Have you ever wanted to do a K-pop or K-drama tour but don’t know where to start? I always get that feeling because there’s just a lot of places that I wanted to go to but things can get pretty overwhelming especially when I’m having an information overload from everything I read or see online. When that happens, I always end up not visiting anything at all. You can do DIY drama tours and there’s plenty of resources online. But if you want to do it the easy and efficient way, like me, then read below.
First off, in case you’re wondering, yeah, that’s the correct spelling: Ewha WOMANS University. I also wondered about that years ago but my Korean friend corrected me and said it’s really spelled that way.
Ewha Womans University was Korea’s first educational institute for women. It was founded way back in 1886 by an American missionary and to date, the university has 15 graduate schools, 11 colleges with 67 departments, and several research institutes. The Ewha Campus Complex is the largest underground campus in Korea. It has a library, bookstore, gym, cafes, movie theater, and on the first floor, there are lecture rooms and an eco-park.
Last spring, I was able to check out Ewha Womans University and because it was a Sunday afternoon that time, the university wasn’t busy, and I headed out with my family, we decided to spend some time at the campus and have a lovely afternoon snack there. After going around the school, we walked back to the Ahyeon-dong Wedding Street.
I wasn’t able to take photos of the alleys around Ewha Womans University and of the Ahyeon-dong Wedding Street as I was the one pushing my son’s stroller. But just to give you an idea of what to expect in the area, it is helpful to note that it is a popular shopping district and being a university area, it’s common to see clothes, shoes, and accessories shops, as well as salons, restaurants, and cafes that are mainly intended for the young people.
Parking here with some photos below and I will catch up with you on my next post. Til then, annyeong!
This is the second location for my Where to Stay in Seoul series. The first location I wrote about was Myeongdong and you can read it here. As most of you know, Myeongdong is the ideal place for tourists specially those who are into shopping and street food. And even if that’s not your thing, it is still a good location to be at because if you have nothing to do in the evening, you can just cross over to the shopping streets and find yourself entertained by how busy that area is.
Now moving on to this post, you may ask “Where is Samcheong-dong?” or “What’s there to see in Samcheong-dong?” For those of you who don’t know, Samcheong-dong is one of my favorite places in Seoul. If only 126 Mansion is still there, I would not be recommending any other guesthouses in Seoul nor in this neighborhood.
So, why Samcheong-dong?
It’s a great place to stay in if you are into culture and history. That’s where you should stay if you want to see Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Insadong, Bukchon Hanok Village, Gwanghwamun Square, and even Seochon. That’s where you’ll find museums and art galleries. And that’s also where you’ll find an abundance of local cafes and shops. Imagine walking along the alleys of Samcheong-dong and smelling freshly roasted coffee beans from one of the cafes you pass by. The vibe there is hip and trendy.
I love Samcheong-dong because it has a unique charm that harmonizes tradition with the fresh youthful vibe of the present. I already said this before in my post about Samcheong-dong that the artistic appeal of the place comes from the fact that there is a beautiful integration of the serene and antique beauty of traditional houses and the hip vibe of chic galleries, resaturants, and cafes that have sprung up in the area.
I really encourage you to read up on my previous posts about Samcheong-dong and Bukchon so that you’ll have an idea of what to expect there. I have written about this place twice in 2012: you can read it here and here. And I also wrote about it twice in 2014: you can find it here and here.
Now for this post, I will only recommend guesthouses, mostly hanok guesthouses. It’s because I want you to experience something unique while in Seoul if ever you decide to stay in Samcheong-dong. Besides, staying in hanok guesthouses is only possible in this area so I am really recommending that you stay in a guesthouse rather in a another corporate chain hotel.
Here are my personal choices:
At this age where there is so much pressure to include so many things in an itinerary if only for the sake of the gram, we tend to forget to take pause and enjoy a place or experience, and really understand their significance. Sometimes, we say that we have experienced something just by doing a selfie or spending an hour of photo shoot at a certain place, but is that really what is meant by experiencing that place?
We have different purposes for traveling and even different takes on how we should design our itineraries but I think we have a common goal as to why we travel. We travel because we want to learn something new. Every time we travel, we try as much as possible to immerse ourselves in local culture because that’s how we learn more about the place, its people, its history.
One of the popular ways to really get to learn more about a certain place is through food which is why market tours and cooking classes are very popular especially in Korea. But did you know that you can learn more than just the food culture of Korea because there are so many other lessons that you can take aside from cooking classes? I’ll write something about cooking classes later because that deserves a separate post. Here, what I’ll share with you are classes where you can learn Korean calligraphy, how to make perfumes, how to dance like a K-pop star, how to make custom rings, bookmarks or stamps, and many more.
Exciting, right? So read on!
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about where to stay in Seoul. The thing is, there are many districts and neighborhoods in Seoul and each has its own charm. There is no single best place to stay at because there are many good options out there and the answer to the question really depends upon where you will stay, what you will do in Seoul, and how much is your budget.
I am going to do a series on this topic but I will only cover, in the meantime, the areas of Myeongdong, Samcheongdong, Hongdae, and Gangnam in Seoul, and Nampo and Seomyeon in Busan. And my series will start with Myeongdong.
In making suggestions and recommendations, I am considering my experience, i.e., whether I stayed in, visited, or have seen the place personally. Whether it is a guesthouse, a low to mid-range hotel or a luxury one, my top criteria is location in relation to distance to the shopping streets of Myeongdong and more particularly, Myeongdong Station. I am not considering their proximity to other places of interest in Jung-gu or Central Seoul. The shopping streets and Myeongdong subway station are my points of reference because those who frequently ask me about where to stay in Seoul are first time visitors and I am suggesting these places for their convenience.