Wednesday 24 April 2013

Seoul Day 5: Lotte Duty Free, COEX Mall & Banpo Bridge

It was my birthday and since it was the first time (I think) that I was celebrating it overseas, I get to pick my favourite cafe, Paris Baguette, for breakfast this morning.

Paris Baguette Cafe
Bread & Pastries
Hot chocolate & coffee in "soldier" cups

As I was enjoying the food and hot chocolate, the family decided to surprise me with a birthday cake to celebrate my birthday.

Celebrating my birthday in Seoul!
With my mum and sister

The only thing that's missing is my beloved baby girl! Wish she were here! =(

After breakfast, we started our day of exploration by taking the subway from Eujiro 4-ga Station to Jamsil Station (Line 2) to visit Lotte World but ended up spending more time at Lotte Departmental Store.

Lotte Department Store
The hubby bought me the TOD'S bag I've always wanted for my birthday! =)

The luxury goods sold at Lotte Duty Free Store are definitely cheaper than in Singapore so fans of luxurious fashion brands such as Tod's, LV, Chanel, Prada and Gucci will be spoiled for choice! =)

Just note that the way that it works here is very different from other stores in Korea and other countries. Normally, you would pay the full price and then bring the receipt and the items that you bought to the tax refund counters at the airport before obtaining your tax refund. At the Lotte Duty Free Stores however, you pay the tax-free price but collect the item at the airport transit booths just before departure. It's a lot more convenient but may also mean that you would not be able to see/use your purchase until the day of your departure from Seoul.

When we were finally done with shopping at Lotte Departmental Store, we made our way to COEX Mall by taking the subway from Jamsil Station to Samseong Station (Line 2).


COEX Mall houses a Kimchi Museum and an Aquarium but I was more interested in the latter. However, as it was time for lunch, we decided to eat at this Korean restaurant before proceeding to visit the aquarium.

Simple lunch at a typical Korean restaurant

Although the noodles here tasted like Korean instant noodles, they were actually pretty good. Just don't order the dumpling soup, it's super expensive and totally not worth it.

After lunch we proceeded to the COEX Aquarium located quite a distance (about 15 minutes walk) away from the main shopping mall.

Entrance to COEX Aquarium
Clockwise from top left: An aquarium of big fish; The sister and I at the Japanese themed section;
Cute signboards that introduce unique fish; Small aquariums that contain tiny fish
The collection of everything that you can make into an aquarium including refrigerators and mail boxes
Clockwise from top left: This blue fish looks like it has a bad day; Hundreds of colourful fish;
No aquarium is complete without mysterious jellyfish; An evil-looking eel 

The unique thing about this aquarium was that it actually houses more than just sea creatures, it also showcases different unique land animals.

Clockwise from top left:  Lonely Prevosts squirrel without any friends; Jungle themed exhibit;
Giant tortoise laying in the "sun"; Cute little guinea pigs

There was also a large aquarium just like the one at S.E.A Aquarium but a lot smaller.

Relatively large viewing gallery
Giant Ocean Turtle
Underwater viewing gallery
Circular viewing window

At the end of all the exhibits was the penguin exhibit where we happened to see the penguins being fed by the staff.

Penguins feeding time

After we left the aquarium, we had to again make the 15-minute walk back to the Samseong Station to take the subway to Gangnam Station where the sister and I shopped for clothes despite our tired legs screaming for help.

When we were finally exhausted from all the shopping, we decided to head back to our hotel to unload our shopping loot before looking for a place to have dinner nearby.

We stumbled upon Chef's Noodle restaurant by Chef Choi.

Chef's Noodle aka Chef Guksoo

Chef Choi has won many awards and pictures of many celebrities visiting his shop has been plastered outside the restaurant so we figured it must be good. And we were not disappointed!

Dry and soup noodles
Clockwise from top left: Rice wine; Pancake; Hamburger beef steak & egg

Not only was the food super delicious (the hamburger steak was awesome!), the service was also superb. The staff could speak English relatively well and even provided us with the English version of the menu so that we were able to order easily. They were also flexible in changing our drinks when we told them we didn't like the coke that came with the set meal. We were very impressed! Definitely one of the best restaurants that we've tried! =)

After we've had our fill, we took a cab to Banpo Bridge to enjoy the Musical Moonlight Rainbow Fountain, which is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s longest bridge fountain.

Banpo Bridge

Initially the family was super skeptical of whether we arrived at the right place as we weren't sure if our cab driver understood our instructions. Plus, it was supposed to start at 8.40pm according to one website I visited and by 8.50pm, there were still no signs of the fountain starting. We shivered together in the cold for almost 40 minutes before the Musical Fountain finally began at 9pm.

The Musical Fountain @ Banpo Bridge, which lasts around 20 minutes, was really romantic and perfect for honeymooning couples! =)

We quickly boarded a cab soon after it ended as it got too cold to stay out by the sea any longer! It was a beautiful way to end a lovely birthday =)

Continue to >> Seoul Day 6: Gyeongbokgung Palace, Ginseng Chicken & More Shopping
<< Back to Seoul Day 4: Noryangjin Fish Market, Yeouido, Shinchon & Dongdaemun


Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on Seoul, South Korea 
as well as other travel itineraries!

You can also follow my travel adventures on Instagram via the hashtag #madpsychmumtravels! =)
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