HEAD OUT OF TOWN

Hike along a historic wall for spectacular views out across the cityTry some famous fried chicken, or for the brave - sample spicy snailsVisit a museum dedicated to one of Korea’s pioneering modern artistsSplurge on chopsticks that are works of art unto themselvesOne of the best ways to gets some exercise while seeing the meteoric evolution of Seoul is hiking along the Seoul Fortress Wall. You’ll definitely want sturdy footwear because it’s fairly steep and unpaved in certain sections. Use this map (http://seoulcitywall.seoul.go.kr/front/eng/sub04/sub0401.do) and start from Hyehwamun Gate, following the old stone wall westward 4.7km (about 2.5 hours) to Changuimun Gate. Don’t forget your passport—the wall passes near the presidential residence and other secure areas, so it’s heavily guarded and all hikers must register. Once you arrive at Changuimun, you’re at the entrance to a lovely mountainous neighborhood called Buam-dong, which has no subway station and as such, has kept a slightly more village-like feel. If you’re feeling hungry, Gyeyeolsa is one of Seoul’s most famous fried chicken restaurants (and also has a delicious spicy snail dish on the menu). The fried chicken here is so good there are always lines at every time of day—the owner famously takes his one day off to visit chicken suppliers and pick out the very best birds. One chicken is the perfect amount for two people, and comes with spiced fried potato wedges. Don’t be alarmed if the granny keeping shop yells at you; she yells at everyone. Alternatively, if you’ve brought along a clean shirt to change into after your hike, nearby Jaha Sonmandu serves exquisite dumplings in a variety of delicate shapes and flavors. After eating, take some time to wander through the hills of Buam-dong. The Kim Whanki Museum is dedicated to one of Korea’s pioneering modern artists, a painter who worked with bold colors on vast canvases. You won’t see as much of his work in one place anywhere else. Just up the hill from the museum, Ra Café is a social enterprise that funds peace and sustainability initiatives. Unlike most charities in Korea, all their work is completely member-supported without any corporate donations whatsoever. Try a seasonal tea like omija (five flavor berry) or ginger, and also wander through the small photography gallery attached to the café. Back down the hill for a little shopping, Jeo Jip Chopsticks Gallery is one of best places to get nice gifts in Seoul—the chopsticks are works of art made of local materials over the course of months, and are light and easy to pack as well. Pair them with some of the ceramic or wood chopstick stands and get it all beautifully gift-wrapped for an easy gift-on-the-go. The Hyehwamun Gate is located on Dongsomun-ro, just down the road from Hansung University train station. You’ll find this just east of Waryong Park; look out for the traditional sloping tiled roof of the gate itself, high up on the fortress wall. A cab from the Conrad Seoul should take you roughly 50 minutes and can drop you off at the steps leading up.​SEOUL FORTRESS WALL: Stretches 18km around Seoul; seoulcitywall.seoul.go.kr GYEYEOLSA: 7, Baekseokdong-gil, Jongno-gu; 82-(0)2-391-3566 JAHA SONMANDU: 12, Baekseokdong-gil, Jongno-gu; 82-(0)2-394-4488; sonmandoo.com KIM WHANKI MUSEUM: 63, Jahamun-ro 40-gil, Jongno-gu; 82-(0)2-391-7701; whankimuseum.org RA CAFÉ: 19, Baekseokdong 1ga-gil, Jongno-gu; 82-(0)2-379-1975; racafe.kr JEO JIP CHOPSTICKS GALLERY: 142-1 Changuimun-ro, Jongno-gu; 82-(0)2-3417-0119; chopstickshouse.co.kr