Jung Finally Goes to Korea (Part 3)

It takes me quite some time to finally move with the third part of my Seoul's journey. It's been a month already, I am just worried if I already forgot what happened back then. Actually the procrastination also contributed by how complex in the way I am thinking, especially thinking this particular person. So let me tell you a story about this person before we move on to my Korea journey last September. But you are always free to skip this beginning part since it's irrelevant to the Korea trip story.

This person, is actually different to the person that I used to have a crush before. But today I realise that the only resemblance he carries with my past lovers is that he works on IT industry. Probably because I was an IT-person myself, I mean I did study computer engineering in vocational high school. Or probably because I just easily attracted to an IT guy? Idk which one. And it's been the serious crush after what happened during 2017-2020. You know who I am talking about. This person hopefully didn't reject me or friendzoned me because it will add too much pain from what I have been experiencing these last 5 years. Well fingers crossed, just pray for me to have a good future or relationship with this guy. This has become too serious for me to back off from him now.

Well let's get back to the Korea journey after I cleanse my mind from the things that have been bothering me now.

Inhale, Exhale.

I deliberately design the third day in Korea as the chillest day. Just imagine on how much steps I have taken prior to my two days arrival in Korea. First day 27K steps, Second day 20K steps. Actually I didn't expect to chill out when making the itinerary but turned out the third day was quite chill and get me only 15K steps. The third day was the day to Nami Island!

I initially got inspired by my friend before I departed to Korea. So this friend of mine, Vivi went to Korea before the pandemic and I dug some inspiration from her in making my itinerary. She recommended me to book a tour to Nami Island. I thought it was a great idea since I don't have to take independent train whatsoever and take the ferry whatsoever. All I need to do just book the tour and everything has been taken care of by the travel agency. All I need to do is just going to the Myeongdong station Exit 3 and wait for the bus to pick me up.

I honestly didn't expect anything from Nami Island, I mean I have read things about it in Ron's blog. About how it's related to the hits drama Winter Sonata. But since I didn't watch Winter Sonata, it doesn't have any relatable feelings for me. So I just went there without expecting anything. But... the more you don't put expectations towards something then the more it excites you. I guess I should've done this too to my current crush, do not put any expectation! Or in everything in my life, do not put expectations!

Nami Island's air was so fresh. I wouldn't say it's unique, but they do have this kind of gimmick "Naminara Republic" so it feels like they have their own territory to authorise, just like Jogjakarta or Aceh in Indonesia. So they also had this kind of "Naminara" passport as if they are separate country from South Korea. I also realise on why Korean are still visiting Nami Island. It's not just the view you can enjoy in this island, you really can feel the fresh air and becomes one with the nature. Do you get what I mean? lol

I mean if I were a Korean, I will still spare some times to visit Nami Island just to walk around, trekking. Or just having a family picnic. It feels like Kebun Teh Wonosari I guess? Or probably Kebun Raya Bogor? But it's an Island and a well-developed touristy places. So despite the effort and struggle to get here, you'll still feel satisfied and refreshed once you got home. I saw bunch of families having a picnic here, I saw a daughter and her mother just staring across the river while eating their packed lunch. I saw some ahjummas who have a lot of free time visiting and taking pictures. Basically Nami Island was so chill that you can also do nothing here just staring and feeling the air. I chose to really enjoy the walk across the ginkgo trees and acorn trees. I didn't get much photos because I really enjoyed my time here. I visited a cafe and had cakes. I observed the tourists. I breath the fresh air. At that time, I feel like my life was so easy and chill. I was isolated from my own complex thoughts and rushing life I used to do everyday.

It was so nice!

I went to a cafe in Nami Island, just a friendly reminder for you who want to go here later it's a tourist trap. I mean the food and beverages are okay and not too disappointing but the prices is much more expensive compared to the cafe you can go downtown. I am glad that I just went to a cafe rather than its restaurant, it must be more expensive to have a meal there. There's also the halal restaurant options but my friend didn't recommend it and he said the food taste horrible. I spent almost the whole day in the cafe in solitude before I decided to go explore the Island. This due to on how exhausted I was from the day before, dancing and walking around Seoul hahahaha. Oh another reminder, when you book a tour to Nami Island, your visit will be timed. For example I only have 4 hours to explore Nami Island before the travel agent asked us to gather in a designated point and move to the next destination.

The next destination was Petit France. This one, I know!

