6 Simple but Memorable Things to Love from A First Visit to Seoul
I've never been to Korea before, but I was pretty sure about what Korea will look like: people with fashionable outfits on the street of Gangnam, girls with flawless skin waiting for the train to come in her dusty-pink Style Nanda hat, free unlimited kimchi in every corner of the street, tourist walking around with their hanging selfie stick in one hand and a can of soju in the other. Right? Okay, maybe the Kimchi part is not unlimited, but still. With the strike of K-Pop and K-Drama towards the modern form of human civilization, I can not NOT having some assuming imagination about the country. My friend and I lived our weekend from one Korean BBQ to another. I knew about BIGBANG and well, a glimpse of Girls Generation music videos in my memories. So that should be enough to discover everything else.
But then again, making a predicted mistake is my thing. For this super-packed trip of mine (I went with SOE Jakarta and SAMSUNG to attend their collaboration show at Fashion Kode 2017 - but more on that later), I thought I knew how to survive in Seoul's end of March weather. And to just blend in, you know, like a true traveler. I didn't. All of my thoughtful forecast about how South Korea will be were all misleading, not to mention that I didn't get smart enough to bring a single coat. So when my boyfriend and I touched down Seoul that morning, I was frozen to death. Nearly. My ears were especially dying because of the cold wind. I had to layer my sleeveless top if I want to stay alive and be able to take Instagram pictures of the beautiful sky above (priorities, checked). So I borrowed this one thick, woven bomber jacket from Monic - the creative director of SOE Jakarta; bought a cup of Cherry Blossom latte from the welcome gate Starbucks and getting my shit back together again. Phew.
Now that we passed the critical moment, I'll let you know six things about Seoul that I've completely fond of:
1. The fact that Seoul is one huge, beautiful metropolitan city surrounded by mountainous landscape.
2. Eating Korean BBQ for dinner three days in a row, and realized, in Seoul, they tasted MUCH BETTER.
3. This retro-looking car in front of Karl Lagerfeld's pop up store at Garosugil, and those two LINE character balloons.
4. Learning about the fast-changing city landscape in Seoul, including this captivating Prugio Valley building designed by the Unsangdong Architects.
5. Finding my favorite pair of Airmax 90s being put on sale for 50% and there was only one size left: MY SIZE. This Nike store at Itaewon main street were instantly won my heart.
6. Putting up a restless conversation every single time we want to ride a cab because the driver can't understand simple Google Maps (and will eventually ask to phone-call the destination for direction).
[photos taken between March 26th-31st, 2017 by Samsung Galaxy A7 camera]
I must say that I've never felt so impressed with any new places I went to, by the first time. Maybe because I'd done a proper search before I come, most of the time. And maybe because the trip was so last minute and I didn't even bother to prepare an itinerary. But one thing about Seoul really made me wish to extend my stay - its wonderful landscape, topped with comfortable weather (when you packed accordingly - ed.). There are a lot of high-profiled travel sites that offer you more valid reasons to visit Seoul, and their suggestion will be so much helpful for a practical planning. However, a first-impression is not something we can manipulate. It's raw, honest, and filled with bunch of unpredictable small moments in between. These list above are mine.
What kind of little memory you keep from a trip, and where was that?