Nadhir Nasar and Erysha Emyra in Busan town

Setting foot for the first time in Busan, South Korea – the land of K-Pop and K-Drama took 6-hours but that feeling outweighs the excitement of just being there. The first destination for the STAIL.MY crew before heading to Seoul for the “Korea At First Sight” campaign shoot, was to Busan via AirAsia X from Kuala Lumpur to Gimhae International Airport, Busan. Upon arrival, we were warmly welcomed by a tourist guide provided by the Korea Tourism Organization.

DAY ONE

SETTING FOOT IN BUSAN!
Busan is the second-largest metropolitan city in South Korea after Seoul, with a population of over 3.4 million people. Formerly spelt as Pusan, it serves as the economic, cultural, and educational center in south-eastern South Korea. Busan is also listed in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as the “City of Films” since December 2014.

Crown Harbor Hotel. Credit : Agoda.com
The hotel room of Crown Harbor Hotel, Busan. Credit: Agoda.com

As a die-hard K-drama fan, I was thrilled to explore Busan, which is also known as one of the ‘TOP DESTINATIONS’ by National Geographic together with the STAIL.MY crew and the “High Council” casts, Nadhir Nasar and Erysha Emyra. After having lunch, we were taken to the hotel located in the old area of Busan known as Old Busan. The Crown Harbor Hotel offers stunning city and harbor view and has over 500 rooms, ranging from standard to luxurious suites. Here, we rested for a while before heading to our next destination.

Crown Harbor Hotel
Address: 114 Jungang-daero, Jung-gu, Busan
Tel: +82 51-678-1000
Website: www.crownharborhotel.com

Colourful villages at the Gamcheon Culture Village
Gamcheon Culture Village
The STAIL.MY crew explores the narrow streets and staircases of Gamcheon Culture Village

COLORFUL VILLAGE & EATING LIVE SQUID
Our first-day activities started with a visit to Gamcheon Culture Village, which took about 30 minutes from the hotel. When I first saw this colourful village, it reminded me of being in Morocco. However, what sets Gamcheon Culture Village apart is the vibrant colour variations and it is also known as the ‘Machu Picchu of Busan. When visiting Gamcheon Culture Village, it’s important to wear comfortable shoes. According to history, the village was built around the 1920s and is located on a hill near Busan Port. Apart from the colourful houses, there are various cafes and souvenir shops for visitors to enjoy. One of the special activities for visitors is collecting stamps at each pit stop throughout the village.

Gamcheon Culture Village
Address: 203 Gamnae 2-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
Tel: +82 51-204-1444
Operating Hours: Every day from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Website: english.visitkorea.or.kr

Nadhir Nasar during the filming of Korea At First Sight at Jagalchi Market
The STAIL.MY crew tried live octopus at Jagalchi Market
Port at Jagalchi Market

After exploring Gamcheon, we continued our journey to Jagalchi Market, where we wanted to try live squid! Yes, it’s a must-try dish if you visit Jagalchi. Although the live squid is still “moving,” it has been cleaned and cut into small pieces. It tastes delicious especially when eaten with sesame oil and green onions. Truly an unforgettable experience! Speaking of Jagalchi Market, it is the largest fish market in Busan, located in the harbour area. It offers authentic and exciting culinary experience for visitors. Here, you can find various types of fresh fish, seafood, and seafood products. Jagalchi Market also has small restaurants selling seafood dishes. Visitors can choose their favourite fish or seafood and have it cooked according to their desired cooking method, whether boiled, fried, or grilled.

Jagalchi Market
Address: 52 Jagalchihaean-ro, Jung-gu, Busan
Tel: +82 51-713-8000
Operating Hours: Every day from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm
Website: english.visitkorea.or.kr

Shabu Shabu dinner at Chaeseondang

When it was dinner time, we were served with Shabu Shabu at Chaeseondang, the Busan Station branch. The restaurant’s menu includes various types of seafood and vegetables. It is recommended to eat the vegetables served with each dish to balance the meal. The preparation of the food here is quite impressive – the servers demonstrated how to prepare porridge using soup and vegetables, topped with an egg. The result? It was delicious.

