Seoul, South Korea
Kayla, 29
Salesperson & Photographer
see her Seoul city guide

ask Kayla about

café korean food music venues live music bar art galleries book shop nightclubs

What do you do and why do you do it?

I'm a creator. On weekdays, I talk to businesses what they can create with technology. On weekends, I create images of people i.e. take photography. Well, I'm still figuring out how I can connect one to the other. One thing I know for sure that my work and life will always be about creating something. For the past few weeks, I took photos of Cool Cousins so I helped to create their profiles :)

You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

I'd listen to Barton Hollow, the best album by The Civil Wars. I only listen to them when I'm in the right mood, and when I'm broken-hearted - it'd be the right time for it! I'd be so sad about their relationship (and how it was meant to end) so it would actually make me feel relatively better about my own situation... haha.

What are the best TV shows of all time?

I don't watch TV that much. Especially, I don't watch K-dramas. I did watch a few American sitcoms though, because one episode is less than 20 minutes (I have a short concentration span). Whenever asked this question, I pick 30 Rock as my all-time-favorite TV show. Tina Fey is a talented writer, no doubt, and she knows how to get what she wants. But I'm also aware that she could've been more cautious about using certain stereotypes (sexual/racial) in her shows.

What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

EDM clubs/lounges like The Fountain in Itaewon or Club Arena in Gangnam on Friday/ Saturday night. NO. Nope, it's just a no-no for me. Not my cup-of-tea. Some people do enjoy going there though, and I'm not trying to offend anyone. So I won't say no more.

What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?

I like taking a night walk when the weather's nice. Seoul is an extremely safe city, so you will never feel dangerous walking alone at any time of the night. I would love to visit the 'secret garden' in Changdeokgung Palace at night sometime. For a night visit, you need to buy a ticket to get in, which is sold only twice a year and gets sold out in 3 seconds... So I never got to visit there at night. It would be lovely to walk around the moonlit lotus pond.

Is there a hidden bar / hole in the wall in Seoul that you particularly like?

Nothing is hidden in Seoul thanks to the world's fastest Internet. But there's a wine bar called 'Sipboonui-il', meaning 'one-tenth', in Euljiro. Finding the building is already a challenge. It's right next to a construction site. Until the very moment you walk up the narrow, sketchy stairs and open the door with no sign, you'll feel lost. But inside is cozy and welcoming. Good luck finding it!

Where would you take your partner in Seoul if you wanted to really pamper them?

Min's Kitchen at Dosan Park. They serve modern Korean fusion cuisine. Before being served a course meal, they'll give you a paper in a hanji (traditional handmade Korean paper) envelope. Inside are written 8 courses that will be served... You get the idea. Plus, all dishes are beautifully presented on clean Korean ceramic plates. Moreover, they have a nice range of fine Korean liquors. How can anyone be not impressed?

Which snacks can you only get in your country, and which ones do you recommend?

Jwipo (it's pronounced as 'gee-po'). It's a fish jerky made out of filefish. Jwipo is so underrated! It's the best snack to have with beer - addictively salty and sweet. Trust me. There are two versions, a grilled, chewy one you can find on the street and the other, dried crispy one you can buy from convenience stores like CU or GS25. Spread Jwipo, spread love.

What’s the one place you think is overrated in Seoul?

Definitely Gangnam. The world got to know this district thanks to Psy, but in fact there's nothing interesting or unique about it. I never really liked the area. It's not even that clean (especially at night, yay drunken people). Also, most shops in Gangnam are chain stores so you can find them in any other districts as well. Every time I go to Gangnam I can't help wondering if 'this' is the 'Gangnam style' Mr. Psy meant, and if so, why.

What’s the one place you think is underrated in Seoul?

Euljiro. Tourists only go to Myeongdong for shopping, and that's all. But if you go just a little more west, that's where cool things happen. Not only can you see the history of the city after modernization, but also can find everything you need to have fun - restaurants, galleries, craft shops, cafes, bars and even a club... It's just that they're hidden. #HIPSTER. But you're lucky, because I'll tell you all about them on my map!

What are the Seoul spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

The areas around Gyeongbokgung Palace: Seochon, Bukchon Hanok Village, and Insadong. Even Koreans (who are not from Seoul) visit here first. So you'll see many Koreans walking around the streets in hanbok (traditional Korean costume), whether male or female. And you'll feel the urge too. Then do it! Take advantage of being a tourist. And if you want to know some good photo spots, message me ;)

Tomorrow’s your last day in Seoul. How do you spend it?

I like my neighborhood, Yeonhui-dong, so much. It's an 'ideal' community where people (like chefs, writers, potters...) love what they do and respect each other. You can feel it from the shops. On my last day, I'll take a stroll, visit all my favorite spots (on my map), chat a little with the owners, take photos of the people on the street. And I would stay until I see the sunset on my rooftop for the last time. Hmm, it makes me a little sentimental to think about it.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

Berlin for three reasons - freedom, art and cheap groceries. To list some of my favorite places: 1) Mauerpark in Berlin, 2) Centre Pompidou in Paris and 3) Paper Island in Copenhagen.

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Kayla Park