South Korea

Korea old meets new
Seoul city night view

As the historic capital of Korea, Seoul is not only vibrant but modern. Lying in the heart of Korea, it impresses its visitors with a smorgasbord of sights, cultural spectacles, shops and delicacies.

The wealth of Seoul’s culture lies in Insa-dong, located near the city’s centre. With over 70 art galleries and a dizzying array of craft stores, antique art dealers, traditional tea houses and eateries, visitors will enjoy a stroll through its streets and perhaps snap up a painting or two.

The ancient palace of Gyeongbokgung, reminiscent of Seoul’s dynastic past, is a must-see destination for tourists. The palace was home to royalties from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910 AD) and stands in near perfect condition even though it is over 600 years old. Visitors are able to walk through the main halls where official ceremonies once took place, along with the banquet halls and the 'Hyangwonjeong', an artificial island created inside a pond. 

For the bargain hunters, Namdaemun Market is not to be missed. The markets sell a wide range of affordable clothing, children's wear, accessories, shoes, home wares and Seoul handicrafts. What’s more, Mt. Namsan is close by, making it a convenient stop for visiting both sights.

At 265 metres above sea level, Mt. Namsan is easy to view from its surrounds, which is why it is a popular resting place for Seoul’s citizens. Visitors can take the hiking trail or ride the cable car up the mountain where they can rest at the Palgakjeong Pavilion or the marine aquarine. The view atop Namsan is breathtaking, especially at nightfall when the city twinkles and comes ablaze with neon lights.

Cheonggyecheon at dusk

If you love your labels, don’t forget to stop at Korea’s fashion mecca, Dongdaemun Marketplace. Boasting over 20 major shopping malls featuring bargain pieces and trendy clothing, shoes and accessories, fashionistas and shoppaholics will be sure to find what they’ve been eyeing in the latest magazines. Dongdaemun is an ideal evening visit as many of its stores are open until 5am the next day, however, avoid the weekend crowds and shop during the week.

Finally, a few hours at Lotte World would be an ideal way to cap off your tour of Seoul. The theme park gives Disneyland a run for its money with an abundance of rides, parades, displays, laser shows, international cuisine, a folk museum and a skating rink for visitors of all ages to enjoy. Notably, Lotte World’s Gyro Drop and Gyro Swing are the most popular destination for thrill seekers, both with a fall of 70 metres. They are definitely not for the faint-hearted!

Gyeonbok Palace Gyeongbok Palace Family visit to palace
Some 'different' sightseeing options
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