(foreign music) – Why hello there, I'm currently in the middle (laughs).
Oh why hello there.
You'll have to excuse me.
I'm in the middle of reading one of my favorite Korean novels, in the city of Seoul.
And today, I'm goingto be sharing with you some of the best things you can do on your trip to Seoul.
So without further ado, let's get started.
(electronic music) Now this is a city likeI have never seen before.
It's this hyper advanced Asian city that loves poop emojisand loves spicy food.
Coincidence? I think not.
From its' Korean barbecue restaurants, its' vibrant, alcohol infused nightlife, and of course its' love for everything that is cute and weird, I have never seen anything that quitecompares to South Korea.
After just shy of a week in Seoul, these are the 30 things, facts, and places that I can't pronounce, that you need to know about before arriving in this incredibletravelers destination.
Starting with number one, the lightening fast internet at affordable rates.
From the moment I arrived at the airport I was extremely excited.
I had options to have unlimited internet on my phone for an entire month, at basically the price I would pay for the most basic entrylevel plan in Canada.
But the amazing thingwas, that fast internet is not just limited to your phone.
It's also in the hotels, the hostels, wherever you go, you can get huge files uploaded very quickly.
And that makes me very happy.
The second thing you need to know is that Seoul is a massive, gargantous, monolithic city, withsides separated by a river.
It can actually takeyou quite a bit of time to get from one side to the other.
There's two main areas we stayed in there's Gangnam and there's Hongdae.
I wanna again reiterate that I'm gonna struggle to pronouncea lot of these names.
So if you're gonna be that person in the comments sectionany you're gonna be like, “He didn't pronounce it properly.
” Well, I know you're notperfect either, so try me.
Now Gangnam is this very hosh posh, kind of Hollywood styleside of South Korea.
It is beautiful.
It is lit with neon lights.
And it definitely is a placethat I recommend you check out.
But I must say that while it was beautiful it's definitely much more the local South Korean side of things.
And while that can be an amazing thing it can also make things alittle bit more difficult.
To best explain that I'll give you the other side of theequation, which is Hongdae.
Hongdae is the universitytown in South Korea and things are a bit more compact.
It's easier to walk from place to place.
You still have that beautiful vibrancy.
You got the night markets.
You got amazing shopping, affordable prices in some areas.
While the accommodations is probably gonna be around the most expensive you'll find in South Korea.
Now, with that being said though, it is worth every penny.
Hongdae is the place thatI recommend you stay in.
Because if you're an English speaker it definitely makes iteasier to get around.
There was more placesthat had English menus.
But there's still going to be a bit of a language barrier, which brings me to point number three.
The language barrier is sometimes quite real in South Korea.
Most people don't reallyspeak English that well and I don't speak Korean that well.
From time to time it can be hard to order from a restaurant, talk to a taxi driver.
Another thing that makes it challenging is they have their owncompletely unique alphabet, which, mind you, is actuallya very cool alphabet.
I mean, just look at that.
Very cool, Korea.
Now that we're in the 21st century one of the things we've become reliant on is our phones, on Google maps, on Yelp, those GPS based apps that help us get from place to place.
Finding the bestrestaurants, the best bars, figuring out where togo, how to get there, and something that really made Korea challenging for me was the fact that GPS is kind of like, disabled here.
It's the only country in the entire world that does not have Google Maps.
Even their friendly neighborsto the North have Google Maps.
Now the reason they don't actually have it is because of that very same reason.
Apparently South Korea wants to limit how much of the GPS and map systems are publicly available.
There are some Korean equivalents, but the thing is they'renot currently in English.
With that being said, I was able to use Google Maps to some extent.
It just won't really show you how long it takes go get from place to place.
You can still see your bluedot walking around the map because it won't show you where to walk.
I found that it was a littlebit helpful for bus routes because when I neededto do a long distance I could still see whichway the bus station was.
I could still see which direction it ran.
Even though it didn't give me an accurate time estimate, I was usually able to somehow use that a little bit.
I wanna talk about a place by the name of Common Ground.
