One-day layover in Seoul
January 15, 2019 2:39 AM   Subscribe

I have a day-long layover in Seoul - best eats and where to go?

I'll be landing at 8pm and flying 7.30pm the next day - staying at a traditional Hanok near Dongdaemun (which I'm extremely excited about!!), so I'm planning to have a stroll around the area's markets and sample some street food that night. Are there any must-eats in Dongdaemun?

For the next day I'm thinking Gyeongbokgung, Insadong and ??Myeongdong, but don't really have a clear idea yet.

I'm a big fan of Korean food although I can't tolerate too much spice (e.g. some kimchi on the side is usually okay) ... I love dishes like samgyetang, ox bone soup, bibimbap, rice porridge, samgyeopsal etc.

I enjoy indie shops/design, culture/history and am a huge Kdrama addict.

Please give me all your food and activity recommendations! Any tips for getting into and around in Seoul with limited Korean & no Google maps coverage would also be great.
posted by monocot to Travel & Transportation around Seoul, South Korea (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
What day of the week will you be there? And when?
posted by suedehead at 3:13 AM on January 15, 2019

Response by poster: 21-22 Jan, Monday to Tuesday
posted by monocot at 3:20 AM on January 15, 2019

Best answer: Seoul is THE CITY for design-y indie shops. I found this guide to stationary stores super useful when I was there. Wandering around Hongdae was also good for finding indie mid-market clothing boutiques -- although Dongdaemun has the best market-style clothes shopping.

There are also a bunch of themed cafes which don't typically serve traditional korean food, if you find yourself in the mood for something different. I found wandering random convenience stores (7-11 and CU) super fun and interesting and an easy way to get fast food like onigiri or sandwiches.

We went to a bunch of the museums, and personally, I found the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History to be the most interesting. However, if you're into more classical history, the National Museum of Korea is the place for that. The Kakao friends museum is an adorable "instagram trap", if that's your thing.

Not knowing Korean isn't a huge deal -- many younger folks will be happy/able to help and there are tourist info centers everywhere. Get a map and don't be shy about asking for help! Happy travels, Seoul is amazing!
posted by tinymegalo at 12:47 PM on January 15, 2019

Best answer: If you're into Kdrama you might want to check out some filming locations. Korean Dramaland is an amazing resource - the cafe listings alone are insane. I personally would love to stop by somewhere like Green Cloud Coffee Shop, just based on the number of times I've seen it in dramas :)
posted by guessthis at 6:13 PM on January 15, 2019

Best answer: Here's a lot of good answers, including a previous comment of mine.

If you want (kind of touristy) traditional korea, Go wander around the traditional korean houses around insadong. There's a lot of shops there too. It's quite frankly nice.

If you design-y shops, Hongdae is the place to be.

If you're a walker, you could walk from dongdaemon westward until you hit Jongro-3, then walk north until you see insadong. Then you could take the subway to Hongdae. Then go to Namdaemun market late at night as it's open 24 hours.
posted by suedehead at 8:48 PM on January 15, 2019

Best answer: Definitely Myeongdong. The "vibey" part is very compact and interesting to wander around.
posted by ryanbryan at 6:22 PM on January 16, 2019

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