City guide: Seoul
Moving from Los Angeles, Kyuhee has been based in Seoul for the past 7 years. Pursuing her Masters in Cultural Anthropology, she spent quite a few years examining local subcultures while working as a freelance editor/producer for VICE New York.
She is currently working for Adidas Korea as the Activation Expert for their global flagship project. Her job entails marketing Adidas Originals to the local street scene in addition to building a local and global network for the brand.
Work aside, Kyuhee enjoys cooking clean meals influenced by her Korean/Californian upbringing, playing gin rummy while sipping wine or whiskey, listening to live jazz, traveling and exploring cities without a plan- she loves getting lost.
Follow her misadventures and get up to date on that Seoul City life - @floss_everyday
How's it like working for Adidas?
Very eye-opening. It's my first time working for a corporation and my first full-time gig. Because my role was newly developed by the the global office, I was trained at the headquarters in Herzo. A super rad and fortunate experience. I work with the global and local brand and retail marketing teams to build a relationship and brand relevance with the local street scene through our adidas Originals Flagship based in Seoul.
Do you get to travel a lot being in such a globally recognised company?
Besides our annual brand conference at headquarters, I'm for the most part stationary as my market focus is Seoul. Otherwise, I travel throughout the year for other work and independent projects.
What kind of traveler are you?
I do not like to plan ahead and I travel very light. I like to get lost and make an experience of my own.
What are some of your must-dos when you travel?
Travel in small groups (max 3), travel light, don't go to tourist spots as you can easily Google it, get lost, learn the language and hang with locals
What are your 5 travel essentials?
Glide Dental Floss
What is your favourite destination to date?
Havana, Cuba and Seoul
You were originally living in LA, what brought you back to Seoul?
I received scholarship for my MA in Cultural Anthropology. Currently, I'm more focused on my work and find it to be more fulfilling. It's been a long love/hate relationship in finishing my degree.
What do you love most about the city?
I love the mountains tucked throughout the city. You can easily find hiking trails to step out of the city. Public transportation (including taxis) is very clean, on time, and very affordable. You don't really need a car. The best part, Seoul city never sleeps.
Most cities have a certain way they are organised, such as the grid system in Manhattan. What about Seoul?
Absolutely no system at all. There are many residential pockets of Seoul with chaotic winding alleys and haphazardly placed stairs. Especially north of the Han River, some of the housing looks randomly stacked and improvised. I love it- kind of like Brazil's favelas. On the south side of the Han River, it's more 'Gangnam style' where the districts aim for a more western landscape. But there isn't a distinct pattern such as a grid. We actually don't navigate with street names and instead give directions via landmarks, subway stations, and major intersections.
What is the best way to get around the city?
Taxis are cheap, convenient, and clean. I prefer the bus over the subway as I like to be on the ground and outside for my commute. However, if you're visiting, the subway is pretty cool to check out. The stations are another underground world in Seoul. Massive shopping malls and food courts thrive beneath your feet.
What are some relaxing things to do in the city on the weekends?
An easy hike through the unmarked trails of Namsan Mountain. A picnic on the Han River.
What are some local activities you can recommend and tips you can share for friends who are visiting?
Make local friends and have a house party. Make sure you download a local navigation app i.e. Daum Maps. Google maps does not work well out here.
What are your favourite neighbourhoods in Seoul?
Where/what in those neighbourhoods would you recommend to do
Eat Hanbangtongdak (a fully roasted chicken stuffed with rice, garlic and jujube)
Drink at Baraboom wine and food bar
Party at Cakeshop and Pistil Lounge
Hangout at Hideout Seoul
Shop at Post Poetics
Visit the Leeum Museum
Vacation Rentals in Seoul
This studio apartment in Gangnam, Seoul is located in the center of Gangnam, just a two minute walk to the "Gangnam" subway station.
Going to Seoul? Check out more vacation rental properties in Seoul on Roomorama.