Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 6

The last night of the trip.
Let's see what Seoul Sellers liked about Seoul.

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Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 5

Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 5

Our first activity of the day was visiting the Seoul Design Fair at the old Olympic stadium.  It was really impressive to see all of the exhibits and examples of how Korean’s are implementing creative design techniques to solve problems or improve society.  For example, they had a “bench” design contest where Korean designers competed in making an environmentally friendly, efficient, attractive, and comfortable sitting contraption which would be used somewhere in the city.  There were so many unique solutions to the “bench” design and I was blown away by some of the prototypes.

*see Seoul Design Fair video

Another thing that I found really interesting was the term “Upcycling”.  I had heard of recycling before but upcycling differed because the whole point was to use materials that would normally be thrown away to create something new and more valuable than before.  They had an upcycling flea market where people had created clothing, jewelery, household décor, and other objects of value from old “throw away” materials.
I also really liked seeing the culinary design entries.  They had so many interesting platings and they definitely made me hungry for lunch.  I wished I could read the signs that described what each entry was exactly.

We got in a cab and headed for Myeong Dong which was another busy tourist area where people enjoyed shopping and other tourist activities. We went to a restaurant where the wall was covered in post-it notes that patrons had left little messages on.
After lunch we took a cooking class to learn how to make our very own Kimchi in Kimchi Academi House.  I didn’t realize what an important part of the Korean diet Kimchi played but apparently many Koreans eat it for every meal of the day. 

*see Kimchi Academy video

We then headed over to the Seoul Medical Tourism Center.  Apparently the prices for various medical treatments including plastic surgery are very affordable here.  People travel from all over the world to have various medical procedures performed.

*see Seoul Medical Tourism Center video

We concluded our day by taking a long stroll down Cheonggyecheon which flowed right through the center of Seoul.  There were a lot of people walking the path next to the river and we saw examples of Korean art on display and even a live art expression piece where a woman was walking through the icy stream and braiding colorful ribbons of fabric.  It was very unusual but a pleasant surprise to see a public display of artistic expression amongst the city streets of Seoul.

*see Cheonggyecheon video

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Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 4

Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 4

Today we got to visit a Buddhist temple, Bongeunsa.  I knew right when I entered that I was going to like this place.  The buildings were so beautifully designed and I could see they paid great attention to detail.   I was told that there were no nails used in the construction of the temple and that each piece was crafted to perfectly fit in with its neighbors to create a sturdy and smooth appearance.

*see Bongeunsa video

As we walked through a lush landscape past various prayer rooms and colorful streamers overhead, we eventually came to a courtyard with a fountain in the center.  We lit a candle and placed it into the fountain followed by lighting a stick of incense and making a wish for the future.  I was told this was a customary ritual often performed at Buddhist temples.  In the background I could hear a monk leading a group of people in their morning prayers.  I remember feeling very calm and relaxed as we explored the temple grounds.

After the temple we ventured to COEX which is Seoul’s largest underground shopping mall.  I could tell right away that this was no ordinary shopping mall.  It contained hundreds of stores, a multiplex movie theatre, aquarium, two food courts, and several stages for live performances.  We explored the mall and I particularly enjoyed checking out some of the new cell phones, mp3 players, and other gadgets at the Samsung store.
Brandon, our tour guide, also took the opportunity to introduce me to my new favorite beverage, “banana milk”.  Banana milk tasted just like the name implies,  a sweet flavor of bananas with the smooth consistency of milk which created a refreshing and flavorful experience that made me smile with each gulp.
*see Hyundai Department video

After a couple hours at COEX we headed to Itaewon to visit the famous Hamilton Shirts custom tailor shop.  I was told Hamilton Shirts was the best place in Seoul to get custom tailored clothing made. Celebrities and international travelers alike chose Hamilton Shirts because of their wide selection of fabrics, their great prices, and quality of work.  I wound up getting two custom shirts made and an Australian wool suit.

*see Itaewon video

After Itaewon we went to a small café overlooking the Han River called the Rainbow Café. They had an assortment of organic teas and treats for us there.  It was a nice view of the river and nearby parks and trails where we saw locals biking, running, and working out.
That night we checked the Hotel Popgreen.  We got settled and then walked to a nearby restaurant where we ate a spicy yet tasty dinner and drank a few bottles of a sweet Korean wine.

