It’s finally Friday! It’s been a productive week for me, all around. The entire week was spent doing last minute work for today’s demo to the client, but I did get to spend a couple of hours whenever I needed to de-stress editing some travel videos in my backlog. I think it’s because I get to relive the days I spent exploring new places and eating good food. Who doesn’t wanna do that every single day, though? Although I guess if every day is as fun as the last, those fun days would end up being regular days. But I digress. Here’s one of the by-products of my de-stress activities. 🙂
My sister, on the other hand, also de-stresses with videos. What kind of videos, you ask? The ones with subtitles and Korean actors. Haha! Hence, we kicked off our last full day in Seoul by heading to MBC World. It’s located in Digital Media City where all the different network offices are located. So far, Seoul is great in this way. They group everything together in one place which makes it very convenient for everyone. (Remember Paju Book City from the previous post where all the publishing companies are located?) Unless you get blacklisted, then it probably wouldn’t be a good thing for you.
The central area is lined with handprints of different Korean stars that have made their mark in the entertainment industry. Although we did see one outlier of a Filipina actress who I guess was once a tourism ambassador for Korea. I’m not really sure, because as far as I am concerned, Jessy Mendiola (in my personal opinion) is not the most popular actress in the country (at any given point in time lol).
MBC World is the first hallyu theme park in Korea (and in the world?). When you buy tickets, you get a time slot and a specific amount of time you can spend cumulatively within all the areas of the park. There are different areas for the “theme park” within the building, and depending on the area, you can participate in dramas or watch virtual concerts. It was such an insane idea, to be honest, but it truly caters to die-hard fans who travel from all over Asia (or the world) to experience this.
This wall had real murals underneath and graphics are projected on it as well. There’s a video on how the artists worked on the history of how Digital Media City came to life.
This wall right here is filled with MBC shows that truly made a mark. Jewel in the Palace, starring Lee Young-ae, is a memorable one for me because it was one of my mom’s absolute favorites. She literally bought a pirated DVD copy and even brought it with her when we went on a month-long vacation to Singapore a decade ago. It was one of the Korean series she would re-watch when she’d get bored and can’t find anything new to watch.
You can also try on virtual hanboks or different costumes of the dramas. You should definitely keep your tickets because you need to scan your tickets to be able to use the various attractions. They have a photo printing machine at the end of the tour where you just scan your ticket, and all the photos and videos you took inside the park can be printed out for a fee.
We all got roped into playing newscasters since there are four different roles in this scene (and there were only three of us). I was the weather girl, and I didn’t have my updated prescription lenses on, so I couldn’t see the words on the teleprompter properly. (It was a bit embarassing lol)
You can also virtually dance with KPOP groups. My sister can dance, while my brother can sing. I prefer to be the sarcastic one with the dry humor in the bunch – so there’s definitely a reason why you would rarely see me dancing in public. My sister convinced me so I went along with it, while the brother snickered in the background with the camera the entire time. Haha!
You can also pick between a regular VR experience and a 4D VR one, so of course, we all went for the 4D. It was a virtual tour of the entire MBC building, along with ongoing show filming. (I know that somewhere in Seoul, there’s a 4D VR tour where you go on a date with Lee Min Ho, and I hate that this was not it lol)
Period dramas are big in Korea, and they rarely ever produce crappy ones. Since period dramas cost so much money from having to rent entire palaces and having to get so many people, they truly go all out. Hence, MBC World had an entire floor dedicated to the period dramas they produced over the years.
My sister, who is a big KPOP fan, had this huge awestruck smile on her face when we went on a hologram BIGBANG concert. (Not to be cheesy, but that really made the trip worth it)
The last area of the amusement park is probably where people spend the most of their time in. There were real life cut outs you can pose with, as well as 3D art.
Being the cheapskates that we are, we didn’t print out any of our photos but decided to head out and get some coffee. For some weird reason, Seoul is filled with coffee shops. There are chain brands like Starbucks that you can see in just about every corner, as well as quirky ones that are definitely what I would call aesthetic goals. We went into this coffee shop where you can even pour your own coffee, although I went for this strawberry coffee concoction that was pretty interesting, but exactly how you’d imagine coffee with strawberry would be like. Weirdly good, I say.
Our next stop was Gyeongbokgung. I asked both the sibs if they wanted to go in, but they wanted to head in wearing hanbok once again. However, since the palace closes at 5 PM and it was nearly 4 PM at the time, we realized we wouldn’t be able to make it inside the palace. So we simply took photos outside.
We then headed to Insadong, and on our way there, I brought my sister to the Goblin wall. The wall where they first bumped into each other.
Afterwards, we headed to the place where C and I had our best bulgogi ever (I’m pretty sure everywhere else in Korea serves bulgogi better than we have here in the Philippines lol), to have our very late lunch.
I also bought Poo Poo Land tickets from KLOOK, and to find it, we covered the entire Ssamziegil building – only to find out that it was located in the annex and not the main building. But no regrets, because I just proved my self-discipline by not buying any of the locally produced crafts. There were just so many to choose from that I ended up with nothing.
Poo Poo Land was such an interesting visit. It’s an interactive museum about poop, and while it was small, the tour was inspired by how food turns into poop. It was pretty informative, and quite enjoyable. Definitely one for the kids and the kids at heart (provided they are not grossed out easily).
Commemorating our Poo Poo Land visit, with Poo cakes! (It was yummy, too)
After this, we spent the rest of our evening at Lotte Mart at Seoul Station, hoarding so many Korean snacks that we had to allot a couple of hours just to ensure everything fits. (It actually didn’t, and we bought a backpack to put in some of the extra clothes in.) At the wee hours of the morning, to congratulate ourselves on the success of our packing, we went to a chicken & beer place to gorge on Korean fried chicken and tap beer. Overall, a great note to end the trip on.
We were up bright and early to get to our flight scheduled for noon, and I must say that it really was convenient to take the train to the airport. Definitely a plus when booking a room in Hongdae.
And that’s it for 2018’s trips to Seoul! I just have one more post coming up, and the next travel post would about a new country I’m visiting. Any guesses where? 🙂
TEESH || PHILIPPINES