Art Seoul South Korea

Seoul, South Korea: Where everyday is Valentine’s Day

“There are only couples in South Korea,” affirmed Sue, the manager of the Grape Garden Guesthouse where we stayed. This, after my sister and I pointed out the glaring obvious after roaming around Seoul all day.

We had spent much of our first day in the area surrounding City Hall, and a few hours into our aimless wandering, we both came to the same conclusion: in South Korea, coupling seemed to be the norm.

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 2

There were couples in the subway…couples strolling along the Secret Garden behind Changdeokgung Palace…having coffee dates in Ssamziegil in Insadong or in one of those chicken-and-beer places in Hongik…and there were literally hordes of them in Nami Island, where I was told a number of koreanovelas (Korean romantic TV series) were shot. While we were on the ferry to Nami Island, there was a couple in front of me, behind me, and to my right and left.

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 3

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 2

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 2

Unlike the Japanese who are not prone to showing affection in public (I couldn’t help but compare hehe), I was pleasantly surprised to find Koreans the exact opposite. I was standing in front of two college kids in the train to Hongik station, and the way the guy was caressing the girl’s face like he was memorizing every contour of it, you’d think they were star-crossed lovers. The expression on the girl’s face was melancholic as she gazed into her boyfriend’s adoring eyes. At one point, I felt both like an intruder in their lovestruck bubble and that I had stumbled into the set of a romance/drama. :D

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 2

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 2

Having been living in Seoul for half a year, Sue shared that at one point, she actually pondered the idea of getting a boyfriend. “Just so I have somebody to eat dinner with,” she joked. “People tend to look at you when you’re eating in a restaurant by yourself.”

My sister and I were trying to figure out this whole coupling culture, and as we were walking outside the Deoksugung Palace walls where a culture festival was happening, we saw that one of the main reasons is really just Seoul itself.

It is, without doubt, one of the most vibrant cities I have ever visited.

I don’t know if it was just because a full-on art and culture festival greeted us on our first afternoon there—the streets brimming with creativity of the artistic and musical kind—and we were somehow enveloped by this bubbly energy of joy and celebration.

Seoul with Mina: Day 1

Seoul with Mina: Day 1

Seoul with Mina: Day 1

Seoul with Mina: Day 1

Seoul with Mina: Day 1

Seoul with Mina: Day 1

It could also be because we were there in the height of autumn, with the trees in dramatic shades of red, yellow and orange.

Seoul with Mina: Day 1

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 2

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 3

Seoul Fall 2013: Asia Media Forum in Seoul

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 2

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 2

With every corner of the city looking smack right out of a rom-com, one can’t help but feel ready for that spine-tingling, toe-curling interlude of the romantic kind. I never really got the whole koreanovela craze in the Philippines—had no idea what the whole fuss was about—but after spending a week in Seoul, I think I finally do. There is definitely something about the place that brings out one’s inner romantic.

When I found myself with the opportunity to go to South Korea this year, I had formed no expectations of the place. All I knew of it was from my encounters with Koreans living in the Philippines, which didn’t really amount to much.

My friend Tracey, who lived in Korea for a time, kept selling the country to me (again, she deserves a key to the city, Mayor Park!) and I would only listen half-heartedly. I honestly didn’t spend as much time researching about the place as I did my first time in Japan; the only reason I wanted to go was because I’ve never really been to a country in autumn.

Seoul Fall 2013: Day 3

But when I finally got to experience South Korea, I just fell in love with it. Quite like how I felt when I visited Japan for the first time, a lot of factors fell perfectly into place and I just found myself enchanted.

Regardless of the season, South Korea is definitely a place I see myself coming back to. :)

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4 comments

  1. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed your trip to Seoul. It certainly looks gorgeous in your pictures! I’m seriously thinking of taking a side trip there the next time we visit Japan.

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    1. Seoul was this year’s pleasant surprise :D I highly recommend a side trip before Japan. Going there in autumn also made me want to go to Japan in autumn. It’s always been in my bucket list to experience Japan during different seasons. I’m sure the scenery will be different every time!

      Like

    1. Thank you :D

      Being into fashion, you would both really love it there. So many awesome finds, and some are pretty cheap too! My sister and I went crazy with the shopping :D Thank you for following my blog! Following yours as well ;)

      Cheers,
      Tricia

      Like

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