Its been 5 years since I last visited Korea and thanks to an opportunity, I was able to once again visit the motherland!
A lot has definitely changed. Hearing English speakers in the subway is now a common occurrence, plastic surgery advertisements are not as discreet, suggesting the practice a norm and everything has gotten so much more expensive! Nevertheless, its always exciting going to South Korea – the city that never sleeps. I find that I never have enough time to do and eat everything but before I continue rambling, here are some ideas on what you can do if you end up in Korea!
10 THINGS TO DO WHEN IN KOREA
1. Take the Subway.
The Korean subway is a culture of its own. You can find underground shopping stores, art exhibitions, and even street performers located at various subway stations. Each subway station is equipped with their own subway vendors offering food, souvenirs and random products for purchase. Not only is it an effective way to get around the city but it is easy to use and super clean!
2. Eat Korean barbecue!
Where else can you get authentic Korean food but the motherland! Samgyupsal with soju or beer is always a good idea. I checked out Hanam Pork House at Myeongdong and it was amazing!!
3. Eat ChiMaek = Korean Fried Chicken and Beer!
You’ve not experienced Korea until you’ve popped Korean Fried Chicken in your mouth and chugged it down with a glass of cold beer. The best time to eat this is when you order it for delivery at 11 pm because you can! Best thing ever.
4. Eat everything in Korea
From the street foods to the mom and pop restaurants to the fancy smancy dine ins…whether its dessert, a hearty meal or hangover meals, everything is so damn good! The country is a foodies paradise.
5. Get your hair did (done!)
Feel like a kpop star and get your hair done! Juno Hair is where I went for a cheap but awesome haircut. Some locals don’t even bother washing their hair at home because they can just walk into these hair shops and get their head shampoo/conditioned, massaged and styled for cheap!
6. Check out Itaewon nightlife
Itaewon is known as the foreigner district. It used to be pretty ghetto with nothing much to do in the neighbourhood but now its revamped as the new Go-To spot in the city. Both locals and foreigners frequent Itaewon for its diversity in authentic ethnic foods and vibrant nightlife. Itaewon back then is definitely not the Itaewon now. Crazy how time transforms.
7. Purchase lots of snacks for your trip back home.
From yogurt jellys, dried squid, and instant noodles.. hoarding these goodies to take back home is cheaper and fills you with so much joy.
8. Shop till you drop.
Whether its face masks, harry potter glasses or random souvenirs to take home, Myeongdong is a good place to start!
7. Go to a Jjimjilbang.
No list is complete without going to a Jimjilbang in Korea. Go get a scrub, open up your pores in the hot HOT sauna and experience what the locals do in these bath houses. I’ve never been but heard that Dragon Hill Spa in Yongsan is a good spot to check out.
8. Check out Themed Cafes just for the heck of it.
Hello Kitty cafes (um, hello kitty fanatics!), Racoon cafes (yes, there are live racoons), Dress cafes (if dressing up as a princess is your dream)…Im sure if you have a thing for something and you google it, you will probably find it in Seoul somewhere. There is even a SHEEP cafe. Thats right… baaaaaaaaa…. These cafe visits will probably make your trip even more memorable!
9. Go to the local Korean Market.
NoryangJin Market, Namdaemun Market are a few popular markets that sell local seafood, side dishes, traditional clothes, etc.. The hustle and bustle in these markets are cool to see and experience!
10. Visit Gyeongbukgong Palace
Whether you are a tourist or feel like doing tourist things, the palace is a cool place to check out. This has been on my To Do list but never have enough time! You can even rent a hanbok (Korean traditional dress) and go for a mini photoshoot within the palace walls. Hows that for a cool experience in Korea? Note that they are closed on Tuesdays!
There is so much more to do, to see, to eat but this list is what I ended up doing or wanted to do on my visit to Korea. Happy travels!