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[Well-curated weekend] Seoul panorama, relaxing tea time and barrier-free stage play

Jung Ho-yeon poses for a photo on the rooftop of Comfort Seoul located in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. (Jung Ho-yeon's Instagram)
Jung Ho-yeon poses for a photo on the rooftop of Comfort Seoul located in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. (Jung Ho-yeon's Instagram)

Enjoy view of Seoul like Blackpink Jennie, “Squid Game” Jung Ho-yeon

If you scroll through the recent Instagram feed of hipster celebrities like “Squid Game” actor Jung Ho-yeon, K-pop artist G-Dragon of Big Bang, Jennie of Blackpink and singer Jeon Somi, you might notice that there is a common location that they have all visited called Comfort Seoul.

Established by photographer Kim Hee-june and film editor Lee Tae-kyung in June, Comfort Seoul is located in a quiet neighborhood in Huam-dong, Seoul.

On the first floor of the unique white building, there is a store full of unique fashion and interior items. The store also sells its iconic black cat key chain, which is created based on Lee’s cat.

Jeon Somi looks at caps on display at the Comfort Seoul store located in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. (Jeon Somi's Instagram)
Jeon Somi looks at caps on display at the Comfort Seoul store located in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. (Jeon Somi's Instagram)

The store opens from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday.

On the second floor, there is an exhibition hall. From June 25 to Aug. 24, the hall showcased the exhibition “Comfort Universe,” which was about a mysterious space without depth and distance. Unfortunately, there are not any exhibitions going on at the moment.

There is also a cafe in this building. You can enjoy its signature Comfort Latte, a unique coffee drink decorated with edible sugar glass pieces served in its unique curvy-shaped glass. Right in front of the cafe counter, specially curated books about design and photography are displayed on a table.

The cafe also sells diverse natural wines and some pairing food.

The space’s highlight is its rooftop.

On the rooftop, there is a spot where you can enjoy an amazing view of Seoul while sitting on a snake-shaped black bench. People can take away their drinks and food from the cafe and bring them up to the rooftop. Companion animals are also welcome.

People can also enter through a gate on this rooftop which leads to the path of Namsan’s Sowol-gil.

The cafe and rooftop open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Comfort Seoul's rooftop view of Seoul (Song Seung-hyun/The Korea Herald)
Comfort Seoul's rooftop view of Seoul (Song Seung-hyun/The Korea Herald)
A visitor takes a seat at Tea Story in Jongno-gu, central Seoul, on Monday. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)
A visitor takes a seat at Tea Story in Jongno-gu, central Seoul, on Monday. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Taking a rest with cup of tea at Tea Story

If you want to take a rest after a long walk around Insa-dong -- one of the famous tourist sites for its craft galleries and art shops -- stop by Tea Story, locally known as Beautiful Tea Museum, for a hot (or cold) cup of tea.

About a three to five-minute walk from Jonggak Station Exit No. 3-1 on Subway No. 1, in the same direction as the Seoul Jongno Police Station, a beautiful hanok, or Korean traditional house, easily catches the eyes of visitors, signaling that tea house is near.

Passing by its wooden entrance, visitors can see a display of tea cups, tea bowls and kettles. Ranging from pu’er tea to kobus magnolia tea, a wide range of teas are on sale.

On the right side of the entrance, a line of traditional tea bowls is presented as well.

The drinks are mainly divided in 8 groups -- cold drinks, Korean leaf tea, Korean traditional tea, herb tea, flower tea, green tea, black tea and pu’er tea.

According to the cafe owner, though visitors order black bean frozen shakes and iced matcha lattes, there are many people who also try the traditional Korean teas, including Korean citron tea, omija tea, plum tea, balloon flower tea and more.

The owner added that many Korean tea lovers prefer Alishan tea and pu’er tea.

Plum blossom flower tea (Tea Story's Instagram)
Plum blossom flower tea (Tea Story's Instagram)

Don’t forget to add some desserts -- sweet potato rice cake, pumpkin rice cake, black sesame rice cake and grilled green tea rice cake -- to enjoy a wide range of flavors.

Tea Story opens every day from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Sign language instructions are offered during an emergency exit explanation. (NTOK)
Sign language instructions are offered during an emergency exit explanation. (NTOK)

Enjoy barrier-free semi-musical at the National Theater of Korea

If you are someone without disabilities, “Together As One,” a barrier-free sound play by the National Theater of Korea, might come as a surprise. It begins with detailed instructions on emergency exits that is accompanied by sign language interpretation before the start of the show. All the play’s characters take on an alter ego, offering sign language interpretation for those who are hard of hearing. For audience members with visual impairments, instead of offering an audio aid machine like many other performances, DJ Genie takes on the role of explaining changes in the scenes. These aids are incorporated into the performance, therefore providing a seamless experience for all in attendance. It can take a few minutes to get used to the format, but what comes after that is rewarding.

This performance is a reminder that the number of “typical” performances made for broader audiences without consideration for special needs audience members equals the number of performances that cannot be fully enjoyed or appreciated by everyone that is eagerly waiting in the seats.

“Together As One” is a coming-of-age story of twin brothers Hop and Che, who have nothing in common other than their height -- or the lack of it. It is based on a 2010 novel with the same title by Park Ji-li, who delves into human nature and Korean society through an unconventional subject and unique literary style in this novel, which she wrote when she was 25 years old.

Twin brothers Hop and Che and their sign language translators perform during a press preview on Wednesday. (NTOK)
Twin brothers Hop and Che and their sign language translators perform during a press preview on Wednesday. (NTOK)

The play is directed by Kim Ji-won, director of “Oki,” a barrier-free play produced by the NTOK in 2021 and written by Jeong Joon, a playwright of insightful historical imagination. While embracing the original novel's greatness, the play entrances audiences with its fast-paced story and scintillating ideas.

The semi-musical runs from Thursday to Sunday at Daloreum Theater, which offers 512 seats including six wheelchair-accessible seats at the NTOK. On Friday, the performance begins at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday the performances start at 3 p.m. Ticket prices range from 30,000 won to 40,000 won.

Actors in
Actors in "Together As One" perform during a press preview on Wednesday. (NTOK)

(ssh@heraldcorp.com)

(sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)

(gypark@heraldcorp.com)



By Korea Herald (khnews@heraldcorp.com)
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