The fast-paced, high-context city is totally indie, constantly evolving, and as vibrant as — you guessed it — Gangnam Style.
Stay: Park Hyatt Seoul has sweeping city view, deep plunge tubs, and thoughtful amenities like a hidden kettle cupboard. If you make it out of the room, have a drink at the cool Timber House lounge.
Park Hyatt Seoul, 606 Teheran-ro (near Yeongdong-daero); 82 2 2016 1234; The Timber House, 606 Teheran-ro (near Yeongdong-daero); 82 2 2016 1291.
Shop: In a town where concept shops are a competitive sport, Koon with a View stands out for its indie Japanese and Italian designers and for the cute garden café in the back.
Koon With A View, 546-5 Sinsa-dong; 82 2 3443 4506.
Eat: Gwangjang Market in Dongdaemun is a teeming, 24-hour assault on the senses. Stop and order anything that looks good — street food is an art in Seoul — and wash it down with Makkeolli, a fizzy rice wine.
Gwangjang Market, 6-1 Yeji-dong (near Jong-ro); 82 2 2267 0291.
See: The new Simone Handbag Museum has a collection of bags dating back to the Middle Ages. If you're inspired by what you see, head downstairs and take a bag-making workshop.
Simone Handbag Museum, 17 Dosan-Daero (near Garosugil); 82 2 3222 0912.