Destination – Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. It has a population of over 10 million people and is a major economic, cultural, and political center of the country. The history of Seoul dates back to 18 BC, when it was founded as the capital of the Baekje Kingdom. During the Joseon Dynasty, which lasted from 1392 to 1910, Seoul served as the capital of the Joseon Kingdom and was the center of politics, economy, and culture. In the 20th century, Seoul underwent rapid modernization and experienced significant economic growth, making it one of the most developed cities in Asia.
A fact about Seoul is that it is home to the Gyeongbokgung Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty. The palace was constructed in 1395 and served as the main royal palace for about 500 years.
Do & See
There are many things to do and must-see places in Seoul, South Korea. Some popular options include:
Gyeongbokgung Palace: As I mentioned earlier, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty. Visitors can watch the changing of the guard ceremony, which takes place every hour, and explore the various buildings and gardens within the palace grounds.
Namsan Tower: Also known as the Seoul Tower, this tower offers panoramic views of the city from its observation deck. It also has a revolving restaurant for a unique dining experience.
Myeong-dong: This is a popular shopping district known for its street food, fashion, and cosmetics. It is a great place to browse and find unique souvenirs.
Bukchon Hanok Village: This is a traditional Korean village with a large concentration of hanok houses, which are traditional Korean homes. Visitors can explore the narrow alleys and see traditional Korean architecture and culture.
War Memorial of Korea: It is a museum dedicated to the history of the Korean War, which displays various artifacts and exhibits related to the war.
Lotte World: it is a major theme park in Seoul with rides, attractions, and a parade of characters, also has an indoor ice rink and a shopping mall.
Insadong: it is a neighborhood known for its traditional Korean shops and art galleries, visitors can find traditional Korean souvenirs such as pottery, hanji (Korean paper), and hanbok (Korean traditional clothing).
Changdeokgung Palace: another UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a palace complex that dates back to the 14th century, and features a beautiful garden, Huwon, which is also known as the "Secret Garden."
These are just a few examples of the many things to see and do in Seoul. There are many more attractions and activities to discover in this vibrant city.
There are several ways to explore Seoul, South Korea, depending on your interests and preferences. Some popular options include:
Walking Tours: Seoul is a very walkable city, and one of the best ways to explore it is on foot. There are many walking tours available, such as historical tours, food tours, or cultural tours, that will take you to different neighborhoods and landmarks in the city.
Public Transportation: The city has an extensive public transportation system, which includes buses, subways, and trains. This is a convenient and affordable way to get around and explore different parts of the city.
Bike Rentals: There are many bike rental stations throughout the city, and it is a great way to explore the city's parks and streets.
Taxis and Cars: Taxis and cars are also available, but they can be more expensive than public transportation. Taxis are a good option if you are traveling with a group, or if you are in a hurry to get somewhere.
Hop-On Hop-Off Buses: There are several hop-on hop-off bus tour companies that operate in Seoul. This is a great way to explore the city and see all the main attractions in a short amount of time.
Food tours: as I mentioned earlier, Seoul is also famous for its street food and traditional dishes, so taking a food tour can be a great way to explore the city and try different local foods.
Day trip: there are a lot of places around Seoul that are worth visiting, for example, Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Petite France, a French-inspired cultural village that provides a glimpse of French culture and architecture.
Whichever way you choose, make sure to plan ahead and check the schedule of the places you want to visit, as some places may have limited hours or closed on certain days.
Dining in Seoul, South Korea is an experience in itself, as the city is known for its delicious and diverse cuisine. Some must-try dining experiences and restaurants include:
Korean barbecue: Korean barbecue is a popular dining experience in Seoul, where diners grill their own meat (usually beef, pork, or chicken) at the table. Some popular Korean barbecue restaurants include Gogung, Mapo Kalguksu, and Seorae.
Street food: Seoul is also famous for its street food, which includes a variety of snacks and meals such as tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), hotteok (sweet pancakes), and bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes). Some popular street food areas include Myeong-dong and Namdaemun Market.
Korean royal cuisine: Korean royal cuisine is a traditional and luxurious way of dining that features dishes made from high-quality ingredients and prepared using traditional cooking methods. Some restaurants that specialize in Korean royal cuisine include Gaeseong Sonmat, and Jeong Kwan's Temple food
Korean Fried chicken: Also known as "KFC", it's a dish made by deep-frying chicken twice, making it crispy and juicy. Some popular places to try Korean Fried chicken include Kyochon, BHC, and NeNe Chicken.
