– by ChiChai@Empire –
Following mine and Christopher’s seven days in the Philippines and ten days in Vietnam was only one full day in Korea. Luckily for us, we met up with our homie Daniel who served as the perfect Seoul tour guide. He took us out from 8am to 2am all around the city and made sure we had a balance of scenery, streetwear, and food…. omg, hella good food.
Daniel picked us up at our AirBnB at exactly 8am to begin our day. Little did we know that we were about to embark an adventure of 35k steps (according to our Fitbits.) First on our agenda was to enjoy Seoul’s street art and a bowl of Daniel’s favorite dish for breakfast.
By the way, Seoul has the cleanest subway stations I have ever seen. If you follow my IG story, you would’ve seen how as an avid BART and MUNI rider, I got super jealous upon seeing how fresh and sparkly their bathrooms were. We also appreciated the views.
While riding the train, Daniel asked us, “Can you see anyone not on their phone?” I suppose smart-phone addiction is becoming universal. ( Not that I blame Seoul locals– their internet is hella fast.)
Daniel brought us to a restaurant that solely serves his favorite dish: a cow bone broth with noodles for breakfast. There was something comforting about this dish. Is it its warmth? Its simplicity? Whatever it is, I’m craving it right now.
We then strolled through a tunnel for Daniel’s street art tour.
As a street artist himself, Daniel proved himself as the perfect tour guide once more for enjoying public art. He would tell us about the tunnel’s painters and styles.
*obligatory do-I-look-cool-yet? photo*
The tunnel’s end led to a city view.
A great chunk of our one day in Seoul was spent checking out the fashion scene. Shops we visited included APC, Stussy Seoul, and Bape.
Shop displays in Seoul are insane! They are an art within itself. From boutiques to high-end retailers, these shops felt as grand and pristine as walking into a museum. Example A: Workstout (photographed below). Click here to view more photos from Workstout’s feature on Hypebeast.
I didn’t take much photos of other shops but you can learn more about Seoul’s fashion world in this article by High Snobiety here.
As the day went on, we splurged on love for our stomachs once again. We had some sizzling traditional pan-fried chicken and soju. Look how steamy the dish is! Mm… Man, this Asia trip has fed us well.
We thought we were good to go with lunch, but, we happened to pass by the bakery Mr. Holmes whose scent lured us in. Can you blame us? They had a matcha-chocolate croissant! A CROISSANT WITH MATCHA AND CHOCOLATE!
For a mid-day break, we headed back to our Air BnB to drop off our new goods.
Our temporary home welcomed us with a sunset… which Daniel shattered a glass for. He explained that locals say their sky is filled with “yellow dust” aka air pollution drifting from China.
Our second half of the day was more touristy. Daniel brought us to Myeongdong– a district in which tourists wander through for the night vendors (and a supreme amount of fake Supreme.)
We also checked out Chung Gae Chun, a picturesque stream that gives city-goers a little escape from Seoul’s hustle.
Another tourist spot was Gwanghwamoon Palace. This grand complex is over 600 years old!
After our touristy activities, we refueled once more. This time… with something Chris and I longingly anticipated: Korean BBQ. ( Writing this blog post is making me hella hungry.) We had samgyupsal (grilled pork strips). Daniel explained to us that it is not common for BBQ restaurants to specialize in all meats; restaurants usually specialize in serving one.
The night went on and led us to the lively Hongdae. According to Daniel, Hongdae is Seoul’s “college town.” Students come and hangout in this district of live music, clubs, open-late shops and foodie destinations.
One party that happened to occur during our visit was a Nike Air Max Day event. Given the level of visual displays in Seoul, we expected nothing less of Nike to meet the city’s standard.
Nike displayed rare Air Max’s and art installations inspired by the famous shoe series. They even had fun giveaways like customized canvas totes and lapel pins.
As our one day in Seoul comes to an end, I need to tell you how Chris and I became friends with Daniel! Daniel founded Flavors K, a creative collective of fashion, art, and music. Thanks to our mutual friend Richie who introduced us to Daniel, Empire in the Air is on Flavors K’s roster! So, if you’re from Seoul, you can purchase some of our goods from Flavors K.
Thank you Daniel for your incredible hospitality! And thank you Seoul for feeding us not only great food but hella eye-candy. See you again soon!