가자 Korea Diary 4: The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince @ HongDae

Yay, finally here's Part 4 which pretty much sums up what I did on my first day in Korea. 

If you haven't read the previous blog posts, here are the links:
가자 Korea Diary 2: Preparation Tips for Korea
가자 Korea Diary 3: First Night In Korea - My Airbnb @ Hapjeong & Dinner @ HongDae


If you read my Part 3 blog post, you'd know that I did a stupid mistake so I ended up spending my first night in Seoul without makeup on my face. To start the journey, yeap, I finally had makeup on!

I knew that I wasn't going to wear my glasses around in Seoul, so I woke up much earlier than expected just to figure out how to wear contact lens (23 years of my life, I had never figured that out). Thankfully, in just 10 minutes, I got it all done! Super happy! Life's perfect when in Korea~ Good Feng Shui! 


When I had everything done, it was already approximately 10.30am. I didn't know what to do because Eunjee could only meet me during lunch time, so I thought I would just trust my goldfish memory in order to get to HongDae by foot.

Didn't even know what's the exact location that I should put into Google, so off I went along the main road. 

Spotted a convenience shop and I got my very first BANANA MILK!!!! YAY!!!!

Despite the fact that we have quite a number of Korean shops and restaurants in Melbourne, the banana milk which I am holding in my hands (refer to photo above) is not available at all. I guess it was due to the strict laws of Australia in relation to dairy products. OMO! It was SO freaking good! 

Image sourced from Google Images

FYI: You MUST buy the banana milk in that typical bottle to get the most authentic taste. Trust me, I did try out a few versions of banana milk and nothing could beat this one. Get the one on the left! If you were to buy it in convenience shops, one bottle of banana milk is about 1300Won (approx 1.30dollar).


Surprisingly, I managed to make my way to HongDae!

Everything's so different in broad daylight! 


The club which I posted in Part 3 as well. It's like an European church in the morning.




I saw this shop on Instagram and Facebook a lot before I arrived in Korea. It's a clothing store with retro pink interior. I went there the night before with Eunjee and it was full of people trying to get their Instaworthy shot.


The celebration for Halloween's way more intense than what we had in Australia! Many brands and even clubs were running events in conjunction with Halloween. 

Wanted to go clubbing on Halloween Day with Eunjee but too bad she couldn't accompany me that time T_T


Etude House (for those who don't know Etude House is a famous Korean makeup brand) store that's located under a famous karaoke place of HongDae. Don't worry you can basically find tonnes of Etude House stores throughout Seoul. I highly recommend the eyeshadows and blushes from Etude House because they are amazing! Every single eyeshadow from my collection is from Etude House and the individual ones are between 3000won-6000won (3-6 dollars).

노래(norae) means 'song' / 'sing' in Korean; 연습 (yeonseup) means 'practice'; 장 (jang) means 'place'. It literally means 'Singing Practice Place' which is a karaoke, also known as 노래방 (noraebang). Because the K-Pop trend is so insane, in a super good way, nowadays, many people who wish to become a K-Pop idol would come to places like this to practice their singing skills, or even just to come here and scream your lungs out to destress! You can even get a small karaoke room all to yourself. 


The Saem is also another Korean roadshop brand that's everywhere. According to the Korean Youtubers, the concealer from the Saem is really worth trying. I bought one but I haven't had the chance to use it yet. How sad it is to look at this photo and JongHyun's already gone for half a year :( 


You can also find many fortune telling shops in HongDae. 



For Japanese Anime fans, there's a theme cafe of One Piece named "Cafe de One Piece 원피스 카페" at HongDae. I'm not an anime fan so I didn't go in there. Here's the address for those who might be interested: 343-10 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea.


Many clothing shops in HongDae too! Couldn't ever get enough of the Korean fashion!!!!


Unlike living in Australia where people would wake up at 8am to fix their morning coffee craving, there was nothing to eat in Hongdae when I got there even though it was nearly 11am. 

I complained to Eunjee and she was like "Girl, the shops here close at midnight and sometimes even in 2am, you can't expect people to wake up early and start business at 8am like Australia!" She had a point!

Feeling bored and hungry, I walked around Hongdae for 3 times until one random idea popped into my mind. I did a Google search and found myself walking for 15 minutes towards this place that's not even on my travel itinerary! The best thing about travelling solo is to be able to play things by ear without a care in the world!



Stumbled upon a florist on my way! I love those fluffy cottony flowers so much!


For the 90s kids out there, you probably watched a Korean drama called "The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince 咖啡王子一号店" (커피 프린스 1호점). Click here for a brief intro on the cafe and the drama by the Korea Tourism Organization.

My intuition told me that I should look up this coffee shop because it might be nearby. God, my gut feeling was right!



Maybe nobody knows this drama anymore but this brought back so much memory! 


"The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince" remains as a classic Korean drama till this day. I think I watched it when I was in primary school.




When I was on my way, I read some reviews of this cafe on some blogs and many of them complained about a rude old man. Not too sure whether it's the same man who I encountered but I was treated pretty well. 






The interior of the coffee shop - cozy, rustic and retro vibe with pops of colour here and there.













Props, autographs, posters and etc...All things related to the 1st Shop of Coffee Prince drama.



I love how they pay attention to small details around the cafe. 


The drinks menu drawn on a blackboard. 


Got myself a slice of Tiramisu cake for breakfast - I think it was 9000won (9 dollars). Definitely pricier because you're here for the location. Themed-cafes tend to be like that. The taste wasn't bad at all! I had nothing to complain about! 

For those who are looking to visit the Coffee Prince Cafe, just know that everyone has to at least order something, be it a dessert or a drink. Only customers are allowed to take photos inside and in the garden. If not, you'd be chased away.

Maybe the reason why people said that they were being ill-treated was because they only went in there for photos. It's understandable that such rules have to be put in place because it's a business to run a cafe and this is not a museum. You need to purchase tickets for museums too. On the side note, you are also prohibited from touching the graffiti and the props and autographs inside the cafe in order to preserve them. 




The famous Coffee Prince Cafe graffiti and that meant photo time!

 It's the signature spot of the cafe that one shouldn't miss! 




Chilling around and regretting that I didn't bring along my diary with me. What a nice place to be drinking coffee, eating cake and writing a travel diary entry! 


Who'd like a cup of coffee made by Fion? Hey, I used to be a barista who specialised in cappuccinos.  


Before I went on my solo trip to Korea, I was so worried that I would return with 0 photos on my camera. Guess what? First morning on my own, I met a lady from the Philippines who's also travelling on her own and she's kind enough to help me shoot all of these photos. Of course, I did the same in return!


For those who know about film shooting, of course not everything is being shoot in this cafe alone even though there were cafe scenes. I see so many people giving bad ratings to this coffee shop which I don't really understand.

Plus, you have to be prepared that you are here for the location, not exactly for the food. However, I was pretty satisfied with my Tiramisu slice and the lady I met was happy with her coffee too. Disregarding the bad reviews on the Internet, I was happy with my experience and this visit definitely brought back a lot of memories from the past! It's a walk down Korean-drama-memory-lane!

The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince

Address: 5, Wausan-ro 29-gil, Mapo-guSeoul 04053, South Korea

(If you are taking the subway to Hongik University/HongDae, go out of Exit 8. Turn right at Seven Springs corner and pass the intersection. At the 3-way intersection, turn left. Walk about 600m and you will find the cafe on your right)

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