Seoul Day 5: Samcheongdong, N Seoul Tower & Itaewon

Our last day in Seoul, we ventured out to Samcheong-dong to see the restored hanok or Korean traditional-style houses. It seemed to be a peaceful neighbourhood, except when masses of tourists wander around. After walking around for a bit, we quickly tired of the heat and sun and headed to the N Seoul Tower in Itaewon. Had to ask for directions, W and I were tempted to ask “Do you know Namsan Tower?” and “Wheeere is Namsan Tower?” like in UV’s MV for Itaewon Freedom. It’s kind of the best thing ever, so if you don’t know it already, watch it here.

There was a steep uphill climb from the bus stop to the base of the tower, but we saw a gang of grannies in their electric scooters zipping past us. It was also interesting that they installed a TV screen in the ceiling of the elevator and play a short video as you’re ascending/descending that makes it seem like you are travelling through space. The video ends just as you reach the top or bottom of the tower. It’s a nice distraction from potential awkwardness of being in a crowded elevator with strangers, and also keeps everyone engaged in enjoying the tower. Very cool!

Visiting the tower seems to be mostly for tourists or for couples, because the majority of the activities and attractions are aimed at couples – love locks, love tiles, love wishing well, love coins… I tried to make a wish at the love wishing well but failed miserably. You buy a plastic love coin from the gift shop and you try to throw it into a small well from a specified distance. I only bought one coin with my spare change, so my one chance was ruined as my coin bounced off the outside of the well and landed near the entrance…. Luckily, A convinced the attendant to let me pick up my coin and try again… But I still failed. Guess love was just not meant for me.

Headed back to Itaewon and chatted for a while at Holly’s Coffee, before having dinner at Gecko’s Avenue – a beautiful patio restaurant that we had discovered earlier. Itaewon is an area that caters to foreigners due to its close vicinity to the US Army Base, so we had no problem communicating here. We loved Gecko’s because it was well-decorated with a pleasant ambiance, had lots of greenery to block out the city around us, served amazing food with excellent customer service, and – most important of all – played good music.

Decided to try out a jjimjilbang or Korean sauna, so we walked over to Itaewonland. I saw the telltale sign that signals that happy endings are on the massage menu, but we figured it couldn’t be that sketchy, since a couple of dramas had filmed there. I liked sweating out the toxins from my body and just relaxing after 5 days of hectic walking. The others didn’t want to eat anymore, so A and I ate some boiled eggs and played games to see who would have to break it on their forehead. Boiled eggs are HARD. Also, I thought it was very odd that there were statues of penises in the women’s bath/shower area. The shapes weren’t obvious, but there was no way they could be mistaken for anything other than male genitalia. There were even holes for the spring water to leak through! D:

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Intending to head home, we mistakenly took a bus that ended its route at N Seoul Tower and although it was a hassle to find our way back down the mountain and cab back home, it was refreshing to see the beautiful night lights of Seoul spread out below us.

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