After the long covid, when everything was getting back to normal, Ksisters held a pop-up called "Jung Island" in September 2022 which was inspired by Korea's very own Jeju island. Jeju is known to be the place for healing and resting for Koreans. Thus we wanted to bring this experience into Singapore through our Jung Island pop-up! While planning for this pop-up, I kept thinking about my no.1 bucket list for Ksisters, to bring my entire team to Korea! So I did!
Many of them have been to Korea, but some have yet too. I wanted to show the country in real life so they can finally feel the "Korean style" that I have been talking about! So, after a long planning, we have decided to go to Korea, right after Jung Island pop-up closing to have a week rest there!
With many request from #ksistersfam, here are some tips and recommendations of places to visit for your next Korea trip!
Accommodation : There were 14 of us travelling, so after much consideration, I have booked Hongdae Airbnb, which has 5 rooms 3 showers and a big dining room, where we did a mini workshop and had a fried chicken night! (IG post below for reference for accommodation)
Transportation : For majority part of the travelling, we used the subway, as it was accessible and near to many places that we wanted visit. It also helps us to avoid the traffic jam! Be sure to purchase a Rail Pass (similar to EZ Link card). Another tip is to avoid the peak hours if you can (early morning and evening around 5-6pm) as the subways tend to be heavily crowded during these period.
From the airport, we have used a limousine service called ATOM Limousine. I realised that searching for an airport pickup in Google (in English) can be very costly! So I've searched in NAVER (a Korean app) in Korean and it was so much affordable. The limousine driver and service was good, though he can't speak English well. If you would like to use this service you may communicate with them via Whatsapp (+82 10 8962 2559). (IG post below for reference for limousine service)
We arrived in Korea early in the morning. After checking into our Airbnb and resting from red eye flight fow a little while, we explored Yeonnamdong and Hongdae (really close to our Airbnb). Check out my IG post below to see our excitement from Day 0-1!
- Video: We are excited 😍
- My flight buddy 🥰
- Princess limousine for the princesses 😘
- Our Airbnb right at the center of Hongdae
- Photo studio is everywhere in Korea.
- Photo studio is everywhere in Korea.
- Cafe Knotted Yeonnamdong is 15 minutes from Honngdae. Yeonnamdong (or called #yeontralpark) is quite trendy these days!
- So many nice clothing & accessory shop
- Late night tteokbokki from food truck is the best!
- Busking is still happening!
During the Seoul trip, I wanted to give Team Ksisters this experience of becoming princesses, because they are princesses to me! 🥰💕 So we rented premium hanboks and became models for a day with a hanbok photographer! There are many hanbok rental shops around Gyeongbok Palace for you to try! It is so fun💕 We rented our hanboks from Hanboknam Korea Premium (the yellow building is for basic hanbok and white building right next to it is premium one) where you can get more premium design hanboks, hairstyling, traditional shoes and socks (beoseon)! One person is about ₩35,000 for 1 hour rent. If you over-run, you can pay additional fee so no worry! Over at the premium place, store manager could speak good English! On Klook their price range was similar to my NAVER booking, so please check there for easier booking.
Our photographer @shine.film was kind and did her best to take the best shot for every single one in a short frame of time. I am not sure if she takes English reservation though. She shared original photos with us and let us choose the photos that we would like to get edited (there is limitation based on package)! At first she photoshopped our faces too small, but she was kind enough to fix it after hearing my feedback! 😄
After the hanbok photoshoot, we visited the most famous ginseng chicken soup (samgyetang) restaurant, TOSOKCHON, which was quite near to the Gyeongbok Palace. We then explored Seochon area to see Cosmic Mansion's new studio and Daeoh Bookstore, which was in IU album cover last time!
After that we finished the day with a hearty K-bbq team dinner at Hongdae 고기꾼 김춘배 and noreaebang (Korean karaoke!). Fun fact: SU noraebang that was featured in Hospital Playlist is in Hongdae! So you can sing like Jo Jeongsuk this time.
