Seoul is buzzing and I would love to go back one day because 3 days certainly weren’t enough. I mean, Seoul was close to on-par with Japan in terms of awesomeness.
A city where even the “No parking” signs next to a shop look nice (see picture below). The emphasis on aesthetics and the sense of style is really high. Sadly, the whole beauty culture is at times a bit sickening, with cosmetic surgery ads being more prominent than street art in Shoreditch.
What I loved:
- Garuso-gil in Gangnam. Great area for shopping and food, you/I could spend days there…
- Aland: a small chain of fashion and accessories stores that makes you think it’s Scandinavian given the name, but it’s totally Korean.
- Queenmama market: design department store with a super-cool coffee shop on the roof.
- All the flower shops everywhere! With dried flowers unlike anything I’ve seen anywhere else (they are preserved to last 5 years and look like new!)
- All the beauty shops on every corner. All the hundreds of Korean beauty brands.
- Korean BBQ: yumyumyum. One place we loved was Bo Reum Sae in Gangnam.
- Mr Holmes Bakehouse: A Cali-Korea love affair made in Cruffin-Croissant heaven.
- The Pancake Epidemic. Haamazing pancakes and coffee, associated with Stumptown coffee (I think).
- Gwangjang / Dongdaemun market: this is hailed as one of Seoul’s best markets to taste Korea’s traditional food. Full disclosure: this was an experience to see but we didn’t really feel tempted to try things – lots of fried pork feet etc.
- Secret Garden. Part of the Changdeokgung, this stunning garden was the palace of Joseon Dynasty. You can only visit as part of a guided tour, which is really worth doing.
- Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Really worth seeing, an architectural masterpiece by Zaha Hadid.