I spent my final few days in Seoul exploring a few areas I hadn’t been to before. First up was Samcheong-dong (삼청동) which lies north of Insadong and east of Gyeongbokgung Palace. The hilly neighborhood is characterized by numerous small art galleries, coffee shops, and many beautiful old residential houses.
You can reach Samcheong-dong by going out Anguk Station exit 5 and then walking up the stonewall flanked walkway on the opposite side of the road. After perusing the main street I decided to walk up the hill into the residential area – looking back down it was interesting to see the configuration of the traditional houses with their small square central courtyards.
The streets up here were almost empty so it was nice to explore in the relative peace a quiet. Apparently, during the Joseon Dynasty, the area was famous as the dwelling site of the royal family and aristocrats. By the look of the houses, you’d probably still have to be very wealthy to afford to live here.
I liked this metal door knocker motif which appears to depict one of Seoul’s ancient gateways. I wish I could have seen what was behind it…
The chaotic maze of upturned roof tiles exudes a certain calm over the domestic lives being played out below. I bet this place has some interesting history considering it managed to survive the Korean war.
The next morning I went out with a friend to Garosu-gil (가로수길) where we had a sumptuous brunch at a cosy French restaurant (allegedly the chef there was trained by Gordon Ramsay). The street is renowned for its faux-European cuisine and you’re more than spoilt for choice.
If you’re a young woman who enjoys shopping and hanging out in fashionable surroundings then this is the place to come. If you’re a man you’ve probably been brought here against your will but will quietly put up with it. If you’re an oxymoronic stereotype then you’re probably confused about the whole situation.
Garosu-gil, literally meaning “tree-lined street”, can be reached from exit 8 of Sinsa Station after which you walk until you reach a corner with the area’s tallest building then turn left just before it.