Thursday, December 23, 2010

Daehangno 대학로

When we mention theater districts, we could think of New York's Broadway. I know I should not compare but this could be the easiest way to explain the nature of the Daehangno area. The fast growing performing arts industry or theater arts in Korea can be manifested in Daehangno.

When I first came to Korea a year ago, I was very surprised about the popularity of performing arts to both local Koreans and foreigners. I’ve seen some big performances like Jump, Nanta, Sachoom and Ballerina who Loves a Bboy and more many times. Each has its own concept mostly a mixture of two different elements like different kinds of dances, taekwondo and even cooking. You can just imagine the creativity  of how they mixed these elements and appeared as just another sort of art expression. 
Daehangno, which literally means “college street” based on its Chinese character  (大學路), has been the home of Korea’s aspiring theater actors. The 1.1km six-lane road from Hyehwadong rotary to Ihwadong crossroad was designated as street culture on May 5,1985 representing the characteristic of the area.

Once you visit Daehangno, you’ll find yourself looking at the plethora of posters about musicals and plays right from the subway station, Hyehwa Station, to bulletin boards. They even have information centers where you could buy tickets, get information about the current and upcoming shows or you can also use it as a meeting place.

There are also many young people inviting people to watch their shows. There are many theaters, concert halls, and musicals concentrated in Daehangno where a wide variety of performances are held throughout the year. The last time I heard a total of 40 or more small and large theaters. Maybe there are more now.

You’ll never get bored if you come to Daehangno. There are many choices of musicals and plays to watch of different genres. If you visit on weekends you can enjoy Marronnier Park, where you could watch plays or many other performances for free.

If you want to enjoy Korea and Seoul, Daehangno is a must visit place!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Coreal Nights: Hwarang Musical

Since I promised my Hwarang friend I will let more people watch his show, I invited some of my friends to go and watch it. Convincing them was a bit challenging because of the language, Korean. But I guess the language did not hinder the fun and excitement they felt when they watched it. My group Coreal (Jehee, Ben and Annie plus guest Jennifer, Ben's girlfriend kkk) and my other friends Shaki, Hongvan, Windu and Carlos were the first people I invited to watch.

Everyone told me it was great and that they loved it. They even said that the musical has to be in a bigger theater so that it could accommodate more and more audiences. One of my friends said that the ticket was very cheap for the show. It should be more expensive because the quality of the show is really good. We had a discount for the ticket since one of the actors is my friend but still, I guess the original price 30,000 won is not expensive at all.

One of my friends said that she also had so much fun during the autograph signing session with casts. lol. Every after the show, the audience could get signs from the actors. I just find it a bit funny since they get sign from my friend. I'm just not used to it. lol.

Before going, I did not tell them who my friend was so that they would give me fair evaluation after the show. lol. They said all actors' voices were really good. If they were to pick one it would be hard. But most of them said my Hwarang friend is their favorite which made my friend very happy after I told him.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Coreal Nights: Miss Lee Cafe (별다방 미스리)

More and more Korean dramas, movies and shows attract tourists to visit Korea. Many site locations of these famous dramas are being made as tourist spots since some tourists visit them. Whether it's in a remote location like that of Fullhouse or in a crowded streets of Seoul like Coffee Prince in Hongdae. 

My group Coreal visited another famous location site in one of Korea's popular shows, We Got Married (우리 결혼했어요). The show pairs up Korean celebrities to show what life would be like if they were married. Each week, couples are assigned missions to complete, with candid interviews of the participants to reveal their thoughts and feelings. Currently the show is airing three couples, Jo Kwon & Gain, Nichkhun & Victoria and Jung Yong Hwa & Seohyun. (For more information

Miss Lee Cafe is one of the site locations of Yong Hwa and Seohyun's episode. I don't know why it's called Miss Lee Cafe because the Korean name does not say the same. Basically the cafe runs in a unique marketing strategy. It serves a bit pricey Korean lunch boxes and desserts. as how I see it, the cafe tends to appeal to young couples. Some mushiness like writing a message on a piece of paper and hang it on the walls. There are also many cute decorations plus the retro concept. As far as I know there are 2 branches, the one in Daehangno and the other one is in Insadong.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Hwarang Friend!

My Korean friend invited me to watch his play in Daehangno today. Since I haven’t seen him for a long time, why not go and probably have a sort of long time no see chitchat. It was a bit hard to locate the theater since it was my first time to watch a show in the area. I just relied on my friend’s instruction but with the help of iPhone’s navigation application I was able to find it. Enough with the plugging let’s proceed to the musical!

