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Seoul Visual Diary - Part 4 (Cafe Hunting!)

Posted on Monday, June 29, 2015

Our last day in Seoul!!! Miss it so much I've been in denial to blog about E-main and my last day here :(

Mornings in our Airbnb! Yes, we brought our stuffed toys from home :3

So our flight was at 10pm at night, which meant we had plenty of time to discover whatever else we could about Seoul in the day. Our choice of activity was... Cafe hunting! I've heard and seen a lot of beautiful Korean interiors, and to me they seem on par with Swedish design sensibilities. Our area of choice was Hongdae, which is supposed to be very hip. Here's what we discovered throughout the day!

1. Thanks Nature Cafe

First stop, the Thanks Nature Cafe! It was super hard to find as the pin on the map isn't quite so accurate and, as you can see above, the signage is not very obvious.

Anyway, surprise! It's a sheep / petting cafe! Despite it being located in the basement, the first thing that hits you is the amazing natural light and the legit tree which is in the middle of a sheep pen. The second thing that hits you is the strong smell of sheep, but our noses quickly get used to it.

We were here around 10-11am, and the light was ultra dreamy :)

We're assuming this is the owner of the cafe because the same guy is sitting next to the pen when we go in to play with the sheep, to watch over them I suppose!

The eating area of the cafe is separate from the sheep pen and you have to admire their commitment to really making all the decor sheep themed, haha.

Food wise, we grab a waffle to share! This cafe only serves desserts and drinks, so no chance of getting that nice brunch in the morning. The waffle was nothing much, obviously we were there for the sheep, which are super soft and I wish I patted them more, haha.

Despite it being a Sunday, it wasn't very crowded (maybe because it was early), so we didn't have to fight little kids for time with the sheep! We were pretty unlucky because the sheep mostly lay down in a corner the whole time - they can actually come out of the pen to walk around as I've seen in tourist photos. Sigh! However, overall it a pretty fun and unique experience, especially since there aren't any sheep cafes here in Singapore!

마포구 서교동 486
 서교푸르지오상가 B121
Seoul, Korea 121-842

2. Coffee Smith

In our bid to find the flagship store of Style Nanda, we happen to walk past this stunning cafe called Coffee Smith.

Absolutely love the elevated platform right next to the pavement, which makes the cafe open, yet private since it's not directly on the street. Great to sit for people watching - such a brilliant idea!

The first floor is so...  vast. The cafe takes up an entire building as if the owners have no care for lowly things like rent. High ceiling and open spaces are love D:

As if the first floor isn't stunning enough... there's a second floor! It seems to be a thing in Korea where cafes take up entire buildings, not just a small space shop like in Singapore.

Upstairs is equally spacious, and my favourite section is the balcony tables (above) overlooking the first floor. So you can basically people-watch the people who were people-watching downstairs!

The only downside to Coffee Smith is once again, it only serves light food and coffee - no brunch like we were hoping for. Gah we need food! But still, can't believe we stumbled upon this beautiful place :)

82 Wausan-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul
(서울 마포구 와우산로 82)

So in between walking around and trying to find the Style Nanda flagship store (still), we go down the wrong direction of Wausan-ro (which by the way, has tons more cafes on it, a great place to stroll down if you're exploring!). So due to the evident lack of food in the cafes, we stop by to get some Tteokbokki, or Korean rice cake for a snack!

It's just this tiny hole in the wall shop that seems to specialize in a lot of fried / fast food - Korean style of course. They cut up the Tteokbokki into tiny pieces and put it in a plastic bag for us to take away!

Hobo E-main drinking her QT milkshake, haha.

3. Vert et Blanc Cafe

Here's Vert et Blanc, our favourite stop for the day! We almost missed it from the outside because of it's low-key frontage, but really love how the whole day worked out with us just stumbling upon lovely cafes.

Top from Dongdaemun | ASOS Grey Leather Skirt
Primark Chelsea Boots | Cheapo sunglasses from Bugis Street

Ahem, allow me to do an outfit post. Anyway, this was one of the warmest days we experienced in Seoul - it's a bit of a joke comparing what I am wearing here to what I was wearing on our first day here, haha.

If the first cafe (Thanks Nature) was too warm toned, and the second cafe (Coffee Smith) was too cold and austere, then Vert et Blanc was the perfect balance of cosiness yet with a strong modern-rustic aesthetic appeal. E-main and my absolute favourite!

The counter where we placed our orders and flowers for sale - the first floor was modern yet secret garden-esque. You can place your orders here or head upstairs. Obviously, we wanted to explore a bit more to get the perfect seat!

Up and up narrow staircases we went, and every room we peeked into was filled with soft light, thoughtful furnishing. Really the perfect balance between warmth yet modern interior design!

Finally we settled on the third floor of the cafe, as once again the cafe filled up the whole building.

YAY. A cafe that sells actual food! We have the seafood stew which is around S$20.00++ Really delicious and full of seafood (of course). The loaf of bread they give us is sweet with honey (?) and full of butter. Yumz. A little pricey but I guess that's cafe food for you.

Spent the most time here, me taking photos and E-main learning more Korean!

After paying the bill, E-main and I buy a succulent from Level 1 of Vert Et Blanc on whim to take home!!! Hahahah. Gosh mine was so cute... then it grew into a monster! But still, a really nice souvenir from the best cafe we visited in Korea.

마포구 와우산로 50-1
Seoul, South Korea

So, fun fact, we carried our succulents through several x-rays and customs on the way home and no one blinked an eye. We were so worried we would be forced to throw them away! I think the people on the plane were quite amused when the first thing we did when we set our bags down were to whip out our plants and put them somewhere safe.

And in case you were wondering... yes, we found the Style Nanda flagship store in the end after much detours (but with very positive results), hahaha. Free neoprint booth inside which we use, of course!

We found this lovely and super trendy street right perpendicular to the where the Style Nanda flagship store was located. It had even more lovely fashion boutiques, bars and more cafes, but sadly we had no more time to explore since we had to rush off to get our luggage and catch our flight! But still, a super fulfilling day that we couldn't have planned for better :)

Overall I had a really positive experience for my first trip to Seoul; I have never been a very big fan of anything Korean - not the TV shows, food or fashion, and almost everyone I spoke to (before this trip) who has been to Seoul strongly dislikes it, but I really feel like this is a place worth coming back again because there was still so much left to explore! I definitely won't be back super soon, but I will someday!