Little luxuries every Seoulite deserves
Often, small luxuries can make your life more tolerable. But Seoul, one of the most expensive cities in the world, it feels ways too easy to drain your wallet without doing a whole lot. There are ways, though, to fill your day or night with what would be considered little luxuries of the everyday with just 10,000 won, 20,000 won and for free, even. Check out this list of things you can do and buy to treat yourself without shelling out the big wons.
Toothsome Busan: 7 restaurants that should be in your next culinary itinerary
Showcasing an impressive level of diversity and range of skills that the city hadn't seen before, the new wave of Korean, French and Italian restaurants has been taking Busan's food and beverage scene to a whole new level. Many of them incorporate locally-sourced seafood and fresh seasonal vegetables sourced directly from independent, environmentally-friendly farms, to create their authentic culinary concepts. Check out this list of restaurants for your next trip to Busan—they're re surely having both the locals and tourists come back for more.
4 must-try craft beer pubs in Seoul and vicinity, as recommended by experts
Seoul’s craft beer scene is quickly burgeoning with many taprooms around the city catching on the global trend—and more importantly, with those who are working hard to bring in skills and expertise. 4 beer experts, who are pub owners, veteran managers, beer magazine publishers and/or certified beer judges themselves, each recommended a spot based on the personality and creativity of the beers and overall concept. Check out these spots to discover the most exciting craft beer offerings around the city right now.
Kong-guksu for all seasons
Some get busy in the summer so they never miss a chance to get this simple meal; others just don’t get why it is even considered ‘food’. Whether it’s an acquired taste or not, the appeal of kong-guksu (cold soybean noodle soup) is in its natural, nutty and oh-so-comforting flavors. Some may consider the combination of just beans, water and salt that go into the soup is way too simple to allow any distinct character. But there are, in fact, many different factors to be found in one bowl to create variations: the type of noodles and garnish, along with how thick or thin the soup is and how savory (or even sweet) it is. We don’t know how you feel about the dish, and we know we can't make you change your mind anyway; it’s for those with delicate taste buds who’ve already got hooked by the simple, milky soup, we’ve prepared a list of great Kong-guksu restaurants in Seoul.
Headed to Busan? Don’t miss visiting these 6 bars and brewpubs
For those of us living in Seoul, Busan is one of the little seaside getaways that we plan not to miss visiting during warmer and cooler seasons. In addition to all of the outdoor leisure activities and enticing sceneries of cascades and coastal sunrises offered in the port city, what will make your trip even cooler are the bars and brewpubs scattered around the town that make Busan a truly happening place. From the vanguard leading the whisky bar revolution, the secret hiding place of bartenders, to the breweries representing the city worldwide, these are some of the bars you need to have a taste of in Haeundae, Dalmaji Hill, Sujeong-dong and the Kyung-dae area.
Best to do this season
Your 24-hour itinerary in Seoul
Everyone has a different goal when traveling. Are you looking to discover the quirks and hidden spots of Seoul, party like crazy or travel on the cheap without cutting the fun? Do you need to cover all the main attractions, events and activities as a newcomer or a friend who's visiting for the first time? Or, are you seeking to be inspired by art and culture or simply focused on finding good food that the city can offer? Here are 6 itineraries for 24 hours in Seoul featuring a little bit of everything, from history and culture to nature, food, alcohol, relaxation and party. No need for planning stress or the fear of missing out—just enjoy the ride that fits your style and budget.
We tried 5 Hawaiian-themed restaurants in Seoul
Hawaiian shirts and poké bowls—we're certainly seeing a lot more of them in Seoul this summer. From fast-casual dining to hipster-esque superfood joints, most of the Hawaiian offerings found in Seoul so far are either Americanized (or “California-inspired,” as many of the emerging food trends are described) or Koreanized versions of the cuisine. Here are 5 Hawaiian-themed restaurants we've tried in Seoul (so our beloved readers know what they're getting into).
Hanok during the day
Their pitch black roof tiles, golden-orange hues of the pine wood and rusty white walls meet modern elements to create tranquil sanctuaries that the city full of skyscrapers is so in need of. Some of them even have got a gorgeous garden, so perfect for day-drinking or some quality tea time.