We spent this day at Cheongdam (Dosan and Apgujeong), Sinsa, and Gangnam area (Samseong station) in smaller groups! We started our morning with a hearty breakfast at the famous LONDON BAGEL MUSEUM! I love these series of cafes opened by the same founder. She also owned Highwaist cafe and Layered cafe, which are quite popular too! Initially I had a perception that this place is known for their aesthetic (and taste would be ok only), but I was wrong and their bagel and cream cheese were indeed so good and unique! The queue here is usually insane. We went to the Dosan branch in early morning during weekday instead of Anguk branch (which has always long que). So do try this branch! Ps, my favourite was maple pecan and cream cheese! 😋
In Dosan area, you can also find this building from Gentle Monster. It is called as HOUSE DOSAN. This building has Tamburins (brand ambassador, Jennie), Gentle Monster, and Nudake (bakery) in one building! They were displayed in such a futuristic way. If you are in this area, definitely check it out! Some of us have moved to Sinsa area, which is quite near from Dosan & Apgujeong. Over here it has all the cool brands stores, so I recommend there too!
After that we have been to Samseong station to visit the iconic Starfield library, that was in everyone's IG feed. It was huge but I found Coex mall isn't as happening like before. We have visited Hyundai department store which is linked to Coex mall as well. It was a small size but a good department store to quickly look around but in my opinion, it isn't that unique. 🤔
So I think I will spend a longer time in Dosan/Sinsa or visit The Hyundai (newest and biggest Hyundai department store in Yeouido instead! However it is quite far from Gangnam, so maybe in the near future!
Day 4 we spent our morning over at Olive Young for a trend study! It was so fun to see how excited team Ksisters was about this workshop! After doing their research, each team has presented their result and studies and have even won some awards as well! It was such a cool activity as a trend leading beauty company.
After that we have moved to Seongsu area and explored all the cool shops. Seongsu is filled with many fun cafes, popular restaurants, and new popup stores everyday! If you wanna visit the most happening area in Korea, I would definitely recommend Seongsu!
Finally managed to visit Cafe Onion Seongsu. This building is from 1970s, so the integrity of the structure is still there but it has transformed into a cool cafe too! Their breads taste great and look aesthetically pleasing too! Now Onion has more branches across Seoul (including Gwangjang market branch - newest addition) so plan accordingly based on your travel schedule! Worth the try 😘
After that we have visited the famous Dior flagship store in Seougsu and quickly moved to Gwangjang market. When I was in my early 20s I used to go there to eat mungbean pancake #녹두빈대떡 and #makgeoli #ricewine! All the foods were still so delicious but the scale of restaurants became so much bigger now with its growing fame. Any restaurant is good so make sure to try all the food there! After eating Korean pancake, makgeoli, live octopus, and Korean beef tartare, we went to the famous Netflix auntie who sells handmade guksu #칼국수 (it means knife cut noodles, very similar to Ban Mian). She was featured in @netflixsg Street Food Korea episode. Her guksu was good and heartwarming. I recommend guksu more than mandu there! Hope this hard working auntie stay healthy and well, so I can visit her next time again.
After this, It was free and easy for everyone so they can plan 1.5 day as they prefer!
Looking back now, it feels surreal! We did it finally after so many years of thinking about it! So I am very glad that I could invite them all!
Personally, I have never led this big size of group for trip, so it was very challenging at first, but it was such a great experience to be able to observe the entire process of people that you care about are falling in love with your home country.
It was a last minute planned trip, so of course it wasn't perfect but I hope this little sharing helps you to plan your next Korea trip too! Honestly I know most of my Singaporeans friends know more trendy Korean places than me!
If you have any question about this Korea retreat, feel free to email us to email@example.com I will try to answer them with my best effort!
Until we can do this blessed retreat again, Team Ksisters will work smart and hard for another big jump in 2023! If you wanna join this cool team, please check out career page!
Day 0 : Red eye flight
Day 1 : Started after lunch. Explored Hongdae and Yeonnam area.
Day 2 : Geongbok palace + Hanbok experience > Tosokchon > Seochon explore > K-bbq at Hongdae > Noraebang
Day 3 : Dosan London bagel muserum > House Dosan > Samseong station Coex
Day 4 : Cafe Onion Seongsu > Gwangjang market
Day 5 & 6 morning : Individual Schedule.