I’m still suffering through midterms so while I haven’t really traveled out of Seoul yet, here is a quick summary and list of some places in the capital that I recommend checking out!
Sinchon: This area is most well known as a sort of university city. Ehwa Women’s University, Yonsei, Sogang, Hongik, Myongji, and so on. It’s interesting in itself to just visit the campuses and there are plenty of restaurants and small shops to explore. Ehwa is really famous for its building’s architecture. Their buildings look kind-of Victorian-esque and their campus complex, which is a sort of walkway structure, represents the university’s aesthetics. However, one of the main reasons I go to this area is to go clothes shopping! At Ehwa University station, this area is full of clothing stores and interesting food places. Clothing here cost either $5 or $10, and shoes never cost more than $20. The stores are definitely more targeted towards females, with only a few stores dedicated to males.
Hongdae: If you’re looking for Korean nightlife, this is where it is at. Young people roam the streets, especially on weekends, and there are clubs and bars back to back. This area is always alive, as Korean drinking culture tends to be pretty serious. Many people like to drink past midnight, and because public transportation closes from 12am – 5am, many people just continue to party until the metro opens again. As a warning, I would also recommend girls to be extremely careful around any clubs. There has been issues of drunk Korean men being quite aggressive so just make sure to always bring friends! Hongdae can be pretty fun in the daytime as well. Here is a picture of the view from a cafe I went to in Hongdae while exploring with a friend.
Gangnam: This is the rich part of Seoul. Like Hongdae, it has many restaurants and clubs, which of course, might end up being pricier. Still worth exploring however. I’ve only gone to Gangnam once myself, like the poor student I am.
Itaewon: And this is the foreigner part of Seoul. Like Hongdae, they have restaurants and clubs but catered to non-Koreans. This is where you might find Mexican food, Italian food, bars full of foreigners, and so on. If you’re ever missing home, Itaewon is the place to visit.
Jamsil: Because I came to study abroad during the spring term, cherry blossoms are a must-see! They are pink for about 1-2 weeks in the spring before turning green so you have to hurry and see them while you still can. Jamsil is one of the hot spots to see the blooming (as well as Yeouido but I never got the chance to go). You can definitely tell when it’s time because cherry blossom trees are planted almost everywhere in Korea, even on campus grounds. Here is a picture of Hanyang’s cherry blossom trees.
And this is what it looks like at Jamsil! The cherry blossoms were planted around a large lake and there was a whole festival going on to celebrate the blooming.
Before this gets too long, I’ll stop here. However, I do plan to talk about the last few places I’ve visited so far, including Wangsimri, Insadong, Dongdaemun, Yongsan, Konkuk University, and any more if I can think of it. In the future, I hope to give more detailed experiences but for now, hopefully this quick list of regions will be helpful enough as a summary to anyone who would like to visit Seoul!