Monday, July 21, 2014

Indoor Activities to Survive Summertime in Korea

This blog entry was originally published on the Aclipse Blog, which is produced by current Chungdahm Learning teachers in Korea! The blog features entries on current events around Korea, advice for incoming teachers, and the best spots for sightseeing, shopping, and eating. The original entry can be viewed here

While Korea's hottest days are still a month or so away, we also have the rainy season, which technically has already begun. So what to do on those weekends when you want to go explore and be social, but between the rain and/or the heat, you don't want to spend time outside? Well, check out this handy list of the top air-conditioned activities to check out in Seoul this summer! 

Last summer, I wrote a basic how-to for beating the heat during a Korean summer. This summer, I'm thinking of finding more indoor activities. When it comes to staying indoors as much as possible, I automatically think of museums. Luckily, Seoul has quite an array of museums to offer to those of us who are looking to enjoy the things Korea has to offer, but also would prefer to limit our time under the hot summer sun. 

Here are the activities I'm planning to check off my list over the coming weekends: 

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

I recently revisited this awesome building and allowed myself to get completely lost wandering around inside. Some shopping was done in its quirky, creative stores and delicious food was eaten at one of the Western-style restaurants in the food court. Even better, the DDP has various exhibits running throughout the summer that are worth checking out. 

ddp weta dongdaemun design plaza seoul

We wandered through the Weta Workshop Fantasy Exhibition and had a good time. Weta is well-known for being the special effects/makeup/costumers/etc. for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The exhibit features much more than pieces of Middle Earth -- it has sculptures and dioramas and conceptual artwork for many of their other fantastical projects.

For more information, check out the DDP's official website and Trazy's DDP page.

Art museums

I've seen some really great art exhibits come to Korea in the past, so I typically keep my eye on what's happening in the museums at all times. Luckily, this summer looks to be a good one for art lovers. 
Seoul Arts Center has two exhibits that just recently started -- The Great Artists: Renoir to Damien Hirst, and Edvard Munch and the Modern Soul. I'll definitely be visiting both of these soon and probably writing a full review. The exhibits I've caught at the SAC in the past have been excellent, so I'm looking forward to these too. 

There is also the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art that's right next to Gyeongbokgung in Seoul. Since the last time I was there, the exhibits have changed over, which means I'll be planning a trip there sometime soon as well. 

The War Memorial of Korea

The best part of this museum is that it's totally free. Who can argue with wandering around a huge museum, enjoying the nice air conditioning, and being able to save the money that would typically be spent on admission fees? 

war memorial of korea seoul

This museum is really quite well-organized and presented. Informative, huge, and really quite cool. Check out some previous Aclipse blogger write-ups of the museum here and here. And, should you feel like venturing outside, a sizeable portion of the museum is on the grounds in the form of wartime vehicles. You can even climb inside some of them to look around, so I would recommend saving this museum for a hot day rather than a rainy day.  

The War Memorial's official website and Trazy's info page have everything you'll need to plan your visit.

Trick Eye Museum

If art and history aren't quite your thing and you're looking for something a little more whimsical, definitely check out one of the many trick eye museums around Seoul (and Korea!). An optical illusion technique makes the paintings on the walls three-dimensional, and the best part is they're designed so that you can jump into the middle of them! Expect countless photo ops and make sure your phone's batteries are charged up.

trick eye museum hongdae seoul

We went to the Trick Eye Museum in Hongdae, which actually has the freezing cold Ice Museum -- and in the summertime, this might be just what you need. If you're in other parts of Seoul, check out the locations of the Alive Museum, which includes the same kind of illusions. 

More information for the Hongdae location: KTO site and Trazy site (and a coupon here!), including the Ice Museum, and for the Alive Museum herehere, orrrr here.


Any museums or exhibits to add to this list? I'm sure there's so much more to do on the weekends that would otherwise be lost to rain or gross humidity. Leave a comment below with your recommendations! 

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