Sunday, October 3, 2021

Tips for traveling in South Korea

In our previous post "Where to visit in Seoul, South Korea?" we talked about the best places to visit in Seoul. In this post we give general tips and info about traveling in Korea.

Seoul, South Korea

1. Download Naver map in your phone! 
Google maps doesn't work in Korea properly so by using Naver map you can make sure you will find your way to the right place. It is better to copy paste the addresses in Korean letters to find the correct locations!

2. Get a T-money card!
It costs 2500-4000krw You can purchase this travel card anywhere in convenience stores like 7-Eleven, CU or GS25. After buying the card you can recharge money in it and travel more conveniently all around Seoul with travel card. T-money also works in Busan or when going to Everland by bus.  By T-money travel card you can transfer for free from metro to bus or vice versa within 30 minutes and the tickets are slightly cheaper as well.

3. In Korea you don't have to worry about pickpockets as much as in other countries
In Seoul you can easily leave your bag to reserve a seat in a cafe or leave your phone on a table while visiting the bathroom. Koreans are very reliable people and almost everywhere you can find CCTV so it is safe to walk alone even in the middle of the night without worrying about your safety too much. In more international areas like Itaewon it is better to pay more attention to your belongings.

4. Try these Korean foods
Korean barbecue 삼겹살, bulgogi 불고기, cold noodles 냉면, kimbab 김밥 kimchi jigae 김치찌개 or bibimbab! 비빔밥. Food in Korea is often very spicy so if you can't handle spicy food remember to tell the waiter to make the food less spicy! Don't forget to try some local soju 소주 (drink) as well!

5. Learn a few words of Korean!
That makes Korean people feel more comfortable, it is polite and often is a good conversation starter to make new local friends!

안녕하세요                 Annyeonghaseyo         =      Hello!
안녕히 계세요            Annyeonghi kyeseyo   =      Good bye (when you leave)
안녕히 가세요            Annyeonghi kaseyo     =      Good bye (when somebody leaves)
감사합니다                 Kamsahabnida             =      Thank you
저는 *name* 입니다 Jeoneun *name* imnida =   I am *name*
맛있어요                     Masisseoyo!                 =     It is delicious!
반갑습니다                 Bangabseumnida         =      Nice to meet you!

6. Have some cash with you!
Even though almost everywhere in South Korea you can pay by card, it is good to have some cash with you because many local vendors sell some street food which you can't buy by card. Also there are some small fashion stores where by paying by cash you get a cheaper price for the products.

7. Try a photo booth
In South Korea it is easy to find photo booths in every corner with only 5000krw! It is a fun way to make memories with your loved ones and you can wear some funny accessories and choose the theme for your pictures. At the end of the photo booth the machine will print you the pictures!

8. In Korea you pay at the cafes first and in the restaurants it depends on the place.

Generally speaking you always pay your coffee and cake while ordering. In restaurants it is case by case: Sometimes you pay the meal when you order it and sometimes after you are done with eating. Tipping is not necessary in Korea.

9. Tap water is safe to drink...
...but most people don't do it because it doesn't taste good.

10. Don't be surprised if your new Korean friends are too busy to meet you...
...because many of them do long working days until late evenings. Try to catch up on the weekends or during their spare time!

Friday, October 1, 2021

Where to visit in Seoul, South Korea?

Many people go to Japan, Tokyo when they travel to Asia. But have you ever thought about visiting South Korea, the country where K-pop and Samsung come from? If not, take a look of this post and let us introduce you Seoul 서울South Korea's top city to visit and let us tell why it should be your next destination!

Seoul cherry blossoms
Seoul during cherry blossoms

Seoul is the capital of South Korea with the population of 9,7 million. It is located in the northern part of South Korea and the nearest international airport is Incheon airport 인천국제공항 . This city is a large city full of life and action which will never stop even during the night. You can find hundreds of different restaurants, cafes, bars, fashion stores, game halls, karaoke rooms, temples and anything you can imagine. Only the sky is the limit for this city! If you want to get a feeling of Asian New York, Seoul is the place!

How to get to Seoul city center from airport?
From Incheon airport it is easy either to take Airport Railroad Express (9500krw express/all stops 4500krw), Seoul Metropolitan subway (4250krw) or Airport bus (9000krw) to the city.

