5 Hour Activities


O’NGO FOODS
12, Samildae-ro 30-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-3446-1607
ongofood.com

GWANGJANG MARKET
88, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-2267-0291
kwangjangmarket.co.kr

DONGDAEMUN DESIGN PLAZA
281, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu
82-(0)2-2153-0000
ddp.or.kr

OKRUMONG
281, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, floor B2
82-(0)2-2153-0724

GET A TASTE OF OLD AND NEW SEOUL

  • Explore your culinary side with a Korean cookery class
  • Sample the spicy flavors of Seoul’s most popular street market
  • Fancy something sweet? Try red bean shaved ice at a chic modern cafe

Start with a morning cooking class at O’ngo Foods with levels ranging from basic to expert. The beginner level starts with a market tour at 9:30am, and courses include bulgogi and kimchi; seafood pancake and soft tofu stew; and stone bowl bibimbap. From there, it’s one subway stop to Gwangjang Market, Seoul’s most popular street food market. Ddeokbokki, rice cakes in spicy pepper sauce, is a must, as are the crispy mung bean pancakes (which can be ordered without meat if you ask (say “gogi bbeh-juseyo”). Makgeolli (rice ale) is the drink of choice with these savory pancakes, so order up. More daring diners should try jokbal, or steamed pork trotters, best eaten with fermented shrimp dipping sauce. Take Line 5 one more stop east for the night views at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), Zaha Hadid’s once controversial but now beloved work of modern architecture, which also occasionally hosts outdoor art exhibits. If you have space for dessert, head down to floor B2 of DDP to hyper-chic Okrumong, a red bean shaved-ice (patbingsu) café that cooks up local Korean red beans in-house and layers it over finely-shaved, milky ice.
From the Conrad Seoul you can be cooking up a storm at O’ngo Foods in just 25 mins. Jump on the 5 Line train at Yeouido and take it north to Jongno 3-ga. From the station walk up Samil-daero and around into the slightly hidden alley of Samil-daero 30-gil.

O’NGO FOODS
12, Samildae-ro 30-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-3446-1607
ongofood.com

GWANGJANG MARKET
88, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-2267-0291
kwangjangmarket.co.kr

DONGDAEMUN DESIGN PLAZA
281, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu
82-(0)2-2153-0000
ddp.or.kr

OKRUMONG
281, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, floor B2
82-(0)2-2153-0724

YIDO
191 Changdeokgung-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-722-0756
yido.kr

KWANGJUYO
42-2 Bukchon-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-741-4801
kwangjuyo.com

SOGNO
71-2 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-730-1460
sognojewelry.co.kr

LYA NATURE
94, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-732-2833
lyanature.com

TCHAI KIM
4, Samcheong-ro 4-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-736-6692
blog.naver.com/tchaikim

THE SECOND BEST IN SEOUL
122-1, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-734-5302

SSAMZIGIL
44, Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-736-0088
ssamzigil.co.kr

O’SULLOC
Insadong branch: 45-1 Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-732-6427
osulloc.com

SHOP THE MODERN BOUTIQUES OF A TRADITIONAL NEIGHBORHOOD

  • Shop for traditionally-inspired ceramics
  • From all-natural soap to handcrafted jewelry, discover one of a kind gifts to bring home

Insadong is the predictable tourist souvenir shopping spot. Don’t be distracted and head a bit further north and you’ll find an area full of tiny boutiques, small museums, galleries and classic hanok houses with wooden beams and curved tile roofs. First, make a pit stop to see the ceramics at Yido and KwangJuYo, both of which sell traditionally-inspired ceramics. Then cut westward to the commercial area of Samcheongdong where you’ll find shopping in spades (navigate the hills of the Bukchon Hanok Village for beautiful views, or take the easy way through on the main roads). Some shops worth visiting include Sogno for their delicate, ladylike jewelry (with semi-precious stones in one shop and precious stones in their adjacent shop); the beautiful packaged all-natural soaps at LYA Nature, by Korean mega-celebrity Lee Young Ae; and the workshop of modern hanbok designer Tchai Kim, whose clothing and bags are inspired by traditional Korean garb. Then grab a snack—try the red bean porridge and tea at the charmingly humble The Second Best in Seoul. From there, head back south of Anguk Station to one-stop-shop Ssamziegil, a reliable shopping center for handcrafted, local knickknacks and fun gifts. Just across the street is a branch of Jeju Island tea shop O’Sulloc, a great place to find unique teas. Avoid the poetically named fruit-blended teas in neon packaging and stick with the classic green and fermented black teas like Sejak and Samdayeon.
A simple journey away, take the 5 Line train from Yeouido to Jongno 3-ga to bring you into the middle of the Jongno-gu neighbourhood. Commonly known as the face and heart of Korea, this area has played an important role in the history, culture, economics and politics of the country. With wide, tree-lined streets all around, it’s also a great example of urban beauty.