We spent the rest of the evening enjoying various flavored soju drinks and exploring the nightlife around our hotel.  It was a great way to finish the day and I began to feel a lot closer with my fellow Seoul Sellers.

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Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 3

Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 3

Our first stop was a cultural experience in progress – the Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park that is currently being built on the grounds of an old statium with the goal of being one of the worlds largest fashion centers. It was stated to be finsished already for the world design fair being held while we were visiting, but the ETA has been pushed to 2011. Sadface.

*see Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park video
Dave and I almost got lost but thanks to the hospitality of the locals in Seoul we got right back on track to meet the rest of the crew.
We went to the mall in the Dongdaemun Market where Crystal bought pretty much everything except for the extra luggage she would need to haul it back home. The only thing I picked up at the mall was food, which followed the trend so far of being better than what we have in the US, and that's not just American-mall-food standards.

We went to Unhyeongung which was formerly the residence of Prince Regent Daewon-gun, ruler of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty in the 19th century. Dave and I got to parade in full royal attire and waved to all of our patrons (or other tourists depending on one's perspective). I wish at work I would have someone to carry me on my mobole cubicle chair but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

*see Unhyeongung video

Then we all watched Korean-pop until we died:
This was a rediculous experience that got me pumped like a boy-band-love struck 16-year old girl whose only Christmas wish was a sweaty discarded garment from her favorite band member. DID WE GET TO TOUCH THE LEAD SINGER?! Yes.
That was an exhausting day its only day 3, but we're all still excited for the rest of this week which is already going by too fast. See you all soon.

*see Hongdae video

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Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 2

Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 2 We woke up this morning with the sweet smell of bacon and toasted bagels emanating from the kitchen.  The lady who owned the guest house was kind enough to make breakfast for us after our long voyage to Korea.  After breakfast we went to CALT to rent some iPhones which we could use to help us find tourist attractions on our trip.

*see iTourSeoul iPhone video

We had a special treat for lunch in store for us.  Our guides took us to a restaurant that specialized in octopus dishes.  We ordered octopus soup and spicy Bulgogi Octopus. I was amazed when our waitress approached our table with live octopus in a dish. She then cut up the octopus in front of us and put it in our soup. I can’t imagine another way to enjoy the freshest octopus possible. In another words, it was awesome! The soup tasted flavorful and filled our bellies.

We went to the Creative Arcade in Shindang Dong. Shindang Creative Arcade is a project to help educate the public about arts and culture of Korea. We saw lots of school children doing all sorts of arts and crafts. We were very lucky to join the group of children where we made our own design using glue and seashells fragments.

*see Sindang Creative Arcade video

Despite warnings from our friends and families, we partook in some of Seoul’s finest street food. One item in particular stood out. It was a fried pancake injected with sweet syrup. It reminded me of Saturday mornings and cartoons. It was AMAZING.

We went to N Seoul Tower and took an elevator to the top floor. Then we got to see the whole city in one place. It was BEAUTIFUL!

Then we went to Namsan Gugakdang. We dressed into traditional Korean garments and learned the secrets of the Korean tea ceremony. It was quite an experience because we drank hot tangerine green tea and fried sweet potatoes with rice pieces. The tea was very calming!

*see Namsan video

We went to go eat Bulgogi for dinner which was marinated beef with garlic and mushrooms. It was one of Korea’s most famous dishes. It tasted sweet and tender.

We ended the evening at a prestigious private karaoke club where we danced and sang our favorite songs. It was great to watch our cameraman rock out to a Korean pop.

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Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 1 - Touchdown!

Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 1 - Touchdown!

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Sell Your Seoul Trip 4 - Day 5 - Shopaholic

Hey Gang, your Seoul shopaholic Stephanie here! Reporting on our last day in Korea-how sad! This day was all about my favorite subject-shopping!