Chaeseondang, Shabu Shabu
Address: 513-1, Seodaesin-dong 3-ga, Seo-gu, Busan
Tel: +82 051-242-2003
Operating Hours: Every day from 11:00 am to 9:40 pm

Nadhir Nasar when entering the Skyline Luge
Nadhir Nasar, Erysha Emyra and the STAIL.MY crew before riding the Skyline Luge

DAY TWO

EXPERIENCE A THRILLING SKYLINE LUGE RIDE
After having breakfast at the hotel, we headed to our first tourist attraction – Skyline Luge. We were sponsored by the Busan Tourism Organization to use the Visit Busan Pass during our stay in Busan. The Visit Busan Pass is a card that allows foreign tourists to enjoy FREE and DISCOUNT benefits on most of attractions and facilities in Busan. This includes the Skyline Luge (continue reading the article to learn more about the Visit Busan Pass). The Skyline Luge is a self-driving activity that offers an adventurous ride down the hill using a luge vehicle. You can choose to glide leisurely and enjoy the beautiful scenery around or you can speed down for those who are adrenaline junkies. We were thrilled to experience this activity and tried out two different tracks. If you plan to visit here, be prepared because there are cameras at every corner that captures your reactions. And, the pictures can be purchased and kept as mementos.

Skyline Luge
Address: 205 Gijanghaean-ro, Gijang-gun, Busan
Tel: +82 51-722-6002
Operating Hours: Every day from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
Website: www.skylineluge.kr

Nadhir Nasar at Vegenarang
Vegan food and photography session for the Korean At First Sight at Vegenarang

After an exciting time at Skyline Luge, we went to Vegenarang Restaurant, which serves healthy vegan dishes. This restaurant is quite popular among vegetarians and vegans, as well as those seeking a unique culinary gastronomic experience. Vegenarang is known for its appetizing menu, featuring high-quality fresh ingredients. From traditional Korean dishes to innovative international dishes, each meal at Vegenarang is carefully designed to satisfy the guests’ taste buds. In addition to the cosy ambiance and friendly staff, it is also labelled as “Muslim-friendly” by the Korea Tourism Organization.

Vegenarang
Address: 9F, 9-32 Gwanganhaebyeon-ro 370beon-gil, Suyeong-gu, Busan
Tel: +82 70-4177-5555
Operating Hours: Every day from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Website: english.visitkorea.or.kr

Erysha Emyra at the Haeundae Blueline Park
Inside the Haeundae Beach Train with Nadhir Nasar and Erysha Emyra
Sea view from Haeundae Beach Train

HEALING ACTIVITIES TO SOOTHE THE SOUL!
From the vegan restaurant, we went to Haeundae Blueline Park. The calming sea panorama makes this park perfect for relaxation and healing activities, especially with the cool sea breeze and natural greenery. We took a ride on the unique and retro Haeundae Beach Train. For your information, access to this train is also available using the Visit Busan Pass. The train runs parallel to the pedestrian walkway, allowing us to enjoy the sea view as it offers a different perspective compared to walking on foot.

Nadhir Nasar rides the Sky Capsule at Haeundae Blueline Park
STAIL.MY crew enjoying the view from the Sky Capsule at Haeundae Blueline Park
Erysha Emyra at Haeundae Beach

In addition to the train ride, visitors can also choose to take the Sky Capsule train – which we had the opportunity to experience it. Since the Sky Capsule train is located at a higher altitude, we took the opportunity to enjoy a slightly different view from the Haeundae Beach Train. Just imagine walking along the train tracks with the sea and blue sky greeting you. It was amazing! One sky capsule train can accommodate 4 people, making it suitable for couples to spend time together while enjoying the beauty of the sunset. It’s truly romantic! For those who want to experience this, my advice is to make an online reservation in advance to secure your preferred slot. Tickets are selling like hot cakes!

