Our 3rd day in Seoul started slightly later, as we only left the hotel around 9am.
We took the subway to Anguk station (Line 3), where we had breakfast at a small bakery within the subway station. The bakery was called Paris Croissant, and it felt kinda like Paris Baguette in my opinion.
The food was not too bad though. We had garlic bread sticks and a ham, egg and cheese sandwich. The bread sticks were a bit on the ‘hard’ side to bite into, but still strangely addictive. The ham, egg and cheese sandwich was quite good as well.
We exited Anguk station via Exit 3, and walked a short distance to the ticket office for Changdeokgung. We bought the main palace entry ticket for 3,000won/adult, and the Secret Garden entry ticket for 5,000won/adult. If you have plans to visit these 2 palaces and the Secret Garden, then I would recommend that you get the combo ticket for 10,000won/adult, which grants entry to Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung (Secret Garden included), Changyeonggung, and Jongmyo Shrine. For us, we were in two minds about Changdeokgung, but in retrospect, we were glad that we went.
We joined in the free English guided palace tour at 10.30am, as we happened to get in around that time. Of course, the tour was not compulsory for the main palace, so do feel free to just wander around on your own. For the Secret Garden, you have to join the compulsory tour, so do take note of the timings!
Guided tour timings (as of Sep 2016):
Palace Building Area: 1030h & 1430h (English), 1000h & 1600h (Chinese), 1230h (Japanese)
Secret Garden: 1130h, 1330h, 1430h, 1530h* (English), 1230h (Chinese), 1030h (Japanese)
*Only during Feb-Oct
The guided tour was quite interesting, and it was a good way to find out more about the palace. The knowledgeable tour guide also told us a sad story of how the 24th King built a building specially for his royal concubine (which he loved), but passed away just a year or so after its completion.
The guided tour of the main palace took about 50min, and we proceeded for the English-guided tour of the Secret Garden, which was scheduled for 11.30am.
The Secret Garden was huge, and quite beautiful. The tour guide gave us some time at each stop within the garden to have a look around and enjoy the views.
Worth a visit most definitely, but be prepared to climb 70 steps on your way out!
Back Ground Restaurant (address: 7 Itaewon-ro 54-gil)
After ending the guided tours at Changdeokgung Palace, we took the subway to Hangangjin station, in search of our next destination.
We had originally intended to have churros at Coffee Chu, but when we arrived at the address, we found that a Korean restaurant (Back Ground) had replaced it. As it was already past lunchtime, and we were rather hungry, we made the decision to give it a go.
We ordered 2 lunch sets; pork with soy sauce, and pork with spicy sauce. Both sets cost 8,000won each, and came with soup, rice, and the usual side dishes. The pork meat served was very tender and flavourful, and both of us enjoyed our meal.
Takeout Drawing Cafe (address: 252 Itaewon-ro)
We walked back out to the main road Itaewon-ro, and continued further down, past Meister Motors (where we originally turned left at to get to Back Ground restaurant), and past Coco Bruni (on the left), before reaching Takeout Drawing cafe.
We nearly walked past it as it looked like it was some art gallery undergoing renovation from the outside. Only upon entering it did we realise it was the correct place!
We ordered Paul’s Meringue Factory (Hot; 7,500won), and Iceberg Macchiato (Cold; 6,000won). The drinks were really photogenic, although the Meringue Factory was rather difficult to consume.. I resorted to nibbling bits of the meringue and sipping the espresso with milk.
The Iceberg Macchiato was a tad too sweet, although it was a lovely drink as well.
We relaxed at the cafe awhile to rest our feet and cool down, before heading back to the subway station.
Okrumong Patbingsu (address: 402-18, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu)
We took the train down to Sangsu station, which was also on the same subway line as Hangangjin.
We exited the station via Exit 1, and walked straight down Dongmak-ro. Upon exiting, you’ll notice an animal hospital; keep it on your right when you walk down Dongmak-ro. We passed by multiple cafes on the way down the street, and made a right after the carpark at the traffic junction.
Okrumong Patbingsu was easily found on the left, and luckily there was no queue when we got there! It was a good decision to go on a weekday instead of a Saturday as I had originally planned.
We ordered a matcha patbingsu (9,000won) to share, and it was really good. The sweet red bean toppings enhanced the flavour of the matcha ice shavings, and we cleaned the bowl up between the two of us. Do try it when you’re there!
Osulloc Teahouse (address: 12 Myeongdong 7-gil, Jung-gu)
From Sangsu station, we took the train to Samgakji (Line 6), where we changed to Line 4 to get to Myeong-dong station.
At Myeong-dong station, we took Exit 6. Upon exiting the station, you would see Migliore & Nature Republic (on the left). From there, it was a short 5-10min walk down the shopping streets to Osulloc Teahouse.
We ordered a green tea latte + green tea roll set for 9,000won (latte costs 5,500won & the roll costs 5,000won individually). The green tea latte was surprisingly light on flavour, and was not as robust as I expected. It was still yummy yes, but not really amazing. The green tea roll was quite disappointing, and both my mum and I agreed that the green tea roll from Angel-in-us tasted way better.
The cold drip tea (5,000won) was really really good. It was clear and light, yet it also contained a hint of roasted tea leaves yum. 10/10 would buy again and again. By the way, it came with the bottle too, so it was really worth it!
Myeongdong Kyoja Restaurant (address: 9 Myeongdong 10-gil, Jung-gu)
For dinner, we headed to Myeongdong Kyoja, which was only a few streets away. The address of the restaurant was 9 Myeong-dong 10-Gil.
We ordered two bowls of Kalguksu (chopped noodles) for 8,000won each, as well as mandu (dumplings) at 10,000won for a set of 10 pieces.
The kalguksu noodles were soft and slurp-worthy, earning my approval. The dumplings served with the noodles were also really good, although the chicken bits were average.
The mandu boasted a very thin skin, and had lots of meat packed into each, however I did not really like it. I found it rather tasteless, and even dipping it in soy sauce did not help much.
The kimchi was super spicy though, and after trying some at the start of the meal, I left the rest untouched.
It was still a good meal overall though, and I would recommend the kalguksu here for its silky-soft noodles and tasty broth.
We continued to walk around Myeongdong till about 10.30pm after our meal, and managed to get some shopping done. Even when we left for our hotel, the streets were still bustling with activity, a testament to the vibrant night life in Seoul.