Seoul - Travel Guide

Seoul - Travel Guide

Seoul - The first city of South-Korea.

Seoul is a dynamic city where modern skyscrapers and high-tech public transport meet the traditional palaces, Buddhist temples, street markets, and mountain trails. The city hosts major shopping thoroughfares with bars and markets that stay open for 24 hours.

Since the end of Korean War, the city has had major transformation and it is constantly progressing towards its current status as a global economic force and major player in the world of technology.




The Han River flows through the city with twenty-nine bridges that span its waters enabling people to shuttle from north to south of the city via trains, buses or cars.

I happen to learn and explore a lot about the city during my short visit to Seoul. The city is so attractive that it will make you fall in love with itself.

Here is my list of what you can’t miss in Seoul!

Key Attraction in Seoul | Top Things to do in Seoul | Best Places to Visit in Seoul


Gyeongbokgung Palace

Also known as Palace of Shining Happiness. It is located on the city’s main boulevard, Sejongro, close to the Blue House, the President’s residence. It was built by King Taejo at the end of the fourteenth century. A walk through the grounds of this Joseon Dynasty palace is a walk back in time. It is connected to the Jongmyo, a Cofucian shrine to kings and queens of the Korean Josean Dynasty. English tours can be booked in advance, or simply look out for one of the ‘greeters’.




Hyangwonjeon Pavilion is artfully built on an artificial island of a lake which make it beautifully captured by lens. The highlight of the palace is Guard Changing Ceremony where all the guards with traditional clothes, followed by a raging music instrument, march with flags, sword, and shield on hand. It is truly a mesmerizing experience.

Admission Fee: 3000 won
Nearest Station: Gyeongbokgung Palace Station (Subway Line 3, exit 5)
Gate Guard Changing Ceremony Schedule: 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p,m.

Located inside the palace is the National Folk Museum. It comprises three tall interconnecting buildings and they house artefacts, relics and paintings from the different periods of Korean history ranging from pre-history right through to occupation by the Japanese. Entry is free.

 

Bukchon Hanok Village

Don’t have time to visit traditional village in Gyeongju or Andong Hahoe Folk Village? Worry no.
In Seoul you can still see a complex of traditional houses. With more than 1,000 hanoks, some of them remains as a living place for Koreans. Some houses are opened as guesthouse, or just a mini museum for people. If you are interested, you can participate in many traditional Korean crafts. For example: learn how to play a traditional Korean instrument. It is also a great place for taking instagramable pictures.




Make sure to go to Samcheong-dong Culture Street; every Saturday there is a market and throughout the weekend there are many street performers A special feeling when you walk through the hilly alleys.

Nearest station: Anguk Station (Subway line 3, exit 2 ) 


N Seoul Tower (Namsan Seoul Tower)

N Seoul Tower attracts travelers with the opportunity so see a stunning view of Seoul City from the observatory deck. Standing on the top of Namsan Mountain, originally functioned as communication and observation tower, the enchanting view awaits you. Need not to miss having dinner in N-Grill Restaurant.




There are seven tree-shaped frames covered with Wish Padlocks at the base of the tower. Chains of locks are stacked forming a tree of locks full of wishes from people around the world.



If you are a fitness freak then just climb the stairs to reach on top of the tower or else take a cable car.

Admission Fee: 9,000 won for observatory, 12,000 won for alive museum
Cable car: 8,500 won for return, 6,000 for one way
Nearest Station: Myeongdong Station (Subway Line 4), walk about 15 minutes towards pacific hotel.

 

Districts in Seoul

Seoul has many interesting districts with different vibes and characters. The famous Gangnam District (Gangnam Station line 2) is for upper class Seoulists with branded shops and pricey clubs.

Hongdae District 

(Hongik Univ Station line 2) most backpacker hostels can be found here. Maybe can be said as never sleep district. Full of youngster, the hype is just so wild and young with lots of bars, restaurant and small shops.

Our favorite area of the city! Always busy with many youngsters, street performances, which results in a great vibe. Located right in the middle of the area is the Gyeongui Line Forest Park. It’s a unique place where you can enjoy urban culture and greenery at the same time. It’s also a great place to have a beer at night with friends and mix with the locals.

 

Itaewon 

Itaewon is more like expat district because it is near to US military camp. Very clean environment, unique shops and hosts western type of restaurant.

Itaewon feels like a different world in the city. This is the foreigner’s neighborhood of Seoul, where you can find the multicultural part of Korea. It might not be the most traditional of places but it’s a prime example of the way foreigners have weaved their way into the fabric of Korean society and what makes expat life in Korea different from anywhere else.




Dongdaemun Market 

Dongdaemun Market is more down to earth, suitable for everybody who seeks for affordable option.  

Myeongdong District 

Myeongdong District is known for its affordable prices and the irresistible street food!
Looking for traditional Korean Souvenirs or artistic stuffs, make your way to Insadong (Anguk Station line 3) and check out the beautifully decorated stores there.

 

DMZ (DeMilitarized Zone)

The cold war between South and North Korea can be felt in DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), the buffer zone between two countries. The two squabbling countries agreed to set up the DMZ, an area of 2 kilometers on each side of the appointed line. 




The DMZ tour from Seoul will take you to witness the gloomy past of the war happened between both countries. It also covers the observatory deck, where you can see directly the land of North Korea, and deserted Dori Station which is supposed to connect Asia and Europe. In this tour you will learn what happened in the past, and about the hopes of people to end this war.

 

War Memorial of Korea

Memorial exhibits, war memorabilia, art works, and military equipment. It is a perfect place to learn about Korea’s history of war, most notably with North Korea. Also displayed here, are the pillars representing the support provided to South Korea from various different nations.



There are many more exciting things in and around Seoul such as COEX Mall (Asia’s largest underground shopping mall), temples and palaces. Indeed, Seoul often presents itself as a city of colorful garden, a mirror of its past and a reflection of its future. 😊



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