Haeundae Blueline Park
Address: 116, Cheongsapo-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan
Operating Hours: Every day from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
Website: www.bluelinepark.com

Haeundae Beach
Address: 264, Haeundaehaebyeon-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan
Website: english.visitkorea.or.kr

Biryani and naan are eaten with butter chicken

For dinner, we were treated to a meal at the Namaste Restaurant – an Indian restaurant. We were curious to taste Indian cuisine in Korea. Located near Haeundae Beach, Namaste Restaurant offers various delicious dishes such as chicken tikka masala, butter chicken, biryani, naan, and more. If you’re looking for authentic Indian food in Busan, Namaste Restaurant is the perfect place to explore the flavours and aromas of India. We indulged ourselves after a day of activities. It was satisfying!

Namaste Haeundae
Address: 7, Haeundaehaebyeon-ro 265beon-gil, Haeundae-gu, Busan
Tel: +82 51-746-1946
Operating Hours: Every day from 11:00 am to 11:55 pm
Website: english.visitkorea.or.kr

City view from Songdo Skywalk
Songdo Skywalk

DAY THREE

WINDY DAY & WALKING ABOVE THE CLOUDS
On the third day in Busan, the morning weather was not in our favour – the drizzle and strong wind at Songdo Skywalk caused almost all of our umbrellas to break, and some were blown away by the strong wind! However, it didn’t dampen our spirits to enjoy the beautiful view at this location. Songdo Skywalk is located on a cliff along Songdo Beach with breath-taking views. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery while walking on the glass walkway that stretches over the water, creating an illusion of walking on water. Songdo Skywalk offers spectacular sunset views with stunning colourful skies. Additionally, there are resting areas along the way for visitors to relax.

Songdo Skywalk
Address: 129-4, Amnam-dong, Seo-gu, Busan
Website: english.visitkorea.or.kr

Entrance of Busan X the Sky. Credit: Klook
The atmosphere from the 98th level of Busan X the Sky
Erysha Emyra enjoying the city view of Busan while drinking coffee

Next, we visited Busan X the Sky, the latest icon in the city, which is an observation tower located on levels 98, 99, and 100 of the Haeundae LCT The Sharp – Landmark Tower in Busan. To access the observation tower, the Visit Busan Pass can also be used. This tower is the tallest building in Busan and the second tallest in South Korea after Lotte World Tower in Seoul.

From this glass observation tower, we enjoyed the panoramic views of Busan from various angles. For example, the wide sea view from the highest Starbucks in South Korea located on the 99th floor, the mountain ranges, and famous landmarks in Busan such as Haeundae Beach, Dongbaekseom Island, Haeundae Marine City, and Gwangandaegyo Bridge. Busan X the Sky is also equipped with restaurants, cafes, and interesting souvenir shops. Among them, the Sky 99 Grill and Pasta Restaurant in Busan X The Sky which is one of the restaurants that has attracted the attention of K-drama fans. Why? Because it was the location for “Now, We Are Breaking Up.”

Busan X the Sky
Address: 30, Dalmaji-gil, Haeundae-gu, Busan
Tel: +82 51-731-0098
Operating Hours: Every day from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Website: www.busanxthesky.com

Erysha Emyra at Manseon Haemultang Seafood Restaurant
Our lunch at Manseon Haemultang


EXTRAORDINARY-SIZED CLAMS & VISITING A SEASIDE TEMPLE!
Lunch on the third day was a bit special as we were served with fresh seafood at the Manseon Seafood Restaurant. Among the seafood served were, extraordinary-sized clams, tiger prawns, and Haemultang, which is a seafood stew. Fish sperm was also served in the seafood stew. Despite sounding strange, this dish is quite popular in Korea. Fish sperm has a soft texture and a creamy taste, making it a must-try dish when in Busan. Usually, I only see it on Korean Youtubers’ mukbang channels, but this time me and the STAIL.MY crew had the opportunity to experience the dish ourselves.

