Nicky's Corner

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Review of traveling to Seoul: Friendly people, delicious food (especially cabbage), and cool fashion. Can't wait to dive deeper next time!

Arrival Day

  • Four Seasons Seoul – We were very satisfied with our room as well as the staff who went above and beyond what we were expecting. They were extremely respectful and quick to help whenever possible. The hotel is also conveniently located near Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest of the palaces in Seoul.
  • Charles H – Given our late arrival (around 9pm) we were told the speakeasy on the lower floor would be a good spot to relax and grab some late bites. Charles H was easily the best bar we’ve been to lately (in fact it’s rated #7 bar in all of Asia). The cocktails were 10/10 and the atmosphere a real treat (Spanish music played the whole night).

Day 2

  • Gyeongbokgung Palace – This is the largest of the five grand palaces and a pretty cool spot to check out. They have a ceremonial changing of the guard worth sticking around for too.
  • Myeongdong – This is a very lively area with lots of Korean fashion and beauty products alongside many places to eat. I saw a Din Tai Fung and couldn’t pass up the opportunity, but sadly it was not anything like the LA location (still good though).
  • Dongdaemun Desing Plaza (DDP) – One of my favorite spots of the trip, this large area boasting many futuristic art installations also had a Warner Bros 100-year anniversary exhibit that is an absolute must if it’s still up.
  • Bukchon Hanok Village –  For a bit of history you can check out this area (there are others around the city). Bukchon Village offers a window into the aesthetic of traditional Korean life 600 years ago. This was another of my favorite places to visit.
  • Gocheongdam – Nicky wanted to try some Korean BBQ and this place was recommended by the hotel. We did the tasting menu and had some great kimchi. 

Day 3

  • Blue Bottle – There are actually infinite places to get coffee in Seoul, but we found a Blue Bottle about 2 blocks from our hotel and couldn’t pass up the chance for some excellent coffee.
  • Lotte World Tower and Mall – Sadly the day we were supposed to visit the top of Lotte Tower, a 1,819 foot tall building, the air quality index was really bad and all you could see was white haze. We used the time to explore the Lotte Mall in its entirety though, which offers a huge selection of luxury and contemporary fashion.
  • Banpo Bridge Fountain – A slight detour coming back from Lotte Tower is Banpo Bridge, which is the longest bridge fountain in the world. Make sure you check the schedule to catch the LED light show which happens four times a day for 20 minutes each. 
  • Boccalino – For dinner we went to the Italian restaurant in the Four Seasons. I actually thought it was equal in quality to what I got last time I was in Italy (Taormina) and it turns out the chefs are from Sicily!

Day 4

  • Alegria Coffee – If you want a high quality matcha or cold brew, this is your spot.
  • Hongdae Shopping Street – A fun, lively area that seems to be a bit younger than other places we visited. The busiest part was a short 10-minute walk but there are lots of small shops you can check out for local fashion and art.
  • Itaewon Market – We had heard this was a cool place to visit if you wanted an authentic Korean market experience, but it didn’t seem too active when we went. Maybe it was the wrong day/time?
  • Namsang Tower – Since we missed going to the top of Lotte Tower we thought Namsang Tower would be a great alternative. You ride a cable car to a tower atop one of the many mountains in Seoul for a 360 view of the city.
  • Deoksugung Palace – This was my favorite palace to visit and it’s pretty close to Gyeongbokgung if you’re up for a little walk. I thought the photo opportunities here were a bit better.
  • Anyway Beef – Nicky found a hole in the wall spot that was apparently featured in a documentary he watched years ago called Paik’s Spirit. It was a great experience and definitely the best beef and kimchi I’ve had on this trip.

Departure Day

There’s something so charming about Seoul. In my experience, the people were polite, helpful, and always sporting a smile when conversing with you. The food is great too and I can’t think of another culture that does cabbage as good as South Koreans do. The fashion is also really cool once you get into it, but I’ll have to come back so I can do a true deep dive.

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