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South Korea

Do Not Miss Lists

Seoul, South Korea – DNM List

Our Do Not Miss List for Seoul, South Korea


  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)


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


  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)
Adventure, Art, Culture

Golgulsa Temple Stay

Our temple stay at Golgulsa temple was quite nice. The temple stay was well organized, with fast response times and clear directions in proper english. Sarah, the manager of the temple stay was quite nice. I’d recommend this temple stay to anyone interested in learning about Monks and Martial Art, Sunmudo.  There’s a performance everyday that shows outsiders how the people prepare. Danielle and I did not find this temple stay as warm and authentic as the one we did at Jikjisa.

We arrived in Gyeongju with little understanding of how we’d get to our hotel from the train or how we’d get to the temple from the town. We took a cab to our hotel from the station and spent a couple days in the town of Gyeongju itself, we were luckily able to enjoy some nice hikes and enjoyed seeing the Anapji Pond in the evening. We were able to do a couple nice walks, one hike at a nearby mountain range, as well as a walk around the city.

With the directions we got from the Golgulsa temple, we knew we needed to catch Bus 100 or 150 to get to the temple, and that we had about a 90 minute commute to the temple. We caught the bus close to our hotel, and rode it for about one hour. We got off 10 minutes after the bus passed through a tunnel, as we were instructed in the Sarah’s directions.

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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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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. 🙂