Seoul: Asia’s Best Kept Secret


…or just one of them, at least. When you think of Seoul, South Korea, it’s probably not on everyone’s travel bucket list. People immediately think of Korea being North Korea, which is actually quite different from South Korea. For starters, they’re not a united land. Northern K is oppressive, while Southern K is more westernized and well-off.

One of the things I loved about Seoul is that it’s filled with a lot of young couples always being affectionate with each other in public. Hand-holding and embracing were everywhere you went. Not in the gross and annoying overly PDA kind of way, but the kind of way where you felt the love everywhere you went. I’m sure that’s nowhere to be found on the streets of Pyongyang.

I haven’t been to Tokyo yet, but Seoul is often compared to Tokyo, except a secretly better version as it’s more photo-friendly (apparently in Tokyo, a lot of shops with elaborate street/window displays prohibit photography), easier to get around, and a large number of residents in Seoul know quite a bit of English. It’s also VERY pro-arts, and totally lights up at night and looks vastly different in the day time than it does at night. I have friends from Orange County that now reside in Seoul so I couldn’t wait to come visit them and have them show me around this amazing and fascinating city.

It was sort of a last minute trip I did on a whim. I kept receiving notifications on my phone that flights to Seoul were cheap, then one afternoon while I was on a treadmill at the gym, the channel on the little TV was stuck on a Korean channel, and me not knowing how to change it, just sort of watched it while I ran for an hour, laughing at all the really weirdly sexual noodle commercials and food commercials that were making me really hungry so I then decided FUCK IT, I’M GOING TO SEOUL. I had about a week off so it was perfect. I asked my friend if that was a good time to visit and it worked out just fine for them too so it was a done deal. Two days later, I hopped on a plane to hang in Beijing for a day, then Seoul the next.

 

 SSamziegil Mall in Insadong
 또옹카페 – The Poop Cafe
What’s a trip to Seoul without visiting their cute themed cafes, particularly the poop-themed cafe? Obviously, that’s a must. No, their coffee and food isn’t made out of poo, but they make this surprisingly normal-ish cafe look really cute. It’s definitely inspired by the smart phone emoji’s.

Gwanghwamun Gate
Statue of King Sejong in Gwanghwamun Square in front of Gyeongbok Palace, at twilight

Every corner and pocket of this city is so dreamy. It felt so futuristic and had a very interesting vibe.

 Noodles for days…

The piano steps at the Express Bus Terminal Station – 10 Korean Won is donated anytime a citizen uses the entire set of stairs by the Gov’t as a part of the “Giving Healthy Stairs” campaign.

 A bookworm’s dream: Starfield Library in Starfield COEX Mall
Bonguensa Temple
Seoul at Sunset

 

Dongdeamun Design Plaza

 

Hongdae nightlife…

 

What would a trip abroad be without shooting a show!? HA! Korean punks really know how to play their instruments, that’s for damn sure.

 

This band is called A’Z Bus, the singer sounds a lot like Joan Jett. They were pretty good.

 

Leeum Samsung Museum of Art

 

If you don’t visit the Noryangjin Fish Market, did you even go to Seoul at all? This place was so bizarre and surreal, and even a little crazy. I considered the live octopus experience, but ultimately didn’t do it. Once you get there, you start to feel really empathetic towards the sea creatures in the tanks, facing certain death sooner than later.
 The N. Seoul Tower – its color changes according to the air quality. It’s usually rad or orange, but after a hard rain, it’s green…
Seoul is such an insanely beautiful place. It’s so fun, old yet new, refreshing yet nostalgic. It has everything. I can see why my friends live there now. Asia has a lot of practical courtesies and habits that America doesn’t really use. Like when you’re using a public escalator, people walking slowly or not at all up the stairs move to the right to allow people on the left walking faster to pass by. I’ve always wished that was common here, but it totally isn’t. It feels natural. Then again, people in CA can’t even drive so there’s that. On the other hand, cutting in line in Asia is totally normal. It’s expected to be aggressive when standing in line to get on public transport otherwise people will step right in front of you. It’s interesting how that’s something that could potentially get someone’s ass kicked here, but completely normal in Asia.
This trip was incredibly special to me, especially now with the travel ban effective this September. It hits close to home, even though South and North Korea are politically and economically different. I have friends in South Korea, and should any type of war occur, they’re so close to North Korea, I fear how much that would affect them too.
Check out their anniversary photo session we did all across Seoul here.
Reply...

SEND

.................................................................

.................................................................

.................................................................

.................................................................

.................................................................

CONTACT

CONTACT

the blog

INSTAGRAM | @KelliBeePhotography