Petite France was one of the iconic place from You Who Came From The Stars drama which was hit circa 2011-2012. The guide told us about the history of this place which came from the passion of a businessman. This businessman loves to collect things from France and felt inspired to create a thematic park with French village concept. Then this businessman decided to open the park for the public. However I did agree that Petite France somehow a tourist trap lol.

Why do I say so? Since I grew up in a tourism city, Malang and you know what's popular from Malang? It's thematic Park. I've been to several thematic park in Batu and doesn't feel moved when visiting those thematic park unless for taking pictures. I was so bored with this kind of artificial touristy places. I am looking for more experience and more historic value. But Petite France doesn't provide that. One of a Singaporean tourist I met on the last day in Korea told me that She booked a Nami Island tour with Alpaca Feeding Experience. Later on if I had another chance to Korea, I'll just book that tour instead of going to Petite France. Really not much you can see in Petite France except insta-worthy spots to take your pictures on.

And the only thing that made me not getting too disappointed is the fact that Kim Soo Hyun and Jun Ji Hyun had shoot their drama here. That's all. So if you're not really into K-Drama and looking for more experience just avoid booking Nami-Island and Petite France tour. Get the Nami-Island and Alpaca Feeding Experience instead.

After having fun in Nami Island and Petite France, the travel agent took us back to Seoul. FYI, Nami Island was quite  far away from Seoul. If you decided not to book a tour, I had done my research and resulting in you can take train or buses to Nami Island and then you can just buy the ferry ticket separately on your entrance to Nami Island. I usually sleep in a long journey, it took us 2-3 hours from Seoul to Nami and otherwise. But I do observe the road we've passed through so I didn't sleep. The tour itself provides 4 stops and Myeongdong station was the 3rd stop. I remember passed through Gangnam which I had visited the day before. I could see the SM Entertainment building across the Han River. I also reminisced on how I doubt that was the correct SM Entertainment building lol. I finally understand on how Korean idol insta post are beautiful, because Seoul's sky itself is beautiful. When the weather is nice, the sky was so clear, so blue, so wonderful. This explains a lot on how clear the air when you're not in Jakarta. Even the London's sky rarely seen so blue since London is almost cloudy everyday as if it's going to rain everyday.

While Jakarta's sky...

The only thing that help Jakarta sky so clear and wonderful was the pandemic. Now we're back to grey, cloudy, and ugly Jakarta sky.

Seoul's sky, again, it's always beautiful when the weather is nice. At that moment, I feel like a Korean idol. Every pictures that I randomly take turned out so good. And every time I see the blue sky, I feel like I don't want to go home.

After passing through Gangnam and Seoul's road where I made my own isolated bubble about the sky, we finally arrived in Myeongdong. Initially I wanted to just go home. I aborted that intentions since I was in Myeongdong. Like hello? You're in Myeongdong why are you thinking about getting to the hotel soon?

So I explored Myeongdong, trying to find the Yoogane Chicken Galbi. I already listed this restaurant because of Ria SW. Ria SW is my walking food dictionary, I refer to her list when deciding where to eat. When I went to the branch in the crowded area of Myeongdong, I was rejected. I've never been got so hurt just because I was rejected of being a solo traveler. Maybe it is worth noting that Seoul isn't friendly for a solo traveler because some place might reject you to dine in. When I got rejected I was upset and I was starving. Then I keep going looking for other places to dine in. There were too much choice which resulting in choice overload, what happen if a person exposed to a choice overload? Status quo aka not choosing anything lol.

To be honest, though I sometimes don't mind eating in a place without halal certification. I mean I am a simple woman, I don't have to eat in a halal restaurant if it's hard to look for. So I just can go anywhere. But it is also worth noting that most Seoul restaurant sells pork (samgyeopsal, jukbal, etc). While I prefer to eat fish or chicken. In some cases the restaurant that sells chicken or fish isn't convincing enough. That's what made my judgment more clouded in deciding what to eat which I ended up not eating properly and just eating convenience store kimbap.

