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Seoul surprised me – big time. Prior to my visit, my only familiarity with Korean culture would had to have been the late-night trips to eat Korean barbeque with friends back at home in Los Angeles. For a lack of a better term, you could probably consider me “clueless” about Korean culture. And when you know very little to nothing about something, you don’t know what to expect.

Yet my experience in Seoul went above and beyond everything I ever imagined– by far. I completely fell in love with the fashion, the culture, the nightlife, the cuisine – more than words can explain. The ambiance and aura of Seoul is absolutely gravitating, especially for younger people in their teens and twenties. From nightclubs to midnight shopping to spicy foods, you’ll be entertained forever.

So, at that, I left Seoul with a burning desire to stay longer; an immediate feeling of nostalgia the moment the plane took off from the airport. Of my many adventures abroad, this keys in as one of the most memorable. From 4 am Korean barbeque meals in the college district to the animated personalities of strangers, Seoul has a special, unique vibe that I’ve never experienced before.

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FOOD! One of the best parts about Korea.

GOING TO SEOUL? HERE’S WHAT TO DO:

SEOUL CITY BUS TOUR
www.seoulcitybus.com
02-777-6090
If you want to see all of Seoul in one shot, I absolutely recommend going on the Seoul City Bus Tour. It costs $10,000 wan, and it is a bus that stops at 27 major tourist spots in Seoul. You can get off and get back on the bus throughout the day, so you can choose what you want to see. Some of the stops include: Gyeongbokgun Palace (famous palace in Seoul), all major shopping areas, Seoul Tower, National Museum of Korea, War Memorial of Korea, and much more. It is a MUST for all tourists in Seoul – definitely recommend!

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MYEONGDONG – shopping area for younger people
You cannot visit Seoul without going to Myeongdong, a huge outdoor shopping area for the younger crowd. Here, you can find almost everything – cute shoes, clothes, and more. There are maninly small stores with cute Korean fashion, but there are also outdoor vendors, chain clothing stores, and large shopping complexes (Migliore; see below).

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Night shopping in Myeongdong

MIGLIORE – shopping building with small booths/stalls
Migliore is a shopping center that is usually 7-10 stories high filled with small booths and stalls with very cute clothes. Yes, you can bargain here and yes, the clothing is so, so cute! There are a few Migliores in Seoul – one is in Myeongdong and another is in Dongdaemon.


CLUB VOLUME

www.clubvolume.com
This nightclub was like icing on a delicious cake – it truly made my Seoul experience so fun! Most clubs in Seoul are house/trance music, which is very different than in America. At first, I thought it would be strange, but once I got there, it was awesome. The DJ played great music, the people are one-of-a-kind (outgoing & friendly with very “different” dance moves), and had a great vibe. People in the club were so free-spirited and unique, something that caught me by surprise.

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Korean brothers and me!


HONGDAE – college area
Now this place is where it’s happening! If you’re young – or a college student – you must go here to hang out with friends, eat Korean barbeque, karaoke, or simply meander around. It’s a huge outdoor area located near universities (they are all clumped together) with so many people walking around, eating, etc. The vibe is amazing because there are so many bright lights and a ton of people, especially on the weekends!

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Hongdae

DONGDAEMON – another shopping area.
This is another shopping area that you MUST visit! It is mainly a bunch of tall shopping buildings/complexes. It is not like Myeongdong where there are small shops; rather it is a bunch of buildings scattered near eachother. A definite must!


WAR MEMORIAL OF KOREA

My friends and I made a stop at the War Memorial of Korea right after we spend two boring hours at the National Museum of Korea. At first I thought “gee, another museum” but boy, was I wrong! It was a spectacular museum with many interactive exhibits and a great deal of history learned! All of my friends enjoyed that museum far more than the National Museum.

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In front of the War Memorial/Museum of Korea


GYEONGBOKGUNG PALACE
This is probably one of the most touristy spots in Seoul, but I would suggest going here out of all the other palaces in the area. You really only need to go to one palace during your visit (unless this is your thing) because they are all very similar in architecture and format. There are three English tours per day (for free), so I would make sure you go during a time that a tour is offered.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Inside the palace grounds

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With our wonderful English speaking tour guide.

APGUJEONG-DONG / RODEO STREET
This shopping/eating area is across the river (but not too far) and it is mainly higher-end boutiques. However, there are so many restaurants clumped together, and it is SO fun to go there late at night. Even at 3 or 4 am, there are so many people eating at the restaurants. The vibe is so unique because it is so vibrant late at night and so much fun!

INSADONG
This is a very tourist area that sells mainly souvenirs and Korean cultural goods. It’s a large outdoor area catering to tourists, but remember it is for tourists so the prices seem to be a bit higher. Still, it’s nice to walk around the area because it is very quaint and cozy.

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SEOUL TOWER
If you want to see a 360 degree view of Seoul, you should visit here. It reminds me of the Seattle Space Needle, but the only difference is that it’s all indoors. There is no top deck where you’re outside. Instead, it’s all indoors, but it’s still a beautiful view – especially at night.
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Questions? Feel free to leave a comment!

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