This is my first post sharing my first night stories and travel photos in MyeongDong of Seoul and Korea. Glad I’m finally able to start writing about my Korea tour here, after returning back home 2 week ago. As usual, more than 2,500 photos were taken on my trip, by using my trusted Nikon D7000 coupled with 3 lenses, 18-105mm standard zoom, 10-24mm Ultra wide angle and 35mm prime lens. All my camera equipment, together with my iPad, were fit into my Think Tank Photo’s Retrospective 7 messenger bag, which I carried all day long. Ok. Let’s come back to my budget travel in flash packing style in Korea.
After 6 and a 1/2 hours flight from LCCT of KLIA, Sepang, we finally touched down at the Incheon International Airport in Seoul at 4:30pm local time (Korea is 1 hour ahead of Malaysia). We still felt quit refreshed after the long haul flight but in Airasia X premium flatbed seats (I will share more on this later). The boarding and immigration process was swift without any delay since no entry Visa was needed for Malaysian passport holder. Our first stop after that was not Tourist Information counter but 7-eleven (since I’ve gathered enough travel information from Korea Tourism official website). We dropped by the convenient store in airport to purchase a T-Money card for KW5,000 and loaded it with KW10,000 each. T-Money is the local reload card which is best for use for local transportation and many convenient shops with some discount (T-Money is widely accepted in Seoul, Busan as well as Jeju Island).
We took the Airport Express rail (AREX) service for KW3,950 in a commuter train to get us to the Seoul Station in city centre in about 53 minute. Don’t confuse it against the Express train which cost KW13,000 in an express direct train to reach Seoul Staion in 43min. As I booked my hotel in MyeongDong for easy access to most of the local attractions, we needed to transfer to Myeongdong subway station for additional KW200 by T-Money (normal fare is KW1,000) which is 2 stops away by Subway Line 4 (View the online Seoul Subway map).
Our Goodstay Nana Residence hotel is just stone throw away from the Exit 10 of Myeongdong station, behind the Sejong Hotel. By the time we hit the road again to explore the surrounding Myeongdong, it was already 7:30 in the evening. The weather was clear and breezy at around 18°C. Still trying to get some initial feels around Seoul, we first snatched up a couple of Korean Gimbap (similar to Onigiri we had more than enough in Japan) and the popular banana milk from a nearby convenient store.
Myeongdong (明洞 in Chinese) is the most popular shopping district in Seoul. Stretching roads and alleys in an area of almost 1 km² in between Chungmu, Euljiro, and Namdaemun of Jung-gu region of Seoul city centre, Myeongdong is one of the top 10 most expensive places in the world in terms of rental. It features middle class to upmarket shopping outlets mainly fashion and cosmetic, as well as local street food stalls and restaurants along the way.
It was packed with local people and tourists, in fact, for all the 4 nights we spent in Myeongdong. Let’s take a look around. All kinds of eatery and restaurants serving local and international cuisine are found here. Common international Fast food chains also available, include Burger King, McDonald, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Coffee Beans and Tea leaf.
Especially for ladies, thanks to the recent Korean waves, cosmetic shopping has become a hot activities in Korea. And Myeongdong is perhaps the capital for it. most of local and international cosmetic chains open their branches here. The Face Shop, Holika Holika, Laneige, Tony Moly, and Nature Republic are among the popular.
For fashion shopping, major international brands are found in Myeongdong, which include Zara, Mixxo, H&M, Uniqlo, Giodano, Adidas and more. Upmarket designer brands such as LV or Ferragamo, could be found in the large Shinsegae and Lotte departmental store, located opposite the Namdaemun-ru.
There are also many street stalls selling fashion products including leather goods, smartphone covers, as well as imitated bags and wallets.
For musical show lovers, there are also theatres in Myeongdong showing the popular live musical performance, including the Nanta non-verbal performance.
The author is an avid traveler and photography hobbyist who loves to share with others his travel and photo-taking experience in many popular tourist destinations around Europe, Asia and Australasia. Read the exciting stories with many photos captured on his journeys.