This is a list of places in Korea that are popular destinations for tourists HOWEVER after living here for 2 years I can confidently write this list of 5 things you should not be wasting your time on if you are only here for a week or two.
If you are coming here for the long term this list really doesn’t apply to you. You should try everything. haha
Itaewon has to be the biggest time waster I have seen for tourist. Unless your hostel is located here or you’re meeting a friend who lives in Korea for lunch you really have no business here. There is nothing Korean about Itaewon and it is basically a haven for foreign expats who live here. The night life? Pretty similar. If you are here for the long term Itaewon is a great place to get comfort food, or any foreign foods like Indian, Greek, American, etc. If you’ve got time to kill or are here for a while, Itaewon will be your home away from home. Here for a week? Suck it up, you’ll be home soon.
2. Gangnam STYLE! -No. No. Fucking stop.
With PSY’s chart topper, Gangnam Style, Gangnam has become one of the must stop locations on a traveler’s bucket list. However, you may end up walking away with only a picture of the Gangnam Station sign. Why?
There is nothing touristy about this area.
Exit 11 consists of restaurants (a ridiculous amount of Japanese ones) and stores you can find back home (Nike, Adidas, Baskin Robins, etc)
Exit 12 consists of Gangnam’s night life.
-OMG but Traveling Kimchi! I want to experience Seoul’s Night life Gangnam Style!
First off-stop saying Gangnam Style!
Second, that’s great but, as much as I hate to say it, a decent amount of the clubs don’t like foreign customers.
Places such as Noise Basement and Ho bar, which are often mentioned in many travel blogs, charge foreigners $20 cover during free cover hours (NB) or ignore you completely (HB).
Not saying the whole area is like this, because it’s not, but if you don’t know where you are going you will probably end up creating an unpleasant memory that night (and not the good-unpleasant memory ^.- jk).
Also, the places that are worth going to aren’t different or special from those back home.
I’ve lived in Gangnam for 2 years and can count the number of late nights I’ve had at exit 12 on one hand.
But if you have a Korean friend or are here for the long term, once again, I say give it a go. You’ll end up finding the places that are really good to their customers.
*But if you really have to go-take Line 2, the green line to Gangnam Station.
Take exit 11 and as you exit make an immediate U-turn.
Behind exit 11 is a Gangnam Style photo zone (pictured below). Enjoy.
3. Palace, Palace, Palace.
Calm yourself. You really don’t have to see every single palace. They will all start looking like each other eventually. You might not want to say it for risk of sounding culturally ignorant but everyone’s acknowledged it-even the Koreans.
If you want to see what palaces are worth visiting look out for my next post about Top Must-Do Activities in Korea!
So, I’ve seen Octagon mentioned time after time in different countdowns and blogs-even one written for CNN featuring it as one of the hottest places in Seoul. Mmm…not so much.
Octagon’s prime time has come and gone and while it’s still kinda of a cool place to party don’t go expecting “Korea’s hottest spot.” It’s really good and has a good sound system but the hot place for clubs like this changes about every 1 1/2 years. Not to mention since it’s on almost every single list it’s become overrun with foreigners.
Not to sound anti-foreign but we tend to hop on the “hot train” late here.
So chat up some Koreans and ask them for their recommendation-they tend to be more up to date on the club trends.
5. Amusement Parks
Amusement parks are fun, no one can deny that and while Lotte World, Everland and the like are appealing in all their cute, animal ears glory-when it comes to rides and actual thrill you may feel that they fall a bit short. Coming from a state that’s really excited about 6 Flags, the Korean amusement parks were more of a relaxing stroll in the park then adrenaline pumping rides.
Given, if you have kids or are a reminiscent adult missing the simpler kiddie rides this might be just what you’re looking for. Again, however, if you’re here for a long time it is something you should try. The parks often have foreigner discounts and specials that let you in for $10! So all in all, go for the pleasant stroll in the park not for the thrill screaming rides.
Any way you choose, Korea is a good time to be had by all.
Don’t think too deeply about any decision and just have fun with whatever you end up doing!
Are there any items on this list you agree or disagree with?
Any you would add to the list?