Seoul Itinerary Part II | Itinerário de Seoul, Parte II
I once heard, in an episode of Travelogue podcast, that Seoul was "Europe" north of Han river, and "United States", south of Han river. After hearing that, I started thinking about what I saw when I visited the city: north of the river Han: Palaces and traditional houses in Bukchon Hanok Village; south of the river Han: the famous Gangnam, Lotte World Tower...yes, it makes sense! What I really believe, though, is that Seoul really does a great job mixing the traditional with the modern - and that is why it is one of my favorite cities in the world (plus, one of my great friends is from there!).
If you haven't read Part I of the itinerary, check it here. Now off to Part II! I won't share exactly what I did day by day, but just add the highlights of the last few days in Seoul.
Falling in Love with Bukchon Hanok Village (and falling in love with my "Seoul-mate")
The best way to start a post is with a picture of Charlie and I! I am so happy Rose Tours Korea took this great picture of us.
On our third day in Seoul we signed up for a free tour with Seoul Walking Tours through the famous Bukchon Hanok Village. It was a 1.5-hour long tour - totally worth it! Bukchon Hanok Village is an area between between Gyeongbok Palace and Changdeok Palace - in the past, a lot of important people would live in this area, such as high-ranking government officials and nobility, since it was so close to the palaces.
Today, Bukchon Hanok village is a residential area, with a culture center and a few restaurants. The area is beautiful and has preserved the original hanok (Korean traditional houses), which makes this place so unique - it is really a must-do when in Seoul!
There are a lot of tourists in the village, so I have seen some residents add some signs to their doors / houses asking for silence. We need to be mindful that people live there and want their peace and quiet as well!
Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP)
Dongdaemun Design Plaza is one of the most iconic buildings in Korea, located in Dongdaemun area. It was designed by Zaha Hadid and it has five halls: Art Hall, Museum, Design Lab, Design Market, and Dongdaemun History and Culture Park. I fell in love with the Design Market - it really showcases Korean and International Designers and you are able to buy their creative and unique pieces. I bought a diffuser from Flora Bloom - check pictures below!
The New York Times selected the DDP as one of the "Top 52 Places to Visit in 2015" and the DDP is one of the most Instagram tagged locations in Korea! It is another must-go when in Seoul.
If you have just one day in Seoul, I recommend visiting Changdeokgung Palace and its Secret Garden. The palace was the second royal villa built and it is the most well-preserved of the 5 remaining royal Joseon palaces. It was recognized as a World Cultural Heritage site by Unesco in 1997. The secret garden was, for some time, known as the forbidden garden, because only the king could allow someone to enter, pictures can’t express how magnificent it is.
Tickets: $3 for palace, $5 for secret garden. Closed on Mondays
Ikseon-dong was one of my favorite neighborhoods to explore in Seoul. Just.Get.Lost! Seriously. Every corner has a surprise. Plus, in this area I found the cutest boutique hotel and the best coffee shop (Seoul Coffee) - thanks to my friend, Seongmin! She was the best tour guide I could have asked for. There were so many places we saw with huge lines - places for brunch, coffee, and even movie theaters! The vibe is super cool!
When in Korea... you have to go to a Korean nightclub that only plays Korean songs! I felt as if I was in a K-pop videoclip! So much fun! We even got to dance on the stage with some professional dancers - not sure how well I did - they were pretty good! When I remember the name of the nightclub I will add it here!
If you have any questions about Seoul, do not hesitate to ask! I spent almost 6 entire days in the city and I feel I got to know it pretty well (although I wish I had spent more time just exploring the neighborhoods!). Add comments below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.