Hanok by night
Let us tell you, they're not gimmicks. These hanok bars can be the perfect spot for a night out complete with some of the city's best cocktails, beer line-ups or traditional liquor selections. The dreamy, nostalgic alleyways leading to these scintillating architectural wonders will set the mood for a romantic date, as well. Don't be surpised to find that one of the hippest bars in town is meant to be your favorite bar of all times.
Best restaurants around 5 Seoul museums for a beautiful day out
Around many of Seoul's prominent museums, a cluster of restaurants, cafés and bars is adding unique vibes to each of the neighborhoods, while the surrounding areas also offer something different from all the hustle and bustle of the city. Take a stroll through some elegant or thought-provoking artworks, and grab a drink or a bite to eat at a nearby place — we can say with confidence that it'll be a simply beautiful day.
Chart your Seoul summer to-do list to kick off the season.
Seoul summer's brutally humid, which makes staying in an air-conditioned room sound more tempting than anything. But there are better things to cool yourself off than sitting and sleeping through the summer: getting soaked at an intense water gun fight with 2,000 people, rocking out at a music festival and getting cooled down with pints of beer, enjoying an artsy film with a glass of Merlot in your hand at an outdoor cinema, cruising on a yacht and picnicking 'on' the river, chilling on the rooftop or a swanky hotel lounge for a an unlimited booze deal.
Happy hour, 7 days a week: Unlimited wine and beer deals offered at select Seoul hotels
More than a dozen types of wine and beer paired with fancy bar snacks? These unlimited booze deals offered at select Seoul hotels are some of the best ways for some good ol' drunken merrymaking in Seoul. Happy hour, 7 days a week—that's plenty of hours to be happy.
Best of Seoul
Six international cuisine picks in Seoul
Food means something more than just subsistence or even taste. Licking your fingers after a taco might mean memories of drunken nights with friends back home and pad thai spices can recall summer adventures in Bangkok. If you are what you eat, then access to different world cuisines means more than craving tastes with your body, it’s an acknowledgment that we’re globalized people in a globalized world, whether you’re Korean or not. Yes, Korean food is in Seoul is amazing and we love it without forgetting the rest of who we are too.
The best cheap eats in Seoul
Here at Time Out Seoul, we love to eat well (obviously) and we love to eat out. But as much as we appreciate wining and dining, we’re beyond grateful for the vast array of cheap eats available in Seoul. From kimbaps that keep us satiated and satisfied when it’s been too long since our last paycheck to some of the best bánh mi and Moroccan in the country, these cheap eats keep us eating (while allowing us to pay our rent at the same time).
Time Out Seoul editor's guide to hotels
Can’t choose what hotel to stay at? Having travelled and written on various hotels around the globe, editor of Time Out Seoul Lee Dong-mi gives expert advice to those in need. Experience what it feels like to sleep at a boutique hotel or a six-star luxurious hotel.
Gye-dong: The road not not taken
Nestled between the Bukchon Hanok Village and Changdeokgung Palace, it may be easy to write off the long stretch that is Gye-dong as a disposable tourist attraction— beautiful and worth seeing, but not worth revisiting. Indeed, the street is jam-packed with tourists with maps in hand, peering curiously at the restaurants with no menus outside and having their photo taken outside Choong Ang High School (a historical institution founded in 1908 during Japanese colonial rule and made famous by the drama Winter Sonata). Filled with residential hanoks and guesthouses at the end of each alley and small shops from the ‘70s, the neighborhood’s experienced a resurgence in interest by the local community recently. Examples of this are Joongang Bath, Korea’s oldest public bathhouse founded in 1969, which was taken over as a Gentle Monster showroom last year, and the fact that the twenty-somethings dressed in hanboks are mostly local Koreans and not tourists. Soundtracks from the cinemas waft onto the streets from bustling cafes themed around arthouse movies, and there’s an ironic sense of nostalgia as giggling schoolgirls dressed in hanboks take selfies with their smartphones in Gye-dong’s alleys. Be it through books, dress, cinema or history, there are plenty of small ways to escape from the everyday here in Gye-dong. It just might be the one tourist hub worth returning to.