Manseon Haemultang
Address: 1753-16, Daeyeon-dong, Nam-gu, Busan
Tel: +82 051-612-1611

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

The architecture of Haedong Yonggungsa Temple that uses bright colors
The K-drama series “My Name” once filmed at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. Credit: www.koreandramaland.com

We continued our activities on the third day with a visit to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, a sacred destination located in Gijang-gun, Busan. This temple was established in 1376 by a Buddhist teacher known as Naong during the Goryeo Dynasty. Initially known as Bomun Temple, it was destroyed during the Japanese invasion of Korea and later rebuilt in 1930. The four lion statues at the main area of the temple symbolizes joy, anger, sadness, and happiness. We descended 108 steps and paused in the middle to enjoy the sound of the waves and the majestic sun before reaching the temple. Oh! One of my favourite K-drama series “My Name” filmed their fourth episode here. Ms. Jennifer, our tour guide, shared that many people in Korea visits this temple to make their special wish.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
Address: 86 Yonggung-gil, Gijang-gun, Busan
Tel: +82 51-722-7744
Operating Hours: Every day from 5:00 am to 8:00 pm
Website: english.visitkorea.or.kr

Lotte Premium Outlet
Lotte Premium Outlet

Of course, our Busan adventure wouldn’t be complete without some shopping. So, we were given a some time to shop at the Lotte Premium Outlet, located near Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. Situated in Gijang-gun, this outlet offers an exclusive shopping experience with reasonable prices. Visitors can find various high-quality fashion items, accessories, and home goods. Famous brands such as Nike, Adidas, Coach, and many others are available at Lotte Premium Outlet! Don’t worry; like other outlets, this shopping center also offers dining and refreshment services. Lotte Premium Outlet is a popular shopping destination for those shopaholics!

Lotte Premium Outlet
Address: 147 Gijanghaean-ro, Gijang-eup, Gijang-gun, Busan
Tel: +82 51-1577-0001
Operating Hours: Monday to Saturday from 10:30 am to 9:00 pm, Open 24 hours on Sundays
Website: www.premiumoutlets.co.kr

The front of Eobu restaurant
Fresh seafood grilled over charcoal

To end our last night in Busan, it had to be special so we had dinner at the Eobu Restaurant. This restaurant is located near Haeundae Beach and offers their specialty dish – seafood grilled over charcoal. Honestly, dining in these small eateries reminded me of scenes I often watch in K-dramas on Netflix. This restaurant is labelled as “Muslim-friendly” by the Korea Tourism Organization and is quite popular among visitors from Malaysia. The experience of wandering while interacting with the friendly locals, learning about their culture, and enjoying the serene beauty of Busan. You know the saying “love at first sight” – that’s exactly how I felt with Busan, South Korea. Will I come back again? Definitely!

Eobu
Address: 10, Gunam-ro 12beon-gil, Haeundae-gu, Busan
Tel: +82-51-746-0619
Operating Hours: Every day from 4:00 pm to 2:00 am
Website: english.visitkorea.or.kr

VISIT BUSAN PASS – ONE PASS FOR ALL!
The Visit Busan Pass is a card that allows foreign tourists to enjoy FREE and DISCOUNT benefits access to more than 30 attractions and facilities such as Busan Tower, Songdo Cable Car, Running Man Thematic Experience Centre and more in Busan. It allows visitors to explore Busan easily and enjoy various experiences at a discounted price. In addition, the card also provides additional benefits such as discounts at restaurants, souvenir shops, and public transportation services such as buses and trains. The Visit Busan Pass aims to enhance the experience of tourists by providing convenience, saving money, and easy access to attractions and facilities exclusively for visitors coming to Busan.

