A local’s free guide to an EPIC Seoul South Korea Bucket List

November 11, 2017

Seoul South Korea Bucket List from a Local? Pssh, Kelly you are so NOT a Local

Okay, okay I know you are gonna be wondering what the hell I’m talking about when I say, “A Local’s Free guide to an Epic Seoul South Korea Bucket List” but hear me out. Now shockingly enough, I am not Korean. I mean you have been able to tel from my blonde hair and blue eyes but while I was in Korea, I tried really hard to Koreanize myself. I even got these horrendous bangs that flipped up and made me look like a total doofus, but that’s a story for another day.

Epic architecture.

So while I may not have Korean DNA or a last name like Lee, Kim, or Park (Fun little factoid for you. These three last names are found in over half the population because these names are descended from three ancient, Korean royal families. So to differentiate people, people used two syllable first names like Hyun Jung or Yoojin or Trang Pak from Mean Girls), I did live in Seoul South Korea for over a year and teach English there in a craptastic Hagwon of doom (Korean private kindergarten but most of them are nice. Not like mine).

Now you might not know this about me because er um, I don’t really talk about it all that much, and no it’s not because I hatedSouth Korea, even though my boss was a total deusch who didn’t pay me. Trust me, South Korea is a warm and welcoming country with a diverse and ancient culture, and don’t even get me started on the food. Legit, one of the things I miss most about South Korea is the street food (Ddeokbokki, Boong-uh-ppang, Gyeran-Bbang, and on and on and on. I know you probably have no idea what those things are but just think foodgasm and you’re on the right track). 

Actually, I usually refrain from talking about my time in Korea because I was a bit more coo coo bananas than usual while I was there. Truth be told, I was super depressed and basically stopped eating ( it got so bad that when I went home to visit, my mom didn’t recognize me). I swear, I really thought that moving to Korea would cure my depression, but actually, once the novelty of being there wore off, after about a whole week, I was left with myself and a lot of self hatred (Cue the violins and the swan song. Trying to make something not funny funny is super awkward. Quick, be distracted from the sadness by a funny meme).

Grumpy cat meme
Haha. You go grumpy cat.

But before you get out your hanky and cry for me South Korea, I am totally good now (three cheers for psychiatrists, therapists, and anti-depressants. Yes my friends, it takes a village to keep me mildly sane). Plus, my time in South Korea showed me a lot about myself and forced me to address some issues that I moved to get away from.

So the problem was really me, not South Korea because this country is amazing. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have fallen in love the first time I was there and then gone to all the trouble of procuring a work visa to live there (no small feat I assure you). So while my Seoul South Korea travel time wasn’t the most amazing period in my life (I felt like total crap and was hungry all the time. My stomach roared like a fog horn) it really wasn’t because of Korea but because of me. So send me a virtual hug because I know you’re a kind soul and are super sad that I was totally Anorexic (I am an open book and thank God it wasn’t cancer and I am better now) and pretty miserable but let’s move on to happier things like butterflies, rainbows, unicorns, and what sort of things to do in Seoul.

1. Han River Cruise

Han River
The Han River, minus one crazy ass sea monster.

So before my Seoul trip, I didn’t know what to do in Seoul or much about Seoul’s geographic landscape. But in case you didn’t know, there is this HUGE ass river called the Han River that pretty much cuts through the city. You can walk along the Han, marvel at it, but I wouldn’t advise swimming in it (not only is it icky but you gotta watch out for swamp monsters  a la the Korean movie the Host, from 2006. It’s actually really good and you should totally watch it).

Now if you have a bajillion years to spend in Seoul than there are a million things you can do along the Han, like attend the Yeouido Cherry Blossom festival from April 1-9.No really, Japan isn’t the only country with a billion cherry blossom festivals, and this isn’t even the most scenic or famous one.

But it is a delightful walk along the Han River and the festival has a ton of street performers, food vendors, and my favorite, huge crowds. Okay, I hate the last one but it can’t be avoided. You will have hordes of couples, dressed in the same outfit (yes couples in Korea dress like they’re twinning), taking a billion photos with their selfie sticks, while holding their fingers in the V for victory sign. And I am not hating on this ritual because it’s just how things are but just be prepared for masses of Instagram addicts who might need a social media intervention. Actually, never mind, that’s not so different from the US.

