This day started with a jump, literally. We were supposed to take the 11am KTX train from Busan to Seoul, and we overslept and only woke up at 9.45am with our luggages unpacked. Luckily our hotel was relatively near the Busan station so we managed to reach there around 10.30am, giving us enough time to exchange for our train tickets and grab some breakfast and snacks for the train ride.
There are quite a few fast food outlets, bakeries and convenience stores at the station but I had wanted something easy to eat so we got ourselves some drinks and onigiri. Time passed by quite quickly on the train (and there were also some other Singaporeans in the same cabin as us!).
Our choice of hotel for Seoul was Daeyoung Hotel Seoul, with the nearest train station being Hoehyeon. It is within reasonable walking distance to Myeongdong and approximately 20 minute walk to Seoul station. The room itself was quite small for 2 people with 2 large luggages and 2 cabin luggages. We had to ‘play Tetris’ whenever we wanted to retrieve something out from our luggages or to keep our shopping.
However, I’d like to highlight that the room and service was really top notch for the price we are paying. Breakfast is included in the price and while you don’t get extensive breakfast buffets like in 5-star hotels, you do get a variety of Korean cup noodles, freshly steamed sweet potatoes, fresh fruits, the usual cereals and instant coffee and tea.
I didn’t buy a lot of stuff from Busan as I didn’t want to carry them in the heavy luggage to Seoul, so I was more than ready to start shopping when I arrived in Seoul. On hindsight, it was really a blessing that I didn’t shop that much in Busan because the Hoehyeon train station did not have many escalators and lifts therefore we had to carry our luggages up the many flights of stairs. So damn heavy and tiring.
Anyway, first stop of the day was Shinsegae shopping mall where I stocked up on my Zymogen skincare products. It wasn’t any much cheaper than ordering from Jolse since strangely enough, the mall charged in USD instead of KRW.
Oh, and if you dislike Chinese tourist crowds, please avoid this mall. Sorry to say this, but I usually avoid Chinese tour groups because they talk extremely loud, they don’t queue and they purchase in bulk so you might run into an ‘out of stock’ situation if you’re making your purchase after them. Free and easy travellers are fine though, they are usually nice and not too rowdy.
While walking towards Myeongdong after Shinsegae, we came across yet another outlet of the Ddo-Ah bakery so we bought the chestnut variant and the red bean cream cheese. Both were awesome – soft, fluffy and chockful of toppings!
It was Christmas eve when we arrived in Seoul and there were so many activities going on! Lots of families and couples out on the streets taking photos and lots of church bands and groups carolling. The light displays are on par with Singapore, but I think the cold temperatures pushed Seoul into the winning spot.
The crowds were crazy at Myeongdong as usual. Lots of tourists, lots of sales promoters standing outside their shops, trying to lure you in with one measly sample. It used to be better (as in more samples haha) but now they realise that they don’t need to offer as many samples and they can still get the sales in Myeongdong. Other outlets outside Myeongdong and the tourist spots do offer you a better deal though (for example, I got a really good deal for The Face Shop peeling foot masks in Busan).
Though I’m usually a fan of Skin Food egg white pore packs, I get really annoyed that they combine the nose pack and the forehead/jaw pack together in a box because the nose pack is really good while the forehead/jaw one is just mediocre. Instead, I stocked up on some pore packs from Holika Holika this time since they also have great reviews. Funnily, the name of the product isn’t that appealing at all.
Mediheal happened to have a 1+1 sale event that day, so I took the opportunity to purchase some sheet masks for myself and my friend. I didn’t get that many for myself as I know that I tend to be greedy during such sales events and I’ll end up with many unused products 3 years later. Case in point: I still have a huge packet of 50 whitening sheet masks that I bought during my Japan trip in 2016. Glad to say that, I’ve finished the masks that I got from this trip within 4 months, and now I’m finally using the Japanese masks. I’m really diligent in running down my supplies now that I have to start preparing my move back home!!
For dinner, we tried out a place recommended by my Korean friend, called Ouga. It is popular for its bamboo rice and homecooked dishes. I felt really guilty for spending so much on shopping during the day so I got myself a steamed egg set to make up the budget. Though it was cheap and meatless, it was super delicious and healthy! I really enjoyed the fragrant steamed rice but my husband… meh… he prefers quantity over quality, so he was disappointed by the meagre amount of food he got from his samgyeopsal order.
Total expenses for Day 5: 195,400 won