Have you ever wondered why we keep going back to South Korea over and over again?
Ever wondered why you find yourself returning to the beautiful country a few times a year? Having your friends ask you, “You’re going to Korea again?”
I have friends who make it a point to visit South Korea at least twice a year, whereas for me, if money permits, I will definitely go back at least once a year. What about you? ^^
It is really hard for us to pinpoint why we keep returning to South Korea but here are a few reasons I think we all go for.
1. Food, food, food!
Tteokbokki, bibimbap, jajangmyeon, odeng, kimchi stew, samgyetang and many many more! Drooling now? XD
You do not have to be afraid you will go hungry or that all shops will be closed late into the night, because there will always be ‘tents’ around the area selling your favourite tteokbokki, fishcakes and free flow of hot soup! :3
If you are daring enough, you can try their ‘live’ octopus or san-nakji which means live octopus in Korean! This dish is usually sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and you dip it with sesame oil when you want to eat. This way, you are able to taste the freshness of the octopus with a little bit of seasoning!
Cannot seem to decide what to eat because you want everything? There are a few buffet restaurants in South Korea that are relatively cheap and they have a wide variety of food! We went to this buffet restaurant called Seasons Table and it is very near Seoul Station. They are known for offering season food / fresh ingredients. They also have as tteokbokki, sundae, mandu, kimchi fried rice and noodles!
Address: 192-14 Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
2. Character-themed shops/cafes
Character-themed shops such as KAKAO FRIENDS, from the famous Korean app! You can easily spot them with their cutesy decorations and you will definitely go crazy in the shop, having a hard time deciding what to buy! You can find keychains, laptop sleeves and phone cases and it i also a great place to buy souvenirs for your friends!
Don’t forget to snap a few photos with your favourite KAKAO FRIENDS characters located at the every corner of the store!
Hongdae: 서울 마포구 양화로 162 (동교동, 동교동대아빌딩)좋은사람들빌딩 1F – 3F
Gangnam: 서울 서초구 서초동 1305-7 유창빌딩 1~3층
3. Common Ground
As you have seen from your friend’s instagrams or blogs, Common Ground is Korea’s first pop-up store that were built with shipping containers. Other than the stores that you can find in each ‘container’, they also have a weekend market on the ground floor. Feeling hungry? Plenty cafes / restaurants on the 3rd floor will definitely fill your stomach and your eyes with the beautiful scenery! You can come at night too! The place will be lit with fairy lights giving a different feel as compared to the daytime.
Of course, Common Ground is known for their insta-worthy spots for people to take their OOTDs or even selcas!
Address: 200, Achasan-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul / Konkuk University Station Exit 6
4. Spotting your favourite idol banners in the subway stations
Am I the only one who will do that? ^^; Usually I will look around the subway station and spot banners that are from the fans! It can be anywhere in the subway station, while you are waiting for train or at the tap out area. The banners are usually put up when it is their birthdays or anniversaries!
5. Experiencing their culture
Walking around Gyeongbokgung Palace in a Hanbok! This is also one of the widely popular attraction for tourists to experience wearing a traditional Hanbok and walking around Gyeongbokgung Palace! You can rent the Hanbok at Bukchon Hanok Village. You can choose to rent for a few hours or half a day, up to your liking. There will also be people assisting you with the Hanbok, so do not fret about having to figure out on your own!
Address: 161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul / Gyeongbokgung Palace Station Exit 5
Website: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/ATR/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=264337 / http://www.royalpalace.go.kr/html/eng/main/main.jsp
Another place that you can experience Korea’s traditional music and culture, JeongDong Theater! Not only you can watch traditional music performances, you can also try their ‘janggu experience’ whereby you learn exciting Samul (Korean Traditional Percussion) rhythm from professionals!
Of course, you are encouraged to book the slot in advance before you come!
Personally, I got to try out for myself and it is a very interesting experience! Apart from the KPop music that we always listen to, it also feels great to understand and experience Korea’ traditional music! You also get to learn how to play the instrument correctly and follow the professional to hit a series of rhythm and beat together! Do come and try if you are interested!
Address: 43 Jeongdong-gil, Jeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
SO! I think we have hundreds or thousands of reasons why we keep coming back to Korea again and again, but for me it boils down to the culture (that I really love), the people (nice people everywhere, willing to help you with directions!) the food (cheap and yummy!!) and of course because it’s simply Korea!! What about you? 😉
Article & Photography by: Xiaosi @ KAvenyou
KAvenyou would like to thank Korea Tourism Organization Singapore (KTO) for the invite!