Off The Beaten Path around Seoul
Seoul has the obvious tourist gems and the shopping meccas for anyone looking for the easy going trip. And then there is those places you might have heard a whisper about and wanna go have a look. If you are one of those avid must find every nook and cranny kind of tourist then this list is for you. First off, here is some useful tips to make your trip to Seoul worthwhile.
- The T-Money card can be used to pay the fare on buses, subways, trains, and taxis. There is also a small discount for each fare and free transfers.
- Use common sense and precaution when out and about. Safety can be quite be a secondary thought here.
- Be sure to wear comfortable shoes so you can walk around without issue.
Naksan Public Art
Naksan Public Art has been around since 2006, when the project first took off, some 70 artists had conjured up a variety of murals, sculptures, street furniture, and other artsy pieces worth a look. All around the base concept of “connecting, merging, and associating”. The close by Naksan Park provides space for a pleasant stroll and nice hilltop views of the city. This place is a casual 1-2 hour walk up and down hills. While hard to some, it is worth it as a break away from the high volume city centres where you could be most of the time.
Seodaemun Prison History Hall
Though mostly unknown to outsiders, Seodaemun Prison is a heart wrenching place to Koreans. During the colonial period, the Japanese imprisoned, tortured, and executed many Koreans here. These days, the prison is a museum where you can learn about the Korean independence movement and take a tour around the jail cells, watchtowers, and the execution room, as well as some realistic and harrowing recreations of the torture and interrogation methods that were used here. Seodaemun Prison provides a gruesome insight to some of Korea’s darkest history. A side of Korea most travellers are sure to not even know a bit about.
Think twice about going here if you intend to go with kids, some of the tour may be too brutal for them.
Foreign language tours are available.
The museum is closed every Monday.
Inwangsan is a historically significant rocky mountain that’s very popular with hiking aficionados though it isn’t very high. With the remnants of the stone city walls guiding you, the mountain paths take you on the way to historic fortresses and the Buddhist temple, Inwangsa. While the peak offers 360 views of Seoul city on clear days. The mountain is also known for its unique boulders formations, which have been bestowed names such as ‘hat rock,’ ‘eagle rock,’ ‘crouching tiger rock,’.
Springtime is especially popular.
The mountain paths are closed every Monday.
Central Asian Village
Just south of Dongdaemun Market lies Gwanghui-dong, where migrants from Russia and Central Asia first began settling and setting up shop in the ’80s. The area came to be known as ‘Little Russia,’ ‘Mongol Town,’ and ‘Central Asian Village,’ depending on who you are talking to. The latter name is probably the most appropriate, as the neighbourhood has a distinct blend of Russians, Kazakhstani, Uzbeki, Mongolian, and others. Today, In the slightly run down neighbourhood signs are overflowing with both Cyrillic and Korean, and there are a bewildering sights and scents that are highly unusual to locals even. Its bound to happen where you forget that you’re in the middle of Seoul for that split second!
Real imported vodka from Russia and Central Asia can be found in this area.
If you’re too stuffed to eat dinner, buy some bread from a bakery or have some cheap Asian beer or vodka.
There is more out there to see naturally. Just a matter of doing the research. The gems are out there in Seoul, you possibly could even end up in a place where even locals are unsure where or what it is.