A juicy bubble of delicious food, tradition and k-pop.
Following a smooth flight from Osaka we arrived in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea.
Good to know:
- Try a Korean barbecue, they’re delicious
- 1 British pound = approx 1,476 Korean Won
- You might struggle to find ATMs that work well
- Koreans are super friendly
- Public transport is really easy to navigate
We stayed in two different hostels within Seoul, for the first few nights we stayed at a place called Kim’s Family Guesthouse which was around 700m from the Hongik University metro station. This is one of the most popular areas in Seoul. The accommodation has a very homely feel to it with having been built in an apartment, the showers are warm and the kitchen has everything you could ask for. The owner was very helpful in trying to answer all of our many questions. When I say ‘our’, I mean Hannah’s.
Mr Comma Guesthouse was by far my favourite place to stay because of their homely atmosphere and comfortable beds. The WIFI is fast, the kitchen is easy to use, the showers are powerful and the house is perfectly warm; this was amazing to us because it was so cold outside. The guesthouse is situated around 800m away from the Hongik Univeristy metro station which is opposite the streets holding many vibrant shops and street food.
Barbecue – Korean style! I had been waiting for so long to have an actual Korean barbecue and it did not disappoint. We ventured out into the cold air to hunt for our first meal in South Korea, we stopped at the first restaurant we saw just because it was bustling with locals inside. I think I can speak for both of us when I say it was a mouth watering meal worth waiting for! You order two portions of meat to grill yourself to which these are complimented by around 8 other random side dishes. We were pleasantly surprised by the women who worked here, they were very kind and helpful.
Myeongdong street food – you must try the street food in this area, I tried to make my way through everything that was cooking but I failed miserably as I fill up quite quickly!
Gyeongbokgung Palace – also known as Gyeongbok Palace and used to be the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty, built in 1395. Make sure you get off at Angus Station and you’ll find the palace heading east.
Bukchon Hanoi village is perfect for a taste of Korean tradition. I love the feel you get from walking around the beautiful houses, you’ll also see women dressed in their traditional clothing along with their friends and loved ones. You can also find a stunning viewpoint if you keep following the signs up towards the hill; we visited during sunset.
Wander into sheltered markets to taste new foods cooked right in front of you while sitting on small plastic stools.
DMZ – the Korean Demilitarised Zone is definitely worth a visit. We took a tour from our Guesthouse early in the morning, much to my dislike (not an early morning person) and set out for the DMZ. On arrival, we were introduced into a cinema room where we watched a short video explaining some of the history between South and North Korea. The tour includes seeing the sights: The Demilitarised Zone, The Third Infiltration Tunnel, The Dora Observatory, Exhibition Hall, Freedom Bridge and Dorasan Train Station.
Busan – Canvas Hostel is probably one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in because it was literally built like a hotel and had the most comfiest of facilities. We found it really hard to step outside the building. I wasn’t too keen on this city, everywhere we walked smelt of sewage which if you ask me isn’t a very nice smell… also make sure you draw money out before coming here because we found it really hard to find an ATM that worked well. As we arrived during a brisk winter, the usually beautiful Haeundae Beach was cold and dull but that din’t stop us from enjoying a peaceful walk along it.
Jeonju – this charming village has got to be my favourite place in South Korea. Do not miss it! Why? Because you’ll get the chance to really get a feel for the South Korean traditional housing and their cuisine. We stayed in Happy Hanoi Guesthouse 2 which was a beautiful house tucked away in a small pocket of Jeonju. We slept on the floor in a traditional wooden room with a view of the courtyard. I was excited by the fact we were sleeping on a floor – a heated floor may I add!
They see me rollin’…
Explore the traditional village of Jeonju by this cool looking scooter. It was so much fun, I think we forgot how cold we were for a couple of hours and enjoyed our time wizzing around the cobbled roads and finding sizzling hot street food.
Make sure you take a walk around the surrounding village, you’ll see girls wearing matching outfits and the most beautiful traditional houses.
Nambu Market is a market running along the waterfront selling anything from fresh fish to juicy fruits. We took our new toy on a ride through the narrow pathways feeling like absolute rebels.
Hannah, “Hey, we could ski here”… me, “oh really? Shall we?” Hannah, “Yes, let’s go skiing for two days then”. So off we went on another spontaneous trip! We stayed at the Yongpyeong Resort Hotel which was a quick 5 minute walk to the bottom of the slope. I was absolutely buzzing as I had never been skiing on actual snow before, and where better to do it than the next location of the Winter Olympics? We had so much fun here, Hannah taught me how to ski properly, we ate about 4 kebabs per day and laughed so hard we cried.
This trip was a jam packed 10 days of us running for every bus, getting trapped in an elevator, being almost late for everything and Hannah making me laugh by the hour!
I hope this blog post has been somewhat useful, thank you for reading.
Love Thy Traveller