SEOUL : Hong Dae

If you want to be continuously surprised by a country, Seoul is the right place for you and here’s to find out why! These photos were taken in the span of a day in just one area of the kimchi city and I’ll elaborate why it’s worth a trip there if you’re not all about fashion is more about arts!

Yes, its not the end of my Seoul episode yet. I’ve just been too occupied with some other things. Nevertheless, I think most of the keywords that lead you to the blog is this so good for you too! This time is more of Hong Dae, one of the places that I like hanging around at. Believe it or not, I’m still not done going through all the small alleys. It’s always these alleys that contains treasures. Normally we would always wonder how does these little outlets survive with such a location, but these Koreans always make it. They always have their customers no matter how hidden the shop is. Maybe because their items are always unique from one another.

Seoul really is a place that has so much surprises in store for you. I wouldn’t say it would be the best place for keen shoppers who are always into fashion. Not that Seoul doesn’t have any, but personally I would say the attraction of this beautiful country are the little things that awaits you when you least expect it. It’s always a treasure hunt in this country that values arts and will always bring forward at least a portion of their traditions into the revamped places. My type of thing! For photographers who are looking for a quaint country to shoot it, Seoul should be just the right place!


Just realised that I forgot give a column to Hong Dae in the Travelling Korea 101 tab so here’s a short intro. Hong Dae, short of Hong Ik University, is a place where most youths go to for clubbing and drinking. It’s like the clubbing streets of Seoul, a safe clubbing street. For those who are looking for a nightlife during your stay in Seoul, Hong Dae is the place for you. There you will be able to meet all kinds of youths, particularly college students as as ironic as it is, the clubbing street is actually named after a university that is located there.

You can take the green line, and its right next to Sinchon that I’m always rambling about. Then again, I would like to remind you that Sinchon is not exactly the best travel spot that you would want to go to. Hong Dae should be a better place. This is because Sinchon is more of a chill out place for the (unadventurous) people who actually stay in Korea to find the little happenings to be amusing. Hong Dae is more upbeat and into fashion and arts.

Anyways, here are some photos.

The funny thing about kimbab is that I really love it, especially the beef flavored ones. At this point, I can understand why some people are crazy about sushi. I can’t take sushi, and am still wondering why. I’m fine with eating the ingredients on its own, but when put together – the smell makes me nauseous. Back to kimbab, this shop that I went has the finest kimbab perfected with sesame oil and seeds.

The drinking culture is really the ‘in’ thing in Seoul. Hence, they have streets of what I would call “alcohol cafes” where people would just sit down and talk over bottles of alcohol.

The reason why I wouldn’t call them pubs because they aren’t the type of pubs we have in Malaysia where people really drink. I know that we do have some chill out pubs but here in Korea, its all fully furnished just for your comfort. They give you plushy comfortable cushions, prepared to sit you in the house from 5PM to 5AM. I can’t explain it in words, you would have to see it for yourself only to acknowledge this special trait before we start comparing it with the pubs in Malaysia.

Besides alcohol, there will always be another thing that has to come with it. It’s called ‘An Ju’. Basically it is a side order that people would normally have while drinking. It kind of means ‘accompaniment’ (not directly translated) to go with your drink. It can range from chicken wings to crackers. Crackers are the ‘in’ thing tho. The coloured ones.

This is my favorite karaoke line in Seoul with the rooms overlooking the streets of Hong Dae.

Unlike in Malaysia where we have the three dominating karaoke brands, they have random brands here and there. You just have to find out which is your favorite. Luxury has quite a few outlets (they have one in Sinchon too!) and it’s about the only one that I would go when I feel that I have some extra money to spare. It’s not really an expensive karaoke to be at, just a little pricier than the rest. The only thing is that, ice-cream is free flow and it is a concept karaoke with rooms of your preference. Most of it are cushioned so that you can get comfortable. Korean karaoke’s charge you per room per hour (regardless of pax) and they’d normally be about 15000 Won ($15/RM 30) per hour.

The walls of the karaoke. Creative…..or not?

You’ll never guess what this is.




It’s apparently a beauty saloon!! Not a normal one of course, after some research I found out that they do sell some merchandises and provide service counselling in regards to beauty. See the extends that they would go to? See what I mean by ‘surprises waiting in store for you’?

