Arrived at Incheon Airport on-time at 3.30pm, the easiest way to head to Myeongdong is probably by the Airport Bus 6015. The bus-fare hasn't changed for the past years. For as far as I can remember, it has always been 10,000 won. Of course, there are other options such as taking the AREX (Airport Express) or taxi. Whenever I stay in Myeongdong, my preferred option have always been to take the Airport bus because:
1. It has luggage storage compartment where the luggage can be safely kept and you need not lug it up the bus.
2. The bus brings passengers directly to downtown Myeongdong, where the subway station exits are. From there, it is easy to navigate to the hotels.
3. The buses are rather frequent, approximately once every 20 mins.
4. Avoid the hassle of transfer from 1 (subway) train to another and fighting the crowd in the populated city, which would be unavoidable if you take the AREX.
For more info on airport bus, check out this link.
Here I was, arrived at SkyPark III Hotel, conveniently located about 50m away from the Airport Bus-stop.
The hotel is especially catered to female tourists, especially if you're a fan of Etude House products. There are also a few limited "pink and princessy" rooms which makes fans of pink go ga-ga. Price for a twin room is quite reasonable at ~ S$110 - S$120 inclusive of tax.
I didn't manage to get a pink room. But a regular room work just fine for me. The basic facilities are complete.
The toiletries, as expected, are products from Etude House.
Myeongdong is one of the very popular "integrated downtown hubs", for shopping (duty-free shops, cosmetics, food, fashion etc etc). This is also the place for checking out the latest Korean Streetfood.
Deli Manjoo, a small store located in the Myeongdong underground shopping mall, has been around for quite some time. The corn-shaped warm custard puffs still taste as delicious as before.
Strawberry is seasonal fruit and it is commonly found during the winter season in Korea. During this time, lots of cafes and bakeries uses strawberry as their key ingredient. This street-food stall was selling strawberry mochi.
This stylish-looking guy moves in a groovy beat while making the banana-nutella crepes.
And look at these colourful cotton candies in pastel shades. They are about 30cm in height and 20cm in width.
The thing about living in a country with 4 seasons is that you get an abundance of seasonal fruits. This stall is selling freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice !
Fish-shape redbean waffle might be a passé by now. The trend now is croissant fish. Also filled with redbean.
What is popular for breakfast in Korea?
One, rice with kimchi and soup, or two, toasts. Isaac Toast is a popular breakfast stall, a stone-throw away from Myeongdong station exit 5.
With more than 20 types of toast, including basic ham & cheese to bulgogi to potato & cheese, deciding what to order might be a chore.
For me, it was simple. I decide to go for a non-meat option and I only needed to decide between cheese & potato or cheese & vegetable or vegetable. Simple!
Estimated queuing and waiting time ... about 15 minutes.
How to get to Isaac Toast?
What about Dinner?
A question that may make some local Koreans scratch their heads would be "Where can I find vegetarian food?". A common response that I get is "Koreans love to eat meat!" There is hardly any dish that is without meat except for vegetable salad and bread.
A friend who arrived in Seoul before me checked out this interesting Tteokbokki restaurant, Kang Ho Dong Cheon Ha, a new celebrity restaurant specially in hotpot rice cakes. What caught our eyes from the menu was "Yachae tteokbokki" which means vegetable tteokbokki. We decided to just go for it, although sliced fish cakes is one of the ingredients.
There are tips plastered on the table for cooking the rice cakes and the ingredients. We had to adjust the heat level along the way.
Here how the hotpot rice cakes (tteokbokki) looks like when served. Besides rice cakes and fish cakes, the other ingredients included glass noodles, ramyeon, lots of vegetables and some dumplings. The serving portion is just nice for 2 to 3 persons. We opted for the set meal which comes with a portion of fried chicken. There are other side dishes on the menu such as cheese fries. Total damage is below 25,000won. Overall, the food and ambience were good. Because this place was very new, overall cleanliness was very good.
How to get to Kang Ho Dong Cheon Ha?