Good for my Seoul

Posted on August 16, 2010

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This post was featured on the Korea.net website in their “Blogging on Korea” section- you can find it under the title “Seoul, city of fashion and beauty,” as featured on the 1st  October 2010!

My blog post on the Korea.net website

With me slowly counting down the days till my trip to Seoul (6 days guys!), I have compilled my own itinerary (this Cookie is aways well prepared!) and, weather permitting, there are a few things I’m hoping, expecting and longing to do, see etc in SEOUL! And for those of you out there who plan to go to Seoul in the near future- maybe these things will help you plan your journey? Also, check back on my blog in 2 weeks time, as I hope to have posted a few entries post-Seoul trip about the journey, which may be of equal help to you!

Shopping heaven- Seoul, the epi-centre of Asian Fashion and Beauty?

There is one undeniable factor to Korean/Seoulite life- their well put together fashion sense; to those unfamiliar, you might group Japanese, Korean, Asian fashion in general, together and think that they have a similar ‘look,’ but those in the know will notice the subtle differences. In my opinion, Japanese fashion tends to have a quirkier, cutesy and sometimes experimental look, whilst Korean fashion tends to be a bit more Classic and feminine. If you head on over to the Yesstyle.com website (an Asian fashion wesbite) you’ll be able to search for clothes specific to country i.e. Japenese, Korean etc, and if you do, you’ll immediately notice these differences.

But, why do I call Korean fashion the ‘epi-centre’ of Asian fashion and beauty? Well, I’ve only gotten into Korean culture recently (in early 2009), during the exposion of songs by K-Pop ‘idol’ groups such as Super Junior, SNSD (Girls’ Generation), 2NE1 etc, but I soon learnt that my interest in K-Pop wasn’t a strange thing because this ‘Hallyu’ trend, has been strongly reverberating around the world for a while now and even more so during these ‘idol’ years. And because of this ‘Hallyu’ wave, many other Asian countries have been looking at Korea for music, fashion and beauty inspiration- so, unsurprisingly, you’ll see many Chinese tv programmes putting on K-Pop imitation music programmes and the youth of Vietnam buying Korean style clothing, beauty products and haircuts!

So, the joy that this ‘Hallyu’ wave brings means that during my trip to Seoul I will be able to pick up a lot of Classic clothes, and feel that I’m ‘in’ with the fashion crowd LOL and with this being a beauty blog, WOW, the choices are endless. Korean Beauty products are well made and even those which aren’t, they all have that added allure of making us equate Korean beauty products= beautifully perfect Korean skin a la Korean stars- and oh ho, aren’t the shopping choices endless! Gigantic shopping malls, underground shopping malls, outlets, markets, fashion streets and so much more! And I’m especially keen to check out these places for my Fashion and beauty needs:

Myeongdong (Click to read more about the area)

"Nature Republic" Myeongdong Store

Just as London has Oxford Street for 2 miles (or so) worth of shopping needs- Seoul has Myeongdong, as THE area to go for young fashion needs and being located in Seoul’s city centre, transportation to this shopping heaven is a doddle. Here you’ll find high street International brands (Gap, American Apparel) sitting alongside major Shopping Malls (Magliore, Shinshaegae, Lotte) and so many other Korean fashion/beauty related street vendors and stores in between. What’s more, with such a wide variety of stores in one area, you’ll be sure to find one that fits your taste and budget! And if that doesn’t help then how about major discounts as part of the Korean governments “Visit Korea” promotions as an incentive HERE? I know that I’ll be keeping my eye out for these stores here: Nature Republic, Spao, Forever 21,  Baviphat, Etude House, Laneige and SO much more!

A bit of European Cafe Culture

Coffee is hip alright? It just shouts ‘cool’ regardless of where you are in the world and whatever disposible, paper coffee cup you may be holding in your hand you will definitely feel ‘cool’ as well as refreshed! But one thing better then take out coffee is ‘cafe culture,’ you’ve all seen it, and if you haven’t then lemme paint the picture; French music comes over the airwaves (violin based), you sit outside a cafe on the terrace, sipping your favourite coffee (Mocha/Caramel Latte) and watch the world and it’s beautiful people walk by you… then slowly wonder why the seat next to you is empty, no boyfriend- Cookie ponders 😦 Well, you’re in luck, because there is one fab street (I’ve read about) for great cafe culture!

Garosu gil” The tree lined street.

(Click on the title above to read abit more about the area)

Coffee Smith

Ahhh, look at that picture, doesn’t that just scream “Cool Cafe?” Yes, this giant 2 storey cafe is “Coffee Smith” a Japanese imported cafe, sitting in the French inspired surroundings of this Seoul street, located in the ‘rich’ Gangnam suburbs south of the Han River- what a cultural melting pot eh?

I love the idea behind this quaint street, you get little boutiques dotted along this street, along with cool cafes and restaurants- ah some of my favourite things in life, fashion and food! With an undeniable cool factor, you’ll probably be able to spot some of Seouls hottests stars shopping or dining near you- I just hope that this ‘cool’ factor isn’t so much reflected in their prices, but living in London, I’m no  stranger to paying £4 for a cup of coffee, so maybe I’ll find my place in an outdoor cafe terrace- weather permitting?

Palaces Galore!

One of the reasons why I love travelling around the Orients is the rich culture each destination can offer me, and whilst I’m not much of a cultural buff, I do appreciate the visual effects that a beautiful old palace can offer a person! The bonus for me is that Seoul has numerous, old palaces dotted around it’s city centre and suburbs! Hehe 🙂

Gyeongbokgung Palace , Changgyeonggung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace- To name a few!

Gyeongbokgung Palace Secret Huwon Garden

Despite my heritage, I’ve yet been to China, but with my trip to Seoul I’ll hopefully be able to fulfil a childhood dream of walking into an old palace and feeling as if I’ve walked back in time into a different era, and looking at this pic of Gyeongbokgung Palace’s secret garden- maybe this will be a dream fulfilled? And the added bonus of Seoul’s many palaces is that they have a multi-pass discount ticket where you can visit 4 palaces for just 11,000 won! Woot.

Street Food? Pull me up a pew!

Click HERE and be prepared for a visual feast of the Korean street food on offer!

Korean Street Food Stall

Asian street food is incomparable to any Western counterpart I mean, here in the UK street food tends to be of the Kebab or Chocolate peanut types (not a whole lotta variety there), but in Asia you can have a whole meal whilst sitting squat like on a mini chair! I LOVE IT. The whole experience really harks back to my time last year in Hanoi, sitting by the roadside eating the best stir fried noodles, won ton soups, desserts and a whole plerphora of foods. Well in Seoul, you can sit also sit outside like in Hanoi or you can do as most Seoulites would and stand at food carts and have a meal! We’re talking about Tteokbokki, Kimbap, Sundae, Mandu and so many other Korean street food items; my personal ‘looking forward to’ items has to be the foot high ice creams (yes you read right), Korean Savoury Pancakes, deep fried foods and oh so cheap (goodbye £6 worth) Beard Papas! So if my tongue can’t quite handle the (notoriously) hot Korean cuisine, at least I’ll be able to find my place amongst the street food vendors.

My fascination with Seoul is so great and there is SO much more to do there, but I’ll save all that good stuff for my future entries post-Seoul trip okay? This was just a little taster. So check back soon 😉

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Posted in: Seoul