As most of you probably know by now, I visited Korea about a month ago. Last week, I finally managed to sit down, go through some of the footage and list down my favourite places for this city guide.
I’ve never been to Korea before, so for me it was pretty exciting (especially as a beauty lover that hasn’t dived into the K-beauty world yet). Although I’m not one that likes to plan, I did list down a few places in my Google Maps, so that if I was around the area and not tired, I could easily visit and tick it off my bucket list. Surprisingly, I did manage to see quite a few places in the short amount of time, whilst still being able to get midday naps in.
I’ve noticed that Seoul is very separated, i.e. there is a “special” area for food, business, fashion, beauty etc. This makes it, in a way, very easy to determine where you should stay and visit based on your interests. Of course, there is still so much to see in Seoul that I didn’t have the time for and the areas I did visit were pretty touristy, but I’ve listed down a few places that I think are worth it to explore if you’re in the area.
» For the Beauty Lovers : Myeong-dong
If you love to shop for skincare or makeup, definitely visit this area. It can get crowded, but if you’re used to the HK crowd, then this wouldn’t be a problem. There are a few blocks completely filled with so many shops and street food (when these two are combined, it’s heaven for me). If you’re looking for a product in a store and it’s sold out, don’t worry, they have the same stores in every single street. While the Korean beauty brands obviously dominate, they have a few boots and Olive&Young (like the Korean Boots) that offer not only Korean brands but also low and high end western brands, from Wet N’ Wild to Stila.
» For the Fashionistas : Dongdaemun
This area is where the Seoul Fashion Week was hosted in the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, but being that I’m not big on fashion at all, this wasn’t really an area that I enjoyed or found entertaining. There are many malls surrounding the exhibition hall that are filled with fashion stores, trade halls and outlets, so if you’re into that then you’d probably really enjoy it.
» For the Cultural Ones : Bukchon Hanok Village & Gyeongbokgung Palace
I couldn’t leave Korea without seeing a bit of its rich history and the Bukchon Hanok Village was the part that I wanted to see the most. The area is filled with “traditional” houses. I do say “traditional” because most of them are actually fully restored and are just designed to look traditional. To my surprise, there were residents living in these houses, which I’m assuming must be very uncomfortable for them considering the amount of tourists wandering about. Towards the west side of the village, there was the Gyeongbokgung Palace, which was another restored area that was packed with tourists. The Palace was located in a park and is the largest out of all the palaces. I did find the architecture and design mesmerising and with so much history that has taken place in the area, a remarkable place to visit.
» For the Ones that like to go for a drink : Itaewon & Gangnam
I also wanted to explore the Korean night life while I was there and got recommended the Itaewon area. The long street is filled with bars and restaurants of 3 to 4 stories with a different vibe in each section. You can definitely find something there if you want to go for a casual drink, although they do have a few more upscale places as well. I’m not keen on visiting a bar where the music is so loud I can’t hear people talk, so after a quick bite we discovered the Jazz section and went to a live jazz bar.
Something more up my alley was the Gangnam area. When I do go back, I’ll likely stay there and explore that area a bit more, but for this visit we quickly checked out a gastro pub, Goose Island. I highly recommend the place if you like beer and /or a lively, casual place to sit and relax.
So that was my Seoul trip highlighted, I definitely want to go back and visit more of the Southern area in the future. Also, I'll likely want to go when it's a bit warmer, because despite it being March, it still felt like winter. Have you guys been to Seoul and what are your favourite places if you have been?