Now Common Ground isthe shipping containers that have been turnedinto a very trendy place to get a coffee, get some food, and do a bit of shopping.
One morning we started off our day here.
And these are some of the restaurants I highly recommend you check out.
So Allie's explained that, essentially, there's a vacuum created by this.
And it's sucking the waterupward into this cup here.
Oh, you can flush it, like a toilet.
Oh, here we go, ohhhh, coffee magic here folks.
Look at the mushroom on top.
And six hours later it is ready.
Kati doesn't even like coffee but she can appreciate the craft.
I don't always drink black coffee but with this style of coffee I would.
It's a solid cheese block.
– No, it's red.
– [All] Ohhhhh! – Oh my gosh, it's likea golden brick of life.
I love cheese.
I love bread.
I love this.
That's like four dollars.
So this coffee was four dollars.
There are so many cool places to eat here.
And, and it also bringsme to my next point which is Korea's love for everything that is cute and weird.
I'm so sick of the world telling me what I can and can't do, it's time to fly.
(electronic music) So, I've never in mylife seen this before.
But I just got handed a guideon how to care for a Marimo.
These are 40 year old Marimos, but they didn't always start off so big.
They're basically a giantalgae ball or plant.
Those little guys right there are about one month to one year.
– When do they starttalking and saying, “Daddy.
” – [Man] I don't know if they ever do.
And of course, you could get some slime.
I'm having way too much fun in here.
Bit of a focus called Wiggle Wiggle.
– We will now take ourrelationship to a next level.
– We spent about an hour 1/2 to two hours shopping at around three or four of these stores in Common Ground.
(he barks) Now before I get a noise complaint, I figured I'd move on to the next point, which is that you must check out the nearby coffee shops.
If we find it, this is truly a hidden gem.
This is so cool.
Hidden in the midst ofall the repair shops, all the mechanics, islike this converted garage that's become this reallytrendy coffee shop.
Baesan Coffee and Column Coffee.
And these are these incredibly trendy, hipstery, very Oh, Matcha's really big here in Korea.
– I have no idea whatit is, but it's amazing.
(electronic music) Bay-be coffee shops.
Now on to the next point.
I wanna talk about transportation.
And I know this next comment might be a little bit controversial because I've just watched three YouTubers review on South Korea and they all said that the metro systemwas cheap, affordable, and easy to use.
Okay, so here is thesituation with transit from somebody who can't speak Korean and can definitely not read it.
It is very challenging.
The metro system hereis a bit of a nightmare.
Nothing was written in English.
None of the locals fullyunderstood what we were saying.
And we couldn't use GoogleMaps to tell us where to go.
So we got in the metroanyways, just to test it out.
And yes, it was very efficient.
It was actually super quiet, super clean.
The quietest metro system I've ever taken.
But we ended up goingin the wrong direction and there was no Englishsigns to tell us otherwise.
And that would be the last time that we tried usingit, on our entire trip.
Buses were actually still usable, as I said before, using kind of a primitive Google Maps, I was able to figure out where the pickups were and if they were the right bus, based on the numbers.
But because we were in abig group of four of us, we actually spent mostof our time taking taxis.
And here's some great news for you, wanting to travel South Korea.
We are not setting foot inanother bus or metro system.
Taxis are so cheap.
We just took one thatwas probably about 15 20 minutes and we paidaround six US dollars.
Starting around three dollars and having the meter raise veryslowly, it's sometimes even cheaper if you're in a big group to take a taxi for the short distance.
Also, do not bother with Uberunless you want Uber Black.
Because that's the onlyversion they have available.
And unless you're made of paper money then it's not for you.
Now, a bit of information on prices.
I would say South Korea is definitely a bit more expensive thanyour average Asian city but not as expensive as, let's say, Tokyo.
So some prices that you should know about are of course, going tobe the transportation, which I've already shareda little bit about.
Now, going on to accommodations.
Hostels can be as cheapas 10 dollars a night, whereas if you want amid to entry level hotel you're looking around $50 US a night.
