As one of Asia’s top ten megacities, there is absolutely no shortage of restaurants, bars, and cultural landmarks to visit and shopping to be done in Seoul. Unfortunately, I can only stuff my face with so much fiery kimchi and have no more room in my closet for another Konglish t-shirt (sadly).
So, I set out to discover some of Seoul’s more uncommon attractions and activities.
Here are seven of the most unique things I have experienced in Seoul.
Create Art At TeamLab World
teamLab World is seriously cool.
I have never visited an attraction like this before in my life. The exhibition uses technology and science to produce interactive art displays, where YOU are in charge of creating the space that surrounds you.
The exhibition is for adults and children alike (or for adults who act like children, like me). Different rooms in the exhibition space, such as the Sketch Aquarium, allow you to create your own art, which is then projected through interactive displays, letting you and others play with your unique creations.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Jamsil station on lines 2 and 8, exit 4.
240 Olympic-ro, Jamsil 3(sam)-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul
Rage Out At The Seoul Rage Room
There is something unexpectedly therapeutic about taking a bat and completely destroying a vacuum cleaner. Maybe I have never experienced this type of emotional relief before in my life, because my mother would have been seriously pissed if I had taken a bat to her vacuum cleaner.
At the Seoul Rage Room, you can let out all of your frustrations (whether it be the ones that arise from living abroad, having to sleep in a 12-bed mixed dorm for endless weeks, or traveling for an extended period of time with your significant other) by breaking miscellaneous objects in your own private space. These objects include everything from plates and cups to boom boxes and TVs. Oh, and of course, rice cookers. I mean this is Asia after all (and there is no shortage of rice cookers).
But, before disassembling an assortment of ill-fated goods, I had to assemble myself in some of Korea’s highest fashion. How flattering is this outfit on me? Sadly, I couldn’t take it home with me.
After a solid twenty minutes, my friend and I had managed to destroy all the items in the room, except for the rice cooker. Whatever brand of rice cooker this was, it is extremely durable and I would highly recommend any rice lover to purchase it. It will last you a lifetime (guaranteed!). The staff seemed very proud of our efforts. Though, I can’t help but feel sorry for the person who had to clean it all up!
HOW TO GET THERE:
Hongik station on line 2, exit 9. It’s located on the third floor of the building across the street from the Hello Kitty Cafe.
15 Wausan-ro 19-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul (3rd Floor)
Sip Coffee At An Animal Cafe
Seoul is a coffee lover’s dream.
An infinite number of cafes make up the city that cater to the unique interests of any individual. From lego-building to poop-themed cafes, Seoul has it all. But, is there anything better than drinking a cup of joe while surrounded by a new group of furry friends? No, I can assure you there isn’t.
At the Bau House Dog Cafe, I caffeinated myself while in the presence of both human and tail-wagging companions, alike. Although, I’ll have to admit that the dogs were more entertaining than my friends (sorry!). I was very pleased when my friend left his seat to buy dog treats and an enormous greyhound (with an uncanny resemblance to a small horse) jumped up and took over his place on the couch.
MORE Awesome Animal Cafes
HOW TO GET TO BAU HOUSE DOG CAFE:
Hapjeong station on lines 2 and 6, exit 3.
64 Yanghwa-ro, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Play Dress Up in A Traditional Hanbok + Explore Ihwa Mural Village
Seoul’s neighbourhoods are overflowing with art. One of my favourite things to do is explore the various mural villages the city has to offer.
The Ihwa Mural Village, tucked in the hills of Mount Naksan, boasts an impressive display of murals produced by 70 different artists. Around each corner of the Santorini-reminiscent neighbourhood, with its steep stairways and narrow pathways, vividly coloured artwork can be spotted.
But, artwork is not the only thing I spotted while wandering the alleyways of the village. Groups of people dressed in traditional Korean costume (hanboks) were everywhere, snapping pictures with the murals as their backdrop. I couldn’t resist! I had to experience this for myself. So, I excitedly skipped over to Meokbang Studio for my turn to play dress up.
The 70-something year old lady working at Meokbang Studio is one of my favourite people I have met in Korea to this day. While waiting for our turn to get robed, she serenaded us with Korean music and served us instant ramen with homemade kimchi. She then handpicked outfits for my friends and me to wear. I was given a hot pink hanbok to complement my fiery personality… (I think). She proceeded to tell me to pray for a handsome man. So, I have come to question her motives.
She then took us on a tour around the mural village, instructing us where and how to pose for the perfect photos. These are the results of our photoshoot, directed by the mastermind creative director herself.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Hyehwa station on line 4, exit 2.
9-721 Ihwa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Experience the Latest Tech at Samsung D’Light
When I think of Korea, one of the first things that pops into my mind (after kimchi, K-Pop music, soju, and fried chicken) is Samsung.
Samsung’s exhibition Samsung d’light allows you to interact with its latest technologies, while keeping YOU, the user as the focal point. Upon entering the exhibit, you create your own character, which is then used through your entire tech-sensory journey.
One of my favourite activities while visiting the exhibit was the virtual reality rollercoaster. It was so incredibly realistic that I questioned my true surroundings for those very intense few minutes. And just like a true rollercoaster, I felt extremely nauseous for a minute thereafter, but eagerly hopped back into the seat and did it all over again.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Gangnam station on line 2, exit 8.
11 Seocho-daero 74-gil, Seocho 2(i)-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul
Get Scrubbed at the Dragon Hill Spa
A Korean spa (jjimjilbang) experience is one you will surely never forget. I for one know that I will never forget the first time I had a whole layer of skin scrubbed raw from my body, which you can read all about here.
But, despite the discomfort and suffering that comes while receiving a Korean body scrub, the results are absolutely worthwhile. I have become addicted to jjimjilbangs and make a point of visiting them frequently. How else will my skin feel smooth like a baby dolphin if I don’t?!
One of my favourite jjimjilbangs in Korea is the Dragon Hill Spa. This spa complex is massive, comprising eight floors of spa and recreational activities. The spa includes: sauna rooms, a gym, thermal baths, an outdoor pool, a rooftop and even an arcade. There is something here for everyone.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Sinyongsan station on line 4, exit 4.
40-712 Hangangno 3(sam)-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
EMBRACE K-POP AT THE SMTOWN COEX ARTIUM
If you asked me before moving to Korea if I liked K-Pop, I would have burst out into a bunch of giggles and given you a definitive “no” for an answer.
But, people can grow immensely in a short period of time. Now, nine months after leaving Canada, my friends back home question my recent song plays on Spotify, with titles like BOOMBAYAH and DADDY ft. CL of 2NE1. Yes, I have now become a K-Pop fan and am very proud to announce this to the world! How can I deny the beautiful artistry of a K-Pop video with seven handsome boys, perfectly choreographed?
I was very excited to discover SMTOWN Coex Artium, an experience space for K-Pop stars signed with the SM Town label. The space includes a studio, merchandise shop, cafe, and theatre for hologram concert experiences.
And, if you plan accordingly and have a little luck on your side, you may be able to cross paths with a K-Pop star! My friend and I anxiously waited behind a group of eager teenagers, who created an aggressive blockade behind the back entrance of the building. When a man emerged from a car, clothed in a lab coat, with spiky hair, and wearing an excess of makeup, the crowd went wild. I still have no idea who he was, but can now say that I’ve crossed
meet a K-Pop star off my bucket list.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Samseong station on line 2, exit 5 or 6. Walk through the path of Millennium Square and go up the escalator. SMTOWN will be directly on your right.
513 Yeongdong-daero, Samseong 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
What are some of the most unique things you’ve done in Seoul?
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