Seoul (서울) is the capital of South Korea. Seoul is heaven for passionate foodies. Whether tucking into the snacks of commoners or the cuisine of kings, you just can’t lose. Seoul has a long and rich history, having served as a royal capital since 1394. From modern skyscrapers and neon lights to Buddhist temples, palaces and pagodas, Seoul is a fascinating mix of old and new. A hanjeongsik (multicourse banquet) is a feast as much for the eyes as the tummy, as are the creations of chefs crafting neo-Korean dishes. Equally satisfying is scoffing down piping-hot, crispy hotteok (pancakes with sweet or savoury fillings) on a street corner, or delicious, fresh and fiery crab soup in Noryangjin Fish Market. And don’t get me started on the wonderful universe of teas served in charming teahouses: this is where the soul of Seoul lies. A hub of business, culture and finance both within South Korea and internationally, Seoul houses the headquarters for some of the world’s largest corporations. It also has one of the world’s best subway systems the easiest way to get around in this densely populated area. For the best view of the city, go to the tower on Namsan, one of the mountains that encircle the city. With a municipal population of over 11.8 million, and a metropolitan population totaling over 25.6 million, Seoul is by far South Korea’s largest city and one of East Asia’s financial and cultural epicenters. A fascinating blend of ancient traditions and cutting-edge digital technology, home to endless street food vendors and vast nightlife districts, an extraordinarily high-pressure educational system and serene Buddhist temples, a trend-setting youth culture and often crushing conformism, extraordinary architecture and endless monotonous rows of grey apartment buildings, Seoul is a city filled with stark contrasts.
The Beautiful Tea Museum showcases a range of teas from around the world. The museum is located in Insa-dong, not far from Insa-dong’s main intersection. The Beautiful Tea Museum’s building is a large hanok that was remodeled for the museum’s specifications. In addition to informational displays about tea, the museum hosts exhibitions of modern ceramic artists. Visitors can purchase tea at the museum’s cafe, located under a glass ceiling in the center of the museum. In addition to soothing traditional teas, the cafe offers green tea bingsu (shaved ice), danpat juk (sweet red bean porridge), and tteok (rice cakes). The museum’s laid-back atmosphere is perfect for taking a break and re-charging during the day. Its auspicious location between mountain and river, made it the chosen location of King Taejo, the first ruler of the Joseon Dynasty, who immediately set about enshrining the status of his new capital with a series of grandiose projects, some of which – palaces, fortress walls and sites for ancestral worship – can still be seen today. Unfortunately, many of these are restorations, since after an uninterrupted succession of twentyseven kings, the Joseon Dynasty faded into history with its annexation by the Japanese Empire in 1910. Occupying forces systematically destroyed much of what Seoul held dear, but even after their rule was brought to a close at the end of World War II, worse was to follow, as Korea descended almost immediately into civil war. Straddling America-backed South, and when and armistice was signed in 1953, the city lay in ruins.
Gyeongbokgung Palace arguably the most beautiful and remains the grandest of all five palaces is also called “Northern Palace” because it is the furthest north when compared to the neighboring palaces of Changdeokgung (Eastern Palace) and Gyeongheegung (Western Palace). The name of the palace, Gyeongbokgung, translates in English as “Palace of Shining Happiness.” The premises were destroyed by fire at the time of Japanese occupation from 1592-1598. However, all of the palace’s 7,700 rooms were later restored under the leadership of Heungseondaewongun during the reign of King Gojong. The National Palace Museum of Korea is located south of Heungnyemun Gate, and the National Folk Museum is located east within Hyangwonjeong.
It is all about fashion, fashion & fashion in Myeongdong, Seoul’s primary & most famous shopping district. If it’s variety that you’re after, there’s no better place to shop than Myeong-dong where you’ll find everything from internationally-recognized name brands to unique items. Myeongdong also houses a variety of family restaurants, fast food, plus Korean, Western and Japanese dining options. Many restaurants in Myeongdong specialize in pork cutlet (donkas) and kalguksu (thick noodles). Not to forget, Myeongdong is the place where everyone shops for famous Korean Cosmetic brands such as Etude House, Skin Food, Laneige, The Face Shop, Missha!