YIDO
191 Changdeokgung-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-722-0756
yido.kr

KWANGJUYO
42-2 Bukchon-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-741-4801
kwangjuyo.com

SOGNO
71-2 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-730-1460
sognojewelry.co.kr

LYA NATURE
94, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-732-2833
lyanature.com

TCHAI KIM
4, Samcheong-ro 4-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-736-6692
blog.naver.com/tchaikim

THE SECOND BEST IN SEOUL
122-1, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-734-5302

SSAMZIGIL
44, Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-736-0088
ssamzigil.co.kr

O’SULLOC
Insadong branch: 45-1 Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-732-6427
osulloc.com

DAELIM MUSEUM
21, Jahamun-ro 4-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-720-0667
daelimmuseum.org

BOAN YEOGWAN
33, Hyoja-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-720-8409
cafe.naver.com/boaninn.cafe

GALLERY RYUGAHEON
10-3, Hyoja-ro 7-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-720-2010
ryugaheon.com

TOSOKCHON
5, Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-737-7444
tosokchon.com

CHECK OUT A HIP SCENE

  • Immerse yourself in arts and culture with a visit to inspiring galleries
  • Try Seoul’s most popular samgyetang restaurant for traditional chicken stew

Just west of Gyeongbok Palace, a young arts scene has sprung up in recent years, spurred partly by the presence of the Daelim Museum, which brings in fashion, design, media installations, performance art and more from around the world. You’ll find several other gallery spaces nearby, including Boan Yeogwan, a former inn built in the 1930s converted (with minimal alterations) into a cramped but unique gallery. Also worth visiting is Gallery Ryugaheon, a photography gallery set into a traditional hanok home. When it’s time for dinner, grab a meal at Tosokchon, Seoul’s most popular samgyetang restaurant (expect especially long lines in summer, when it’s traditional to eat this chicken stew). The chicken is stuffed with gingseng, jujubes, gingko nuts, and sweet rice and boiled in a light broth (salt is provided on the table for you to season according to your tastes).
The 5 Line train to Gwanghwaman will take you to the Tongui Dong neighbourhood and galleries which can all be found within close proximity of each other. Tosokchon is also nearby, meaning you can visit all of these locations with no additional travel.

DAELIM MUSEUM
21, Jahamun-ro 4-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-720-0667
daelimmuseum.org

BOAN YEOGWAN
33, Hyoja-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-720-8409
cafe.naver.com/boaninn.cafe

GALLERY RYUGAHEON
10-3, Hyoja-ro 7-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-720-2010
ryugaheon.com

TOSOKCHON
5, Jahamun-ro 5-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-737-7444
tosokchon.com

THE KING SEJONG STORY
175, Sejongdae-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-399-1154
sejongstory.or.k

TIONAL FOLK MUSEUM/NATIONAL KIDS MUSEUM
37, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-3704-3114
kidsnfm.go.kr/eng

TONGIN MARKET
18, Jahamun-ro 15-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-722-0911

RUBY SODAS
51, Pirundae-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-722-0750
kidsnfm.go.kr/eng

OGIN ORAKSHIL
28, Ogin-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-737-4788
facebook.com/okingame

EXPLORE KOREA’S HISTORY

  • Learn about Korea’s history and language at a museum celebrating one of their most iconic figures
  • Swap gold coins for a lunchbox of fresh market food
  • Get hands-on learning with fun interactive exhibits at a children’s museum