If you want something nice, like we had in the Gangnam District, we stayed at Glad Live, Glad Live and it was $90 US a night.
It was absolutely beautiful.
But it wasn't necessarily themost centrally located hotel.
We also stayed in Hongdae.
So for $80 US a night, thisis where we're staying.
It's called Twins Guest House.
It's in a more expensivearea by the name of Hongdae.
It's in a great location.
We got this bed, we got an extra bed.
And this is all ours.
We got a knock on the door, they're like, “Yes, sorry, we putyou in the wrong room.
” It's still nice.
– We still have, I don't know what they call this, vanity? – Little makeup station.
There's one bed and there's Kati's bed.
And the bathroom.
Hongdae will be a bit moreexpensive than Gangnam.
But I wanna reiterate that I do think Hongdae is probably the best bet for most people wantingto visit South Korea.
Now, as for the price of food, well that will be discussed a little bit more throughout this video.
But you can find very affordable food.
Like as cheap as $5 to $6dollars for an entire meal.
You can find a massiveplatter of local food for $10 US dollars.
So I did find that foodin Korea was reasonable to even sometimes being quite cheap.
Now my next tip, find alocal guide if you can.
Maybe you have a friendwho lives in South Korea or your friend has a friend.
Take an opportunity toreach out to these people because it is a bit of a more challenging place to tackle, being such a large city with sometimes a bitof a language barrier.
But if you find those local guides, that is where you'll find your local gems.
And thank you to Hian for being such an amazing guide to us.
She showed us so much of the city.
Now later that night, we actually met up with Hian and she showedus this traditional style Korean restaurant.
And this is something Ihighly recommend to you, is to find a traditional meal.
Everyone's taking their shoes off.
The great thing about it, is that it'll stretch your taste pallet.
You're gonna be trying thingsthat are incredibly spicy.
You're gonna be tryingplates that you would normally consider to be hot plates but they're gonna be given to you as cold noodles or cold soups.
You're gonna be tryingfoods that you probably didn't even know existed.
Sitting on the ground, someof us have our legs folded.
Some of us are notflexible to fold our legs.
So I just have my legscompletely straight.
– Some or just you? – Just me.
(laughs) This right here is so good.
I didn't love everysingle piece that I tried but at the end of theday, because you have so much variety, you dofind a few key pieces that you really enjoy.
And that's what travel's all about.
Pretty sure that meal wasabout $10 dollars per person.
Very affordable and we ate so much that well, I literallyhad to drag Kati out.
She ate a bit too much.
Now another big thingthat defines South Korea and Seoul is definitelytheir drinking culture.
They know how to drink.
One of our nights out withHian, she taught us about Soju.
Basically, what it is, it's a clear spirit, typically distilled from rice and grains, usually around 20% alcohol.
And this is the most popular drink in South Korea, hands down.
Not only is it popular, it's actually the most dranked drank inthe world, apparently– – Apparently.
– On average, a Korean will drink about 13.
7 of these shots every single week.
Now I'm not here tomake any judgements but.
Now on to the next point.
You don't just stop there at the Soju.
Soju is just like thepure form of the drink.
But what better way to celebrate than to make it a bitmore of a social drink.
The best way to do thatis to make a Somac.
What that is, is basically take your Soju and now mix it up with your beer.
– [All] Whoa! – And you've got a Somac.
That's so good.
It's like the perfect compliment.
There's tons of differentways you can mix it up.
But the way that Hian had taught us, was either to take a chopstick, a fork, a utensil of some sort, and basically just jab it in.
And up and down, up and down.
And right there, youhave your first Somac.
Now, not only do you need to know the drinks you're gonna drink, but you also need to knowthe rules of the game.
When you'll be havinga full dinner like this people will basically be, cheersing, every five minutes, every 10 minutes.
– [All] Cheers! – Every Soju bottle has a number between one and 50, underneath the lid.
What you can play is the guessing game.
I know the number.
You're gonna guess the number.
And I'll tell you if it's higher or lower.
In this case we're gonna play, they get to give away an entire drink.