For more information about Visit Busan Pass, visit www.visitbusanpass.com

NAVIGATION FACILITIES IN BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA
Naver Map and Kakaomap are the two best navigation services in South Korea for tourists. Naver Map offers detailed maps, navigation directions, and real-time traffic information. It is very useful for exploring various areas in South Korea, including major cities like Seoul and Busan. Kakao Map also provides similar services along with information on public transportation and attractions in your area. These user-friendly apps can be downloaded to your mobile phone and are the best choices for travellers who want to drive and navigate their way around South Korea.

For more information, visit the following websites:
Naver Map: www.naver.com
Kakao Map: www.kakaocorp.com

All travel schedules are subject to weather conditions. Readers are advised to plan according to the best routes. For updates and travel information to Korea, visit the social media and website of Korea Tourism Organization Malaysia:

Instagram: @KTO_Malaysia
Facebook: @KTOMalaysia
Website: english.visitkorea.or.kr

DAY FOUR

Heavy rain and cool winds greeted us as we prepared to depart for Busan Station to continue our journey to Seoul, South Korea. This was my first experience riding the Korea Train Express (KTX) from Busan to Seoul – I visited Seoul before but that was my second time going there and the first time was by taking a direct AirAsia X flight from Kuala Lumpur. The KTX high-speed train journey, which took 2 hours and 15 minutes, was incredibly comfortable and offered an easy and fast alternative to reach Seoul. The average ticket price for Busan to Seoul standard class journey varies depending on the ticket class, travel time, and availability. Generally, the ticket prices for the standard class from Busan to Seoul range from 55,000 to 95,000 Korean Won (RM196 – RM339) one way. For more information, visit www.letskorail.com.

Pemandangan kota Seoul

ANNYEONGHASEYO SEOUL!
Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is a modern and stylish city. It is home to over 9 million people and offers various attractive tourist destinations. Seoul is rich in historical heritage, including famous UNESCO sites. Additionally, it is renowned for its fashion scene, art centres, and the rapidly growing K-pop entertainment industry. With major technological hubs like Gangnam and Digital Media City, Seoul is the headquarters of companies like Samsung and Hyundai. Without a doubt, Seoul is a fascinating destination to explore. This time, the STAIL.MY crew and I set out to explore both the old and new interesting locations in Seoul.

Grilled mackerel fish at Haeuri restaurant

KOREAN-STYLE SAMBAL BELACAN & THE WORLD OF BEAUTY AT AMORE SEONGSU
Upon arriving in Seoul at noon, our first activity was, of course, lunch. We were taken to Haeuri Restaurant, which serves grilled fish dishes. They use mackerel as the main ingredient, which is similar to mackerel in Malaysia. The grilled mackerel was delicious and served with various tasty side dishes. There was also a condiment similar to sambal belacan, but less spicy.

Haeuri Restaurant
Address: 942-1, Dogok-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Tel: +82 02-501-4997
Operating Hours: Every day from 11:30 am to 10:00 pm

Amore Seongsu

After lunch, we explored the popular Seongsu-dong area, often referred to as the “Brooklyn of Seoul,” known for its trendy coffee shops and organic restaurants. Here, I had the opportunity to visit Amore Seongsu, a well-known beauty product store in South Korea. The STAIL.MY crew and I tried various best-selling Korean skincare and makeup products for free! One interesting activity here is that you can create your own foundation based on your skin colour and the process only takes about 20 minutes.

A place where you can create a foundation based on your skin tone
Industrial architecture at Amore Seongsu and skin beauty product trial room
Nadhir Nasar and Erysha Emyra are being groomed at Amore Seongsu

Amore Seongsu is under the umbrella of Amorepacific, a South Korean beauty and cosmetics conglomerate. Amorepacific manages over 30 brands such as Sulwhasoo, Laneige, Mamonde, Etude, and Innisfree, all of which are now available in the Malaysian market. The company was established in 1945 and is considered the largest cosmetics company in the world. After exploring Amore Seongsu, don’t forget to stop by the Osulloc Cafe located on the second floor of the building to enjoy a cup of green tea or various delicious desserts and snacks after indulging in beauty treatments at Amore Seongsu.

