I went to Korea in November 2014. I am so sorry I took so long in doing a blog post about my trip to South Korea but I was trying to revamp my website as well so it took a little while.
My trip to South Korea was so much fun! I ate tons of food, did tons of shopping and saw some things that made me nostalgic to China. All in all, I want to say South Korea is a great place to visit for a short period of time because there really isn’t much to do except to eat and shop. One week will do, but it is definitely a place I will go back. It could even be a great place to retire to. It is so close to other Asian countries such as China, Japan, etc… so would be great for short trips.
First, I went to a lot of their shopping areas. My favorite would be Myeongdong. Its streets are filled with stores, a movie theater, and a Korea Spa. If you’ve never been to a Korean Spa, you should go to one if there’s one available nearby your area or if you visit South Korea. My next favorite would be Itaewon. Its streets are filled with cheap stores. I bought a lot of souvenirs there that are good quality and great price. You can also haggle with people there. The things there are pretty cheap there already though. I would say Myeongdong has more beauty product stores, snack food stores, and average clothing stores and Itaewon would be same but less beauty products. COEX is a whole bunch of department stores all connected. It is really, really nice to go and see. They are very different than the department stores in the US. I would suggest out of these three, if you only have time for one, COEX would be the one to go to, although all three have its own character.
One of the foods I would miss most would be the Korean Ice. If you’ve had it anywhere else, they are different. In Korea, they make the ice flakes out of sweet milk. I’ve had those Ices here and it is made out of regular shaved ice. It is called Bingsu (see pic in gallery). They make Bingsu with different ingredients. I usually order the strawberry one because Korean Strawberry is just unlike any other. South Korea grow their berries naturally. They come out bright red, sweet and juicy. My taste buds have been ruined because the strawberries here in the states just aren’t that good. You can eat the strawberries without sugar there, but here in the states, you have to add sugar. I am ruined!!!! =0( I miss those Strawberries! Also, definitely try the different Korean BBQ, it’s everywhere! I’ve found that all of their restaurants are good, just each restaurant put in their own flavors so you get a different taste each time. I noticed that South Koreans are very proud of their food and each restaurant puts in the extra mile to ensure the diners’ good experience.
When I go back to Seoul, a few things I would definitely do: 1) eyelash extension, because Koreans are just that good at it and because they practically invented eyelash extension. 2) stock up on Korean Beauty products, this is a must as their beauty products are just out of this world and very cheap (see my blog post on Asian Beauty Products), compared to american beauty products, the Koreans have knocked it out of the park. 3) visit the Korean Spa multiple times, because the Spa is just that nice and will help un-stress me. 4) eat as much of their strawberries as I can, of course that would mean I have to go during their strawberry festival. 5) eat as much of their Bingsu as I can, because there are none like it anywhere else 6) eat the Korean Fried Chicken, you haven’t eaten a good one until you eat Korean Fried Chicken. This is a very hard to describe food but it isn’t like our kind of fried chicken. Theirs is sweet and of course spicy (depending on what kind you get).
A few things I won’t do: 1) mani and pedi there are super expensive. I did a gel manicure there and cost me $200. The way they do the gel manicure is very different. They make it super thick, as it is their style. The outcome was nice, but I didn’t think it any different then the gel manicures I get here. In fact, I like the gel manicure here better because it isn’t as thick. 2) hair, I went to color my hair (basic one process) and a simple trim, this cost me over $500. The stylist literally trimmed less then 1 inch off my hair. I have super long hair and she didn’t do much with it. Again, nothing different, I could have gotten similar service here and would have cost me less. This was a very high end salon where you can see a lot of South Korean starts there, so maybe it would have been cheaper at a different salon.
Of course aside from eating and shopping, I also had a chance to go to the National Museum of Korea. It is a very, very beautiful museum with tons of Korean history. If you are interested in museums and history, that would be a nice place to visit.
Here is a slide show of the foods, shoppings and the streets of Seoul:
Here is a slide show of the museum in Seoul:
Feel free to email me with questions or to post comments here and I will respond.
XOXO, The Style Gourmande