Anyway, so if you’re a normal person and are strapped for time, I highly suggest embarking on a Han River cruise so that you can get some great views of one of the most iconic and scenic areas in Seoul. My personal favorite river cruise operator is the Eland cruise. Cruises typically depart at 5:30 or 6:00 pm and are approximately an hour (make sure to get a shot of you and your friends making a heart shape, in the glowing heart, while saying salanghae (I love you) lil you’re blue in the face. Yes, this is a very Korean tradition).

Korea meme
At least not me.

Also note that each day has a different theme with various live music options, so check the website for ticket details when you make your reservation. Some of the most popular cruises options are the story cruise, music cruise, dinner cruise, and moonlight cruise (As long as you don’t end up like the Minnow in Gilligan’s Island, it’s all good. For the millennial out there, you don’t want your boat to end up like the Titanic).

***For the party animals in the house, this cruise operator also gives you a complimentary beverage on board. 

Address:  290, Yeouidong-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul

Hours of Operation: Tuesday through Sunday from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Admission: Tickets are 15,000 won (roughly $15) for the story cruise, 19,000 won (roughly $19) for the moonlight cruise, 23,000 won (roughly $23) for the music cruise, and 79,000 won (roughly $79) for the dinner cruise.

*** Not sure where to go in Seoul? For another scenic walk through Seoul, check out Cheong-gye-cheon. This urban walkway has been transformed with a series of walkways, footbridges, waterfalls and a variety of public artworks, such as the enormous pink-and-blue shell known as Spring. A really popular place for residents to come and escape the urban chaos (cough, insane traffic, cough, wicked pollution, cough) of this capital city.

2. Changdeokgung Palace

Look this is another one of the great places to visit in Seoul, but I am not gonna pretend like I know much about Korean history because I don’t. In America we are very self-involved and rarely discuss cultures other than our own. So I may have briefly studied Korean history but not enough to go into an in depth explanation of Changdeokgung palace, which was originally built in 1405 as a secondary palace to the principle royal palace, Gyeongbokgung.

Korean cherry blossoms.
Never met a cherry blossom I didn’t like.

However, this palace got destroyed by some super sassy Japanese invaders in the 1590s so as a result, the Korean royal family had to do a little house flip and make this the royal residence du jour. Like all good Joseon palaces, you have to have good juju, mojo, or pungsu (in Korean), so these super snazzy palaces always have a mountain behind them and stream in front of them (Something about warding off bad spirits. Where’s Mooshu the dragon when you need him?).

And that’s about all the fluffy architectural descriptions and Korean history you’ll get out of me. Yes, this palace is expansive and totally stunning. I mean, the grounds are so large that you could easily spend the day walking among all the pavilions, Confucius style buildings, terraced gardens, gazebos, ponds, wooded paths, streams, and much more. So rather than describe it to you with random adjectives that I found in my handy dandy thesaurus, just go for yourself and experience a tranquil escape from the noise, traffic, and pollution that is rampant throughout much of Seoul.

To view the palace, you must join a guided tour (think of it as part of your Korean tour package) so that you can get all fancy and pretend like you’re a Korean royal for a day. But the complex is huge and there is a ton of info so I would book an English tour, which starts at 10.30am and 2.30pm each day (f you think history is a total snooze or are a baller who speaks Korean, then you can also join the Korean tours every hour on the hour). There are also some awesome monthly Moonlight Tours (April to June only) that are limited to 100 people and cost about 30,000 won ($30). Just book online and well in advance because not so shockingly, everyone wants to walk through the peaceful paths of this palace in the moonlight (they are actually all looking for Edward Cullen but whatever. I guess the palace is cool too).

Korean Folk Village
You know what they say, You work hard for the money.

***To see the palace’s lovely Huwon section join tours that run at 11.30am and 1.30pm, with an extra 3.30pm tour March to October. Book online or come early as the Huwon tours are restricted to 50 people at a time. Yes, totally worth it and one of the great things to do in Korea.

Address: 99, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Hours of Operation: Open everyday except Monday. Open from February to May and September to October from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. Open from June to August from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm. Open from November to January from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.


