First Time in South Korea (Seoul)
Hello, world I happen, to find myself in Seoul South Korea my, first time to travel outside of Japan and into another Asian country, I knew. Virtually nothing. A week before going, to visit so, the one thing I did was to take a look at Google Maps and scope, out the place from the air and the streets one. Thing I noticed was the clusters of residential. Apartment buildings I also, saw some beautiful mountains surrounding. The city and a huge river since. I knew zero about Seoul I put the word out on the social medias and some kind people agreed to show me around so, here's what I experienced, during my one evening two days and one morning in Seoul and. By. The way I was going to make this a chronological, video, which it'll kind, of be but, I'm going to seriously get sidetracked and, jump back and forth in time throughout the whole thing. It'll. Be fine. But. We have to start somewhere so how about at the amazing een ton airport, yeah, I'm using Google Translate for all the Korean names because well I'm guessing. He's, better than I am noon, Sun I couldn't. Really ask for much more of the airport beautiful, clean, spacious, modern. Everything. From immigration to, picking up luggage to exchanging, cash to getting Wi-Fi was easy although, I did get dinged like five percent on the exchange, finding. Where the trains were was simple and my next task was to get some t-money. No, no, not this guy these guys. Once. In my hands I loaded, it up at the kiosk and was ready to ride on the public transportation or, buy some stuff at the convenience stores, the. Train system was fantastic. It's quite affordable especially in comparison to fares around Tokyo for. Example getting into the heart of Seoul from the airport cost me four thousand, one hundred and fifty one using. The Erik's all stop train which, sounds, like a lot but it's really about four u.s. dollars okay. Quick pause here I'll mention, money a few times the, quick and dirty way to figure out how much Korean currency is in US dollars is to divide the number by one thousand yes. One, zero, zero zero one, thousand, so. If you have five thousand, one that'd be five, dollars, okay, back to trains, anyone. Who has traveled soul knows that it's about an hour commute to the heart of the city from the main International, Airport along. My ride in what caught my attention right, away was the roads the, width of the roads were a lot more similar to what I saw on my visits to the US and to what I was used to in Japan for. Example let's pause it here, that's. Ten lanes in total in Japan the biggest expressways, I've seen have six while, usually there are only four two lanes going one way two, lanes going to the other all, right so that's the highways our expressways, are whatever you call them the, local roads were, even more noticeable to me in. Tokyo you can find some eight laners every, once in a while but, the design usually includes a median more, likely it's a 2 or 4 laner honestly. Some of the streets in Seoul reminded, me a lot of some found in Vancouver, in Canada I'd. Also like some cities I visited in the United States anyways. To sum it up coming, from Tokyo I noticed that there were bigger roads and more cars and Seoul, when. I got more into the city the train went underground and well the underground is boring footage so let's just deport getting out and about a night now. The point of my trip wasn't to go and party or do the tourist stuff but, because of what I needed to film which, was not actually this video I ended, up staying in the university, area of Hongdae, where I'm told the young people like to let loose here. Check this photo out notice. Anything my. Wife did arm, holding. After. She clued me in, I opened my eyes and saw there were public displays of affection all over, the place yep. PDA, all over Seoul now. Depending on where you're from this, may be mild or tame but coming from Japan this, seemed wild, absolutely. Wild any nice. Park fun atmosphere, lots, of people enjoying a night out with friends and lovers. I was. Getting hungry and needed a bite to eat since, my only friend in Korea ditched me thanks, T just. Joke came wedding anniversaries are important things I have, to try and solve my hunger issue all by my lonesome, I decided. To limit my risk and pick a place with picture menus now, I heard Koreans were fairly decent at English and I was in a university, part of town so, I decided to simply say the name of the menu item number, one aged beef steak what I got back was a blank stare.
