Seoul, South Korea

Coming to Seoul from a year in Southeast Asia felt a bit like we were hairy cavemen with hand carved stones mumbling "ugu-ugu" or something in the middle of a 21st century metropolis. Back to modern civilization, especially Asian one, was a big change in the scenery for us.

Seoul is huge and busy, generally very clean and well organized. Transport goes on schedule, people use smartphones, there's no smothering heat, traffic rules are taken seriously - crazy stuff! :)

We spent only 3 days in Seoul, but got to see most of its central areas including touristy center, university, party district, artsy/hip district and markets . An interesting feature about Seoul is that if you want a cheaper accommodation (around $40-50/night) - you'll be staying at a love hotel which is where younger couples go to spend the night together if their parents wouldn't allow a sleepover. The thing is that young people tend to live with their parents for a long time, so spending a night with your girlfriend or boyfriend tends to depend on your parents. Here come the love hotels with all the rooms specifically decorated and arranged for naughty times. Quite an interesting experience!

Needless to say Korean food is amazing - all the steamed, grilled, pot stewed and pickled stuff just makes your mouth water every time you pass one of the cafes or restaurants. We loved bibimbap and Korean BBQ (beef, octopus)  

All the central areas in Seoul have crowds and crowds of people walking around, the crowds appear in the morning and won't stop until late night on any day of the week. Whats even more interesting is that if you look at what these crowds are wearing you'll see that most of them are wearing New Balance - massive New Balance troops on the streets!

Koreans are very interesting people - they are extremely friendly and communicable, but they seem to have 2 styles of "friendly and communicable". One is for before 5pm, and the other is after 5pm. At around 5-6pm they finish their jobs and then so surprisingly many of them go to eat, drink and party. Here come the Soju, karaoke and drinking parlors which is where "friendly and communicable" takes off to the next level. It's fun to be part of this fun, but I'm wondering how they are managing to go to work the next day.  

While walking in the touristy area we met a local guy, university student, who offered to have a dinner together. It turned out to be quite an awesome experience as he told us a lot about South Korea, Seoul and Koreans. We went to a very typical Korean eating & drinking place where he helped us to pick some nice food to try.

We had a nice insight into Seoul and would love to get to know it a bit more sometime!