During spring of 2020, I spent the semester abroad in Seoul, South Korea. During my 5 months there, I explored the city and neighboring provinces almost every day. Coming from someone who was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, living in a big city like Seoul was one of the best experiences of my life. Here are some of my favorite things I did around the city of Seoul.
Namsan Tower is a must visit when in Seoul. The infamous Locks of Love is also located just below the tower, where you and a loved one can place a lock somewhere on the rails. You can choose to either hike or take a cable car up to the mountain, then take an elevator to the top of the tower. Namsan tower offers the best views of Seoul, especially during sunset.
On my “lazy” days where I had nothing special planned, my friends and I would dress up and find cute cafes to relax or study in. The most unique cafe I went to was an animal cafe where the owners allowed us to play with her corgi, raccoons, and even pigs. There were honestly so many different cafes that I could make a separate post just about Korea’s cafe culture.
Some days, I just wanted to escape the city and experience the natural beauty of Seoul. The best way to do that is to hike one of Seoul’s many mountains. My friends and I decided to hike Iwangsan, since it was the shortest hike that still offered a beautiful view of the city. It took my friends and I about an hour to get to the top, and we waited for the sun to set. The view of the city was absolutely breathtaking.
Last, but not least, I have saved the best for last. My ultimate favorite thing to do in Seoul is visit the Han River. At first I didn’t understand why so many people enjoyed hanging out by the river so much. It was everyone’s go-to weekend plan. I soon learned that there’s just something so peaceful about sitting along the river on a Sunday afternoon, eating fried chicken with your friends. I enjoyed watching the interactions of everyone that was around us. I vividly remember an old couple setting up blankets and taking a nap, people of different ages riding bikes and skateboarding, people riding motorboats and putting on a show for everyone. Once the sun would set, my friends and I would walk along the river to the nearest bus stop and take the long way home.