Boogie Nights at Suzie Q’s- Hongdae. Seoul

Hongdae, is one of my favourite places in Seoul it’s cool, edgy and has a fantastic bohemian atmosphere. This area is a hub for South Korean students and cool kids to shop, be seen and party!  A night out here can very easily turn into the mother of all hangovers so be warned! Hongdae, has some of the hippest bars and there is no where I like to get my boogie on than “Suzie. Q’s.” Perfectly hidden in the madness of Hongdae, this place is a welcome change from the Techno-laser fueled Ho Bars or boring Expat Sports Bars; unlike a lot of places Suzie Q’s has SOUL !

Looking at the door leading to the basement stairs you are unsure what to expect. However, when you walk down and spy the vinyl clad walls leading to the main entrance you know you in for a good night!

The Record Collection.
The Record Collection.

This place is all about the music and it plays some of the best tunes around, if you are into 1960’s “rock&roll,” and “Motown & Soul,” there is nowhere better to shake them hips than here! Playing The Rolling Stones, The Small Faces, and The Supremes along with modern bands such as Kasabian and The Arctic Monkeys; this place is an indie-retro music lovers dream!  No K-pop to worry about in this vicinity that’s for sure!( and my goodness aren’t we glad!) The bar has a laid back atmosphere and has a “dancing in your living room sort of vibe,” with its low key decor, big sofas and vintage band posters.

Unlike many bars around Seoul this place has a personal touch and is ran by “Kyu Nam Jo,” a well- known record collector in South Korea, who even plays each song from his own personal collection! Kyu Nam Jo, himself has become a bit of an underground celebrity among the record collectors of South Korea and coming to this bar you can see why  his collection is MASSIVE and utterly flawless!!!Not only does he put the needle on the record (literally) but he also is the king of multi-tasking and serves drinks too, while his wife is busy handing out FREE POPCORN to all their customers.

A Cheers with Popcorn.
A Cheers with Popcorn.

Suzie Q’s, feels less like a bar but more like a cool house party hosted by South Korea’s very own” Quentin,”( Bill Neigh in the boat that rocked, if you don’t know the reference watch the film asap!) As you bop to “The Beatles,” with your free popcorn and your reasonably priced beer, you can’t help but love it here!!

Request?
Request?

What is even more impressive is unlike a lot of places he is more than happy to play requests under a strictly no K-pop rule of course, in fact he was very impressed when we asked for, “Runaway- By Del Shannon,” My other half has a very distinctive Beatles hair-do no dissimilar to Kyu Nam Jo’s, own and he was loving it!

The Mop Tops.
The Mop Tops.

With his thick framed glasses 1960’s hair and vintage style this guy is very much a person you want to party with if given the chance!!We spent most of the evening here and I can honestly say it was fantastic and one of the best bars I have visited in Asia. It was not relatively busy when we visited which meant we were  able to get on our dancing shoes and we even managed to get a boogie in with the man of the moment.

Get on your Dancing shoes!
Get on your Dancing shoes!

For anyone taking a trip to Seoul, Hongdae is a must see attraction and Suzie.Q’s should be put top billing of places to visit if you are wanting to have an old fashion wiggle to some fantastic music!

The Extras- 

As mentioned its pretty hidden and I have tried my best to find directions and this is the best I could come across:

From Hongik Univeristy Main Gate towards Sangsu Station( near Exit 1.) pass Club Evans on the right and Suzie.Qs,  is on a nearby side street( best advice would be to ask around or try and google map it)

Advertisements

In Hanoi, Vietnam.

A florist with a difference
A florist with a difference

Having the privilege of living in Asia means you get to go on some pretty amazing holidays and last year I visited Hanoi a city that has been on my bucket list for some time. Hanoi is a city bustling with life, great food and a lot of MOTORBIKES. Since visiting it has become one of my favourite places to talk about and recommend.

