I ask myself, is it better than other places?
After almost one and a half year I come to the conclusion that the grass is always greener on the other side. Life here is good but whenever I see my friends' pictures from other corners of the earth, it draws me elsewhere just the same as it had drawn me out of Munich.
But if you end up here, might as well get the best out of it. Apart from the obligatory -- like getting Korean BBQ, go up Namsan Tower, sing noraebang, shop in Myeongdong and/or Dongdaemun, visit Gyeongbokgung and sample Makkeoli -- here is my list of things to do in Seoul.
1.) Hang at the Han River -- Day version
The Han River divides Seoul in two and is an excellent spot to idle away warm sunny days. Rent bicycles or tandems and cruise along the river, play badminton, Frisbee or just bathe in the sun. It's a cool spot to just hang or maybe have a romantic date. Follow this link for your own self-made picnic with treats from your local convenience store.
2.) Hang at the Han River -- Night version
The Han River is also the perfect spot to hang around during warm summer nights. Settle down right next to the water or on the grass and get fried chicken or pizza delivered right to where you're at. Yep, Korean delivery delivers everywhere. Alcoholic beverages are optional.
3.) Getting dranks Korean ghetto style
Some convenience stores in Korea have an extra seating area in- or outside. Grab some cans of beers or a bottle of soju plus some snacks of your choice and drink right there. Beats expensive bars and 'hofs' and is guaranteed 100% Korean. For dinner, have cup ramyeon and enjoy while standing.
4.) People watching around Garosu-gil
Garosu-gil is hip, so head there for some shopping and then expensive coffee, tea and cakes. Make sure to get good seats and lean back for some people watching. It's a nice looking area filled with nice looking people. Later on, grab dinner at Deli Heinzburg or Buccella.
5.) Learn Korean
All universities in Korea, like Yonsei, Ewha, Sogang, Kyunghee or Seoul National University, offer Korean courses. Choose between regular courses that stretch over three months, and three weeks intensive courses. They're all good, and all cost approximately the same, and also anyone can apply. If you are honestly interested, google. Don't ask me.
6.) Idle away your time like a real Korean...
...and settle down for the day in one of the many coffee shops around. Coffee shops in Korea are everywhere, so choose one to your liking, bring your laptop or book, don't forget headphones and some music, order a drink, and spend the rest of the day there. Coffee shops in Korea are cozy, almost all of them offer free WiFi and power outlets and sometimes there are free magazines, too. Drinks are overpriced, but you basically pay for the space you occupy, so all is dandy.
7.) Stock up on crazy useless but nonetheless adorable cute stationery and home accessories
Korea is a treasure trove of cute stationery and other living and home accessories you never knew you needed. Pop into shops like Artbox, Kosney, 10x10, mmmg, I think so, and others, and throw away your hard earned money for colorful cable winders, funny bookmark sets or your nth lined notebook.
8.) Go mountain hiking
I wouldn't have thought it but Koreans love mountain hiking. It's a popular pastime especially among Korean aunties and uncles as they gather every weekend in their hiking gear to climb one of the many mountains in and around the cities. You'll not exactly step into wild nature in the mountains; there are paths and stairs, but around you it's fresh nature nonetheless and the view from the top will be stunning. It's a wonderful way to get out of the city without actually having to get out of the city.
9.) Go everywhere by taxi
Taxis in Korea are damn cheap and you almost always get one anywhere, except when it rains. At night, fees rise a little but are still cheap. Of course taking the taxi every single time will add up, no matter how cheap they are, but do not hesitate to grab one when you're supertired, don't know where you are, or are just too lazy to walk.
10.) Do the jimjilbang
Want to relax, get a massage, do sauna, dip into a hot bath? Or do you just need a place to crash? Go jimjilbang, Korean sauna. The main draw are the sauna and hot bath areas, but there's also reclining areas to rest and sleep. Some jimjilbangs also have internet cafes, karaoke rooms, restaurants and snack areas. They're open 24h so you can stow away your luggage and crash for the night, too. The dressing rooms, saunas and bathing areas are of course separated by sex, but the rest of the facilities are shared. Here is the symbol you'll need to look out for to find one.