Admission: Adult (age 25-64 tickets are) 3,000 won ($3) and student (age 24 and under) are free, unless you are a foreign visitor.

***If you a big fan of Korean architecture, also check out Bongeunsa Temple in the Gangnam area of Seoul (right by Coex Mall). If you’re here in September, every September 9, monks perform a Buddhist ceremony where they march carrying the scriptures on their head while reciting Buddhist rites (they are way more balanced and spiritually aligned then this hot mess right here. Actually, I’m not hot I’m just a mess). Bongeunsa even allows visitors to spend two days experiencing daily monastic life; a program that includes tea ceremonies, Buddhist services, zen meditation and monk consultation. Not surprisingly, I’m too loud and like the sound of my voice too much to do this.

3. National Museum of Korea

Next on this handy Seoul guide, and something that should be on your list of things to do in Seoul Korea, is the National Museum of Korea. All right, i’ll admit it, if you’re not into museums or not into ancient Korean art then I would skip this museum. I mean yes, the modern architecture of the building provides an interesting contrast to the ancient Korean treasures inside, but I think you might be bored out of your mind if you don’t like museums.

Korean architecture.
Shout out to some damn good architecture.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a total museum whore, er enthusiast, and totally loved the gigantic, marble, ten story pagoda that has found a home on the ground floor of this building, but stuff like that can be a real drag if you’re not into ancient art. Now if you’re like me and oh and ah and basically everything you see because its so old and you have no idea how they made all this magic happen by hand (I mean I can barely tie my shoes let alone carve a bowl) then be sure to ogle at the Baekje Incense Burner  and the Golden Treasures from the Great Tomb of Hwangham, both of which are on the ground floor.

Also make sure you head to the 3rd-floor sculpture and craft galleries to check out the Pensive Bodhisattva from the 7th century. And I swear, that is not all that the museum has to offer but I’m not gonna bore you with long winded description because let’s face, unless you see it for yourself, you really have no idea what on Earth I’m talking about. So just think of this description as the highlights reel from an American football game if you’re from the US or a football (soccer) game if you’re from basically anywhere else on the planet (even the penguins in Antarctica like football (soccer)).

 If it’s a nice day, and not the rainy season (the monsoon rains begin in the end of June and last until late July) then check out the surrounding park where kids drink soju (Korean vodka) and smoke a joint while causing mayhem. Totally kidding! The park has a large reflecting pond as well as the picturesque dragon falls that make it a fantastic place to get some from fresh air after seeing all that ancient art inside (We’re not vampires, we dig the sun. Actually, Koreans hate the sun and slather on sunscreen all the time and will probably have a hat or umbrella to keep the sun away. So buh bye skin cancer and searing retinas. Hello, skin that is so pasty that you look almost translucent).
Museum Meme
Oh, so this is what he was thinking.

***If you are still digging this item on your list of Seoul points of interest and actually have little people posing as children, then don’t forget to check out the children’s museum which is included in admission. Also check out the Special Exhibition Hall where you can find shows on anything from Pompeii to the Silk Road, with tickets costing around ₩10,000. ($10). 

Address: 137 Seobinggo-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, 04383,

Hours of Operation: Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10:00 am to 6:00pm, open 10 :00 am to 9:00 pm on Wednesday and Saturday, and open on Sundays and holidays from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. 

Admission: Admission to the Main Exhibition Hall and the Children’s Museum is free with a separate charge for the special exhibition in the Special Exhibition Gallery.

How to Get There: Take Line 4 or the Jungang Line to Ichon Station. Go out Exit 2, and walk 150 meters toward Yongsan Family Park.

4. Nanta

Generally speaking, when I’m abroad I don’t really see many stage shows since well, Broadway sets the bar insanely high and most other shows just suck by comparison. Except the West End in London. I saw Billy Elliot there and it was amazing. But I digress since this post is about travel to Seoul Korea and not London.

Kimchi
Truth! Talk about it.

Like the shows in the West End, Nanta is another exception to this rule. I mean not only was the show non-verbal (Gag me. Reminds me of Opera and ballet which both generally bore me) but  how good could it really be? My friend suggested it as one of the great Korea tourist spots and I was totally prepared to hate it and catch a nap during the performance. Well, per usual, I was totally wrong. To my delight, sleep deprivation ensued as I was riveted by a comedy show that also skillfully incorporates traditional samul nori rhythm into the performance (yes it was really funny and believe it or not, Nanta is now 20 years old! Happy birthday Nanta).

