The other side of the river
COEX, Lotte World Tower, Gangnam
I wish we would have done something different instead of going to COEX, but I wanted to visit an aquarium with my mom. To be honest, COEX is not the best choice, although they do have some impressive sea life in there, but I think a lot of the fish tanks are too small. I honestly felt bad for all the animals at some point. COEX itself contains convention centers and exhibition halls as well as a shopping mall with a lot of restaurants. It is easy to find, there are two subway stations which come in question:
Samseong Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 5 or 6. or Cheongdam station (Seoul Subway Line7), Exit 2.
North of COEX is Bongeunsa (봉은사), a Buddhist temple, which might have been a far better choice than the aquarium, but we had no more time to go there. We had to redo Gyeongbokgung and also had some other plans along the way, like visiting my old university, Chung-Ang-University. By the way, we had the best Mexican food in a while at the restaurant Dos Tacos, located right in front of the university. I believe it is a chain and they have a branch in Gangnam as well. Sounds strange to be eating Mexican food in Korea, but we eat Korean almost every day. Some change was very needed and welcome.
The next on our list was the newly opened (April 2017) Lotte World Tower. Very easy to get there, just take the lines 2 or 8 to the Jamsil station, Exit 1, 2, 10, 11.
This one is a bucketlist item in my opinion! If you are in Seoul, hurry up and go there! I recommend going before the sunset, this way you get an amazing view of sunset over Seoul from the 123nd floor, to which you get with the fastest double-deck elevator in the world, which moves with the speed of 10m/sec. The tickets are pricey (adults 27.000 won) but worth it in my opinion, if you are someone who enjoys great views and heights. The sky deck on the 118 Floor is one of the world’s highest glass-floored observation decks.
This reminds my of Malvina Reynolds’ song “Little boxes”.
Next stop was family gathering in Gangnam. To be honest, Gangnam is not all that glamorous as the song might make you believe. It is just a fancy neighborhood with expensive high-rise apartments, cosmetic surgery clinics and private academies. The subway stations are plastered with advertising for cosmetic surgery clinics and the roads are framed by boring modern glass buildings. What Gangnam does good though, is the nightlife and the restaurants. I recommend checking out the streets behind the glass buildings. You can find all kinds of bars, restaurants and other entertainment there.