Last week I went to a Hanok village with my friend! Hanok are traditional Korean Houses. The Hanok in this village are home to a lot of museums, traditional tea houses, and shops. Most of them are also normal residences.
My friend and I stopped at traditional tea house. You have to take your shoes off outside and you sit on the floor with cushions. We ordered Lotus Flower Tea and it cost about 8,000KRW (~8$) which seems expensive for a cup of tea but taking in the cultural experience factor, this was definitely worth that money and was definitely a memorable experience for me.
There was a beautiful garden in the courtyard of the house.
Yesterday I went to a Rilakkuma themed café near Sungshin Women's University called Capi Capi Loom Loom. Rilakkuma is an adorably cute bear cartoon character. The café was super easy to find, just take the subway to Sungshin, go out exit 1, turn right at the bank and then walk for about 10 blocks, turn left and it's right there! The café itself was small. The walls and shelves were covered in Rilakkuma memorabilia and stuffed animals along with different Rilakkuma merchandise available for sale. There was one guy working there and no other people in the café, which was kind of sad but we went at kind of a weird time in the day.
I ordered a Toffee Nut Latté and a slice of honey bread. Honey bread is like a big piece of toast with honey either inside or drizzled on top, often topped with whipped cream, nuts, or fruit. My friend ordered a sweet potato latte, and my other friend got a strawberry smoothie and a cheese bagel.
I loved this place! The guy working played great music and gave us free ice cream, too!
Two weeks ago, I had an extremely unique café experience.... I went to a Princess Café! This café is located near Ehwa Women's University and is a place where you can pay to try on different kinds of dresses, from wedding dresses to traditional Korean Hanbok. The prices range from about 10,000 to 40,000KRW, and you are allowed to wear the dress for an hour and can take pictures in it. With the dress, you get a free drink, but you must drink it either before or after you wear the dress. You are also not allowed to do makeup or use the bathroom in the dress. A lot of girls will drag reluctant boyfriends there to try on wedding dresses but it is also a really fun place to play dress up with your gal pals. At first I was reluctant to go because the prices seemed a little steep at first, but this is probably one of the most unique experiences I've had. To drink, we each ordered an oreo milkshake which we drank beforehand.
They ask you first if you want to try on a dress or hanbok, and in the spirit of embracing Korean culture we decided to wear hanbok. The hanbok I ended up choosing was actually extremely ornate and colorful, and only ended up costing me 25,000KRW. They give you little paper doll sized cutouts of the dresses to choose from.
The girl working there was so helpful and friendly (even more so when I spoke Korean to her) and she did our hair for us and took pictures. We were the only ones there as it was kind of late in the day.
And now here is your favorite barista all decked out in traditional Korean dress: