Tag Archives: Seoul

Candid shots of Seoul this week

Having a relative visit us here in Seoul has (thankfully) forced me out of the apartment this week. Here are a few candid shots from the last few days I thought you might enjoy:

Hadn’t seen this part of Incheon International Airport before. Pretty futuristic looking. 

Incheon International Airport

Came across this demonstration on the one-year anniversary of the deadly Sewol ferry disaster (must watch video — so many people!).

Demonstrations 2


Continue reading Candid shots of Seoul this week

To tie you over….

Going to be away for the next few days….won’t spoil the surprise for those of you who don’t know where we’re headed….but I’ll leave you with a few shots from the other day to help tie you over. And yes, you should be excited, that means some awesome pictures are coming soon! 🙂

A big crowd gathered in Insa-dong to watch some Korean folk farmers’ dancing and music, which we’ve seen a few times and I personally really enjoy. Hypnotic to listen to and watch. 

Big crowd at Insa-dong

Also, we discovered a Cafe Brahms while leaving Samcheong-dong the other day. I know my sister will appreciate this. If you look closely at the door, they serve “Coffee, Bear, & Drink.” Hehe. You can tell Will’s really excited about it, too. Continue reading To tie you over….

Springtime in Bukchon Hanok Village

Spring has finally arrived in Seoul. The temps have miraculously, overnight, shot up to the 50s, 60s, even 70 this weekend. Woo! Thought the warm weather might never come.

The sunny weather on Saturday was perfect for taking Will to see the Bukchon Hanok Village, which he hadn’t been to yet. I didn’t take many photos, since I took so many last time, but here are a few new shots below. It was SO busy! Way busier than when I went in November, but it makes sense. The warm weather has drawn everyone out. We ate some of that amazing shaved sorbet at Savoureux, walked past a cute flower shop, discovered one of many handmade jewelry shops in Samcheon-dong — Eunnamu — with some beautiful pieces, and ventured through the many walkways and narrow streets of Bukchon.  Continue reading Springtime in Bukchon Hanok Village

Girl (Shopping) Power at Ewha Womans University

Just like Hongik University is situated by Hongdae’s many shops, restaurants and nightclubs, Ewha Womans University is conveniently located near Edae, a treasure trove for young women who like a) shopping and b) good bargains.

It was hard to resist all the shops of cute clothes and shoes as I walked from the subway station toward the campus. I walked past a plethora of street food vendors, cute girls’ clothes, and even a Barbie shoe store. What?!

Barbie (shoes) store

As soon as I crossed into the Ewha Womans University campus, I liked it. It’s very open, verdant, and — oh my goodness — no motorcycles allowed on campus! Continue reading Girl (Shopping) Power at Ewha Womans University

We Found Wonderland

Just when I thought I’d seen practically everything there is to see in Seoul, I stumbled across Yongma Land. A true hidden gem — it’s not a destination that comes up when you Google things to do in Seoul or when you flip through a travel guide book — I came across it on a few blogs. So, what is Yongma Land?

It’s an old, abandoned amusement park located just a few minutes’ walk from Mangu Station. I don’t know the full story of when it closed, why it failed, or how the current owner came by it. When you walk up to the gate you see a sign forbidding trespassers, but listing the phone number of the older gentleman who owns the property. You can call him and he’ll let you in for 5,000 won/person.

Welcome to Yongma Land

Once you’re in, you pretty much have free reign. Walk around and explore, step into the rides, climb, run, jump, whatever you please (at your own risk, of course). Continue reading We Found Wonderland

A Walk Among the Joseon Dynasty Royal Tombs

When I went to the National Museum of Korea last month, I remember reading about some of the excavation sites at the Goryeo Dynasty royal tombs in Gaeseong. Of course, because they had artifacts from those excavations on display. I saw a photo of these huge grassy mounds, and my guide kept telling me I needed to go see them in person.

It turns out, most of the 40 Joseon Dynasty royal tombs are located within 40 km of Gyeongbokgung Palace in the heart of Seoul. Nice! I didn’t know I had royal tombs so nearby.  So, I decided to visit the Seolleung and Jeongneung Royal Tomb site in Gangnam. I knew the grass wouldn’t be green yet — it is still March, and cold — but, why wait? I have so many things on my to-do list for when the weather warms up and trees and flowers bloom. Better check this one off my list now.

