Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fun summer things to do in Seoul

Summer in Seoul has been unpredictable weather-wise in my two years here. Last summer was incredibly rainy, whereas this summer has been extremely hot. So if there is a cool and dry day in Seoul, you'd be best off taking advantage of it because most days, you'll be hiding indoors from the unforgiving heat.

Here are some fun things I've done recently around Seoul.

1) Bike Buggy at Olympic Park

I don't know what the popular name of this thing is, so I'll just call it a bike buggy. It comes in 2-person and 4-person models, so make sure you're with at least a friend if you decide to rent one. The rate is about 7000 won for half an hour (which is the equivalent to about $6), or 10 000 won for an hour (around $9). These are weekday rates.

It's a lot of fun exploring Olympic Park in the bike buggy, especially when you go downhill. Just don't turn too fast on the corners because the thing has a high center of gravity and will probably tip over easily. Luckily, this didn't happen to me.

2) Screen Golf

Golf courses are very expensive in Korea, so for most people, screen golf is a much more viable option. For about 20 000 won ($18), you can play a virtual 18 hole course. Everything from clubs and gloves are provided for you, and you can even order food and drinks while you play.

I've never played on a real course before, so I can't say how accurate the virtual experience is. But it's definitely a whole lotta fun, except for when you get on the greens. Putting can be a frustrating experience because the impact detection system doesn't seem to be that accurate.

Or maybe I just suck.

3) Coex Aquarium

The Coex Aquarium doesn't have leaping dolphins or big beluga whales, but it's still a cool place to spend a day, especially a swelteringly hot one in the summer. Admission is 18 000 won for adults (around $16).

My favorite part was the glass tunnel where you could see giant sting rays and shovel-nose sharks swim right above your head.

4) Sunset at Yeouido

It doesn't you a cent (well, other than subway fare) to enjoy the sunset on the banks of the Han River. This photo was taken in the business district of Yeouido, which is also home to the National Assembly building and the annual cherry blossom festival.

5) Eat Patbingsoo

There are few things more fun than eating patbingsoo — ice flakes topped with red beans, fruit, ice cream, mochi, and whatever else — after a hot day of walking around in humid Seoul. Most bowls will cost around 9000 won ($8), and every cafe sells its own version.

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