Start with a quick stop at The King Sejong Story, a museum about Korea’s most famed ruler located beneath his statue in the main Gwanghwamun Square. You’ll be able to learn the basics of the Korean alphabet through interactive digital exhibitions, and listen to ancient Korean music. Then make your way up the national mall to Gyeongbok Palace. The palace is too huge for most adults’ attention spans so beeline for the main throne room and the lake pavilion behind it. Luckily, there’s the children’s museum in the National Folk Museum, adjacent to the palace. Kids can learn about everyday Korean life through hands-on activities. Entrance is free but reservations are highly recommended. From there, it’s a five-minute cab ride to Tongin Market, a traditional food market that’s been open for 70 years. To revitalize the old market, they started a “lunchbox” program that’s been wildly successful: For 5,000 won you get a plastic tray and ten gold coins to spend on real food from real market vendors. A typical side dish, or banchan, like cucumber kimchi or acorn jelly will cost you one gold coin, and more substantive dishes like fried lotus and pork patties will cost you two. (Tip: avoid peak lunch hours as seating is scarce.) Here, you’ll see a dozen kinds of kimchi, fried and steamed dumplings, spicy dried squid and dried anchovies, as well as noodles, sausages and fruit. After eating, head out the back of the market and cross the street to try some sodas and floats with a traditional Korean twist at the retro-themed Ruby Sodas, which also sells retro Korean penny candies (we give the mulberry float five stars). Finish off your day with a few retro games of Tetris, PacMan or Street Fighter at the old-school Ogin Orakshil, a video game arcade open since the 1980s.
From the Conrad Seoul, ride the 5 Line train to Gwanghwamun, which only takes around 20 minutes. From there, it’s only a minute or two from the station to the museum – watch out for the vast stone pillars and traditional Asian geometric patterns which decorate this striking building.

THE KING SEJONG STORY
175, Sejongdae-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-399-1154
sejongstory.or.k

TIONAL FOLK MUSEUM/NATIONAL KIDS MUSEUM
37, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-3704-3114
kidsnfm.go.kr/eng

TONGIN MARKET
18, Jahamun-ro 15-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-722-0911

RUBY SODAS
51, Pirundae-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-722-0750
kidsnfm.go.kr/eng

OGIN ORAKSHIL
28, Ogin-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-737-4788
facebook.com/okingame

STOCK UP IN THE K-BEAUTY CAPITAL

  • Take your pick of the latest cool and quirky Korean beauty products
  • Treat yourself to a facial or another beauty trend: eyelash extensions
  • Enjoy a bowl of hearty warming broth from a bustling street market

Korean beauty brands are about so much more than BB cream, and Myeondong is the neighborhood to find it all in one spot. Start on the streets for the most accessible brands, including the all-natural Innisfree, with products derived from Korea’s Jeju Island, and the fun and feisty Too Cool for School, whose look include dismembered dolls and dinosaur sketches. We know this may sound like a rebellious teen’s dream, but their innovative products like the one-day tattoo eyebrow pencil and their snowman-shaped makeup pouf are fantastic for girls of all ages. For more upscale finds, the first floors of nearby Shinsegae and Lotte department stores carry top Korean cosmetic brands including Sulwhasoo, O Hui, and su:m 37. Sulwhasoo in particular has made headlines for its ginseng-infused skincare line, and has recently started selling at Bergdorf Goodman in New York. O Hui has an excellent spray-on sunblock that goes on light, and su:m 37 is known for their “Secret Programming Essence” which is made with over 80 types of fermented plants. Done shopping? Treat yourself to a popular Korean beauty trend: eyelash extensions. There are dozens of small salons that offer this service, but Witch Nails is one of the brightest and newest. Extensions take around an hour, depending on how thick you want them. Lashes made from silk are the most expensive but look most natural. Go authentic for dinner: From Myeongdong, walk 10 minutes westward to the bustling and touristy Namdaemun Market. Skip the souvenir shopping here unless something really catches your eye, and look for the tiny side alleys serving up cheap and delicious bowls of noodles and dumplings—a classic favorite is kalguksu, or knife-cut noodles in little-neck clam broth.
Roughly 40 minutes away by taxi, Myeongdong is one of Korea’s busiest commercial districts with narrow streets and brightly colored signs all competing for your attention. You’ll find Namdaemun Market near Hoehyeon train station on Toegye-ro.

