Seoul 2015: Exploring Hongdae & Yeonnam-dong

3 May

If you want a different type of buzz and excitement, head on to Hongdae, the birth place of all things hip, trendy and cool among the youth.

Photo grabbed from: 🙂

Cafes? Clubs? Fashion Choices? Underground Music? Art Exhibits and Festivals? Explore a neighborhood that will surely satisfy whatever interest you may have.

Hongdae district covers Seogyo-dong to Hapjeong-dong. During our stay, we explored Hong Dae Ib Gu Yeok (홍대입구역) and Yeonnam-dong (연남동).

Hong Dae Ib Gu Yeok (홍대입구역) Side

Walking Around

Hongdae is actually an abbreviation of Hongik Daehakgyo, Hongik University. This university is a very prestigious arts school where you’d find the best in the country. With the creative energies that need to be channeled from these artsy youth, there is no surprise that walking around would leave you with endless entertainment options.

During our visit, the streets were energetic with people crowding around live performances.  I was able to see two performances that night. One of a hiphop dancer and an interpretative dancer’s a few meters away. It was a tight competition on who drew the bigger crowd.

 When we tired of squeezing through the crowds, we took a peek at the stores that lined up the street. Most stores showcased “cute” finds and trinkets that most teens would love. But when in Korea, “cute” is never limited to a particular age.

At one point, we were looking for a pharmacy at Hongdae. Along the way we found a  “street food” stall which diverted us from our mission. The owner was pretty glad to have foreign customers. She served us up some really yummy corndogs, baby gimbap and free warm soup. 

Trick Eye Museum

Address: 357-1, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Number: +82 2-3144-6300

The Trick Eye Museum is a visual museum that “tricks the eye” through the art technique called “Trompe-l’oeil”.  When you visit the museum, make sure that you bring in lots of energy and camera space as you’d be wanting to take a photo with every painting that comes your way. One ticket will allow you to explore different themed halls. Take a walk through the History Hall, Masterpieces Hall, Love Hall, Luxury Hall, Living Hall, Traditional Hall, and Fashion Hall.

Directing was my role while posing was M’s. She did a pretty terrific job. May it be in the middle of a forest..

…or being taunted by an evil witch.

R had the time of his life. One photo does not justify his superb posing skills so here is his Trick Eye Museum collage.

I did not play photographer the whole time. Admire our good acting skills and readiness to lie down on the floor for an epic godzilla fish meal time.

There was also an “Ice museum” featuring three dimensional ice sculptures.

The highlight: a slide made out of ice. Weee~~~! (But was honestly a painfully cold experience)

After the tour, we were laughing hysterically at the transformation of the two dimensional paintings into three-dimensional works of art. 😉

Mapo Kalmaegi Restaurant  (마포갈매기)

Directions: Hongik University Station, Exit 8.

We didn’t have to search so far for where to have dinner as a few meters away from Trick Eye was a grilled meat restaurant that beckoned us to enter, away from the cold.

We were delighted by the free banchan (appetizers) and serving of scrambled eggs with cheese which we devoured while waiting for our meat to cook.

To complete the experience, we had an order of soju. I was amazed on how “tasteless” and “easy” it was to drink. (Blaming it on the KDramas where a sad chaebol downs soju with an expression of having a bitter after taste.) Just like wine, soju enhances the meal you eat it with. And for this case, it totally complements the grilled meat.

We were supposed to visit Hongdae during Club Day, an event where one can do a club crawl for a minimal fee every last Friday of the month. We opted for Gangnam on a Saturday night instead since we enjoyed our Friday chicken and beer experience too much. I hope that I’d get to explore more of Hongdae during our next visit.

Yeonnam-dong (연남동)

Yeonnam-dong is the neighborhood across Hongik University but is still considered to be part of Hongdae. We spent a lot of time in this area since our hostel was located here. Our daily commute includes a walk through this thriving neighborhood with lots of cafes and restaurants to choose from.

Somri Chicken

Address: East Seoul Mapo-dong 198-11\ 서울 마포구 동교동 198-11
Telephone: 02-333-5009
Facebook Page (Unofficial):

I coined Somri Chicken as our “HQ” aka “headquarters” because we loved this place so much! With all the chicken and beer restaurants in Manila, I thought that having it in Korea would just be the same thing. I was wrong! On our first night, we entered unassumingly to protect ourselves from the cold. We were delighted at how good the chicken (and beer) was that we found ourselves back several times.

We had some classic spicy and their specialty, the special curry chicken. Once you start, you can’t stop. Really.  You won’t even be able to tell which flavor is better. You’ll just end up alternating between the two to cool the hotness of the spicy chicken or to balance out the flavor of the sesame curry chicken. We finally get why Korean chicken tastes really good with some cold Cass beer. On the night we “stayed in”, we even had soju bombs or what the locals call, “somik” (“soju” + “mikju” aka beer).

Pourtoi Bakery

Address: 200-40 Donggyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

The bread lover in me adored this bakery which was part of our route to our hotel everyday. 

With its overwhelming amount of baked items, we would purchase our own favorites. We’ve sampled their cheese cake, red bean bread and taro filled doughnuts. Perfect for breakfast or for some after-dinner dessert. Sadly there’s no area to stay and enjoy, so one could only opt for some take-out.

Walking Around

Yeonnam-dong is the quieter side of Hongdae. The hipster in you would enjoy this part of town with its numerous number of coffee shops and chill drinking joints.

It also has cute concept restaurants just like this one with the tin pig waiting outside.

The streets we explored were the very same ones we walked along for our goodbye. That was a good stay at Yeonnam-dong.

That was a wrap of our exploration at Hongdae and Yeonnam-dong! ❤

Join me as I track back on my first adventure for 2015 in the following blog posts…

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