Thursday, February 17, 2011

Seoul: Of side dishes and side streets

There is a charming place this side of Seoul called Insadong which is the traditional street of Korea.The whole street is lined with shophouses that sells souvenirs and antiques, quaint tea houses and restaurants and posh and modern art galleries. 

Be transported into the old Korea as you browse through the myriad of Korean arts and crafts and then go back to the modern reality as you grab your cup of caffeine jolt from the only Starbucks with a translated brand name into Hangul because they felt that using the western name is incompatible with the ambiance of the street.

Planning to experience the traditional Korean meal (Hanjeongsik) - characterized by varied side dishes (Banchans), this meal is usually a bit expensive
especially during dinner. For a budget take on an authentic Korean meal, get the Lunch Special of Saram & Namu (translation: Human & Tree) which is in Insadong.You wouldn't see the restaurant within the main street of Insadong because it is tucked quietly among the little alleys and you can easily get the direction from the Tourist Information. The lunch special costs 7,000 KRW (as of March 2010) which includes various side dishes and a tasty spicy pork and Bibimbap. The Bibimbap is a must try and is quite tasty. You are in for a really hooottt treat with the spicy pork.

From Insadong, you can walk your way towards Cheonggyeocheon Stream. This is a part of a urban renewal project which is the site of a stream before the war reconstructions. This stream is located in downtown Seoul and is surrounded by tall and imposing buildings. 

Leave Details:
Place: Insadong 
How to get here: take the train and alight at Anguk station.
Place of interest: the whole stretch of Insadong is a shopping haven of everything Korean, try one of the traditional tea house, grab a Lunch Special at Saram & Namu

Place: Cheonggyeocheon Stream (as taken from LP's South Korea guide
Walk your way from Insadong to Cheonggyeocheon stream:
  1. The other entrance to Insa-dong connects with Jongno 2-ga. As you walk out from the main street of Insa-dong and come to the wide avenue of Jongno, make a right turn.
  2. Walk about five minutes and you will reach the Jonggak subway station (line 1). Go into the station and take exit 5 (Korea Tourism Organization exit). 
  3. Walk about a minute and you will find yourself on the road right next to the stream.Before the renovation of the stream, this road was much wider. 
  4. The pavement over the stream was dismantled, however, and the remaining roadway is so small that you will feel tempted to jaywalk. 
  5. Turn right and walk along the small pedestrian sidewalk by the stream for about five to ten minutes until you reach Cheonggye Plaza, where the stream starts.


  1. I do love your Korea posts. It's next on my list of places to travel (well, next to Thailand :D).

    Thanks for the link to my blog. I noticed though that it's pointing to Blogger. Please update it when you have time? The correct URL is Thanks!!

  2. Korea is still a dream for me, hopefully one day I can visit her too. thnx for sharing this helpful post! :)

  3. Me too! And would love to see the countryside, parang ang scenic sa mga Koreanovelas. Lol.

  4. Hi Gael & Gay :) so flattered..I can't believe my "travel gurus" are leaving comments in my blog *blushes*

    Just wait for CebuPac's seat sale and I can recommend an affordable place to stay in Korea :)

    @Gael: medyo out of inspired me that's why I'm off on another solo travel to El Nido *woot* *woot*

    @Gay: lalo na ata pag autumn talagang Koreanovela na koreanovela.. I saw some pics from a friend who went there last Nov.

  5. Haha! Onga eh... gusto ko talaga Autumn. Ganda ng colors :)