가자 Korea Diary Part 7: K-Star Road @ Apgujeongrodeo, JYP & FNC Entertainment @ Cheongdamdong & Kakao Friends Store @ Gangnam

On this day, I got to catch up with Nini who had her day off from school. We used to be in the same college and dorm and also we were both part of the Melbourne University's Korean Students' Society's committee. I passed the baton to her as the instructor of the K-Pop dance class because I preferred to handle paperwork as a Treasurer at that point :P

We met up at Apgujeongrodeo because I told her that I wanted to visit the entertainment companies. A typical to-do for international K-Pop fans ~ duh! Nini's nice enough to entertain me for this bullshit because she's a non-Korean studying there. Eunjee (local) said to me, "I'd not do such thing with you!" HAHA

What a long way up! 

Got7 photozone's being set up at the Apgujeongrodeo station and many fans were taking photos over there. 

I paid no attention to Got7 and took a full-of-myself selfie instead as I waited for Nini. 

I believe many of you would have heard of the famous Korean song named "Gangnam Style" by PSY. 

If you don't know this song...I don't know what to say, have you been living under a rock or something?! 

Yes, today, this whole post is all about Gangnam. This is the place where the 'heat wave' of Korea (Hallyu 한류 pronounced as 'han-ryu') began. A prestigious area that houses more than half of the Korean entertainment companies along with the flagship stores of many luxurious brands and also the expensive real estate properties of Seoul. 

As instructed by Nini, I took exit 7 at the station of Apgujeongrodeo. Here, I was greeted by Gangnamdol Haus. 

GangnamDol is a made up of the words of "Gangnam", "idol" and "doll". You know you are at K-Star Road when you see this. There are around 17 human-scale bear doll sculptures along this road with symbolic images of the famous K-Pop groups. I had no idea what to expect because I didn't do any research in advance. 

This small little kiosk located outside of the Galleria Department Store (yeap, the high-end shopping place for the riches) selling the merchandise of the bear doll sculptures which nearly took my rationality away. I used the word 'nearly' because what I would love to buy was out of stock :/ Don't forget to grab a map of K-Star Road while you are in there. 

Because inside the Gangnamdol Haus, I found photos of my hubby and my brother-in-law! 

Ah yes darling, that's how you are going to love our kid in the future <3 Don't worry, our baby would definitely be cute! ♥ 

Photo of B1A4 spotted in there too. Read my little history with B1A4 here

This is how the CNBLUE bear looks like on K-Star Road. Too bad the doll sculpture was out of stock in the Gangnamdol Haus :/ Nevertheless, that saved me 29000won (approximately 29 dollars) for a small vinyl item. 

Here we go K-Star road - the way to stardom *let's just live in the moment a for a while aye?!* 

Spoiler alert: I only took photos of the sculpture bears of the bands that I am personally interested in so no hard feelings if your favourite ones are not here solely because I'm a very mind-my-own-business type of person. 

Here's a list of the bear sculptures that I have put together for your reference:
1. 4Minute 
2. Super Junior
3. 2PM
4. FT Island
5. SHINee
6. Miss A 
7. CNBLUE - my bias!!!!! 
8. TVXQ!
9. Girls Generation
10. EXO
11. AOA
12. BTS 
13. B1A4
14. VIXX
16. KARA
17. Block B

4Minute - my favourite girl group which disbanded a while ago because my girl crush Hyuna's in there as a rapper. For those who don't know, she's that blonde girl in the music video of Gangnam Style. 

FT Island, senior of CNBLUE from the same entertainment company.

SHINee...It still breaks my heart knowing that SHINee's no longer the same after the passing of JongHyun oppa </3

Can I bring this whole thing back?! PLEASE! 

CNBLUE's bear sculpture! 

Can you feel my love in the air even if it's just a bear sculpture and not my hubby himself?! Anyway, love is blind - that explains everything! 

So reluctant to leave MY bear!

Took this in front of the Infinite bear and sent it to Elissa to make her jealous of the 2 of us catching up and because that's her favourite band's bear sculpture. 

First time seeing a Rolls-Royce in front of my eyes. 

You enter the Cheongdamdong area once you have reached the last bear. Cheongdamdong is the area that many rich Koreans, including celebrities, live. 

JYP is one of the top 3 entertainment companies in Seoul. It is the house of Miss A, 2PM, Got7, Twice and etc. 

Some fans were camping outside of JYP, probably waiting for the golden chance to see their idols in real life. 

If you are a fan of any of the JYP owned groups, then this is the place that you should probably come and try your luck out. 

