Seoul, South Korea

I visited Seoul over the Christmas holiday with Jenn, Kristen, and Steph. We were in the city for about 9 days. The weather hovered around 0C so it was cold. I had to wear long johns underneath my jeans so I don’t know how Korean females were able to wear skirts with leggings. Or are they called tights? I was explained the difference on the trip but I forgot.

We stayed at an Airbnb in Itaewon. No qualms about the apartment. Housing wasn’t a high priority and the apartment was adequate. It had all the necessities and was conveniently located near a subway station. Then again, everything was near a subway station in Seoul. The subway system is very convenient. Most of all destinations were in the immediate vicinity of a stop or a short walk away.

We visited pretty much all the tourist spots, which were mostly historical and cultural sites. I liked that the entrance fees were very cheap, $1~$5. I would visit museums more frequently if I didn’t have to pay $20~$30. Most of the palaces and temples were similarly; they were built by different kings for different reasons and uses. Of all the historical sites, I particularly enjoyed the Jongmyo Shrine, a Confucian shrine dedicated to all the kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty. It’s neat that they still perform ceremonies at the shrine. I also liked the DMZ tour. We explored the 3rd infiltration tunnel and caught a glimpse of North Korea. The history is fascinating and is relatively recent that affects modern international policy. I think it would have been worthwhile to spend more time/take the longer tour.

The food was a slight disappointment. Aside from samgyetang (ginseng chicken) which is a personal favorite of mine, nothing else stood out. Prices weren’t cheaper. On the contrary, Korean bbq was much more expensive. Quality wasn’t any better than what we can get from the states. I got food poisoning towards the end of the trip and was bed ridden for a day. Others also felt sick but nowhere near the severity that I experienced. I’m not sure if I ate something bad or just an unfamiliar diet of spicy food.

Jenn had friends in Seoul and it was nice hanging out with them. It’s a plus to have locals show you around (even if it is also the locals’ first time visiting the place). Jenn and I barhopped around Itaewon with Jaemin. Her friend Mikael showed up at the last stop after a convincing picture of yours truly. Long story short, he was reluctant to arrive wearing a hat but I was also wearing a hat. Soju and Sprite is good and you can have plenty before doing anything regrettable.

It was a good trip but I have no urge to go back.

Photo recap once I edit my pictures.

 

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