Current mood: Missing South Korea so badly 🙁 *ugly cry*
I’ve already mentioned that what I particularly love about South Korea is that it boasts of an old world charm with a vibrantly modern twist. But mind you, getting around this country is relatively easy, which makes it perfect for the millennials. (ehem, like me, LOL).
Well anyway, Seoul itself offers not just snazzy skyscrapers, historical villages and what not, but also has some attractions perfect for the snap-happy people.
Starfield COEX Mall Library
Starfield COEX Mall has a newly opened Starfield Library that is currently trending among your feeds in Instagram. This two-story library is the latest cultural attraction within Seoul and is open to the public with free of charge. The library consists of three 13m tall enormous bookshelves packed with approximately 50,000 books and has the largest collection of magazines with over 600 different titles from both local and international.
They also offer e-books just so you know 😀 And bookworms can enjoy reading with their pleasing environment and stylish amenities. Some cultural events and performances are also being held in this library. The Philippines needs a place like this, don’t you think?
Just within the vicinity of Coex Mall is the SMTOWN, a popular hub for the Hallyu fanatics.
This is SM Entertainment’s culture complex space that offers unique experiences such as visit to studios, hologram theater, virtual reality or augmented reality, a life-style shop, and more!
The 2nd floor of SMTOWN is a gift shop with items that artists actually wore or picked and a café wherein fans hang out together. There are also gachapon or vending machine-dispensed capsule toys of your favorite K-pop idol.
It also has the so-called SMTOWN Museum that is located on the third floor.
This is where they’ve displayed the memorabilia related to the birth and growth of SM Entertainment’s artists. It also includes various exhibitions, including SM ARCHIVE, SPECIAL EXHIBITION, and ARTIST GALLERY, all of which are related to music albums, stage photos, outfits and accessories, and behind the scenes stories.
On the 5th and 6th floors are the biggest hologram theater in Korea which showcases mostly SM artists’ concert videos.
After getting overwhelmed with SMTOWN, we had our lunch at a cafeteria just inside COEX Mall. Also, did some shopping at A.Land and looked for a BB air cushion from IOPE.
If you’re looking for a “hipster” vibe place to chill, shop and eat, then Garosu-gil is the place to be. This is probably my most favorite street in Seoul!
Garosu-gil which literally means tree-lined street has countless side alleyways and has a lot of interesting things to offer—with it being tagged as a trendy mecca for beauty and fashion aficionados. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to wander around that much because it was drizzling, but if you’d ask me, I would love to come back and explore more of this yeppeuda. (PS: I really have a knack of going to spots that has that hipster vibe. Haha! Oddly, I’m partly an old soul but is yearning for that modern vibe, too.)
Hailing all the way from San Francisco, California, we’ve visited the Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in Korea to try out its cruffiny and their pastry goodness.
I absolutely love the interior of this place! It has 2 floors of seating, each complete with walls of windows, pink neon signs, black and cream leather seats and gold accented marble tables. The overall vibe is clean yet very chic and cozy. Something I’d want to have in my future home, LOL.
Garosu-gil surely knows how to tease its visitors with its every corner that is simply snap-worthy!
If you haven’t heard about the eyewear brand Gentle Monster yet, then you’re totally missing out! With “Experimentation” as their motto for their creations, their interior for their flagship store in Garosu-gil screams an edgy and quirky design.
Next stop is the Dr. Jart Flagship Store which is just a few blocks away from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. This South Korean cosmeceutical brand has won global recognition. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with it but they’ve collaborated with The Face Shop in some of their product lines. Well, anyway, their store is called “Filter Space in Seoul”. Go see for yourself why!
What’s not to adore with its futuristic façade that would surely catch anyone’s attention?
Spotted right in Garosu-gil is the 3CE Cinema by Style Nanda. This movie-themed cosmetics store offers 3CE products in make-up booth setting with colorful lighting and props in cute baby pink colors. All ladies (including yours truly) inside are going gaga on trying out their range of beauty products. This is the 2nd branch of Style Nanda that I’ve been to.
Another lovely pink building we’ve spotted is the Lotte Elcube. This store surprisingly offers an array of cool stuff.
But the most striking one for me would probably be the beautiful rooftop café wherein you can have a good view of Garosu-gil. This is one of the best places to hang out in summer, for sure!
I’ve heard Garosu-gil is always changing, meaning every time you visit there would be new, trendy and innovative things to see. The best part for me is that they constantly “embrace their culture by offering local products crafted with their own creativity”. And that for me, makes South Korea extras epic and special! But just to give you some other recommendations, you may want to check out the Skin Food Café, Simone Handbag Museum, Gallery Yeh, Karl Lagerfeld Pop-Up Store and many more!
They say the coolest of the cool gather in Hongdae to experience life in fast lane. Just like Ewha, this place mostly consists of students, and the youth from Hongik University. Clothing selections here are as varied as the pubs in the area! Looking for unique cafes, cozy galleries, accessory stores, fashion shops, clubs, or art markets? Name it, they have it!
At night, most young fellas flock here to partake in the exhilarating nightlife and some even unleashes their freedom of self-expression by showcasing their talents in singing and dancing to the public. It’s just fascinating that at young age, they know how to do their thing—express themselves.
And mind you, haha! Didn’t pass the opportunity the branch on Style Nanda in Hongdae. It was swamped by people that night! Anyway, just like their other stores, it offers 3CE products, clothing and insta-worthy interior.
Right across Style Nanda is the Chuu store. Talk about taking the competition head on! 😛
The succulent pork ribs meet with the melting cheese and corn. Dug in at James Cheese Back Ribs that offers one of the most raved Korean signature dishes – Cheese deung galbi. This one’s quite expensive though, haha! We were shookt but it’s totally worth it!
Capped off the night by shopping for snacks and souvenirs at Lotte Mart in Seoul Station Branch.
Reminiscing about South Korea and trying to pinpoint what I miss most about this country, makes me want to book a flight already, LOL. Now, I wonder if in my past life, I was a Korean? Haha! Kidding aside, this country taught me a lot about their pulsating culture and tradition. But what struck me the most is how—with its multitude of options—it was able to keep me overwhelmed and awed, all at once.