Gray, colorful Mullae
In the rough and raw neighborhood of Mullae-dong, complete with small-sized ironworks crowded together in tightly-woven alleys, the sounds from the steel machineries in the crumbling sight of an apparent urban decay have accommodated local artists of diverse fields for the past decade. What was happening before that? The former name for Mullae-dong is Sacheon-ri (roughly translates to ‘Sand Village’), which refers to the mudflats that existed in abundance in the area during the Chosun era. This ancient title is even included in a map created in 1872, but following the Japanese colonization of Korea, it changed to Saokjeong (‘Weaving Village’). Due to the proximity to the waterbody (Han River) as well as a rail station (Namgyeongseong Station built in 1936, now Yeongdeungpo Station), a significant number of Japanese textile companies moved into the area, which is the reason why many of the old structures contain Japanese architectural elements. Those who were working in textile manufacturing were residing in temporary living quarters which still remain, as gritty buildings in Mullae Arts Village. It was after the independence that the area got the name we know it as now. In 1960, the textile industry transformed into modern steel plants as President Park Chung-hee pushed for national self-sufficiency in iron industry. In the 1980’s, however, Mullae saw a huge decline in activity as cheaper raw materials and manufactured goods started flooding in from China. The number
A journey to the '70s Seoul on Jungnimmalli-gil
The deteriorated elevated-road near Seoul Station, which has been keeping its presence in the center of the city for 45 years, will be soon eliminated. What we’ll see instead is a 10.3-meter wide and 1.24-km long elevated-park, decorated with trees and shrubs. There will be book cafés, libraries, as well as 5 walking-courses: Jungnimmalli-dong Course, Sogong-dong Course, Myeongdong Coursem Namsan Course and Human-dong Course. Among them, Jungnimmalli-gil is an old 2.5km path connecting Jungnim-dong and Malli-dong. From an over-100-year-old cathedral to Korea’s first residential complex and a 45-year-old seolleongtang (ox bone soup) joint, this old neighborhood which seems to finally awaking from a long sleep has unique and one-of-a-kind offerings.
TIMEWORN, OIL-STAINED FACTORIES; Seun Arcade, where vendors sell videocassette porn from the shadows; and old run-down stores... On Euljiro, once a symbol of Korea’s modernization, time now seems frozen in the ‘70s and ‘80s. During its golden age, this central Seoul thoroughfare was such a hive of industry and commerce that you could even, so the joke went, have a tank built there. But since Seoul’s economic heart shifted south to Gangnam, Euljiro has become almost foreign to younger Koreans, even those born and raised in Seoul. Now, however, the tired giant is stirring once more. The capital's nomadic artists, always on the lookout for cheap studio space, have begun moving into Euljiro's aging buildings, accompanied by the usual hipsters and their quirky cafés, bars and record shops. Meanwhile, old restaurants that have been feeding the area's working classes for years have shown up on the media’s radar, bringing in fresh stampedes of hungry visitors. Head here to experience the coexistence of 2016 and the 1970s.
Ikseon-dong: new ideas into old buildings
Even those who haven’t been to NYC have heard of the famous Greenwich Village—Bohemian capital of the world. Far fewer recognize that this district would not even exist today had it not been for the activism of sociologist Jane Jacobs who argued: “Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings.” This concept struck a bell as we walked in and out of the recent venues set up in the old hanok-heaven neighborhood of Ikseon-dong. Built during the Joseon Dynasty, this area has the largest concentration of hanoks outside Bukchon Village. It is a place where salt-and-pepper haired grandpas in their pajamas peer curiously at you from their slightly open wooden doors smudged with fingerprints dating back more than 40 years. Grandmas and their daughters, now old women too, tend to small flowerspeckled jungles climbing the front walls of their low-roofed, brick wall buildings. Looking up, the newer, taller edifices that now shroud Ikseon-dong hover above. More so than any other hot spot, venue owners were passionate about the location’s history. “You have to tell the story of the land,” they pleaded. Some of them have taken great pains (financial and physical) to adapt the hanoks to the modernity of Seoul—even to the complaints of longtime residents. Not all land-owners in this town hold a deep affection for their spaces as many of them bought the land with the intention to sell it for a higher property value in the future, not realizing that a highly controv