N Seoul Tower
N Seoul Tower located on Mt. Namsan offers great panoramic views of the city, and has been a symbol of Seoul since it first opened to the public in 1980. Not only the tower was recently undergone a major remodeling, but also a new name following a complete makeover. It is now a true cultural space with various performances, movies, exhibitions as well as upscale restaurants and snack bars.
Dongdaemun is Korea’s largest wholesale and retail shopping district has 26 shopping malls, 30,000 specialty shops, and 50,000 manufacturers. Opening from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. except Monday & some public holidays, you can literally shop all night !! The fabric and clothing here are of the latest fashion trends in the world. Inventory is imported and exported in real time, making Dongdaemun a must-visit for fashion enthusiastic.
Cheong Wa Dae
Cheongwadae is the executive office and official residence of the President of the Republic of Korea. The Korean name literally translates to “pavilion of blue tiles.” The signature markings of the Presidential Residence of Cheong Wa Dae are its blue tiles. It is the first thing that catched one’s attention upon entering the premises. The blue tiles and the smooth roof blend beautifully with Mt. Bugaksan in the backdrop. The unique buildings Cheong Wa Dae are comprised of the Main Office, Yeongbingwan (Guest House), Chunchugwan (Spring and Autumn Pavilion), Nokjiwon (Green grass), the Mugunghwa (Rose of Sharon) Valley, and the Seven Palaces. There is also a weekly Military Drill Demonstration & Parade by the honor guards every Saturday 10am. Great savings on hotels in Seoul, South Korea online. Good availability and great rates. Read hotel reviews and choose the best hotel deal for your stay.
Bukchon Hanok Village
Situated between by two palaces, Gyeongbokgung to the west and Changdeokgung to the east, this village has the largest cluster of privately owned traditional Korean wooden homes or hanok in Seoul. The Bukchon area is a traditional residential area in Seoul that boasts 600 years of history. Its location reflects the views of neo-Confucianism, regarding the world and nature, during the Joseon Dynasty. Hanok architecture places great emphasis on the topographical features of the land on which it is built. Structural arrangements, layouts, and other spatial aesthetics are major concerns here, as are the styles of the buildings themselves.
Changdeokgung Palace was the second royal villa built following the construction of Gyeongbukgung Palace in 1405. The buildings have remained largely intact over six centuries and served as a backdrop for the last chapters of the Joseon period (1392-1910). Korea’s last emperor Sunjong passed away on these grounds in 1926, and it’s commonly known that members of royal descendants lived in Nakseonjae, a cluster of unpainted palace buildings well into the late ‘80s. The palace had a great influence on the development of Korean architecture, garden and landscape planning, and related arts, for many centuries. It reflects sophisticated architectural values, harmonized with beautiful surroundings.
One of the most memorable Seoul attractions and represents the focal point of Korean traditional culture and crafts. Stores in Insa-dong specialize in a wide variety of goods that can only be purchased or appreciated in Korea: hanbok (traditional clothing), hanji (traditional paper), traditional teas, pottery, and folk crafts. There are about 100 galleries in the area and you can see every example of traditional Korean fine art from paintings to sculptures. The teahouses and restaurants are the perfect compliment to the galleries. Every Sunday from 10:00 – 22:00, some streets are blocked off from traffic and it becomes a cultural space. Stores set up booths outside and others set up shop (Korean candy merchants and fortune tellers.) There are traditional performances and exhibits as well.
The area surrounding Hongdae as it’s affectionately called, is the center of Korea’s youthful nightlife. Many of Seoul’s idiosyncratic clubs that draw the younger set are clustered in the area. With Hongik University nearby, a prestigious school known for its leading arts and design programs, the area attracts students and visitors alike to shop & club. The highest concentration of clothing stalls and vintage shops can be found along the main passageway, Eo Ulmadang-gil, minutes away from the subway station.
