After you’ve taken in the ultra-modern landmarks of central Seoul, make like a local and head to one of the city’s vibrant neighborhoods to unwind.
Away from the bustle of business and tourists, these districts in the South Korean capital brim with lovely cafes, delicious restaurants and off-the-beaten-path historic sites. In these smaller slices of a huge city, you can expect to make a deeper connection with Seoul and Seoulites.
Whether exploring small alleyways in Bukchon or dog-spotting in Yeonnam-dong, you’re certain to love the following areas. Here are the best neighborhoods in Seoul.
Nestled between Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung palaces, Bukchon Hanok Village is a popular tourist destination that’s fully worth the hype. Once you’re strolling along the streets filled with hanok (traditional Korean houses) – a budget-friendly activity in a pricey city – it doesn’t take long to realize why Seoulites recommend this place so ardently, and why it continues to charm all who visit.
The authorities say that the more than 900 hanok homes here offer the best representation of Seoul’s 600-year-old urban history. While the buildings are almost entirely reconstructed or full-on replicas, you will feel like you’re in another time when you wander this area. In recent years, that atmosphere has been accentuated by the popularity of borrowing hanbok (traditional Korean gowns) for photo walks.
Visit during the week to avoid the crowds. Start by grabbing a map of the neighborhood from Bukchon Traditional Culture Center, which pinpoints great photo-taking spots. Then, wander down quiet alleyways filled with small cafes and tea shops that don’t make it into the guidebooks or travel blogs, venturing away from large groups and into Korea’s past.
An estimated six million households in South Korea have dogs, and one of the top places to see them living their best lives is in Yeonnam-dong, a neighborhood northwest of Hongdae that’s full of dog-friendly spaces.
Start your dog-spotting journey at Gyeongui Line Forest Park. This green space was built on top of railroad tracks that once extended to North Korea; today, it’s popular with both the two- and four-legged residents of the neighborhood. In the grassy area outside Hongik University Station Exit 3, you’ll see humans enjoying a bit of day-drinking and dogs of all sizes, shapes and fashion styles (it’s common for dogs to wear clothes in South Korea).
Indoor spots like the taco joint High House, brunch eatery Grain and the Hongdae branch of vegan restaurant Plant are just a few of the many places that welcome dogs in Yeonnam-dong. Some, like Gelateria Eta and Thanks Oat, even have canine-specific items on the menu. A few dog-friendly cafes, like Oui Oui Club and Bite Me, have
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South Korea has an incredible range of experiences for a country of its size – an eclectic nightlife in the capital that never sleeps, trekking through the mountains followed by forest bathing, and a delicious and varied cuisine that will keep you coming back for more.
Though it may be fun-size compared to its neighbors China and Russia, South Korea more than holds its own when it comes to incredible landscapes, cultural attractions and a dazzling food and nightlife scene.
South Korea's cost of living is on the rise, but it's definitely still possible to visit on a budget. Between its vast and affordable transit system, wide range of dining options and abundance of low-cost activities and attractions, South Korea can prove a relatively inexpensive travel destination.
No matter where your good times happen – raucous nightclubs, ancient mountain hermitages, packed baseball stadiums, boundary-pushing museums and galleries – the chances are you'll find something to love in South Korea. There's no such thing as a bad time to visit, but some planning can take your trip to another level and create lasting memories.
South Korea might not leap out as the obvious place for a road trip. The country's superb public transportation means a private vehicle is rarely necessary, and the traffic in Seoul can make you question the point of the open road when you spend so much time at a standstill.
Korean low-cost carrier T’way Air is set to make a dramatic debut in the European market. Earlier this week, the European Commission announced its approval of Korean Air’s merger with local rival Asiana Airlines – however, there are some strings attached.
Downtown Los Angeles is bursting with flavour, thanks to the sublime combination of sun-ripened Californian produce, American innovation and global influence from a colourful array of communities. You’ll find authentic Mexican eats alongside traditional Korean dishes; classic Italian plates next to American diner fare — and even examples of all of them fused together. There’s so much to savour, it can be hard to know where to start. These five crucial stop-offs are the perfect intro to DTLA’s many edible highlights.
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