I was lucky enough at the age of 13 to move to the lovely city of Seoul in South Korea. It is an amazing city and is incomparable to any other place I have been to. Although I arrived in the city speaking absolutely no Korean I was able to leave being able to say the essentials, which are;
- Thank You
- How much is this?
I know it was not a lot but I managed to make do. I lived over in Itaewon, which had one street filled with stores, bars and restaurants. There were foreign stores such as Taco Bell, and Smoothie King. Located next to the American army base you also felt safe, however, there was an incident where they closed down the street because a man went around shooting people… luckily that was with a bb gun. I would recommend going down to Itaewon and having a wonder round, there is a lot to see! Here are a few other things I would recommend doing in Korea:
- Go into a Make-up Store – Etude House for example is a Korean makeup store. I did buy a few products from the store such as eye liner and nail polish. To be fair it was actually pretty decent. You have models that usually stand outside the store handing out free face masks and saying something in Korean. So it is all good fun!
- MyeongDong – If you want to do some shopping, this is where you should go. There are plenty of foreign clothing stores such as H&M, UNIQLO, and Forever 21. However, you can also pick up some great street food! And they have some great hair accessory stands around the streets. They also have stores with photo booths where you can take pictures with your friends, draw or place design on the pictures and then select a size for printing. There are even a few karaoke places!
- Subway – I do not mean the sandwich store, I mean the metro, the train that runs under the city. It is the cleanest subway system I have ever seen in my life. It is easy to use and there are always little convenience stores that sell some great food. They cook these mini cake balls with a yellow filling served warm. After being convinced by one of my Korean friends to get a bag, I did. She cooked me a bag of 10, as she handed them over I began to regret my purchase. No idea what these cakes were made of but it tasted great!
- Hongdae – A great area to hang out, again filled with shops, bars and restaurants. Just opposite the University it had a young vibe and great night life. If you go to Hongdae try and find the place that sells banana beer. I do not drink beer at all, I hate it. However, this beer was different the banana flavour somehow masked the grossness of the beer and it tasted delicious! This was also the place in which I saw Jason Mraz play in a cafe. He had a concert the following evening and was performing in this cafe with a K-Pop band. There were lots of people crowding around the cafe, however, my friends and I were the only foreigners in the crowd. One thing I will say is Jason Mraz sounds even better live! After his mini performance he threw some signed guitar pics into the crowd. One landed in front of me and one of my friends. She picked it up and still has it to this. I also think I should mention that Hongdae has a great frozen yogurt place, and a Hello Kitty Cafe…. which was something different! hahaha
I have fond memories of Seoul and is a great place to visit. It is such a large city and like Shanghai is separated into 2 sections by a river (North Seoul, South Seoul). I will be writing a separate post about the DMZ (Demilitarised Zone), the boarder between North & South Korea, which I visited while living in Seoul. And the threat of a North Korean attack and how that affected everyday life in Seoul. xx
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