Asia,  Seoul,  South Korea,  TDM,  Travel Journal

Travel Diary Seoul (South Korea) #8: B2B Market, Palais Royal, Notre-Dame de Paris, Barbecues

In this last travel diary in Seoul, a lot of things happen in the evening because our last days in Seoul are also the days when we have to work during the day πŸ˜€

In Seoul, it seems that there are as many types of barbecue as there are restaurants. We went again to the Hongdae district to test the barbecue skewers we spotted last time. The restaurant is very small and well decorated (there are plenty of lanterns), it is well equipped and we have a small machine that turns the skewers for us. When the skewer is well cooked, you have to put it on the grill high up

It’s the case everywhere, but it’s especially trendy in the Hongik metro to have advertising posters… which just consist in reminding fans of the birthday of such K-pop star or such actor/actress. The poster lasts about a month. And the fans are too happy to take a picture with it


We go to Gyeongbokgung, the largest palace in Seoul
The front door was destroyed and then rebuilt. This is where guards are relieved at regular intervals. We attended the changing of the guard at 2pm

Some Koreans offer us their guide service. They are volunteers apparently, we don’t know if a tip is expected at the end or not, but as we don’t have much time, we kindly refuse. It is very hot, but many brave tourists are still wearing hanbok (traditional Korean clothing)

The paint is made of natural ingredients, that’s why it always remains as colorful and beautiful over time

It’s really super big, I’m not sure we’ve visited everything to be honest. But I find that the palaces are very similar, as we already visited another palace a few days ago, we didn’t find this visit more interesting

We settle down in a traditional tea room, and I discover tea with 5 tastes, I recommend it to you because it has a really original taste

Notre-Dame de Paris in Korean

Thanks to posters in the subway and bus stations, we learn that the musical Notre Dame de Paris is currently playing in Seoul. But in Korean πŸ˜€ Having missed the French version in different countries, we still decide to come here. As I know all the songs almost by heart, I frankly don’t need French lyrics

They managed to find a singer who has a voice very similar to Daniel Lavoie, who played the role of Frollo
On the other hand, I was quite disappointed by the voice of the Korean singer playing the role of Gringoire (I still had Bruno Pelletier’s voice in mind). Without forgetting Garou whose voice is irreplaceable. I don’t remember if the original concert had a live orchestra. In any case, here, the accompaniment was pre-recorded

The staging is exactly the same as that of the French-speaking troupe touring in 2017. If I remember correctly, it has nothing to do with the original staging (which I saw on DVD). Tickets still cost around 80€ each, and the hall is half empty (on a Saturday). Maybe because Koreans aren’t yet used to watching musicals? or because this one isn’t as well known as the others (we saw the posters for Chicago, Frankenstein too)

In any case, it was a great experience. I never thought I would realize this dream by coming to South Korea

Sky Kingdom

The next day, we return to Sky Kingdom (31st floor) at Seoul Dragon City. We already told you about this restaurant on the footbridge connecting two large buildings. This time, we have time to taste their speciality:Whole Roasted Chickenset. They sell only 4 of them per evening, and we are lucky to have one for us. The dish costs 99,000won, for 2

Already, we have a table next to the window

JB went on the transparent windows to show you what it’s like to be 130m high (I didn’t dare to step on it)

There is also a swimming pool but the bottom isn’t transparent

We are served our first salad. DELICIOUS!

+ fries that aren’t really fries. It’s a kind of semolina in the shape of french fries. In any case, the garlic sauce which accompanies them is to fall

They cut us the chicken live. Only the chicken breast is served. I don’t like the chicken breast so I don’t like this dish

Then the spaghetti is served with the rest of the chicken, it’s too good!

World Cup

Being on the other side of the world, that doesn’t mean that I can escape the World Cup, especially when JB is an absolute soccer fan (capable of getting up at unthinkable hours to shout – in silence – in front of the TV). As South Korea is also playing, we thought it was time to participate in a local game viewing. This is the South Korea-Sweden match

There are two venues in Seoul this year where the game is being shown on the big screen. We choose City Hall, which looks smaller but better organized than the other venue

Koreans are super provident, they come with a small carpet to sit on, with family, with food. Everybody is sitting, and it’s very nice because that way everybody can see the screen

