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Do not dare make the mistake of thinking that Hongdae is just for university students. Just to let you know, Hongdae in Seoul is also touted as the shopping paradise. But, the neighborhood offers way more than just shopping. Here you can also savor the taste of delectable Korean street food. Hongdae is the creative heart and embodies the culture of Seoul. On the streets of Hongdae Seoul, you can expect to see the youthful spirit and exquisite creativity that can be seen in the colorful graffiti on the walls and experienced in the sounds of street musicians.
Talking about Hongdae Seoul, well, its name derives from the Hongik University located in the neighborhood. It is a highly prestigious art school. Such is the influence of this university that Hongdae has been serving as the center of the underground music and art scene in Seoul since the 1990s.
Despite having a reputation of a destination for youngsters, this place still has plenty of things to explore and experience for people of all tastes. This guide will talk about everything that you must know if you are planning to visit Hongdae on your Seoul trip. So, here we go!
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Time to Visit Hongdae
- 2 How To Get To Hongdae?
- 3 How To Get Around In Hongdae?
- 4 Accommodation In Hongdae
- 5 Is Hongdae Safe?
- 6 Is Seoul Beautiful?
- 7 Things To Do In Hongdae
- 8 What To Expect in Seoul
- 9 What to Eat In Hongdae?
- 10 Best Korean Experience
Best Time to Visit Hongdae
How To Get To Hongdae?
When it comes to how to get around in Hongdae Seoul, the neighborhood is connected with all the major means of transportation in Seoul. However, the most preferred means is Subway. The district has its own subway station referred to as Hongdae station. If you are traveling to Hongdae on your trip to visit Seoul from another neighborhood, there are three routes to reach Hongdae. These are Airport Railway Line, Metro Line 2, and Gyeongui Central Line. Apart from the Subway, you can also prefer Airport Buses to get to Hongdae directly from the airport. There are also night airport buses for travelers who have landed in Seoul late at night. Besides, there is also general night Hongdae buses that cover destinations like Gangseo, Hongdae, Jongro, Shinchon, Cheongnyangni, Mangu-dong, and Jungrang.
How To Get Around In Hongdae?
If you’re looking to get around while in Hongdae you have nothing to worry about. Hongdae is generally very walkable. It’s not that big of an area so you can walk from one side to the other in under an hour. If it’s too hot out or you just don’t feel like walking, you can always take an Uber or Kakao taxi. These are the most common ways to get short distances in Korea.
Accommodation In Hongdae
Besides the art scene, shopping, and nightlife, Hongdae is a most-preferred destination when it comes to accommodation. Talking about where to stay in Hongdae, well, there plenty of amazing options that come in every budget range. If you are on a budget vacation, then Hongdae is the perfect place where you can look to book your stay in Seoul. UWA Guesthouse, Gateway Korea Guesthouse, and Time Traveler Relax Hongdae are some popular budget accommodation options in the region. However, if you prefer comfort over money, then there are a good number of Hongdae hotel and guesthouse Seoul Korea. 9 Brick Hotel, Wow Factor Stay, Orbit Cafe & Guesthouse, and RYSE, Autograph Collection are some deluxe options in Hongdae.
Is Hongdae Safe?
It’s important to understand the security and safety structure of Seoul as a whole in order to get the answer to your question – is Hongdae safe? Well, almost every city in South Korea witnesses the same criminal activity. The city of Seoul is quite safe and the overall risk is low in terms of crimes, but that completely depends on what precautions and safety measures you’re taken to stay safe. Pickpockets are quite common in crowded areas in Seoul, especially when you are crossing busy roads. The same goes for Hongdae. However, the risk of natural disasters remains high in Seoul. The city remains prone to earthquakes and typhoons. Also, be aware of scammers as scamming is quite common in the neighborhoods of Seoul including Hongdae. The most common of all is the teahouse scam where girls approach tourists by wanting to practice conversing in English and within a few minutes, you will end up in a teahouse with a huge bill. Other scams are basically related to overcharging in restaurants and cafes with a separate dedicated menu just for tourists.
Is Seoul Beautiful?
Things To Do In Hongdae
Enjoy a Live KPop Performances
Being a part of K Pop performances is one of the best things to do in Seoul. While wandering on the streets in Hongdae, you can expect to stumble upon these performances. There are tons of artists that are performing their songs and group dances. These performances last for hours as one artist performs after the other. So, if you spot a live K Pop performance, just buy some snacks and enjoy it as long as you want.
Hello Kitty Cafe
We’ve already mentioned this cafe a number of times in our previous Seoul posts. In case you’ve missed it, Hello Kitty Cafe is a theme-based cafe. The name itself suggests the theme of the cafe. Yes, it is about the famous cartoon character – Hello Kitty. Considering the cartoon character, you can expect this cafe to be all pink. The interior of the cafe is quite fascinating and if you’re a fan of Hello Kitty, then surely you find this cafe the real world of Hello Kitty. There is also a Hello Kitty room which you can explore while waiting for your order to be delivered. The room is a dream room for any Hello Kitty fan.
Unleash Your Party Animal
Are you a nightcrawler or a socialite? If so, then Hongdae offers you the opportunity to be a part of an ultimate party. There are a number of bars and clubs in the region that are known as the perfect party place. However, if you want to make the most of the party, make sure you visit it on the weekend. One of the most popular party paradises in Hongdae is The Henz Club and M2 Club. With EDM music, lively crowd, and a perfect ambiance, these places are perfect to be a part of any night party in Hongdae. However, for a hip-hop kind of scene, head to Cream Club. Whatever your taste is, the fact is, Hongdae has something for everyone. Nightlife in Seoul not just includes Hongdae but many other districts as well.
