Seven Reasons Why I Still Love Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul
Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

As many of you know, I used to live in South Korea. I worked there from 2006-2008 (with about 6 months in South America in between). I even met my husband there on my first day in 2006! When we left in 2008, to move to London so we could both continue with our studies, we didn’t know if we would ever be in Korea again! Luckily for us we’ve been able to go back a couple of times since we moved to Beijing. A few weeks ago we even took my mum for a weekend in Seoul (she was visiting China- it would be a bit far to go for a weekend trip from the UK, although I do know someone who did that (you know who you are!))!

The trip confirmed for me that Korea still has a huge place in my heart. Here’s 7  reasons why I still love it!

Such a cute little robot show!
Such a cute little robot show!

 The Shopping and Fashion

I love Korean style! I remember one of my first blog posts (on my now hidden Korea blog- sorry!) said how Korean girls had such a good dress sense! That’s still true! Local boutique shopping is awesome- if you go to places like Hongdae you can find some great fashionable, but still affordable, Korean made clothes. I picked up a few things on this trip to add to my winter wardrobe. My Chinese colleagues have been going crazy over my Korean purchases since I got back!

Shopping in Hongdae, Seoul
Shopping in Hongdae, Seoul

The Food

I’m a veggie so I miss out on some of the major Korean foods like BBQ. But I love things like gimbap and bi bi bap! Seoul is constantly evolving- we tried cronuts for the first time (whaaaat!) There is also a growing amount of vegan/veggie restaurants (where were they when I lived in Seoul!?)

Gimbap and Kimchi
Gimbap and Kimchi

The Tourist Sites

Ok, so you can’t beat Beijing for the quantity of famous sites to see- but I think that makes Seoul all together more manageable! We were able to see places like Gyoengbokgun Palace, Insadong and the Seoul Tower in a weekend whilst still spending plenty of time just wandering around different neighbourhoods, eating and drinking (and you now how much I like to do that!).

Doors at the palace, Seoul
Doors at the palace, Seoul

The Neighbourhoods

Seoul has so many fun, different neighbourhoods to explore! Unlike some cities where there are about 2 great areas to hang out in and the rest are kind of boring, residential places, Seoul has so many fun areas that seem to constantly be changing (an area Justin and I used to call “waffle district” is now “trendy coffee house district”!).

Flower Stall, Seoul
Flower Stall, Seoul

The Atmosphere

There just seems to  be something special about Seoul. There’s such a fun, young atmosphere (but I don’t feel out of place not being 21 either!). There seems to be so much more English spoken now and, is it just because I live in Beijing, or has Seoul got massively cleaner and more orderly since 2006? I swear people were not this polite and the streets were not this clean when I first went there.

Juice stand, Seoul
Juice stand, Seoul

It’s Cute

Even though I’m not one to wear Hello Kitty t-shirts and the like myself, I really like the little cute touches in Korea. Love locks on the tower, pink cafes, cute styles mixed in with the trendy stuff. I think there is a nice mix of cute and trendy here!

 

Hello Kitty Cafe, Seoul
Hello Kitty Cafe, Seoul

The Night Life

We didn’t have a wild night out this time with my mum, but last year’s trip saw us having plenty of fun reliving our old bar/gig/kareoke days. I really like seeing local Korean and local expat bands- there are so many good ones. Especially my friend’s band Angry Bear (check them out!!)

Myeongdong, Seoul
Myeongdong, Seoul

The Mountains

We didn’t climb any this time, but I love seeing the mountains in Seoul. Beijing is so flat (we have mountains a little way away but you can only see them on very clear days). I love Seoul’s attractive mountains that are so easily accessible for a quick bit of exercise!

Mountain, Seoul
Mountain, Seoul

A few more photos from our trip- just because..!

Cronut, Seoul
Cronut, Seoul
Guards at Gyeongbokgung Palace
Guards at Gyeongbokgung Palace- spot the odd one out!

IMG_2440

Tourists in Seoul :-)
Tourists in Seoul 🙂

 

Coffee in Korea
Coffee in Korea

So there you have it- 7 reasons (I don’t know why 7..) why I still love Seoul! Have you ever been to Korea or revisited a place you used to live?

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19 thoughts on “Seven Reasons Why I Still Love Seoul

  1. I’ve never been to Korea but I’d love to visit someday. I did spend 3 months in China but that was 2 years ago now and I’m pretty sure I haven’t left Europe since, even though I loved being there. The only problem is that it’s such a long way to go. I wouldn’t think it worthwhile if I were going for less than a week – certainly not a weekend!! lol

    1. Haha yes definitely too far for a weekend I think- I don’t know how that person did it haha!! Hopefully you will make it back to Asia. I feel like I’ve still got so much of Asia left to explore- we’re going to Japan next year for Chinese NY and I can’t wait!

  2. South Korea has never really been on our to visit list, but always happy to have people try and twist my rubber arm (let’s be honest, I want to go everywhere)!

    1. I love Korea- but I think I love it so much because I lived there. I always wonder what it would be like just to visit as a tourist? My mum really liked Seoul and I have quite a few friends in Beijing who visited and liked it too. It is so easy to travel around Korea and there are lots of temples, mountains etc to visit.

      1. I’m sure traveling as a total tourist and a local tourist is very different.

        When we were back home we often used to wonder both what others thought of Melbourne, and also why we never did a lot of the local tourist things that we do when abroad!

  3. Ah, this post made me so nostalgic!! Looks like it has changed a lot, but kept its uniqueness. I miss it so much, I never went back since I left in 2009. It’s ridiculous as I’m right next to it! Love your photos, and I agree that Korea is very stylish, way more so than Japan, believe it or not.

    1. oooh that’s interesting- I would have though Japan was way more stylish! I really enjoyed going back to Korea and I’m still getting compliments on the clothes I bought there haha!

  4. Seoul sounds great. It’s nice that you two have such fond memories of the city and have been able to revisit it since your move. I’ve never been there but I love the Hello Kitty obsession. I was laid-over in Seoul on my way to Indonesia and I got a kick out of the Hello Kitty stores and giant statues in the airport. I made sure to take a photo of me flashing the peace sign with a giant Hello Kitty…I was a bit jet lagged 😉

  5. The food and the atmosphere seem to be perfect in Seoul!! I know how you feel about “feeling cute” as I had the same feeling when I was living in China :).

  6. Although I really enjoyed visiting Seoul and I loved going to all the attractions, I found it rather expensive compared to Taiwan. And one thing I did notice when I was there was fashion was so important to younger generation. I was dressed warmly but Korean girls were wearing skirts and freezing.

    1. You’re right- fashion seems to be seriously important there. I remember when I first went there in 2006 and I was baffled by all the girls with bare legs in freezing weather! Not for me- I’m a wooly tights girl haha!

  7. I almost went to teach in Korea instead of in China… I’m always so curious about what kind of experience I would have had there. Hopefully I’ll visit it one day. I’ve heard rumors they have all sorts of crazy cute cafes there

  8. I’m now craving for some gimbap and kimchi which I absolutely loved it, Whilst couchsurfing once, our host’s mother even thought us how to make gimbap, too yummy! 🙂

  9. It was a great weekend in Seoul Joella, so glad I finally got there. I don’t remember being asked if I wanted a wild night out – you know I would have said yes, ha ha! I loved China and am so glad I got the chance to visit you there.

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