Not having a red T-shirt, JB buys something to match with the atmosphere πŸ˜€

The atmosphere is really different from what you can get in France. People are super polite, don’t make a lot of noise, don’t get too excited. They applaud to encourage their team, shout out their disappointment… but in no case do they show their anger against the referee, the players of the other team. Super nice! Maybe because they don’t care a bit? Soccer is less important than baseball here. In the end, it’s foreigners like JB who make the most noise and who get the most involved in front of the viewing of such a game (Korea loses 1-0 because of a penalty kick)

Pork barbecue

The next day, I meet Mr. my Korean girlfriend for a pork barbecue (very famous)

The specialty here is pork marinated in soy sauce. This sauce is slightly sweet, so the meat can burn very quickly => it must be turned regularly and the waitresses come to change the plate very often

As with all Korean barbecues, we have lettuce and sesame leaves in which we roll the kimchi and meat and eat at once

At the end of the meal, M. tells me that Koreans often order this tofu soup to finish the meal


After the meal, we go together to the Dongdaemun side. This is where the fashion designers of Korea are. There are whole haberdashery markets, designer workshops… A lot of clothes are created here and then sold all over the world. Some are manufactured in Korea, others in China

Fashion in South Korea is really ahead vs. global trends. Everything that is trendy this year in Korea will be trendy next year in the rest of the world. So if you have the opportunity to come to Korea, do a lot of shopping

We start at Doota Mall, which looks like a mall but isn’t. Each booth is an independent salesperson. The difference between Doota Mall and the markets next door is the presentation (and prices). Here the clothes are better arranged, at a glance you can spot the pieces you are interested in. The cosmetic part is especially cool because they give many more samples than at Myeong-dong

The average price is quite high (50,000won) but the models are very varied and of high quality. The same parts here would have been sold double or even triple in France

We then go to Jeil Pyonghwa Market. Before (about ten years ago), when we come to shop in the evening, the price goes down
Now, we don’t know what the new rules of the game are πŸ˜€ But M. and I will find out very soon

As we spent too much time chatting, we only went to the market at 11pm. At night, only merchants come here
This market, which is B2C during the day (for ordinary people like us), turns into a B2B market at night

There are middlemen who go from one store to another, to buy clothes for their customers – i.e. owners of clothing stores (Korean or even international). There are clothing store owners who come to buy products themselves. But in general, they buy in large quantities

Mr. and I spot a very successful copy of a shirt that costs 300€ in France. We ask the price: 50,000won (38€). We make the mistake of saying that we buy it for us. The saleswoman immediately turns around and tells us that the price given is for the merchants. For individuals like us, we have to come back during the day, and during the day, she will give us another price, the one for individuals. After negotiation and lie (we take the plane tomorrow, please), we pay her 60,000won

Moreover, since the copy is a true copy, I wonder if it is really a copy. Or maybe this so-called French designer brand came to order the models from a designer in Korea, and the overproduced pieces are sold clandestinely like that at the market? Because their entire Spring-Summer 2018 collection is sold at the market, at only 10%-20% of the price displayed in France

Looking at the other Chinese merchants, we find a ploy: instead of letting Mr. speak in Korean, I will speak in English. And if ever the saleswomen ask me why I only buy one piece, I will say that it’s the first time I come to South Korea to pick up the products and I prefer to test on a small sample, rather than buying 10 pieces at a time. This story makes sense because in this market you can’t try on clothes, and clothes are usually one size fits all. The stratagem is tested and set up: indeed, I manage to ask wholesale prices without any difficulty to the saleswomen. We’re glad it seems to work… but unfortunately, NO OTHER clothes we like ahahah so it was useless

I sincerely believe that this market, with its rather high price (25,000won/each), isn’t suitable for Asian merchants – who prefer to buy Chinese clothes, which are much cheaper. But it may be suitable for European merchants. The pieces we have seen, which cost between 25,000won and 50,000won (38€), can be sold without any problem between 50€ and 150€. And in the case of the French designer brand, 300€

Mr. asks his girlfriend on the phone about it and she usually comes here. She tells us that the places where I used to go shopping (Express Terminal) did indeed sell clothes in the 10,000won (7€) trendy style, but the fabric is of poor quality, the clothes will be torn within a year. But here in Pyonghwa market, the clothes are of better quality, cost a bit more (25,000won to 50,000won-38€) but it’s made to last. And that she too is pretending to be a clothes store owner, to pay wholesale prices πŸ˜€