Another norm : a hip chill out cafe.

These open air cafe’s really give you the privilege to just sit out and stare into space. They don’t really have a dominating coffee house (they have too many, TOO many) and most of the people would normally just go to these street ones as they are equally comfortable and hospitable. Korean service is always tip top 89.5% of the time.

One of the street arts

This is a lounge. I would believe that most foreigners would hang out here – apart from the foreign area looking at those flags but I can’t be too sure. I liked the name of the place so I took a photo of it. Like the setting?

We were walking down the streets when Dawn suddenly bursted into laughter. I turned and saw this. It’s a pizza house but its name was So Geli. Only Malaysians/Singaporeans would get this I guess. In our lingo it kind of means So Disgusting/Ticklish. What a name for a food shop!

This building caught my attention.

It’s called Sang Sang Ma Dang <상상마당>, litreally translated to “Imagination Field”.

I don’t really know how to explain what’s inside. It’s basically a building that stores the modern simplicities. Very artistic things they have in here, ranges from furnitures to stationaries. I’ll attach a few photos of the interiors for you to understand. Never failed to be amazed by these architectures and it’s interior!

Sang Sang Ma Dang #1

Sang Sang Ma Dang #2

Sang Sang Ma Dang #3

Get what I mean by how I can’t explain what’s inside? I didn’t go in during this trip which explains why I don’t have the original photos. The last time I went in I was very, very amused.

I’m going to have to ask you to guess what this is again. Simply because everything is so unexpected!
It’s a cosmetics shop! Wouldn’t have guessed that right? I thought so too because when I first saw it (was actually standing RIGHT INFRONT of it) I thought it was a fashion outlet. The moment I stepped in I was a little surprised as they had very meticulously designed packaging for their cosmetics and they were all in really good quality! I didn’t buy any but it was worth the eye opening experience!

Crepes aren’t anything special but when I first saw them, it wasn’t as commercialised as it is now in KL. Seoul has the best crepes and waffles that I have ever had. I was in a waffle phase during my time there although I almost never ever like desserts at all. There’s this in credible waffle in Kang Nam that’s selling for above Rm 60/$20 for one which is said to be the ultimate best. I’ll promise myself to try that the next time I’m there!

This is one of the methods that are not very commonly used in KL although I found it to be pretty strategic. Well, I guess the culture in our country isn’t really ready for people to step over their products (despite it being in print) or either there are regulations that they have to abide to. Which is a shame, because I am always attracted to these floor ads. Then again, Koreans are quite responsible for their mess so they’re always bound to clear these ads up if the event’s over.

Finally a photo of me and Dawn! Here’s us taking a photo infront of the mascot of one of the chicken restaurants? Chicken is like a menu by itself in Korea. Here we would say, would you want some chicken and we would think of like Chicken Chop, Fried chicken mixed with braised vegetables and maybe KFC. But there, it’s one thing by itself and the number of retails that has chicken as their sole menu is…..incredible.

The Korean style of dimsum. A steam pot for dumplings, traditional Korean noodles and cold noodles. This was tucked in a small aisle so I found it to be very ancient. Gave me a comfortable feeling as I like to be at the presence of such flavor. Places like Malacca exerts the same vibe.

I know its quite er, out of place but pfft, i admire artworks like these too! I feel like one of the people who I always laugh at who stand infront of the Christmas trees in malls for a photo. 🙁 So mean, I know!!

Please don’t tell me this is very common because such buildings gives me hope in life. Frankly, such arts make me believe that people still have the freedom of expression is not afraid to believe in themselves. I know it doesn’t really relate directly – but I’m just saying that this is what such creativity brings me to. I can’t draw to save my life – you won’t even want to see my stick doodlings.

Going crazy doing this post because it makes me feel kind of disappointed that I have not come across such things in KL. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying that we’re bad and that we don’t have such things – I just hope that I’d bump into them one day. Anyways, cute cellphone store – no?


  1. Jamie says:


    omg I didn’t know those buildings were so pretty in daylight. didn’t notice it at night T_T.

  2. shan says:

    Hey! i love the beauty salon place. it looks great! i want to visit the place. do you where the name of the salon or the address?

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