16 Quintessential Must-Do’s In Seoul

Follow this list for the best trip with your Soul Sisters in Seoul!

If you’re thinking about a destination for the perfect girls trip, Seoul should top your list. The capital of South Korea has rapidly risen to be the epicenter of beauty and skincare products, making a quick shopping spree into an exciting shopping trip. Hot tip: since Google Maps doesn’t work in Seoul, be sure to download NAVER APP so you don’t get lost in this massive city of 9+ million people.

For fans of Korean BBQ, Seoul is a delectable gem with affordable yet delicious options at every corner. Tasty galbi, late night haemul pajeon, sizzling bimbimbap don’t come with a ridiculous bill. Meanwhile, kimchi is often a complimentary bedrock in most restaurants. Museums, galleries and palaces are glitzy traditional juxtapositions to innovative window displays that shine in flagship stores. It’s evident that a few days in Seoul is certainly good for the soul. Soju included.

SHOP: Garosu-gil Road 가로수길 街路樹

Garosu-gil Road
Garosu-gil Road. PHOTO Wendy Hung

What felt like the Soho of Seoul, Garosu-gil means “tree-lined street,” making this outdoor shopping experience such a pleasurable one. Here, you’ll see local boutiques featuring Korean designers, beauty products, lifestyle shops, concept stores that lure you in with flashy window displays.

SHOP: Dr. Jart+ flagship

Dr. Jart+, Seoul.
Dr. Jart+, Seoul. PHOTO Wendy Hung

The gem of all gems is the Dr. Jart+ flagship where you’ll enter a prescription lab space on the first floor and discover amazing deals. What’s so great about buying here is that there are tons of discounts and promos you can only snag at this specific location. Who can say no to five boxes of masks for 5 boxes of FREE masks?

SHOP: Gentle Monster flagship

Gentle Monster
Gentle Monster. PHOTO Wendy Hung

The Gentle Monster flagship is where every level is bedazzled with animated installations and endless shades for you to freely try on. This Korean sunglasses brand is known for combining experimental displays with interactive art installations, so your browsing experience is taken to a whole new level.

SHOP: Apgujeong-dong 압구정동 狎鷗亭洞

Beaker. Seoul, Korea.
Beaker. Seoul, Korea. Photo: Wendy Hung

In Gangnam, head to Apgujeong-dong – home to a wide variety of extravagant concept stores, including: an unfortunately disappointing 10 Corso Como, and The Beaker where collaborations with several Korean fashion brands can only be discovered in this store. Both Louis Vuitton and Chanel are beautiful stores to check out.

SHOP: Sulwhasoo Flagship 雪花秀

Sulwhasoo
Sulwhasoo. PHOTO Wendy Hung

Made famous because Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping’s wife swears by the brand, Sulwhasoo is the most quintessential high-end beauty serum in Korea. The flagship store is one of the most glamorous beauty spaces I have ever seen. Test their anti-aging serum formulated with a blend of five Korean herbs. I highly recommend NOT buying it at the flagship, however, since you can find better discounts in other beauty shops in Myeongdong or even at the airport.

SHOP: Myeongdong 명동 明洞

Stylenanda
Stylenanda. PHOTO Wendy Hung

Myeongdong is MADE for K-beauty trends and makeup since it’s known as the main focal point of cosmetic boutiques in Seoul. Another great makeup and fashion store to visit is Stylenanda, aka: Pink Hotel of 3CE beauty products. Many K-Pop music videos have also been shot here.

SHOP/EAT: Dongdaemun Market (DDM) 동대문시장 東大門市場

Dongdaemun, Seoul.
Dongdaemun, Seoul. PHOTO Erin Thibodeau

If you want to find malls that open for 18.5 hours /day from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., then head to Dongdaemun Market which is even more lively at night. Some shops stay open for 24 hours a day, making DDM a definite shopping heaven/or hell. Snail masks, any kind of mask, here we come! Late night snacking on the street is also a must-do, with hot bowls of ramen and fish cakes on saucy sticks!

