Monday, 5 October 2015

Seoul Snapshots

My favourite travel destination is always the last place I visited so Seoul is ranking pretty highly right now. It may not be the most obvious destination - I got a few raised eyebrows when I told friends and colleagues of my upcoming holiday plans (and had to frequently reiterate that I was going to South Korea and not North Korea) but it's only confirmed that East Asia is my favourite destination. It is pretty sweet being not being surrounded by other British tourists - mostly because I like getting compliments on my "Harry Potter" accent which, unsurprisingly, never happens at home.

Seoul is an amazing city - it's easy to get around (both by walking and on the efficient metro system), has both good food and good coffee, is less expensive than London and has the perfect balance of old and (very) new. It's not all high rise buildings - I hiked up a mountain, rode a bike and ate in a tent restaurant with loo roll hanging from the ceiling. Koreans are super friendly and on said bike ride were keen to make sure I wasn't lost (probably due to my wholly inappropriate biking attire) and always checked that I did mean to order red bean desserts (maybe other visitors are not fans of the not-sweet-not-savory taste of them but I go crazy for all things red bean).

I'd recommend getting a decent guidebook, reading the tips on Eat Your Kimchi and Waegook Tom, learning the Korean alphabet if you're super keen (I did it while on tube journeys, standing in queues and while watching Netflix because my inner over-achiever just won't quit) and booking a few trips on Viatour. And no, you probably won't be served dog meat, be obliterated by North Korea and nor will you hear a peep of Gangnam Style...
Seoul city guide
The change of the guard at Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Seoul city guide
Cheonggyecheon stream in central Seoul - grab a coffee from one of the many nearby coffee shops and enjoy a peaceful break from the city. 
Seoul city guide
Kitty time at Godabang "cat attic" in Myeongdong. I took so many cat pictures that an entire post may be in order... The guesthouse's dog gave me a wide berth when I got back that evening. 
Seoul city guide
Stepping over the board into North Korea for a Kodak Moment - I did this tour which took in the Demilitarised Zone, a walk down the third infiltration tunnel, a visit to the shiny new but as-yet-unused train station to Pyongyang and a trip to the truce village. Possibly one of the most surreal days I've had and an experience I'll never forget. 
Seoul city guide
Zaha Hadid's spaceship-like Dongdaemun Design Plaza - the fact that someone can dream something like this up and then have it made into a physical reality blows my mind a little bit. Humans are amazing as much as they are balling and ridiculous. 
Seoul city guide
Jogyesa Temple - a short walk from Insa-Dong and a lovely place for quiet time.
Seoul city guide
At the top of N Seoul Tower. After spending two hours hiking uphill looking for the bottom of the cable car station...I reached the top of the Namsan mountain. I maybe should have noticed that everyone around me was in proper hiking gear while I just had pink trainers, my saved Spotify playlist and a vague hope that I wouldn't get lost.
Seoul city guide
A very relaxing day at Dragon Hill Spa - I had an amazing massage, hopped between outdoor scented hot tubs and steamed parts of my body that maybe shouldn't be steamed... The spa areas are separate for men and women and are a swim-wear and inhibition free zone. If the spa-ing becomes too much then you can hit the games arcade or stop for a spot of fried chicken in one of the many cafes - a bizarre but very Korean experience! This guide is useful for spa etiquette. 
More adventures to follow!
lilylipstick
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2 comments

  1. Looks amazing. I really want to go. Such a culture shock. And the buildings look amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah, it looks amazing! You really made me want to go!

    - Elodie x
    www.elle-yeah.com

    ReplyDelete

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