The Seolleung and Jeongneung Royal Tomb site (and all Joseon-era royal tombs, in fact) is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, like many of the palaces in Seoul.

It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site

Fascinatingly enough, the entire lineage of the Joseon kingdom from 1392 to 1910 is accounted for among the tombs. This particular site in Gangnam houses the royal tombs of King Seongjong (9th ruler,1457-1494), his third wife Queen Jeonghyeon (1462-1530), and King Jungjong (11th ruler, 1488-1544). Continue reading A Walk Among the Joseon Dynasty Royal Tombs

Feeling Youthful in Hongdae

My friend has been telling me about Hongdae for a while. It’s one of Seoul’s college areas, located right by Hongik University, and she’s told me all about how you can find many eateries and budget-friendly shops (aimed at broke college students). Lively nightlife, too. While I’m just now getting around to blogging about it, I actually first visited Hongdae back in January. It was freezing that day. So cold, I had to stop inside several stores to thaw off before continuing to walk around. It was a very brief jaunt.

Hongdae is supposed to be a pedestrian friendly area, but… you still have to watch out for cars and motorcycles or you’ll end up squashed on the road. During that first trip, I came across everything from cafes and bars, to body piercing shops, nightclubs, food stands, cat cafes, nail salons, clothes shops, even a Trick Eye Museum. There’s also a CGV movie theater right when you exit the Hongik University Station. Plenty of name-brand stores like H&M and New Balance, too.

Sculpture in Hongdae.

Cafes, shops & more. Continue reading Feeling Youthful in Hongdae

The Skies and Seas of 63 Building

Happy March, everyone!

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. It’s mainly because I finally reached my 3GB storage limit on WordPress, so I had to find another way to still be able to share all my photos with you. Kind of a pain…but I’ll save that for perhaps another blog post.

Now, to the 63 Building. It’s basically a skyscraper across the Han River that has an observation deck on the 60th floor with some great, 360-degree views of Seoul. It has a few other hidden gems, too. For example, the observation deck doubles as an art gallery called “63 Sky Art.” They’re currently exhibiting “Cinderella,” (through Mar. 22), which is split into four parts or themes: Mouse, Pumpkin, Clock and Shoes. Pretty interesting, if you like art at all. 🙂 There’s a nice cafe on that floor if you want to sit and enjoy the views for a while.

63 Building Continue reading The Skies and Seas of 63 Building

My Private Tour of the National Museum of Korea

The National Museum of Korea in Yongsan offers plenty of guided tours, but I partly kid when I say my tour was “private.” The only reason I ended up getting a private, one-on-one tour of this grand museum is because no one else showed up for the 10:30am English tour! It was just me and my guide, a nice Korean man who spent several years living in San Francisco, so his English was pretty good.

According to my tour book, the National Museum of Korea is the largest museum in Asia. According to the Korea tourism website, it’s the largest museum in Korea. Either way, it’s massive. While the museum has a collection of more than 150,000 pieces, it actually only displays roughly 15,000 of these at any given time.

Admission is free for the permanent exhibition, but varies for their special exhibitions (more on these later). The permanent exhibition is spread across three floors and is divided into the following sections: Prehistory & Ancient History, Medieval & Early Modern History, Calligraphy & Painting, Donated Works, Sculpture & Crafts, and Asian Art. I had no idea — until my guide pointed it out, of course — that the museum contains numerous Korean national treasures. These include including the Pensive Bodhisattva, Goryeo Celadon Openwork Burner, Ten-Story Pagoda from Gyeongcheonsa  Site, and Gold Crown from Silla. Continue reading My Private Tour of the National Museum of Korea

Getting Artsy with some Traditional Korean Dance

There are many theaters and venues in Seoul where you can enjoy some traditional Korean performing arts — from plays to dance to non-verbal performances. We recently visited two of these, the Jeongdong Theater and the Korea House, and I’ll just go ahead and say it, I loved the shows at both places.

Jeongdong Theater could be considered your small, local theater. It’s tucked away in the historic Jeong-dong neighborhood of Seoul, near the Deoksugung Palace and Seoul Museum of Art. They do performances twice a night, every night except Mondays, and tickets aren’t too expensive (40,000-60,000 won). We went on a Saturday night to see “MISO: Baebijang-jeon,” based on a classical novel written by an unknown author during the Joseon dynasty. Continue reading Getting Artsy with some Traditional Korean Dance