It's Tuesday night, 11pm, you're itching to hang out with your friends get some coffee or maybe shop. An impossible scenario in the States, right? Not in Seoul! Treat yourself and your pals to a night out at Doota, a multi-level mall open all night in Dongdaemun fashion town. This, my friends, is my personal heaven. While I was there I learned some very important Seoul shopping tips! In Korea, it is popular to have tops or dresses that are "free size". This means that this dress or top is basically a 'one size fits all,' depending if you are a US size S, M or L the top or dress in question will fit you tighter or looser. Since most shopping stores are quite small, some stores may not allow you to try on clothing. Korea measures their shoes in millimeters, for example, I am a size 7 1/2 in US, in Korea my shoe size is 245. I suggest writing this number down on a piece of paper to show the store clerk your shoe size. Doota mall is surrounded by street food vendors, you gotta try the corn dog covered in french fries, decadent goodness!

Sell Your Seoul Trip 4 - Day 4 - Excitement

Sell Your Seoul  Day 4! Day of excitement!

We started the day by traveling to the Han River for a leisurely boat cruise. In hindsight, easing into the excitement was wise, as we got PLENTY of it later in the day.

The cruise is typically used for evening celebrations, such as weddings, concerts, or birthdays. The day cruise is accompanied by some history of the sites that we passed, which proved to be pleasant, as Seoul is as vast geographically as it is rich in culture. Two of the most notable sites that we passed were the tallest building in Seoul and Nodle Island. Simply referred to as 63, the number of stories, the building itself is a shimmering, bronze monolith that starkly represents Seoul’s ambitious drive to modernize. Nodle Island sits in the middle of the Han River and serves as a natural preserve for a variety of animals and birds. It was a comforting sight to see a space set a side for the non-human inhabitants of the city.

Sell Your Seoul Trip 3 - Day 3 - The Future

Hi everyone! Ray here with the skinny on Day 3 events. The theme was "The Future(Technology)" ...though after the day was done it felt more like the theme was "Korea totally owns America in everything."

Our first stop was the Sangam Digital Media City (DMC). DMC offered many interactive exhibits that in the near future will let you create music without the knowledge of playing instruments and even using your windows to watch TV or give you better outdoor scenery (in case you get tired of that brick wall you've been staring out at every day at your apartment). Because Korea is so Green friendly, they've transformed Sangam from a former landfill where everyone in Seoul once dumped their trash, to a world-class educational research institute in media and entertainment.

Our next stop was to World Cup Stadium home to the 2002 World Cup Opening Ceremonies as well as FC Seoul, Seoul's Professional K-League Soccer Team. Being a soccer fan myself (What?! An American soccer fan?) I was REALLY looking forward to seeing the stadium up close and personal. We were able to get on the field and experience it as a player would. We visited the locker rooms, coaching rooms, showers, indoor practice rooms with turf, even a museum with uniforms and gear used during the tournament. THEY EVEN HAD A REAL WORLD CUP TROPHY IN THE MUSEUM!!! When you think of stadiums you think that they only serve one purpose. World Cup Stadium however was much more then JUST a sports complex. It homed restaurants, shopping, and even a spa! Amazingly the stadium was built in just 32 months...far quicker then the average 45-60. And its roof even gives shape of a traditional Korean shield.

Sell Your Seoul Trip 4 - Day 1 & 2 - Touchdown and The Great Legacy

After weeks of anticipation and a long, long flight from New York, I finally arrived in Seoul. After meeting my fellow hosts and the Sell Your Seoul campaign crew, we all boarded a huge private bus and headed to the hotel, Blue Pearl. Once at the hotel, we settled into our rooms and went to dinner at a traditional Korean barbeque restaurant. Our meal consisted of flank steak and mushrooms that we cooked ourselves on an open grill and a sweet wine called Sansachoon.

Sell Your Seoul Meet the Hosts_John

Hey, I'm John Henry Murphy - I'm a Maine boy at heart, have a patchy beard that my girlfriend adores, and am equipped with the ability to make anybody double over in a fit of laughter. I'm hoping to put this last skill to good use in Seoul because I do not speak of lick of Korean and haven't been out of the country for over a decade. I can't wait to spice up my palette with the hot and exotic foods, take to the streets in search of adventure and let all of my friends stuck in cubicles live vicariously through me as I sell my Seoul.

Sell Your Seoul Meet The Hosts_Ray

Hi there, my name is Ray Noriega. I'm from Lake Elsinore, California, I'm 25 years old, and I can easily say I'm a Korea Fan.

