Hongdae may easily be one of the hippest places in Seoul. It's where musicians and artists roam, create, and socialize. The young can find solace in the fast-paced atmosphere, delicious food, and hoards of people their own age. It's especially known for its indie artists: musicians, dancers, and other street performers. There is always a show in a club or on the streets. And don't forget the flea market, fun specialty shops, and pet cafes scattered everywhere. K-pop star and actor Jung Yong-hwa recommends it as a must-see place for anyone visiting Seoul.
The Hongdae area is situated around its namesake: Hongik University, a university as known for its arts as the area that surrounds it. The area is home to a couple of places that are famous amongst international Korean culture fans: the Kpop Cafe & Club, and the You Are Here cafe. During my time in Korea I didn't get to visit the Kpop Cafe & Club despite my love for Kpop. I did get to go to the You Are Here cafe, a coffee shop started by Simon and Martina of Eat Your Kimchi, and Seon Hyun-woo of Talk to Me in Korean. The cafe itself was difficult to find and I was lucky enough that dewaniifordrama from Wang Kai International was there to guide me and my fellow bloggers. It is an adorable cafe with yummy snacks and drinks, a video booth, and space upstairs for Korean language meetups. There was one going on the night I visited. I was sorely tempted to stay and improve my halting Korean, but we had the rest of Hongdae to explore.
Walking through the streets of Hongdae is seriously exciting. It's full of lights, music, and motion. Both times I visited my group paused frequently to watch dance crews battle, guitarists croon, and people flooding the streets, shops, and restaurants. Korea Joa 2015 had its final dinner at Mak Kka Pa, a cozy little retro place that serves many kinds of makgeolli and all sorts of delicious anju, or food that is eaten while drinking alcohol. We mostly indulged in seafood as we drank our makgeolli and many-flavored soju. The night was also a time for many selfies, known as "selcas" in Korean. We learned what it was like to have a business dinner in Korea. In short, it's all about the liquor and the fun!
Aside from being a great place to hang out, Hongdae is also the site of many dramas such as "Coffee Prince", "Marry Me, Mary!", "Flower Boy Ramyun Shop", and "A Gentleman's Dignity". There are always filming trucks zooming by taking b-roll footage. Never a dull moment in this part of Seoul.
Although I only visited twice, Hongdae left a deep impression on me. It definitely is a place I want to visit again. I see myself scouting for talent, listening to a band while having a refreshing drink at a bar, or enjoying some good eats while watching people mingle.
Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
Pictures from the Lee Min-ho photo set
Journalist, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Her Korean husband laughs that she knows more than he ever will about dramas and K-pop. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Korea Joa] Lisa's Diary - Hongdae + Lee Min-ho Photo Set Giveaway"
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