Itaewon is choc-a-block with trendy bars, clubs, restaurants and shops selling everything from reproduction Korean furniture and tailored suits to jewelry and Korean pottery. Seoul even designated Itaewon as its first ‘Special Tourism District,’ to highlight it as a destination for internationals to enjoy a diversity of culture, shopping, and entertainment experiences. Every foreigner who comes to Seoul gravitates to this gritty expat-friendly neighborhood near the main U.S. Army base. Enjoy exclusive Seoul hotel deals such as romantic package, advance purchase & relaxing Spa at Grand Hyatt Seoul by booking directly through our hotel’s
Jongmyo is the term used for a place where memorial services are performed for deceased kings, and Sajik is the term for a place where services for the Gods of Earth and Crops are performed. The Shrine is the oldest and most authentic of the Confucian royal shrines to have been preserved. Dedicated to the forefathers of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910), the shrine has existed in its present form since the 16th century and houses tablets bearing the teachings of members of the former royal family. Ritual ceremonies linking music, song and dance still take place there, perpetuating a tradition that goes back to the 14th century. It enshrines the memorial tablets of greatly honored kings and their queens, today containing 19 memorial tablets of kings and 30 tablets of their queens in 19 spirit chambers.
Namiseom Island ( Winter Sonata )
For Korean Drama lovers, Nami Island is a place which does not requires further introduction as this is the birth place of all the Korean Craze. This is one of the place where the famous international Korean Drama Winter Sonata was filmed. Hence to put it short, it is a must visit for all Asian tourists! Namiseom Island was formed as a result of the construction of the Cheongpyeong Dam. It is a half moon shaped (462,809㎡) isle, and on it is the grave of General Nami, who led a great victory against the rebels in the 13th year of the 7th king of the Joseon Dynasty, King Sejo (reign 1455 ~ 1468). Book your Hotel in Seoul, South Korea now. No reservation costs. Great rates. Free Cancellation · Read Real Guest Reviews · We speak your language · No Booking Fees
Operated by Samsung Group, Everland is South Korea’s largest theme park at 100 hectares. With 8.6 million visitors, it is ranked as the 4th most visited theme park in the world by offering 5 main Festivals and exciting entertainments all year around. The park is home to over 40 heart-pounding rides and attractions. In addition to ‘Safari World’ featuring white tigers, tigers, lions and bears, ‘Herbivore Safari’ opened in April 2010, letting visitors get up close and personal with the safari’s giraffes, elephants, and ostriches. Everland is also known for its gorgeous flower arrangements and beautiful gardens, which have been year-round fixtures since the Rose Festival in 1985.
Lotte World consists of the world’s largest indoor theme park (a Guinness World Record) which is open all year around, an outdoor amusement park called “Magic Island”, an artificial island inside a lake linked by monorail, shopping malls, a luxury hotel, a Korean folk museum, sports facilities, and movie theaters all in one place.
Opened on July 12, 1989, Lotte World a major theme park complex in Seoul, South Korea, receives over 8 million visitors each year and is considered along with Tokyo Disney Resort as one of the world-class theme parks in Asia.
One of the major reasons tourists are attracted to Lotte World is the amusement rides. The Gyro Drop and Gyro Swing are the top pleasers– a steep drop with an altitude of 70 meters, or taste the thrilling sensation of being inside a tornado. The Flume Ride is a long boat with a high-altitude wave, and the Spanish Pirate Ship swings at an electrifying 75 degrees. Besides the excitement of these rides, Lotte World also contains a variety of parades and laser shows.
Seoraksan (Mount Seorak)
Seoraksan is the highest mountain in the Taebaek mountain range in the Gangwon province in eastern South Korea. It is located in a national park near the city of Sokcho. After the Hallasan volcano on Jeju Island and Jirisan in the south, Seoraksan is the third highest mountain in South Korea. The Daechongbong Peak of Seoraksan reaches 1,708 metres (5,603 feet). The Taebaek mountain chain is often considered the backbone of the Korean peninsula.