With Korean Spas
I guess my cover photo isn’t of that. but it was also my other love
As our first international trip from China, Boyfriend and I chose to visit Seoul, South Korea. It was a country neither of us had been to and the flights were pretty cheap (i mean, that’s really sometimes the determining factor) (and okay…maybe i’ve spent 6 hours in Seoul before).
We left on a Wednesday afternoon and returned on a Sunday night, and took a flight out of the local airport in Shanghai to the local airport in Seoul. I would say door-to-door (minus the waiting time in airport in Shanghai) was about 3 hours. Pretttty awesome.
We got into Seoul around 10 pm and went out to see if we could see the Seoul nightlife. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain so we just went into a place, named “Thursday Party”. Which was basically an american college bar…in Seoul. The best part of this bar was people’s indiscrete staring at Boyfriend. My favorite was this guy sitting at the bar in a chair that swivels. So, he swiveled away from facing at the bar, stopped to look directly at Boyfriend for like a solid min, and then swiveled all the way back his original location as if he was doing a complete circle. Pretty hilarious
Over the next few days, we did a number of things in different neighborhoods and ate some amazing food. It rained for the first 2.5 days we were in Seoul, but the last 2 were perfect weather. Here’s a breakdown of the neighborhoods we checked out:
- Hongdae – Really hip area near the Hongik University that’s full of bars, restaurants, and Korean Fried Chicken. On friday nights, there are street performances of dance groups
- Itaewon – A weird neighborhood that reminds me the most of LA. There is a major US army base in this neighborhood so that there is a lot of bars/restaurants made to target the American market (including a chinese restaurant with the tagline ‘American Chinese food’). There are a lot of army dudes walking around here and a lot of korean woman trying to hit on them
- Gangnam – Opa gangnam style! So fancy, so nice. This is where i went to the K-Spa and fell in love
- Jongno-gu – The historical area of Seoul with old castles and temples
The weekend we visited was the week after Buddha’s birthday celebration, so we visited Jogyesa Temple and Bongeunsa to see all of the lanterns that were put up for his celebration. We had just missed the major holiday, so unfortunately not all of the lantern statues were still up.
While in Seoul, we checked out a number of nightclubs in Hongdae, to see the famed korean dancing that I’ve heard so much about. No matter what club we went to or how packed it was (in some cases there were only 10 people in the club), there were people who could dance amazing. Such great choreography and skills. I have none of that.
Also something that amazed me were the Korean men. It felt like every korean man took so much time and effort into their look, how their skin looked, how their hair sat on their face, and how their clothes fit their body. I still very distinctly remember this Korean man sitting across from me on the metro wearing timberlands, jean overalls, and a knit green sweater. It sounds awful, but the way the man put it together so effortless and his shoulder length hair, he looked so put together. I need to get better at dressing!
While in Seoul, I also got to see some people I knew growing up who now live in Seoul. We got korean bbq for 4 hours with one of my brother’s friends. Here, I learned the amazingness of grilling kimchi AND grilling it in the fat of grilled meat. We also met with my childhood friend and did Nooribang, aka KTV, aka Korean karaoke. I have never been a big karaoke person, but Boyfriend is in love with it and I do like playing the tambourine along with songs.
And then, I went to a Korean Spa
Korean spas. I love korean spas. I visited Spa Lei in Gangnam-gu, which is female only. The spa had 5 different baths and 3 different types of saunas. There were salt baths, cold baths, hot baths, and massage baths. There were hot, humid, and dry saunas. It was amazing. But what was even better was the body scrub.
This woman worked for 30 mins to rub every dead skin off my body. I laid there for 30 mins, next to 4 other naked woman who were all getting their dead skin rubbed off by Korean Woman in red bras and panties. My skin was roughed off with sandpaper mittens. Yes, it was a little gross how much came off my body, but i felt so amazing after. I was surprised how much it didn’t hurt. i was soft afterwards. i was so clean. i want to do it forever.
I also got to go to a restaurant in Itaewon that was completely filled with just Koreans and the menu was completely in Korean. I really like going to non-tourist locations for restaurants when traveling. we got another hot plate grill of meat and veggies. it was delicious. it was so good. and then we saw the people next to us put rice in their bowl. so we did it. AND IT WAS AMAZING. so sos o sos os so so good. It was fried rice that was charred, in meat juice!
Finally, here’s some highlights of the food I had while in Seoul:
- Chicken Galbi
- Korean Fried Chicken
- Korean Hangover Soup
- Korean barbecue
- Rice cakes in hot sauce
- Grilled Kimchi
We had a number of different kinds of Korean fried chicken and my evaluation and ranking:
- Inside the Train Station – i have no idea what train station this was, but we were going from Gangnum-gu to Hongdae and bought some fried chicken at some random store inside the train station where we changed trains. It was by far the best fried chicken i had in Seoul.
- Baked Chicken (Normal and Spicy) – I was crying from this heat. Literally crying
- Normal Fried chicken in Hongdae – meh after train chicken
I really wish i remembered what train station that fried chicken was from!
Overall, my trip to Seoul was really fun. It was great to get outside China and explore another area in Asia, while also not breaking my bank. I also went a little crazy buying kbeauty products, but it’s okay!
If you ever get to go to Seoul, here are things I highly recommend checking out:
- Visit a korean spa – recommend Spa Lei
- Have Korean Fried Chicken
- Eat Korean BBQ
- Checking out a nightclub in Hongdae just to watch Korean guys do choreographed dances
- Eat Korean Hangover soup – it’s really good not hungover too!
- BUY KBEAUTY PRODUCTS – there are literally 10 innisfrees and 10 other kbeauty stores within 3 blocks of each other in Myeondong area