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Seoul Day 5

Friday, January 04, 2013
Omg finally down to my LAST post on Seoul 

So that day we headed to 2 shopping areas - Dongdaemun & Hongdae!


Most people should have heard of Dongdaemun as it's Seoul's most famous (to tourists anyway) shopping area & some shops/sections are even open 24hrs. Not too sure about the exact details of that however, so please search it yourself if you intend to visit!

Anyway it consists of a few buildings in one area housing lots of shops!
Prices are somewhat affordable but not cheap, ranging from S$15-S$40 for normal items.
I did buy quite a few things there (Stella didn't however) though!

Good thing is that there is quite a wide variety of different styles with the many small shops.

Ate at the food court upstairs! Overall that day it was REALLY empty, not too sure why.
And I thought this dish was pretty cool; should try putting a slice of cheese in my maggi the next time!

Oh yeah but the shopkeepers at Dongdaemun were pretty rude...
It's possible to haggle & most are accustomed to it, but they're quite nasty about it.

E.g. scenario:
Stella - Asks price of a dress
Shopkeeper - Types the price out on a calculator (way overpriced)
Stella - Asks if it can be cheaper
Shopkeeper - Types out a lowered price
Stella - Acknowledges it then pauses a few seconds to consider
Shopkeeper - Types out price she claims other shops are selling it at, then SLAMS down the calculator with a *pft/screw off* kind of gesture then walks away

Like wtf. Need to be so rude not? Stella was super nice (she's a very nice, sweet type of girl!) & it was all very normal until the shopkeeper's last response. At no point did Stella or I even indicate that we thought it was expensive or lousy or anything like that. Even if the price was perfect, Stella was just thinking about it for a FEW SECONDS. Not like she stood there for 10 minutes.

That was the most surprising reaction anyway. 
A lot of others were mostly disinterested & seemed extremely bored by your presence...

So anyway, didn't take it to heart (obviously still bought stuff & not ALL shopkeepers were bad) but that was just startling. Headed to Hongdae after lunch which is an interesting shopping/cafe/eatery area that's pretty vibrant!


I mentioned previously that Stella & I felt people tended to stare at us so we felt out of place.
Thought maybe it was the way we looked (shorts & dyed hair) so in Hongdae we felt more at home since there seemed to be more young girls dressed like us there!

Teens in cute outfits!

Everyone on the left crowding around...

Garfield haha.

~ Werking the blue plastic bag ~

Oh yeah & it was a no-makeup-day so out come the sunglasses!
In fact, it was a no-contact-lens-day as well -_-
Meaning I actually wore spectacles the rest of the time, whipping out my sunglasses only for photos.

Quite nice clothes at Hongdae!
Prices were reasonable too, pricier than at Ewha but nicer & of better quality.

Totally unplanned...


I'm not a spasming Hello Kitty fan but like every other (Asian) girl, I do find the stuff cute!

We only took photos & didn't eat there because we hadn't planned on it (not hungry yet) + it was crowded (as all Hello Kitty Cafes are) but now I kind of regret it :X

Aww Hello Kitty waffles!

Freak me. How could I not have ordered a Latte with Hello Kitty's face?

Prime candidates for theft right there if you ask me...

I'm not paranoid/anal about such things (I use my bag/laptop/etc to reserve places too as long as I have the table in sight) but I still wouldn't leave a small, valuable item like just my wallet or phone in plain sight. Plus if you're ordering at the counter your back is turned.


Seriously, I can't even remember why I decided not to wear makeup & contact lens that day -_-
I mean obviously I decided I needed a rest, but still, it's not I'm in Seoul every day -_-
Like who does that on a short trip? -_-

After leaving the Hello Kitty Cafe, walked around Hongdae more!
It's basically like one long road I think? And some parallel roads. 
Just follow the crowd from the subway & you should get to where everything is at.

I know. It's just a telcom/cellphone shop. But the exterior was cute.

Lots of small food shops too! They look promising.

And that was basically it for that day's trip!
We actually had another spare day but spent it mostly resting & lounging.
I know -_- Omg became so lazy -_-

At the airport we so happened to be there when there was a Korean culture mini-parade!
I assume it happens at specific time intervals since we barely caught this one before they left.

One of the very first Korean dramas I watched was a period drama involving the Korean monarchy called "Jewel in the Palace" & that's when I first saw all these olden outfits & hairstyles!

See, just missed it! Dammit.

But managed to snag one picture haha. Not sure why he is looking...
Oh yeah no makeup again hahaha.

Quick recap of some places to see in Seoul:

Ewha Women's University (shopping) - Seoul Day 3
Everland (theme park) - Seoul Day 4

And well, today's.

For shopping basically Ewha, Dongdaemun & Hongdae!

I'd recommend going to Lotte World over Everland since I don't really approve of their zoo segment. And Lotte World is within central Seoul itself & is part of a shopping centre. Of course there are other things (e.g. commercial indoor hot springs & baths) to do too but you'll need to research them yourself!


So anyway this was my 3rd trip to Seoul in the last 5 years & I wouldn't say they were unpleasant or anything as there is still a lot to see & do in Korea & it has a unique culture worth experiencing.
And they have cute boys.

But yes I have heard quite a bit (from other friends/acquaintances/anons who visited Korea) about how locals may be rather unwelcoming. And I've seen it myself, from things I mentioned here to other minor occurences like being shoved or ignored.

I randomly just Googled it & there are quite a lot of search results precisely because others have experienced it as well (both foreigners & migrants) & some mention that the aggression may be due to the fast-paced & competitive culture. Which is not totally unlike Singapore.

