Tread Off the Beaten Path and Explore Sinchon – Seoul’s Hidden Youth Hub

Aug 8, 2019

Tired of frequenting Myeongdong and Dongdaemun and eager to explore more of what Seoul has to offer?

Coming alive in the late afternoon as students stream out of universities, Sinchon’s streets are lined with energetic dancers and talented musicians performing their hearts out.

This combined with the vast number of fun activities, cafe options and shopping areas, make Sinchon a truly vibrant youth hub that deserves to be on your radar!

Don’t take our word for it. Read on for must-dos and must-sees in this eclectic town!

1. Underrated Sinchon Attractions You Must Visit

(Credit: Bryant Tay)

Yonsei University

What’s an energetic youth hub without a gorgeous university campus? As one of the three most prestigious universities in South Korea, Yonsei University is a must-visit. Featuring a sprawling 250-acre campus and over a centuries-old history, you’ll need hours to fully take in Yonsei’s captivating campus. As you stroll through the various trails, be sure to admire how the entire campus seamlessly blends in with the surrounding greenery. Campus highlights include towering statues honouring notable alumni and Gothic-style buildings adorned with ivy that vary in colour with the seasons!

You know a place is worth making a trip to if movies have been shot there and Yonsei University doesn’t lack in this department. It made for a beautiful backdrop for scenes in many Korean films including the popular “My Sassy Girl” and “Reply 1994”.

Annual Sinchon Water Gun Festival

(Credit: Republic of Korea/Flickr)

Summers in South Korea can be unbearable as temperatures soar upwards of 35°C! It’s no wonder hundreds of youths gather at Sinchon every year to participate in the Water Gun Festival. Voted as Seoul’s most iconic festival, each year features a new theme that attracts participants from all around the world. Whether you’re an EDM fan or just looking to blow off some steam, you’ll surely have a blast as you rock out to the live DJ sets or participate in the water gun fights.

Admission to the festival is completely free! Simply bring your own water gun and come with your game face on. However, if you’re looking to get yourself equipped, event organisers offer package deals that grant you perks like changing room access and locker rentals!

Ansan Mountain

(Credit: Chensiyuan/Wikimedia Commons)

Need a break from all that socialising? Go for an evening hike up Ansan mountain and take in dazzling nighttime views of Seoul! Ansan mountain is a hidden treasure compared to mountains like Bukhansan and Gwanaksan! As one of Seoul’s smallest peaks, you won’t have to worry about bringing specialised outdoor equipment. Rather, ascending Ansan mountain is a great way for beginners to ease themselves into the hiking habit without worrying about navigating steep slopes or rocky steps. There are plenty of gentle steps and well-marked paths to ensure you don’t get lost along the way.

Not keen on climbing the peak? Check out the seven-kilometre-long Jarak-gil path that circles Ansan mountain instead. If you’re a nature lover, you’re going to love the herb garden, waterfall and blooming cherry blossoms in spring!

2. Fill Your Tummies at Sinchon’s Must-try Food Joints

Homilbat (호밀밭)

(Credit: Bryant Tay)

As a youth hub, Sinchon has no shortage of cafes and food places. If you’re a bingsu lover, Homilbat should be on your list of must-visit food places in Sinchon. With prices starting from ₩5500 (~6.40 SGD), skim through their wide array of specialised menu options ranging from coffee bingsu to their seasonal strawberry bingsu. The unique thing about Homilbat is that it prepares its own red bean paste instead of relying on canned red beans. This gives the cafe an edge over other bingsu cafes.

During peak periods, the place is packed with patrons clamouring to get their hands on the cafe’s signature milk bingsu! Serving customers ultra fine shaved ice and fresh toppings with homemade red bean paste and rice cakes on the side, nothing quite matches the experience of having Homilbat’s refreshing milk bingsu on a hot summer day. It’s also a nice pit- stop for anyone seeking respite after a long day of visiting arcades and karaoke rooms!

Chak Han Pig (착한돼지)

(Credit: Bryant Tay)

Located above Zzang Arcade, Chak Han Pig should be your go-to-place for affordable food in Sinchon! As a hotspot among cash-strapped undergraduates, you’ll appreciate the outlet’s commitment to offering an incredible value-for-money Korean BBQ spread. From ₩9900 (~11 SGD), enjoy a variety of meat cuts that include pork belly (삼겹살), beef loin (우삼겹) and our personal favourite, the skirt meat (토시살). 

There’s also plenty of ready-to-eat food like fried chicken, tteokbokki and fresh fruit to keep you filled as you patiently grill your meat. If you’re feeling thirsty, simply fork out an additional ₩1000 (~1.20 SGD) for free-flow soft drinks. Open till 1am, it’s the perfect spot for that late night supper buffet with friends!

Gosami (고삼이)

(Credit: StudioEgo/Flickr)

Huge fan of saba fish? Ask any long time Sinchon resident where you can get the best seafood and they’ll likely point you towards Gosami. The ambience here resembles quaint restaurants you often see in K-dramas with the place filled with long tables and warm yellow lighting to emphasise the cosy atmosphere. Known for their expertly prepared grilled mackerel, expect nothing short of perfection when you order one!

Beneath the crackly skin lies extremely moist and succulent mackerel meat that definitely lives up to the hype. Gosami’s grilled mackerels are also minimally seasoned so you can rest easy knowing a meal here won’t ruin your healthy diet plans! Delicious fish aside, don’t miss out on their other equally yummy dishes like stir-fried spicy squid and an assortment of stews. 

3. Sinchon’s Shopping Haven: Hyundai U-Plex Department Store

(Credit: Bryant Tay)

No youth-centric town is complete without a smorgasbord of trendy shops. With over 100 stores, Hyundai U-Plex Department Store is the place to shop till you drop. Within the massive building, you’ll find all sorts of popular brands like Uniqlo and Levi’s alongside luxury brands like Gucci and Prada. Given the huge number of stores to check out, we’ll highlight a couple that are definitely worth visiting!

If you’re hunting for gifts to bring back home, make sure to check out the Kakao Friends store! Given how KaKaoTalk is used by the majority of South Koreans, multiple stores have popped up across the nation selling all sorts of merchandise featuring the cuddly Kakao Friends characters. Choose from a myriad of gifts including adorable plush toys and stylish tote bags that will surely tickle your fancy!

(Credit: Kakao Friends)

Looking to cool down after a round of shopping? Head to the department store’s basement and order a cone of  Baekmidang’s organic soft serve ice cream! Fans have fallen in love with the rich milky flavour and velvety smooth texture made possible with Baekmidang’s use of 1A grade 100% organic milk. Given their attention to detail and strict standards on using organic ingredients in all their ice creams, Baekmidang has attracted a flock of fans who aren’t going anywhere anytime soon!

(Credit: 1964백미당/Facebook)

Another brand that’s renowned in South Korea is O’sulloc! Featuring some of the best tea Korean culture has to offer, this brand’s splendid reputation precedes itself with a dedicated tea museum in Jeju. From floral tea sets to green tea milk spreads, you’ll be spoilt for choice while navigating the catalogue of products they have to offer! It also helps that O’sulloc products come in travel-friendly packaging and make for the perfect gifts for family and friends back home.

(Credit: OSULLOC 오설록/Facebook)

Unbridled Energy and Youth Culture at Sinchon

As a place filled to the brim with things to do and food to try, you’ll definitely be missing out if you sleep on the idea of visiting Sinchon! If you’re tired of heading to locations flooded with tourists, Sinchon will offer a much needed breather as you’re experiencing everything present in a youth hub, minus overbearing crowds.

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Top image credit: Bryant Tay.

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