Korean hot pot : Known as "jjigae" or "stew" it is a type of Korean cuisine that is cooked and served in a hot pot, and it's usually served with rice. Some popular stews include kimchi jjigae and sundubu jjigae. Some popular places to try jjigae include Seollungtang and Samcheon-dong Soondae
Korean traditional tea ceremony : Known as "Darye", it is a traditional Korean ceremony that has been passed down for centuries, it is a ritual for serving and drinking tea, and it's usually served with traditional Korean sweets. Some popular places to try Darye include Sallim-dong Yulsa and Insadong Sujeonggwa Tea House.
These are just a few examples of the many delicious dining experiences and restaurants in Seoul. It is always recommended to look for places that have a long line of locals, as they are usually the places that serve the best food.
Seoul, South Korea is known for its vibrant café culture, which offers a wide variety of coffee and tea options, as well as delicious food and desserts. Some top cafes in the city include:
C. Through: Known for its unique interior design, this café serves a variety of coffee and tea options, as well as delicious cakes and pastries.
Coffee Smith: This café chain serves high-quality coffee and is known for its cozy atmosphere. They also have a variety of food options to choose from.
Coffee Libre: This café is known for its specialty coffee and wide variety of beans to choose from. They also have a selection of food options such as sandwiches and pastries.
Café C.Through: Known for its unique interior design, this café serves a variety of coffee and tea options, as well as delicious cakes and pastries.
Caffe Pascucci: This café chain serves high-quality coffee and is known for its cozy atmosphere. They also have a variety of food options to choose from.
Blue Bottle Coffee: This is a California-based coffee company, but it has a branch in Seoul, and it's known for its high-quality beans and unique brewing methods.
Tom and Tom's: This café chain serves a variety of coffee and tea options, as well as sandwiches and pastries.
Coffee Lab: Known for its unique interior design, this café serves a variety of coffee and tea options, as well as delicious cakes and pastries.
These are just a few examples of the many great cafes in Seoul. You can also find many independent and unique cafes in different neighborhoods that are worth visiting.
Bars and Nightlife
Seoul, South Korea has a vibrant nightlife scene, with a wide variety of bars and lounges to choose from. Some top must-try bars and lounges in the city include:
The Hill: This rooftop bar offers great views of the city, as well as a wide selection of drinks and a relaxed atmosphere.
Club Octagon: One of the most popular clubs in Seoul, Club Octagon is known for its high-energy atmosphere and top-notch DJ performances.
Sober Company: This speakeasy-style bar is known for its unique drinks and intimate atmosphere.
The Bamboo: This bar is known for its unique bamboo-inspired decor and extensive drinks menu.
The Wolfhound: This Irish pub is known for its cozy atmosphere and wide selection of beers and whiskeys.
The Glen: This bar is known for its extensive selection of scotches and whiskeys, and its cozy atmosphere.
The Lounge: This lounge is known for its upscale atmosphere and extensive drinks menu.
The Cider Room: This bar is known for its wide selection of ciders and its cozy atmosphere.
The Bottle: This bar is known for its extensive selection of wine and its cozy atmosphere.
These are just a few examples of the many great bars and lounges in Seoul. There are also many other bars and nightclubs to choose from, depending on your preferences and interests. Keep in mind that some bars and nightclubs in Seoul have a dress code, and some may require a cover charge to enter.
Seoul, South Korea is known for its vibrant shopping scene, with a wide variety of options to choose from, ranging from high-end luxury brands to budget-friendly street markets. Some of the best budget-friendly places to shop in the city include:
Myeong-dong: This is one of the most popular shopping districts in Seoul and is known for its street food, fashion, and cosmetics. It is a great place to find unique souvenirs and to shop for clothes, shoes, and accessories at affordable prices.
Namdaemun Market: This is one of the oldest and largest markets in Seoul and is known for its wide variety of goods, including clothing, electronics, and traditional Korean souvenirs. It's a great place to find a bargain and to experience the hustle and bustle of a traditional Korean market.
Dongdaemun Market: This is another popular market in Seoul, known for its fashion and textiles. It's a great place to find affordable clothes and accessories, as well as to experience the bustling night market scene.
Insadong: This is a neighborhood known for its traditional Korean shops and art galleries. Visitors can find traditional Korean souvenirs such as pottery, hanji (Korean paper), and hanbok (Korean traditional clothing) at affordable prices.
G-Market: This is an online shopping platform that offers a wide variety of goods at affordable prices. They have a wide range of products including fashion, beauty, home, and lifestyle products.
Ewha Womans University: This is a popular shopping area for young women and is known for its street fashion and affordable clothing and accessories.
These are just a few examples of the many great budget-friendly shopping options in Seoul. Keep in mind that haggling is common in markets, so don't be afraid to negotiate the price when shopping at these places.