After totally impulse-booking a trip to Asia a few months back, I am on the other side of the trip and I have a lot to say! I am breaking the trip down into separate posts for each city I visited, so be sure to check out my post on Tokyo next week!
Let’s start with the flight shall we? It was long. And I didn’t sleep more than an hour. I did however watch four movies, none of which I would recommend… We flew from New York, had a quick layover in Beijing and then on to Seoul. We took the metro from the airport to our AirBNB which was slightly daunting, but once you understand the Seoul Metro system and map, I found it quite user-friendly. Especially coming from NYC.
Out apartment was very cute. Really small, but warm and cozy and the wifi worked really well, which we all know is major when traveling in a new city. We were a 5 minute walk from a metro stop and about a 15 minute walk to Itaewon, which is like the hip, fun area of Seoul. There are tons of bars and restaurants and shops in Itaewon and actually a lot in the blocks surrounding our apartment as well.
Our first meal in South Korea consisted of pizza and beer at a spot in Itaewon called Revolution Pizza. It was casually Che Guevara-themed (?) and they played a lot of US-based hip hop and R&B (which we will touch more on later). It was the only place open at the time we headed out for food!
Seoul is gorgeous. The city is laid out in neighborhoods that all have a different style, but throughout them all you find constant cultural landmarks or straight up palaces to be in awe of.
We ended up spending a lot of time in Itaewon. Highlights included an impromptu night out with these two guys who challenged us to pool at a really fun bar called Fountain one night. We ended up losing (it was a really close game, I swear) and having to buy them a round. But then we beat them in Air Hockey and Street Fighter so we ended up coming out on top! We bar-hopped and ended up being nearly the only patrons at some random club for the reminder of the night (and I should say early morning). This is where I first got an inkling that South Koreans do not support KPop as much as I thought they would! The DJ at the club was only playing hip hop and R&B from the early 90’s to today and I wanted to hear some Red Velvet, Seventeen, BTS…anything! He refused to play Korean music. It was very odd to me.
As I mentioned in my post about the trip, I am a super picky eater and it was definitely an issue on this trip. Most restaurants will have an English menu, or at least someone who can tell you what it is you just ordered, but almost everything is pork or beef-based so I had to get creative when ordering so as to avoid those ingredients! I did have some amazing meals at a few spots around town, though one meal consisted of a wide variety of fried food items that I cautiously bit into…
Some other highlights from the trip (with photographic evidence):
Went for a hike on Namsan Mountain and clearly loved all the fallen leaves!
If you know me, or at least read my intro post , you know I would be remiss to visit a new country and not check out their drag scene. So, of course I went to Trance on Friday night and was amazed by the local queens! The show was hosted by Big Sister
The gay scene in Seoul is a bit stunted. All the gay bars are located in basically a 100 foot radius on a slanted road aptly (if not offensively?) named Homo Hill. From my experience, Korean culture does not allow for a very open display of sexuality and this leads to a lot of repression in the gay community. The gay bars are mostly closed during the week, but Friday and especially Saturday nights are bumping! Crowds spilling out into the streets, loud music and cute people everywhere having their weekly share of fun! It was definitely a lively area!
Everyone we met there was incredibly friendly and helpful and I left Seoul with a few new friends to keep in touch with! (Thank you Facebook and Instagram!)
Our flight to Tokyo was at 9am Sunday morning, so we had to leave for the airport around 5. This somehow translated into us deciding to go out the night before and just stay out until we left for the airport. Which in theory is a cool idea, but HOLY HANGOVER BATMAN. The trip to Tokyo was rough, but once we made it and got settled in, the second leg of our trip began…
Have you ever been to Seoul? What were your thoughts and what did you love about the city?
Stay tuned for my post on my week in Tokyo and as always, follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more updates and random insights into our lives!