A Guide to Seoul: What to do


Wandering Seoul Column:

Prepare to immerse yourself into the historically beautiful, technologically advanced and remarkable culture of South Korea. CUB Magazine’s column ‘Wandering Seoul’, written by Ruby Punt, aims to dispense with overusing itineraries and reflect the extraordinary personal experience South Korea has to offer, whilst also challenging many western misconceptions about South Korea. All that’s left to say is 읽어 주셔서 감사합니다 .


Whilst I have a love-hate relationship with the typical ‘10 things to do in’ articles, would it really be a travel column if I didn’t at least have one?

Seoul is a vibrant city, home to almost 1,000,000 people. As such, the streets are always filled, and the tubes rarely empty. Whilst some may find this claustrophobic, I enjoy the hum of the city, knowing that at the drop of a penny I could run off and do anything. For instance, I could…  

 

Step through history at one of Seoul’s beautiful Royal palaces. 

The city boasts five palaces: Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Gyeonghuigung Palace, Deoksugung Palace and Changgyeonggung Palace. Out of these five, I would recommend visiting either Gyeongbokgung or Changdeokgung; Gyeongbokgung Palace because it is the largest and most impressive; Changdeokgung Palace because it is the best preserved. 

During my first week in Seoul I visited Changdeokgung palace in a hanbok and was able to enter the palace for free! Usually, entrance costs 3,000 won [£2], but they have special discounts for those wearing traditional Korean clothing, to promote understanding of Korean culture. My favourite aspect of this palace was the open spaces, despite being busy the streets felt quiet and there was plenty of space to wander around.

[Image: Ruby Punt]

 

Wizz into the future at a VR centre.

Back in 2018 Seoul was home to approximately 190 VR game centres. However, in 2020 that number is believed to be exponentially higher. While, in the UK, a VR centre may contain a mere two or three games, Seoul’s often have multiple floors of VR sets, each exceeding over fifteen games. VR Station in Gangnam, for example, has four floors and a wide range of VR games, from Horror escape rooms to penalty shoot-outs. 

 

Get buzzed at a café.

Seoul has some of the quirkiest cafes I have ever explored: speakeasies, animal cafes, and even a poop café! The best area to find cute coffee shops would have to be Hongdae, a trendy neighbourhood aimed at university students. Just outside of Hongdae, there is an adorable shop called Zapangi, which is by far the best café I have ever been to. “Hidden” behind a bright pink fridge, the café is filled with delicious cakes served in little tins. I’m not joking when I say that I dream about this cake. 

[Image: Ruby Punt]

Shop till I drop.

If you decided to leave Seoul without shopping, I would have to disown you. Seoul has some of the best fashion districts around, such as Myeong-dong and Hongdae, which are home to both international brands and quaint boutiques. Seoul has more to offer except clothing, of course, they also have specific areas where you can buy cheap tech – we’re talking brand new Iphones and vintage cameras.

 

Go to great heights.

When visiting a new place, my first point of preference is the highest. I have to visit the highest places, to really grasp the area I am exploring and to gain a new perspective. As the sixth highest tower in the world, Lotte Tower is ideal for those who appreciate modern structures and overwhelming heights. 

However, for romantics like myself, you will probably prefer Namsan Tower. Placed in the middle of the city, Namsan Tower has the prettiest dusk views; you can see the neighbouring houses light up one-by-one. To make the most out of your day, you should also hike your way up to the tower, via Namsan mountain. On your way you can stop by the Hanok village too!  

[Image: Ruby Punt]

 

Seoul is filled with countless possibilities – possibly more than London, I dare say – so if you are ever in the neighbourhood check this article out again!


CUB’s Ruby Punt is a third year comparative literature student, currently embedded in Seoul, South Korea. She is exceedingly sporty: regularly rock climbing, hiking and practicing pole fitness (with a spot of skiing on the side). She enjoys reading fiction and, despite her athletic disposition, has an ‘unhealthy’ Netflix addiction. 


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