If you think New York is the city that never sleeps...think again, cause you were wrong.
Seoul, capital of South Korea, is probably the most active city I've ever seen in my 29 years. And trust me, I've seen many urban cities. The city seems somnolent at dawn, it's almost difficult to find a coffee shop at 8 A.M., and they have a cafe every two shops in this city.
However, come 1 A.M. and all beauty shops and clothing stores remain open, for those ready to pick up a new outfit for the night. And I am not talking about a 3 A.M. close, but rather a 7 A.M. one, if no later. Kids play in music in the park, break dance, or just indulge into tteok-bokki, amongst many other korean street-food delicacies (which, by the way, are not made for all western bellies, you have been worn).
People here seem to be happy with nothing other than being surrounded by the people you like. Girls are loud and gossip a lot, as well as they nervously laugh at boys. It all looks so candid it's almost unreal, Now speaking of girls. I am sorry but those porcelain girls we've been told come from Korea, are more a myth than a reality. Yes, fat does not exist neither in China or Seoul (which came in handy when shopping for moi) but when it comes to beauty they are as good as any.
Now speaking of shopping...PA-RA-DI-SE. I must say I was more shocked by the style in Beijing, as I didn't expect it to be so on point, however Seoul cried out INSPIRATION. So many young talents and so much on offer, I certainly came back home with plenty of ideas (and fewer dollah left on my account).
Now here it depends what you are looking into when it comes to shopping.
- Do you want cheap and cheerful and everyday school girl / beach girl vibes? Then Hongdae or Ewan's Womens University are your areas. Here you'll go mad cause it's certainly FUN town. Music, food and shops are everywhere you go. There's no escape my friend. And for westeners like us, it's also quite cheap.
- They say Dongdaemun is the paradise of shopping, but that certainly depends on your taste and your patience. Here you have two options:
- 1. to hassle at the chaotic wholesale malls where nothing can be found at once BUT everything is cheap OR
- 2. to spend extra money for an item just because it is beautifully displayed even though you can find the same thing in Hongdae for half the price.
- Good thing though? Malls in Dongdaemun are open until dawn. Yep, you heard right. Department stores like Doota or Migliore are open until 6am, and if you didn't have enough, there are also street stalls selling pretty much the same outside the station.
- Now if what you are looking for is those Korean designers and young talents all western fashionistas we love so much, then probably you'll end up spending all your money around Gangnam and Sinsadong.
Seoul is certainly a city of contrasts, because you go from crazy narrow streets with vendors and neon lights all over the place, to temple-like areas, which seem to have kept part of their ancient history. Certainly a place to visit, and certainly a place I will go back to.