Virtual Vacation: From Street Cats to K-Pop in Seoul, South Korea
Before lockdowns swept the globe, Seoul, South Korea was one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world, ranking eleventh according to Business Insider. This beautiful city is filled with incredible history, art, museums, entertainment and more.
While most people can’t travel to Seoul right now, you can take a virtual tour of the city through books, film, music, virtual walk-throughs and more. Whether you dream of seeing Seoul someday yourself or just want to know more about the planet’s most culturally vibrant cities, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying a taste of what makes Korea great from home.
See the Sights Through a Virtual Lens
Seoul is rich in culture and tourist attractions — there is so much to see and do! Fortunately, much of it can be enjoyed even online. You can take a tour on ArcGIS, a geographic information system, to see photos of some of Seoul’s most iconic sites. It shows you where each place is on a satellite imaging map and tells you some of the history of each location as you "visit."
Recipes to Help You Taste Seoul
Food is an essential part of visiting any country, and a virtual tour of Korea is no different. You may not be able to dine in Seoul restaurants, but you can still enjoy the traditional foods of the city. From main courses like this Seoul bibimbap bowl or classic bulgogi can be made at home by anyone with the culinary courage and ingredients to make them, with side dishes like sigeumchi-namul ("spinach dish") or dubu-jorim ("spicy braised tofu") rounding out the meal. If you still have room for desert, ("candied sweet potatoes") or song pyeon ("traditional rice cake dessert") might be what you need.
Film and Television to Lead You Through the Nation
Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime offer a range of Korean shows between them, providing a convenient way to enjoy Korean culture with no cooking skills needed. Misaeng — "Incomplete Life" in English — is available on Netflix and has been hailed as an authentic look at working-class corporate life. The show is based on a popular comic series ("manhwa") and became a national sensation in Korea.
Music to Transport You There
No cultural tour is complete without music of a nation, a region, and a city. As the capital of Korea, Seoul has everything from traditional folk music to the latest pop bands, and through the Internet, you can enjoy them too.
Sink Into Stories
The stories people tell themselves can say a lot about their culture, and that’s just as true in Korea as anywhere. Fables and other traditional stories can be a great place to begin. Korean Folk Tales: Imps, Ghosts and Fairies, for instance, is freely available to read online. Meanwhile, children’s books like The Fairy and the Woodcutter, The Green Frogs, Maya and the Turtle, The Crow King and Korean Children’s Favorite Stories can offer beautifully illustrated takes on Korean folk tales for younger audiences.
Making a Difference With Your Tour
If you’re enjoying the culture of Seoul and Korea more generally, you also might want to think about educating yourself on the issues faced by the city and country today and perhaps even donating. After all, the Korean experiences you enjoy in your own home are only made possible by the actual people of Korea.