The cheapest accommodations in Seoul aren’t in backpacker dorms or rundown flophouses. It’s on the floor of a 24-hour Korean spa. These Korean spas – also known as jjimjilbang – offer up all the amenities you’d expect, with saunas, steam rooms, various hot and cold pools and massages. The difference between this and those Western spas is that it’s common to grab a pillow and sleep in the common area until morning rather than just sticking around for the day. In the morning, patrons refresh with another round of soaking or steaming and then head on their way.
In the hip Gangnam district of Seoul – and pretty much everywhere else in the city – are sticker photo booths intended for teenage girls and their extremely bored-looking boyfriends. Inside these shops are about eight or nine different photo booths with names like “LoveStar” and “Beauty Collection.” Photos of heavily airbrushed girls adorn the sides of these booths.
For my last dish before leaving Korea, I wanted something distinctively Korean (that wasn’t chicken and beer – as great as that is). My brother’s college friend who lives in the city took us to a modest little restaurant in the trendy Hyehewa theater district. I didn’t realize that the day – April 14 – was a special occasion. We all inadvertently celebrated Black Day, which falls exactly two months after Valentine’s Day and is exclusively for single people.
Border casinos are a dime a dozen in Cambodia thanks to gambling bans in neighboring Vietnam and Thailand. Some of these casinos gaudy, while others look shady and host cockfighting matches. Out of the many casinos I’ve seen at several borders, none were quite as grand as the plainly-named Koh Kong Resort in the no-mans land between Koh Kong and Hat Lek on the Gulf of Thailand. Rooms range from $50 to $1,900 and the intended clientele is Thai. All the prices are in Thai baht, after all.