– [Man] It's higher.
– 23 – Yes, yes! – Christian!.
(they applaud) – 14.
– Yeah! (they applaud) – Another way to play it is that when you pull off the lid from the Soju there's often a long aluminum little tail.
If you twirl it up, makeit into a harder tail, if you break it, the person to your right has to drink their entire drink.
– Oh, so I wanna break it.
– The loser's gonna drink a whole Somac.
– Break it, break it.
– [All] Yeah! – [Man] That's it, that's it! – [Woman] Level three, level three.
– Level three! These are some games that we played and they made our nightsthat much more fun.
For all my team ge-lox ladies, you're in luck because South Korea is a cosmetics heaven.
Kati went absolutelycrazy, from the different skin care, facial treatments, everything you could possibly imagine.
South Korea is the placewhere you will find it.
Now not only does she have fun with it.
We also both went and boughtsome set of eye contacts.
They don't improve your vision.
But they do change your eye color.
They change the size of your pupil.
All this for $20? Oh my gosh, oh my gosh.
(he laughs) – I look so weird.
(he laughs) – [Man] Oh my gosh.
– This is scary.
– [Man] Oh, you look beautiful.
– No, I look scary.
Alejandro hasn't seen me, soI want to film his reaction.
(she laughs) – This is one of the widely accepted beauty cultures, here in Korea, is to get colored eye contacts.
It's gonna match my shirt.
– [Woman] You seem so scared.
– I just hate putting things in my eyes.
– [Woman] I know.
– [Lady] No, no, no.
No, no, no, no, no.
– She's gonna help me.
– [Lady] Okay, no, no, no.
(she laughs) – [Woman] Did you get it? – No, it's so hard.
I think I got it.
– [Lady] Come on.
– I'm gonna hold my breath, okay? – I can't believe it.
We tried for hours and I just, I had to give up, I couldn't.
On to the next note.
That is that Korean shoppingis some of my favorite.
I have found so manyunique clothing pieces, statement pieces, and the awesome thing is they can be found, actually, relatively affordably.
So we did shopping at a couple different areas throughout our trip.
One of the many designerareas is Garosu-Gil.
This is one store I really liked.
They have some super cool trends that you will not find in North America.
And this store right here, called Around the Corner, it's about mid price but they have a huge selection ofawesome Korean clothing.
I wanna find unique statement pieces that don't break my wallet.
That are relatively affordable.
And that's where I found my best luck was in the walking street of Hongdae.
Hongdae has so manyincredible, hidden shops.
Some of them are underground.
Some of it's knock off but some are just truly original pieces at arelatively low price range.
So I got a hat, I got some Velcro shoes.
They're back, everyone.
Bring back the elementary school fashion.
Everything's shockingly cheap.
These shoes are about $35, hat's $20.
I got a really awesome jacket for $30.
So the cool thing is you can negotiate with the different stores.
Some of them, that aremore like pop up shops.
Leave some room in your luggage and you'll definitely leavewith some great value.
I also just remembered one thing that was a little bit weirdabout the shopping, though.
Usually there's only one size.
There was no small, medium, and large.
Typically quite baggy, that's the style in Korea.
And one thing I, particularly, struggled with is that often you're not actuallyallowed to try things on.
I asked a lot of the service clerks why.
And they actually saidit's because of makeup.
But I'm a guy so I guessmaybe Korean guys wear makeup.
I don't know.
I shopped so hard that when I had to leave Korea, I was wearing about 10 bundles of clothing on top of me.
My luggage was at least15 kilograms over weight.
Kati has like eight jackets on, four pairs of shorts over top.
In most circumstances I wouldsay I look like an idiot but honestly, in Korea, I kind of just look like a K-Pop star.
I'm looking pretty fresh.
Got some denim over denim.
Ladies, watch out.
This is going down as the most stressful check in of life.
Oh my gosh.
Most certainly, one of myfavorite things about Seoul was the food experience.
It is definitely a foodies destination, if you know where to go.
