Photo Journal: Korea’s Modern Seoul

It’s the holidays; a time for feasts and funny fits with friends and family! And this year-end season marks the beginning of my fourth year abroad and away from New York City — my home for 27 years.


As I look back on this past 12 months, I’m filled with gratitude for the awe-inspiring experiences that have filled my eyes, belly and soul. And of course for the friends, old and new, that have made every foreign city feel like home.


With a few days left for the year, I wanted to post one final entry about one of the most fun trips of the year. The short 2-day trip included everything from exploring historical sites (read here), pontificating at local cafés, shopping like a zombie, eating and drinking like a sailor and laughing maniacally like there’s no tomorrow…


Here are some quick highlights (an aspirational guide for all my trips) for the whirlwind of a weekend in Seoul:


Shop ’til you drop.
Korea takes shopping to a whole new level with its famous Dongdaemun market, the mecca of domestic Korean fashion. Opening its doors at 9pm, shoppers can literally shop until they drop (or until 5am, when they close). And that’s precisely what we did! After dropping our bags at the hotel, we headed over to this area for the latest styles in Asia at wholesale prices.


Warm your spirits.
Having grown up with lots of Korean friends, I have experienced firsthand their penchant for social drinking! (And I did a quick search on google and S. Korea ranked #1 for consumption of spirits per capita). The drinks of choice? Soju (distilled spirit made from rice or other starches), maekju (beer) and makgeolli (sweet rice and barley alcohol) are found on every corner!


Fill your belly.
I don’t know what it is about Korean food but it’s like crack! I’d say the majority of my food cravings are for Korean food, especially on a cold winter’s night. Korean BBQ, ox tail soup, bibimbap, soft tofu soup, kimbap, seafood pancake, just to name a few! One of the latest additions to this list, added during this trip, was live octopus still squirming on our plate like worms!! Watch it here. The trick? Chew really fast.


Catch up with old friends and new.
Visiting a new city is always always always better when you have a true local to show you around. And we couldn’t have had a better host than Keith, an old high school friend who founded — the most complete travel guide to all things Korean. Check out his site for the best spots to eat, drink and be merry. He also covers other scintillating topics like pooping in Korea and beautiful fat Korean selfies.


Say and do ridiculous things.
A few ridiculous and potentially incriminating events of the weekend: Better keep a lid on these… but these memories will last a lifetime. Cheers to a new year of memories and laughs!



Lotte Hotel World
30, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu,
Seoul, South Korea
+82 2 771 1000


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Write a Comment

  • Excellent photos. What type of camera / lens do you use? Any specific settings you use to capture such great looking shots?

    Wonderful post – never been to Korea but obviously have to go.

    8 January 2014 at 2:03 PM
  • Thank you, Lis, for transporting me with your imagery and narration of Seoul. Truly beautiful. And love any reference to food and drink. What could be better than Korean BBQ and beer? I would love to visit someday. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences.

    8 January 2014 at 11:46 AM
  • Gorgeous photos! I’m intrigued by the live octopus but I have to admit that I couldn’t bring myself to watch the video. I’m also trying to wrap my brain around a mall that opens at 9 pm! Sounds like a fun-filled adventure!

    8 January 2014 at 7:35 AM
  • jun kim

    Great pictures. Seriously.

    7 January 2014 at 5:01 PM
  • The pictures in your blog are gorgeous and I love the descriptions of what to do in the city — I love the focus on my favorite areas (food and drink). I never thought about traveling to Seoul but will definitely add it to my list! I love how brave you are to leave your home and spend time abroad!

    4 January 2014 at 7:22 AM
  • First of all I have to say that I love your photos! I have always wanted to go to Seoul (among many other places!). Reading about herewith your glorious descriptions just make me want to go visit even more now!

    3 January 2014 at 12:15 PM
  • What a beautiful blog! I’m glad you stopped by my blog because it led me to yours. :) I’m actually Korean but haven’t been to Seoul in years, so your post just makes me want to go even more. And YES, Koreans definitely know how to drink!! (Except me, I’m missing this gene haha)

    30 December 2013 at 11:24 AM