One thing I’ve learned over the course of my travels thus far is that there are two primary ways in which a destination can really earn a prominent place in your heart. The first and most obvious mechanism by which a city or country has an opportunity to truly capture you is by being inherently great in itself – things like food, culture, art, history, and local attitudes are obvious ingredients that make or break this potential for greatness.
There’s another path to excellence, though, and that’s more a game of chance: some places are just really awesome because of the incredible people you’re lucky enough to meet and spend time with. To find yourself somewhere that’s particularly excellent in either of these ways is a good stroke of luck, but to accomplish both is a recipe for something special – something resonant – something powerful and provocative. Seoul, South Korea is just such a place.
At any rate – No matter your weapon of choice, you might start outside the glowing facade of a GS25, or you might start pounding drinks at a popular BBQ restaurant nearby, but one thing’s for sure: this is the first of many rounds, or ‘chas‘ as locals call them: different stages of the evening, all of which are permeated by the aforementioned libations.
Since you have all this time to kill, given the never-ending energy on tap, you’re inevitably going to find yourself spending a subsequent late night cha in a private karaoke room – this is practically Korea’s primary national pastime, and it’s an absolute blast with a fun group. Revelers will notoriously order drinks and allow them to sit untouched, already completely obliterated by their prior rounds and too caught up happily singing their favorite K-pop songs to really care.
It was the perfect place to witness night fall over Seoul, because it also happens to host a field of more than 25,000 LED roses (because why not).
You could live here for decades and still find yourself charmed and delighted in ways you couldn’t have anticipated – and that, my friends, is the mark of a very cool place.