Amore Seongsu
Address: 7 Achasan-ro 11-gil, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
Tel: +82 2-469-8600
Operating Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10:30 am – 08:30 pm. Closed every Monday

Where the STAIL.MY crew had breakfast during their stay at Four Points by Sheraton Josun, Seoul Myeongdong
Accommodation at Four Points by Sheraton Josun, Seoul Myeongdong

MYEONGDONG STREET MARKET, A BUSY PLACE!
During our stay in Seoul, we lodged at Four Points by Sheraton Josun, Seoul Myeongdong, located in the Jung-gu area. This hotel’s location was very strategic as it was close to the most popular market in Seoul, the Myeongdong Street Market. This comfortable hotel was also right in front of a subway station, making it easy for our crew to move around and visit other interesting locations at night.

Four Points by Sheraton Josun, Seoul Myeongdong
Address: 36 Samil-daero 10-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
Tel: +82 2-6466-6000
Website: www.marriott.com

Nadhir Nasar and Erysha Emyra try Korean street food at Myeongdong Street Market
Nadhir Nasar during filming with the STAIL.MY crew and the crowded atmosphere at Myeongdong Street Market
Potato twist among the street foods tried by Nadhir Nasar
A viral hawker who speaks fluent Malay sells Korean sweets and grilled seafood at Myeongdong Street Market

After checking in at the hotel, we walked to Myeongdong Street Market. The market was quite busy, and we visited almost all the food stalls that offered various delicious Korean street food. One must-try food here is the Korean sweets sold by a vendor who speaks fluent Malay, which has made him viral. Myeongdong Street Market is always crowded with tourists until 1 in the morning because of its proximity to other tourist attractions. There are also rows of internationally renowned branded boutiques along Myeongdong Street Market. Talking about Korean fashion as a fashion hub, it’s no wonder that their fashion choices are wider and more diverse than in Malaysia. Based on my observation, almost every Korean I saw, especially in Seoul, is very fashionable.

Myeongdong Street Market
Address: 8-3-ga, Chungmuro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Operating Hours: Daily, 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM (midnight)

Delicious lamb briyani and tandoori chicken

Before heading back to the hotel, we stopped at the TAJ Taste of India restaurant, which serves Indian cuisine. Located in the bustling Myeongdong area, this restaurant is famous for its various curry dishes, tandoori chicken, and, of course, naan bread. We were served with lamb biryani and tandoori chicken. Its elegant furnishings creates a luxurious ambiance, and the soft lighting adds a romantic and cosy atmosphere.

N Seoul Tower
A view of Seoul from the cable car going to N Seoul Tower
Nadhir Nasar and Erysha Emyra at N Seoul Tower during the filming of Korea At First Sight
The area where Nadhir Nasar and Erysha Emyra put a love lock for the Korea At First Sight campaign

DAY FIVE

N SEOUL TOWER & K-POP EXPERIENCE AT HiKR
The second day activities in Seoul started with a visit to N Seoul Tower, which is often a filming location for K-dramas. Among my favourite K-dramas that were filmed here are “My Love From The Star” and “Itaewon Class.” Built in 1969, N Seoul Tower is a landmark of cosmopolitan Seoul. It can be seen from almost every corner of Seoul as it sits over 200 meters above Namsan Mountain. The tower is a must-visit spot in Seoul to enjoy a 360-degree view and a romantic atmosphere reminiscent of K-dramas.