The premise of this musical is pretty simple. Three cooks attempt to finish preparing a wedding banquet, within a limited amount of time, while the manager employs his useless nephew as a member of the kitchen staff. Needless to say, hilarious antics ensue that include acrobatics, magic tricks, laughs, pantomime and if you’re lucky, even a little bit of audience participation (thank God no one picked me. I totally would have tripped over my own two feet. Dominique Dawes I am not).

Music is also a huge part of the show as improvised instruments are made out of crazy ass things like cutting boards, water canisters and kitchen knives. So dare to be different and check out the now world famous Nanta if you’re wondering what to do in Korea (PS  knowing how to juggle knives is not a requirement).

*** Nanta tickets will cost you about $30.00 (obviously if you get VIP seats then it will be more expensive) and performances are held at the Myeongdong NANTA Theater Unesco Building (3F, 50-14, Myeongdong 2 Ga, Jung Gu, Seoul). Shows are 90 minutes long and take place Monday – Friday at 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm, Saturday at 11:00 am, 5:00 pm, and 8:00 pm, and Sunday at 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm, and 8:00 pm. 

5. Itaewon

No matter where you are, you can always count on death, taxes, and Starbucks.

Looking for what to do in Seoul Korea? Well, if you visit then it is virtually a right of passage to stroll through Itaewon (just think of this post as your Seoul tour guide). That’s why you must add this place to your Korea trip itinerary. Not only does this gritty, expat neighborhood have a ton of souvenir shops, traditional foods, and the only Starbucks in the world where the Starbucks name is NOT written in English, but there are a ton of bars, restaurants, and pubs that pretty much cater to those serving at the local U.S army base (Yes my dear friends, tensions are still incredibly high with neighboring North Korea and their ever present and forever mobile nuclear missiles. Yes, an armistice was reached but no one side claimed victory so both sides have said, “Bring forth the military”. Hence the reason why every Korean male is required to serve in the military for a minimum of two years). But all these military personal have needs, so a ton of shops have emerged that sell things like reproduction Korean furniture, tailored suits, jewelry (for the swanky folks in the audience), and even Korean pottery.

***I am not a clubber but my friends raved about Club Volume, located in the basement of the Crown Hotel in Itaewon. Apparently this night life enthusiast’s dream hosts some of the best DJs in the world. Just take subway line 6 to Naksapyeong station; the club will be 500 meters down the hill, to the right. Since the club doesn’t open until 9:00 pm you can grab some party fuel at Maddux Pizza (artichoke pizza), Manimal (brisket), Maple Tree House (Korean BBQ), Buddha’s Belly (Thai food), Vertex Chicken (teriyaki chicken), and so on and so forth.

***If you have blonde hair, be careful because you may be mistaken as a lady of the night, and not in the cute and fun Pretty Woman way. See, the area has a lot of sex workers from Russia who happen to be blonde so you might confront a case of mistaken identity. Happened to me and nothing bad happened but just be aware.

6. Jimjilbang

People always get super weirded out when I talk about the public baths in Korea. Maybe its because you get naked to go in the communal soaking pools but let go of those Puritanical, American aversions to nudity just go for it. But I guess I bet back it up lest you think that a bunch of men will be waving their ding a lings in your face.

Korean public bath.
Don’t ask me to wrap my scarf like that because it will never happen.

So first things first, jimjilbangs are found EVERYWHERE, are generally open 24 hours a day, and cost like 10,000 won ($10). Once in the spa itself, you’ll change into a set of clothes they give you and head into the sauna area where you can sweat out all your bodily toxins. However, if sweating to death is not your thing then they do have a ton of different rooms that vary in temperature. So you’ll find everything from hot saunas, to cold saunas, to saunas that are more heavily oxygenated. Plus, this area will sometimes also have food, entertainment lounges, and even communal sleeping areas so you can literally spend all day here.