Where to visit in Seoul?
1. Gangnam-gu: Gangnam, Sinsa, Apgujeon Rodeo, Cheonnam 강남구
Gangnam-gu is a business area with more pricey stores and restaurants, trendy cafes and offices. Here you can also find the famous Gangnam statue, Ceox shopping mall and a city temple Bongeunsa at Samseong-dong, K-star road from Apgujeong Rodeo station and the famous shopping street Garosu-gil or "Green street" at Sinsa-dong. Why not to also pay a visit to the Han river park and have a lovely picnic with your family or friends watching the sunset?

A picture from Gangnam

2. Yeonnam-dong: Hongdae/Hongkik university 홍대
A youth area with local fashion stores, more affordable local restaurants, many bars, clubs and pubs around. Many young Korean artists gather here to perform their dance or music performances. You can go to game hall, have some Korean barbecue, spend a few hours in Karaoke or just walk on the streets of Hongdae in the evening. There is also a famous Thursday Party pub, where many foreign people gather to meet new people. If you go out from exit 3 of Hongdae station you will find a park to chill and many great cafes surrounding the walkway. 


3. Yongsan-gu: Itaewon 이태원
Itaewon is known to be the area where most foreigners reside. Here you can find a lot of foreigners spending their weekend at the rooftop bars and restaurants. There are foreign marts for imported products, Turkish, American, Italian Japanese and Mexican restaurants and so on. You can also bargain a cheap luggage or go to the small famous bar street called Haebangcheon 해방촌 to watch sports match, have a fancy glass of wine or have one of the best pizzas in town at Bonny's Pizza Pub. If you want to see the city view, hike up to Namsan mountain to the famous N Seoul Tower/Namsan tower서울타워

N Seoul Tower Itaewon
N Seoul Tower Itaewon

4. Myeong-dong 명동
Myeong-dong is a heaven for skincare lovers. Here you find all the Korean cosmetic stores lined up next to each other. At the times the workers lure you in the store and give you free sheet masks or cosmetic samples while visiting the stores — sometimes you don't even have to buy the products to get those free sheet masks! There are also great Korean restaurants, a movie theater and walking towards north you end up to the stream called Cheonggyecheon 청계천. It's a popular spot to get some new Instagram material by the water! If you are interested in animals they also have a Meerkat cafe in Myeong-dong where you can meet the real meerkats and other animals like wallabies!

Meerkat cafe, Myeong-dong
Meerkat cafe, Myeong-dong

5. Insa-dong 인사동
Insa-dong is a popular area for traditional Korean art, handcrafts, clothes and tea houses. You will find the stores names only written in Korean letters here. You can try one of the best green teas here in Osulloc tea store or buy some beautiful Korean traditional accessories as a souvenir!

6. Bukchon Hanok Village 북촌한옥마을
Bukchon Hanook Village is a must to visit when you are in Seoul. It is a neighborhood with traditional Korean houses, a beautiful view facing the mountains and some cafes. One of the best cafes in this area is called Onion Cafe and many times you have to line up to get in. They offer amazing pastries and you can sit down traditional way on the floor while sipping your afternoon coffee.

Bukchon Hanok Village
Bukchon Hanok Village

7. Gyeongbukgung palace 경복궁 
Near Bukchon Hanok village is Gyeongbukgung palace, which is a royal palace from the era of Joseon Dynasty. It is built in 1395 and it has a significant meaning in Korea's history. It is known as the largest palace in Seoul and the National Palace Museum is within the complex. The entrance fee for adults is only 3000krw to visit this beautiful historical attraction. You can also spend some time at the garden or rent a Hanbok — the traditional Korean outfit — to visit the palace with the touch of history on you.

Gyeongbukgung palace

The address of the palace: 161 Sajik-ro, Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

8. Seoul Forest 서울숲
Do you prefer a peaceful day in a park? Then Seoul Forest is the place for you. This park is one of the biggest city parks in Seoul. Nearby the park there are streets where you can find bakeries to buy some picnic snacks as well as some great restaurant! There is an amazing burger restaurant called Bas Burger quite near from the subway station. Their fries and chips are so crispy that it is hard to resist them!

Bas Burger, Seoul Forest
Bas Burger, Seoul Forest

9. Bukhansan mountain 북한산
Are you more of an active person and you want some challenge in your holidays? Prepare your backpack, a couple of bottles of water, some snacks and head towards Bukhansan mountain in the morning. It is the highest mountain in Seoul with the height of 836 meters. The peak Baegundae can be reached in three to four hours depending on your physical condition. The view is spectacular and I recommend to go there when there is less pollution in the air to get the best sight. It is a popular hiking attraction and you will see a lot of Korean ahjummas and ahjussis (older Korean aunts and uncles) hiking with their professional hiking equipment. Don't worry, you will do as well as them with just normal sports wear! Just avoid going to the mountain in the evening or rainy days because it can be dangerous and slippery that time.