Unfortunately, when I visited the weather was wet and surprisingly cold so I was forced to walk around in a cagoule and the same pair of trousers for pretty much 7 days (I packed for warmer climes…opps).However even with the bad weather Hanoi was probably one of the most surprising places and I absolutely LOVED IT. Now, of course most of you will know about Halong Bay, The War Museums and food; so I am going to tell you about my favourite Hanoi past times which mostly involve walking , sitting, eating and riding a bike…

                                Walking – Having a walk around The Old Quarter

Motorbike Madness.
Motorbike Madness.

This area of town is where EVERYTHING happens so I really recommend choosing a place to stay around here. (word of warning most of my best bits are based around this area)The Old Quarter in Hanoi is one of the best places to experience the chaotic and crazy streets you expect from Vietnam. Here, you can find the best shopping, local cuisine and nightlife. If it’s an atmosphere and nightlife you are after head down to “Beer Corner”( a street that needs little explanation) grab yourself a plastic chair and watch the world whiz by . If Beer Corner leaves you with a sore head in the morning a tried and tested cure is a cream cheese, ham and chili sauce baguette words can’t describe it, just HAVE ONE!

                                           Eating  – Taking a Street Food Tour

Spring Rolls.
Spring Rolls.

Having heard so much about Vietnamese cuisine we decided the best way to tackle it was to take a street food tour. Based around the Old Quarter this street food took us a little bit around the city and helped us sample some of the local cuisine. We booked it through one of the many tour operators and even though it was only an hour and half it was a great way to experience the city with your own personal tour guide. Our tour guide was a young student who was incredibly sweet and even though there was only two of us she made a huge effort to tell us a lot about the dishes.

Beer and  Balcony
Beer and Balcony

The tour was around £20.00 and was well worth it as Hanoi is pretty much a street food place so from here on in our mealtimes were sorted!( now a Bun Cha addict!) . For me the main unexpected delight was the EGG COFFEE and EGG chocolate something you MUST have in Vietnam. This drink is still to this day one of the best things I have ever tasted and without our lovely tour guide there is no way I would be able to have located this tiny coffee house with its dreamy drink.

                                       Sitting – at S.T. Joseph’s Cathedral(Nha Tho Lon)

Hanoi is city that you can’t help but want to sit and watch the chaos. When a rest stop is required its important to pick a good spec! So I suggest choosing a seat with a view and one of my favourites was from “La Place Café,” which looks over St Joseph’s Cathedral. The whole area surrounding this lovely cathedral harks back to Vietnam’s colonial times and has some fantastic colourful architecture which can be seen perfectly from this quaint, quirky and colourful café. The café has a laid back European atmosphere and has a good selection of coffees, cakes and snacks. In you are lucky you can grab a spot on its Parisanequse balcony and watch the tourist takes their snaps and the locals play football.

                                                      Riding a bike-  in Tam Coc

In Tam Coc.
In Tam Coc

Arriving at boat pick up point I didn’t have high hopes due to grey clouds and the prospect of being on a rowing boat for two hours… When we got on the boat our driver was quick to make friends and showed us his rather interesting skills of rowing with his feet. The boat ride took us through utterly fascinating scenes of natural tunnels, local fishermen and the truly beautiful rice fields. Our driver was that friendly he even lent me his hat!

Get on your BIKE.
Get on your BIKE.

My favourite part of the trip was without a doubt the BIKES! Being a bike lover as soon as I saw them I opted for the pink one with the basket and I have to say it did me very well in indeed. Our tour guide took us on an epic journey through the rice fields and a local village which felt like a real adventure serving past cows and motorbikes. This tour will remain one of my favourite days ever and I have to say I got some pretty fantastic snaps as we all know : “bikes + gorgeous scenery =one great selfie!”

So what are you waiting for get booking your holiday!!

The Extras:

A place to Stay“Hanoi Guest House,” comes highly recommended the price, location and breakfasts are amazing!! click here to book

For more information Click here.