Seoul City Guide
Round-the-clock services, a fashion-conscious population and a mix of ancient culture and modern technologies make Seoul a dynamic and fascinating city. From its traditional wood houses to the shiny glass-and-steel skysc...
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Seoul City Guide
Round-the-clock services, a fashion-conscious population and a mix of ancient culture and modern technologies make Seoul a dynamic and fascinating city. From its traditional wood houses to the shiny glass-and-steel skyscrapers, Seoul has a fascinatingly diverse cityscape and plenty of entertainment for any visitor.
New York might be the city that never sleeps but Seoul is the one that runs 24 hours.
Finding a shop, an eatery or even an entire market open in the middle of the night is no challenge at all. Shopping is an important aspect of local life, and given the fact that Koreans are as fashion-conscious and elegant as Italians, it's easy to find trendy outlets to browse to your heart's content.
In Seoul entire neighbourhoods are dedicated to shopping, the most prominent of all being Dongdaemun Market. This shopping district is home to several dozen malls and thousands of stores, many of which are open 24/7. Whatever you seek to purchase, you are bound to find it at Dongdaemun Market at any time of day or night.
Just like shopping, dining can also be a 24-hour affair. Koreans enjoy dining out more than eating in, so it's very common for locals to head to a restaurant after work rather than go back home. As a result, Seoul is full of eateries for all budgets and tastes. Entire roads are lined with eateries serving dishes from all over Korea, making it real easy to sample the national cuisine in all of its sumptuous diversity. Restaurants serving Asian and European fare can be found in many places, too.
Make sure you visit at least one tea house while in Seoul for a chance to enjoy a cup of flavourful, punchy tea and snacks in a traditional setting.
Seoul is a city of palaces and charming architecture.
Seoul has served as the capital of Korea for centuries and sightseeing is a real delight for all who enjoy history and culture. The Joseon royal dynasty that ruled over the country for many centuries commissioned the construction of five palaces, all of which have been preserved or restored to their former glory.
Changdeokgung Palace, a UNESCO world heritage site, is one of the most popular of the five. Wander its wooden buildings erected on stone foundations or take a stroll through the royal garden of Huwon and sit under the shades of the centuries-old trees.
The changing of the royal guard at the front gates to Deoksugung Palace is a very familiar sight and one not to miss when visiting Seoul. The grandest of all five palaces is considered to be Gyeongbokgung, which houses the National Palace Museum and the National Folk Museum.
Not far from the royal residences you will find the Bukchon Hanok Village an area built up with traditional Korean houses. These stone and wood beauties have been converted to tea houses, eateries and inns, making it possible for visitors to step in and even sleep in an authentically traditional Korean home.
Seoul is home to many ancient sites but you will also find lots of modern attractions in the city.
The War Memorial of Korea commemorates the dramatic events of the country's more recent history. This huge museum contains lots of artefacts and photos documenting the Korean War of the 1950s while outside of the museum you can see dramatic memorials as well as preserved missiles, aircraft, tanks and even a submarine.
The Olympic Park remains one of the top attractions in the city, which is, in fact, a lot more than a mere sports venue. On-site facilities include a stadium, a sports leisure park and several cultural institutions. Pay a visit to the Soma Museum of Art and admire its outdoor sculptural park, which contains more than 200 artworks, or take the time to see the historical artefacts, documenting two millennia of Korean history, at the Baekje Museum.
Seoul is a city with a rich culture and history but if you are on a family trip, the best way to entertain your kids is by skipping some of the boring adult attractions. A stroll through the Olympic Park would be a delight for youngsters. However, your best bet is the COEX Aquarium. Exotic marine species from across the seven seas have been gathered in its tanks, and kids are sure to enjoy watching the sharks, seals and the tiny jellyfish.
Even if you don't have the time to visit all the grand attractions of the city, you must make the time to see the most iconic landmark – the Seoul Tower. This broadcasting tower built in the 70's was the first of its kind in the city. Its observation deck that offers fantastic views. You can either take the cable car to the hilltop where the tower is located or if you enjoy your exercise you can walk up – the trip takes less than an hour.
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Last but not least, for the ultimate sightseeing experience, make sure to book yourself a boat cruise on the Han River for a chance to admire the modern towers of the city and its beautiful banks.