At the beginning of May, my family and I returned to South Korea and revisited Seoul for the fourth time where we stayed for almost a week. So why did we revisit Seoul yet again? — The original reason was to see a concert which unfortunately ended up getting canceled, thus we planned an entirely different set of goals for the trip, as Jacob (my SO) wanted to do some game arcade-hopping around Seoul, have a quick meet-up with a friend, as well as a little bit of street food-tripping in Myeongdong.
Despite the early-Summer forecast that week, surprisingly the weather there was a bit cold, feeling akin to early Spring weather, especially at night time, unlike here in the Philippines where it has been blazing hot and humid all day for the past two months.
Upon arriving there, we stayed at the Step Inn Myeondong 1, a place that I found quite impressive, especially for a Bed and Breakfast (B&B) place. Of course, as is standard for a B&B place, the rooms are quite small for a bulky tourist or groups/families of 4, but feature easy-to-see house rules, additionally placed within the common/dining area. Even though the walls are quite thin, the loudest noise I heard while staying there was the door being closed or someone dragging their luggage.
The only thing that inconvenienced us was the bathroom: the space for the sink and shower areas was the same, so there was a high chance that water might hit the bathroom door. Unfortunately, our bathroom door wasn’t particularly secured/water-spilled proof so it ended up leaking into our main room. We ended up stuffing the edge of the door with a shower towel to mitigate the leaking.
Despite the minor hiccup, which is understandable as doors can be flimsy — it is still a great place to stay, as evidenced by it being fully booked.
Video games & Arcades
VG Alley (or Video Game Alley) [Map]
After we got our deep beauty sleep (we sprinted to catch the last train trip the previous night), our first itinerary was to visit VG Alley (or Video Game Alley), near Yongsan-gu Station.
Finding the place was a bit of a challenge, as there are two entrances, one of which will lead you to various phone stores, while the other is the main VG Alley entrance. As we entered, we saw a plethora of game cartridges, limited-edition boxes, and various game consoles with tons of Pandora’s Boxes as well.
So while Jacob is doing a 1CC on the newest Pandora’s Box (Pandora’s Box 9, I believe), I decided to roam around and found various game vendors, offering a blend of old and new video games, including some limited edition stuff as well as rare items for consoles like the Sega Master System, Super Famicom, Sega Genesis, among others.
While staying here, I snagged two PSP games: DJ Max — Black Square and Clazziquai which I’d been hunting for years ago; each cost ₩10000 (~₱441/~$8). I posted them on my IG a few days back, complete with the manual and promotional flyers from Platinum Crew.
I saw a good amount of anime stuff there as well, so if you want Nendoroids, Figma, Cu-Poche/Obitsu face splits and clothing, there are two large kiosks/stores for that.
콤콤오락실 (Comcom Recreation Room) [Map]
This is probably the best old-school game center we have found in Seoul. This rare gem is named 콤콤오락실 (Comcom Recreation Room) — courtesy of Google Translate, its nearest landmark being Yongsan The Prime [용산더프라임] at Namyeong-dong area, so the easiest way to arrive there is getting off at Namyeong station.
The place might look unsuspecting from the outside — I almost mistook it as a simple clothing shop, however upon entering the establishment, we were surprised by its layout. The place looks akin to the game arcades we know and love from Japan and we were digging the old-school layout as it added a more nostalgic touch to it.
We’re also astonished that the game cabs displayed are in good condition and the game titles, although almost all of them are from Capcom, appear to have been cherry-picked by the owner, as Jacob pointed out that they have Cadillacs & Dinosaurs arcade among other gems.
As I roamed around the arcade place, I saw a couple of photos probably about a k-drama that featured the establishment, and some vintage-looking posters — the posters were still new but were painted with wood lacquer, thinner, or enamel paint so they captured a retro vibe.
Myeongdong Street-food [Map]
The majority of our stay was more focused on Myeongdong street food. Things were busier than usual, as our trip coincided with Seoul Welcome Week 2019.
As we roamed around Myeongdong, we noticed that street food was generally priced around ₩2000 – ₩5000, which is a bit expensive considering you can buy kimbap or bibimbap in restaurants for comparable prices, but since some of the street food items were rare and can’t be found in local shops, we decided to dive right in.
Some of the tastiest street food we found is in the first photo, what appears to be ordinary sausages on a stick, but they vary in flavor from regular, cheese, and jalapeño.
So that just about covers our nearly-weeklong stay in Seoul. It was somewhat disappointing that the collaboration concert was canceled this year, but at least we got to spend most of our time chillin’ as an alternative.