Seoul: a mix of everything with a touch of chaos.
There are pockets of Seoul where you would think you were in a tranquil town and then you round a corner and whoa! It's all there. Some of my most vivid, relaxing experiences were in old palaces with 18-lane roads running next to them and 30-storey buildings shadowing over yet once within, you are swept away into a surreal experience.
Seoul literally has something for everyone. It is a fantastic city that is welcoming and relatively cheap – if you know where to go. You could also spent $1000 just to get into a club if that's your style.
Every area of Seoul offers something a little bit different.
Food in Seoul
You can get a wide variety Western food in Seoul but you can also get some of the most amazing Korean food as well.
- Non-Korean Restaurant Recommendations in Seoul
- Frypan – fried chicken. Gangnam Station, exit 6 or 7; both locations are one street parallel to the main street and can be found by asking someone “odesseyo Frypan?”
- On the Border – Mexican food at Sinchon Station, exit 4.
- Noodles Tree – Bangwha Station, exit 4. Walk 50 feet and it’s on the right.
- Boor Chicken – Bangwha Station, exit 4. Turn left through the parking lot and cross the street. The restaurant has a big owl on it.
- Taco Amigo – Mexican food in Itaewon.
- Sortino’s – Itaewon
- Ho Lee Chow – Western-style Chinese food in Itaewon
- W-Burger – Gangnam Station
- Kraze Burger – Hyewa University, Itaewon, Gangnam
- Memphis King Barbeque – Bangbae, line 2
- Chicken Mania – boneless chicken, Banghwa
- Outback Steak House – Balsan line 5
- Mercado – Brazilian steak house. It’s in the Apujeong area, but you’d get off at the Gangnam-gu Office Station. They have a website with a map. You can also make a reservation.
- Brazilia – steak house; Gangnam, exit 6. Walk straight until you see it. (There is also one at Seoulleung.)
- J&F Trattoria- Italian foodl; Seoul National University of Education Station, exit 2. Walk straight until you see it.
- Durga – Indian food; Janggak station, exit 4. Look right.
- Pizza Peel – Itaewon, exit 4. Walk 10-15 minutes and look for “Alley Market” entrance next to RotiBoy. When you go in, it will be on your right.
- French Village in Banpo – Express Bus Terminal, exit 5.
- Dos Tacos – Hongdae, exit 5. Walk straight past Paris Baguette and turn left up the main drag. Walk 5-10 minutes and it’s just past Haagen Das on an upper level.
- Dos Tacos – Gangnam, exit 6. Go past the Body Shop and look for a sign on your left. The restaurant is down the alleyway on the left side of the large electronics store selling Apple products.
- Western Restaurants at Gangnam Station:
- Vin 103 – Indian food, exit 7
- Julio – Mexican food, exit 7
- Popeye's – fried chicken, exit 7
- Turkish/Middle Eastern food, exit 5
- Vapiano – Italian fusion, exit 5
- Butterfinger's Pancakes – Western-style breakfast, exit 6
- Korean Restaurant Recommendations in Seoul
- 새마을식당 – Korean BBQ chain; Hongik Station, line 2 and City Hall Station, lines 1 and 2.
- Dalkgalbi places – Hapjeong, exit 5. Turn left before Paris Baguette and right after Skin Food.
Sinchon, exit 4. Turn left before McDonald’s and right after GS25, and left at Bay Coffee.
- Shabu Shabu – this is a chain and there are many of these restaurants around Seoul.
- Korean tea house – Insadong. Find the Insadong Tourist Information office and ask them to recommend a place. They can give you a map with directions.
- Sancheon – Insadong. This place does Buddhist food and entertainment. There is traditional dancing and drumming. The food is fantastic and the ambience and entertainment is well worth the price.
Activities for Teachers in Seoul
Aside from the many museums, palaces, Namsan Tower, and the hundreds of other places any good guide book will recommend, there are fun things you can do when you're just hanging out in Seoul.
