For the first week of my study abroad adventure, I lived in Hongdae in a guesthouse for about a half a week. You can find what I thought about the guesthouse HERE. That little adventure was filled with first impressions which is why Hongdae will always be the place where I first discovered South Korea. Those first days were rough, yet inspiring.
I traveled with a friend, and together we explored the streets of Hongdae together. Most of the time, however, we got lost. Still, we had loads of fun and made tons of memories.
5 AWESOME THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN HONGDAE
1. 7 Eleven is your friend
It was awesome to see something familiar (pic: found a Taco Bell in South Korea), 7 Eleven can also be found in America. Plus in those first few days, utilizing my limited Korean vocabulary was difficult for waiters and cashiers to understand us. We tended to stay away from restaurants and ate sandwiches at 7 Eleven. (Plus, we discovered how cheap a lot of the food is here from browsing the shelves of the 7 Eleven by the guesthouse.) I was able to get a water bottle bigger than my head for about $0.80. I know when I travel to New York City, a small water bottle is about $3 or more.
2. The Luck of Coffee Prince
Hongdae is famous for a lot of things. It has several things a tourist and traveler should check out. One of those places is the Coffee Prince cafe, which is a Korean drama that shot at the cafe of the same name. This cafe actually exists as a working cafe and we spent hours trying to locate it in the many streets of Hongdae. When we finally found it, we thought the place to be closed. There were no people inside or out- the place looked deserted. You’d think being such a significant filming location to a famous drama, there would be more people. However, a nice man and woman greeted us at the door. We ordered and explored the floor. It was kept, not exact, but similar to the drama. It was awesome to just see the signatures on the wall, the props used in the drama, and even standing in certain spots that I know the actors/actresses stood in too. And we were also one of the lucky people to search upstairs, which is closed to customers but since no one was there, the employees let us explore there too. It was amazing!
3. Trick Eye Museum
The Trick Eye Museum was one cool experience. I first heard of it from some fellow travelers who suggested I go when coming to Korea but then I also watched a drama where they go to the museum. In Heartstrings, to two leads go and seem to have such a great time- I couldn’t miss this one! The entrance fee was cheap and totally worth it. We took some great pictures that actually look like we were there.
4. Mango Six
Literally, there is a coffee shop on every corner. We went to a four-way intersection and on each corner was a Starbucks. Korea, I don’t know why you need that many coffee shops. Mango Six is not a coffee shop. However, a common theme in the Korean dramas I’ve seen is that the poo main character has several part time jobs and one always includes a shop- coffee or otherwise. I had just finished watching Gentleman’s Dignity when I came to Korea and Mango Six is where one of the female characters had worked (pic). So it had to be good, right? I was so right!
5. Street Market
During our time in Hongdae, we did not see this part. It wasn’t until we visited the following Saturday that we realized what we had missed. Every Saturday, there is a street fair of sorts where people gather in the Hongdae playground (middle pic: Gentleman’s Dignity) and sell handmade items, listening to awesome music from live bands. The playground is also a very famous place for many dramas as well.
The vibe in Hongdae is what makes me want to go back. It has such a indie, college town atmosphere. If you have a chance, definitely check this place out and be ready to be amazed at all the cool things you find there.