SEOUL CITY GUIDE

August 3, 2019 Seoul, South Korea

SIGHTS


Ihwa Mural Village is one of those gems hidden in Seoul, and I would say it's definitely worth the hike up there. It's a bit off the beaten path and you need to walk around to find the murals, but there's a map to help you navigate around. Plenty of places to eat and boutique shops to rest while you search for the murals. Definitely bring comfortable shoes when heading over. Try to get there before the crowds come! 
Coex Mall is known for its huge underground mall, but also for its aquarium and their amazing collection of books at the Starfield Library. They hold events there and it's a wonderful place to just sit and read, a gem in this day in age. There are places to study and space for those that want to enjoy a break from eating and shopping inside the mall. There's also a variety of magazines for those that enjoy light reading! I was able to find some Korean books that I've been meaning to read but couldn't find back in the States. Wander around the mall and head to the Hyundai grocery store inside the mall, probably one of the most bougie grocery stores I've been to. Plenty to do inside the Coex Mall if you happen to be in Korea on a rainy day. 
SHOPPING

Endless shopping when in Korea! Korea is truly the shopping mecca, if you love shopping you need to come to Korea. I would have to say my favorite area to shop was in Hongdae, Ewha University shopping street, Dongdaemun, underground subway shopping, and Myeongdong for night shopping. Most clothes are one size fits all and a lot of times shops don't offer fitting rooms unless you're at a department store, so I would suggest only buy things you know will fit you. For me, Hongdae had it all. I bought my Gentle Monsters from the Hongdae flagship store, but I would purchase it from Lotte Duty Free or at the airport since tax is already taken out. I would buy prescription glasses in Korea since they're known for their affordable and quick service, you can even get an exam there for free (depending on which shop). I got two pair of glasses for $110, some are even as cheap as $25 depending on the frame.

So many places to get your Korean beauty products, but Olive Young and La La Lavla is your one stop shop for everything you need. They run a lot of promotions in store and almost always have a discount on your favorite items! I think I went almost every day to Olive Young to pick up items, you can easily spend hours shopping and it's everywhere. I would recommend buying the pimple patches, feet masks, sunscreen (favorite is B:Remedies and Dr.G), and stock up on face masks! My favorite brands are Abib, Round Lab, and AHC

Stylenanda has two flagship stores, one in Hongdae and one in Myeongdong. If you're looking for the one with the pool and pink cafe, go to the Hongdae one. The Myeongdong location has a hotel theme and carries 3ce products as well. 3ce is Stylenanda's popular cosmetic line that is carried at Olive Young and other shops as well, but Stylenanda carries everything while third party shops have a limited collection. Stylenanda is definitely worth a stop, I personally would go to the Hongdae location if you had to pick between the two.

HISTORICAL



Visiting Buchon Hanok Village was probably one of the highlight's of my trip, seeing the traditional Korean homes and walking around wearing a hanbok. If you wear a hanbok you can enter Changdeokgung Palace for free. I would come early in the morning or closer to closing time as there are tour groups if you want to avoid the crowds and take photos. I went to rent a hanbok near Buchon Hanok Village for about $26 for two hours, which included a dress, styled hair, and a small bag. While walking around the village, I had traditional tea inside one of the homes and ended up talking to the owner for about an hour, one of the most memorable moments from my trip! Remember to be respectful and quiet as it is a residential neighborhood. 

WANDER


Sometimes getting lost is not a bad idea. While heading to a cafe or just walking around a neighborhood, there's always a hidden gem. For a list of cafes I would recommend, read the blog post here. Wandering around has led me to some cool murals, boutiques, bookstores, and cafes. Korea has CCTV's everywhere so it's relatively safe if you find yourself off track. It's so easy to get around and you usually find yourself steps away from the bus station and subway, or you can always take the taxi. I would download the kakao map or naver map while you're in Korea to help you get around with public transportation.
EATS
Gwangjang Market is probably my favorite place to get cheap street food such as mayak kimbap (it's so addictive its called drug kimbap), ddukbokki (spicy stir fried rice cake), mandoo (dumplings), and noodles. If you're looking for authentic Korean food I would stop by here and go from stall to stall and take bites of different dishes. If you watched Netflix's Asian Street Food, you can find the woman's restaurant inside the market! Make sure you make room for dessert since there are plenty of options such as hotteok and bungeoppang.
Also, when you're in Korea you need to go get Korean barbecue! You can easily find one anywhere, make sure to put the meat inside the lettuce with kimchi, marinated onion, green onions, and ssamjang.
I would recommend downloading the app Mango Plate, which is like Korea's version of Yelp. To see what I ate, here's my food instagram account.

Places I recommend to eat:
Rose Dining // one of my most memorable eats while in Korea (near Raw Coffee Stand)
Hoho Sikdang // I went to the one in Ikseon-dong and loved it! They're known for their salmon don.
Jungdon // Oh my! The best donkatsu I've ever had
Tosokchon Samgyetang // Pricey for chicken ginseng soup, but definitely worth stopping by when you're in Jongno
Palette Hannam // Stumbled upon this place while cafe hopping in Hannam, loved the fusion dishes. There's always a line so try to get there early!
No Name Pasta // located in Ewha University shopping street I found this gem after looking for something to eat after shopping. Affordable, delicious pasta!

JONGNO and DDP

Jongno is probably one of my favorite districts since it has Ikseon-dong, Insadong, and Ssamzigil. Definitely a mix of traditional and modern culture and architecture. Ikseon-dong was my favorite area, definitely a crowded hot spot with tiny alleyways filled with delicious restaurants, coffee shops, and unique places to shop. Ssamzigil is in Insadong, the perfect place to pick up traditional souvenirs and small gifts. Insandong is perfect if you love art, and I would stop by Tongmungwan if you have time, which happens to be the oldest bookstore in Seoul. DDP, also known as Dongdaemun Design Plaza is a new architectural structure that almost looks like a spaceship landed in Seoul. At night, it lights up and it's a wonderful place to stroll around. 











Love, Sharon

2 comments

  1. We’ve arrived to The stylenanda pool and...now are closed until October by renovation. I’m so sad I can’t visit it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh what a beaut city! Really want to go there some day...

    x Lisa | lisaautumn.com

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