But. Hey that's why, the picture menu so I pointed at it and it was all good I didn't. Do a couple hours of language study but out of all that time the only thing I can say was, come Siham Lita which, I think means thanks, but who knows if any Koreans understood, me when I'd mutter it I know. You're one drink no, I don't think it was the number one aged beef steak in Seoul but, I will say that within that building sure, I'll give them that after. Eating I went to some different areas these, much more party like I noticed, so many things but to keep this video from going off the rails I'll just talk about one of them right now street, food and street vendors it. Was a nice atmosphere and, so much stuff that you could easily buy while walking the streets come, to think of it I only ever filmed people getting, good I didn't actually try any myself but. I'm sure it was all good okay. Off to bed I. Woke. Up and during the day I did the thing that I came to Seoul to do so. We're gonna skip right to the night where I did have some locals to show me the ropes first. Stop was Korean BBQ alcohol. And meat sounds, like a fun time. Yeah. Got, that whole Asian flush thing what. You've never heard of it thanks, to my DNA, alcohol. Makes my skin turn, red. It's. Called Asian flush and it. Affects about 36 percent of North East Asians, with higher rates among, Asian Americans yep. So no drinks for me but it was fun to watch. The. Meet on the other hand was great is the perfect thing for those of us on the low-carb diet. Now. I've been to Korean barbecue in Canada as well as in Japan but, it's fun to experience the real thing in Korea of, course Korean. Food in Korea is, good. After. That I was going to go home but somehow another friend joined and I was off to a pub inspired, by old-school Korea, the. Ladies prepared mock quality, which, is an unfiltered rice wine you, can see how it's cloudy since. This is an old-school bar they used these golden bowls which is reminiscent, of what was used over a half-century ago and because. You had mock quality, you, also need to get Hudson which, is a savory, pancake there. Was also Bing, young which, are thin chewy noodles in a cold vinegary, broth of course. The ever useful scissors, were used again the food. All good I have. To try a bit of luck quality, Asian. Flush or not. Okay. Good morning I showed up earlier than when I was to meet a couple fine folks, oh really, kids to my eyes so, I decided to take a stroll through the enticing gates, at Polk sukoon I. Had. A chance encounter with this group this. Was the changing of royal guards by the way I. Found. It quite fortuitous, as it, seems they had an eager following, to, get my shots I didn't, even have to run around like a groupie, lucky me. Another. Type of group I encountered, who were students some, of them were having discussions in English so, I'm assuming they were from the United States coming for culture studies that'd, be a cool experience for a korean-american I believe, most students were coming from within Korea though and in, case not a bad field trip to take after. Leaving the palace gates I met up with my first set of tour guides Jonas. And eunsu, I was, expecting, to solely go by subway and foot but instead I was told that taxi, would be the best way to quickly get where we were going, taxis. In Tokyo can be pricey so was welcome news to her that taxis in Seoul are quite affordable starting, at 3,000 won for the first two kilometers. Where. We headed to was an area in na Guangdong, it's full of small little alleyways and chic restaurants, apparently. It's not a foreign tourist hotspot, quite yet but, it is popular, among the locals. It's. Taken an old area and made it hip with stylish cafes and shops. And. Then there, was time for lunch no. We didn't eat at this shop which is making bun cool we, went to the more geriatric, area just a few blocks over. That's. Where I noticed this I was, pretty sure what was going on but, I had to ask to confirm yep, this random stuff on the road was saving parking, spots in fact, I had encountered scenes like this in my first night in the city kind of like how someone in Philadelphia, will call savesies, after, the shovel the snow away except, in Seoul this seems to be happening without, snow. One, of my tour guides. Explained. Like. Pickled. Radish. Some green salad, and, the.
