All things K-pop
Seoul is rapidly changing and constantly chasing the latest trends – the phrase “palli, palli” (faster, faster) reflects the pace at which it runs. SMTown Studio is the perfect place to experience Korean pop culture. From vocal training to song recording and music-video production, you can live out your K-Pop dreams here. Just remember you need to book your spot at least two weeks in advance.
Besides street snacks sold in areas like Myeongdong, Seoul has plenty of superb restaurants. I like Jungsik’s New Korean cuisine (below), which merges Korean and Western styles of cooking. Awarded one Michelin star last year, it offers a five-course lunch and nine-course dinner. For something traditional, try Halmaejip, which serves gamjatang (spicy pork-bone and potato soup).
Game to party
Recently, the term TGIF (thank God it’s Friday or bul-geum) has become popular. Clubs near Hongik University offer free entry on the last Friday of the month. I like Vera Hybrid Club and Club Cocoon (above). For quirky fun, head to Tae Hwa Bowling Center for music, beer and a game of glow-in-the-dark bowling.
If you want to purchase original, locally made art pieces, Hongdae Free Market is one of the country’s biggest art bazaars. Young artists sell and exchange their works here every Saturday. Cheonggye Plaza holds the seasonal Bamdokkaebi Night Market (below), where you’ll find food trucks, handicrafts and cultural performances.
SEE ALSO: Essential guide to Seoul, South Korea
At weekends, locals like to head to the 19km-long Bugak Skyway, which runs along the north-east ridge of Bugaksan Mountain. It leads to a pavilion from which you can enjoy panoramic views of the city. For both scenery and culture, head to Namsangol Hanok Village (below), where you can take part in a traditional tea ceremony, wear a hanbok (a traditional Korean outfit) and learn Korean etiquette in a hanok (a traditional Korean house). For something more contemporary, check out Ssamziegil, an arts and crafts speciality mall on Insadong Street where you can find a wide collection of Korean handicrafts and designer goods. There are also many art galleries, traditional teahouses and restaurants lining the street.
View other useful insider’s guides.
PHOTOS: SUPPLIED, CLUB COCOON, SMTOWN STUDIO, VISIT KOREA
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.