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Old May 20, 14, 5:36 pm
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Seoul Sites

Hello FT,

Looking for some suggested places to check out for food in Seoul near the Grand Hyatt (where we are staying) and beyond. We will be arriving at the hotel around 16:00, then have the USO DMZ tour the following day (which runs all day) and a free day around town after that before heading off.

What places to you guys/gals recommend we check out for food and to just take in the general city culture for the two evenings we have and the full day?

Thanks much - this forum has been so helpful for us planning our Asia vacation!
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Old May 21, 14, 3:26 am
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Lots of good things to eat in Seoul. Where to begin? Perhaps this might be something to check out?

For dinner, if you are up for something different and a bit street-ish, take the subway to Jongno 3-ga and pop out of exit #6. Upon exiting to the street, you will see the area full of street food vendors. The smell of bbq will be in the air and feel free to explore the side streets and alleys. As the weather is good now during the evenings, this area gets very popular with local Koreans unwinding after a day of work.

After a night of bbq, perhaps try something on the other extreme...vegetarian food from a Buddhist restaurant? Sancheon in Insadong is a great place to try lots of different vegetarian food AND also watch a traditional Korean performance. Reservations are highly recommended for dinner. Plus Insadong is a great place to look around and maybe pick up a souvenir before leaving.
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Old May 21, 14, 3:44 pm
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I'm also curious as to what you end up doing. Going there in October and I love what nme7 has posted.
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Old May 21, 14, 10:08 pm
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Originally Posted by nme7 View Post
Lots of good things to eat in Seoul. Where to begin? Perhaps this might be something to check out?

For dinner, if you are up for something different and a bit street-ish, take the subway to Jongno 3-ga and pop out of exit #6. Upon exiting to the street, you will see the area full of street food vendors. The smell of bbq will be in the air and feel free to explore the side streets and alleys. As the weather is good now during the evenings, this area gets very popular with local Koreans unwinding after a day of work.

After a night of bbq, perhaps try something on the other extreme...vegetarian food from a Buddhist restaurant? Sancheon in Insadong is a great place to try lots of different vegetarian food AND also watch a traditional Korean performance. Reservations are highly recommended for dinner. Plus Insadong is a great place to look around and maybe pick up a souvenir before leaving.
I like both of your food suggestions. Considering we are probably going to spend the day around Insadong, could we do the BBQ you recommend for lunch that day (it appears that it is close), or is that a better place for dinner?

For Hongdae, which we will check out one afternoon, any specific places we should visit besides the Trick Eye museum? Where would be a good place to grab a bite in that area?

Thanks much!
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Old May 22, 14, 12:36 am
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I believe the street vendors near Jongno 3-ga only operate during the evening hours. So I think if you were to walk there during lunch time hours, it would just be a regular street. But yes you are correct, you can easily walk there from Insadong.

As for Hongdae, wow lots to eat here. I usually come out of exit #9, then make an immediate left and walk down the street until it ends. Then make a right and start heading south along Eoulmadang-ro. You will see tons of different eateries on both sides of the street. It is very pedestrian friendly. I will list a few restaurants and links to things to eat in Hongdae.

Indinine. Indian food. Quite good!
Bonjour Hawaii. Yes, hawaiian food. Located just next door to Indinine. There is a nicer seating area upstairs.
Castle Praha. Czech food and they brew their own beer.
Cafe Wonderland. But I'm not sure if they are still open.
Oi. Another I'm not sure if they are still open. But look at the photos.
Hello Kitty Cafe. A bit overrated I think, but still nice to see.
Korean restaurants and other places to visit in Hongdae.
Yookssam Naengmyeon A small dish of bbq beef along with a bowl of cold noodles. Very refreshing during the hotter months in Korea.

As for bars, although the name sounds funny, "Ho Bar" is fun to see once. It is usually loud, dark, and packed full of people. Despite what the name implies, it is a western-type bar. The only activity I've seen there were people drinking and having a good time.

Hope this helps. Hongdae is a very safe area, I've never had any issues with safety. Feel free to explore the place, there are lots of hidden cafes, stores and such just a few streets in. Oh and don't forget the camera! Trick Eye museum will be loads of fun, but Hongdae in general is also interesting to see.
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Old May 22, 14, 7:09 am
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Originally Posted by nme7 View Post
I believe the street vendors near Jongno 3-ga only operate during the evening hours. So I think if you were to walk there during lunch time hours, it would just be a regular street. But yes you are correct, you can easily walk there from Insadong.

