Food in Seoul was delicious. It makes me want to still be there, and I wish they’d open up certain chains in the UK so I can eat them all the time!
I should start with the most famous of Korean food: Korean BBQ. This was at once mouthwateringly delicious, bewildering, and hard work. We ordered 2 dishes; beef and mushrooms. We received about 12,000 dishes so it was interesting trying to work out what everything was, but we were pleasantly surprised Continue reading →
Looking over the Demilitarised Zone into North Korea was surreal, fascinating, and a little scary – especially when I heard distant gunfire! – but more on that later.
The Demilitarised Zone is the zone between North and South Korea. Known as the DMZ – and pronounced the American way, “D M Zee” (if you say “D M Zed” you will get strange looks!). In the Korean War in the 1950s, an armistice was reached in 1953 where both sides agreed not to have any military in the 2km directly in front of the front-line, thereby creating a 4km gap between them. The front-line itself is called the Military Demarcation Line – we got confused over all the terminology! It is fair to say that although the 2km South Korean DMZ is demilitarised, the area just outside of that is heavily militarised. There are South Korean and US army bases there. Continue reading →
The Seoul Lantern Festival was of the main reasons we wanted to come to Seoul. And it exceeded expectations spectacularly. I absolutely loved it.
The Lantern Festival is set up along Cheonggyechoen-ro, which used to be an underpass for traffic. Happily, the city of Seoul has transformed it into a strolling park, with a stream running down the middle and a footpath either side. Every so often it is landscaped with a small bridge or stepping stones across the stream. So even without the lantern festival it would be a nice place to have a walk. But of course the Lantern festival makes it incredible! The amazing handmade paper Lanterns are placed down the middle of the stream, on small platforms. Continue reading →
I was pleased to move back North of the River to Myeongdong. This is known as the centre of Seoul and is popular with locals and tourists alike, with buzzing pedestrianised streets, shops, cafes and restaurants all adorned with neon signs.
In an effort to reduce pollution Seoul has transformed one of the overpasses (which used to be choked with traffic) into a pedestrianised walkway filled with flowerbeds, and even a paddling pool, a trampoline and a piano! It was like an urban park for strolling or sitting. We strolled over one evening and I tried out my camera settings photographing the rather grand Seoul Station. Continue reading →
This blog is about the old, historic parts of Seoul, in case you were wondering! There were plenty of Temples which many visitors explored while dressed in traditional costumes – which gave them free entry to the temples.
We started with Gyeongbokgung Palace where we saw the changing of the guard, Continue reading →
Did you know that “Gangnam Style” (the amazing catchy song by Psy) was based on Gangnam, the area south of the river in Seoul, South Korea? When I heard this, I knew we had to go while we were in Seoul.
There is a permanent tribute to Psy’s Gangnam Style in the form of a stage where you can go and show off your moves in the middle of the city! We also explored the bustling and brightly lit back streets, full of cafes, restaurants and shops all vying for attention in bright neon. Continue reading →
After an exhausting 27 hours of travelling since we left home (3 trains and 2 planes), we went to bed feeling grimy, exhausted, and uncomfortable. But what a difference a good night’s sleep makes… we awoke the next morning bright and early, feeling amazing! The sun was shining, we had safely made it to Seoul, the hotel was nice, and we treated ourselves to a buffet breakfast in our hotel which was divine. All was well with the world!
We strolled around Hongdae which we quickly found was a lovely place – safe, with lovely autumnal leaves, quirky little shops and cafes everywhere, a student-y vibe, and a plethora of Animal Cafes. There was a Cat Cafe, a Meercat Cafe, a Sheep Cafe etc. Continue reading →
The Kimchi festival wasn’t widely publicised but I stumbled upon it online before we went. A festival? Thousands of people making Kimchi at the same time? We are there! We shifted the holiday forward a couple of days and found flights via Italy so we could get there in time. That’s dedication for you.
So what is Kimchi? Kimchi is cabbage fermented in spices. Normally the spices used are chili, garlic, ginger, onion, fish sauce, salt or similar. After the cabbage is rubbed in spices it is packed away to ferment. Kimchi is made in the autumn to preserve the vegetables as we head into winter. Continue reading →
We tried many different foods in Shanghai, but my standout food was dumplings! Either steamed or fried, we were big fans of the humble dumpling.
In a short space of time we became dumpling connoisseurs. We tried steamed dumplings from posh restaurants containing vegetable, prawn and pork respectively, including our fave steamed pork dumplings at Din Tai Fung (just like in Singapore, Macau and Taipei). We also discovered a local joint called Yang’s Dumpling which had a queue out the door and delicious and inexpensive fried dumplings (above). Continue reading →
What can I say about Shanghai? The pictures in the guidebook showed an exciting fast-moving city with bright lights and an impressive cityscape. And it did not disappoint.
Shanghai felt fairly western so was not difficult to navigate. Signs were in English, and there was an abundance of western high street chains. This centred around Nanjing Lu (Nanjing Road) which is full of neon lights and large shops and shopping malls. You can find the likes of H&M, Forever 21 and the Apple shop here as well as Chinese brands, souvenirs, jewellery, electronics etc. Continue reading →