Best team-building ideas in SeoulBy Steven Knipp
19 Jun 2017
While South Korea’s ultra-cool K-pop culture continues to energise the planet, its proud birthplace continues to boom and bloom.
Stacks of new mid-tier hotels have recently opened, including Four Points by Sheraton Namsan, Marriott Courtyard Namdaemun, and funky Aloft properties in both Gangnam and Myeongdong. Later this year, the Lotte Hotel luxury brand Signiel will open inside the Lotte World Tower—already dubbed a ‘six-star’ property.
Last year, Seoul pulled out all the stops to host the 2016 Rotary International Convention, and the 6,000 international visitors still talk about the fabulous time that was had by all. Following in Rotary’s footsteps, here are five fun activities for visiting corporate groups to consider.
Sky-high at Lotte World Tower
As the fifth-tallest building in the world, the massive, and newly opened 555-metre Lotte World Tower is virtually a world unto itself. At its base is the Lotte World Mall, with hundreds of high-end boutiques vending all the top labels from Korean cosmetics and shoes to international fashion. There’s also a vast range of restaurants, not to mention an amazing aquarium complete with sea lions, seals and sharks—all viewed via an amazing 85-metre-long underwater tunnel.
There are more than 100 temples hosting overnight visitors, including three venerated Buddhist sanctuaries that warmly welcome small groups.
A favourite is the Jingwansa Temple in Seoul’s northwest quarter, adjacent to the city’s charming Bukhansan National Park. Though this carefully restored historic Buddhist retreat (established in 1011) is a female-only monastery, both male and female guests are welcome. The senior nun speaks superb English, and the temple has hosted a range of groups, including those attending the 2015 World Congress of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.
Namsangol Hanok Village
Located in the heart of the city, in the shadows of Seoul’s gleaming glass skyscrapers, this authentically recreated traditional Korean village from the Joseon Dynasty displays restored Korean homes of both peasants and Korean aristocrats.
Groups can learn about daily life in old Korea by enjoying a traditional wedding ceremony, seeing how ancient crafts were made, and sampling Korean tea and refreshments. Great for photo buffs, and the gift shop offers unique souvenirs.
Team-building with your taste buds
Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) recently launched the ‘Korean cooking team-building programme’, where small groups can learn to make traditional Korean kitchen favourites and trendy new creations.
A top local chef first demonstrates how to make the dishes, then each team is let loose to make their own—under the careful eye of their chef, of course. Delegates then enjoy the mouthwatering meal they’ve cooked themselves. The session runs for about three hours.
After-dark delights, Gangnam-style!
For serious party people, Seoul’s newest nest for post-event partying is the DStar Club. Located in the sprawling multilevel dining and entertainment complex, Glad Live Gangnam, DStar Club is open from 11.30pm until 10am the following morning, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. It has become the hippest new dance and party destination for local night owls, or visiting birds of a feather.
Sunrise on Bukhansan Mountain
Koreans of all ages love to hike in the mountains surrounding Seoul; yet few visitors realise they, too, can easily get some refreshing mountain exercise. For in the northwest district of the capital rises beautiful Bukhansan mountain.
Several well-marked trails take hikers through reconstructed 15th-century gates and along Seoul’s ancient fortress wall. A leisurely 30-minute walk gets you to the top of the 342-metre peak, and a striking view of Seoul waking up to a new day.