Anyway my point is not why they may react or behave certain ways.
I'm not intending to move there & would still consider visiting again. If you have Korean friends (i.e. been introduced to them), they are actually very friendly & nice. Maybe just not as much to strangers!


My issue is more all the judgmental people who can't accept me giving my honest experience.
And these people are not Koreans, but simply self-righteous fellow travellers.

If you had a pleasant experience, great & do share (politely)! But accept that I & many others had a different experience. What right do you have to say, that just because YOU didn't experience it, it makes MY experience(s) invalid? Eyeroll at the political correctedness. If someone tells me Parisians are rude, I don't get self-righteous even though I have national pride/identity involved as well. I simply ask what happened & try to explain the cultural reasoning behind it (e.g. older French people especially resent American influence & the transition to English). If it doesn't change their mind, so be it. 
It's enough for me that I enjoyed a particular place.

So. Vive Paris!
17 comments on "Seoul Day 5"
  1. I had a bad experience at DDM too. My sis and i were looking through some clothes hanged outside a shop when a lady from a few shops down shouted at us and said "no touching". We didnt realise at first so she shouted for a good 10seconds? It was really loud and embarrassing and we had to quickly move on to the next lane. Ive also experienced the slamming of calculator and cold shoulders from shop owners. Really bad shopping experience BUT i still love kpop and korea <3 heh

  2. Intending to visit Korea one of these days, so thanks for the blog posts! And I love putting cheese on my maggi! Super delicious ah! :)

  3. 이든2:13 PM

    Hi. important sorry to hear about your experience at Dongdaemun. As a Korean myself I do.think the sales people at Dongdaemun are more grouchy than others but that's mainly because they are spending mos of their days crammed in small stalls plus with foreigners too. I think this why people perceive Koreans like that BUT I think a misunderstanding taken too personal. Might I add that when I went there last.month one.of my but lucky enough we caught them and they were Singaporean of course I was passed of but I dint generalize them as thieves (not saying thE house generalized us). Anyways if you are planning on going back to Korea try going to higher end places and I GARRUNTEE you won't see such things happening.

  4. Oh my gosh I love the Hello Kitty Cafe! How I wish they have this in Singapore!

  5. what makeup are u expecting? you don't need any makeup on to be pretty. you are pretty itself sophie! :D even if you had your makeup on. they're just simple eyeliner. Don't be too conscious! you are pretty :D

  6. Anonymous4:57 PM

    It's a pity, but you missed the dog cafe in Hongdae. If you continued walking right that that long street and took a right turn, you'd reach Bau House which is essentially paradise for dog lovers :)A zoo of dogs ripe for the petting.

  7. I also dunno why Im so lazy putting make up in seoul -_-" the weather is wtf too haha, my skin was terrible!! in japan my skin is very very good!

    and btw, i dont even remember that she did it hahaha!!

  8. It's a pity the shopkeepers weren't too friendly. It maybe cos the shops were lower end? When I went to Hong Kong, the places which allowed bargaining often had the more loud, rude shopkeepers.

    Anyhow, the Hello Kitty cafe looks extremely cute. Very envious you managed to visit it! <3

  9. Anonymous12:00 AM

    yes I had similar experiences in Seoul too. been shoved on public transport. been yanked by shopkeepers. got a lit cigarette thrown at my bare leg at the streets. in public toilets, other girls flicked water droplets while drying their hands, all over me. but if that's the way South Koreans live, that's cool with me. as long as they don't stop producing good Kpop and eye candies on media, AlL'S GOOD.

    World Peace :D

  10. I can't believe the shop keeper was so rude to you! It is nice though that you can haggle My Blog

  11. Can I go a bit off topic for a minute "OH MY GOSH JEWEL IN THE PALACE" EEEEEEEEEE. I loved that show. It was so good. So good. Ok now back on topic, if you experienced that, you experienced that. I went some where once that was supposed to have the friendliest people and I found the people rude. Everyone's standards are different I guess. Of course you won't hold this experience against them you are just saying.

  12. I WISH I COULD GO KOREA TOOO!!! *envyyyy*
    Haha and even without makeup you look 10x better than half the population would ever look. haha! cuz you angmoh! lol! love your blog!


  13. Hello Kitty Cafe! That's in my Bucket List of Place to Eat. Y u no try it? Lol! You look pretty even without make-up :)

  14. i think you don't need any makeup sophie because you already look gorgeous like that.. :3

  15. Yi SK4:48 PM

    I was shoved a lot in Seoul (which was a little intimidating at first) but had a relatively pleasant experience in Dongdaemun. One of the shopkeepers, a young lady, was really nice and accommodating. An older shopkeeper there was more curt, but not rude, though it may appear as rude so to some people. I would say Korea's social graces is about the same as Singapore, you get a mix of good and bad, but definitely not as polite as Japan.

  16. michelle k9:36 PM

    I feel it depends on where you go.

    Which building were you at Dongdaemun? There are some buildings which are known to be a lot more aggressive than the others.

    Generally, also night scenes can be a bit rowdy.

    Mostly though, Koreans were super helpful when I was living there. Always was lost and random strangers would stop to help me get where I needed to go, so im thankful for that

    I super love Korean cafes!

    Being able to speak some Korean also helps. A lot of Koreans are terrified by English and get frustrated sometimes when they are unable to communicate.

    I would say its a mixed bag - like Singapore. We have aggressive food sellers and shopkeepers too :/

    Thumbs up for ambiance in Korea! :)

  17. Anonymous8:48 PM

    I did get dirty looks when I went there but some of the people treated me really nicely when I started to converse in Korean with them. I think they like it when foreigners try to speak their language. Had fun reading this post.