Welcome to Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is the capital and the largest city of South Korea, that is filled with stark contrasts. It is one of East Asia’s financial and cultural epicentres. A fascinating blend of ancient traditions and cutting-edge digital technology, home to endless street food vendors and serene temples, a trend-setting youth culture.
Whatever you want from K-Pop to Fashion and Technology, at any time of day or night, Seoul can provide. This dynamic city is also deeply traditional with temples, palaces, and mountain trails.
Things to See
Seoul was once called Hanyang. When the Joseon Dynasty was founded, an extensive 18 km-long wall for a fortress was built to protect the new capital. Amazingly, after over 600 years, the wall is well-preserved and maintains its original structure. Nature and the colourful urban landscape of Seoul meet along this wall, as it stretches along the foothills of a mountain range in the center of the city. You must bring your ID for admission to Baegak Section. The Mongmyeoksan Mountain, Naksan Mountain, and Inwangsan Mountain sections are open 24 hours a day. The Inwangsan section is closed on Mondays.
Recognized for its ideal blend of tradition Korean geomancy and Confucianism, which was the philosophy of the Joseon Dynasty, Changdeokgung Palace was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997. Buildings were built with a “harmonious” design philosophy and geographical features, which gives the palace a sense of balance between architecture and nature. Walking tours of the palace’s garden are available. Changdeokgoong Palace is a 5-minute walk from Exit 3 of Anguk Station.
Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace is also commonly referred to as the Northern Palace because its location is the furthest north when compared to the neighbouring palaces of Changdeokgung (Eastern Palace) and Gyeonghuigung (Western Palace) Palace. Gyeongbokgung Palace is arguably the most beautiful and remains the largest of all five palaces.
Bukchon is a traditional Korean neighbourhood. There are lots of things to do there besides taking pretty pictures. You can sketch folk paintings at the Gahoe Folk Painting Museum, learn how to play traditional Korean musical instruments at Gugak Sarang, or hand-craft a rice paper doll at Dakpaper Art Gallery. Bukchon Hanok Village is a 3-minute walk from Exit 3 of Anguk Station.
Standing at 236.7 meters tall, Namsan Seoul Tower is Namsan’s main attraction with stunning views of Seoul and is located in Namsan Park where a beautiful walking path up harmonizes with nature. Enjoy the fantastic laser show and beautiful nightscape of Seoul from the observatory or the revolving restaurant.
The Military Demarcation Line which winds 241 km across the Korean Penisula from East to West is surrounded by the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Under the provision of Armistice Agreement (cease-fire) signed in July 1953, both sides pulled back 2 km from the last line of military contact to ensure peace. DMZ is a buffer zone ceasing all military and hostile actions and also being well-known for its practical ecosystem.
Things to Do
Dongdaemun Market started out as a market near Heunginjimun Gate (Dongdaemun Gate) hundreds of years ago in Joseon era. It has now become Seoul’s most iconic fashion town, thriving with many wholesale, retail shopping malls, and clothing stores. This market is a leader in fashion trends, not only in Seoul but also in Asia.
Tongin Market is famous for street foods and dosirak café, which is a unique buffet-style lunch program offering visitors the opportunity to experience a wide variety of banchan (Korean side dishes) at affordable prices. The menu options are extensive, including rice cakes, healthy vegetables, fruits, street snacks, and more delicious foods!
Namsangol Hanok Village opened in 1998 on the north side of Namsan Mountain in the center of the capital. This village has five restored traditional Korean houses, a pavilion, traditional garden, performance art stage and a time capsule plaza, making it a perfect spot for both locals and tourists to take a leisure walk. Upon entering from the front gate, visitors will get a taste of the traditional life while escaping from the bustling city life of modern times. The traditional garden with its pavilion and the traditional houses create a peaceful ambience before the forested Namsan Mountain. A time capsule commemorating Seoul’s 600 Year Anniversary was buried in 1994 at the highest point of the village and is scheduled to be reopened four hundred years later in 2394.
It is said that to truly understand a country’s culture, you must first experience its food. If you want to learn more about Korea’s traditional food, there is no better way than to try your hand at making the food yourself. In Seoul, there are a variety of cooking programs available for international visitors to make popular dishes, including kimchi, bulgogi, bibimbap, tteok and even royal cuisine. The length of each program varies depending on the menu, but most programs can be completed within half a day. Joining one of these programs will make your trip to Korea even more memorable, so give it your all to make some tasty traditional Korean food!