Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Technology and the Past Collide at Dongdaemun & Myeongdong

Even by the month's standard, this day was the most adventurous and when I finally realised the extent of my sheer tenacity. Did I have anything to show for it? Just photographic evidence as my trophy, 

The day's breakfast. The cream stew! Not quite like the one I had in Gangnam but still delicious! Honestly, I was spoiled staying here, not only in the culinary department but with anything that required more strength than lifting a finger. And it was here that I've managed to make my peace with bean sprouts, the day I say that to cucumber is when we must check the temperature in Hell, post haste.

Dongdaemun! Where shopping is natural selection. 

An entire store dedicated to school uniform esque clothes. This would be more amusing if it weren't for the connotation it carries. 

Collared shirts as the solid foundation to build your outfits!

Edgy street fashion with feminine aspects. 

Airy, ethereal chiffon for fairies. 

A hoodie for every occasion!

The alien base abandoned by extra terrestrial beings.. Nah, it's just the Dongdaemun Design Plaza! Not only that but it exists as a gateway into the past and present. With paths for the Cheongyecheon stream, Dongdaemun History Hall, Excavation Site, Sports Memorial Hall, Design Gallery etc. It was only after I left that I discovered there is a garden on top as well! But unfortunately, due to the rain I don't think I would've enjoyed it anyway. But still.. 

In the Design Plaza when you begin to doubt the power of art. 

Isn't this cool? It filters music played from your phone for a for earthy vibrative quality, all the charm of an old school record player. But at around $25, I wasn't sure if it was worth the price, especially given the rapid development of smart phones with mere size in mind. 

A table for Kpop stars of course.. haha.. Only TTS? Where my SNSD at?

And here is your eye in the sky view!

Miniature vintage cake stands! I WOULD'VE BOUGHT A HUNDRED.

How boring, just the typical marvel characters. Give me the Black Widow shrouded with darkness as her cover or mystique please. 

What bizarre teapots? Would would want such a thing? *carefully packs away a painstakingly wrapped object into luggage. Endless possibilities emerge! Now here's something I wouldn't mind Iron Man being rebranded into. 

Wandering through the Dongdaemun Markets. 

Toys geared to bring out the spoiled child in all of us. Do not come here with kids, they will focus their pleading eyes on you until they suck your savings dry. 

Shoe nirvana. Shoes, shoes, shoes. 

In conclusion, if you want anything in the world that is a fashion item, you come here and be buried with it. It is the most diverse place in regard to fashion and the place where aspiring designers flock to hone their skills. This is where fashion trends are born and die in the same breath. A mix of traditional and modern stores, it's reassurance that you do not need to build advancement on the ashes of the past. This concepts is not mutually exclusive nor does one succeed the other, they can coexist side by side in abject harmony.

The Cheonggyecheon is approximately 6km long. As you can see here, in the winter when I visited, it doesn't really make for visual pleasure. But the tranquil ebb of the stream will soften the desire of spring. Events such as the Seoul Lantern Festival and the March 29 Earth Hour Campaign take place here, more specifically at the mouth of the stream to anyone's discouragement at its small intestine length. 

It was so cold that day that the dormant fountains actually froze! How can something like this be real?? As you can see, I'm definitely from a place with a warmer climate haha.. 

 With the frozen fountain in mind, the lanterns were protected! Beyond this is the Cheonggye Plaza where if you're lucky, you can catch street performances. See the purple, unicorn like spiral in the distance? Hehe. If a bit of excitement's your entertainment, sacrifice your breath by stomping up those stares and prepare to be awed. But if your excitement's relaxation, plonk yourself on that step like a local and gaze wistfully into that stream! As a tourist, we're all on a clock. So does it count as being a local if I timed a 2 minute sit on the steps? Ahaha. 

No, this isn't the opening to a portal for another dimension, it's actually a wishing well!

It's impressive that they had the foresight to reincarnate one of the most natural attractions in a city. You can not recreate this form of tranquillity in any other form. 

Wall of Saekdong. 

Occasionally, you'll meet stretches of art upon the walls. The Wall of Culture.

It was the desire to have temple cuisine at least once during my time here that me reluctantly leave the stream. So Insadong it was!

Sanchon restaurant, that was owned by a former monk. 

You definitely do feel as though you're in a temple, in fact, it seems open into nature. 

You should never attempt to have a 17 course meal on your own. Just saying. The pumpkin soup was slightly sweet and overall pleasant. The seaweed tempura was appealingly crunchy, the acorn jelly was bland and the noodles were dressed lightly in sesame. This was where I was foolishly led to believe that I could master this meal, pshh, 17 courses? Bring it on!

A lot more taste buds were stimulated here. The soy skewer was the most intriguing. The pancakes were delicious of course, and the item that looks like snow behaved in that manner too. 

And then this happened. Urghhhhh food comaaa. As a general rule, if you have japchae, you must finish japchae. Similarly with sweet potato and anything resembling it. 

Dessert was thankfully the sweetest, lightest finish. Probably as a gentle reprimand of the sin of gluttony. Overall, I would say that the food is bland but fulfilling and nourishing. But for the cost of over $30? It's an experience. 

