Some of the neighborhoods loom large in dwellers’ life in the metropolitan cities. Some of the neighborhoods the dwellers have the desire to visit frequently to feel the unique ambiance of the neighborhoods. As a short-time dweller of Seoul- maybe I am a pure absolute dweller, I have some places to go, visit and have the unique experience delivered by the ambience of these areas. For the period which I have been living in Seoul for more than a year, I have been visiting these areas that include a rich variety of unique venues, again and again, all the time with the same excitement and motivation that I have the first time when I had visited there.
Every foreigner, regardless of which they are long-term residents or short-term travelers, is exposed to the same question by the Korean locals “What’s your favorite destination in Seoul?”. I am also one of these foreigners who are asked this question numerous times. Even though I have various destinations and venues that I like visiting frequently, every time I answer this question as if I am a student who crazily studied for the exam and had the answer in advance. The answer I always give is Samcheong-dong. This answer generally surprises some of my Korean friends because of my high level of knowledge about the neighborhood. Yes, my favorite destination is not Gangnam, Itaewon or Hongdae, but Samcheong-dong, the neighbourhood surrounded by Gyeongbokgung Palace, Chakdeokgung Palace, Bukcheon Hanok Village, Cheong Wa Dae (the President’s Office) , Insadong and including modern and traditional museums, numerous splendid art galleries, unique boutiques and stylish cafes( they are my favorite!!). In other words, Samcheong-dong is the neighborhood where you can experience History&Tradition, Art&Contemporary Culture, Unique Stylish Cafe&Boutiques.
Be a tourist or be a dweller of Seoul, you all visit or know Gyeongbokgung Palace or Bukcheon Hanok Village. The fact you don’t know is that you are in Samcheong-dong in which you can visit numerous historical or traditional place such as Chakdeokgung Palace, National Folk Museum of Korea and Insadong cultural street by a short-walk. Also, if you are a group of visitors aiming to hold an event, I definitely recommend Samcheonggak, public cultural space and unique venues in which you can experience Korean Culture, tradition through Hanok houses, garden cafe and have seminars, performances, and exhibitions. As a crucial part of Seoul MICE alliance, Samcheonggak can be defined as the center of gravity in Samcheonggak. You can reach more information about Samcheonggak through the link.
As a foreign dweller in Seoul, I am not sure that I will visit some of the destinations one more time; however one of the few places that I can guarantee that I will end up by visiting is Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) Seoul. MMCA Seoul is one of the unique venues that I spend time to see the exhibitions, art pieces delivered from all around the world. The museum has several exhibitions the art pieces of which are provided by Korean and international artists. I have to admit that I have also explored various Korean artists who play a major role in the contemporary art accumulation of Korea. Hence, MMCA Seoul doesn’t only satisfy my endless interest for contemporary art but also teach me the culture and art of Korea. In addition to MMCA Seoul located in Samcheong-dong, you can find various art galleries which are open to every kind of visitors, most of the time for free, and you can visit these art galleries during your trip in Samcheong-dong.
You have visited all the historical, cultural and modern venues located in Samcheong-dong, you are a little bit tired or you want to regain energy to explore more the neighborhood. Here is what you need: having a delicious coffee and a cake or any kind of bakery. Good news; you don’t need to go too far to find this urgent need. Samcheong-dong is full of the artisan cafes that can meet your need with masterpiece coffees and cakes. The boutique cafes not only provide great taste but also rich customer experience thanks to their unique interior and thematic design. Radio M is one of the successful examples for the thematic cafes in Samcheong-dong as a cafe exhibiting the retro radios from the 1900s. I usually visit Radio M to have great coffee and croissants while I am experiencing the culture of radios. Tens of unique cafes are waiting for you to be visited in Samcheokdong. Besides, I also recommend you to take a look at splendid boutiques in which you can find stylish clothes that fit your fashion.
Last recommendation from me, don’t forget to visit the garden of the Jeongdok Public Library to have a peaceful time sitting on the benches.
Samcheong-dong, a neighborhood for which there is no end to be discovered since it’s located in the heart of tradition, culture, contemporary art, thematic shops, and cafes. If you are a tourist who is visiting Seoul for some days, you should visit Samcheong-dong once. If you are a dweller for several months and years, make sure that you start a never-ending journey to discover Samcheong-dong as I do 🙂
Batihan Dizdaroglu | Seoul MICE Reporter 2019