You have probably heard about the capital city of South Korea, haven’t you? Seoul is the largest metropolis in South Korea and the 16th largest city in the world. The city is big enough to make anyone who grew up in country-side very confused, so to help the puzzled amongst you: here are six places that you must visit in Seoul!
1. Gyeongbokgung Palace is a must see for everyone visiting South Korea. It is the largest of the five grand palaces built in 1395 by the Joseon dynasty to house the Kings and government of that time. Gyeongbokgung means “Palace of Shining Happiness” and it is generally considered to be the most beautiful palace in Seoul. It was the main palace until the complex was destroyed by fire during the Imjin War in late 1500’s. After two centuries passed, the restoration was started under the leadership of Heungseondaewongun during the reign of King Gojong – all of the palace’s 7,700 rooms were then restored. Today, you can visit this grand palace that also has the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum inside it.
2. Seoul Tower which is 236.7 meters’ high is a communication and observation tower on Namsan Mountain in Seoul. Many visitors take the cable car up the mountain to reach the tower to enjoy a great panoramic view of the city while having dinner. Especially at night when the tower lights up and you can also overlook Seoul. In the tower you can enjoy cultural performances, movies and exhibitions.
3. Bukchon Village reflects 600 years of Seoul’s history. It is a very old and traditional village close to the Gyeongbokgung Palace. The village is known for its alleys and traditional Korean wooden houses. It used to house the high ranked government officials and nobles serving their king. When you visit this traditional culture center, you will experience the Joseon dynasty atmosphere and feel the charm of it with galleries, craft workshops and Hanok restaurants.
4. Namdaemun Market is the oldest and largest traditional market in Korea, located in the very center of Seoul. This market offers everything that your heart desires from food, clothes, bags, kitchenware, daily miscellaneous goods to various imported products – just don’t forget to use your bargaining skills! Most of the shops make their own products, which makes shopping easier and keeps the prices at a very affordable level. Feel the ambience of a market and spend hours browsing through over 10.000 shops of Namdaemun Market!
While you are still in shopping mood, you can also visit the Myeongdong shopping district where you’ll find everything from internationally recognized brands to unique no-name local brands – but with slightly higher prices than Namdaemun Market. Restaurants and fast-food opportunities are also located in this area.
5. Hongdae is where you will find South Korea’s youth – even during the early hours. It is a region known for its clubs, entertainment and urban arts influences with the Hongik University nearby. This area has trendy cafes and it is the origin of many famous Korean indie bands. That’s why it attracts young adults and is a definite must-see of the Korean nightlife scene. Enjoy the art ambient and get inspired! And for all Hello Kitty fans there is a Hello Kitty themed café near the subway station! Yippee!!!
6. The Bukhansan National Park stretches over Seoul and Gyeonggido and is a must when staying in Seoul. This national park has beautiful views, and gorgeous nature with granite peaks and crystal clear streams flowing through the mountains. You can feel the harmony of more than 1,300 species of flora and fauna living together. Several historical and cultural sites are located within this national park. Learn about the history of Bukhansanseong Fortress which is over 2,000 years old and visit the many Buddhist temples. No wonder that Bukhansan National Park holds a record with about 5 million visitors per year as the “Most Visited National Park per Unit Area” in the Guinness Book of World Records. So don’t miss your chance to see the amazing Bukhansan National Park!
Seoul is the heart of Korea’s culture and education as well as politics and economics – and there is so much to see around the city. Enjoy your visit to Korea!
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