I have mix feeling before i started to write this, “is it for real?” “jeongmalyeo?!” yeah one of my highlight of this year is my trip to South Korea, long story short i bought the flight ticket right after my 26th birthday on April 2016 and the trip is for our autumn trip on November. It was exactly last month, i’m thankful i could visit the mecca of KPOP.
So many things that open my eyes after the trip, we didn’t go to tourist place like Nami island and Namsan tower, we saved lot of time, energy, and money for another itiniarary . So what i’m gonna tell you on this post is based on what i had experience with my solo traveller instinct (thou i went with my sister and eventually met some random friends there). Forget those pocket guide book and lonely planet book because we didn’t use them for this trip. If you’re about going to Korea for the first time and you are looking for some non-mainstream experience here’s some tips for you about things to do in Seoul
1. Stay at the local guesthouse
Travel nowdays is really different than we used to know, we used to stay at the hotel for accomodation that will cost a lot. As a traveller with budget hostel could be the best option but you have to check about the review, location, and of course the price. this time i choose appletree’s guesthouse as my “house” for my stay in Korea, the house located in Mangwon area, actually is not far from the famous Hongdae area, not as artsy or lively as hongdae area, but if you want to close to local’s live, Mangwon is the best option! The house is typically korean-urban style house and we can use all the facilities inside the house, what’s even better is the bed was really comfortable and we stayed with the other 2 foreigner in the same room. when i first came to this house i felt like i came home from so far 🙂
2. Explore Local Parks
This is must things to do if you are visiting Seoul in autumn especially the parks where locals spend most of their afternoon walks. I recommend you to visit Olympic park at Jamsil and Seoul forest on the weekend.
Olympic park Just so beautiful in autumn
prepare your feet for some hiking, up hill for beautiful sight
Children Scout at Seoul forest on the weekend
I want boyfriend to sit with me here
Some local said that if you don’t want to go to Nami Island, Seoul forest is one of beautiful park when it’s Autumn
3. Take some random or OOTD pictures at their photogenic Alleys
Have i told you that Seoul has so many photogenic alleys that you can’t help to take your OOTD picture or just some random snapshot for your nostalgia album
Some of these streets i only see them on korean drama and they are as nice as in real life
4. Explore local Market and try some authentic korean taste
i went to namdaemun market for souvenir shopping and trying some street foods, as a muslim i found some difficulty to find some foods which not contain pork, eventhough we didn’t eat any halal certified foods there but tried our best to find some local dishes and snacks that we can eat like kimbab and pajeon, but we really wanted to eat where locals like to try so we went to gwakjang market on the other night for dinner, oh well….it was like….porks were all over the place! *LOL* hahahah yeah what do i expect?! locals here loves pork..duh! but thankfully we found a stall that only sells food like kimbab, dakbal (chicken feet), and tteokbeoki.
5. Forget Starbucks, try to hangout at small Local Coffee shops
Have you ever heard that Korea is famous with their coffee shops culture? besides starbucks there are many famous coffee shops brand like Angel-in-Us, Ediya Coffee, Tom & Tom, and Cafe Bene that you will find everywhere in Seoul. There are also some thematic cafe like hello kitty cafe, pet cafe, lego cafe, line cafe, and i almost cannot mention all of them since there are so many of them!
but my hipster instinct end up choose some small coffee shops that i cannot remember what’s its name as long as i found them cute.
6. Going Home at 10 pm from gangnam station
Well yeah, for this one i think you should experience it by yourself, it was an unexpected experience that i found similiar like we have in Jakarta 🙂
7. Visit your favorite kpop fandom shrines and show some support like buying their merchandise
Best Dunkin Donut ever!! and saw Jang wooyoung from one of my fav boy group 2pm!
SUMmarket for my sister who is a die hard fans of EXO, i came here because of their cute merch design and makes me think about taking master degree for merchandise design *lol
6. Visit Seoul Youth Creative Space
Zzamjigil at Insadong is perfect for you who wants to find some traditional touch and handmade stuff
While Dongdaemun Design Plaza is for modern and contemporary designs
Common Ground for Something More Hipster
7. Sit Back, Do Nothing, Daydream, and be productive at the Same time
It might not be suit for everyone when i travels i like to find somewhere to sitback and do nothing. That’s why i don’t like tour in group of people with tight schedule. Some of my friends is not agree with me for this, but as an introvert i can find some luxury and inspiration at moment like this, in Korea i choose Ehwa Women University area for my me time.
and it’s no harm to do something you like there, like drawing a cute couple who were taking selfie around there. I can say it was my highlight of the trip, strolling around by yourself in the neighbourhood that you only saw in your dreams before is the best way to love yourself more, but don’t forget try to start a good conversation with some strangers near you. But, it doesn’t mean i don’t like travel with friends. I just need one day for myself.
P.S for girls who wants to go to Ehwa alone, please be carefull. There are shopping area nearby please be carefull with your wallet if not you will end up shopping. Good quality and cheap bargain are all over the place.
8. If you meet eyes with a cute stranger walking alone..
Don’t forget to Smile! you might get his phone number for free it will be more lucky if you’re fluent in korean.
So that’s all my korean tips based on my absurd experience there. first of all Korea is really aesthaeticly beautiful! but not if you don’t have much money to shop those make-up with cute packagings or pastels outers in Hongdae area or some stationary at ARTBOX!