am. Saw Hanna and she asked us where we went the night before. Initially told M not to tell the truth but in the end, I ended up telling her that we went to take the cable car up to Namsan Park coz we wanted to see the night view of Seoul. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get up to the N Seoul Tower coz it was past 10:30pm by the time we reached but nevertheless, we still saw part of the night view.

Headed for breakfast outside where we ate Korean-Chinese Buffet style. After we were done, went on to the Ginseng Showroom where the lady there explained the differences between the various types of ginsengs. Apparently, ginsengs were supposed to be pale yellow and those grown in the wild were rare. Red ginsengs were ginseng treated with other herbs. The showroom sells whole ginsengs, yellow and red; ginseng capsules and ginseng essences ranging from S$200+ to S$1,000+. Before my trip, I thought I can buy a little for my aunty in Jurong but the prices were too expensive. Sis and her family don’t take ginseng so no point buying for them either.

Ginseng Showroom

Then we headed to the Amethyst Factory where the manager there told us that the Amethyst in their factory has hardness of 7.8, that of precious stones quality. They have grade A that range from 7.8 – 7.5 and grade B of 7.2 – 7.5. Grade A stones were made into jewelry of 18k gold while Grade B stones were made into jewelry of gold plated on silver. They were having promotions of 40% off sales price and just happened it was the last day the day we went. Handphone accessories made of Amethyst and can be worn as pendent were going at 8,000 Won. After listening to his explanations, we were led into the showroom to browse the selections.

Amethyst cave from the Amethyst Showroom

M and I selected a handphone accessory each and then I asked to look at the rings. They didn’t have pinky rings but the lady told me that they could resize it smaller to fit. Initially thought I would go for simpler design so that it would be cheaper but the lady recommended another which looked rather unique and so in the end got that instead. Asked M if she wanted a ring and she said she has a lot of rings at home. Then asked her about pendent and the lady brought out the latest design which looked pretty nice and so I asked M if she likes it and that I would buy that for her. So in the end, we got two handphone accessories, a ring and a pendent and I charged to my credit card in USD. Apparently in Korea, they charged foreigners in USD for credit card payment.

Then headed for lunch where we had individual portion of shabu shabu with buffet. M and I saw ddok and mini ddok and we took quite an amount of mini ddok. Ate that with my beef shabu shabu and they tasted great together! Took raw sushi, tempura and some others to share with M and drank cinnamon punch and Korean rice punch. This was by far the most enjoyable meal I had during the whole trip. As usual, the couple and the two friends had their soup turned red with kimchi and chili paste and they were so proud of it.

Mini ddok

Next stop was to Namsan Park. We almost didn’t get to go coz the four friends wanted to skip that and head for Myongdong Fashion Street straight. When Hanna asked the group again after lunch, it so happened that M and I were standing in front of her and we said to go so in the end, we went. Our coach could get us right up to Namsan Park coz of the other coaches and so we had to walk up slope for quite a distance. M and i went ahead leaving the rest behind and it was a longer climb than we had the night before.

Nevertheless, M was happy coz she got to see the place where people and couples hang their locks with special messages. Took some pictures and browsed through the various locks. A few of them used bicycle locks and one even used a chopping board to write the message. M brought her own lock but she didn’t bring material to write messages so suggested to her that we could get material from the souvenir shop. So in the end, I bought a magnet, she bought a t-shirt, a packet of hard candy and a heart-shape rubberize thingy to write her message on. Then we found a good spot to hang the heart-shape rubberize thingy with her lock.

The locks from Namsan Park

Then we walked down back to the coach and headed for Myongdong Fashion Street. Got down beside the Shinsegae Departmental Store and Hanna told us that we had to use the underpass to cross over to Myongdong Fashion Street and that Namedaemun Market was just behind the Shinsegae Departmental Store. So went ahead of the rest to Myongdong Fashion Street and looked for Skin Food shop where I bought the rest of the facial products for sis's SIL and myself. After that, crossed over to the opposite shop and headed for second floor where Everysing was. M bought a poster that her friend asked her to and then we went off. Saw Natuur Ice Cream and we bought a cup with Choco Mint flavor to share then walked further, we saw Café Bene.