Growing up I've always heard stories from family members of Korea. My grandfather served in the Korean War and most recently one of my uncles served in Busan. So I've always had a sort of fascination of its people and culture. But it wasn't until recently I found myself surrounded by all things Korea. It took a group of musicians to lure me into what Korea really has to offer.

Sell Your Seoul Meet The Hosts_Stephanie

Hello world, my name is Stephanie. As you can see, I'm a very colorful person! I believe every day is a chance to go out and try something new. I love adventure, food and laughing (even at myself!). I have a positive outlook on life,

Sell Your Seoul Meet The Hosts_Gina

Hi, I’m Gina Zammit. I am a travel writer, blogger, animal-lover, foodie and webshow host. I am so excited to have this opportunity to travel to Seoul! I have never traveled to Asia, and, admittedly, never been outside of North America, but all that is about to change! What I'm looking forward to the most about this trip is experiencing and learning all that I can about this amazing city - the food, art, music and most importantly, the people!

Sell Your Seoul It's time to SELL YOUR SEOUL again!

It’s time to Sell Your Seoul. is holding its annual Trip Give-Away. Win and visit one the amazing city of Seoul Korea for FREE. Visit to become a contestant. Winning is quite simple, just tell us who you are and why you want to “Sell Your Seoul”.
Here's what you can do.
Visit our facebook fanpage and do "Like It".
And, come back to this blog and leave a comment including
 - your name, age, gender, occupation, and where you live.
 - why you want sell your seoul
Don't miss your e-mail address!

Check out the 2009 SellYourSeoul blog to see past winners, their stories and what is in store for you if you win!

Below are the details* of the event period:

Event Period: June 22 2010 ~ Jun...e 30 2010

Winner Announcement: July 2 2010

Travel Schedule: July 24 2010 ~ July 30 2010

* Detailed travel plans will be announced after winner selection

Sell Your Seoul Best of Seoul

Sell Your Seoul Trip 3 - Day 10 - Snowboarding at Phoenix Park, Korea

My last day of adventures was exciting! We headed to Phoenix Park for snowboarding. The resort is about two hours east into the mountains so I got to see the countryside for the first time, very pretty.

Coming from Colorado you'd think that I was a Snowboard expert, but it's quite the opposite. I'd only been boarding one time before this, which was ten long years ago, and it wasn't pretty. Sang in however had never been, so we'd be learning together.

Luckily we got an instructor; I didn't want to go home with any broken bones. Jane spoke perfect English and patiently taught the two rookies how to carve, turn and fall...yes; there is a method to the falling. "Don't brace yourself with your wrists Ryan!"

After perfecting our skills on the bunny slopes with all the kiddies we headed up the hill. As I sat next to Sang in on the chairlift it looked like he has seen a ghost. I don't think he realized that the mountain was so steep. It was a big change from the friendly bunny slopes.

We actually made it down somewhat gracefully and Sang in was so excited that we went right back up. I never dreamed that I'd be snowboarding in Korea this January but it was so much fun. Maybe I'll have to skip Aspen and make this my new winter get away.

Sell Your Seoul Trip 3 - Day 9 - Mexican Dinner at Kunggakongga Restaurant

Seoul is a big metropolitan city and you can get any kind of food from all over the world. Up until this point though, I had only tried Korean food and I was itching for something familiar. If there's one thing I like as much as bikes, it's beans!

Sang in made arrangements for us to eat at a Mexican restaurant and I was overjoyed. It actually turned out to be an African restaurant but they did have a list of Mexican dishes as well. Talk about fusion....or CONfusion.

I ordered Anchiladas, my favorite African/Mexican dish :) I live on Mexican food at home so this was a real treat for me. I've loved the Korean food I've been eating all week but its fun to mix it up.

They get an 'A' for effort on the Anchiladas but I think I'll stick with the Kimchee and Squid Pancakes from now on. It actually tasted ok, and I really liked the spot of macaroni on the side, I never knew macaroni was Mexican.

Sell Your Seoul Trip 3 - Day 9 - Cycling at Jungnangcheon - Hangang Park - Seoul Forest

I've been looking forward to this day all week because today was BIKING day! If you know me well, then you know I love bikes!

We headed down to the Han River and rented a few bikes for a nice Saturday cruise along the water. Seoul takes pride in its bike program and offers up FREE bike rentals!

