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Seoul, South Korea •
The best thing about living in Seoul is that it’s such a big city with so much to do, but each dong or neighborhood feels like its own small town or community. Koreans are so friendly they make you feel at home. It’s also one of the safest cities in the world.


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Shop

Diaso, a dollar store chain, has lots of good stuff. Also Alpha which is an office/student supply store has lots of good stuff for crafting and art. Both Diaso and Alpha are in most areas along with small stationary stores with lots of supplies. Most art universities have tons of specialty supply stores around. There is a huge market in Dongdaemun that is full of toys and stationery supplies, that’s an amazing place to buy all sorts of art and crafts supplies at outlet prices. One can find the market street from Exit 4 of Dongdaemun Station.


Be Inspired

For inspiration, I love going to the big malls and markets in Dongdaemun and Donam-dong. Lots of artists and craftsmen sell their stuff there and it’s full of good ideas. There are tons of art museums in Seoul, with many having free or inexpensive admission.


Eat & Drink

Any galbi grill is a must in Seoul, galbi is Korean barbeque and it’s quite an experience. Local kimbap shops are cheap and delicious, but if you can’t read Korean, I recommend checking to see if they have a picture menu. Fry Pan Chicken Hof is the best chicken and chips you’ll ever have, luckily it’s a chain and can be found in most college areas. Manokamana Indian Restaurant located in Anam-dong, by Korea University is the best Indian food I’ve ever had.


Craft

Depending on the kind of craft you like doing. Something like knitting or sewing can be easily enjoyed at your local café. There is no short supply of those. For photographers or landscape painters there are tons of local parks or if you want something historical there are the 5 Grand Palaces with a couple having free admission.

I’m not aware of any craft clubs, but there is a great expat community that brings foreigners and Koreans together. The biggest place in Seoul for indie artist is the Hongdae Area. You could also find out about groups and organizations in the foreigner district called Itaewon. There are tons of specialty markets and local shops in every area of Seoul. The best place for finding and selling handcrafts is the big flea market held on a playground that is in front of the main gate of Hongik University. Every Saturday, except during the winter, student and street artist set up tables and booths to sell their wares. You could even set up a table in a busy area anywhere, but I recommend finding out about neighborhood laws and codes.


See Something Special

Everyone should go to the 5 Grand Palaces, especially Changdeokgung and the Secret Garden, which is an UNESCO World Heritage site. Don’t miss Namsan and N Seoul Tower, which is my favorite place in Seoul. There are many beautiful temples in Seoul too. Everyone should go to the 5 Grand Palaces, especially Changdeokgung and the Secret Garden, which is an UNESCO World Heritage site. Don’t miss Namsan and N Seoul Tower, which is my favorite place in Seoul. There are many beautiful temples in Seoul too.


Take Home A Souvenir

You should take home something made in the same style as Hanboks, like a wallet or drawstring bag - if not your own Hanbok (Hanboks are traditional Korean clothes). Wooden Wedding Ducks for your married family or friends. Celadon clay vases or pottery that has a jade-green color. Also some K-pop, don’t go home without it!


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