N Seoul Tower
Address: 105, Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Tel: +82 2-3455-9277
Operating Hours: Sunday to Friday: 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM Saturday: 10:00 AM – 12:00 midnight
Website: english.visitkorea.or.kr

One of the dancers at HiKR Ground
Erysha Emyra K-Pop dancing during the filming of Korea At First Sight

After enjoying the fresh air at N Seoul Tower, we moved on to HiKR Ground. This is a popular new destination for K-pop fans and Hallyu culture enthusiasts. Located at the Korea Tourism Organization Seoul Centre, the name HiKR Ground comes from the acronym “Hi” and “Korea” HiKR, which means “Hi! Welcome to Korea.” The word “Ground” is added to describe the entertainment site for tourists. It is a promotional space that takes a new approach by integrating Extended Reality (XR). The area is filled with technology aimed at young generations who want to experience the K-pop artist lifestyle. There is a stage at HiKR Ground where visitors can dance to their favourite K-pop songs. We, too, took the opportunity to dance here until we lost track of time!

HiKR Ground
Address: 40 Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
Tel: +82 2-729-9498
Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM. Closed every Monday

Website: english.visitkorea.or.kr

Nadhir Nasar and Erysha Emyra take a break while enjoying coffee and donuts at Cafe Knotted, HiKR Ground
Donuts at Cafe Knotted, HiKR Ground are fluffy and soft

After dancing, we went to Cafe Knotted on the fifth floor of HiKR Ground to enjoy coffee and try their specialty – donuts. They offer various flavours such as classic vanilla, milk cream, earl grey, peppermint chocolate, and many more. Each donut has a soft and fluffy texture with its own unique characteristics. Each bite brings a satisfying sensation. It was enjoyable to eat these delicious donuts while standing on the fifth-floor terrace and enjoying the beautiful view of the Cheonggyecheon Stream. It is a must-visit spot in Seoul!

Cafe Knotted, HiKR Ground
Address: 5F, 40 Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM. Closed every Monday.

Website: english.visitkorea.or.kr

View of N Seoul Tower from Bukchon Hanok Village
The typical architecture of the Hanok houses in Bukchon Hanok Village

TRADITIONAL KOREA IN BUKCHON HANOK VILLAGE
Bukchon Hanok Village is a unique and interesting place in Seoul. If you want to experience traditional Korean culture, this is a must-visit place. It is a residential area consisting of traditional Korean houses known as “hanok.” These houses have distinctive architecture with sloping roofs and wooden doors. When I visited this alley, I felt like I had travelled back in time. Besides enjoying the beauty of traditional architecture, Bukchon Hanok Village also offers various art galleries, craft shops, and stylish cafes along the streets. I also managed to buy a handmade silver ring as a souvenir. We were also advised not to make noise and disturb the residents living there.

Handicraft shop selling handmade accessories in Bukchon Hanok Village
Nadhir Nasar and Erysha Emyra wear Hanbok, traditional Korean clothing

We also rented and wore Hanbok, the traditional Korean clothing. Hanbok is a symbol of the country’s cultural wealth and identity for centuries. Each element of the Hanbok carries deep symbolism, representing traditional values and social hierarchy in Korean society. Hanbok is not only worn during formal events, weddings, festivals, or traditional ceremonies but has also become increasingly popular among tourists who want to wear Hanbok while visiting historical sites. Of course, to take photos at iconic locations in Korea while wearing Hanbok, just like being on a K-drama set. Wow! It truly felt like being in a K-drama filming location.

Bukchon Hanok Village
Address: 37, Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Website: english.visitkorea.or.kr

Starbucks Seoul Wave Art Centre
Tranquil water views and interesting art sculptures at the Starbucks Seoul Wave Art Center
A building structure inspired by the shape of waves

DAY SIX

COFFEE LIKE FLOATING ON WATER & PICNIC BY THE HAN RIVER
On our last morning in Seoul, our exploration began with enjoying coffee at Starbucks Seoul Wave Art Center. Newly opened in 2022, this Starbucks quickly became a favourite spot for art and coffee enthusiasts. The building’s structure seems to float on the Han River, looking futuristic and inspired by the shapes of beautiful flowing waves. The building has a curved roof that mimics the shape of waves. Besides its intriguing architecture, the Seoul Wave Art Center also offers various art exhibitions and cultural events featuring local and international artists. It is a fantastic place to enjoy a cup of coffee while falling in love with the beauty of the Han River.

