Jane and I met in Singapore in 2021, quickly becoming good friends after she reached out on Instagram. There’s a lot of relatability and cultural context we share, from growing up in Asian households, but moving from place to place between US and Asia, and living in a westernized societies.
I can say she’s one of my closest friends and was enthralled to visit her while she was in South Korea for a business trip—I got to live her life for a week and visit a couple of other friends who resided in Seoul. I told Jane that I didn’t want to do touristy things, but to basically live her life in a normal week.
All things Jeju Island
Osulloc Tea Museum (free admission)
Address: 15 Sinhwayeoksa-ro, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
Some might think this is too much of a tourist attraction, but I loved the entire experience. It was rather peaceful and not as crowded as you’d think; additionally, Koreans are rather respectful in space and noise level.
The whole tea museum place is free to enter and explore—they’ll have stores for you to buy tea and Innisfree beauty products from. All of us ended up buying Osulloc tea to bring back home as gifts; they were really expensive in Singapore, so I made sure to get extra.
To be honest, I think tea makes great gifts because they’re so light and easy to bring in luggage.
Geumak (Geum) Oreum Volcanic Cone – 비짓제주
산1-1 Geumak-ri, Hallim-eub, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
Jane took the group to this gorgeous hiking trail with panoramic views. Growing up in Jeju, her family was pretty active and frequented the hiking trails around the island. It’s a small defunct volcano dip where you can walk down and admire the many balancing rock formations that other hikers have put together. Don’t be fooled by the images—the trek up was pretty tiring so wear good shoes.
It’s customary for anyone visiting to make rocks balance and make a wish at the same time.
Sin Woosung Town
29-9, Jungmungwangwang-ro 72beon-gil, Seogwipo, Jeju Island 63535 South Korea
After exploring the area and doing a bit of a hike, we went to get some Korean bbq, which specialized in black pig meat. This was not all-you-can-eat, but the side dishes were enough to keep us full.
Jungmun Saekdal Beach – this is a really great place for surfing or people watching under the sun. It’s a gorgeous beach with surrounding cafes and restaurants nearby. Half of us ended up taking a nap on the beach, while the other half went for a long walk along the shore.
Jejumong Shaved Ice
2026, Jungmun-dong, Seogwipo-si, Jeju
제주특별자치도 서귀포시 천제연로 194
This was a nice pitstop along the way in Jeju Island. We grabbed two bingsu shaved ice at Jejumong—one was strawberry and the other was matcha with red bean.
You can also view the below vlog where I share my travel journey—the majority of the vlog showcases Jeju Island and a bit of Seoul. Enjoy!
Now onto Seoul! I was lucky enough to stay with Jane for a couple of days at her parents’ place and live like a local. I got to wake up to the gorgeous view of the Han River each morning.
At night, we took a walk along the road and stopped by a convenience store to grab some drinks and snacks. A lot of young adults would go here as a group and sit on the benches with a steaming bowl of cupped noodle ramen.
Others would go running or jogging, and enjoy the scenery.
Where I stayed: L7 Hongdae by LOTTE
There was one day in Seoul where I had to live alone because Jane was still in Jeju Island. She recommended I stay at this trendy hotel in Hongdae, which was conveniently close to a shopping street and food stalls. It had a good range of amenities, that including a pool, gym, and area to work out of. It was pretty popular when I checked in, with both travelers and locals alike.
Conveniently situated in the Hongdae part of Seoul, this property puts you close to shopping attractions and interesting dining options.
Working out of a gorgeous WeWork in Seoul
WeWork Yeoksam Station
14 Teheran-ro 26-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
While I was at Stripe and working remotely from Korea, we had full access to WeWorks around the world so I decided to make a pit stop at the Yeoksam Station and remote work here. It is bright and airy, with lots of space to grab a spot. There were also phone booths you could hop into for a quick call and unlimited coffee. If you don’t like their coffee, there’s a massive Starbucks below.
Interested in checking out WeWork? You can check out my referral discount and compare memberships that work for you!
The only thing I’d caution is that you would need a WeWork card before getting into this location. There’s an elevator that goes straight up to the WeWork but I couldn’t figure out how to get up, so I just tagged along with someone else to get onto the floor. The front desk community manager also spoke English. It’s a pleasant thing to be seated in the middle of the WeWork, listening to the babbling murmurs of Korean.
Authentic Korean Food Restaurants in Seoul
I laughed at the name—vegetarians should not come here, but carnivores welcomed. The meat here is top notch quality.
Loci and her husband took me to a Korean charcoal bbq place and was honestly so impressed—the cuts were so juicy. The waiters will help cook for you and I love that they will cut up the meats with scissors for easier eating. If you’re feeling up to it, get sake and beer as a way to quench your thirst when eating bbq.
Meat cuts begin at 12,000 won up to 23,000 won.
Another Korean bbq restaurant that Jane and Grace went to is:
Yeouido Hwangso Gopchang Gangnam
8 Yeoksam-ro 3-gil, Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Honestly, I trust Jane’s judgement, so anywhere she recommends, I’d go!
And if you’re also not wanting to eat bbq every day, you can try bossam, which is a delicious pork dish; it’s pork shoulder that’s served with a bunch of side dishes and lettuce, which you eat altogether.
Cool Bars My Local Friends Brought me to
Villa Records | Speakeasy Bar
Address: 18 Dosan-daero 15-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Intimate with mood lighting, Villa Records is a showroom and a bar all in one. They serve mixed cocktails, whiskey, wine, and small bites. Good for dates and small group drinks, the speakeasy has a dj that plays chill electric music, but not loud enough where you have to yell over the music.
My friend Stella (who I studied abroad at Peking University with) was the one who brought me here—her boyfriend is friends with the owner and they’re regulars at this spot. The staff was attentive and friendly, knowing the right times to appear when we wanted to order and to slip in and out to clear the plates during our reunion conversation.
Seoul Ludens in Itaewon
Address: 69, Hoenamu-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 04344 South Korea
Jane took Grace and me to this watering hole in Itaewon where they had a quick tea and I had a glass of white. A local favorite, this bar sits on top of a beautiful lookout so you can easily view the Itaewon Tower. There’s also an ongoing movie being projected on the wall if you’re into old films. I would say that most people come here on dates because of the romantic view.
Going to South Korea was a blast for me! I had such a lovely time, but would say that the language barrier is hard to get around sometimes, so do have Google translate ready for your use.
If you have any questions, leave your questions or comments below! I hope you’ll get to enjoy South Korea as much as I did too.