Things to do in Seoul
Belt out a classic at a noraebang (Korean singing room)
There's certainly nothing quite like belting out today's pop hits and yesterday's classic songs in a local noraebang. Rented by the hour, 'singing rooms' can be found throughout Seoul; there are handheld drums, tambourines and other small instruments for those too shy to sing. Take centre stage at Sky SU (tel: +82 2 322 3111; www.skysu.com).
Explore Cheonggyechon Stream
It took the dismantling of 6km (4 miles) of an overhead expressway to uncover Cheonggyechon Stream, which has now been landscaped to create an urban ecology park. Sitting just below street level, it is a joy uncovered with walkways, waterways, artwork and fountains. Don't miss Cheonggye Plaza for the illuminations.
Sip coffee at an animal café
There’s certainly no shortage of cafés in Seoul, and many come with their own niche selling point. One of the more distinctive coffee shops is the so-called animal café, such as Hongdae’s Bau House (tel: +82 2 334 5152; www.baumall.co.kr), in which patrons can enjoy the company of roaming cats, dogs and even sheep.
Try your fist at taekwondo
Don’t be misguided by the impressively quaint setting of Namsangol Hanok Village; this is the place to come if you want to try out taekwondo. Sign up for introductory sessions at the Experience Program (tel: +82 2 3469 0134); first watch demonstrations by the masters before experiencing the traditional Korean martial art yourself.
Unwind in a traditional Korean bathhouse
Korea's bathhouses, called mogyoktang, are places to relax and socialise. An intrinsic part of Seoul life, some even open 24 hours a day. With gender-separated facilities, the spas make use of underground hot springs, so visitors can alternate hot and cold water tubs. Yongsan Dragon Hill Spa (tel: +82 2 792 0001; www.dragonhillspa.co.kr) is a stand-out.