Kimchi Days and Soju Nights by Gabe Scalise in Seoul, South Korea

These photos (excluding the featured photo) were taken over the span of a year living in the city and sum up the variety of what Seoul has to offer. Photos include Bukhansan National Park, Dongdaemun Design Complex, Muui-do Island, Sitting Gold Buddha, 2000 year old carved Buddha, and more.

Name:Gabe Scalise

International School Teacher / Film Photographer


Traveling film photographer. I just returned from visiting 30+ countries on 6 different continents over a period of the past 2 years. I mainly shoot 35mm and 120mm film.

Tell us about Seoul:

Seoul has it all, from towering skyscrapers to hyper-modern design complexes and tiny alleys filled with every exotic sea creature and smell the senses could possibly imagine. Aside from the obvious city amenities, Seoul borders an amazing wild mountain range called Bukhansan National Park. Accessible from the metro line, it is a hiker’s paradise and a reprieve from the wild city that is Seoul. This place truly does have it all.

A perfect day in Seoul?

You are likely hungover from a long night of Korean Karaoke and soju. Wake up a little later (Korea is called ‘The Land of the Morning Calm’), make some coffee, and hop on the metro to Bukhansan National Park, a favorite hike of mine starts from Gupabal Station and goes up to a sitting Buddha statue surrounded by 10,000 Buddhas. This statue is the protector of Seoul and the under it is said to lie the heart of a dragon. This hike will take about 3 hours round trip including the time it takes to sit around with Korean Ajimas, or ‘old ladies’ as we call them in the USA. Return back down to the trailhead, hop on the metro, stop in Itaewon quickly to grab a sandwich and soup from Casablanca and then head over to the Seoul Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art because every Saturday after 6 the museum is free! Mozy around with a hot chocolate in hand. A perfect day in Korea.

What is the best thing about Seoul?

The food and markets, the nightlife, the mountains, the public transportation system, the kindness of people.

What is the worst?

The work life balance and long hours on the job.

What would be surprising about Seoul to an outsider?

How safe the city is, how clean and modern it is, and how amazing the public transportation system is!

Favorite photographer?

Steve McCurry


Name:Gabe Scalise


Favorite place to eat:

Casablanca Sandwiches! This place is a haven for vegetarians in a country that is terribly difficult to eat a diet without meat. It is in Itaewon off of the brown Line 5 and they serve up Moroccan sandwiches freshly made by a Moroccan immigrant himself. Absolutely amazing.

Favorite place to drink:

Huisten Coffee in Goyang is amazing and also a great place to do work and print stuff (for free!).

Favorite shop:

Dongdaemun Design Complex. I love browsing the curated products and experiencing the building itself!

Local Tip:

Never pour your own drink or alcohol, always pour for others! It is customary and will make you friends quickly.

Must Do:

Drink like a local (Soju), eat like a local (Korean BBQ), and visit the ancient temples!