The City

TRAVEL GUIDE TO SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

Trendy coffee shops, delicious street food and 24-hour shopping - Seoul is fast becoming a metropolitan dream. From glimmering skyscrapers to urban green oases, it’s difficult to find something that Seoul doesn’t offer. Whether it’s a traditional tea ceremony you’re looking for or a Michelin star meal, Seoul offers both and everything in between. As a growing metropolis, the city’s rich history takes some unearthing but traditional Korean culture is not something to be missed. Seoul truly proves that sometimes the best gems are those that need a little polishing.

Sleeping

RAKKOJAE SEOUL

This boutique hotel has a rich history of 130 years and as you stroll the beautiful grounds, passing the Hanok, lotus pond and pavilions surrounded by bamboo and pine trees, you can’t help but exhale and forget the stresses of modern life. A place to truly immerse yourself in Korean culture, Rakkojae offers traditional experiences such as authentic Korean menus, experiencing a tea ceremony, trying on a Hanbok and learning how to make delicious Kimchi. To unwind even further, we suggest some time spent in the yellow-mud sauna which is naturally heated by burning firewood or opting to sleep on a natural jade ondol floor. Meaning ‘a place where one can enjoy the traditions of times past and rest one’s soul’, Rakkojae Andong truly delivers on its name.

Eating

WHERE TO EAT IN SEOUL: Mingles

Appropriately named, Mingles is a bustling restaurant sitting in the heart of Seoul's buzzy Cheongdam-dong district. The simple decor of stone walls and blonde-wood furniture is pared back enough to really let the delicious food take centre stage and it does not disappoint. The one Michelin star restaurant is Korean at heart with European techniques and ingredients playing a role. The thoughtfully curated and lovingly prepared seven-course tasting menu is an exciting and delicious culinary experience you won’t soon forget. Booking a reservation ahead is definitely recommended.

Best Restaurants in Seoul

Parc: Minimalist setting, maximalist flavours – Parc serves delicious traditional Korean plates inspired by authentic family recipes passed down through generations.

Ilhochic: Perfect for a lunch or relaxed dinner, Ilhochic serves modern Korean cuisine with a Japanese twist in an informal and stylish setting.

Villa de Spicy: A quirky combination of fashion and food, this is a restaurant-cum-concept store specialising in modern twists on the national dish Tteokbokki (Korean Rice Cake).

Seeing

The Leeum Samsung Museum of Art

The Leeum Samsung Museum of Art is housed in two buildings, each as impressive as the other. Museum 1 exhibits traditional Korean art in several mediums, such as paintings, calligraphy and metal craftwork. Wander around the hexagonal building and keep an eye out for traditional porcelain ceramics such as Celadon and Buncheong, as well as ancient treasures like daggers, crows, and manuscripts dating as far back as the 14th Century. If contemporary art interests you more, head to Museum 2 which features modern art from both renowned Korean and international artists including Damien Hirst and Yves Klein who both have permanent exhibition spaces. Be sure to pop into the basement level which houses a beautiful sunken garden of birch trees and ferns juxtaposed against iron gabion walls.

Best Things To Do in Seoul

Explore Insadong: Seoul’s bohemian district, this neighbourhood pulses with unique boutiques, craft stores and cafés.

Boon The Shop: Trendy concept store with an international cult-like following located in the buzzing Gangnam district.

11 Village Factory: Seoul is known by many as the world’s beauty capital and 11 Village factory is a clear example of why. Expect high quality skin products in ubiquitous kitschy packaging and enthusiastic staff on-hand to help with any questions.

Tea Ceremony at Bongeunsa Temple: Over 1,200 years old, at this temple you can participate in the traditional spectacular tea ceremony as well as meditation and rosary making.