Like A Local: Seoul, Korea

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Like A Local

A common question that comes to my mind, and I'm sure yours as well, when I'm traveling is "what do the locals do?" I truly believe that everything and every place is worth seeing at least once. Whether it is something touristy or something off the beaten path, that something is special and more importantly new to you! There's so much we can learn by opening ourselves up to new adventures. So, of course, one of the best ways to do this is to live, explore, and experience a place "like a local"! 

1. YOUR CITY'S NAME AND NICKNAMES

Seoul

2. FAVORITE PLACES TO EAT

Most restaurants in Seoul are reasonably priced, but beware - you may be in for a long wait at some of the most popular spots!

Vatos Tacos - Korean/Mexican fusion / $$-$$$ 

Linus BBQ - Southern U.S. BBQ / $$-$$$

ANY Korean BBQ joint / $$-$$$ - they're all just slightly different in what they offer/the sides that come with your meat, but we haven't found one we didn't enjoy.

Braii Republic - South African / $$-$$$

3. FAVORITE PLACES TO STUDY/DO WORK

Coffee shops are a dime a dozen in Korea, and you'll find them on every corner. Just make sure what you're walking into isn't a "themed cafe" - those are fun and you should definitely visit a cat cafe (or sheep cafe or raccoon cafe....), but you won't find any peace and quiet there! 

4. FAVORITE PLACES TO RELAX/DETOX

Hwaeseong Fortress

Hwaeseong Fortress

With mountains pretty much surrounding Seoul, there are SO many places to hike if you're willing to go a little outside of the city! Hwaseong Fortress is one of my favorites! If you're looking to stay close-by, Bukhansan Mountain will give you a view of the city from above.

Retail therapy is also abundant in Seoul - while there are plenty of shopping meccas (think: Dongdaemun, Namdaemun, Myeongdong), some of my favorite finds have been while wandering the side streets in Itaewon or Insadong. 

5. FAVORITE PHOTO SPOT

Hongdae Mural Street for it's wall art & Namsan Tower for it's views of the city.

6. ONE β€œTOURISTY” THING IN EVERYONE ACTUALLY HAS TO VISIT

Gyeongbokgung Palace. It's right in the middle of Seoul, so the contrast between the palace and the city surrounding it is surreal. Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds. You'll want to stick around for a few hours as there is a TON to see - not to mention the guards that stand out front of the main palace gates! The Blue House (presidential residence) and Bugaksan mountain are also situated directly behind it, so the area is full of things to see! 

7. ONE NOT SO WELL KNOWN SPOT PEOPLE SHOULD DEFINITELY VISIT

It's not well known among foreigners now, but in about a year Pyeongchang will be a household name. Technically it's a day trip from Seoul, but the future host city of the 2018 Winter Olympics is someplace you can't miss if you're in Korea! Seoul has a lot to offer, but Korea is so much more than that - you should definitely head up for a weekend of  skiing/snowboarding if you're looking to get off the beaten path & out of the big city! 

8. ONE UNIQUE FACT

Korea's president, Park Geun-hye, was impeached just last December and the news just broke that the decision will be upheld by Korea's Constitutional Court! Currently, an interim president is in place while the country prepares to elect her replacement on May 9th.

9. ANY TIPS OR TRICKS ON HOW TO NAVIGATE YOUR CITY

- Trains can get you almost anywhere in Korea, and the subway system in Seoul is your go-to for just about everything else. It's clean, safe and easy to use (for the most part)! I'd recommend downloading the Subway Korea app before you go. 

- Seoul is one of the safest cities in the world for women traveling alone. 

Retail Therapy in Insadong, Seoul.jpg

- When walking through the city, be aware of traffic - even if you have the right of way! Drivers (and buses) are aggressive and don't slow down for anything!

10. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR CITY

Seoul is so great because it has so much diversity to offer. You can have Bibimbap for dinner and go out to Norebong (Korean karaoke - a MUST do!), but there's also an H&M and a Starbucks on every other corner. See a UNESCO World Heritage Site by day, and then grab Mexican food in Itaewon that night. The possibilities are endless, and I promise you'll never get bored!


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Submitted By: 

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Ashlyn of From Heart And Seoul

Blog: From Heart and Seoul


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"Like A Local" offers you a peek into a part of the world that may be foreign to you through the eyes of a local! If you are interested in submitting your own "Like A Local" story please contact me via email at geniepatra@gmail.com with subject headline "Like A Local"


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