Why Seoul Should Be Your Next Travel Destination

Seoul, the glamorous and glittering capital of South Korea, is also known as “Asia’s best-kept secret,” and for good reason: the city of 10 million-plus isn’t exactly high on our radar here in America. But just because Seoul isn’t as romanticized as Paris or London are here in the West doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the trip!

It’s a city of artists and artisans; of humans who will leave you feeling breathless and inspired; of deep, rich history and culture. Here are seven good reasons your next flight should be to Seoul, South Korea:

1. You will be introduced to a food culture that is on an entirely new level.

Food is not a joke in South Korea, and especially not in Seoul, where you’ll find a place for chicken and beer on almost every corner and street food vendors open until four a.m. Not only is there food everywhere, but it’s cheaper than in the U.S. - and it’s good. Some of the most delicious dishes to be found in Seoul are the prized Korean barbecue, cold noodles and soft tofu stew, all of which have amazing variety in flavor, spiciness and texture. The best part is that Seoulites don’t just stop with the first course - they’ll give you the most amazing dessert options as well, including waffles piled high with ice cream and chocolate sauce, or patbingsoo, a shaved ice dessert that comes in all kinds of flavors. The best part about it is that the food is meant for sharing, so even if you’re by yourself, you’ll often be given two spoons or two straws for your drink.

2. You’ll never cut your caffeine addiction.

Well, this may not be a great reason for some people to visit. But in all seriousness, the coffee culture in Seoul is pretty extraordinary. It’s customary to see everyone walking around with an iced Americano in their hands, even if it’s 10 p.m.! What’s really exceptional are the cafes themselves. Seoul is home to an amazing expanse of themed coffee shops, including a Hello Kitty-themed cafe; CaFace, a coffee shop that prints your selfie on your latte foam; and book cafes, in which the walls are lined with bookshelves and everybody must remain completely silent.

3. Your skin will be absolutely ~radiant~ by the time you leave.

Glowing, radiant skin is the goal for almost every Korean (yes, men and women alike take really good care of their skin!). That’s why there’s a skincare store on every corner; sometimes, you’ll find the same stores just a few buildings down from each other. Seoulites take pride in creating the most innovative, affordable skincare products on the market, and they definitely love sharing them with visitors, too.

4. You’ll be inspired by all the amazing street performers.

Seriously, it’s amazing that most of these people don’t have record deals yet. Seoulites, both young and old, often take to the streets to play guitar, sing, perform magic tricks and break-dance. Even if you’re in a hurry, they’ll make you stop in your tracks when you see them on the street.

5. The city’s history is fascinating.

Seoul is a beautiful mélange of modern innovation and commitment to preserving its heritage of the past. Huge, curving glass buildings tower over the streets of the Gangnam district and the Han River, but in the midst of all the modernity, palaces from the middle ages still loom and ancient gates to the city still stand. Traditional houses and museums offer an insight into the city’s rich history as well, and many of the historical attractions are free or cost less than five dollars to enter.

6. The subway is cheap, easy, fast and air-conditioned.

Yes, you read that right. The subway system is one of the most effective ways to get around town...and every station is equipped with free wifi.

7. The nightlife will blow your mind.

Seoulites have a work hard, play hard mentality that goes unparalleled to the rest of the world. They’ll have their nose to the grind all day, but once night falls, they city is transformed into one massive party. Prepare to catch the first subway train back in the morning, because there’s no way you’re leaving the clubs before sunrise.

There’s so much more to be said about why Seoul needs to be next on your travel bucket list: the music and festivals are great, the parks are an awesome way to escape the chaos of the city, the Han River is undoubtedly one of the prettiest places to ride a bike alongside. But don’t take my word for it. Get out there and see it for yourself!