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Publication Date : 10-08-2013
Seoul offers remedies to cool down, endure the tropical nights
As summer is in full swing, many Seoulites are finding it hard to sleep at night without the air conditioner on.
But the city offers a number of ways to escape the heat outside the house at night, from outdoor concerts to film screenings by the Hangang River.
Here are some events and spots to check out to help you cool down, have fun, and relax.
Seoul Arts Centre is throwing free night concerts this month every Saturday at its spacious outdoor property. The four concerts feature some of the most famous Korean art songs, performed by soprano Park Mi-hye, tenor Park Hyun-jae and Korea Male Chorus 1958, among others.
The first show, held on Aug. 3, featured songs such as “Sweet, Come to Me Stealthily,” “I Want to Go” and “Nostalgia,” all of which feature iconic modern Korean poems as their lyrics.
This Saturday, the programme will include “Arirang,” “Seonguja” and “Bimok.”
“Some highlights of the programme include a performance from Clang, the famous ensemble of male operatic singers best known for ‘Les Militerables,’ their quirky parody of ‘Les Miserables,’” said Yang Woo-je from the Seoul Arts Centre.
“They will be singing Korean art song “‘Namchon,”’ which was initially written for a solo singer. It will be interesting to see how they will deliver the song as an ensemble.”
Editions on August 17 and 24 will include performances of “I Will Live in Blue Mountain,” “Daffodils” and “Will You Draw Near.” Admission is free. For more information, call (02) 580-1300 or visit www.sac.or.kr
For those willing to travel outside Seoul in mid-August, Jecheon, North Chungcheong Province, is hosting special outdoor concerts to turn the summer nights into showcases of sound.
“Cinema Concert” is one of the most anticipated sections of the annual Jecheon International Music Film Festival, during which silent movies are screened with live music accompaniment.
On August 16, the festival is screening “The Kid Brother,” a 1927 American classic silent comedy film starring Harold Lloyd, outdoors at night.
The film tells the story of a young, timid son who tries using his sense of humour to win the respect of his strong father and the girl he has a crush on.
On August 17, viewers will get to watch “Safely Last!” a 1923 romantic comedy silent film also starring Harold Lloyd, which, along with “The Kid Brother,” will be accompanied live by pianist Philip Carli, who has toured extensively as a film accompanist throughout North America and Europe.
Screenings of “The Kid Brother” and “Safely Last!” start at 8pm on August 16 and 17, respectively. For more information, visit www.jimff.org.
By the Hangang River
For couples looking for romantic summer date options, Yeouido might be the ideal spot.
This month, Yeouido Hangang Park is hosting a jazz festival featuring local artists including violinist HJK, vocalist Lee Young-joo and Zach Hahn Trio. The series of concerts will be held at the park’s outdoor floating stage throughout August.
The park, famous for its scenic night view of Seoul and the Hangang River, is also throwing two free movie screenings later this month. Local director Lee Jun-ik’s 2006 flick “Radio Star” will be screened at 8:30pm on August 16, and British romantic comedy Notting Hill will be screened at the same time on August 30. For more information about the jazz festival and the screenings, visit www.floating-stage.com.
24-hour movie theatres
Seoul has a number of theatres that operate 24 hours a day, including CGV Gangnam, Lotte Cinema’s Konkuk University branch, Megabox Dongdaemun and COEX. Tickets for most movies after midnight cost 5,000 won. For more information on CGV, Lotte and Megabox’s 24-hour theatres, visit www.cgv.co.kr, www.lottecinema.co.kr and www.megabox.co.kr.
Shop the night away
Unlike other popular shopping districts in Seoul such as Myeong-dong or Gangnam, the Dongdaemun night market is unique in that the area does not truly come alive until after midnight.
The district is the place to go if you are looking to shop the night away while beating the heat.
It is estimated that there are more than 30,000 shops in the Dongdaemun area. There is a seemingly endless array of street stalls selling discount clothes, shoes and even french-fry-covered hot dogs on a stick for those looking to try some street food.
Away from the street stalls and outdoor markets, warehouse wholesalers in the wholesale district keep their shop doors open until dawn as countless retailers, mostly from the provinces, gather to stock up on supplies. One can shop until the stores close ― usually at 4 or 5am ― and catch the first morning subway back home.
Some of the most famous retail malls include Doosan Tower and Migliore. Some of the well-known wholesale shops are Designer’s club, Nuzzon and Gwanghee Fashion Mall.
How to get there: Take Seoul subway Line 2 to Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station.
What better way to spend your night away from the heat than a spa? Seoul offers 24-hour spas where you can pamper yourself away from the sticky weather anytime, day or night.
Run by the Riverside Hotel in southern Seoul, the Medi Spa ((02) 6710-1127) operates 24 hours for worn-out male working professionals. This minimal, modern venue with simple decor is an all-male spa, targeting men who wouldn’t feel too comfortable in regular, mostly women-oriented spas and their atmosphere. The spa offers computers and other necessary devices should their visitors happen to need them for work or urgent communication.
“We offer specially designed vibration massage couches, all of which come with its own flat-screen monitor, to all our clients,” said Choi Young-kyu from the spa. “So when our clients come late at night, they can sleep ― the couches are about 2 metres long so anyone can lie down in comfort ― while enjoying the massage from the machine, or just relax and watch TV or surf the net. We also offer massage services by therapists.”
Medi Spa occasionally accepts female clients upon special request.