Two of the most used slang in Korea right now are 핫플 (hot-peul) and 인싸 (in-ssa). 핫플 comes from the words “hot place”, and refers to a popular spot where people often gather and hang out in. 인싸 is short for “insider” and refers to people who are sociable and trendy. With no doubt, these two words go hand in hand: the 인싸s are the ones who go to the different 핫플s to hang out. Here at GOA’L, we want to share some of these “hot places” trending among locals in Korea this summer.
Just a short walk away from the famous Insa-dong, Ikseon-dong is another up and coming area in Seoul. Ikseon-dong hanok village was built in the late 1920s to early 1930s by the famous 정세권 (Jeong Se-gwon), the first contractor in Korea. After this area was featured on 어서와, 한국은 처음이지? (Welcome, First Time in Korea?), a show about foreigners travelling in different parts of Korea, people have been visiting nonstop. The hanok-exterior of all the stores make Ikseon-dong a perfect photo spot for photography enthusiasts, with traces of the past all over the alleyways.
Ikseon-dong is very charming with its tiny alleyways, coffeeshops, and numerous different restaurants. One street in Ikseon-dong, referred to as 포차거리 (pocha street), is where you can find endless “food tents” to eat and drink in. Because of the narrow alleys and its popularity, it can get very crowded with waiting times for restaurants becoming the usual, especially on weekends.
You can get to Ikseon-dong from Jongno 3-ga station at exit four (종로3가 4번출구).
(Photo source: http://www.wikitree.co.kr/main/news_view.php?id=332863)
The Euljiro area, near the new G.O.A.’L. office, is also another “hot place”; characterized by the vintage and retro atmosphere of all the restaurants. Many people call Euljiro “힙지로” (hip-jiro), since this area is known as a hipster hot spot. Koreans say that it is impossible to have a bad date if you meet in Euljiro. The restaurants here have affordable prices, a unique atmosphere, and of course, delicious food.
This area is also known for Arc.N.Book, a famous book store, which specializes in books on a few, particular keywords: daily lifestyle, weekend, inspiration, and style. It is not a typical bookstore that only sells books but rather, they hope to curate different, yet better, lifestyles. The store has a tunnel made of books that has become a popular photo spot among tourists, as well as a wide selection of restaurants and coffee shops.
(Photo source: https://m.blog.naver.com/dnrl52/221293198379)
Seochon is located adjacent to Gyeongbokgung Palace and is full of historical and beautiful hanok buildings. Hundreds of people visit Seochon at the beginning of every summer to take pictures in front of the infamous 장미 담장 (jangmi damjang), or rose wall. This wall cannot be found on Google Maps, unless you search for “cafe mk2”. The rose wall has been established as an unofficial photo zone, and people line up to take pictures in front of this wall, full of red and pink roses. Thousands of photos taken here can be found on Instagram by searching the hashtag #서촌장미.
All the in-ssas are heading over to these areas after work and on weekends to check out all the restaurants and take in the charm. “Hot places” in Seoul tend to change often, so make sure to visit these places before the next hot place emerges.
Author: Eva Kim
Editor: Leanna French