A day in 익선동 Ikseon-dong

매력적인 익선동 ♥

I finally made the time to go visit a neighborhood in Seoul that I’ve been wanting to go to for a while. My co-worker had told me about a place called 익선동 (Ikseon-dong) a month or so ago and immediately put it on my bucket list of places to visit.

익선동 (Ikseon-dong) is an up and coming neighborhood in Seoul that combines traditional Korean architecture/buildings (한옥 – Hanok) with modern shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. 익선동 is not only known for its scenery but also for its good food, coffee and tea shops. The area itself is very small, but still worth the visit.

After visiting 익선동 with a friend for dinner and coffee, I told myself I should come here at least once a month. Honestly, if I could, I would move here. I definitely fell in love with this charming and relaxing neighborhood.


Where you can enter the neighborhood right outside of 종로3가 Stn. Exit 4

The area is located right outside of 종로3가 (Jongo 3-ga). You can take Line 1, Line 3, or Line 5 to get to 종로3가 (Jongo 3-ga).  After you’ve arrived at 종로3가 go to Exit 4 and then immediately cross the street. If continue walking straight, you will run into a 한옥 (hanok) village, also known as 익선동 (Ikseon-dong).



There is a cute map of the neighborhood showing all of the places you can visit in



After looking at the map, which honestly didn’t help us much (it was just cute lol), we decided to walk around until we found the café we were looking for. If you are looking at the map, we took the alley on the right (pictured above↑). We went on a Wednesday afternoon, so there were not as many people which was really nice.

The art and greenery that you can see throughout the village was one of the main reasons I loved 익선동 so much.


I don’t know if this was someone’s personal residence but I was really tempted to walk in there lol. It’s just so cute with all the flowers and traditional architecture.


Café 그랑 (Graang)

I realized that many of the tea and coffee shops in this area would not only function as a café, but also as a bar or pub.

I didn’t get a chance to go in this particular café, but I definitely want try this place next time I come back. The café’s name is  그랑 (Graang) and they sell coffee, tea, desserts, beer and cocktails, which is all of my favorite things in one place (minus the beer, I can do without lol).



Right now, it’s a trend in Korea to have dried flowers as a decoration or to give as a gift to your girlfriend/friend. Many cafés in Seoul are decorated with dried flowers, even the teachers at my school decorate their classrooms with dried flowers. You can walk down the streets of Seoul and see random vendors selling them in various colors and sizes. I’m all  about this trend though because I love dried flowers. I even have to two bouquets of dried flowers hanging in my room right now, both gifts from my boyfriend (thanks bb).



An entrance to another one of the many cafés I need to try.



A look down one of the neighborhood’s alleys. On the left was a really cute plant shop selling all sorts cacti, plants and, of course, dried flowers because it wouldn’t be Korea without dried flowers.



While I was walking around I happened to stumble on this cute dog and his/her owner and honestly if this picture doesn’t make your heart happy I don’t know what will. Look at how happy the pup is!!!!

That’s pure love right there♥


This was yet another cute café I ran into. I’m not quite sure but I think the concept of this café was a sort of workshop café where you can make things? by hand while drinking coffee. But then again at this time we were really hungry and looking for food so I just snapped some pictures because it was cute, even though I didn’t know what it was. I’m pretty sure they sell coffee though?? lol



The entrance to the workshop? café and a cute couple with matching shoes~




(‘I hate summer’)

I related with this poster on a personal level because I also hate summer…



Maybe it’s because I live in a city and there’s barely any greenery, but I really appreciate plant heavy places so much these days.



Old and New Korea vibes



Would you like some beer with that coffee? Whether you’re looking to get lit or to just wake up, TEUM’s got you.



As we were on our way out I saw this cute little house in one of the corners of the neighborhood. I was really curious to see if the inside was renovated or left as is, but I guess I’ll never know.. lol

Overall, in my opinion, 익선동 is definitely somewhere you need to visit if you’re in Korea. There’s so many places to explore for a such a small neighborhood. Also, so many places to take pictures. The only thing I regret about going to 익선동 was that I didn’t dress cute that day so that I could take pictures… (hence no pictures of me there). Next time I go, I need to dress cute so that I can match the neighborhood’s aesthetics and take pictures. I know some of you out there know what I’m talking about lol.  I highly recommend visiting 익선동, so go go go!!!



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Who am I? What is sawol2?


To explain simply, I’m just another exchange student turned ESL teacher living in Seoul, SK. After attending 연세대학교 for a year and returning back to the states I only had one goal and it was to get back to Seoul. Here I am, 2 years later, living the life that I had always dreamed of.

I wanted to make a blog not only to share all my photos and travels with my friends and family back home, but to show those who’ve never thought about visiting Korea how beautiful and intriguing Korea can be.

Oh ya, my friends call me 사월(Sawol). So I will be going by Sawol on my blog as well. Why Sawol? The ‘technical’ Korean translation of my name Apryl is 사월 (사=4 and 월=month), meaning the 4 month of the year. I had a friend start calling me Sawol one day and thought it was cute so I kept it. I add the 2 at the end of my name because in Korean 2 is 이 (‘ie’? lol) and in Korea when you call your friends by their name you can either say 사월아 (Sawol-ah) or  사월이 (Sawol-ie). So, instead of spelling my name out as Sawolie, I use a 2 at the end of Sawol becoming Sawol2 (Sawol-ie, 사월이).  Hope that made sense?

Anyways, my blog will mostly consist of posts about cafés, food, travels and really anything I find in Korea that I would want other people to see or go experience. I’m also willing to answer anyone’s questions about Korea. Thank you.