Seoul, South Korea has always been on my travel bucket list so I reached out to my good friend who grew up there, YKK for her recommendations on things to see, eat and do. South Korea was one of the places I failed to see during my two years living in Hong Kong so I was keen to see what she had in mind. Here are her recommendations plus some pics I found on Pinterest!
1. Insa dong: Fun folk area in Seoul to go get all your Korean gifts etc. there are many tea houses to try out as well
2. Chonggyecheon stream: Underground stream that has been renovated and a nice area to visit
3. Gyeongbok-gung palace: (Directions: Located behind the Gwanghwamun Gate at Gyeongbokgung Station Line 3) Seoul’s grandest palace which was bombed by the Japanese. Parts have now been restored and the vast grounds also house the Joseon Palace Museum and the Korean Folk Museum.
4. Changdeok-gung palace: (Directions: Located near Anguk Subway Station Line 3) Another palace, but with a beautiful garden which used to be private for royalty only! They offer a limited number of tours per hour.
5. Bukchon Hanok Village: This village has the largest cluster of privately owned traditional Korean wooden homes or hanok in Seoul – beautiful place to wander around in with many Korean tea houses. Perfect to spend the Sunday!
5. Noryangin Fish market: Original fish market with over 2000 stores – you can buy your fresh fish there and get it cook by one of the local restaurants where you can have your dinner!
6. Nam san gol village
8. Nanta & Drum shows: Korean drums and puppet shows that are lovely
9. Namdaemun & Myeongdong: Large markets for shopping for ANYTHING! Fun to go at night and finish at 4 am with lots of really good street food as well!
10. Itaewon: International are in Seoul, lots of super fun restaurants and bars etc.
11. Apgujeong area: High end are with lots of shopping and great restaurants!
13. Garosugil: Fun shopping street with the high street stuff and lots of fun restaurants etc. around the area
14. Hongdae: Relaxed student area with lots of parties and a more hippy vibe
1. Jimjilbang – Korean sauna houses! People take these very seriously
2. Cosmetics: Koreans are obsessed with masks and creams etc. the local brands like FaceShop are really good!
3. Parties: Seoul’s night life is a bit insane! So definitely try it out places like Octagon, Boom bar etc are always fun
Eat: Here are some of YKK’s favourite local foods:
takgalbi (spicy chicken dish)
kimchi, kimchi jigae (kinchi based soup)
bulgogi (bbq meat with lettuce etc.)
nolboo (duck with sulphur)
jajangmyeon (noodle soup)
Chimaek (fried chicken with beer)
samyetong (chicken and ginger soup)
bibimbap (traditional rice dish)
Pajeon (omelette with spring onion)
naemyeong (ice with noodles)
bingsu (desert with beans and ice)
Transport: The metro which is super organised and all the subway stations are mini shopping areas which is fun to see!
Day trips from Seoul
– Bukchon Hanok Village: Tours are available and recommended, fully represents Korean life and its evolution.
– DMZ: The border with North Korea, often referred to as one of the most dangerous places in the world.
* Sanchon: Traditional Buddhist Temple Food at Sanchon, the most popular restaurant in Korea for Buddhist temple vegetarian cuisine.
* Regular street food: Try it – there’s a lot of really good street food in Seoul! Just avoid the silk worm cocoons… ???
* Baedongbaji: (27-3 Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul) Famous for galbi (barbecue beef)
* Arirang Folk Restaurant: (2-2 Kwanhun-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul)
* Jung Shik dang: Modern fusion
* Samwon Garden: Meat barbeque
* The Lamb Kitchen: Amaaaaaazing lamb bbq with great red wine!!!
* Nolboo Yuhwangori Jinheukgui: Duck restaurant
* Modern Babsang: A nice intro to Korean food, owned by Psy’s mom.
* To Sok Chan: Korean cuisine
Thanks so much YKK for the recommendations and be sure to enter the Crust competition so you can have a chance to win and see countries like South Korea.