Armed with just a backpack and a sling bag, I went to the airport to fulfill one of the items in my bucket list: To travel to another country alone.
Day 1: Agency hopping in Apgujeong Rodeo, COEX, Banpo Hangang Park
On April fools, I took the 7AM Airasia flight going to South Korea. After almost 4 hours of restlessness and one Jessica Zafra book, we landed at the Incheon International Airport. Touchdown Korea for the third time! First thing I noticed? Pinagpapawisan ako. No more freezing weather for me. Heh!
After going through the immigration, I immediately went out and looked for a money changer. I exchanged $20, just enough for my bus ride to Myeongdong. I decided to exchange the rest of my dollars near my guesthouse for better rates. As usual, I exited at gate 5 and bought my bus ticket.
I boarded bus 6015 and luckily still got a seat since the line was quite long. I was ecstatic to see the trees now blooming with flowers and covered with leaves. Trees in the past 2 winters were almost bare so it was quite a sight for me to see them with yellow, pink and white flowers.
After almost 2 hours and passing by familiar roads and streets, we reached the final bus stop – the Sejong Hotel. I got off immediately and went to the money changer beside Tous les Jours. The exchange rate that time was $1=1,140won.
This time, I decided to book a new hostel in the same area of Namsan-dong. I reserved a bed in a 12-person female dorm in Namsan Guesthouse 4 just a few minutes away from the subway and Myeongdong. When I arrived at the guesthouse, I just showed my passport and booking, and paid for my 4D3N stay.
After checking in, I went out to reload my t-money which I used for more convenient train and bus rides. I also used it to pay at convenience stores. I got my t-money from my previous trip so I just reuse it every time I was in Seoul. I topped it with 25,000 won first. Then, I directly went to the subway and headed out after much contemplation, to Apgujeong Rodeo.
My “Korean Entertainment Agencies Tour” was actually scheduled on a Sunday, however, the weather forecast posted online mentioned that it will rain that day, so I decided to go there immediately.
I thought going to the agencies will be tough. So I was surprised that it was like a walk in the park – thanks to other blogs for the guide. 🙂 After taking exit 1, I immediately saw the Gangnamdols – “mascots” of artists whose agencies are located in the area. I just followed them lined up along the K-Star Road, which is also lined up with stores of luxury brands.
I continued walking until I reached a huge intersection with a Citibank branch on my left. I turned left and continued until I saw a Baskin Robbins branch. On the store wall was a painted K-Star Road map to help the fans locate their idols’ agencies. From there, I started looking for the buildings of CUBE, JYP, FNC and SM. My search was a breeze thanks to some of the fans flocking in front of the agencies.
(P.s Akala ko magmumukha akong oa kapag nagpicture sa tapat ng mga agencies. Pero grabe yung mga fans. Ang tagal nilang naghihintay sa tapat. Literal na nakatambay lang sila dun. Todo pose pa sa mga pictures. Pero to be fair, may mga nakita nga silang idols base sa pinakita nilang picture sa phone. #fangirlmodeon) 😀
After visiting the four agencies, I took the subway to the COEX Atrium to visit SMTown exhibition. Again, thanks to the fans for the directions, hehe. The atrium was also easy to spot since it has huge EXO and SHINEE standees in front of the building. Inside the exhibition, they showcased photos and awards of SM artists as well as items that fans can buy – food items, CDs, shirts, and a lot more. I bought myself a Super Junior popcorn and EXO jajang ramen for very affordable price.
After touring the COEX atrium, I took the subway to the Banpo Hangang Park. The park is very popular among group of friends, families and lovers. Some people just sat on the grass and enjoyed eating and talking to each other. What amused me was that you can actually have your food delivered to the park.
Aside from those activities, the park is famous for cyclists and runners. At night, the Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain show is sight to behold with the river cruise passing by and the N. Seoul Tower from afar.