Our trip to Hong Kong in September had some overlapping days with my Uncle James from Puerto Rico. Jumping on a rare opportunity to travel together, we planned a quick trip to Seoul, Korea with Bridgette and my parents.
I booked an Airbnb for us, one that boasted of an extraordinary view and had numerous amounts of positive reviews online. The owner clearly wanted to automate the check in process and sent over a full booklet of videos and instructions on how exactly we were to retrieve the apartment’s key upon arrival. Seriously, even as a savvy traveler, I had to read through everything 3 times and take screen shots of the video to save on my phone before fully understanding where I was to go and what I was to do.
As promised, we were greeted with an awe-inspiring view as soon as we entered the apartment. It was spacious, with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room and kitchen. One of the bedroom had floor to ceiling windows on two sides of the room, and the view was simply mesmerizing.
The view is pretty much where it ends though, because the apartment itself was only mediocre at best. The kitchen wasn’t equipped with even the most basic items (hello, no knife at all?), the bathrooms were dirty, one of the air conditioners malfunctioned, the portable wifi was missing the charger cable, and just a whole bunch of other nuisances here and there during our stay. All this to say– sometimes, reviews just can’t be trusted fully!!
Okay, back to our trip. After settling into the apartment, we ventured outside to find a good place for dinner. We picked a small restaurant nearby that was packed with locals, as the delicious Korean BBQ scent lured us in.
We went back to our apartment for an early evening of rest, and got up bright and early the next morning for our first full day of Seoul adventures! 🙂
Although taxis are fairly inexpensive in Seoul (especially when we’re a group of 5) we still decided to take the metro as we wanted to experience the public transportation system there. I was our navigator ofcourse, and Bridgette was my co-pilot as she’s learned to navigate metro systems pretty well from all our trips to Hong Kong.
When traveling with my dad, we always have to start the day off with a coffee run. Fortunately, there are Paris Baguette cafes everywhere in Seoul!
For our first stop, we went to see the Bukchon Hanok Village, which is a historical, traditional Korean village. Most of the houses there are still current residences so you have to remain very very quiet as you stroll through the village. A few of them have been converted to tea houses, so if you pay a cover fee (I think it’s about USD $20 per person) you can actually go inside.
We had lunch at the famous Myeongdong Gyoja, which, besides their yummy dumplings and noodles, has the fastest service ever.
The rest of the afternoon was spent shopping around Myeongdong, a popular shopping district in Seoul known for its endless skincare and fashion shops.
By late afternoon, my dad and Uncle James desperately needed a break from the shopping (and a nice, quiet nap) so we found a cute little teddy bear cafe to serve two purposes–naps for the men, and sweets for the ladies. 🙂
Refueling ourselves meant more shopping afterwards….
Towards the end of the day, my parents and Uncle James found a local foot massage place to pamper themselves a bit. Bridgette and I opted out and instead, went to experience a cat cafe!
It was actually quite fun. I’ve never been much of a cat person but some of those cats in the cafe were so darn cute. They were gentle and friendly too! To see more, check out Bridgette’s Youtube video here!
Stay tuned for Part II. of our Seoul trip!