As for Hongdae, wow lots to eat here. I usually come out of exit #9, then make an immediate left and walk down the street until it ends. Then make a right and start heading south along Eoulmadang-ro. You will see tons of different eateries on both sides of the street. It is very pedestrian friendly. I will list a few restaurants and links to things to eat in Hongdae.

Indinine. Indian food. Quite good!
Bonjour Hawaii. Yes, hawaiian food. Located just next door to Indinine. There is a nicer seating area upstairs.
Castle Praha. Czech food and they brew their own beer.
Cafe Wonderland. But I'm not sure if they are still open.
Oi. Another I'm not sure if they are still open. But look at the photos.
Hello Kitty Cafe. A bit overrated I think, but still nice to see.
Korean restaurants and other places to visit in Hongdae.
Yookssam Naengmyeon A small dish of bbq beef along with a bowl of cold noodles. Very refreshing during the hotter months in Korea.

As for bars, although the name sounds funny, "Ho Bar" is fun to see once. It is usually loud, dark, and packed full of people. Despite what the name implies, it is a western-type bar. The only activity I've seen there were people drinking and having a good time.

Hope this helps. Hongdae is a very safe area, I've never had any issues with safety. Feel free to explore the place, there are lots of hidden cafes, stores and such just a few streets in. Oh and don't forget the camera! Trick Eye museum will be loads of fun, but Hongdae in general is also interesting to see.
Thanks for the detailed info!

A few more q's for you - what are your thoughts on visiting Changdeok vs Gyeongbok palace? Is it too hard to fit both in in one morning and if so which is better to see? Also, while in the Insadong area any Korean BBQ places you recommend?

Thanks again.
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Old May 22, 14, 10:01 pm
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Morning is a great time to visit the palaces. Gyeongbok is the larger of the two palaces and a visit there can easily take the whole morning. The Changing of the Royal Guards at Gyeongbok is a colorful ceremony not to be missed. Also inside is a place where you can dress up in traditional Korean outfits and have pictures taken around the palace.

Changdeok is a bit smaller, and if i remember correctly, you can only take a guided tour of the palace. At least at Gyeongbok you can go pretty much anywhere you want to. But with Changdeok it is guided tour only. This might have changed but that is what I remember. Still it might be worth a visit as a guided tour might give much more insight.

You can probably visit both in a morning, but I would pick one and enjoy it. Everyone's style of touring is a bit different so it's hard for me to say what is better.

Also, between Gyeongbok and Changdeok palace I believe is the Hanok village area. Lots of traditional style homes. Also some fun places to eat and shop!

As for bbq in Insadong, I haven't had traditional bbq there, but perhaps Min's Club might work?

But if you are looking for bbq, Bonga restaurant can also be a good option. They specialize in WooSamGyup, which is a thinly sliced marinated beef. They have instructions on how to cook and eat on the previous link. Plus you get a lot of fresh vegetables to wrap the meat and it makes for a delicious meal. In addition to WooSamGyup, they also have various other meat as well. The original location is open 24 hours and is located between Nonhyeon station and Sinnonhyeon station on a back alley famous for all kinds of different restaurants. A bit crazy at night. But if you go to this location, take a taxi there and be prepared for a long wait as it is very popular. However, they have multiple locations and there is one located near Insadong. Easily walking distance from the south end of Insadong. You will have to cross a big street and then navigate into a slightly crowded and busy area during night time. Lunch time will probably be fine, but at night be prepare for the flashing lights, music and probably a few soju'd businessmen. Still very safe, it just adds to the scenery.

Last edited by nme7; May 23, 14 at 1:38 am
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Old May 23, 14, 12:21 am
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Hyatt Hotel is 3mins away from Itaewon which has a good variety of restaurants. Korean, Chinese and Mexican food whichever you want. Your place is also near Namsan Park and Seoul Tower. Experience the beauty of the city at night and dine in Seoul Tower. For the shopping area, visit Myeongdong and Gasan. Enjoy your vacation in Seoul just like what we did.
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