A Girls Day Out in Seoul – Things to Do in Seoul, South Korea

Food & Wine, south korea — By on March 14, 2011 at 6:00 am

Seoul GirlBy Alice Shin
Special to The Lost Girls

I’ve been traveling around Asia on a culinary dream tour with a group of five guys for 10 days now. I was selected by Pei Wei to join their top chefs to blog about their menu research trip—yes, it’s a tough life! While 99.9 percent of the trip has been beyond easy to deal with, there is one thing I do miss. Girl time. You know: beautification, retail therapy, experiencing a culture through the lens of a woman. We were only in Korea for two and a half days but, if I were able to squeeze in an extra day, here’s what my plan would be:

Morning hike on Sorak mountain

You won’t need extreme technical gear for this mountain—just a pair of good shoes and some water—but you will get some serious stair master action in with the 888 steps that get you to the peak. I love the diversity of the hike: A massive Buddha statue greets you in a valley; beautiful streams snake down the mountain; you can feel wonderfully lost in an enchanted forest cloaked in fog; and you can actually push and wiggle a massive boulder. There’s a lot to experience, and it doesn’t feel like you’re hiking only for the sake of reaching the peak.

Relaxation and pampering at a Korean bathhouse

Koreans are all about the jimjilbang, where you can sweat it out in various sauna and steam rooms. One note: they are separated by gender, and you are expected to go through the experience wearing your birthday suit. Once you get over the initial shock of seeing naked bodies everywhere, it’s a breeze. The wet portion of the bathhouse features small plastic stools and individual water faucets to cleanse the body before you enter the whirlpools and various tubs. Some of the tubs have tea leaves, and others have strong jets that massage your legs and back. After the baths, you change into a uniform and enter the unisex area. The common area features a multitude of hot rooms. Some of them have charcoal inlaid in the ceiling to cleanse the air, others have a floor filled entirely with tiny pinball-sized clay balls.

You could spend hours trying each room and sweating out toxins. My favorite thing to do at the jimjilbang? A full-body exfoliation with a cloth that feels like a softer version of iron wool. You can also get your eyelashes permed for less than $10. Plan on spending a few hours here to detox, beautify, and relax.

Shopping for cosmetics

Korean skin care and cosmetics have the best reputation in Asia. Look for a “set” of skin care products that includes softener (toner), lotion, essence (like a serum) and eye cream. Also, BB Cream is the absolute show stopper in the Asian cosmetic industry. It’s a foundation/coverup that was originally developed for plastic surgery patients, to cover post op redness. Nowadays, the formula has been remixed to include anti-aging ingredients and sunscreen. It’s the fastest makeup application ever—tap it on your skin and you’re good to go. The best part of BB cream is that you won’t need to use under eye concealer or powder. Perfect for us low-maintenance gals. (The only caveat: Because Korean women favor light skin, there are usually only two shades of BB Cream—“natural” and “light.” This product is best for you fair-skinned ladies).

So there you have it—my three wishes for girl time in Korea. I’m currently on our third stop in Shanghai. Check out my blog to follow my travel and culinary adventure: Peiweiblog.com.

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  • Michelle says:

    I am also enjoying South Korea. I am so glad that The Lost Girls have begun exposingit for the gem that it truly is! I have been here for over a year and plan on staying longer. Some of my experiences can be viewed at http://www.shiny-prettythings.com (the blog section)
    Happy Holidays!

  • Nookrapao says:

    I went to Korea last year with my friend. Really good trip I will remember it forever.
    The people in Korea always smiles with me .
    (Korean skin care and cosmetics have the best reputation in Asia.) Yes , I pay a lot of money for cosmetic

    I wonder why the girl in Korea so beauty , they are shape , nice skin, . What is the secret.