We are having so much fun and the market is so big (I think we made all 2 huge buildings) + the DDP Fashion Mall next door (this one is even more foreigner-friendly, there are a lot of Chinese merchants) – that we don’t see the time pass. It is when we look at our watch that it is already 2:30 am. We take each one a cab to return. And we will soon see each other again in Paris

Korean Post

I go to the post office to send myself and my sister in France a huge 7kg parcel full of cosmetics and clothes. The day before, I was able to pick up an old tomato box from the supermarket. But when I see a man preparing the parcels at the post office, I give him everything and ask him to show me the document to fill in for France. Apparently, the parcels have to use Korean Post boxes anyway, he prepares everything for me superbly for 4000won (3€). If the man isn’t there, you can buy a box at the checkout and prepare the package yourself (rolls of scotch tape are available for free)

I send it all via EMS (10,000won/kg for France about) and my sister receives it all in 3 working days, without paying a penny to the customs (the value of the package was over 200€ anyway). Super fast! Be careful, if you send a package, please note that it is agift, otherwise the customs will charge you in addition to the taxes

It is necessary to fill in the shipping document (with Korean address + address in France + 4 lines where you specify the contents and value of the package + an A4 sheet for customs)

Note: For the customs declaration: I had about 30 different cosmetics, but for the customs, I just calculated the total value and then divided by the number of products to get the unit price – otherwise I couldn’t fit the list into one A4 sheet. The result was something like “10 clothes, 10,000won/unit; 30 cosmetics, 3000won/unit”…. I’ve already sent a similar package from Japan, and despite the value of the package (over 300€), everything went well too.

Last night in Seoul

A publication shared by JB & Anh (@tourdumonde5continents ) on 20,

For our last evening in Seoul, we decide to have dinner in Insadong because I know that I will always find something I like in this area. JB chooses a bibimbap (what a surprise!) and I choose a ginseng chicken. I discover that there are many restaurants selling raw marinated crab that I like too much but M. told me not to eat it just anywhere (with the risk of ending up in the hospital) so I choose the chicken

The chicken isn’t as good as the one we tested in a well known restaurant, it was simmered for too long. I could have eaten the bones! When the chicken is overcooked, all the good things go straight into the broth, the meat has no taste anymore. In any case, eating a dish – not super well cooked – only makes me appreciate more the good chicken I ate last time, because it makes me understand how hard it is to ensure perfect cooking for this kind of dishes

Balance sheet

Here you are, I hope you liked our Seoul travel diaries. I think that despite the disappointment we had at the beginning (the real Seoul vs. the Seoul of our imagination), this trip brought us a lot of good surprises, like the meeting with M., the reunion with J., the Notre-Dame de Paris show, the overly good food we didn’t know existed, and the jjimjilbang that we will miss. And I went shopping like never before! (that’s a positive point for me, but JB doesn’t understand how I can spend so much time in the stores ahaha)

I think that after a month and a half in Seoul, where people were looking at me all the time, from top to bottom, from bottom to top, I got into the habit of completely ignoring the looks on me (I used to be very sensitive/susceptible to that – and that’s an excellent habit that I have to congratulate myself on)

Did you like this article? Discover all our Seoul & Jeju travel diaries:

Travel Diary Seoul (South Korea) #1 : Discovery of Myeongdong & Lotus Lantern Festival
Travel Diary Seoul (South Korea) #2: Namdaemun Market, Namsangol Hanok Village and Gangnam
Travel Diary Seoul (South Korea) #3: Changdeokgung Palace, Insadong, Noryangjin Fish Market, Hongdae, Namsan Tower, Seoul City Tour Bus
Travel Diary Seoul (South Korea) #4: Seoul with friends
Travel Diary Seoul (South Korea) #5 : Lotte World, tickets, flagship attractions, magic pass
Travel Diary Seoul (South Korea) #6: War Memorial Hall of Korea, Barbecue, Lenses and Shopping
Travel Diary Seoul (South Korea) #7: Marinated raw crab, Gilsangsa Temple, Suyeonsanbang, shopping in Myeong-dong
Travel Diary Seoul (South Korea) #8: B2B Market, Palais Royal, Notre-Dame de Paris, Barbecues

Practical Guide to Seoul
Seoul Shopping Guide
Guide to Cosmetics to buy in South Korea

Travel Diary Jeju Island (South Korea) #1
Travel Diary Jeju Island (South Korea) #2
Travel Diary Jeju Island (South Korea) #3

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