Oh, hi! So..... after postponing it for so long, I finally sit down writing this post. It's about the things to do in Seoul, South Korea especially on your first trip/ summer trip to be exact. We went there from 12 July to 23 July, it's Summer but we didn't expect it'd be so hooottt! We even experienced the heat wave, lol. If you're living in Jakarta and always complaining about how hot it is, trust me it's still cooler than the summer in Korea! Still, every season has its own plus and minus point. Going there in summer is the best for fashion shopping (especially if you live in tropical country like Indonesia), but it's so annoying to stroll around in that heat. You'll be drenched in sweat and too lazy to take any photos although the place you're visiting is so pretty (haha!). If you still want to enjoy the summer, you can choose end of June/ early July but beware of the monsoon rain :)) So, here are some things to do in Seoul (from my own experience). Let's start the tour!
Hongdae is youthful area of Seoul, known for its street performance, cute/unique cafes, underground culture, live cafes and clubs, anything that made it become the favorite hangout place for local youth/ tourists. You can find almost everything here from Olive Young (a must visit), SPAO, Line Friends/BT21, Kakao Friends, Folder (shoes store), Fila, Stylenanda, Chuu, you name it! Its unique attraction is street performance of indie bands/ dancers, my friend said it's usually on weekend night. I didn't see them tho, just not my thing and the itinerary didn't match.
This was my first destination in Seoul, because it's located near our guest house. I love Kakao Friends character more than Line Friends, fyi. The store in Hongdae is the largest and super cute, you definitely want to take on or two photos here (there provide photo zone with its characters). The price is also pretty affordable for its quality and cute designs. If you're taking subway, get off at Hongik Univ. Station exit 8 (line 2).
Myeong-dong is tourist's mandatory area, isn't it? Even the shopkeepers here can speak several languages like english and chinese- which helped me a lot because I can't speak Korean. Even I say "beauty shopping" you actually can find almost everything here from beauty products, fashion stuff, stationary, Kpop albums, even street food. It's always packed with locals and tourists. It's definitely beauty paradise tho, you can find brand A-Z here; in more than one store! Because it's tourist area, they also offer some special promo ;)
In Myeong-dong, there is also Line Friends/ BT21 store with the giant Brown and a huge Artbox. Make sure to visit these both stores if you need some cuteness dose, they are located close to one another. Last but not least, try Korean street food (even the price might be higher than other less popular area)!
Who's Kpopers here? Put your hands up! I WAS a huge Kpoper but now, not really. Ayu and her friends were going to Music Bank to "catch" Seventeen and I was just tagging along because I wanted to see how it was. On another note, Mamamoo was also having comeback so I wanted to see them (although I didn't in the end). And yes, you can legit see them very closely at the Music Bank/ KBS entrance. All you need to do is come early in the morning (like 4.30 or 5 AM) and queuing with another fans. Beware of them tho, they can be quite scary sometimes, especially those who take photos for fansite/ for sale. I got there by taxi, but if you want to take subway, you can get off at National Assembly station.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza usually hold various shows like fashion week, exhibitions, forums, conferences, etc. If you're fashion enthusiasts and love to see Seoul Fashion Week, you must know this place. I didn't explore much about this landmark, but it's huge. In my opinion, there are not much to explore except you're visiting the exhibitions or any events here.
I don't know if it's only on summer or all year along, but they provide some chilling bench (?) to chill or rest from the heat. Oh, don't forget to take OOTD photos like those streetstyler or models ;)
Ewha University is Korea's first educational institute for women- which also became a favorite destination for tourists. Besides, its area is also one of the popular shopping districts in Seoul. I think because it's women university, the area is filled with pretty stores selling affordable and stylish fashion/ accessories, shoes shops, some cute cafes and restaurants, even hair salons.
The clothes here are very very affordable and stylish, although there are some stores which sell clothes in higher price. My favorite is Star 101 and Nana in the alleyways. Star 101 is located at the same building with Line Store.
If you're aiming for traditional Korea, then here is the answer: Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village. Gyeongbokgung Palace is arguably the most beautiful palace and remains the largest of all five palaces in Korea. Opening hours is differ depends on the season. To get inside the palace you need to pay some fee, but I was just seeing around so it's free.
Tips: Enjoy the guard change ceremony at the front gate. It's free.
Bukchon Hanok Village is actually a pretty place to explore but it's a shame that I didn't get to explore because Ayu wanted to go to SBS. On another note, it's super hot so I decided to just stop exploring. I'd just come back next time on cooler season, I thought. Because it's Seoul "traditional area", the stores name here are all in Hangul + some of then has pretty traditional exterior/interior designs. It's tourist friendly here, you can find some tourist helpers here, they will give you maps and tell you where to go.
To be honest, I'm not a big fan of Line Friends nor BT21, but I still visited it because of its cute interior design T.T Line Friends/BT21 Stores are located in many area in Seoul, I visited the Hongdae, Ewha, and Myeong-dong branch (Myeong-dong one is cuter). Don't forget to take photos with the huge Brown in front of the store. FYI, you even need to queue to get photos with him. If I can suggest, you can visit the less crowded store... or I can say just avoid the one in Myeong-dong.
Your trip won't complete without some Korean snacks, right? We visited Lotte Mart at Seoul Station on the last day + already broke. Thankfully I could use my credit card to pay, lol. The unique thing about Lotte Mart in Korea is they're providing tester for most of the products there. You can go around testing their products freely, it's okay too if you don't buy it. I even tried makgoli I was so happy :)) Here are some of my recommendation snacks:
Often come out in movies or K-drama, you definitely want to at least spend your time here! Out of all places I've visited in Seoul, I can say Hangang is my most favorite. It's such a bucket list ticked. We rented the bicycle for 2 hours and rode along the river. Seriously, cycling in that heat? We must be crazy but it's really enjoyable and gave me a great memory. Next, while enjoying the sunset, we ordered chicken and bought some soft drink and (peach) beer. I just love chimaek, a lot. There were so many locals enjoying their day here with their friends, lover, or family. It's such a great place, I wished we had one in Jakarta :")
Not a mandatory but this one can give you a great experience. The one I visited was Ice Cream exhibition, it's quite expensive but you can get special deal too. You need some effort to look for the exhibition, but it'll be worth it. Usually there're more locals than tourists in this kind of activity.
I almost didn't make it to Namsan Seoul Tower, but in the end I dragged myself there alone the night before we went back to Indonesia. After some drama (I almost cried and called my friend because I was lost, hahaha!), I finally reached there pretty late. It'll be perfect to enjoy Seoul scenery from above, but for better photos you might prefer to visit it before dark. For me, this kind of place has its own charms both day and night. It's nice to see the Seoul city lights tho.
Tips: get there on the day you visit Myeong-dong. You can simply ride the Namsan Circular Shuttle Bus number 05 from Myeong-dong Station.
Okay, those are some things to do in Seoul from my experience. Leave some comment if you have another suggestions, I'd love to know (who knows I'll visit again). Hope you enjoy this post and find it useful. Jaa, see you on next posts~