Forget Tokyo. Forget Hong Kong. Forget Singapore. Bunch of Backpackers will give you ten reasons why Seoul is one of the coolest cities ever! After reading this, you will be convinced to visit one of BoB’s favorite cities.
1. A bang for every occasion
Bang is the Korean word for room. And Seoul is full of bangs. Do you feel like singing the Backstreet Boys? Go to a karaoke-bang! Are you on a romantic date? Hit the DVD-bang (sometimes this bang actually has a bed in it)! Ready to kill some zombies? Find yourself a PC bang.
2. Peace and quiet
Seoul has incredible temples spread out over the city. You will find a shamanist temple between apartment buildings and a Buddhist temple in an ultramodern shopping district. Seoul also houses beautifully renovated palaces that are great examples of traditional Korean architecture. And Seoul has spectacular parks; all well-designed and well-maintained with lots of green and water.
3. Seoul sightseeing hotspots
Seoul offers great sightseeing opportunities! Besides the above-mentioned temples and palaces there are so many other interesting sightseeing hotspots. Visit Seodaemun prison to learn more about the Japanese occupation, take a rollercoaster ride in one of Seouls amusement parks (Everland and Lotte Park) or take a calligraphy class in Bukchon Hanok Village. Don’t forget to visit Insadong-gil, where you can buy Korean traditional goods and crafts. In the evening you can go to the theatre to see the amazing and unique Nanta performance (extremely funny cooking show) or visit a traditional dance/music show.
4. Sleep is overrated
Why visit Seoul? Well, do you need a new sweater at 04.00 AM? No problem in Seoul. You can even get a rather fashionable one, because all the big fashion department stores are open from early morning until … early morning. And, besides shopping, there is so much more to do. Go to Itaewon, Hongdae or Gangnam and you will find large crowds and massive parties at whatever time you will come. Seoul never sleeps.
5. Korean BBQ
Seoul has countless Korean BBQ restaurants! Korean BBQ is the best meal for a couple of reasons:
1) You cut your meat with scissors (why don’t we use this in the West?)
2) You can get an apron when needed
3) Korean BBQ always goes with soju (Korean liquor)
4) It’s absolutely delicious.
6. Get your meal delivered everywhere
The banks of the Han river, the big river that splits Seoul in two, is a very popular spot for a group hang-out or a romantic picknick. During summer, the banks are packed with thousands of Seoulites. And the best thing is that they hand out ‘delivery brochures’. Just call, order what you want and they’ll bring it right to you. And yes, Mac Donalds also delivers.
Supermarkets in Seoul are huge! If you think picking a shampoo is difficult in Europe: think again. In Korea they have twice the selection. However, the best thing is the food department where you can have small tastings. Even hot tea and hot meat are freshly prepared for you. Awesome.
8. Plastic fantastic
Seoul is the city of good looks: plastic surgery clinics are everywhere, in the subway you can’t avoid large advertisements with before and after surgery photo’s, girls get eyelid corrections for their eighteenth birthday and if you’re ‘ugly’ you are less likely to find a good job. Whatever you may think of it, it is definitely intriguing and worth checking out.
9. Eating live octopus
Eating live octopus is a Korean delicacy and you can try it at one of Seoul’s fish markets. You can swallow the whole thing at once or you can eat separate arm pieces. The suction cups on the arm pieces are still working even though the arm piece is separated from the body. Do not underestimate the strength. The suction against your oral mucosa is pretty strong, and some people died because the octopus sticked in the throat. Living on the edge.
10. Gangnam Style
Seoul is the home of Oppa Gangnam Style! Psy took over the world with this catchy and cheesy song about the Gangnam district in Seoul, where people are supposedly hip, trendy and classy. Visit the Gangnam district yourself and check out some fancy shops with beautiful tall Korean women with little dressed-up dogs on their arm.