After taking few minutes or maybe hours exploring Myeongdong deciding what to eat. Even got distracted on unimportant stuff seller (e.g: airpod case and iphone case seller). And I even passed through a political campaign sponsored by Musinsa in Myeongdong, I finally found another branch of Yoogane chicken who accept solo diner. Blessing from God! Here then I ordered one portion of chicken galbi with rice. And had a meal, a proper meal after two days in Seoul :"

About the food, personally I think it suits my Indonesian palate. The spiciness, savory taste, and everything feels right. Not too hot, not too heavy, just right! I also made the fried rice (or not) more into like mixed rice with the chicken galbi. Portion wise, now I understand why they rejected a solo traveler. It was a lot! I mean I can finish it but I am also struggling. The one person portion feels like two person servings. Ambience wise, the place is okay. Not too clean but not too dirty. Service are also great, the waiter are all good looking lol.

After having a meal, I decided to take a walk. And of course looking for albums if I could find any. But I just ended up exploring Myeongdong without buying anything. I was just having fun and feel the immersive experience as the locals.

To get more localised, when I got off from the Anguk station to get back to my hotel I passed through a narrow alley. This alley in Insadong also had lots of cafes and pojangmacha which workers are usually spend their night having an after-officer party. I witnessed the real K-drama scene where the juniors bow down when sending off the seniors. I also witnessed the two men talking in an alley after drinking together, sending off each other. It was so fun! I mean everything that I've never experienced in real life, I witnessed it in first person view.

Traveling just like locals somehow so fun, you are not focused on touristy places only. You focus on being immersed in your experience and being present on how you feel that time. I think I'll plan to experience more of these things on my next trip.

The next day was more chill compared to the day I went to Nami Island. I decided to visit Hongdae and just bought the albums that my friends had asked me. On this day too, I went to DDP once again only to find imaginary SM Store lol. I went to Hongdae to get a pair of skincare that my friend requested and witness another truth that Hongdae is the new Myeongdong. Hongdae on the weekend was so packed, literally. Seoul's youth mostly went here instead of Myeongdong that is more popular for tourist. I didn't get to explore Hongdae that much but I guess it's not that different from Myeongdong. There are stores, skincare stores, clothing stores, etc. Nothing attracted me much. The only thing I had in Hongdae was Sulbing which I also saw in Myeongdong. This due to the Yupdduk Tteokboki, my main destination also rejected me. This was the second time I got rejected to dine in. I was so upset!

After going to Hongdae, I decided to go to YG Entertainment since my friend also asked me to buy a BlackPink lightstick. This too also unexpected, I didn't even list YG entertainment to be visited in my itinerary. This impromptu visit was the result of my friend wanted to buy BlackPink lightstick. YG Entertainment is quite remote compared to the other agencies I've visited in Gangnam. Once I arrived in YG, I saw a line of fans. I don't know who they were waiting for. I have been looking for this queue on twitter but found no answer. Did they wait for BlackPink? or IKON? Idk. I ignored them and straight go to the Alter Ego, the cafe in front of YG Entertainment. And I assumed it is also belong to YG Entertainment. On its Basement level, there lies the merch store of YG.

This is what I am talking about, merch store should be close to the agency companies and it should be open for public! And easy access of course.

Alas! Though I have made it to YG merch store, I couldn't find available BlackPink lightstick to be purchased. So sorry friend, you can't get your BlackPink lightstick right away.

Since I couldn't find the lightstick in YG Merch store, all I could think about was going back to Myeongdong. But I also couldn't get the lightstick either in Myeongdong. But I managed to secure the albums that my friends had requested. Then I back into Insadong to go the LINE Store and another YG Store. I mean it was so close to where I have been staying but I just didn't notice. Turned out BlackPink lightstick was nowhere to be found lol. It was on display, it's just no longer being re-stocked.

Oh anyway, in the 5th day where I spent the whole day looking for merch and albums there was SNSD 15th anniversary fanmeeting in KSPO Dome. This dome actually the one that I wrongly visited after I visited JYP entertainment. I wonder if SNSD done some rehearsal while I was being lost back there. I initially wanted to spare time to get into KSPO Dome but lol I was so exhausted that I decided to just get back to Insadong hahaha.

And I guess that was all about my Korean trip which I finally recap in this post. Not much going on the 4th and 5th day of the journey, except me blending in as Koreans lol. I mean I literally tried not to be stand out and just enjoy my day not being a tourist but being the locals. Because when you positioned yourself as the locals, you'll know how irritating if you act like a tourist lol. For me personally, till this day I still love breathing in Seoul air. It was so refreshing. I also enjoyed my time a lot there, as I told you Seoul feels like home though if I was given a chance to live there I will definitely reject it. Korea was so nice that I want to keep visiting again in the future and stay longer if I could but well I couldn't.

Watch the vlog here: