Seoul is the capital in South Korea featuring a metropolis filled with sky scrappers and historical heritage. In this visual gallery, we will look at some of the key highlights brought by Seoul.
Gyeongbokgung Palace with cherry blossom in spring,Korea (Copyright: Guitar photographer)
SEOUL,SOUTH KOREA – APRIL 14 : Incheon International Airport is the largest airport in South Korea, the primary airport serving the Seoul National Capital Area, On April 14,2015 in Seoul South Korea. (Nuk2013 / Shutterstock)
SEOUL-OCT. 24, 2015. Saleswomen in tax free perfumery on Incheon International Airport. With 90 duty free shops it is Shopping Heaven. In fact it is a big shopping mall with an airport attached to it. (TonyV3112 / Shutterstock)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – MAY 16: Namdaemun Market in Seoul, is the oldest and largest market in South Korea. Photo taken on May 16, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea. (Guitar photographer / Shutterstock)
SEOUL – MAR 28: Aerial view of shoppers at Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market March 28, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea. The 24 hour market has over 700 stalls selling fresh and dried seafood (coloursinmylife / Shutterstock)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – FEBRUARY 14, 2013: Shoppers pass through Dongdaemun Market. The market is a popular shopping and tourist destination. (Sean Pavone / Shutterstock)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – APRIL 15: People are shopping and walking in Myeongdong commercial area on April 15,2015 in South Korea(Nuk2013 / Shutterstock)
SEOUL – JANUARY 30: Korean people and tourists walking shopping at Myeongdong Market (It is popular and latest fashion center of Korea) on January 30, 2016 at Myeongdong Market in Seoul, South Korea. (Chatchai Somwat / Shutterstock)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – February 2016,Namdaemun Market is a large traditional market in Seoul, South Korea. (PANDECH / Shutterstock)
SEOUL, KOREA – OCTOBER 6, 2015: Seoul train Station platform, South Korea. (twoKim / Shutterstock)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — CIRCA JANUARY 2015– High-speed bullet trains (KTX) and Korail trains stop at the Seoul station in South Korea. (EQRoy / Shutterstock)
SEOUL,KOREA – APRIL 7 : Seoul cherry blossom festival in Korea.Tourists taking photos of the beautiful scenery around Seoul,Korea on April 7,2015. (Guitar photographer / Shutterstock)
SEOUL, KOREA – March 6, 2016 : Vintage street at yeomridong sogeumgil(salt way) (PARK SANG A / Shutterstock)
Seoul, South Korea – February 26, 2015 : Street food at Haeundae market .It has many restaurants and food stalls selling traditional Korean cuisine. (T.Dallas / Shutterstock)
SEOUL – APRIL 23: Street view of Nam Dae Mun Market, crowd present, on April 23 2013, Seoul, South Korea. This is the oldest, dates back to 1414, and largest traditional market in South Korea. (TungCheung / Shutterstock)
Seoul, South Korea – June 09, 2015: Padlock at N Seoul Tower Viewpoint, at Seoul tower peak. People believe that the locked key will keep their forever love. (Freedom Man / Shutterstock)
SEOUL – March 14 : Love padlocks at N Seoul Tower or Locks of love is a custom in some cultures which symbolize their love will be locked forever at Seoul Tower on March14,2015 in seoul,Korea. (Pairat Pinijkul / Shutterstock)
Everland Resort of Seoul, Korea – 17 April, 2015 : Chair lift is the main transportation which connect the upper and lower area in Everland Resort. (mastapiece / Shutterstock)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – JUNE 28: Soldier with traditional Joseon dynasty uniform guards the Gyeongbokgung Palace on June 28, 2015 in Seoul, South Korea. (Guitar photographer / Shutterstock)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – AUG 1: The corridor of Changdeokgung palace in Seoul, South Korea on August 1, 2014. Changdeokgung is one of the Five Grand Palaces of the Joseon Dynasty (Takashi Images / Shutterstock)
SEOUL, KOREA -October 24 , 2015: Woman with Hanbok,the traditional Korean dress. (Pairat Pinijkul / Shutterstock)
Bukchon is a unique and noted place in Seoul, KOREA.Where one can find the trace of traditional life of the ancestors through the Korean traditional houses, alleys and the activities of artisans. (Copyright: YURY TARANIK)
SEOUL, KOREA – February 19, 2016 : Old restaurant at The National Folk Museum of Korea (PARK SANG A / Shutterstock)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – AUG 1: The greenhouse at Changgyeonggung palace in Seoul, South Korea on August 1, 2014. Changgyeonggung is one of the Five Grand Palaces of the Joseon Dynasty. (Takashi Images)
Seoul, South Korea – June 13, 2015: Crowds tourist at the Dongdaemun town market with neon lights shop signs. The location is the premiere district for shopping in Seoul city. (Freedom Man / Shutterstock)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – FEBRUARY 14: Lotte department store lit up at night in the Myeongdong district on February 14, 2014 in Seoul, South Korea. (Vincent St. Thomas / Shutterstock)
There are a lot of people working overtime in Gangnam area in Seoul, South Korea. (Copyright: Kami Choi)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – FEBRUARY 28, 2015 : People enjoying street food at Gwangjang Market.The market was established in 1905 .It has many restaurants and food stalls selling traditional Korean cuisine. (T.Dallas / Shutterstock)
Seoul, South Korea – October 31, 2013: Waffle Shop at Insa-dong Shopping Street (Sarunyu L / Shutterstock)
Seoul, South Korea. August 30 , 2015 : LED flower garden at the rooftop of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). on August 30 , 2015 in Seoul, South Kore (Pairat Pinijkul / Shutterstock)
Guide to Seoul’s Hot Spots
By Ed E Lee
This article is meant to provide an overview of Seoul for those of you who are not really familiar with Seoul. Also, if you’re looking for information to do your homework such as the population and the size of Seoul, you won’t find any in this. Instead, what you can expect is brief description of Seoul’s key areas that, if you’re visiting Seoul, you should definitely not miss.
