This story is shared by guest contributor Bojan Stojkovski, a freelance journalist based in Skopje, North Macedonia. Bojan mostly writes about foreign policy and technology but shares that, “Traveling is my passion so I also like to write articles about my experiences when I go abroad.”Enjoy the first half of his story and visit him on Instagram.
So after getting back at the hotel, we went to the Itaewon district — which was more of an international part of the city, while also having lots of bars and restaurants. We searched for not so crowded, but still exciting place, and we found this Fountain bar, which seemed neat. Had some beers there, and I also met some Americans who had been working in Seoul for a while. Talked with them for a while, and it turned out that one of them had Macedonian landlords in Chicago — which again proves that the world is such a small, small place.
Took some walk around Itaewon after that — almost every bar was full of people, drinking and having fun — but I guess we were too tired to stay up late, so around 2 am we left for the hotel.
We had a packed agenda for the third day as well, and in the morning, my host took me to the Korean War Museum. Since I really wanted to go to the border with North Korea and the see the infamous DMZ, but I didn’t get a chance to, visiting this museum wasn’t such a bad idea after all. I wrote a whole piece about my experience there and about the Korean war, the unification process, and the overall situation between the two countries nowadays.
As Mito eloquently put it — everything is kimchi here!
Our hosts took Mito and me to lunch before the trip to the banquet — and although we’re supposed to eat galbi — Korean BBQ, we ate something similar and more comfortable to make since we didn’t have much time — so we ate bulgogi (which means “fire meat”). At first sight, it didn’t look good but was tasty as hell, and until I try galbi this is definitely my favorite Korean dish now! We also tried something that was a novelty for us — cold vegetable soup. And a lot of kimchi! Or as Mito eloquently put it — everything is kimchi here!
The last day was all about sightseeing and buying souvenirs and stuff, while we also had planned to go to a traditional Hanok village and the famous Hongdae district.
We started the day with having a coffee on the way to a fish market, where we saw a lot of fish, were offered to eat live octopus and tried stingray. It was disgusting, but still, it was an experience, so after that, we went to eat some real food — street food at the Tongin street market.
I did some research on Korean street food, so I knew exactly what to buy — some fish cake, some twigim (a type of fried snack) octopus with melted cheese and Kimchi pancake! For drinks, I took this rice drink called sikhe — which surprisingly was very good!
After this fantastic lunch, we headed to the Hanok village, which is actually a traditional village with authentic architecture, nice-looking houses, and a great view of the rest of Seoul! We strolled along with lots of tourists, bought some souvenirs as time went by. We took a short walk to another area that I remembered from last year — the Myongdong area, where we bought some souvenirs and then headed to our last station for this Korean trip — Hongdae district.
This was a district that I really wanted to visit all along, and I guess that we left for best for the end! The place was very vibrant, a lot of young people, a lot of street performances, different kinds of shops, for food, cosmetics, clothes — you can spend your whole day in Hongdae and not be disappointed!
As I read before, Hongdae also had a pretty good nightlife, but unfortunately, we were leaving early so we couldn’t witness that. But next time I definitely will do it! We ended the day just window-shopping around the area and having some goodbye snacks — twigim and toppoki! Nice stuff, as most of the Korean food I tried there!
The day indeed went by fast, and it was time to go back to the hotel, pick up our stuff and leave for the airport, where we had a midnight flight back. This time the trip was to take longer — about 11 hours, and I really have no idea why.
We said goodbye to our wonderful hosts, and I have to admit that although this trip was much more intense than any trip I’ve had this year — it was worth it and I fell in love in Korea even more!