EXPLORE THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Walk across the street and visit the beautiful Chang Gyeong Palace or grab a coffee or dessert during the day at the many cafes. As the sun goes down, bring your own wine to the rooftop patio and enjoy the sunset and city views. If you need a little more action, take a short walk to Hyehwa for more nightlife and shopping. Have your pick of Korean, Indian, Mexican, Persian and more. SLA is in an excellent location for shoppers, Dongdaemun Market is only 5 min via taxi and is the largest shopping area in the country for both wholesale and retail. Myeongdong is also only 10 min away.
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Chang Gyeong Palace
3 min walk. This 14th century palace is a must see for visitors to Seoul, Chang Gyeong Palace is more than a several hundred years old.
The grounds are beautiful with large expanses of walking paths and carefully groomed flowers and plants. The palace has large open spaces to sit and relax on. Spend some time away from the noise of the city and unwind on the grassy areas or under the shade of a nice tree.
You can visit the more tourist centric buildings, but this palace also has a large garden park. The 10 foot tall stone walls conceal this wonderful oasis. At only 1,000 KRW to enter, it has its share of classic Korean buildings and monuments, but it's also filled with quaint paths, a beautiful pond and small botanical gardens.
If you are looking for a place to just get away from the city or take a run, this is a fantastic option.
Just 5 minutes by taxi from SLA (1 subway stop), why pay twice as much for retail when you can get designer threads at the largest wholesale shopping district in the country? Myeondong is great, but Dongdaemun (DDM as locals like to call it) is really the place where serious shoppers flock.
There is a reason why shop owners do their shopping here form all over the country. You will find some of the same wholesale items here as you will on Rodeo drive or Shinsa for 1/3 the cost. There are building upon buildings of wholesale and retail from imported and local designers. It's a much better deal than shopping the big chains at Myeongdong.
DDM is also home to the new DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza) which hosts many events, exhibitions , a museum and design store. There are many outdoor events and concerts. After10:00pm the world famous night market starts to open. Just follow the yellow tents lining the street for serious deals on just about anything.
Just 10 minutes by taxi from SLA or 4 subway stops away (line 4), Myeongdong is a shopping mecca. With several malls and smaller boutique shops there is all the reason why this neighborhood has exploded in popularity.
Myeongdong is filled with high end brands such as Louis Vitton, Chanelle and MGM, to name a few. The streets are packed with shoppers making it an easy place to get lost.
Find many traditional street foods throughout the streets. Shops and restaurants also cater to Japanese and Chinese speaking individuals.
Tip: avoid the currency exchanges in this neighborhood and change your money at a local bank for the best rates.
Hyehwa (Dae Hak Ro)
7 min walk. If you are looking for something a little different than Myeongdong, spend an evening roaming the back streets of Hyewha. Just a few minutes walk from SLA, this neighborhood is teeming with restaurants, shopping, live clubs, bars, karaoke rooms and more street food than you can possibly eat in one day.
Hyehwa has long been a university area without all the tourists. This exciting neighborhood is constantly undergoing a metamorphosis for food infusion. New restaurants and shops are popping up weekly. Hyehwa is also famous as a live theater district. There are nightly performances of off Broadway style comedies, dramas, and parodies. There are also dance and musicals at the larger venues that anyone can enjoy.
Bukchon Hanok Village (Traditional Village)
Just a 10 minute walk from SLA, winding narrow streets and twisting walkways fill this neighborhood. Make your way to the top and get a historical sense of Korea days gone past. Traditional houses (Hanoks) cover the landscape and have been restored with beautiful craftsmanship.
It's a great place to spend the afternoon for great coffee shops, hand made jewelry and many other designer boutiques.
Unmistakably Korea and only a 10 minute walk from SLA, this traditional market offers shopping during the day and a feast for the senses in the evening. On the second floor there is also a vintage clothing market and many clothing tailors.
After dusk, the center market space is the place to be as food stalls and restaurants fill the area and the place starts buzzing with activity. Grab a seat on any one of the outdoor benches or find a stop inside the restaurants. Traditional food such as bin-dae-tteok (빈대떡) is one of the more famous dishes prepared in many different ways from each vendor. Other famous dishes include jokbal (족발 ; pigs’ feet) and soondae (순대 ; blood sausage). Many stalls have various grilled fish and small meats and vegetables to accompany traditional drinks such as Makoli and Soju.