For most of us, Seoul is simply known as the largest metropolis in South Korea and the country's capital.

A city that pops up in the news mostly when referencing tensions with North Korea, or perhaps to discuss one of its corporate giants such as Samsung, Hyundai or Kia, it's a destination that remains somewhat hazy or undefined.

The wildly popular 2012 song Gangnam Style is probably the most vivid recent cultural association most have with Seoul, thanks to South Korean musician Psy and those amusing dance moves that became a pop phenomenon.

But ask a hipster, and he will describe an under the radar culture in some of the city's outlying neighborhoods that involves a thriving and funky coffee shop scene and a constantly changing fashion industry, where clothing can be purchased on the cheap in back alley shopping or discount malls.

There's also a fascinating night market culture, where travelers can sample dried squid on sticks and indulge in night time culinary tours.

"Hongdae is where all the coffee shops are. It's just insane - there's neon billboards everywhere and all the very, very hip people are there," says James Treacher, of the London-based Touriocity, a company that specializes in developing custom travel opportunities. "There's loads of coffee shops on every corner. It's the place to go for hipsters." 

"Gangnam is where you go for shopping," he adds. "It's like the Rodeo Drive of Seoul, high-class shopping, a lot of women in high heels. It's all very glitzy and glamourous. But if you go off on the side streets, there's tons of cheap places, and that's where you will find the hipsters."

Seoul, its coffee shop culture and its fashion industry represent just one example of a growing movement known as "hipster holidays," which was identified in the 2015 World Travel Market Global Trends Report.

The report primarily focuses on the European version of the trend, involving visitors to the continent's most popular destinations looking beyond mainstream tourist sites such as Paris's Eiffel Tower or Rome's Colosseum and instead opting to spend vacation time exploring alternative districts in the world's notable cities, areas typically popular with local hipsters.

The sort of trendy, under-the-radar neighborhoods that would meet such criteria have been expanding throughout global cities, the report states, with young professionals increasingly opting to live in areas that were once deemed undesirable, but are now up and coming.

A small but growing segment of visitors have been clued into the existence of these districts and are embracing them, seeking to experience the hipster culture.

With all that said, perhaps it's worth pausing for just a moment, to define exactly what a hipster is (at least according to the WTM report).

The report's very academic definition of a hipster describes someone who follows the latest trends and fashions, particularly those outside the cultural mainstream. Hipster neighborhoods meanwhile, are typically places filled with pop-up restaurants, vegan cafes, independent shops and art galleries.

Interestingly, Airbnb is given a great deal of credit for playing a key role in opening up such areas to tourists, because many hipster neighborhoods lack hotels (at least for now), and private rentals are often the only option.

Among Europe's leading hipster capitals are Berlin's Kreuzberg neighborhood, District VII in Budapest and the Malasana district in Madrid, to name a few.

Adam Groffman, a Berlin-based travel writer, is a stereotypical hipster when it comes to his vacation choices and how he arrives upon them.

When the 31-year-old year visits a new place, it's often after doing research on Instagram or perhaps searching for someplace that hosts a good film or music festival. In other words, if you're reading between the lines here, the days of purchasing a staid or traditional guidebook issued by Fodor's or Lonely Planet, are perhaps fading among the hipsters.

"Finding places through social media is a great way to stay abreast of cool places," Groffman says. "Scour social media. On Instagram, you can search by location, and you find photos of different cities and places and you see things that look cool. It can become addicting."

Foursquare is another social media platform that Groffman suggests when on the hunt for intriguing new places to visit in a foreign city.

"Also, when I'm in a new city and I don't know where to go and what to do, I tend to look for record stores because usually they're going to be somewhere that's more edgy and alternative," he says. "And I talk to the people in the record store about the neighborhood, because they usually know about the alternative scene in the city."

Good to know right?

Groffman's travel blog, Travelsofadam, was actually referenced in the WTM report as one of the leading guides to hipster haunts, one that lists up-to-date reviews of the planet's ever changing hipster scene. Among the hipster destinations topping his list are Berlin's Neukolln neighborhood (just south of the city's center) and London's Dalston and Hackney communities.

Likealocal was also highlighted as a site to use when seeking information about such neighborhoods.

Some travel companies are also starting to jump on the bandwagon, offering hipster tours of specific city districts, often led by local residents to enhance the authenticity. Vayable is one such company highlighted in the 2015 trends report.

But ultimately, having a hipster travel experience simply comes down to being able to immerse yourself in a local, non-touristy, community, or its customs, events or traditions when traveling, having an experience that leaves you with some sort of unique and lasting knowledge to take home.

"Hipsters want to learn something or take something away from a holiday. And they want to want to have experiences with local individuals that they can take back," Groffman explains. "Its about being able to take this knowledge and incorporate it into your life readily, whether its new music, coffee of food. I went to this totally hipster music festival in Sweden, that was attended by all Swedish hipsters. It was very cool to just be in that community for a while."

So for those who'd like to get in on the hipster holiday trend, here's a look at a few other notable hipster hotspots. And remember, social media is the new guide to hipster travel.

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