I chose a nice lime green cruiser to match my jacket. Sang in laughed at my choice, saying that it was a girl's bike. But after showing him how cool my bike was with its cushy seat and front basket, he decided to go with a bright pink cruiser.

Leaving our macho manhood behind, we set off on a little ride. Riding bikes brings back wonderful childhood memories and there's no better feeling. Ringing bells and feeling the wind in your face is just about the best thing in the world.

We pedaled along the river to the Seoul Forest, which didn't turn out to be very foresty. It's a big set of parks with different gardens, each specializing in different plants. I'm sure that it's spectacular in the summer but with all the snow cover it was all covered up. Guess I'll have to come back in June.

I could have ridden all day but unfortunately the bicycles were turning into icicles so we called it a day and headed out for lunch.

Sell Your Seoul Trip 3 - Day 8 - Staying at Seoul Guest House

Right now I’m sitting in my cozy Korean guesthouse loving the simple life. I checked out of my modern, fancy hotel and traded it for something a little more relaxing.

There’s no furniture, no heat and no indoor bathroom but I’m a happy camper. It’s kind of like camping actually; I’ll be sleeping on the floor bundled up in a pile of blankets to stay warm. Good night!

Sell Your Seoul Trip 3 - Day 8 - Tofu Soup & Outdoor Skating at Gwanghwamun Square

After a couple hours of slipping around the mountain it was time for lunch. Sang in brought me to a cozy little hole in the wall place deep in a busy alleyway. We sat traditional style on the floor and ordered spicy Tofu soup. This was the best tasting meal I’ve had so far in Korea! The pot came out sizzling like a plate of Fajitas and it went down like a bowl of ice cream, so smooth.

Today is January 15th but you’d think we were right in the middle of Christmas season. The decorations are still up everywhere! So in honor of it still being Christmas in Korea, we went ice-skating.

It was fun but very difficult to avoid running over little children. There were probably about 200 school kids swarming the ice. It was like rush hour traffic without any order to the chaos. We moved on quickly.

Sell Your Seoul Trip 3 - Day 8 - Hiking at Bukaksan Mountain & Fortress Wall of Joseon Dynasty

A heat wave has hit Seoul; it’s a whopping 10 degrees warmer today than yesterday, bringing up the temperature to a comfortable 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

To celebrate this moment I headed outside for a little hiking at Buk Ak Mountain. My buddy James from Seoul City met me and we headed to a beautiful trail on the northern outskirts of town.

The trail follows the fortress walls constructed by the Joseon dynasty in the early 1700’s. They actually built four gates around the city to protect the king from invaders. It’s looks something like the Great Wall, but I don’t think you can see this wall from space :)

We wandered the trail until we came to a sign that broke my heart, ‘Closed.’ The main section was blocked off due to slippery conditions, bummer. We turned back and luckily found another inviting trail that led off into the woods.

We quickly learned why they closed the trail though. Our new path was as slippery as an ice skating rink. We gingerly made our way down, grasping desperately onto the side rail to stay on our feet. It didn’t help though; first James took a spill, quickly followed by Sang in. We must have looked like a crew of drunken monkeys clumsily bobbling down that hill.

Once we reached the bottom, we came upon a tall column of small pebbles stacked about 6 feet high. Sang in explained to me that people stack these stones while making a wish for each rock.

I like making wishes and eagerly uncovered a pile of snow to find a rock. Once I found my winner, I eagerly placed it on the pile. However, in the process of adding my stone, I accidently knocked off about five rocks in the process, oops, five wishes down the drain!

Sell Your Seoul Trip 3 - Day 7 - More Traditional Martial Art (Taekgyen) Practice, Insadong - Part 2

After dinner it was time for more Taekgyen. This time I was invited into their warm practice facility. This was a good thing since I still couldn't feel my toes from the earlier session.

They suited me up in a traditional Hanbok and quickly began to kick my butt. It's almost impossible for me to be aggressive with a human so it was a little uncomfortable when it was time for sparing.

"Kick! Kick him hard!"

I resorted to my only weapon, humor, and instead decided to have a hug of war with my partner. He turned out to be a pretty good hugger, so we called it a draw.

Although I'm a lover not a fighter I really enjoyed learning Taekgyen. They may be complete ass kicking machines but were super gentle and sweet human beings when they weren't kicking me to the ground