Seoul is the capital of South Korea and the epicentre of the K-Pop phenomenon that has spread throughout Asia. For Singaporeans fascinated with Korean culture, making a trip to Seoul is akin to Catholics visiting the Vatican. A holy pilgrimage awaits. Be sure to read our guide to Korea we created!
Seoul, South Korea
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I don't know where to start. Seoul is the epitome of perfection. The food, the culture, the people, the attractions...there's just a certain charm that attracts me to revisit Seoul over and over again.
First up. SHOPPING. Myeongdong is every girl's shopping dream come true. The huge variety and affordability of Korean cosmetics made me dizzy with happiness. Even if you don't want to buy cosmetics, just walk down one of the streets and you'll end up with an armful of free cosmetic samples for you to try. Other than Myeongdong, I'll recommend Express Bus Terminal, Hongdae and Dongdaemun for shopping. These places are awesome.
Other thing I love about Seoul is that it has lots of cafes. After shopping, it can be really therapeutic to just sit down in a cafe and people watch. There are lots of interesting cafes all around Seoul, such as the Hello Kitty themed cafe in Hongdae, and cat cafes in Myeongdong. Other than cafes, I really love the Korean food. From spicy rice cakes, ginseng chicken soup to Korean fried chicken, there's bound to be something suitable for everyone.
I love the friendliness of the locals too. Even though there might be a slight language barrier, the locals will go out of the way to help you. This is behaviour that is hard to find in other countries. So what are you waiting for? Plan a trip to Seoul now!
Okay, one might be put off instantly when you start jostling in the crowds with the locals - the locals do not stop and will simply push or shove anyone who gets in their way. But wait, they are REALLY helpful and approachable. Contradictory? Yes. Really weird? Yes. When i was trying to figure how to maneuver within the subway stations, i was approached by many locals more than once asking me if i needed help. APPROACHING me, out of their own goodwill? Damn. Plus 1! They even went out of their way to help me buy the train tickets and explained how the machines worked. I couldn't believe my eyes.
Trust me on this; their locals are the best. Never hesitate if you want to ask for help! I have to say though, the language barrier is a little frustrating at times. Many Koreans are not fluent with English, although most are more comfortable with Chinese.
I absolutely love Korea.
My love affair with Korea began when I was 16 years old. I won the Singapore WCG championship and was flown to Korea to represent Singapore in competition. It was also where I gave out my first autograph to a Korean in a flowery notepad!
One of the moments that left a deep impression was when I was looking for directions. I remember how a random Korean Uncle went out of his way and walked with me 15 mins to help me find my location, because he was unable to explain it in English. It was a long walk.
I was touched by the kindness of Koreans and also fell in love with the culture and the food. I still remember the very first time I tasted Kim Chi! I was warned it was an acquired taste and my taste buds had quite the shock. Who would think I can eat it casually all the time now.
And the women here were the most beautiful I had ever seen. Back then I declared to my friends that I will one day marry a Korean. It was just wishful thinking but who knew it would one day come true? haha... 16 year old me would be very proud!
Seoul is one of my favourite cities in the world and I've been there about 8 times now.