When it comes to one of the 10 largest cities in the world, the visit is always worth it. The division between small and large cities does not apply here, because in a city of 20 million there are skyscrapers of everything, and quiet, almost rural areas, and giant malls and amusement parks, and crowded night markets. And very often, and a mountain in the immediate vicinity, where you can escape the hustle and bustle, literally without leaving town. Seoul is one of those cities, which carry in their character something from all over the world and at the same time are the engine of a new culture. The capital of the Republic of Korea, or South Korea Hosts the Olympics Twice (summer in 1988 and winter in 2018), the capital of the Republic of Korea, brings together the Asian spirit and drive with ideas about the globalization of the Western world. And somewhere between the night markets, street food, the shiny offices in the skyscrapers, giant amusement parks and palaces are born new, who are capable of conquering the world in days. Even if they are called Gangnam style. If you are still hesitant to visit Seoul, then this article will surely convince you of that. Whether you are a "watching" or a "learning" tourist, who like to tour landmarks or museums, or of those, who prefer to experience with all their senses.
No matter what type of tourists you are, there are places in Seoul, which are really impressive even for those, who prefer to pay more attention to food, entertainment or nightlife. There is more than one chief in Seoul, and five palaces. The largest of them is Gyeongbokgung (Gyeongbokgung) also known as Gionbok. It was the main palace of the Joseon dynasty, home of the royal family, courtiers and the government to the end of 16 century, when it was destroyed during the Japanese invasion. It was then abandoned for over two centuries, but was restored in 19 century. At the beginning of 20 century was destroyed again, but later restored to its original form, which can still be seen today. The palace had over 7700 rooms in 500 buildings with an area of over 400 decares. It has been compared to the Forbidden City in Beijing. Today, the National Palace Museum and the National Folklore Museum of South Korea are housed on its territory.
Seoul's second largest and most popular palace is Chandokun (The Eastern Palace). It is especially popular, because there is a "secret garden" with many temples and exotic flora and fauna. In the spring it is an attractive place because of the blossoming cherries, and in the fall because of the colorful falling leaves. Chandokun is also the palace with the most preserved authentic buildings. Most of the other palaces were almost completely destroyed in the Japanese attacks and their current appearance are reconstructions..
If you do not have much time or you are very keen on the palaces, but you would take a quick look at someone, a good option are the two smaller Toksugun (Deoksugung) и Gyeonghuigung, which are also close to each other. In Toksugun you can watch the attractive guard change every day from 11, 14 and 15:30 h, except Monday.
One of the most visited religious sites in Seoul is the Chonmio Tomb, in which the kings of the Joseon dynasty are buried. It is located next to Chandokun Palace and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It contains 19 rooms, in each of which a different ruler is buried.
The Joggiesa Temple is one of the most important temples in the country and was built in 1395 g., in the early years of the Joseon dynasty. It is especially attractive in May during the Buddha's birthday celebrations.
Heunginjimun is also an interesting attraction, one of Seoul's eight gates. It was built in 1398 year and has the typical architecture of the late Joseon Dynasty.
Located between the two largest palaces in Seoul, this picturesque neighborhood has over 400 houses in traditional style, in which the locals live. In the quarter, which resembles a village, there are cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops and handmade goods. There you can also find some traditional tea, where to rest from walks.
If you are looking for fun, games, nightlife and music, you will not be disappointed with Seoul. Lotte World is the largest indoor amusement park in the world, and next to it there is an outdoor park called Magic Island, located on an artificial island in a lake. There is also a luxury hotel in the complex, museum of Korean folklore, sports facilities and cinemas. This is the place for everyone, who are looking for endless fun.
The most famous region of Seoul in recent years is Gangnam, immortalized in the hit Gangnam Style. There is already a statue there, dedicated to song and dance, located through the COEX Mall. It is the largest underground shopping center in the world with hundreds of shops, two dining areas, movie, aquarium and large bookstore.
If you have decided to shop in Seoul, there are a few more great places to do it. The Myeongdong area is a place for fashion shopping or Korean cosmetics. There you can also find interesting themed cafes, for example dedicated to Hello Kitty, of dogs or cats.
The largest traditional market in Seoul is Namdaemun Market. There you can get cheap goods, fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood, as well as eat delicious street food. The market is open at night, between 23 h and 4 in the morning, and is almost always crowded.
10-the kilometer-long Cheonggyecheon River, which passes through the center of Seoul, it is a place for exhibitions and open-air festivals. During the Christmas holidays, Buddha's birthday and other major holidays, its valley is richly decorated with colorful lights and decorations. A walk along the river at any time would certainly refresh you.
The National Museum of Korea is the largest museum in the country, dedicated to Korean history and art. It is visited annually by over 3 million people and is the most visited museum in Asia.
The Korean War Memorial was unveiled in 1994 r. on the site of the former army headquarters and is dedicated to Korean military history. There are outdoor and indoor exhibitions of military equipment and artifacts from the wars.
Leeum Samsung Museum of Art is one of the most interesting museums, dedicated to contemporary art. It is housed in two buildings - one for traditional Korean art, the other for modern. 36 of the exhibits in it have been declared a national treasure by the Korean government.
Although South Korea is not large in area, in the country there is 22 national park, as one of them is located very close to Seoul. Bukhansan Mountain is a great place to escape from city life and noise, where to look at the greenery, to enjoy the great views of the city and to breathe fresh air. There are well-marked paths and signs in the park, leading to the highest points of the mountain. The mountain is an extremely visited place and even fell in the Guinness Book of Records for the national park with the most visitors per square meter. That is why it is difficult to find solitude, but a walk in nature is always a good idea and Koreans obviously know it, judging by the attendance of the mountain.
The most beautiful season in Seoul is spring, when everything blooms, including beautiful cherries. Between June and August there are the most tourists, but the weather may not be the most pleasant. You can expect wet weather, rains and the usual queues at tourist sites. If you want to go in the summer, at least choose a festival, to join and see the Korean festivities in all their glory. The weather from September to November is also a great idea. Winter can be quite cold, but if you love skiing and are not afraid of the cold, you will appreciate the lower tourist traffic and the better prices for transport and accommodation. If you travel in January-February, however, you may want to avoid the lunar new year period, when transport and hotels rise sharply, and the vehicles are crowded because of the large number of Koreans, who go home to their families for the holidays.
This article was written with the assistance of BulTravel and Agent Express EOOD.
Author : Ivan Rashkov
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