I’ve been meaning to update this, and then…life. We had the last two weeks off as part of our 24 winter vacation days. We decided that it was time for a visit to Seoul, because we’ve lived in Korea for four months and had yet to explore this amazing city. Seoul is full of so many sights and you really need more than a few days to see it all!
While in Seoul, we got to take advantage of the awesome subway system. This makes it easy and affordable to visit the different parts of the city. We chose to spend time in Itaewon, Insadong, Gangnam, Yongsan, Sinchon, Namsan and Nambu. We traveled around to these places by subway for four days, and it cost about $30 total for the both of us. Convenient public transportation is one of the many things that I love about Korea.
Our first afternoon and evening was spent in Itaewon, which is known as the most foreigner-friendly part of the city. Here you will find many stores and restaurants catered to foreigners — clothing made in larger sizes, food from home, and lots of bars.
We had two places that we really wanted to see while here. The first was a place called the Foreign Market. Nick was running low on gel deodorant (and it’s practically non-existent here!) so it was a must to get some more. We also stocked up on more peanut butter. Kraft mac and cheese (my favorite: yellow chemical, food dye and all) and toothpaste with fluoride. This is a great place to stop if you need to stock up on your favorite items from home. It’s pricey, but you’re paying for the convenience.
We also visited What The Book, a great book store that sells English books both new and used. It’s funny how exciting it can be to see texts in books in ENGLISH! I ended up getting a basic guide to help me learn more Korean phrases.
We also had dinner at The Spring Tap House. Here we had really good sandwiches and Nick had his first real beer in over four months! (Most of the beer that we have access to in the rural part of South Korea tastes like Coors Lite….) The company started as a brewery in Canada, and they now have two locations in Korea. I can’t wait to go back to try more of their delicious food.
We spent a lot of time in Insadong the following day. This area of Seoul is known for its older buildings and history. You can also find unique gifts in the many shops. Nick especially enjoyed visiting the Changdeokgung Palace.
We also visited Namsan, to see the N Seoul Tower, also known as Namsan Tower. It’s situated on Namsan Mountain and gives a beautiful view of Seoul. This is also known as the highest point in Seoul. We spent the evening exploring and waited for the sunset so that we could see the city lit up at night. While we were at the N Seoul Tower, we also got to explore the It’s Alive Museum, which was fun to do.
We also visited the Hello Kitty Cafe, which was something on my to-do list. While Hello Kitty is a Japanese creation, there are a couple of cafes in South Korea. Here you will find lots of Hello Kitty decor, drinks, and snacks. If you’re ever looking for one of these cafes, I recommend visiting the Sinchon location. We had originally traveled to another part of Seoul, only to find out that location no longer existed. Cute in Korea does a great job of explaining exactly how to get to the Sinchon Hello Kitty Cafe. 🙂
Another place that we visited was i’Park Mark. We wanted to check out Uno Chicago Grill, which is known for great Chicago-style pizza. Since Korean pizza is lacking marinara sauce and real cheese, we were excited to try this. It hit the spot! We also did some ice skating at a rink that is outside of the mall. Neither Nick or I have ice skated in a couple of years, so that was fun. We noticed that there was a big movie theater here as well — we will have to check that out next time!
Kukje Electronics Center was on the top of Nick’s visit list. This electronics store has 11 floors! Each floor is dedicated to a certain type of electronic or electronic accessory — such as video games, digital cameras, computers, etc. Floor 9 is where we spent the majority of our time because that is where all of the video games, video game consoles, and accessories are sold. There are different sellers selling both new and used items. Nick purchased a couple of games and I ended him one of his birthday presents.
On our last day, we visited Gangnam. We had a western breakfast at Butterfinger Pancakes. We also opened up a KEB bank account. KEB is one of the more well-known banks in South Korea, but they’re not located in the rural parts of the country. They have a really easy to use online system that makes it painless to transfer money back home. Up until now, I’ve had to go in person to my local NH bank to transfer money back home each month. This usually took some time to explain and the fees were a lot higher. Now, we will be able to continue plugging away at our student loans and bills back home with less worry.
I know that we both can’t wait to go back to Seoul, because there is still so much more to see. While we still have a few more places in South Korea to check off on our to-do list, I think we will visit here many more times! I’ll leave you with some more pictures from our trip. As always, thanks for taking time out of your day to read our blog. 🙂
P.S.: I changed the way we display images at the end of our posts…Hopefully this makes it easier to view!