Choco Mint Ice Cream from Natuur

Inside Everysing

Hunted for a music shop and found one on level three of a building. So headed up and M bought more CDs, some on behalf of friends, some for herself. After we were done getting our stuff, we looked for Café Bene to have a cuppa and along the way, we saw a street vendor selling the long, long tornado potato and we bought a stick to share. According to M, this was longer than what we have back home. Found Café Bene, ordered a cup of ice cafe mocha and a chocolate cookie to share. While drinking, M’s friend messaged her asking her to help get one auto eyebrow pencil from Etude House. So done drinking, we went to Etude House to get that and I bought more face masks since they cost only 1,000 each.

Café Bene ice cafe mocha and chocolate cookie

Tornado potato

Then went off to Namedaemun Market to take a look and along the way, bought a packet of ginseng jelly. Got to Namedaemun Market, walked through the street vendors and looked at the bags. M found a nice backpack and the first stall quoted us 35,000 Won. It was about the same price back home. So walked further and saw a similar one but the owner was on the phone. Walked on and didn't see anything interesting. As we were press for time, we went back to the second shop to try our luck. The lady was off the phone and she quoted us 15,000 Won for the bag. It was a steal and just before we confirmed our purchase, I asked M again if the lady said 15,000 Won or 50,000 Won. After confirming it was 15,000 Won, we bought a bag each. Happy with our loots, we brisk walked back to the meeting point and most of the group was already there.

During the journey, we were told that Seoul is separated into North and South by a river called Han River or Hangang. The Northern Seoul consisted of older districts and hence the housing arrangements were haphazard. Unlike the North, the Southern Seoul has better housing planning and thus was more orderly and the housing and land prices there were higher. The Government built 30 bridges to join the North and South Seoul as well as a lot of facilities along the Han River for the Public to use, such as swimming pools, fitness corners, etc.

The many highways of Seoul

One of the 30 bridges joining South and North Seoul

The housing in Seoul

Sunset in Seoul

Reached the LotteWorld hotel about 6pm and were told to gather again at 6:20pm to go over to LotteWorld. It was a couple of minutes walk and Hanna told us that we had to get in and out by the South Gate and that we could stay inside till they close around 9+pm. There were indoor and outdoor park connected by an overhead bridge. Went in and we walked around to see some of the rides before stationing ourselves near the place where the parade would take place at 7pm. The parade lasted for half an hour and it was the first time I was so close to a parade. Then walked around trying to find something to play but things looked tame compared to Everland. Went outdoor and it was the same. Was rather disappointed and so went back indoor. Didn’t want to go off without punching a hole on my ticket and so we took the monorail to tour round the premises before going to the foodcourt for dinner. By the time we were done, it was 8+pm and we took a look at the character shop before heading off.

Our tickets

South Gate of Lotte World

Some photos around Lotte World :

Our dinner :

Passed by the Angel-In-Us coffee joint and popped in to take a look. They didn’t have tiramisu for sale but found the chocolate coffee beans that were mentioned in one of the blogs I read. So bought that and another chocolate with almond to share with M. Wanted to check out the LotteWorld Departmental Store but it was already closed. So headed back to our hotel about 10+pm to wash up and do packing as well as taking photos of our loots.

Angel-In-Us Chocolate

My Loots

Thoughts: The lunch was awesome with the cute mini ddok. If only I had more beef to go with the mini ddok that would have really made my day. Going to Namsan Park was fun coz personally I enjoy nature walk and good exercise. Besides, M got to finally see the locks place and put her own lock together with the rest to commemorate her first trip.

Compared to Dongdaemun Market, Myongdong Fashion Street was more like Orchard Road coz the streets were lined with standalone shops. Skin Food, Etude House, The Face Shop and other facial products shops were everywhere together with other clothing shops like Giordano, etc. The things there were more fashionable though but so were the prices and comparing prices were tougher. Didn’t get to cover the whole of Namedaemun Market which was a shame coz we might have been able to eat some fresh seafood or ddok.

LotteWorld was a bit of a letdown. Maybe because we had experienced Everland so LotteWorld seemed mild. Comparatively, LotteWorld was smaller in size too. Nevertheless, the parade was nice and the place had a Disneyland feel in it. Maybe it was a weekday and late at night so the crowd was thinned and hence couldn't really feel the amusement park atmosphere. It was a waste that we didn’t manage to check out the LotteWorld Departmental Store coz I had wanted to check out their supermarket. Usually supermarket had more interesting food stuff.

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