EAT: Korea BBQ

Traditional Korean BBQ
Traditional Korean BBQ. PHOTO Wendy Hung

A trip to Korea isn’t complete without a stop at a traditional barbecue restaurant, but not just any ordinary pick. The traditional kind is cooked with charcoal so the meat has a smokey flavor. Try thicker strips of unsalted pork belly, where you can wrap with lettuce, onions, and red pepper paste to consume in one glorious bite. Try Maple Tree House Itaewon or Saebyukjib in Gangnam.

EAT: Yoogane chicken galbi

Chicken galbi
Chicken galbi. Photo: Wendy Hung

Yoogane is one of the best chicken galbi restaurants in Korea with more than 130 branches. Galbi is a large pan of spicy stir fried chicken with cheese, vegetables, and rice. For 6,000 Won (USD $5,) you can indulge in marinated chicken galbi fried rice doused in gochujang (spicy red pepper paste) with scallions, onions, meat and rice. Hot tip! Wait for the server who normally stirs the pan from time to time, preventing the dish from sticking to the pan. 

DRINK: Itaewon

Itaewon, Seoul.
Itaewon, Seoul. PHOTO/WENDY HUNG

For a fun night out, definitely head to Itaewon famous for its vibrant nightlife. Known as the hub of tourists, expats, and U.S. military personnels, Itaewon offers strips of pubs, clubs, and bars.

DRINK: The Bungalow

Best bars in Seoul
The Bungalow, Seoul. Photo: Wendy Hung

One cool spot to hit up in Itaewon is The Bungalow, a bar with multiple floors of rooms and lounges that ooze tropical vibes. Sink your feet into sand that carpet the floor, and sip on cool cocktails.

DRINK: Le Chamber

Le Chamber
Facebook Le Chamber

The entrance to Le Chamber is a hidden door disguised as a bookshelf which leads to a low lit space embellished with massive chandeliers. Expect to spend USD $40 even if you’re ordering one lonesome but fantastically tasty drink. The vibe is undeniably sophisticated, the space is frequented by expats and foreigners. The drink menu stays true to local and seasonal ingredients, including: ginseng, soju…etc. Le Chamber is one of the most posh bars in Seoul, and is most likely the city’s finest cocktail lounge that comes with an astonishing price.

DO: Hang out at cafés

Coffee culture in Seoul
Coffee culture in Seoul. PHOTO Wendy Hung

This might sound like a super mundane idea, but café culture is ginormous in Seoul. What was always meant for the elite during the late-1800’s in Korea, coffee was popularized with the introduction to instant coffee by the Americans during the Korean War. Today, there are more than 18,000 coffee shops and more Starbucks in Seoul than in any other city. Cafés have become a place for locals to slow down in midst of crazy city lives.

DO: A LED facial at The Medi Spa

LED facial
LED facial. PHOTO Wendy Hung

Everyone knows that Seoul is famous for beauty and skincare, so get a LED facial at The Medi Spa. Don’t judge the spa by its simple decor! This place is a hidden gem, recommended by locals. LED facial is also known as Color Light Therapy that is all the rage in Seoul right now. It uses wavelengths of UV-free LED lights to boost collagen production and Medi’s treatment focuses on anti-wrinkles. Hot tip: Medi’s aestheticians don’t speak English, so get your Google Translate ready (especially Google Translate Photo App) so you can hover over the spa’s treatment menu since it’s completely written in Korean.

SEE: Gyeongbokgung Palace 景福宮

Gyeongbokgung
Gyeongbokgung. PHOTO Wendy Hung

During the Joseon dynasty, Gyeongbokgung was the royal family’s main palace built in 1395. During the 19th century, the palace was reconstructed with 7,700 rooms and 500 buildings while maintaining much of ancient Korean architectural features. Today, there’s also the National Palace Museum of Korea which features over 40,000 royal artifacts from the Joseon Dynasty.

SEE: Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok old village. PHOTO Wendy Hung

Walk through the Bukchon Hanok Village at dusk, when the sun is about to set and the lights in the village illuminate tiny alleys adorned by intricate hanoks (traditional Korean houses built around 1300’s.) During the Joseon Dynasty, Bukchon area was designated as a residential district for government officials and nobles. Along these windy streets, you can browse through shops selling handcrafted goods. Several ateliers owned by local artists and curators make this neighborhood extra special.

Wendy Hung

CEO, FOUNDER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and Russia because they were all so different! St. Bart's was pretty amazing too (wink)!

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