Seoul is brimming withyouthful vibrancy. Art galleries, cinemas, bars and boutiques are dotted allover the city. Seoulites are also in touch with their past, and you’ll findplenty of instances of traditional Korean culture in palaces and theatres.
Korea has suffered frommany conflicts, and some of the bruises still show in Seoul. The city’s FiveGrand Palaces are testament to this; all of these complexes have been destroyedor badly damaged. Today they have largely been restored to their former glory andhouse national treasures, art and traditional architecture. For particularlyfine examples of these palaces, visit Gyeongbokgung, Deoksugungand Changgyeonggung.
Locals possess optimismand friendliness in abundance. Younger Seoulites will be eager to use theirlanguage skills to help you out, and older residents, although not asproficient with their English, are still overwhelmingly warm.
Shopping opportunities inSeoul are boundless. Choose from designer outlets in Myeongdong,traditional craft shops at Insadong and bargain malls at the huge DongdaemunMarket. Wear your new attire while exploring the city’s nightlife. HongdaeYoung Street has an eclectic collection of bars, clubs, live music andindependent cinema.
Soak up classic Koreanculture at venues like Chongdong Theatre. Here, you can marvel atspectaculars featuring traditional music, dance and costume. Sample localcuisine at well-priced stalls and restaurants that serve Korean classics suchas kalguksu (“knife noodles”) or donkas (deep-fried pork cutlets). Foodies willwant to pay homage to the Korean national dish (kimchi) at the PulmuoneKimchi Museum. Kimchi is a fermented vegetable (cabbage, radish orcucumber) dish seasoned with spices. Finish your dining experience with a visitto one of Seoul’s excellent teahouses.
When you want some quiettime, escape to one of Seoul’s regenerated areas, such as CheonggyecheonStream. This stretch of water in the city center features greenery,wildlife and local art. It’s a great example of Seoul’s ability to innovate,educate and entertain all at once.
Seoul has hot summers andcold winters. The best time to visit is around March through May (spring), orSeptember through November (fall) . Navigate the city using the well-priced andefficient subway system, considered one of the best in the world.
Shopping, Museums and Castles
This sizable commercial district is home to a staggering number of shopping malls, specialty stores and traditional Korean marketplaces.
This royal palace has been destroyed on more than one occasion, but today it stands as one of Seoul’s finest examples of classic Korean architecture.
You can enjoy some retail therapy when you visit COEX Convention and Exhibition Center, a popular shopping spot in Seoul. Stroll along the riverfront in this vibrant area, or check out its top-notch restaurants.
Marvel as natural light illuminates the galleries of this contemporary museum building, which houses thousands of ancient and valuable Korean objects.
This Seoul landmark can be seen from miles around and offers the finest panoramas of the city.
Walk amid this peaceful natural environment, ride a cable car and marvel at Seoul’s majestic skyline at this sprawling mountain park.
Venture to the border of South and North Korea, where the unsettling Demilitarized Zone separates the 2 countries in a 2.5-mile-wide (4-km) swath of land lined by tanks, landmines, and electric fences.
Discover some of Seoul's landmarks such as the Blue House and the Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung palaces on this full-day tour. Make a stop at the Folk Museum and Jogyesa Temple before experiencing the quaint Insadong street and Namdaemun Market.
Enjoy an evening watching NANTA, a wildly popular show that's known in the US as Cookin'. This Korean-style theater performance uses rhythmic percussion instead of dialogue to tell this hilarious comedy about 4 chefs.
Escape the hustle and bustle of Seoul and travel to Ganghwa Island, rich in Korean history and culture. Visit the Ganghwa History Museum, marvel at the peaceful Jeondeung Temple, see fascinating dolmens, and stop at the Goryeogung Palace Site.
Uncover the fascinating culture and heritage of Seoul on this guided morning tour. Visit the impressive Changdeokgung Palace, the ancient Jongmyo royal shrine, and the charming neighborhood of Insadong, with its antique galleries and traditional tea houses.
Explore the cultural heritage of Seoul on this morning tour. See the charming presidential residence, the majestic 13th-century Gyeongbokgung Palace, the vast historical collection at the National Folk Museum, and an ornate Buddhist temple.