Seoul Wave Art Center
Address: 145-35 Jamwon-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul
Tel: +82 1522-3232
Operating Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM, Saturday to Sunday 7:30 PM – 11:00 PM

Hangang River
Nadhir Nasar and Erysha Emyra cycling on the Han river
Banpo Rainbow Bridge is famous for its colorful fountains at night

After coffee, we had a picnic by the Han River. It is the main river in South Korea and the fourth-longest river on the Korean Peninsula, after the Amnok (Yalu), Tuman (Duman), and Nakdong rivers. We had fried chicken and ramen for lunch. Don’t worry; you can order food through various delivery services like Baedal Minjok, Yogiyo, or Coupang Eats using their mobile apps. It’s effortless!

The STAIL.MY crew with Nadhir Nasar and Erysha had a picnic at the Han river

While relaxing and enjoying the fresh air, we saw other visitors renting bicycles, and it made us want to join in the fun too! The park is equipped with running tracks to make it easy for visitors to exercise and jog. In addition to recreational activities, another exciting attraction here is the Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain Seoul. It is a bridge that crosses the Han River and is famous for its colourful water fountain show at night with lights changing according to the rhythm of music. Seoul Fashion Week also chose this bridge as a runway show location.

Banpo Hangang Park
Address: 40, Sinbanpo-ro 11-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul
Website: english.visitkorea.or.kr

A 12 meter high waterfall at The Hyundai Seoul

It’s not complete without shopping before heading back to Malaysia, right? We were taken to The Hyundai Seoul located in Yeouido – it’s a combination of the concept of nature and relaxation with shopping. With 12 floors – eight floors housing almost 600 different stores, and four underground floors for parking. The Hyundai Seoul has everything you need, from luxury fashion stores to restaurants and even a museum. Every corner exudes Korean aesthetics, with elegant curved lines combined with beautiful sunlight filtering through the windows. What captured my heart was the 12-meter indoor waterfall in the centre of the shopping centre. The soothing sound of water created a calming experience as I sat around the waterfall. On the fifth floor is Sound Forest, a 3,300-square-meter park with a mix of artificial and real plants. The park serves as a relaxing area to rest after a tiring shopping spree. On the second basement level, there is a hub for new fashion brands, streetwear, and interesting cafes for the younger generation. To make it easier for visitors, the shopping centre is also connected to a subway station, Yeouido Station, specifically Line 5 (the purple line).

The Hyundai Seoul
Address: 108 Yeoui-daero, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
Tel: +82 2-767-2233
Operating Hours: Monday to Thursday 10:30 AM – 8:00 PM, Friday to Sunday 10:30 AM – 8:30 PM
Website: english.visitkorea.or.kr

Braised spicy seafood at the Haehwadong Restaurant

Before heading to Incheon International Airport, we stopped for lunch at Haehwadong Restaurant, which serves braised spicy seafood. Fresh seafood such as clams, squid, abalone, prawns, and more are cooked in a special spicy sauce. The leftover seafood sauce is then used to make fried rice after we finished eating all the seafood. Meaning zero food waste!

Haehwadong
Address: 24-2 Yeouido-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
Tel: +82 2-786-8280
Operating Hours: Monday to Saturday 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM. Closed every Sunday

Overall, the STAIL.MY crew and I felt reluctant to return to our homeland because there were still many interesting places to visit which we didn’t get around to. I was so captivated by the beauty of modern and traditional architecture, the friendliness of the locals, unique and delicious food, and the captivating nightlife. As I look back on those memories, I feel inspired and connected to the Korean culture and history. I have fallen in love with Seoul, South Korea, all over again.

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