BARE Travel Logs :: Seoul, Korea

This is the fourth and final installment of BARE blog's Travel Log series, a four-part collection highlighting the globe-trekking explorations by BARE bloggers. Leaving picked-over tourist attractions for the masses, our bloggers will share the in's and out's of Paris, Barcelona, Sydney, and Seoul. Shelly Park will finish up the series with her account of Seoul, Korea.

The newly-acclaimed world design capital of 2010 is living up to its name. Seoul, Korea has embarked on a new journey to enrapture the world with its design-led development, redefining Korea’s social, cultural and economic exposure in the international sphere. Though their innovative technology is still heading the market, an ambitious Korea is posed to take on more.

Fire pits where you can roast sweet potatoes at a Misari café. Image courtesy of Google Images.

Don't forget to try a seafood pancake, like the one pictured here. Image courtesy of Google Images.

Misari – “Bonjour”: With an ever-increasing obsession with western culture and modernization, efforts to revive traditional Korean culture and customs have proven a great task. Take a scenic drive down the highway away from the city and you’ll find yourself gliding alongside the Han River with the crisp air lifting your spirits. Take a short detour up a narrow mountainside and soon you’ll find yourself in one of the many hidden cafés, a trademark of Misari. In a traditional Korean house (hanok) turned café, you'll find couples roasting sweet potatoes at fire pits found along the walkway and swaying to the music seeping out from within the hanok. Walk past the lovebirds and watch your head as you step inside pre-modern Korea. Inside, you'll witness strangers sitting elbow-to-elbow, waiting to order the house special: the seafood pancake. To top it off, order a bottle of soju or one of their highly-recommended cocktails that are sure to hit the spot.

Here's a ground level view of the massive Noryangjin Fish Market. Image courtesy of Google Images.

Noryangjin Fish Market (Soosanshijang): A seafood lover’s paradise is not too far from the central Seoul of South Korea. A few subway stops away from Hongdae’s bustling college neighborhood, the ubiquitous transportation system makes a stop at Noryangjin Station, which is your cue. The difficulty of finding this hidden treasure is well worth the effort. When in doubt, ask a native and maybe they’ll be generous enough to give you some bargaining tips. The factory-sized Noryangjin fish market houses nearly 800 vendors, who all testify to carrying the freshest catch of the day. Most of the time, they whack the fish on the spot. Plus, you can have them serve it up however you like: raw, fried, stewed or steamed, not to mention all the side dishes that come along with it. Talk about fresh food and great service!

Mobssie café is just one of the places you'll find in the Hongdae neighborhood. Insider's tip: they're known for their yummy chocolate cake! Image courtesy of Google Images.

Hongdae, Café: An ideal territory for aspiring artists, Hongdae is home to one of the country’s leading Fine Arts and Design schools. Known for its bustling nightlife, students as well as foreigners flock to this epicenter of entertainment. Often acknowledged for its large indie music scene, the surrounding neighborhood is inspired by eccentricity and individuality, untainted by mainstream media. Wander off the beaten path and into the nooks and crannies of Hongdae’s inner city. Escape the main street traffic and wander through the serene pathway and take your pick of eclectic boutiques, cafés, eateries, and vintage art.

What are your favorite places to visit in Seoul? Tell us in the comments.

Shelly Park
BARE Reporter

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