While it broke our hearts to leave the beautiful beaches of the Philippines, we were excited for a change in temperature and day-to-day life. We took a redeye flight from Boracay Island straight to Seoul where we spent five nights. We were excited to explore the huge city as I’ve had multiple friends live there in the past who always raved about it and gave us good recos.
Katie found a great hostel in the middle of the Myeondong neighborhood which gave us easy access to shopping, the metro and restaurants. Only thing it didn’t give us was a soft bed. The bunkbed we had was the hardest bed to date and comparable to sleeping on an office building carpet. It definitely took a few nights to get used to because it was that terrible. It also claimed it had a breakfast but it really meant a piece of toast and a packaged cup of noodles. The joys of budget travel!
Due to the climate change (going from 90 to 50 degrees – brrr) we had some shopping to do. When leaving Boracay we threw away some well-used warm weather clothes and also shipped home a box to Seattle to clear room in the packs for thicker/warmer clothes. We would need them for the last two months of the trip. So new sweatshirts, pants and shoes…check! After layering up, we attacked different areas of the city each day to get a well rounded view of the place. Their metro system is top notch, so getting around was a breeze. It also helped having a bunch of recommendations from friends on where to find good eats around the city. We were never too far from a good bite.
Our favorite food spot was Myeongdong Kyoja (thanks for the reco, Brooks and Brandon!). Each place we ate provided really great dishes packed with flavor and definitely heat. It was impossible to avoid a runny nose eating things in Seoul. Kimchi was served with everything and it was delicious. From street food to restaurants, the spices are just to be expected. One other unique café we went to was completely focused on a poop theme. They had coffees served in toilet mugs, poop-shaped deserts, poop décor, everything. My 12-year-old humor fit in perfectly and we couldn’t wait to tell the nephews about it.
A fun highlight was renting rollerblades and an adult tricycle to cruise around Seoul Forest Park. I planned to rollerblade with Katie but when I saw the tricycle, I couldn’t resist (despite the concerns of the guy at the rental place insisting I couldn’t fit on it). I was a bit big but still mobbed it around. And it was the only way I could have kept up with Katie while she was blading (damn Alaskans know how to skate fast from childhood it seems).
We also took one day to check out the Korean War museum in the south part of the city. The museum is insanely big, almost too big for the content they have on display. The building could house 5,000 tourists, but we were one of maybe 25 there the whole time. We had whole wings to ourselves and the best part is that entry was free! That word really never gets old when you are #ballinonabudget.