Enjoy a 36 CM Long Ice Cream
Seoul has plenty of unique things to offer to its tourists and of all those, one of 36 cm long ice cream. It’s a special treat that you can also relish in Hongdae. In fact, it is one of the best things to do in Hongdae. You can expect a considerable amount of people in the queue at the soft serve shop waiting to take their sky-high ice cream.
Visit Nanta Theatre
Nanta Theatre is not like any other ordinary theatre. The theatre host the famous Nanta show that showcases food making with song and dance. The story of the show centers around three cooks who train their boss’s nephew. This is 90-minutes non-verbal show which you will definitely love.
Apart from the clubbing, restaurants, and live performances, the neighborhood of Hongdae is also known to offer an ultimate shopping opportunity to its tourists. In your Hongdae shopping tour, you can expect to find tons of shops selling different items ranging from clothes to fun socks to accessories to print purses to keychains. Along with that, there are also stores of international brands such as Bershka and H&M. Here in Hongdae, you can expect to buy products at affordable and take them home as souvenirs. In your South Korea shopping tour in Hongdae, you can also purchase beauty products. There are plenty of stores selling a wide range of beauty products.
Be a Child At Zzang Games
Want to live your childhood memories again? Well, if so, then Zzang Games is the perfect place to be in Hongdae. As the name itself tells you, this is the place where you will find the electronic games. Gaming in South Korea is quite a big thing. But despite that, you can expect to see a bunch of locals playing arcade games or dancing on dance pads. Such is the charm of this place that it will definitely leave you awestruck with its range of games and experiences.
Enjoy Street Food
Street food in Hongdae is an important part of Seoul tourism that you must be a part of. Well, there are plenty of restaurants in Hongdae where you can enjoy the ultimate meal. But the best thing is street food in Seoul and Hongdae offers plenty of opportunities to relish. Street food in Hongdae is cheaper and more exciting. When it comes to what to eat in Hongdae, well, there are cheese chicken and Soondae to fried chicken and Tteokbokki. Besides, there are many things to eat and relish while on a food tour in Hongdae.
Trick Eye Museum
Ever thought a museum can be so interesting and interactive? Well, Trick Eye Museum is one of the most popular places to visit in Seoul. It is known to houses exhibits intriguing art techniques that create an eye illusion of a 3D object. You can actually interact with 3D paintings and get clicked. This place allows you to get clicked with sea creatures, stand upside down, and can even shrink you down to the size of a cup. All these can happen with the optical illusion here at Trick Eye Museum.
Visit Thanks Nature Cafe To Pamper A Sheep
One of the cutest things to do in Seoul is visiting Thanks Nature Cafe. This is a theme-based cafe where you can pet a fluffy cute sheep. Yes, you can actually do it and that too in a cafe. If you love to pamper and pet animals, then this is the place for you. There are two sheep that are extremely friendly and can just sit beside you for hours; all you just have to do is give them a pat or keep massaging them gently. While doing all this, you can savor in a cup of delicious coffee or any other offering displayed on their menu.
What To Expect in Seoul
What to Eat In Hongdae?
Such is the compelling charm of Korean food culture that it definitely needs a separate section even in a neighborhood guide. Now, let’s talk about some delectable treats that you must savor on your visit to Seoul.
Spicy Korean Ramyun Garnished With Processed Cheese
When it comes to what to eat in Hongdae, spicy Korean Ramyun with processed cheese is my personal favorite item to eat. The combination of cheese and Ramyun works so well that a single bowl would not be enough for you. You’ll surely come back for this dish. The dish is so simple that you can even make it at your place; all you just need a packet of Ramyun and a slice of processed cheese.
Kimbap is probably one of the most iconic dishes in Seoul. It is basically a Korean stuffed rice cake that tastes delectably good. Also known as a comforting snack, the dish resembles a Japanese dish – sushi. The rice cakes are stuffed with meat and vegetables and include sesame oil as an ingredient.
Korean Savoury Pancake
There is no match of a Korean Savoury Pancake. It is prepared by a special kind of rice flour that makes the pancakes more fluffy and dense. But despite that, the pancakes are crispy. There are major two variants of Korean Savoury Pancake, Seafood Pajeon, and Green Onion Pajeon.
Any Korean food guide or Korean food mention is incomplete without the famous Korean BBQ. It is not like any traditional bbq. In Korean BBQ, you get your choice of meat and then grill it yourself on a tabletop griller. You are provided with a scissor to cut the pieces of meat. The best thing about Korean BBQ is that you can savor the meat according to your own preference and taste.
Beer and Fried Chicken
Well, this is the perfect combination for an evening gastronomic experience. Just to let you know, beer and fried chicken both go really well together. More than a combination dish, eating fried chicken along with a beer has become a tradition in all parts of Seoul including Hongdae in South Korea. This great combination is known as Chimaek. If you’re interested to find out the best locations to try all these dishes don’t miss our dedicated post on what to eat in Hongdae.
Best Korean Experience
So, here we come to the end of this guide! So, this is all about Hongdae that you must know before visiting Hongdae. The neighborhood of Hongdae has so much to explore and experience that you won’t be able to cover them all in a single day. But with this guide, surely, you can make the most of your time in Hongdae Seoul as a tourist.
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