Most Famous Korean, dish kimchi, fermented. Cabbage. Next. On the itinerary was, going back to the west side of town - ma Huang do now we're spending at, the entrance, toward, the mama market, and this is close to work of the stadium so, like, until, three, four years ago one celebrating. They. Put this area on his show this place was quite bad but he, revived, this place and the, market get famous but a lot of booze and we'll expect, so a lot, of people visit, three weekends, with four they humbly. I was, told this market was made by the Japanese way back when it makes sense as the overhead structure is very similar to what I've seen in Japan. For. Example this, is an arcade in Osaka and Tokyo however. The, atmosphere, is completely, different whereas. In Japan vendors, sell their wares mostly, in shops you. Can see here that the goods really bleed into the streets reminds. Me a bit of the shops I'd see in China towns. Some. Vendors will be selling directly from the farm so it's kind of a farmers market as well. This. Store is, where, they sell can't eat the, most payments, currently and, they also have salted. Side. Dishes they eat, everything, they put in a butcher. Down which is the red paste. That's all, the Korean fishes use and on a pistol soy, sauce everything, and you. Eat with some rice that is really, good. One. Of the things that visitors writing about the area seem to do is try and sample the large variety of food along the way I did, partake in a few samples but I was so busy filming and had only so many hours in the day so I sadly didn't take too much time to stop and taste everything, I'd recommend. Spending more than 30 minutes that I did and to come with an empty stomach. Despite. Some taxi rides I did find myself traveling, on the seoul metro system again i found, it quite easy to navigate the, main system in seoul proper is seoul metro which, has nine color-coded. Lines every, time you get on the metro it's only in 1251. With the t-money card for up to ten kilometers which. Is incredibly, cheap at just over one US dollar every. Station I visited had protective, walls which was very nice to see in, Tokyo many stations don't have this and every year there are many accidental, deaths. One. Thing that was hard for me not to notice, was the relief goods storage area and the smoke masks, on, some of the video streams they also had a depiction of what to do in the case of emergency, like a fire in the train I had, heard that the trains can be loud with people talking and yes people do talk on their phones at times but it's much more quiet and orderly than public transit I've taken in Vancouver, and, out of the five or six trains I caught volume, levels didn't seem that drastically, different from those in Tokyo, trains.
Although. I will say the, Seoul metro system has way more video, screens. Now. I really wanted to see inside different types of housing while in Seoul I'm a creeper what can I say but seriously. It's, something, that a tourist wouldn't get the chance to do and I wanted to be more like local, I totally. Failed in this regard but, I did get to know a little bit about the different types of housing that's, because my next local guide Peter, who's an architect was, able to share a few things with me these. Buildings, our office tells which are rooms that you can rent for business but, that also have amenities like a small kitchenette so that some people actually end, up also living where they work besides. Them and perhaps hard to distinguish, are the regular housing. This. Area is really close to the old palace walls so right after you get past the skyscrapers, you get these little houses crammed, on a hill you. May, have noticed that some of these are falling apart why. Is that I. Was. Told that some of these types of areas were redeveloped, into clusters of skyscrapers, like this. Well. This area was on its way to doing so, so why upkeep your place if it's going to be torn down and redeveloped, like. I said earlier this, is right near the historical, palace walls so redevelopment, plans have been halted by the current, Seoul City Mayor so, this resident, over here was telling us all about it and how many of the homes in front of him have been abandoned, others, have decided to not play the waiting game and simply renovated, their homes and. Over. The other side of the hill we encountered this completely, redeveloped area. If. You use Google Maps on satellite view you can see these groups of towers can be found all throughout, soil in between. Towers, I have to say that it's a very pleasant place to walk through there, are amenities, such as parks dotted all around and here's cafe seating sounds, the cafe I was. Told that some of these trees are very expensive imports, from other areas quite. A different feel from the older areas of Seoul and. What does an old housing, area look like well. Like, this. So. The, Freak, building in the back is where, the most like, Korean, people lives with their family, it. Has one voice for one health and a. Called. Pilaf, in Korean, and they're really also if you go inside us really, what. They call the pipe and bathroom, kitchen everything, is, authentic. Korean. Living, there, this. Is the one type of housing unit I was able to get into as my guide Jonas was residing in one here's. A quick tour for all you curious people. Because. I've. Just never bought it since then I. Noted. Three things that I didn't see in Japan or Canada first. Was the bathroom yes, the bathroom with no shower stall our tub so. When it gets wet it gets wet everywhere it, wet bathroom, people. I tried really hard to see a more spacious and modern bathroom. I hear they exist but what I saw in another home was similar an all-in-one bathroom, with no separation, between the shower toilet, and sink so that water would go down and drain and you need to wear slippers so as not to get your feet wet but. Hey I did get some video of a more modern bathroom, they, do exist. The, second difference is the closed in balconies. Most. Balconies in Japan may have a roof but, it's down like open air for drying clothes even. On the fancy new residential, buildings in Japan it'll, be like this. These. Old apartment blocks in Seoul have these enclosed balconies. Lastly. The third big difference is the roofs in these, old buildings it appears everyone has roof access I did. A terrible job filming, but there was a little garden as well as rx4 drying laundry. Now. You might have noticed evening was starting to fall but I actually skipped ahead a bit so, let me rewind back a little before I went to see what some of the old housing was like I found myself back in the area of Kwong Wah moon in the, distance you can see hong hwon date, which, is the entrance ting Tong did sun the, royal palace whose name means it's a paused really blessed by heaven i didn't, get in too, many other areas to travel to and through like, the young boom this dream used to be covered by concrete until when in 2003. A project, was undertaken to tear down an overpass and restore the stream while, the walk along the stream is gorgeous today it actually didn't look like this before when, I was covering concrete, in 1958, in. 1904. It looked like this, after. The Korean War in the 1950s, it, was home to makeshift houses and was a bit of an eyesore.
