There is something about Seoul. Every nook and corner of this city brims with positive vibes that are hard to miss and can uplift you even on a dreary day. The bottoms of coffee mugs come with inspiring messages such as ‘life is delicious’. Bakeries come with interesting names such as ‘All possible, start’, and even hotel room key holders offer positive statements such as ‘lucky to have you’. Like most cosmopolitan cities, there’s no dearth of activities to choose from here, so here’s our list of the feel-good activities to indulge in when in Seoul.
One of the finest ways to discover a city is to take a leisurely walk around its hidden nooks, alleys and lanes to discover the stories that give the city its unique identity. However, when in Seoul, all you need to do is book yourself a tour on Seoullo 7017, the former Seoul Station overpass that was constructed in 1970 as a response to the growing traffic congestion in Seoul. Today, it has been transformed into an elevated pedestrian walkway where people can wander and soak in the sights and sounds of the buzzing city. Making the walk all the more interesting are the tour guides, who tell you the most fascinating stories about the history and culture of the city.
Spend an uninterrupted day at local bathhouses – called jimjilbang – and discover authentic Korean pampering. These 24-hour, gender-segregated public bathhouses feature relaxing hot and cold soaking pools, bathing and massage areas, saunas, entertainment lounges and even communal sleeping rooms. Many of the sleeping rooms are decorated with wood, minerals, crystals, stones and metals to make the ambient mood more natural. Spa Lei situated in Seocho-gu Jamwondong is a women-only jimjilbang and sauna that offers a variety of facilities.
STORY GARDEN BY AMOREPACIFIC
AmorePacific Corporation has been one of the most prominent brands from the South Korean retail landscape to make its mark globally. Story Garden at AmorePacific’s beauty campus in Osan city is perhaps one of the best ways to discover the brand’s unique journey, legacy and philosophy. Make it a point to include the award-winning factory tour in your itinerary. It beautifully depicts how the company’s founder, Suh Sung-whan, started as assistant to his mother – who created and sold camellia hair oil – and eventually went on to create the business empire that AmorePacific is today.
One of the most popular attractions in the city is the newly opened Seoul Sky. Located between the 117th and 123rd floors of Seoul’s tallest building, Lotte World Tower, Seoul Sky offers you a splendid panoramic view of the city. The sky deck on the 118th floor is the world’s highest glass-floored observation deck, and on a clear day affords views of as far as Songdo, Incheon and the Yellow Sea. Even the Sky Shuttle elevator is recorded as both the fastest double-deck elevator – with a speed of 600 metres per minute – and the elevator covering the longest distance.
SULWHASOO FLAGSHIP STORE
While the AmorePacific portfolio boasts of over 20 cosmetic brands, Sulwhasoo is its most highend as well as most popular brand. Sulwhasoo also holds the distinction of being the first science-based Korean luxury medicinal skincare system. Garnering international attention in 2012 after it was revealed that Ri Sol-ju, wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was a loyal consumer, Sulwhasoo has recently opened a flagship store in the Gangnam district in Seoul. Ensure a visit to this flagship store that not only houses the gorgeous Sulwhasoo Spa, but also a boutique in which you buy the latest products. The heritage room on Level 1F showcases its history and offers a beautiful peek into the journey of the brand.
No trip to Seoul can be complete without some shopping. The good thing is that Seoul presents you with multiple options to choose from. Myeongdong is a good area to start in. Not only does it house the famous Lotte Department store, which has several floors of duty free shopping where you can shop hands free (buy and pick up at the airport), but it also boasts some of the biggest international brands. Dongdaemun, on the other hand, is your best bet for some local Korean fashion. There are several must-visit malls here such as Doota, Migilore and Hello apM. Garosugil is where you can find boutiques selling the latest designs. Here, you will also spot some very trendy cafés and restaurants to relax in when you fancy a break from all the shopping.