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Though this city of 16 million has been in the shadow of its Japanese counterpart for decades, Seoul is (finally! Beauty tourism has boomed since 2015, Korean BBQ as a food trend is to this decade what sushi was to the nineties, and a little ditty you may have heard of popularized the, erm, ' Gangnam style' now embraced by fashionistas world-wide.
Yet within this modern city lie serene pockets of palaces and temples that recall the important history of the Korean peninsula stretching back 700 years. Bright Lights, Late Shopping and the Best Views in Town Don’t worry about jet lag: Seoul is bright, fast, buzzing and literally never sleeps; its stretches of glowing neon signs and cacophonous, day-to-night markets will keep you charged from the minute you touch down (and if you start to crash, one of the city’s trademark day spas is never far).
Sign up for a guided tour, which will take you through the area’s on-site history museum, or just wander the seven levels at your own speed: You'll find an exhibition space dedicated to Korean product design and a market selling accessories and clothing, though the real draw is the building itself, which Hadid designed free of angles and straight lines.
The subway stop is right outside DDP, so head a few stops south to the riverside Hannam neighborhood, filled with cafes, shops and Seoul’s stylish millennials sipping cappuccinos, just in time for lunch.
Do your wandering in the northwest direction, toward the Itaewon neighborhood, a favorite for 20 somethings due to its bar scene until you find the sleek Leeum museum, where oil canvases by Francis Bacon hang alongside paintings by modern Korean masters like Park-Seo Kewn and native pottery from the 13th century.
If sunset’s approaching as you exit, take the cable car to the 870-foot summit of nearby Namsan hill to catch panoramic views over the city.
But you should dedicate a day to exploring its palaces and temples, many of which are in the middle of town, accessible by subway, and within walking distance of each other.
, whom she was dating when she was 16 and worked at the same mall he did in the suburbs of Los Angeles.Tartine Seoul opened here a few weeks back and already has a cult-like following for its Momofuku-inspired ‘crack’ pies.(Though we are partial to the steamy bowls of —a sausage, kimchi and ramen soup popularized after the Korean war—from the simple Bada Sikdang.) Then spend an hour or so wandering Hannam’s serpentine-like alleyways, popping into boutiques like Beaker, a Korean Barney’s Co-op, and Article for leather totes and wallets.There is a lot to take in for sure (you'll thank the travel gods for the quick, clean subway system) and it'll be a challenge. Catch the 45 minute express train in from Incheon Airport, drop your bags inside the spanking new Le Meridien, which opened last year with 336 art-filled rooms in trendy Gangnam, and hop on the subway north to Dongdaemun.Named for the 14th-century fortress gate that once marked Seoul’s eastern fringe (it’s now smack in the middle of town thanks to urban expansion) this commercial district captures the dichotomy of old and new with its modern architecture, traditional markets, and glass-walled shopping centers.