And luckily, we had anincredible Korean barbecue, where it was all you can eat, it was reasonably priced.
So you take a bit oflettuce, a bit of salt, a little bit of spice.
Gonna wrap it up, bon appetit.
Hmmm, a little hidden gem.
This is interesting.
Like this delicious, creamy dessert coffee.
It's so good.
Everything looks so good.
– I can't remove them.
– Very spicy, he did like this.
No, it's like.
– [Man] It's a lot spicy.
– It's very spicy.
– It is.
That was one of the best meals.
We spent about $14 maybe even$13 US dollars per person.
I think that's incredible value.
If you've never had this before, if it's done right, it'll blow your mind.
This is a must havewhen you come to Seoul.
– It's very interesting.
– [Man] It tastes like a real tomato.
Do you like it? – No, of course not.
(he laughs) – And so even though thetomato wasn't for me, I'm excited to try mine.
I got the sweet pumpkin.
You got the peach.
– I got the peach.
– Oh, ladies and gentlemen.
This is peach, this is pumpkin? It tastes like a PSL.
– It's my favorite.
– Another thing you need to know about, extending on to the food is street food.
An you can find it in alot of the touristy areas from Hongdae to Insa-dong.
– So I don't know if this is Korean but it's called tai-a-key.
And it's basically like awaffle in the shape of a fish.
It's so cute.
Like, this one has the mouth open.
So they put ice cream.
We have to try it.
– Oreo, honey, ice cream, all together.
Oreo, honey, and ice cream.
– [Man] Yeahhhh, all thebest things in one fish.
And the incredible thing is, once again, it's relatively affordable, for the most part.
Now one of the questionsa lot of people have, “Is South Korea safe?” And unfortunately, it's really just not.
As much as I would love to get behind the country and say thatthis is a safe destination where you can be at peace, it's just not the case ever since the dropped bear incident.
The mortality rate has risen 3, 016% in the past year and 1/2.
And it's only expected to rise from here.
For the most part, SouthKorea, exceptionally safe.
It's the kind of place where Kati and myself, whoever, can walk alone at night.
Two thumbs up for me.
Because safety is cool.
Now, how's the weather? Well, from what I could see, it's actually very mild.
It's kind of similar to where I used to live in Vancouver, Canada.
It's got its' fair share of rainy days.
It can occasionally get snow.
It can have those beautifulhot days in the summer.
Now this one's a littlebit of a random one but it could come in handy for you.
There's lockers in the subway stations.
One night when we decided to go out we actually went downto the subway lockers to try and drop all my bags there.
And because it's sucha safe place to do so, I had no problem with leaving my camera gear in a random, paid locker.
It's a cool little side fact, that could come in handy for you.
Something crazy you can do in South Korea, that I never got a chance to do is actually eating octopus, that has just freshly killed is a strong word.
Let's say, freshly been ended.
The cool thing about it, is that because its' nerves are still going off they literally will latch onto you.
And so some people have actually died trying to eat this octopus, because it grabs onto their throat.
But that just kind of raisesthe excitement of it all.
So I you wanna try something new, eat a semi live octopus.
Now Korea is full oftraditional experiences mixed with somewhat touristy experiences.
Luckily Kati and I brought the best of both worlds together.
– Look, my waist, it's so beautiful.
– [Man] It's so flattering.
– I feel like a cupcake.
– How do you say, “very cute, ” in Korean? – Keo pa.
– Keo pa, now I don't know about you guys.
But I absolutely hate tourist attractions.
So, luckily, we've been able to keep things super local today.
(laughs) And we're going off to show you the traditional side ofthe town, so let's go.
Looking good guys! Looking good.
(laughs) This is not just a thing that Kati and I decided to do, you'llactually see tons of people wearing these very, verycool traditional outfits.
Looking good, guys.
– Thank you.
– [Man] No, not you.
– It's very pretty, actually.
I like the colors.
(electronic music) – Now this is somethingthat kind of shocked me a little bit, and that's that we really didn't see thatmany tourists in South Korea.