INNISFREE – MYEONGDONG BRANCH
15, Myeongdong-gil, Jung-gu
82-(0)2-776-0117
innisfree.co.kr

TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL – MYEONGDONG BRANCH
19, Myeongdong 4-gil, Jung-gu
82-(0)2-752-2004
toocoolforschool.com

WITCH NAILS
38, Myeongdong 8-gil, Jung-gu
82-(0)2-318-1533
blog.naver.com/witch_nail

NAMDAEMUN MARKET
21, Namdaemunsijang 4-gil, Jung-gu
82-(0)2-753-2805

SEOUL FORTRESS WALL
Stretches 18km around Seoul
seoulcitywall.seoul.go.kr

GYEYEOLSA
7, Baekseokdong-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-391-3566

JAHA SONMANDU
12, Baekseokdong-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-394-4488
sonmandoo.com

KIM WHANKI MUSEUM
63, Jahamun-ro 40-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-391-7701
whankimuseum.org

RA CAFÉ
19, Baekseokdong 1ga-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-379-1975
racafe.kr

JEO JIP CHOPSTICKS GALLERY
142-1 Changuimun-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-3417-0119
chopstickshouse.co.kr

HEAD OUT OF TOWN

  • Hike along a historic wall for spectacular views out across the city
  • Try some famous fried chicken, or for the brave – sample spicy snails
  • Visit a museum dedicated to one of Korea’s pioneering modern artists
  • Splurge on chopsticks that are works of art unto themselves

One of the best ways to gets some exercise while seeing the meteoric evolution of Seoul is hiking along the Seoul Fortress Wall. You’ll definitely want sturdy footwear because it’s fairly steep and unpaved in certain sections. Use this map (http://seoulcitywall.seoul.go.kr/front/eng/sub04/sub0401.do) and start from Hyehwamun Gate, following the old stone wall westward 4.7km (about 2.5 hours) to Changuimun Gate. Don’t forget your passport—the wall passes near the presidential residence and other secure areas, so it’s heavily guarded and all hikers must register. Once you arrive at Changuimun, you’re at the entrance to a lovely mountainous neighborhood called Buam-dong, which has no subway station and as such, has kept a slightly more village-like feel. If you’re feeling hungry, Gyeyeolsa is one of Seoul’s most famous fried chicken restaurants (and also has a delicious spicy snail dish on the menu). The fried chicken here is so good there are always lines at every time of day—the owner famously takes his one day off to visit chicken suppliers and pick out the very best birds. One chicken is the perfect amount for two people, and comes with spiced fried potato wedges. Don’t be alarmed if the granny keeping shop yells at you; she yells at everyone. Alternatively, if you’ve brought along a clean shirt to change into after your hike, nearby Jaha Sonmandu serves exquisite dumplings in a variety of delicate shapes and flavors. After eating, take some time to wander through the hills of Buam-dong. The Kim Whanki Museum is dedicated to one of Korea’s pioneering modern artists, a painter who worked with bold colors on vast canvases. You won’t see as much of his work in one place anywhere else. Just up the hill from the museum, Ra Café is a social enterprise that funds peace and sustainability initiatives. Unlike most charities in Korea, all their work is completely member-supported without any corporate donations whatsoever. Try a seasonal tea like omija (five flavor berry) or ginger, and also wander through the small photography gallery attached to the café. Back down the hill for a little shopping, Jeo Jip Chopsticks Gallery is one of best places to get nice gifts in Seoul—the chopsticks are works of art made of local materials over the course of months, and are light and easy to pack as well. Pair them with some of the ceramic or wood chopstick stands and get it all beautifully gift-wrapped for an easy gift-on-the-go.
The Hyehwamun Gate is located on Dongsomun-ro, just down the road from Hansung University train station. You’ll find this just east of Waryong Park; look out for the traditional sloping tiled roof of the gate itself, high up on the fortress wall. A cab from the Conrad Seoul should take you roughly 50 minutes and can drop you off at the steps leading up.

SEOUL FORTRESS WALL
Stretches 18km around Seoul
seoulcitywall.seoul.go.kr

GYEYEOLSA
7, Baekseokdong-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-391-3566

JAHA SONMANDU
12, Baekseokdong-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-394-4488
sonmandoo.com

KIM WHANKI MUSEUM
63, Jahamun-ro 40-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-391-7701
whankimuseum.org

RA CAFÉ
19, Baekseokdong 1ga-gil, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-379-1975
racafe.kr

JEO JIP CHOPSTICKS GALLERY
142-1 Changuimun-ro, Jongno-gu
82-(0)2-3417-0119
chopstickshouse.co.kr