Sunday, 26 April 2015

Korea Trip 2015 Day 7: Seoul Land, Coex Mall, Daehakro

16 April 2015

Because it was a free and easy day, I woke up slightly late today. I had decided to go to Seoul Land and COEX Mall before meeting Heejung for dinner at Daehakro. I decided on Seoul Land because it is a national park and has a zoo.

The weather wasn't fine today. It was cloudy, windy and rainy. When I reached Seoul Land, my hand was freezing due to the strong wind. There were many cherry blossom trees at Seoul Land too. And cherry blossom petals could be seen all over the floor after a breeze of strong wind.

Cherry Blossom at Seoul Land

Just after I bought the zoo ticket, it started to rain heavily that I couldn't continue my journey. Fortunately there was a shelter nearby. I sat there for awhile and found my way to a food court nearby to have lunch. I ordered Yukgaejang which is spicy beef soup. It was the best beef soup that I have ever tried! The beef was tender and very tasty. Coupled with spices and mushrooms, it tasted like food from heaven in the cold weather. I just couldn't have enough of it.

I set off for my zoo tour by visiting the giraffes, rhinos, elephants, lions, reptiles, tigers etc. But to my disappointment, most of the animals were hiding, maybe because of the cold weather. When I was visiting the lion den, I couldn't see any lion. But when I went to the back of the den, I saw this glass door opening into a dark alley, lit only by a few flourescent light. Out of curiosity, I went in. It was dark, with glass panels on my left. It seemed like behind the transparent glass panels were feeding place for the animals. But I couldn't see any animal. As I walked further, I saw a cheetah lying behind the glass. The next glass panel, were all the lions! I think there were seven or eight of them! And there was a male lion staring right at me within 5 metres. Wow it was quite terrifying given that I was all alone there. Although they were behind the glass, I dared not walk closer. I just said Hi and walked out of that terrifying place.

I think the best of the animals were the tigers. The tigers were housed at a park-like space with waterfalls and small ponds. They were not hiding but playing with each other and a ball in the pond. I also saw a couple of hippopotamus at the end of my journey. All in all, the zoo wasn't really enjoyable. The maintenance was quite poor.

Anyway, I have decided to find some place indoors due to the freezing weather. I went to COEX mall as during our last trip, COEX mall was under construction. When I reached there, I saw SMTown building. COEX mall was really no joke. It was super huge. I think it is made up of three shopping malls. I had a tea break in one of the cafes there. The waitress who served me was very beautiful. Then I went to the COEX mall Aquarium. It cost quite a lot, around 22000W but I think it was worth it. Lots of sea creatures from fresh water fish to deep ocean sharks can be found there.

COEX Mall Aquarium

Next I went to SMTown buiilding to have a look at arguably Korea's most successful idol factory, and also to try my luck to meet celebrities. They had 6 or 7 storeys in that building, comprising of main lobby, cafe, recording studio (we were not allowed to enter), hologram theater and many more. Famous SMTown artists photos and merchandise can be seen everywhere here.

SMTown Building

It was almost dinner time when I finished touring SMTown and I headed to Hyehwa station to meet Heejung for dinner.

Initially, Heejung's friend Sujin wanted to join for dinner but Sujin had something on we she couldn't come. I met Heejung and she brought me around Daehakro and found a Budaejjigae restaurant for dinner. Heejung explained that budajjigae is a dish for the army. Budae means army and at that time the army was poor. The american troops gave Korean army western sausages and hams to add in to the Jjigae which means soup, usually Kimchi soup.

Budaejjigae or Army Stew

After dinner, we went to Bins Beans cafe for dessert. Heejung wanted me to try the strawberry waffle dessert which was a trend in Korea at that time. It was super delicious! It was the first time that I had so many strawberries! And did I mention that there was wifi phone charging facility at Bins Beans?

Awesome Strawberry Waffle Dessert

After dessert, we parted ways and I was very grateful for Heejung to spare her time to meet me for another time, considering that she lives so far from Seoul. And she has a really good taste for food I must say. From Kalbi Mandu, Okrumong Bingsu to strawberry waffles, I really enjoyed all the food that she recommended. 

Time flies. Tomorrow will be my last day in Seoul before flying back to Singapore on Saturday.  

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