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Seoul

Do Not Miss Lists

Seoul, South Korea – DNM List

Our Do Not Miss List for Seoul, South Korea

Sights/Experiences:

  1. Bugaksan – mountain within the city that is home to a fortress and palace – nice hike up to the top
  2. Bukchon – traditional Korean homes and streets lined with cute stores/local crafts
  3. Itaewon – the expat area of town, very developed with a vibrant day/night life – if you need to purchase anything accidentally left at home, you’ll find it here
  4. Gangnam – the high class, plastic area of town – variety of great restaurants/bars/clubs
  5. Hongdae – university area, full of backpacker hostels – artsy, fun, party area
  6. Hop-on, Hop-off loop in downtown Seoul – covers all main temples/palaces in the city, in addition to shopping and DDP (newly designed Zaha Hadid museum)
  7. Korean bath house/spa (Dragon Hill is the largest and most popular)
  8. Bongeunsa Temple (close to Gangnam – if you happen to be visiting during Buddha’s birthday, they host the laterns here)

Food:

  1. Korean BBQ
  2. Bibimbap
  3. Kimchi – in many varieties

Essentials:

  1. Subway Card (re-loadable card with T Money – best way to get around the city, money can be used in subway, buses, and cabs)
Culture, Food

Korean BBQ – Delicious!

Korean BBQ is an experience to be had by all.  Although the most popular selections for Korean BBQ are pork and beef, there are vegetarian options for the main course as well.  For those of you that have not seen the set up of a Korean BBQ, I’ll explain…

The tables throughout the restaurant are either round or square typically with a ventilation system directly above.  A long metallic tube extends to the center of the table from the ceiling to take the smoke from your personal BBQ out of the restaurant.  Some establishments are open air, while others occupy a more traditional restaurant space.

Now for the experience…when you are seated you are only expected order the main dish (meat(s) of choice or vegetables) – there are several side dishes, all of which come regardless.  These consist of Kimchi (the most popular Korean specialty, of which there are nearly a dozen varieties – mainly a pickled vegetable with chili and fish sauce), pickled onions, pickled carrots, possibly a form of potatoes, garlic cloves (to roast with main dish) spicy chili sauce, and rice.  In addition to this, they will bring a plate of lettuce and leaves to wrap everything up in together. Of course, these BBQs all have their own spin on things, but in general you get 4-5 sides dishes and then have the option to add on soups, which are quite nice.  Once you order, the real fun begins.

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Culture

Modeling in Hongdae, South Korea

I was dumb enough to take off on our world journey with long curly hair, I hated it, it was hard to maintain. It was evident that I was well over a month past due for a haircut. “I won’t cut my hair in South Korea,” I told Danielle, “these Asians don’t know how to cut white people hair.” Well, I was wrong.

One day Danielle and I decided to grab dinner at a cute Indian place we’d found on TripAdvisor. It was only 2 blocks from where we were staying and we decided to check it out. On our way up the stairs we noticed a trendy hair salon with hip Koreans cutting hair. “I’d like to try this place out,” I mentioned to Danielle.

Two days later we decided we were in the mood for Jyoti’s Indian food again. This time on my way upstairs I asked how much a haircut would be, it was only $16 so I decided, “why not?”

When we finished lunch I came downstairs for a haircut. The guy looked at me and smiled, then had a Korean girl wash my hair, then came over and started cutting my hair. The service was nice but half way through the guy was so happy with the good job he was doing he asked, “when we finish, can I take a picture?” I smiled and said “sure.”

Next thing I know we’re finished and he gets my hair washed again, then puts some product in it and starts taking pictures. He then asks me to follow him outside and take more pictures. When we come back in he shows me an ad for the salon and says, may we use your picture for an ad. “Sure, why not”, I tell him.

He promised to send me the ad by email, but after I left I never heard from him again. Glad I got to do a bit of modeling in Korea. :)