In Any case it's a lovely walk and the stream helps keep the temperatures, down it's. Too bad that it can only spend about 30 mins hair before, moving on to the next pot which, was young Doolin I really only stopped here as was on the way to somewhere else we were going it's, apparently a very touristy market, and, I'm told if you're looking for something more authentic you go to one like previously, shown. Next. Top you do on first, we had to catch a short bus ride to the area we. Actually traveled, right through this mountain to get here. To. One is the big boring area in Seoul there's a large US military base that's next to it called room some ug it, has been scheduled for years to be converted into a big park like Central Park in New York but, it hasn't happened yet. Whew. One is a lively area and even on the streets kind of feels like you're in the club. Dude. Yes. I'm in tavern food is what fitty cent said, something. That caught my eyes was the big open windows and seating I can see everyone eating from the outside this, is not just a new one but, in all the areas I visited, most, restaurants I see in Japan seem more closed off an intimate. While. This area clearly has born influence, I felt, that way about a lot of areas I visited some. Things were Chinese some, American, and some Japanese I was. Actually surprised by the number of US fast food chains I could see in KFC, to Dairy Queen - I. Didn't. Just have a US president there, was also a prominent Muslim, section of town as well, all. In all an interesting, mix of cultures in the area. We, ended up tonight at a restaurant that served a variety of side dishes that you might find made in a family home I didn't. Even ask my guide to explain all of them does that be an entire video in and of itself. And. Surprise. Surprise again, the food was good. Okay. So it's my last day in Seoul and I finally got to the Han River the massive river that bisects, the city into the north and south I'd. Been traveling around the north side so, it was nice to get to see the south of it this. Part of town uri dul is actually, an island in the han river and his soul's main finance, and investment, banking district, what, I saw yet again was motorbikes, which, had witnessed zooming all over town.
I. Thought. Tokyo had a lot of motorcycle, deliveries, but, I was sorely mistaken I really. Wanted to get a delivery I was, told it was a popular thing to get chicken delivered while enjoying the waterfront, along the Han River alas. This was not to be this time around something. Else I could see in the area or older style apartment, buildings the. Numbering was similar to what I've seen with public housing in Japan so I'm assuming it was public housing but I honestly don't know if this was the case. So. My guide for this morning was to show me the river park here where it's usually hustling, and bustling on the weekends quite. A different thing during, the weekdays though, something. That I wasn't expecting to see was a high number of road bikes and a low number of city bikes. In. Japan, near everyone rides basic, bikes from, mums with their kids to grandpa's out and about I. Somehow. Figured it'd be the same in Seoul but it turns out that biking, is a much more serious thing over here kind, of similar to where I used to be from in Vancouver, the, day before I had experienced, fantastic. Weather but today was not to be the same while. It was forecast, to be sunny later in the morning the fog never seemed to lift my, dad told me that if the fog hadn't, lifted by late morning it, was actually smog and not fog one. Of my guys the day before and told me that many in Seoul are now learning to monitor, the air quality through, apps it's, so much easier to see what's happening in the air you can see the flow compiled from weather data and. With that it was time to rush off to the airport but not before I had one last thing to eat. This. Time we went to a mall which, I think was the most nondistinct, building, I'd visited in all my time in Korea it could have been any mall in North America or Japan that I visited, of, course the food court was a bit different though we, did try ordering on a touchscreen but it turns out I only. Have some. I think. This was the meal with the least amount of dishes that I had had so far a. Big. Thanks to all those that showed me around Seoul and apologies, to those I wasn't able to meet up with. Thanks. For watching see you next time bye. Have, you ever lived in or visited Seoul before what. Was your experience, like I'm. Tired.