Bukhansan mountain
A view from Bukhansan mountain.
10. Everland 에버랜드

This theme park is definitely a must if you go to Korea! Everland is not located exactly in Seoul but it is just one hour by bus from there. You will find speedy rollercoasters, Ferris wheel, water slide, a zoo, French garden, game halls and many other interesting things in this amusement park. If you are not afraid of heights or speed, you must try the craziest ride at the rollercoaster T Express!

Everland with the T-Express rollercoaster behind.

The address: South Korea, Gyeonggi-do, Yongin-si, Cheoin-gu, Pogog-eup, Everland-ro, 199

Do you need some more tips about visiting Seoul, Korea? Check out our new post "Tips for visiting Seoul, South Korea!"

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Top 5 cafes in Barcelona

Barcelona is one of the cities where you can find hundreds of cafes with high quality coffee, sunny terraces and good customer service. In Barcelona the bartenders make you feel welcomed and always treat their customers with a smile on their face. Here are Top 5 cafes to visit in Barcelona!

1. Hoffman A La Seca

Hoffman A La Seca is a small cafe terrace in the lobby of El Born's La Seca–Espai Brossa theatre. It's known for its tasty croissants. They also offer other great pastries along with great hot chocolate! It's located at a narrow alley of the streets of Barcelona not far from the Park de la Ciutadella.

The address: Carrer dels Flassaders, 40, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

Hoffman A La Seca

2. ARTiSA Barcelona

This cafe is located by La Rambla, the famous pedestrian street in Barcelona. They say they have one of the best churros in ARTiSA - no wonder because they were sold out when we got there. However, their other sweets are as great and this lovely cafe was a perfect spot to stop by while exploring the streets of Barcelona.

The address: Carrer de Colom, 2, 08002 Barcelona, Spain

ARTiSA Barcelona

3. Alsur Café & Backdoor bar

Alsur is one of the great cafes, lunch places and bars at the same time. They have delicious lunch options along with tasty cakes. They also offer a coffee + cake set with very reasonable price in the early afternoon! The interior reminds of the bars from 80's with their blue lighting and neon signs.

The address: Carrer de la Ribera, 18, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

Alsur Café & Backdoor bar

4. Molinet Cafè Antic

One of the greatest hidden cafes in Barcelona and no wonder - the service here was super friendly! The waiter even served us an extra drink free of charge. Molinet Cafè Antic is a small cozy cafe in the El Poble-Sec district which greets you in with their warm lights and interior design (like from an old film!) It seemed pretty busy here and they have just a few seats so I recommend to go there during weekdays rather than a weekend. Their brunch menu has great avocado toasts and bagels so Molinet Café Antic is definitely a place for grabbing lunch!

The address: Carrer d'Elkano, 69, 08004 Barcelona, Spain

Molinet Cafè Antic

5. Manso's Cafe

This cafe is for all the Scandinavian lovers because in this Swedish cafe you can find authentic Swedish pastries like kanerbullar (cinnamon buns) or semla (cardamom-spiced wheat bun with cream and almost paste). They also have some tasty cakes and Swedish cookies. Have a cup of coffee, a Swedish pastry and take a seat at their sunny terrace to enjoy the afternoon!

The address: Carrer de Manso, 1, 08015 Barcelona, Spain

Manso's Cafe

What else to do than visit great cafes in Barcelona? What is your favourite cafe in Barcelona and what makes it special? Check out our post TOP 10 Best Places to Visit in Barcelona!

Sunday, August 8, 2021

TOP 10 Best Places to Visit in Barcelona

Barcelona is the largest city and the capital of Catalonia which is an autonomous community of Catalonia. It is located at the northeastern Spain and holds the population of 1.6 million people.

Barcelona is known for the friendly people, great food, the seaside and beautiful architecture. It is visited yearly by millions of tourists – which is not surprising by looking at how amazing the city is. Here are Top 10 hot spots for visitors in Barcelona.

1. La Sagrada Familia

This Roman Catholic basilica is one of the greatest masterpieces by the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. The construction of La Sagrada Familia started on 19 March 1882 and yet is still unfinished after all these decades. The style of the Basilica is mix of Gothic and Art Nouveau.

