Our first day in Seoul was Mike’s birthday! Mike got to pick what we did and he picked so many fun things! We started the day by walking down the Cheonggyecheon Stream which was right next to our hotel. It was so peaceful to walk down the banks of the stream. It was also kind of surreal walking beside this stream in the middle of a metropolis! We walked to the plaza, which is one of the ends of the stream, and got there right before they shut the fountain off. From the stream, we started walking towards Namdaemun Market. On the way there, we happened to walk by the front gate of the Deoksugung Palace while there was a changing of the guards ceremony taking place. We watched the guard change and then Mike got a picture with the commander!
We continued on to Namdaemun Market, which is the oldest and largest market in Korea. It actually dates back to 1414 where it began as a government marketplace. We walked through and were in awe of how many shops there were! We didn’t buy anything, mostly because it was a little intimidating and overwhelming. There were also a lot of clothes and shoes and Mike and I weren’t in the market for any of that stuff! We really enjoyed walking around and just looking at everything, though. I think my favorite part was their Surprise Zone, which was basically the Korean equivalent of a dollar store. Honestly, Surprise Zone is the best name for a dollar store and from now on that’s how I will think of them!
The next stop was the Myeongdong Cat Cafe, which both Mike and I were most excited about. We had never been to a cat cafe before, so it was a new experience for both of us. It absolutely did not disappoint. There were so many cats there and we pet them all. There were all kinds of cats there, including two KITTENS who were super playful and cute. The staff also made up a couple of purritos (cats wrapped in blankets) and let us hold them. We had so much fun and spent more time here than I expected – it was just so hard to leave them!
Our last stop for our first day was Insadong, which is another shopping area. This one was quieting down by the time we got there (because we spent a little more time at the cat cafe than we planned – NO REGRETS), but we walked around a bit. This one was much different than Namdaemun Market – this area had more art galleries and antique shops. Since everything was winding down, we decided to call it a day. It was a great first day in Seoul!
BONUS – Cat Cafe Pictures
And here’s Mike holding a PURRITO: