Summer in Seoul, South Korea (Day 2 of 40): K Star Road Apgujeong Rodeo, Starfield Library @ Coex Mall, Nightout at Hongdae
I can't believe I'm back in Korea after 3 years... now I can finally read and understand all those signs :p
For the first few days in Korea, I stayed with my friends in Haengdang (in Seongdong district -- near Gangnam-gu). I liked this neighborhood cos it's quiet but still near my favorite district, Gangnam.
What I love about being abroad with a good transportation system is my freedom to go anywhere easily. I didn't set any concrete itinerary this trip since it's my first solo travel in Korea. My first two visits here were with my friends and my dad.
I remember seeing this train view and I was like "I can't believe I'm back here". Now with a bigger love for Korean Culture and a stronger love for Kdramas and Kpop.
Saw a birthday ad for my one and only NCT Bias, Taeil! With the lines from my fave song of his, Starlight :p "You are my starlight, you are my sunshine". It's actually the theme song of the famous drama, 2521.
Don't you just love people watching? I love how Korean men dress up... Clean and minimalist.
First stop, Apgujeong Rodeo. Cue EXO-SC's song Rodeo Station. Hehehe!
Fun fact, I didn't like Kpop when I went here years ago. I know of them but I wasn't a fan. Fast forward to the pandemic, I totally fell inlove with a few groups: BTS, EXO, NCT, Shinee, Seventeen, GOT7 to name a few.
Found the famous BTS Gangnamdol (Gangnam Idol) :)
BTS was here :p
Tracy was here :P
Super enjoyed this moment! What a win for this fangirl <3
Of course I took a photo with the EXO Gangnamdol which was in front of the old SM building. Documented the other Gangnamdols but in video format so if you wanna see that, go to my instagram page and check out my reel page (shameless plugging haha)
Of course when you're in Apgujeong area, you can't help but to check out the malls around the luxury road Cheongdam area. I'm not into designer bags (I only have a few) but really nice to window shop and get inspired by fashion & art.
Walking around during summer was insanely challenging but worth it -- I mean look at this adorable dog!
Stopped by the convenience store to buy myself a samgap kimbap. My usual meal in Korea whenever I'm in a rush. Of course, I saw the Bangtan boys. They're everywhere hihi
Funny coincidence! While i was eating my food, I passed by this building. I'm like "why is the name so familiar?" & guess what? the hairstylists of BTS are from this salon! Bit & Boot is near one of the exits of Apgujeong Rodeo. But if you want to have a haircut here, you must schedule an appointment first. I actually had a haircut in Korea by one of BTS' hairstylists also (formerly from this salon but he moved), but I'll talk about that experience on my next blog so watch out for it :)
To beat the summer heat, I needed to stop by a cafe to buy a drink.
Got the famous Dalgona Latte. SUPER sweet, not for people who don't like super sweet stuff. I enjoyed it though, but I can't drink this everyday! Worth trying when you go to Korea.
Then I decided to go to Coex Mall since I was already in Gangnam.
Ads of oppas everywhere! Sent this to my good friend Lissa since she's obsessed with Hyun Bin :P
Hi STAYs! Also saw a lot of stray kids ads, even in Subways!
Trying on bucket hats because I forgot all my bucket hats in this trip. Little did I know I will hoard a lot of caps and hats in the next few days :)) In my defense, I needed them to protect my head from the sun. LOL
Everywhere I look around Seoul is such a visual treat.
And since I was already in Coex Mall, I had to drop by Starfield Library. One of the many places I love in this city. Doesn't it remind you of Beauty and the Beast, but a modern version?
Love this photo :) The contrast is so lovely. The student sits & sleeps and the grandma is standing while reading a book.
Also, did you know that Record Of Youth (Park Bo Gum's drama) was also shot here? Let me google some photos / clips from the scene!
It was a night scene though so I also suggest you guys see the Starfield Library at night. I love hanging out here at night when all the lights around the books make everything 10x prettier.
I always get asked how I take my photos whenever I do solo travel. Answer: tripod! This one was gifted (forcefully given I mean lol) by David Guison (Hi Dave TYSM hahaha) years ago. It expands so it's perfect :)
Love this quote because it's true. I always discover my strengths and weaknesses whenever I travel. I believe everyone should try traveling alone. It hones you so so much.
Spent a lot of time in the library checking out the Korean books I wish I could fully understand someday -
my Korean skills is still preschool level hehe been like this for years so I hope I improve. But hoping is not enough, I should study intensely if I want to be better.
Random musings but before KPOP, I am actually already a big fan of dramas. Maybe since 2009?! But never really tried to learn the language till I became addicted to Kpop during the pandemic. I guess the lockdown was very fruitful for me in a way, in the learning aspect; I got to enroll in online Korean classes.
BTS, NCT, Seventeen loves!
BTS released Yet To Come was released the same month I arrived here so this easily became one of my go-to songs aka the looped song I listen to whenever I ride the train.
Walked around COEX and explored the grocery. Which reminded me that moment to check the time (I rarely check the time when I'm traveling alone) and realized I had to go home to shop for dinner and prepare for a nightout with friends :)
Han River, it's love at first sight. During my past trips, I didn't go to the parks around Han River. I always did touristy things. This trip was very different since I was going to stay for almost 2 months.
To jumpstart my "living in Korea for more than a month" diaries, I went grocery shopping. Of course I had to get viyott yogurts. It's a must for yogurt lovers! The add-ons are always so interesting.
I just went to the neighborhood Lotte mart so it was a quick walk back to the apartment.
After eating dinner at home and playing "guess the title of the song" with my friends, I felt the urge to just stay at home. My friends got to convince me though. It was my first full day back in Korea so we felt the need to celebrate! We ended up going to Hongdae.
Didn't last long inside this bar because it was too packed. But i was very happy they played Butter! HAHA
Ended up in this dive bar of some sort with no one except for my friends, their other friend, and the barista. Totally enjoyed this place because I loved the conversations we had --- SEO and startups. Sounds geeky but I always love learning :) One of my mottos in life is to never stop learning.
Had a great night cos we didn't stay out too long, I got to convince my friends to go home early HAHAHA PS they are the real Nam Do Sans / Ji Pyeong (cue drama Start up). They all have startups and are (well, were) in Korea because they won a Start-up competition! Impressed with the brains of my friends :))
Nightcap? Pizza and drunken conversations with them (they were the only ones who got drunk, to the point we got a noise complaint from our neighbor --- yikes!!!!) but good times, still <3
See you on the next blog x