The end of April and the beginning of May gave us the beautiful gift of two long weekends, separated by a one day work week during which I had no classes. We decided to do a Seoul double bill and add some items to the list of reasons we wish we lived there.
I know there are plenty of lists of cool, unique and exciting things to do in Seoul floating around, but every time I look through them, I find something new. If there’s just one thing on this list you haven’t already heard of from another blog, I’ll be happy.
Here’s a bunch of stuff we like doing in Seoul!
The Lotus Lantern Festival
(28/4-30/4 2017) check their website for future dates at http://www.llf.or.kr/eng/
This was the most impressive festival I have been to in Korea. The main parade was packed and it took us a while to find a spot where we could watch the floats go by. We watched for a while then walked to Jogyesa temple, where the parade was headed. As we got closer to the temple, the crowds thinned out, and the floats were placed at the sides of the street so we could get a closer look at them. The lantern covered temple was stunning.
While you’re there…
This is a cool little mall with crafty shops and a poop themed café. It’s pretty small so it’s not worth going out of your way to get to, but if you’re in Insadong for the lantern festival or any other reason, it’s a nice place to swing buy!
teamLab create digital, interactive art. It is attached to Lotte world, but you can also enter separately. Even the parts which are geared towards children are awesome. They let people in gradually so there is enough space to walk around and take pictures. The LED light tunnel thing is not as big as it looks in the pictures. It is probably the most photogenic part of teamLab world, so it’s heavily featured on the website, but there’s a bunch more stuff to see too.
Check out their site for prices etc:
While you’re there…
Lotte world is pretty cool. It’s mainly indoors, so if it’s a really bad pollution day you can get off the subway; shop in a gigantic mall; go to Lotte world and check out teamLab all without stepping outside. The castle and the characters are all knock off Disney. Here’s a blurry photo of a character I have named “joofy” and another of the “definitely-totally-not-a-cinderalla-castle”. We went during Chuseok when they have a discount for foreigners and the Halloween stuff is up. Prepare for a lot of queuing if you do choose to go.
Seorae village and Montmartre park
We had such a chilled out and great day here. Seorae village has a lot of French influence and citizens because it’s where the Ecole Francaise de Seoul was. There are nice cafes and shops, but we were mainly interested in grabbing cheese and chorizo from the Homeplus (Tesco) Metro (which somehow smelled like a European supermarket and I can’t put my finger on why), bread from the big Paris Croissant and heading to Montmartre park for a picnic with the bunnies.
These bunnies are not like wild bunnies. They will come right up to you and let you feed them. I didn’t want to pet them in case it made them nervous (also germs I guess) but we saw a kid petting one and it didn’t even flinch, just kept on munching leafies completely unfazed.
Common Ground / The Beer Week
We visited Common Ground for their craft beer festival from the 3rd to the 5th of May. During the rest of the year, it’s still a cool shopping centre made from blue shipping containers with restaurants and outdoor seating.
You can check out what events are on here:
Festivals and events at Coex mall.
While heading to another craft beer festival in Seoul, just outside Coex mall, we walked through two food festivals right next to it. During summer they have a bunch of food and drink festivals outside, and they have indoor expos. Check out their event calendar here: https://www.coexcenter.com/event-calendar/#
Over the long weekends, as well as teamLab, we checked out two other galleries. One is in Itaewon and is called “Storage”. It’s small, but has a very cool exhibit on at the moment, where you climb through white sheets suspended off the ground. If you miss it, check out what they have on now. It’s attached to a music shop with a café which has music players built into the table, so you can listen to some new tunes with your coffee.
The other one is a little better known, The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. We actually ended up here because a dust storm had meant we needed to quickly find an indoor activity. It’s pretty big and has some really cool stuff. Definitely a good way to spend some time on a dusty or rainy day.
Bau House dog café
It’s in Hongdae. There are dogs.
address: 64 Yanghwa-ro, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
It’s open from 12.30 on weekends and 1.30 on weekdays.
We are very into escape rooms. Enough so that we lost count of how many escape rooms we’ve done. Seoul Escape Rooms has locations in Hongdae, Itaewon and Gangnam so you can usually find a way to fit one into your plan. This company’s escape rooms have been very reliable in quality. The rooms and props look realistic and the puzzles are well paced for two people. The puzzle design is very linear so larger groups might find they’re tripping over each other trying to solve the same puzzle at the same time, but we’ve only tried these ones as a pair so that’s purely speculation.
Mustoy is right across the road from the Hongdae 1 location of Seoul Escape Rooms so you can book some relaxing doll painting time right after some tense room escaping time. We only planned to paint one doll each, but ended up with five in total. We were there for hours. It was just that fun.
You can book online or just turn up!
Namsan Tower (at night)
The cable car up to Namsan Tower is very busy. We decided we probably wouldn’t go because I had read of people waiting for 2/3 hours in the queue. But, we happened to be in the area at about 9/10pm and realised the cable car runs until 11pm, so we figured it should be a little quieter. The queue was still a good 45 minutes or so, but the time passed pretty quickly. We bought a return, but ended up just walking down. If you go this late in the evening, the shops and restaurants will mainly be closed, but I think it’s worth it for the quietness and the night views.