Seoul neighborhood

Hanging Out in Hyehwa

Once the center of Seoul's art and music scene, Hyehwa is a neighborhood bursting with creativity and youthful energy. The area is situated in the northeastern part of the capital and is also known as Daehangno, a nickname derived from dehag, or "university," because of its close proximity to a number of learning institutes.

Over the past decade, Hongdae has garnered the reputation of being Seoul's SoHo, lessening Hyehwa to a mere a notch in the history of the city's culture boom. Today, it remains off the radar to most tourists and is even overlooked by locals. Nevertheless, it remains to thrive as Seoul's theater district- with over 80 independent theaters showing performances on a daily basis- and is brimming with diverse, inexpensive eateries, eye-catching cafes and greenspaces to boot. The neighborhood, while seemingly typical on the surface, is one of surprises. It just takes a bit of digging to discover them.

Sampling Seoul: A Night Dining Tour with O'ngo Food Communications

Korean cuisine, much like the country's people, is vibrant, flavorful, eclectic and packs a lot of punch. It's so diverse that it would take years to try each banchan (side dish), variety of kimchi (there's over 200!) and regional and seasonal specialty. Fortunately for gastronomes eager to sample Korea's tastiest cuisine in a limited amount of time, O'ngo Food Communications offers a number of food tours that take all the guesswork out of the search for the country's best restaurants.

A Girl's Guide to Gangnam, Day Two: Apgujeong and Cheongdam-dong

This is part two of a two-part, two-day itinerary focusing on the best shopping, eats and cafes in Seoul's Gangnam district.  To read part one, featuring Sinsa-dong, please click here.

After having a simple breakfast and a chat with the lovely manager at your girls-only guesthouse, hop a bus or hail a taxi to Apgujeong, a short 5-10 minute ride from Garosugil.

Exploring the Hidden Market Streets of Euljiro

Before the days of discount supermarkets and department stores, markets were the primary locales for shopping, trading, and gossiping in Korea’s major cities.  Sadly, due to rapid modernization and an increase in more convenient shopping facilities over the past few decades, traditional markets have continuously lost patronage and are quickly diminishing in size and number.  While efforts are being made to preserve them, citizens predict that they will cease to exist in the next twenty years.

Although Seoul is abundant with must-see destinations and attractions, few of them provide an authentic glimpse into Korean culture as well as the city’s traditional markets.   Recently, I went on a self-guided walking tour through the maze of markets in Euljiro, central Seoul, for an insightful look into the daily lives of the Korean working class.

Afternoons in Buamdong

Nestled between Inwang and Bugak mountains, Buamdong (부암동) is a peaceful neighborhood located in the center of Seoul, shielded by nature from the neon and concrete that drench the remainder of the metropolis.  Boasting only a single bus stop, Buamdong is not the most convenient place to visit.  It's this very remoteness, however, that has allowed the area to preserve its unique charm, seemingly unchanged by time.

Last year, I spent many a lazy Sunday afternoon in Buamdong, just a short bus ride from my apartment in adjacent Pyeongchangdong.  Though it is not as big as other areas in Seoul, I never tired of wandering the artsy community and exploring its miniature cafes and quirky galleries.  It's subdued sophistication, gorgeous homes, and amazing city views provided the perfect atmosphere for readying myself for the week and relaxing in solitude.


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