JYP Entertainment (not sure whether they have moved to another HQ by now though)

Address: 78 gil 41, Apgujeong-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. (3-minute walk from the Cheongdamdong Community Service Centre)

Finally I am here. "Let's me bring you on the tour of my agency!"

Like so naturally! 

FNC Entertainment is the entertainment company that scouted my hubby Jung YongHwa and made him the leader and lead singer of CNBLUE. Without FNC, there would be no hubby! 

I thought my hubby would be in there so at least that's the shortest distance on earth that we'd ever be...but as he showed on his Instagram at that time, he was at home!

Nah, I was less than a metre away from his feet at CNBLUE's concert back in Melbourne 8 years ago! Yes you read that right, 8 years, I'm a loyal bitch! 

Unlike FNC, there's nobody camping around here. In fact, there's nobody here at all. Not even a single staff member in sight.

Contemplating whether I should just walk through the door or at least stuck my head in there to peep around.

Nah, I'm a good one who respects others' privacy, not a trespasser like that. One day, I shall just walk through the place like I own it while I visit my hubby at work delivering bento ;) 꿈꿔!

FNC Entertainment

Alert: keep your hands to yourself and stay away from my hubby because he's MINE!

Address of FNC Entertainment: 85-gil 46, Dosandae-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.

I didn't really care much about the other entertainment companies because my only goal was to visit FNC Entertainment. YG and SM Entertainment agencies should be around that area too if you are keen. 

After coming out from FNC Entertainment, we took a bus to the bustling Gangnam station. First time taking a bus in Korea but I did not learn anything because I had Nini around.

Randomly went into a restaurant because we were famished by then. Unlike in Melbourne, where you can go into a Korean restaurant, order one dish and share between 2 people. For restaurants in Korea, certain dishes have a minimum order quantity.

Like this one, because there were 2 of us, we had to order bulgogi for 2 people with 2 bowls of rice even though clearly it's quite a challenge to finish everything. I hardly ate the rice but still, there's no opt-out in some restaurants in South Korea.

Welcome to Gangnam!

Being a crazy Kakao Friends fan, I had to visit the biggest Kakao Friends' flagship store in South Korea that's located in Gangnam. The other big one in Seoul is the one in Hongdae. 

I was welcomed by a huge ass Ryan! 

Upon comparison, the one that I went in Sinchon was way too small because this one has 3 levels! Full of cute merchandise and Ryan Cafe!

Well hello there Kakao Friends! For those who have no idea about Kakao Friends, read about them here

OMG, kill me already! Too much cuteness to handle!

PS: Want to bribe me? Bring me an A-Peach!

If I could, I would've bought a giantic A-Peach all the way back home with me!

Kakao Friends Gangnam Flagship Store

Address: 1-3 Floor, Yuchang Building, 1305-7, Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul.
Opening Hours: 10.30am-10pm daily

For other Kakao Friends stores, check out this link here

Nini wanted to purchase a limited edition magazine which was featuring her idols, so we headed to an underground bookshop named Kyobo Book Centre 교보문고 in Gangnam which was only a short walk from the Kakao store. Spotted this cute ferries wheel in the souvenir corner of the bookshop.

I didn't take any photos of the bookshop because I wanted to save the battery of my camera.

For those who might be interested, click here for more details. 

There's a corner selling physical albums of various artistes and as expected, I did my damage and bought hubby's album! 

When the album first came out and despite not having any solid plans in place to go to Korea at that time, I told myself and my friends who were wondering what's taking me so long to buy it that, "Just so you wait, I'll buy it in Korea rather than buy it online right now."

I made my dream come true!

(WTF typing this made me all teary-eyed! Get your shit together Fion, this ain't no Shakespeare play!)

Then, we headed back to the Kakao store to have coffee at Ryan Cafe. 

Nini bought me lunch earlier that day so I insisted on buying her snacks/tea/coffee at Ryan Cafe since she's a big fan of Ryan and I couldn't get enough of Kakao Friends - the best of both worlds!

Ryan Cafe is located at level 3 of the Kakao Friends flagship store. 

Yes, this LED lamp's for sale in the flagship store. 

Look at Nini's phone case which matched the theme of the place perfectly. 

Kill me, these A-Peach, Ryan and Muzi cupcakes are so cute! 

Even the macarons were next level!

More merchandise for sale in the cafe too. 

A big lazy Ryan chilling by the side.

I forgot what I ordered but I believe it has something to do with butterscotch. 

I brought the sleeve of the cup back to Melbourne, cut it into half and kept it in my travel journal. 

I am splitting this blog post into 2 parts because the place that Nini and I headed for dinner is a place that is really meaningful to me so I wanna it to have its own blog post. Talk about being all OCD over unnecessary crap haha! 

Good night for now <3 굿 밤~

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