[SOUTH KOREA 2012] Day 3: Namdaemun Market, Jejudo

DAY 3 (13 Nov): Dongdaemun, Jeju

- Namdaemun Market

- Domestic flight to Jeju Island (Eastarjet)
- Check in YEHA Guesthouse

We didn't have a lot planned for this day since we were supposed to catch our flight to Jeju Island later in the evening. So we thought we'd check out Namdaemun Market in the first half of the day, and leave our luggage at the next guesthouse before we catch our flight to Jeju. We didn't want to bring our huge luggage (which you can see in the next few pictures) to Jeju, so I contacted our next guesthouse via e-mail and asked the host if they were willing to keep our luggages for a few days, which they were.

Anyway, we went off to Namdaemun Market after light breakfast and oh my God, the place was HUGE. Like, if you spent your entire day there you would still not cover maybe 50% of all the shopping markets and malls. To give you an idea of how huge the place is, here's a map:

Picture taken from Visit Korea website
It's not enough that they have so many shops and malls, they even have underground malls OTL

My advice: once you get there, go look for the Tourist Info Centre or one of the tourist guides there (they're distinctly dressed, you won't miss them, and usually they would stand around in front of one of the bigger shopping malls) and get a map of the area to get your bearing first. After that, plan on where you're interested in going and accept the fact that you're never going to cover all of it in one day lol.

The sight that greeted us around the shopping area. If you see this, you're in the vicinity all right.

There weren't a lot of pictures taken on this day because we were too busy discovering all the different markets lol. It was interesting, and yeah most of them are for bulk sales, but you find some good stuff because the place is just so huge! There were markets selling souvenir items, shoes, clothing items, bags, even textiles. We were only there for half a day so we didn't have the time to actually go to each places. 

My sister and I left our friends to shop while we drank coffee and went in search for food later lol.

After shopping, we went back to Doo Guesthouse to check out and proceed to our next stop.

Leaving our guesthouse.
Managed to get a picture with the manager before we left for Namdaemun lol.

From Anguk, we made our way to Hongdae, to the previously-mentioned guesthouse to drop off our luggages. This was where our trip got a little bit hairy. The owner was very kind to agree to host our luggages during the time we'll be in Jeju (3 days 2 nights) since they had a spare storage room.

Unfortunately there was a bit of a culture shock to both parties when we dropped our luggage there. Us being Muslims and travelling around, we still had to adhere to our daily prayers (which is 5 times a day at a specific time). So we had to ask the host if there's any place where we can do our prayers before we leave for the airport - if we had gone to the airport first, we would've missed our prayer times, which was bad. The host had replied that they had no idea of such place and since Islam wasn't big in Korea, I wasn't really surprised. I was just ready to call it off and tell my friends that we had better pray en route on the train or something, but they insisted on praying at the guesthouse, so it was up to me to ask the host if they'd mind.

I don't think they knew what they'd agreed to, but basically our daily prayers kinda scared them. (Here's an illustration of our daily prayers, which is performed 5 times a day.) Plus we had to use the sink for ablution, which they were understandably not thrilled with because we had to use the water to "cleanse" ourselves. Since they're not familiar with it, I don't fault them at all - plus there were other guests there so I guess they were scared that we'd scared the other guests too. (I thought the other guest just calmly took it in stride - but that's a matter of my own opinion.)

But anyway, long story short, the host was probably wary of us from then on and I knew that we'd somehow managed to piss them off, which I was very regretful about. However, I didn't have any control over my sisters' friends, and I could only apologize and leave for our flight.

Had I known this would've happened, I probably would've gone for a more commercial guesthouse (see: YEHA guesthouse etc.) instead of a privately-owned one. The more commercial guesthouses would probably have more space to lend for such things compared to a privately-owned one with limited space.

Ah, well. So that was our little adventure, if I can even call it that. If anything, this taught me to be more mindful of our actions as Muslim travelers as it would seem foreign to those who don't understand it. Were we to suddenly start prostrating ourselves in prayers in the middle of the road, more people would've been scared lol. So yeah, Muslim travelers should be aware of the fact that Korea wouldn't be that convenient for traveling around since they have no prayer rooms and are unaware of our practices. As far as I know, there's only one mosque/prayer area in Itaewon, and that was it. Just be sure to inform and clarify with your host or whatever if you do need to pray there, and don't repeat our mistake.

So, onwards to Day 4 - Jeju Island!