Seoul, South Korea, is a modern, vibrant and incredible city. Filled with history amidst intense fashion, this city has everything you want to experience. When I first went to Seoul, I stayed as a traveler for 2 weeks. After that trip, I knew I wanted to call it home. I packed my bags and left, determined to go back and see the things I’d seen that made me love it as well as explore everything I hadn’t had the chance to see.
When you come to Seoul, you’ll probably head to all the suggested places like the War Memorial and Museum, the Gyeonbokgung Palace as well as the other 4 palaces if you can squeeze them in, Insadong, and a tour of the DMZ. You may even have time for Lotte World, a place that feels a lot like Disney!
The Expat Treatment: See Seoul Like a Foreign Local
Those are all great things to do, however do yourself a favor and take a step off the beaten path. Visit Seoul with the eyes of an expat, and you might even find that you become a full-fledged expat living in Seoul.
Visit a singing room
Karaoke is big in Korea, but here it’s called “norebang” which literally translates to “singing room.” It’s not like in the states where you’re stuck badly serenading a whole room full of strangers with your rendition of “Faithfully” by Journey. There are high-end, mid-range, and low-end places too so you can find one on any budget. Plus, you can order more snacks and beer with the push of a button. Sweet!
Play like a child
Seoul Children’s Park isn’t just for children. Because of all the other attractions in Seoul, many first-time visitors miss out on this super-fun play land. There is a free zoo, park, and botanical garden, plus an amusement park. You can walk around the amusement park for free but rides and food aren’t very expensive. You’ll have a blast here!
Explore the nightlife
On a visit, you might only get a small taste of Seoul nightlife. As an expat, you’ll live it. The best way is to do as the Koreans do and wander from establishment to establishment with your friends. In Korean culture, it’s considered taboo to drink while not simultaneously eating. You’ll start in a Korean BBQ restaurant and order some grilled meats and drink up with your soju (a clear alcohol that will knock you out if you don’t watch out) or beer. Then head up the street for pajeon, a savory pancake with green onions. Be sure to wash that down with plenty of makkeoli, the Korean rice wine. If you can handle it, try out your moves at one of the clubs in Itaewon or Hongdae.
Know where to shop
Shopping in Korea is incredibly fun. It is the cosmetics capital of the world. Want skincare that really works? You’re going to find it here, and for much less than you ever imagined. Skin Food, About Me, The Face Shop, TONYMOLY, Klairs and Etude House are going to make your makeup dreams and skincare wishes come true! But the best finds for clothes, shoes, bags and all that good stuff is underground in the subway station malls. Goto Mall in the Gangnam Terminal is one of the best ones.
Mix these in with the other amazing experiences of Seoul and you’ll have found the ultimate combination of amazing!