The only place where wesaw the occasional tourist was actually in Hongdae.
And even at that, itfelt predominantly local.
When there's too many tourists around you kind of dilute the real culture.
And I never felt like that was the experience in South Korea.
On to the next point.
And that is themed cafes.
– So gross.
– I gotta be honest, Idon't know how I feel about eating somewhere, where they're associating themselves with poop.
And here it is.
This is Seoul's only poop cafe.
I just got myself a rose latte.
I gotta say, if you wanna take a photo with a toilet bowllatte, this is a really, really tasty latte.
I'm actually surprised to be saying that.
Theme cafes are definitely a big thing to do here in Seoul.
You've got cat cafes, whichare seen, now, everywhere.
But I highly doubtyou've seen the next cafe I'm going to show you.
The second you check in, they tell you you have to remove, basicallyanything that's shiny.
I kept on a few bracelets and he comes running over and grabs onto my bracelet.
That is the best thing I've ever seen.
He's checking my pockets.
Literally, first thing he did is slip his hand into my pocket and he's grabbing the receipts in there.
Can we get one? – I want one.
– [Man] Bubble butt, bubble bubble bubble butt.
(laughs) – He's so cute, so soft.
(relaxing music) – There's a fight for Pride Rock here.
(raccoons hiss) Oh, traffic jam.
He just activated pancake mode.
Now with all the Soju, Somac, Somac, and all the other drinksthat come with it, of course, the nightlife is bound to be big.
Unfortunately, we neverhad a true big night out.
It's definitely something I would love to go back and experience.
But from what we saw, walking around on a weekend in Hongdae, there was tons of bars that were just bumping.
I wish we had gone to a K-Popclub or something like that.
It would have been really cool.
But again, there's alwaysanother trip ahead of me.
For all you foodies out there, look no further than the 7-11, to try some very unique pieces that I've only found in South Korea.
Alejandro went online and searched for the best Korean snacks.
If you come to 7-11, yougotta get this right here.
This is oh-bu chip.
This smells like Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
This is a must have.
The taste you can see And lastly, we've gotthe classic oh-bu chip.
And one thing that Iactually kind of liked was their banana milk.
The first sip kind ofthrew me off a little bit but by the second andthird, it really grew on me.
If you want a cool Instagram photo then check out this library right here.
Inside of the Coex Mall, it's also right next to a Gangnam style monument.
Now whenever I travel, I like to have a base understandingof some of the cultural norms wherever I'm going.
And in South Korea, there'ssome very unique ones.
The first one is called manner hands.
So everyone get your manner hands here.
Getting touched on the arm, on the hip, anything of that sort can actually be very uncomfortable unless it's invited.
A lot of the time you'll see South Koreans when they take a photo together and they don't know each other very well, they'll actually have a hovering arm.
But the gap is actually not accidental, it's intentional, becausethose are manner hands.
Another extension is that you actually don't go in to shake withan older person's hand unless it's been invited.
And if you do, it's best touse two hands in a shake.
You have to pour with two hands.
– [Lady] A respect time? – Yeah, like respect a person.
– Here Christian, I'll giveit to you with one hand.
– Oh, ho, ho.
A fascinating conversationI had with Hian our guide, was actually about the way she interacts with other locals.
She was saying that most people actually won't talk toone another on the street.
It's kind of a weird thingto talk to a stranger.
If you desperately need directions, don't be afraid to ask somebody, but for the most part it's not something that's closely integratedinto their culture.
There's usually a bit of adivide between strangers.
Three, two, one, An-yo.
Now guys, the most important point of all the 30 points is right here.
So listen up closely because you cannot go to South Korea without knowing this.
You must never, never, never, otherwise it could be the last time you ever go to South Korea.
Five days in South Koreawas just not enough.
It was an incredible trip.
But I only got a small glimpse of what this monolithic city has to offer.
I would love to go back sometime soon.
I really wanna make a comprehensive guide, to actually show youthe best places to go.
But if you have anything in South Korea that you recommend, I wouldlove to hear your feedback.
Together we are stronger.
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