Once you’re done with the sauna, its time for the hot and cold soaking pools, all of which are enriched with different nutrients that are good for your skin. This portion of the spa, as well as the changing rooms, are gender-segregated so no need to get naked in front of the opposite sex. You basically just take off your clothes, take a shower before and after you enter the pool, and enjoy. And that’s pretty much it. Just bring some soap so that you can shower once you’re finished and make sure you have a handy scrubby glove to wipe away all the dead skin. But the rest is basically just enjoying the experience. And yes, the first time getting naked in front of all these random Korean women is kind of awkward but you get used to it because everyone else is doing it. That and it’s really just a lot of fun.

***Many of the foreign men I know would never do this. And its funny because some of my male Korean friends would never go to the public spas with foreigners because they felt like these foreigners would make their manhood look teeny tiny. And no, I didn’t make that up. My friend legit said this to me and I basically had to think of some traumatic life event so that I didn’t start convulsing with laughter.

7. Noraebang

Karaoke
Cheers to a never ending sing-a-thon.

You probably think I am possessed and speaking in tongues but nope. This is basically Korean style Karaoke, and when I first heard about this I was like, “Oh hell no. I can’t sing and there is no way I am getting up in front of strangers, sounding like a dying cow. Not happening.” Yeah, well when you go to a noraebang there is no public humiliation so you are totally safe from any public shame that your singing might cause you.

Unlike the states, when you visit the noraebang , you and your friends book a private room with couches, disco lights, remote controls, a tv, microphones, and a huge ass book full of Korean and English songs that you can sing along to (Gangnam style anyone?). Usually you book the room for an hour and have a blast belting out songs with your friends. Copious amounts of alcohol and rogue tambourines may be added to enhance the night’s festivities but it’s all in good fun and a total blast.

8. Street Food

Kimchi
Yum, Kimchi. Get in my belly.

Looking for top things to do in Seoul? Why not each your face off with some Korean food. In fairness though, I feel like with Korean food you either love it or hate it, and I love it. But before you hop on a plane and scarf down the first thing that a street vendor hands you, just know that its gonna be spicy because most things in Korea are served with a red paper sauce. Just be prepared because some of my friends didn’t eat for a while since they thought the food was surface of the sun hot. I mean take kimchi. It is like the national dish of Korea and consists of cabbage that has been fermented in red pepper sauce. Sounds rank right? Well, most of the stuff they pass of as Kimchi in the states is something I wouldn’t feed my dog. But if kimchi is done well, then it is hella awesome. Just know that kimchi is in EVERYTHING. I’m talking Kimchi fried rice, Kimchi burgers, kimchi pancakes, kimchi soup, etc. I mean, they even serve pickles with their pizza because it is fermented like kimchi (they also have sweet potatoes on their pizza). So be prepared for Kimchi EVERYWHERE and spicy everything (Get me some Tums and Prilosec stat).

So if you like spicy food, then all of Korea is gonna have food crack because legit, Korea has some of the best food I have ever had. But the best part is that most of it is mildly healthy so you don’t have to feel like a beached whale eating all this glorious and highly addictive food crack (ask anyone who has Korean Barbecue, which is meat you cook yourself, then put in a lettuce leaf, top with  red pepper paste, and then roll up and eat like a burrito). That or the portions are so small that they look like they are for lawn gnomes so you really don’t end up eating much.

But who cares since it’s all so damn delicious. Honestly, I could go on forever about all the awesome street food in Korea, but I’m just gonna list my faves because otherwise you’ll either fall asleep, cry because you probably have no idea where to get good Korean food near you, or impulsively buy a ticket to Korea (I vote for the last one. Just avoid the friend chicken feet since they still have toe nails, the eel since it is hella boney and picking out all the meat with chopsticks is a bitch,, and the jelly fish because it is just like a blob or your plate. It feels like you’re eating flubber).

Ddeokbokki – This stuff is everywhere and absolutely, flipping AMAZING. Seriously, I miss it so much and would kill for some of these thick and squishy rice cakes that are simmered with squid and cooked in a slightly sweet and spicy red pepper sauce. Totally epic when you are freezing your ass off during the Korean winter.

Korean food
My fondness for Korean food has never waned.

