Seoul, South Korea

Somehow, I managed to fit in another trip in what is turning out to be a summer unlike any other. Every time I’ve said, well this is my last trip or time in my life where I’ll have this opportunity to travel, I manage to go on yet another one. This time, I was with my good friend Claire, and we spent a week exploring Seoul. I’m so thankful that she convinced me to come and expertly, lovingly, and intentionally showed me around her beloved city. Since coming back home, I’ve described Seoul and South Korea as plenty of things, as New York but better, New York on steroids, and an amusement park of a city. It was my first time venturing to Asia and as expected, it blew my mind in more ways than one.

The following are some reflections from my observations from the past week:

  • The French cafes
  • Spoons, tongs, chopsticks, and scissors are always set on the table or hidden in a table drawer
  • The skincare empire. How there is actually a skincare store at every corner.
  • Complete, integrative, and truly innovative marketing
  • Concept and flagship stores
  • The ice cream that is more ice than cream
  • Handing off and receiving items with two hands
  • Characters (kakoa and line) everywhere and how they came in every kind of product you could hope for. Towels, contact cases, and mug toppers
  • The dense humidity (and how it was the hottest summer ever…)
  • The 2018 Winter Olympics igloo stations that are situated on the river on 90+ degree days
  • chung-ui = loyalty
  • Not a lot of trashcans but overall clean streets, plus more specific recycling bins
  • Couple culture and completely matching outfits
  • Hand fans in different animal shapes
  • Cafe / green tea culture
  • Chicken and beer places
  • Beer + soju
  • Department stores closed on Mondays
  • Adorable packaging and branding that made me want to buy more
  • No “mom and pop shops” just very commercialized chains
  • How Seoul is truly commercialization and capitalism to the max
  • Hiking culture
  • The 2 year draft for men
  • The song that played when the train arrives and leaves. The general cleanliness, safety, and efficiency of the trains. The labelled exits! So you can meet your friends at an exit versus just guessing where to exit from.
  • The color coordinated buses with the round and well-thought out routes.
  • The riverside campsites with delivery service.
  • The best food ever period. The side dishes and variation in kimchi.
  • The 100 floor mall that was overwhelming in more ways than one. How carefully it was designed with it’s skincare, cafe, restaurant walks. The different parts of the mall that were themed seasonally.
  • Animal cafes–sheep and meerkats and arctic foxes!
  • McDonalds and Burger King motorcycle delivery services
  • How American brands strategically rebrand so they can be more expensive/high-end
  • The quick turnover of restaurants, bars, cafes, stores..



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