Travel

How to Experience the True Seoul of Korea

Something For Everyone

The metropolis of Seoul is one of the largest and most unique cities in the world. Not only is it the capitol of South Korea but it is also the heart of their entertainment industry. This is where old and new, traditional and contemporary meet and somehow blend flawlessly. Regardless of your preference, you can always find something to do that fits your taste. Day or night, this city has what you are looking for. We are going to give you a couple of ideas for you to check out the next time you find yourself “Seoul Searching.”

Insadong International Market
Insadong International Market

Shopping in Seoul

One thing that every vacation needs is at least one good shopping trip. You will find a shopping mall at almost every major station along the metro train. If multiple lines come together, there is likely an AK Plaza (a chain of malls across Korea). However, if you are looking for a much more unique mall, check out the COEX Mall located at Samseong station (삼성역) on Seoul Metro’s Line 2. From a 3 story movie theater with a giant slide you can go down as you leave your movie, to an amazing new library almost the size of America’s Library of Congress. For a small fee you can explore its underground aquarium.

If you are looking for something completely different from a major mall, check out Insadong’s (인사동) international market. From the moment you arrive, you will find a shopping experience like no other. With more traditional style shops, to street vendors and performers, even people walking with carts of interesting items for sale. From stone Vases and hand carved jade to beads and dreamcatchers, you can really find almost anything there from almost anywhere in the world. Insadong is not a place you can properly explore in an hour or two so try to give yourself plenty of time to really take it in, you won’t regret it!

Han River Park
Han River Park

Seoul’s Great Outdoors

Whether you are looking for something active to do or just wanting to relax, Seoul has an inexhaustible supply of things for you to do outside regardless of the season. Probably the best example is the Han River (한강). Here you can rent a bike for only a couple of dollars (USD) for the first hour and less than a dollar (USD) each additional hour and ride around as much as you want, taking in the sights. As you ride along you will find many side adventures for you to explore either right away or mark the location on your phone and come back to it later. No need to worry about packing a lunch or drinks because, there are many places you can stop along the way for food and refreshment.

If relaxing is more what you are looking for, try the river boat tour or just bring a blanket and some cash and have a picnic. Watch the kids play or the light and music show from the Banpo Bridge (반포대교) at night. You could almost make an entire vacation out of the things to see and do at the Han River alone.

The National Folk Museum of Korea

Museums and Culture in Seoul

Anywhere you go in Seoul, you are going to come across a museum or cultural exhibit. Probably one of the best districts for this is Bukcheon. Bukcheon is a hanok (traditional style) village where time seems to have stood still. In this district you will find the Korean National Folk Museum. This museum is right in the heart of one of the Palaces in Seoul and is like a walk through time. From the dawn of the country to present day, you will see the evolution for the country and really gain a new understanding for how Korea became the place it is today.

Avenue of Youth
Avenue of Youth

Seoul’s Nightlife, Bars/Pubs and Dining

If you are a party animal, or you want to just sit down for a meal and drinks with your friends and family, you should really consider “The Avenue of Youth.” Don’t let the name fool you, this place has something for everyone of all ages. You will find it right outside of Jjonggak station’s underground shopping center. During the day it is full of street vendors and shops. However at night it changes into a completely different experience. With pubs, bars, restaurants, norebang (karaoke rooms), clubs and much more. The Avenue of Youth really should be on your list of places to see. So much can be said about this area, but that will have to be an article of its own.

To say that you can make a whole vacation out of just Seoul is a lie. You could easily make several vacations out of Seoul and not do the same thing twice. This city never sleeps and is always changing and growing. Given the chance it will steal your heart and you will always be itching to come back. Come let Seoul inspire you and we promise that you will be planning your next trip before you even make it back home.

Featured Image Source: © Inspire Me Korea, 04.07.17, www.inspiremekorea.com

The author: Robert Marsh

Crazy American soldier who fell in love with the beautiful country, culture, and people of Korea. I started to learn more of the language and culture before I discovered kpop and kdrama

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