I spent 4 days in Seoul and I loved it! It reminded me a lot of Tokyo, with something new and edgier and just "younger". While Japan may be tied in tradition, South Korea was bursting with a new youth culture and urban advancement. Here's some of the places I explored in my few days here. I know this visit will not be my last!
Myeongdong: This was one of my favorite areas to come to at night. Shops stay open pretty late, and there's plenty of amazing street food as well as vendors in the street as well. Not many vegetarian options, so I always ate dessert for dinner here. The croissant taiyaki pictured above was a unique twist on one of my favorites but I think too sweet for me! If you're interested in Korean makeup or skincare, there are plenty of stores here that will give you free samples at the door or with purchase! You can tell this area is definitely meant for a teen crowd.
Hongdae: Okay this was my favorite place to walk around in Seoul! The best variety of food(had some amazing tacos here!) as well as reasonably priced fashion and accessories. It is right near Hongik University so stores here cater to student budgets as well as the latest trends. I added a few fun new summer tops to my wardrobe for probably the equivalent of $10 USD or less. This is a great neighborhood for people watching, there's also live music shows on the weekend. I found myself coming back to this neighborhood almost every day.
Dongdaemun: This was just from a long walk I took near the Dongdaemun market. Probably the best market if you're looking to buy anything in bulk, plus it seems you can really haggle here. I loved the really urban buildings in this area.
Cheonggyecheon: Different parts of this stream/river are fun for people watching as well as a nice stroll.
Gyeongbokgung Palace: On my last full day, I made it up semi early to Gyeongbokgung Palace. The rain and early time(around 9:30-10) helped me beat the crowds for the most part. Truly stunning and I believe it was free to walk the grounds and explore. The rain and the dramatic view of the mountains in the back was breathtaking.
Ddo-ong Cafe(Poo Cafe): Okay this cafe I went to for laughs but it was so good I came back twice! Tucked away on the 4th floor of the Ssamziegil Mall(don't worry you'll see the signs for it), this cafe was not crowded at all when I went. I opted for a rose latte(hands down the best in my life) But they also had a mojito mint flavor as well as the standard. The poo pancakes can be purchased from a stand downstairs and brought up, they were less than $2 USD. SO TASTY, warm with liquid chocolate on the inside. I will probably crave these forever. Don't get this place confused with the "poo museum" on the other side of the mall. It is on the second floor and charges admission, although they kindly redirected me to the cafe.
Seoul Forest Park: The "Central Park" of Seoul. While not quite central in location, this park is big and beautiful and has much to offer. I came here on my last day with about an hour of sunlight left, all because I saw a picture of the deer online and knew I had to go see them! Little did I know the deer where located on the furthest possible location in the park, but so worth it. You can buy deer food from the vending machine(seriously, how cute is that?) for about $1 USD. So worth it, and these guys will be all over you. It seems recently they have put up a fence, before from the photos it seemed you were able to walk in the enclosure with them. I believe you can do this if you come earlier in the day. The rest of the park is lush and green and the perfect place for an afternoon picnic or a long walk!
Cat Cafes: I went to 2 different cat cafe's in Seoul, one in Hongdae and one in Myeongdong. Both run by the same company, Cat Attic. The drinks are reasonably priced and there's no hourly fee for sitting there. The only problem I find at cat cafe's is most of them really just want to mind their own business but I love just going and watching them play or sleep. I also went toa dog cafe in Gangnam but was utterly disappointed as it was only small dogs, drinks were overpriced, and the dogs weren't much interested in playing and were being hogged by other cafe goers. So I definitely recommend Cat Attic!