We arrived back in Seoul (Gimpo Airport) on an Asiana Airlines flight which landed at around 9.45am. From Gimpo, we proceeded to the metro station to take the train to Sinseol-dong (Line 1), where our hotel was situated.
Upon reaching IBC Hotel, we checked with the associate at the front desk, who informed us that our room was ready, and arranged for us to check in. We spent some time to freshen up, before leaving the hotel for Tosokchon.
Tosokchon Restaurant (address: 5 Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul)
Tosokchon restaurant was located close to Gyeongbukgong (Line 3, Exit 2) station, and after arriving at the station, we exited via Exit 2, and walked straight down the road (past Paris Baguette on our left). Tosokchon was easily spotted, as it was just behind GS25 minimart, and there was a long queue outside the restaurant.
Although the queue was long, it moved quite fast, and we were seated within 20min. Only after we had entered the restaurant did we realise that the restaurant was huge.
The interior resembled an old Korean house, and customers were all seated on the floor, at traditional low tables.
There was even an interesting infograph on how to eat your Tosokchon Samgyetang.
We each ordered a bowl of Tosokchon samgyetang (16,000won), and a haemul pajeon pancake (15,000won) to share.
The Tosokchon samgyetang was rich in flavour, and the broth simply superb! The chicken meat was very tender and literally fell off the bones at a slight tug.
I liked this pajeon as it was not as oily as the one we had tried on the streets in Busan, and it had seafood (prawn & squid) as well. The seafood made the onion pancake extra chewy and yummy!
Safe to say we enjoyed our lunch at Tosokchon!
We were lucky enough to arrive just as the changing of the guard was about to take place, around 2pm.
After the changing of the guard ceremony, we proceeded to buy tickets to enter the palace grounds (3,000won/adult ticket). We spent most of the afternoon wandering around Gyeongbokgung, checking out the various small pavilions within the palace grounds.
We wandered to the library at the far end of the palace grounds, and we were thankful that we did. The library was pretty neat, and you could enter it to take a look at the interior of a restored pavilion. No shoes were allowed inside though, so do change to the slippers provided at the entrance.
We checked out the nearby Folk Museum as well, but there was nothing particularly interesting about that, and we left after 15-20min.
From Gyeongbukgung, we walked over to Bukchon Hanok village, an older part of the modern city of Seoul. Most of the houses at Bukchon Hanok were still maintained as they were in the past, although some looked like they underwent renovation in the past few years.
Some houses were also open for business as tea houses, although we did not venture in to have a tea tasting session.
The Bridge Cafe (address: 94-1 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul)
A great place to rest our tired legs at after a lot of walking, we headed to the Bridge Cafe in Hongdae. The nearest subway station was Hongik University (Line 2, Exit 9). The cafe would be quite easy to miss if you are not looking out for it, but we managed to find it on our first try!
We settled down in room 19 before deciding on our orders.
While waiting for our drinks to arrive, I went to walk around the other rooms, and managed to snap some pictures. The rooms look very cosy and comfortable to spend an afternoon lazing in.
The iced tiramisu (7,000won) was really good, and I loved the marshmallow foam layer between the coffee powder and the iced coffee. It was like drinking tiramisu, mmm! The iced honey lemon tea (6,500won) was a tad too sweet for me, but it was tart and refreshing. We let the ice melt before drinking, and it was just nice.
Ggok Gue Dak Restaurant (address: 151 Eoulmadang-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul)
Dinner was at a fried chicken restaurant by the name of Ggok Gue Dak (facebook link here), along the streets of Hongdae. The restaurant was located quite close to the Hongik University subway station (Line 2, Exit 7), and was quite crowded when we got there at close to 7.30pm.
We ordered the chicken in white cream sauce (21,900won) to share, and was it good! Warm, fried chicken soaked in gooey and yummy cheese, as well as creamy sauce, it really hit the spot for us. Do try it if you are in Hongdae!
We walked around Hongdae after our dinner, as we had hoped to do some shopping around the area. Glancing at the prices outside the restaurants, it was clear that this area was geared toward the younger crowd, as the food options were pretty affordable.
Unfortunately, we did not find anything worth buying this time, but it was still pretty fun walking around as the area was buzzing with activity. There were buskers along the streets as well, and they were actually pretty decent. We also saw Korean teens singing along to the songs, something we would rarely (if ever) see in Singapore!