After a good night’s sleep at the airport, I made my way to Hotel Aventree Jongno, my home for the next three days.
Hotel Aventree Jongno
I was sufficiently impressed by this hotel during my previous trip that I chose to stay here again. The rooms are nice and clean, and most importantly, it is very conveniently located near the subway station and within walking distance of major tourist spots such as Insadong, Myeongdong, Gyeongbokgung and Samcheongdong. Although the hotel staff aren’t really friendly, they are professional and speaks good English. I wouldn’t recommend the breakfast though. With its limited variety, you will be far happier eating yummy delights off the streets of Seoul.
Getting to Hotel Aventree Jongno from Incheon Airport:
By Airport Shuttle – Take bus 6005 from Passenger Terminal level 1, Berth 5B. The bus stops directly outside the hotel and takes about 80 – 85 minutes. It costs 15,000 krw for a one-way trip.
By SMRT – Take Airport Railway to Seoul station and change to Line 1 heading towards Soyosan. Alight at Jonggak Station. From Jonggak Station, take exit 3-1 and walk straight for about three minutes till you see Hotel Aventree Jongno.
Ready to explore with latte in hand/ Walls of Gyeongbokgung palace/ Outside Gyeongbokgung palace/ Pretty flowers
Pretty graffiti along Samcheongdong/ Flowers in front of cafe
Owl Art & Craft Museum
Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I LOVE OWLS. Ok, that could be an under-statement. How about OWLbsessed? 🙂
After stumbling upon this place during my previous trip (it was closed), I knew I MUST put it in my itinerary this time round.
THIS IS AN AMAZING PLACE OMG I LOVE THIS PLACE!
It was totally worth the 1.5 hours wait. (website stated that it opens at 10am, but the actual operating hours is from 11am-7pm, and it didn’t open till 1130am)
The one-room museum is cramped with more than 2,500 owl paraphernalia; telephones, radios, coins, mugs – all collections of the owner, affectionately known as the owl lady. I was so happy looking at all the owls that I could cry. It was so inspiring! Can’t wait to start my own collection too!
Owl Art & Craft Museum
Entrance to the museum
Finally in!:D – The only photo spot in the museum
Getting to Owl Art & Craft Museum:
From Anguk Station, take exit 2 and follow Bukchon-ro all the way. Along the way, you will see Bukchon Hanok Village (a residential area with traditional housing) on your right. After visiting the museum, you can continue down Bukchon-ro (moving ahead instead of back down the same path) to Samcheongdong, a street filled with mostly with lovely cafes and yummy food. As you continue walking, you will eventually reach Gyeongbokgung palace on your left.
Operating hours: 11:00 – 19:00 (closed from Monday – Wednesday)
Entrance fee: 5,000krw (Inclusive of a drink)
Getting to Owl Museum
Insadong/ Gangnam Myeonok
Brimming with happiness, I set off for the next stop in my itinerary – Gangnam Myeonok. Located in Insadong, this restaurant is well-known for their galbi-jjim (steamed short ribs) – see reviews here. However, as the dish only comes in sharing portions (with the smallest costing 35,000 won for 3pax), I settled for the more manageable mandu-guk (dumpling soup) instead.
Gangnam Myeonok/ Mandu-guk
The mandu-guk comes with four huge dumplings, some beef cubes and egg ribbons. The dumplings are generously filled with meat and sprouts, and is juicy without the strong pork taste. A very satisfying dish in the cool weather.
From Anguk Station, take Exit 6, walk straight and turn left into Insadong-gil. Walk down Insadong-gil, a street flanked with souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes, museums and Ssamziegil, and you will eventually see Gangnam Myeonok on your left.
Getting to Gangnam Myeonok/ Insadong
Novelty soft-served icecream shop/ Starbucks along Insadong-gil
Art shop along Insadong
Myeongdong is one of the major shopping districts in Seoul. There are two anchor department stores (Lotte and Shinsegae), various shopping malls (e.g. H&M and Migliore), and hundreds of skin care stores (e.g. Missha, Innisfree, Laniege, just to name a few). Besides being a shopper’s paradise, Myeongdong is also a great place to experience the night life in Seoul and to sample the various street snacks that Seoul has to offer. From spicy grilled chicken skewers to chewy rice cakes to grapefruit drizzled with honey, you will soon be lamenting your lack of stomach space.
For someone who is really low on shopping stamina, I spent a decent portion of my funds purely on skincare (cheaper than Singapore, must stock up!) and had a really enjoyable time window shopping (with a snack in hand, of course).
Really good red bean custard snack on the way to Myeongdong
Sausage with rice cake
More information about Myeongdong can be found here.