Asia Tour 2010 Day 5: Museum/Shopping

Continuing my tour of Seoul: I planned a figure eight route of Seoul today using the subway system, starting at the National Museum of Korea, which is pretty much near the center of Seoul on the map.

National Museum of Korea:
Lots of cool artifacts here and a very nicely organized floorspace that'll get you caught up on the history of Korea in no time. I spent the entire morning here. When I got out, they were shooting a scene for a Korean drama on top those stairs.

Ipark Mall/Electric Town:
The Korean electric town turned out to be a bust. Ipark mall is the largest building in the town , but it was a semi-empty multifloor mall, with each floor specializing in one thing (cameras, tv's, computers, games), but nothing really interesting. The top floor was an e-sports stadium, which was pretty neat to sit down and watch the events going on.

Moved onto Dondaemun. The subway exit is almost below Dondaemun Gate.

I walked to the shopping areas. Lots of people. The traffic lights take like 5 minutes until it gets to pedestrian mode, and then only last like 30 seconds. Pedestrians are treated pretty poorly.

I found a shack in the middle of a side alley. It was very tasty, 4000 won per order. I had the clam soup noodles and soup dumplings (not pictured). Yummm - real Korean food.

Described as the "Beverly Hills" of Seoul, I had to go. However, the nearest subway stop was 30-40 mins walk from the actual area and I was put on a special english speaking hotline to point me towards the direction. Once there, I walked around, saw lots of expensive stores, and a street sign called "Rodeo Drive". Pretty interesting, but I had read beforehand that driving was recommended, and I ignored it like usual and paid for it with my feet. Anyways, I had a nice conversation (in english) with one of the young ladies at the information booth at the Galleria mall, and she wrote down instructions (in Korean) so that I could show the driver and passengers of a city bus to get me to my next destination: the COEX mall. The city buses are not english friendly like the subway. No stations are written in english ... and counting stops is risky because they don't stop at every stop.

COEX Mall:
COEX is a really large exhibition hall + an underground mall complex. The G-20 Summit (the one where Obama couldn't get a trade agreement with Korea done) was held here a month after I left.
Lots of places to eat, and a huge, huge mall with almost every type of shop. There was a shrine outside that I visited, and also a bonus on the other side!

Bonus: On the west side of COEX is a casino! I hear it is for internationals only, and they did ask for my passport at the door. I put $10 in a slot machine, drank some lychee juice (on the house), and didn't linger long.

Soooo tired.