I have a feeling my mum would like it here, since in recent years, she's turned to Buddhism in order to seek reassurance in her life.

The complex opposite the Ssamzzigil. 

Are you all ready for a little history as with rejuvenated spirits we conquer this long serpent of a river?? As I said, I was determined to see most of its attractions, cold and long walk be damned!

Before Seoul was Korea's capital, Cheonggyecheong was a natural stream. In 1945, when Korea was liberated from Japanese colonisation, Cheonggyecheon was polluted from the waste produced by neighbouring slums. 

In 1953, poverty worsened due to the expanding population inhabiting the stream due to the construction of temporary housing. 

Consequently, Cheonggyecheon in its horrific glory was covered by concrete, thus beginning the construction of a 12 lane highway over the stream. 

Naturally, this posed severe health problems and became congested with traffic. Thus, the highway was eliminated in favour of reviving the stream. Almost $300 million later, the Cheonggyecheon as we see it now, was completed in 2005. It now attracts approximately 64,000 visitors a day, a complete reversal of its original form, making it the perfect place for casual strolls, exercise and overall to relax in its presence.

These photos situated along the wall of the stream, are one of the few reminders of its past incarnation, so that even future generations that come here, will always be aware of its roots. 

Symbolic washing board stones as a gentle reminder of Cheonggyechon's beginnings, how the people would use it to wash their laundry. That must've been a bit counter-intuitive given the stream's polluted state at the time. 

Wall of Hope, although some seem to be less regarding Hope and more a permanent measure to have their existance immortalised. 

The large supportng beams of the original highway. You can't erase us from history. 

An adjacent slow moving stream that had completely frozen over. Bizarre! 

Cinderella's pumpkin carriage, in a moment it all becomes clear. 

Several houses that hung over the stream preserved, opposite the road is the Cheonggyecheon museum.

Inside are relics from the 1950s, 60s, all in amazing conditon such that you could be fooled that someone is going to walk in, demand why you're in their house, pluck the record from the wall and begin playing it!

Candy and toys! Have they expired yet? Although there is room for concern if they haven't.

It mimics the interior of a grocery store. 

Even a classroom!

An example of someone's home. But given the state of the Cheonggyecheon at the time, the window would've had to be bolted shut and wouldn't have more for enjoyable scenery.

Brought back some sweat and chills. 

A proposal wall.. of course. 

Myeongdong once more! I'm sorry that I keep coming back here! I can't help it hahha, this time it's for the food I swear. 

Ichigo Daifuku! The strawberries in Japan and Korea are impossibly sweet and juicy!


Souvenirs for the tourists.

Ice cream waffle sandwiches! .. I had a bad experience at Busan so I steered clear of these. 

Jams! But in their glass jars should not be entrusted to someone as clumsy as I am. 

Shrimp wrapped potato fries! Urghhh, some food should definitely be shared though..

Yes, I finally had it, the 32cm ice cream. BOW BEFORE IT. It is a twixt of green tea and strawberry and honestly, it began losing its taste halfway down. Ironically, despite the plummeting temperature, this is probably the best to eat on a frosty winter day so that you can take all the time in the world and it won't melt! I also sparked the desires of children as I walked by with this haha. They say that ice cream is best eaten on a cold day.. Am I Korean yet? LOL. 

Gyeranbangs! Egg bread! *distracts stall keeper as I ran off with the entire tray gleefully. 

Spidery crabs. 

Greasy goodness. Although, whoever arrives last is going to find themselves with miserable tempura. 

Jajjangmyun! It wasn't the best that I've had but it was still infinitely better than the $12 one I had in Sydney as opposed to the 2000-3000won here!

My precioussss. Still, the best was the one I had at Busan!

Familiar figurines.

Coming back, exhausted from all the exploring to uplifting tea and something I would've never bought on my own. Potato Furansu.. must recreate. 




  1. Wow!! So many interesting photos... you saw and did a lot. Lots of neat things to explore. That tall ice cream in the cone looks super awesome!! Lol, "bow before it."

    All the Cute
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  2. Looks like a lovely time not to mention how delicious the food looks! Great photos.

  3. hello ! :D i read your blog since quite a long time ... and I wanted to tell you that I ADORE your articles, and the pictures !! !*O* it makes me want to visit Korea so so so so much....... :D thank you ! I hope you'll keep taking pictures of yummy food and cute things... :D

  4. Also, I wonder with what camera do you take your pictures ? Or is it with your phone ? :)

  5. Lovely pictures! I loved it
    Dora NEW POST on Bangs Bang | Bloglovin | Facebook

  6. Looks like you really had a great time!


  7. The street food looks amazing! And i love the walls covered in art, oh i hope to go to korea someday!!

    X, Carina
    Running White Horses | Fashion + Travel

  8. Wow this looks amazing! Thanks for sharing it on the blog!


  9. that meal looks incredible! All of the photos are good:)

  10. The pictures are really good, especially the food ones xx

    Annie Dago x
    Head Enough | Fashion & Beauty

  11. That looks so cool!!!!

    xxx Linsey from

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  12. Amazing photos! Looks like you had a great time!


  13. Cool photos! I really want to go there!
    April xx

  14. I'm dying to go to Seoul, especially after this post ! The food wow!!
    xx Camille