Seoul has a lot of wonderful neighborhoods but I mostly stay in Myeongdong, a really popular shopping district. Why? No matter what day of the week it is – Myeongdong is always busy and full of locals wandering around, shopping and enjoying meals in groups. It’s a trendy shopping area popular with young fashionistas and wide eyed tourists looking for good grub and unique Korean fashion and cosmetics.
Sure, you can pretty much say the same for many other areas in Seoul, but to me Myeongdong has its own unique energy and buzz. And that’s coming from a guy who’s not a big shopper!
And when the night rolled and as the night got even colder there were more people out on the streets. And that’s just the weekdays. Can you imagine the weekends? Even when the temperature is cold and frigid it doesn’t seem to deter anyone at all from walking around and bumping shoulder to shoulder with strangers.
There are a lot of stores. Many are international brand name shops but I think most were local Korean stores though. Keep your eyes open because there are stores on top of stores. A lot of shops are stacked on top of one another. So if you’re not looking you might miss a cool little hip cafe serving hot waffles and specialty hot chocolate or perhaps a unique shop with hand made tchotchkes.
For anyone who enjoys food, and who doesn’t? It’s hard to walk around Myeongdong trying to figure out what to eat. There’s just so many yummy choices to pick. Korean BBQ, French Bistros, Italian Pizzas, skewers sold on the streets and everything else in between. Don’t even get me started on the varieties of Korean sweets and dessert shops.
It’s even harder as a solo traveler since dining seemed like a communal affair. And the food portions are priced for 2 people. Usually, the rule of thumb everywhere when it comes to dining is to go where the locals go. It’s a no brainer to go wherever there are more customers than empty seats.
But as I mentioned, as a solo traveler it’s hard to dine at the best restaurants alone. But because there are so many restaurant in Myeongdong, finding a decent restaurant to eat alone is not difficult at all. If you know me you know I love a good hunk of juicy steak! Even though there is one Outback in Bangkok where I live most the year, Thailand is not very well known for steak. I know Korea is a nation of beef eaters. So I took a gamble on an Outback Steakhouse restaurant in Myeongdong. It was busy with a long wait too. That’s a good sign.
I ordered up a medium rare rib eye. It was good. A little bit more on the rare side but it really satisfied my steak craving. I was a happy camper. And the meal came out to about $35USD which I recall is about the same price as the US.
Eating in Seoul can be expensive. But like anywhere else in the world, even if it’s the most expensive city in the world you can and always find cheap eats on the streets. Seoul is no exception. However, knowing what to order and what’s in front of you aside from the language barrier is the obstacle that could be a little difficult to overcome. This is where having a Korean local as a friend could come in handy.