Bits about the Musical

The musical is called Hwarang. Hwarang were elite/ aristocratic group of men during the Silla Kingdom who were gathered to study, play and learn the arts of war. (To learn more about Hwarang please click

This all-male cast musical has definitely a lot of things to offer to its audience. The song selections were really good. Maybe someone would think that the songs would be a bit “boring” or draggy since the time setting would be ancient Korea…definitely not in this musical. The songs made the musical lively and fun to watch. The voices of the actors were also amazing. Even people who do not understand Korean language would enjoy because they can just simply go with the beat. The musical has different scenes portraying friendships, adventures, challenges before becoming a Hwarang. It’s so hard to explain everything in a blog. You must go and watch it yourself!

After the show, my friend called me to wait and have a cup of coffee somewhere. Daehangno area was still very alive. I never expected that my friend is very "professional" in theater. lol. He even had many fans waiting for him outside the theater. I told him that I would definitely invite my friends to watch it. 
You should watch too!
Exit 4 of Hyehwa Station (look for the nearest Paris Baguette from the exit. Then take the small road beside it which will lead you to the theater 열린극장.

Schedule: Weekdays except Mondays: 8pm
                Weekends: 3pm and 7pm
               *no plays on Mondays

Ticket is only for 30,000 won. Ticket booth usually opens 40 minutes before the show starts. If you contact me I might ask my friend to give you a discount. lol

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Coreal Nights: Omoni Saengson (어머니 생선)

 Aside from samgyeopsal, kalbi and all kinds meat Korean dishes, Korean cusine has its own version of fish dishes. I've been craving for fish dishes since I've been eating meat everytime I go out with friends here in Korea.  So to be different  we went to this restaurant called Omoni Saengson (어머니 생선) in Sinchon. I met my friends in front of their school, Ewha. Then we attacked the restaurant!

To be honest I didn't know what we ordered but  just pointed at the pictures. Probably I'll get used to the names if I eat fish many Maybe you can just read the menu. My expertise is on meat dishes. lol. It was really good and the prices were reasonable. Comparable to any "normal" Korean restaurant. The place was very clean which gives pleasure because the ambiance was good.

Sinchon Station: probably 10 minute walk from Exit 3. Walk straight and turn right of you see Nature Republic. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Garosugil 가로수길

Garosugil street (the tree-lined street) in Sinsa-dong
I've always heard of Garosugil from my friends. They said if you wanna see beautiful and fashionable girls, Garosugil is a hotspot. Also, there are many couples and expensive coffee shops in the area.

My friend who used to worked as a barista in one of the stores in the area, introduced Garosugil and even served as the model for my pictures. lol
From an article of Visit Korea website, Garosugil means “tree-lined street", a street famous for the trees, which line both sides of the 700m-long promenade. In summer, the trees’ luscious green leaves provide welcome shade for shoppers, and in autumn these ginkgo trees turn golden. This sophisticated, up-and-coming street is flanked with all sorts of trendy shops and European-style cafes. You can stroll along shopping at your own leisurely pace and then relax on café terraces with coffee and a tasty desert.
Garosugil is indeed a bit different from the mainstream Korean shopping area, hangout destination or so. I don't know but for me the area had a relaxing atmoshpere for people to stop, look and appreciate the things they see. Whether its the architecture of the building, the shop displays or people passing by. Especially you
I took a lot of pictures of the place. High-end fashion boutiques, expensive coffee shops, "Italian" restaurants, "French" bakeshops are just some of the common stores you could find in the area.So if your purchasing power is good then this is the place for you. But if you're not, maybe it would be a good idea not to take your girlfriend here. lol. Or else you gonna end up They said you can also find celebrities here especially in the evening.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Seoul Lantern Festival 2010

It was my second time to witness Seoul Lantern Parade after its first run last year, I believe. To be honest, last year's was more creative, fresh and I guess more organized based on concepts. This year's festival invited so many visitors making the Cheongyecheon area probably the busiest from Nov. 5th to 14th. I never imagined the area to be very crowded as like going to a concert. People had to form a really really long line just to get in the vicinity. Me and my friend just decided to take pictures from above. I guess it was a very good decision since we didn't have to stand on the line and wait for a long time.
Seoul will probably hold this event every year every around November. It occupies the 1km stretch area from the Cheonggye Plaza to the Samilgyo Bridge. This year's theme was ‘Seoul, a source of beaming hope.' It is said that it featured 15,000 lanterns of 213 variations and from 25 countries. Unique pieces of work from ‘Sibaraku Nebuta’ of Aomori, Japan; and ‘Iryongsangtu’ and ‘Byeongeomgamyeon’ of China will be invited for the exhibition and a range of other creative local works such as ‘Door of Hope’, ‘G20 Lantern’, and ‘Lantern of Global Harmony’ will be on display. As you know the event coincided with the epic G20. haha

I hope next years lantern festival will be something different from this year's. Still this is something that everyone should expect if they visit Korea around November.