Spectacular Buddhist Temple Cuisine (사찰음식) at Sanchon (산촌)

Ever since I first came to Korea, I’ve wanted to try the Buddhist temple food on offer in a few select restaurants in the city. Considerably pricier than a regular meal (usually starting at a minimum of ₩30,000 for lunch, more for dinner), however, I wanted to make sure that I went for a special occasion; when a friend suggested that we go for my birthday, it seemed the perfect opportunity. After a little research, I chose Sanchon (산촌), which seemed to be the most renowned and well-established restaurant – it’s been going since 1980. I assumed we wouldn’t need a reservation, […]

Seoul Base Camp Hostel

Seoul Base Camp was my first home in Korea. I worked here for three months last year, stayed when I visited Korea for a few days last November, and now I’m back here working again for a few weeks while I readjust to Korean life. But, despite having spent so much time here, I have apparently not been so good at telling anybody back home what it’s like. So: welcome to Base Camp. I found the hostel quite by chance in 2013. Because of our limited budget, I was looking for a work exchange programme for myself and my best friend Anisa, […]

All You Can Eat (Vegetarian) Shabu Shabu @ Let Us/Lettuce Shabu Shabu, Hongdae

My friends in Korea are always on the lookout for somewhere I can eat easily with them as a vegetarian, which is lovely of them. Dining out is such a big part of the culture here, and it sucks if I have to miss out or always drag whoever I’m with to the same few places. Last week, my friend Alessandra suggested that shabu shabu might be something I could have, provided I had my own hotpot to cook my food in. She did some research and found 레타스 (Let Us/Lettuce) Shabu Shabu (website Kor. only) in Hongdae, which has individual hotpots […]

Getting by as a vegetarian in Seoul

CNN recently published an article naming Seoul as one of their 10 best vegetarian destinations in the world. I’ve been a vegetarian for 13 years, and have also been fortunate enough to travel fairly extensively in that time. As a result, I’m no stranger to the struggles of finding a meat-free meal – in Cuba, I ate nothing but omelettes for two weeks straight – and I can confirm that Seoul is in fact one of the worst places I’ve been as a vegetarian. I don’t mean to put anyone off the city by saying this; I managed 3 months, […]

문화 충격 – Culture Shock

  Upon arriving in Seoul, a number of things struck me that I hadn’t really been prepared for. This could easily be a long list, so for now, I’ll restrict it to a few significant things I noticed almost instantly.


I’ve never been particularly good at writing ‘about me’s, but I suppose it’s customary to do so at the start of a new project. So: I’m Olivia, a soon-to-be Korean and International Relations student from the UK. I’m now coming to the end of my second gap year, 80 days of which was spent living and working at a hostel in Seoul. I’ve created this blog as a platform for me to share my experiences of the city – from what it was like trying to get by as a vegetarian, to how to use a 찜질방 (jjimjilbang – Korean bathhouse) without […]