For those who aren't big on the shopping paradise version of travelling, the streets of Cheonggyecheon and Apgujeong provide contemporary counterparts to the visual beauty of Seoul's more traditional attractions.
The Cheonggyecheon Stream Walk is definitely something to be done slowly, with a hot coffee in your hand, in the earlier hours of the morning, a rare strip of nature that shouldn't work when placed smack-bang in the middle of two busy streets but somehow does. Descend the stairs into the pedestrian walk beside the stream and the sounds of traffic around you seems to fade until you're just focusing on the quiet, bubbling water. If you're determined enough, you can walk all the way to Dongdaemun. For those knocking on the unattractiveness of winter tourism, come back and argue your point after you've seen what the sunlight can do to bare willows and yellow grasses.
I'm not one for including famous 'upscale' districts on my travel itinerary. Firstly, there's only so many ways you can pretend you're genuinely interested and capable of purchasing that $5000 Burberry coat you're examining in the store's immaculately polished interiors (tourist backpack on and camera aloft). And, really, a LV store is a LV store anywhere, save small variations in their window displays. Thanks, globalisation. Then again, a quiet stroll inside the warm Galleria Department Store is hardly a bad way to spend the morning. Depends what you're after, really. I suspect streets like Rodeo St really thrive at night because everything was quiet and sleepy at 11AM.
[one_half_last padding="20px 0 0 30px"]And, of course, once a K-Pop fangirl, always a K-Pop fangirl - enough to make a considerable trek out to one of the SM Entertainment offices, mostly with the reasoning that 'this is the one time I will do it' (guilty as charged).
There isn't much to see on midday on a Friday (or in general...the building is pretty nondescript), though we did witness a young girl with medium dark hair leave the SM front door and jump straight into a white idol van with a manager who looked at my camera nervously and then relaxed when she saw I wasn't snapping away. I suspect a member of Red Velvet, at best or a trainee?
Oh well. None of the groups I still follow were really promoting so it was literally a 'snap and go' situation. I was amused by how the office is strategically located right next to a series of middle and high schools. Always targeting their demographics...[/one_half_last]