The address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain

La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia

2. Arc de Triomf

Like the Arc the Triomphe in Paris, it is must to pay a visit to Barcelona’s own arch of triumph built by the architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas. The Neo-Mudéjar style master piece doesn’t leave you cold with its warm outer appearance. It was originally built as an entrance for 1888 Barcelona World Fair. Located near the Parc de la Ciutadella you can have a peaceful picnic after taking couple of pictures by this beautiful historical gate!

The address: Passeig de Lluís Companys, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

Arc de Triunfo
Arc de Triunfo

3. Parc de la Ciutadella

This park is one of the best places to relax and enjoy Barcelona in more peaceful way. Here you can have a picnic, meet friends, admire the park’s lake, visit the Barcelona Zoo or just come to see the park’s  famous fountain. The park was created in 1877 and is open all year.

The address: Passeig de Picasso, 21, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

Parc de la Ciutadella
Parc de la Ciutadella

4. Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

This fountain is by the National Art of Museum of Catalonia. You can also find The Four Columns by Josep Puig i Cadafalc here. It is a beautiful spot of taking pictures with the view of the city or just admire the fountain light show. If you have more energy you can hike all the way up to the peak of Montjuïc from the fountain!

The address: Plaça de Carles Buïgas, 1, 08038 Barcelona, Spain

Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

5. La Barceloneta

A trip to Barcelona is not completed without visiting La Barceloneta beach. It is the main beach of Barcelona where people gather to enjoy a beach day, jogging, playing volleyball or surfing. The beach area has a plenty of restaurants and cafes with local seafood or Catalonian style tapas to try. One famous tapas restaurant around the beach area is La Cova Fumada where you can try heavenly sardines and their famous garlic toast! After a meal just dip in the fresh sea water or relax at the beach.

La Barceloneta
La Barceloneta

6. Parc del Laberint d'Horta

Have you ever been to a real labyrinth? If not, Park of the Labyrinth of Horta is the best chance to do it! The entrance is just couple of euros and the labyrinth is in this beautiful romantic garden located in the northern part of Barcelona, in the Municipality of Horta-Guinardó.

The address: Passeig dels Castanyers, 1, 08035 Barcelona, Spain

Labyrinth of Horta
Park of the Labyrinth of Horta

7. Park Güell

This park is composed with architectural buildings and beautiful gardens. You can find the beautiful buildings designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi who designed the famous church La Sagrada Familia. It is UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful viewpoints of Barcelona. You can also find Gaudi's home in Park Güell!

The address: 08024 Barcelona, Spain

Park Güell
Park Güell

Pablo Picasso is one of the most famous Spanish painters and artists in the world. If you are an art lover Picasso museum is definitely one of the places to visit during your stay in Barcelona! The museum contains over 4000 paintings and tells the story of Picasso's life and career. Also, the museum has free admission on Thursdays 6pm to 9.30pm and the first Sunday of every month from 9 am to 7 pm.

The address: Carrer de Montcada, 15-23, 08003 Barcelona, Espanja

Picasso Museum

9. The mountain of Tibidabo & Sagrat Cor Church 

Just a couple of hours hike up to northern part of Barcelona and you can reach the top of the mountain Tibidabo. There you can find Sagrat Cor Church/Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which is a Roman Catholic Church from 1952. On top of the Basilica stands a famous Jesus sculpture. This magical mountain looks like from a Disney movie and there is nothing more beautiful than the sunset from the peak.

The address: Ctra. de Vallvidrera al Tibidabo, 111, 08035 Barcelona, Spain


Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

10. La Rambla + Gothic Quarter

La Rambla is the most notable pedestrian street of Barcelona. It is 1.2km street between the neighborhoods Gothic Quarter and El Raval. You can walk all the way from the Plaça de Catalunya (a famous square) to the harbor from here and grab a cup of coffee or stop by at the Maritime museum of Barcelona. Gothic Quarter, which is part of the Ciutat Vella district, is in the center of the old town of Barcelona. The area consists plenty of  historical buildings, cafes, bars restaurants and small stores. It's absolutely Instagram worthy area and one of the best places to visit in Barcelona to admire Gothic-style architecture or just to spend a day between historical buildings.

Pont del Bisbe built in 1928, Gothic Quarter
Pont del Bisbe built in 1928, Gothic Quarter

As you can see, Barcelona is combination of beautiful architecture, history, landscapes, nature and art. It's a city which has something to offer for everybody and with being relatively warm the whole year it's a perfect place for holidays despite of the season. What is your favorite place from our TOP 10 picks of Barcelona? Leave a comment below!