At first glance, Thai Instagrammer/TikToker Thanathanat “Fire” Pongpour (aka FireXJourney) seems to be Korean. He has the charisma of a K-Pop star and speaks fluent Korean. His Korean video tutorials on TikTok have a large following – 125.1 k (and growing!) to be precise. His love of Korea and its culture make him ideal to be our Seoul city guide.
We asked Fire to share with us what to do and where to wine and dine in Seoul so that we can add them to our #RadarList.
“Don’t mistake it for a donut shop, Mimi Donut is a gift shop in Hongdae that is packed full of toys, dolls and all the cutesy souvenirs waiting for their soon-to-be owners. Having located near 3 universities, the shop undoubtedly gains traction from university students and with Jennie of BLACKPINK visiting the place, the venue skyrocketed to fame with fans attempting to follow the steps of their favourite K-pop Star. If you’re a true BLINK (BLACKPINK fans), this is the shop to be.”
“Ice cream cone game takes a new turn here at Soft Lab, in Yeonnam-dong. The ice cream-fueled cafe serves up lusciously soft serve along with nice coffee beverages. But the highlight really is the croissant ice cream, where the butter-packed pastry is used as a cone to fill up with the soft serve flavour of your choice.”
Eunpyeong Hanok Village
“Nestled by the Bukhansan Mountain, Eunpyeong Hanok Village is doing their best to preserve the traditional architecture of Korea. The village is made up of Hanoks, which are conventional Korean-style houses that tell history through their wooden structure and black roof tiles. There’s a nice coffee shop located up on the hill with an array of drinks and Korean desserts to choose from. If you’re a cafe hopper who likes old-school feels, this is the place to visit.”
Seosomun Shrine History Museum
“Located in the centre of the city, Seosomun Shrine History Museum is a place to go if you A) want to learn about Korean culture and B) look for instagrammable spots for pictures. There is a spectrum of antiques on display that will give you insights into Korean history.”
Orang Orang Cafe
“Orang Orang Cafe is a must-visit when you’re in Yongsan-dong. The coffee house is situated on a hilltop of one of Seoul’s oldest neighbourhoods, Haebangchon. Cafe hoppers will definitely enjoy its vintage setting housed in a 1960s building and its quality home roasting coffee beans. The Haebangchon neighbourhood is also an up-and-coming area for cool-new businesses, spanning restaurants, bars, cafes and lifestyle shops, so there’s a lot to check out once you’re in the area. The old architecture in the neighbourhood is also well preserved to keep the old charm alive and as a result, Haebangchon has become a bridge between the past and present.
Yeonghwa Seonchakjang Marina
“Smacked right in the middle of Han River are floating shops, where you’ll find hip restaurants, cafes, and bars to wine and dine with the best river view.”
“Bongwonsa Temple in Bongwon-dong is a Buddhist temple with a beautiful landscape, which is great for days where you feel like strolling through nature. I highly recommend going there in the summer and spring, when the flowers in the garden are in full bloom.”
Local Street Food at Gwangjang Market
“I love street food and I need to eat it at least once a day. When in Seoul, this is the market I like to go to indulge in my love for Korean street food. Gwangjang Market has everything one could crave for – think noodle dishes, mung bean pancakes, tteokbokki, fish cake soup, jajangmyeon and more.”
Dongmyo Flea Market
“Dongmyo Flea Market is the perfect place to go thrift shopping. Here’s a second-hand market where you can easily find quality pre-loved products from luxury goods to vintage clothing.”
“A must-visit historical attraction in Seoul. Heunginjimun Gate is one of The Eight Gates that make up the Fortress Wall of Seoul. It’s situated right by Dongdaemun Station, so it’s very easy to get to. The park nearby with a beautiful landscape is also where I like to go for a walk.”
(All images above courtesy of FireXJourney)