- Screen Golf
- Fitness clubs
- Dumbell School – A gym with all new equipment and some English-speaking staff members, near Banghwa/Gaehwasan.
- Baseball games
- Gym with a pool and dance classes – Banghwa Sam (3) dong, International Youth Centre.
- Tennis Club – Banghwa next to the Hangan River Park.
- Ice Hockey - Gecko Glaciers
- Sport Fishing Clubs
- Climbing Clubs
- Mountain Biking Clubs
- Salsa Dancing – Itaewon
- Club Eden – Gangnam
- Bu2 – Itaewon, exit 3, next to Between
- Club Heaven – In between Yeoksam and Seoulleung Station across from the Renaissance Hotel.
- Monkey Beach – Apujeong
- apa Gorillas – Sangsu Station, exit 2
- Ska 2 – Sangsu Station, exit 2
- Swing Dancing
There really are theaters everywhere. Sometimes you could walk right by a block of buildings completely dedicated to movies but have no idea it's there. Ask. Stop for a coffee and ask what's around. You will be surprised. Movie theaters of note are:
- CGV – Myeongdong
- Cheonho Station has two theaters
- CGV – Gimpo airport
- Coex Mall – Samseong Station
- CGV – Gangnam, exit 7
- Smaller theater on the way to the CGV at Gangnam Station, exit 7 on the right hand side. It is next to the Starbucks and McDonalds.
- Gangnam Station, exit 5
- CGV – Yongsan Station, line 1
- Time Square – Yeongdeungpo station line 1
- Live Theatre and Concerts – Hyehwa Dong
Shopping in Seoul
English Book Stores
- Bandi and Lunie’s – Jongno 5 Station
- Bandi and Luni – Gangnam Station, exit 5
- Kyobo – Ganghwamun Station
- Kyobo – Gangnam Station, exit 6
- What the Book? – Itaewon
- Take exit 3 and walk past Mr. Kebab and take a right at the corner. Walk up the hill and it will be on your left.
Larger Sized Clothing
- Itaewon – Exit 4; walk straight and look at the many stores on your left.
- Express Terminal Mall – expensive, but good quality.
Good Local Shopping
- Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station – exit 14 for fashion
- Discount Department Store – Gimpo Airport
- Large department store – Gayang, line 9
- Namdaemun Market – Hoehyeon Station
- Electronics – Yongsan Station
- Tailor in Itaewon (there are many – one of repute is Tailorable.co.kr)
Western Areas in Seoul
- Itaewon, Hongdae, Sinchon, Gangnam
- Sports Bar – Banghwa or Banghwa Junction
- Irish Bar – Seongjong
- Woodstock – Pub in Gangnam; there are get-togethers on Wednesdays.
- Myeong-dong Station – Gap, Forever 21, H&M, etc.
- Ewha Women’s University
- Uniqlo – Jamsil or Gangnam Stations
- Bangwha market – fruits, veggies, meat, etc.
- Costco – three locations
- Foreign Mart – Itaewon exit 3. Walk past Mr. Kebab and take a right on the corner. Walk up the hill and it will be on your left.
- Nonghyop (Hanaro Mart) – Bangwha Sam (3) dong has a foreign food section.
Festivals in Seoul not to Miss
- Lantern Festival
- Cherry Blossom Festival
- DJ Fest
- Global Gathering
- Song Festival
- Festival of Lights
- Buddha’s Birthday (May)
- Chuseok (September)
- Jinju Lantern Festival
Best Places Foreigners Don't Seem to Know about in Seoul
- Jongro and Cheongdam
- Olympic Park – has concerts.
Places to Bring First-time Visitors in Seoul
- Namsan Tower
- Insadong – Jongno 3 ga, exit 8. Walk straight under the overpass, turn right and immediately left. Walk until you see people.
- Dragon Hill Spa – Sinyongsan Station, exit 5.
- Theater – Miso, Jump, Nanta and Bibimbap. All non-verbal performances.
Areas to Avoid
- Itaewon at night
- Red light district
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