Boong-uh-ppang – Omg yes! I love this fish shaped bread that is stuffed with a sweet red bean paste. Okay, it sounds totally foul and I was a skeptic when I first heard about it, but I freaking love it. And it is found everywhere. I mean the bread may not be in the shape of a fish but most traditional Korean desserts are served with a red bean paste. Just don’t sit next to me because I don’t want to be smelling your gaseous emissions all night.

Gyeran-Bbang – This one is also popular in the winter and is basically corn bread that is served with a cooked egg on top. Usually the egg isn’t cooked all the way through so when you bite into it, the yolk is a little runny. So good because it is seriously the perfect combination of sweet and salty. Trust me, after I ate this in Korea I was never the same again.

Hotteok – This is a Korean style pancake that can be served as either a savory or a sweet dish. The savory pancakes remind me of Chinese scallion pancakes and come in flavors like vegetable, Kimchi, and Bulgogi (meat). Truth be told, any time my Hagwon served this for lunch, I got super excited. The sweet variety is typically served with dark brown sugar, cinnamon powder & some ground nuts or seeds on top. Ugh, I am getting hungry just writing this and all I have is this lousy protein bar (#bloggerfail).

Mandu – Everyday after I got out of work, I would visit my friendly neighborhood Mandu lady and get some kimchi flavored, Korean dumplings. She didn’t speak a word of English but she always smiled this wide smile as she gave me these hand made nuggets of culinary delight. So just go, get some, and be happy because I miss and love her and send her an epic shout out for making my stomach happy.

Korean street food.
Best street food ever.

Gimbap – If you are looking for something that is pretty familiar to you then this is it. This is basically the Korean version of sushi and is generally seaweed that is stuffed and rolled up with rice, pickled veggies, and egg. Some will also have ham since Koreans love their hot dogs and meat in general. A lot of people will also eat just seaweed and rice, but that’s generally at home. This one is a great snack that is one of the few things in Korea that is not surface of the sun hot.

Soondae – This one is not for everyone and every time I ate it, people looked at me funny since most foreigners do NOT like soondae since its blood sausage that is also stuffed with rice cakes. Truth be told, I am not a hundred percent sure what’s in it and I am sure the ingredients resemble a Hannibal Lector torture session but whatever. This stuff is good and cooked in a thousand different ways. I loved it sautéed in a spicy sauce with vegetables but it also served plain and just all sorts of amazing.

So epically true.

Hodu-gwaja – If you ever go on a road trip in Korea, just stop at one of the rest areas along the highway and get these, like now. The first time I had them I ate the whole bag and if anyone tried to take one, I almost stabbed them with my chopstick. That’s how much I love these. And when I was in Korea there was a shop that made these right down the street from my job and I loved them so much. But I guess I better describe this dessert so that you actually know what I’m talking about.

This ball is in the actual shape and size of a walnut because large pieces of walnut are embedded in the outer layer of the cooked, wheat dough (they have a hot, cast iron mold that presses the dough together). On the inside, the dough is stuffed with a sticky sweet red bean paste that is highly addictive. Kind of like Pringles because once you start, you just can’t stop

***Honorable mentions to the Persimmons, Korean Pears, and sweet potatoes that are also sold on the street. All are amazing and I have never had another sweet potato like the ones in Korea. They were cooked in a street oven where the purple sweet potatoes were wrapped in aluminum foil and cooked until the outside was charred and the center was warm, soft, and delicious. Just peel off the outside and you have a great snack for a chilly winter night.

9. Namdaemun Market

Korean fish market
Not my thing but at least its organic and non-gmo.

Okay, I am not a huge fan of shopping. Actually, I really hate shopping but a ton of people love walking around the markets of Myeong-dong, finding various cheap wares and clothes for sale. It was never really my thing because a lot of the clothes were the same but many people consider this market one of the top things to do in Seoul. Also, might I add, that when I went shopping there, I felt like a total elephant. I mean, Korean women are generally pretty slender so sizes in Seoul are much smaller than the enormous, Walmart sizes I am used to in the good ol’ United States. Therefore, shopping kind of made me feel like a blimp. But, on the plus side (pun intended), there are a ton of shirts for sale that are mistranslated in English. So my friends and I would buy those type of shirts because a lot of them were hilarious and would say things like, “Dog Ass Big”.

