Seoul attractions

Reasons to Love Layovers at Incheon International Airport

Just the mention of the word delay, cancellation, or layover is enough to make even the most laid back passenger cringe.  Such occasions usually equate to extended hours spent in oft-hated, geographically-indistinguishable airports, facilities that rarely provide the amenities to entertain or comfort the weary traveler.  Fortunately for those connecting in or traveling to Seoul, Incheon International Airport is an exception.

For multiple years, Incheon Airport has been ranked the best airport in the world for its impeccable service, staff, and infrastructure developments, and while I agree that the airport deserves high marks in each of these categories- seriously, the efficiency and service is unmatched- I feel that what really makes it stand out from the others is that passengers are able to get the sense that they're really in Korea without ever leaving the airport.  Also, the sheer amount of facilities available make the airport an attraction in itself.  It's impossible to get bored at Incheon International and on my most recent visit, I decided to do some research to prove it.


Seoul's Modern Architectural Marvels

After the end of the Korean war, Seoul, like many Korean cities, was left in shambles.  Reasonably so, rebuilding efforts were focused more on practicality than aesthetics to reconstruct the city quickly and effectively.  These days, however, Seoul's skyline is an eclectic mishmash of modern architecture, from towering cement apartment complexes to eye-catching glass and steel marvels.  Impressive modern buildings can be found just about anywhere in Seoul, a UNESCO City of Design, but there are a certain few that I think visitors should keep an eye out for while exploring the city.  Check them out below.


Ewha Womans University Ewha Campus Complex:  From above, it's difficult to distinguish just what Ewha Womans University's ECC actually is.  This is because the ingenious complex designed by French architect Dominique Perrault is mostly underground; despite this, the entire interior of the building is spacious and full of light. Merging architecture with landscape, Perrault created a functional yet tranquil space to study.  Or to enjoy one of the many facilities the building has to offer: an indie cinema, a fitness center, cafes, and boutiques.  (Get There: Ewha Womans University Station, Exits 2 and 3)


Ewha Womans University's ECC Center.


Seoul Walking Tour App Review

Not long ago, I wouldn't dare travel without my handy dandy Lonely Planet guide, dependent upon its maps, hotel reviews, and attraction suggestions.  However, as the years passed and I checked off my dream destinations one by one, I realized that not only did these guides fail to give me insightful information, but they were a pain in the butt to carry around and were far too pricey.  I once backpacked through India for two months toting around a forty dollar 1,200 page book that gave me nothing but less-than-advantageous information and a sore shoulder.  In fact, the guide's suggestions and often erroneous directions were far less helpful than the tips of fellow travelers I met along the way.

Flies That Tweet and Computer Operated Artists

I won't try to pretend that I'm an art enthusiast.  I'm not.  Sure, I enjoy going to museums and looking at paintings and sculptures and photographs, but I've always been the type of person that is entertained by these types of art rather than moved or inspired by them.  I wish I could say that a splatter of paint is enough to make me contemplate the complexities of life, but it isn't.  Which is why I was incredibly surprised to find myself deep in thought at the Spell On You exhibit at the Seoul Museum of Art this past weekend.


Hanboks and High Class Tea

Having kicked off earlier this month, the 7th annual Korea in Motion Festival is once again showcasing the very best nonverbal performances the country has to offer. The lineup this year is fantastic, with shows including genres of dance, traditional culture, music, comedy, and action. For the month of September, theater enthusiasts can see Seoul's top performances for up to 50% off the normal ticket price. Schedules and prices can be found at the KOINMO website and tickets can be purchased at the Korea Tourism Organization building located on the Cheongyechon in downtown Seoul.

As part of the promotion, I was one of the KTO's K-performance supporters invited to attend MiSuDa, one of the showcased performances of the festival. As it turned out, it was more of a cultural experience than a performance, but I was excited to be there regardless.

Coffee With Character, Part 3

As promised, I've continued the search for Seoul's best themed cafes. I am happy to report that my most recent finds include a diverse mix of polar bears, bananas, puppies, and cupcakes that will make you scream... with delight. So, without further ado, I give you Coffee with Character, Part Three.

Banana Tree (Sinsa-dong, see map. Closed Sundays.)

Tucked away on an obscure street in upscale Sinsa-dong is Banana Tree, a charming cafe inspired by, well, bananas. Instead of 'going bananas' with the theme, Banana Tree uses hues of yellow and banana decor- a door prop here, an ornament there- in a subtle fashion to incorporate the concept.

In the Hood: Ehwa Women's University

There's nothing I love more than spending a lazy Sunday afternoon exploring the neighborhoods of Seoul. It seems that no matter how many times I visit an area, I'm always finding something new, whether it be a park, a boutique, or a street food vendor. So, in hopes of sharing my discoveries with other curious Seoulites and to encourage similar exploration of Seoul's districts, I've decided to start blogging about my finds by neighborhood. First up: Edae ("E" for Ehwa, "dae" is the shortened form of the Korean word for university).

Be a Part of Art: Hongdae's Trick Eye Museum

Seoul is a city for art lovers. From sculpture gardens to galleries, the city is full of cultural spaces dedicated to all things artsy. Hongdae is a neighborhood particularly known for its art scene, with many of its residents being design students at Hongik University. All the others no doubt appreciate the vibrant murals, street performers, and interesting exhibits that are ever-present within the demarcation of the area.

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