But thank God, clothes shopping is not the only thing you can do here. Namdaemun is the biggest market in Korea and also has souvenirs for sale in the handicrafts markets that can be found on the upper floors of Buildings C and D (way cheaper than items you’ll find in Insadong). My favorite part, since I’m a total fat ass (I mean foodie), is restaurant alley since there is a huge array of food stalls here that sell everything from sujebi (dough and shellfish soup), homemade kalguksu noodles and my personal favorite bibimbap (mixed rice, meat and vegetables in a red paper sauce).

*** Be aware that different sections of the market have different hours, with some wholesalers open all night and many open on Sunday.

***If you’re a super adventurous foodie, you can try some of the silk worm pupae. Yum yum. Okay, it may be delicious but I didn’t try it. The thought made me want to throw up in my mouth but if you are adventurous, go for it. I could be missing out and it could be the best thing ever but come to think of it, I don’t think I ever saw any of my Korean friends eating it. Just a little food for thought. LoL.

10. Namsan Seoul Tower

This one will never be my fave but everyone loves panoramic views of a city so that’s why I’m putting this one on my Seoul vacation list. Okay so now for some random factoids about the Namsan Seoul Tower that might mildly impress you. The tower is 236 meters tall (feel free to be duly impressed) and sits atop the city’s guardian mountain which is known as Namsan.

Seoul Tower
N Seoul Tower at night.

To get there, you can either walk or take the cable car. Actually, when I visited there was a big commotion because some
Korean soap opera was filming there. But I had no idea because the only English channel I got was the discovery channel, so I watched a lot of Myth busters. And yes, this was in the ye olde days before Netflix so I had to illegally stream a lot of shows and read a lot of books.

But back to the mediocrity that is the Namsan Seoul Tower. Guess how I got to the top? Yup, I took the cable car because there is no way I will ever again go mountain climbing in Korea, but that’s a story for another day. I suggest going in the early evening so that you can get some pictures of the city at sunset. Plus, the tower is colorfully illuminated at night so that you can get some great shots of the tower’s bright, electric hue.

Admission: Tickets are 10,000 ($10) won for adults and 8,000 ($8) won for children and the elderly.

Hours of Operation: Open every day from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm, except on Saturdays when the tower is open until midnight.

How to Get There: If you are taking the Namsan Sunhwan shuttle bus 2 then take line 3 or 4 to Chungmuro station and use exit 2. If you are taking Namsan Sunhwan shuttle bus 3 then take line 1 or 4 to Seoul Station and use exit 9. If you are taking the Namsan Sunhwan shuttle bus 5 then take line 4 to Myeong-dong Station and use exit 3.

***PS No trip to Seoul Korea would be complete without a visit to the DMZ. Seriously one of the most amazing and eye opening experiences I have ever had. I was going to put that on the list as well but a trip to the DMZ needs its own post. Plus, this post is so long that it is giving War and Peace a run for its money. Only hopefully this literary masterpiece is WAY more exciting than that book.

Peace Out Cub Scout!

Okay, so while there are still about 10,000 other places to go in Seoul and about 5,638 more Seoul tourist spots to see, my post has come to end. Besides, you’ve probably already stopped reading anyway. But I only say this because you always have those people who are like, “Well, you didn’t include this or that.” But sadly, you can’t fit the whole of a country in a single blog post. It just ain’t gonna happen. So heed the words of Confucius who said, “Man who need more information, go buy guidebook”. Okay, maybe Confucius didn’t say that but whatevs. If you need to know it all, invest in a guide book, and keep reading my weird ass blog. Duh!

 

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Planning a #trip to #Seoul #SouthKorea? Why not check out this #local #guide to all the attractions that you need to see and experiences you must have when visiting this fascinating and unique country. A set of secret travel hacks and tips that only the locals know. #asia #wanderlust #vacation

 

Planning a #trip to #Seoul #SouthKorea? Why not check out this #local #guide to all the attractions that you need to see and experiences you must have when visiting this fascinating and unique country. A set of secret travel hacks and tips that only the locals know. #asia #wanderlust #vacation

girlwiththepassport

Nanny by day and travel blogger any other time.

I love writing and traveling and bearing my soul on the page.
I want to inspire others to face their fears and join me on an adventure.

https://www.instagram.com/girlwitthepassport/
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