This is one of the oldest and the most developed part of Seoul. The old Chosun dynasty’s palaces still remain here. In the downtown, you will find not only a busy business district where ‘suits’ walk busily to move this country’s economy along but also a vibrant shopping district and a plenty of places to enjoy Korean and other international cuisines.
Mye0ng-dong is where you will find a large area of shopping and eating haven hidden behind older skyscrapers that propelled South Korea forward during 70’s and 80’s. It is also a street for the young crowd, especially on weekends when the suits are off the street. So, what’s good here? Well, your best bet is shopping for cloth and tasting some well-known Korean restaurants that are 50 years old and more.
Insa-dong is where you meet the traditional Korea. Its streets are filled with places that sell and exhibit traditional Korean art and craft. It is also famous for having many art galleries. Your best bet in Insa-dong is tasting the traditional Korean food and tea while picking up small souvenirs for your friends and family back home.
Samcheong-dong is where you will find an eclectic collection of restaurants and cafes representing the traditional Korean and the Western cuisine. It is somewhat difficult to get to Samcheong-dong as the nearest subway station will still leave you a 10-minute walk. Samcheong-dong is home to small art galleries as well as neat little restaurants.
Hongdae is considered a symbol of Korea’s youthfulness. It is located near 4 well-known universities and is home to youthful indulgence — rocking, dancing, drink and partying. Friday nights are ‘club day’ and you can easily spot line-ups after line-ups of young people trying to get into their favorite clubs. Friday nights in Hongdae don’t end until the sun set.
Eating in Hongdae is also one of the can’t-miss experiences. Every restaurant in Hongdae has evolved to cater to the youthful taste buds and their light pockets. i.e. You will find the tastiest and the cheapest places in Soeul to satisfy your taste bud and fill your stomach.
Sinchon is located between two of the best universities in Korea — Yonsei University and Ehwa Woman’s University. If you think that means the neighborhood would be populated with book stores and libraries, you’re dead wrong.
Sinchon is filled with little shops that cater to female students who are extremely into accessorizing as well as dressing themselves well. The items are sometimes original, sometimes fake but most of the times cheap and pretty.
Sinchon is also where alcohol finds its way into Korean student bodies. You can’t walk a hundred yards without passing by 30 bars, izayakas, hofs or pochas (they’re all places where alcohol consumption is their major business).
Garosugil, which means a tree-lined street, is where the young and the trendy gather for fine dining and espresso sipping. The tree-lined street is also lined with shops and fine restaurants that are more European than almost any other places in Seoul. On a sunny weekend day, the street gets filled with well-dressed young ladies that gather for the international cuisine and their dose of expensive caffeine.
Cheongdam-dong is also known as the Beverly Hills of Seoul. As the name suggests it is a shopping district where if you have the means you can wrap yourself in the life of luxury with brands like Chanel, Gucci, D&G, Prada, Armani and more available within a slow walk from each other. Cheongdam-dong also caters to some of the finest dining experiences you will have in all of Korea. As it caters to the younger (20~40ish) affluent segment of Seoul’s high class, you won’t always find restaurants with stiff upper lips insisting on tradition. Rather, you will find fine fusion restaurants that infuse various styles of the West and the East, the Old and the Young. Beware, however, as the prices will be high. Luxury doesn’t come cheap!
Itaewon formed way back when the only foreigner presence in Seoul was that of the US army stationed near Itaewon. Itaewon formed due to its close proximity to the base to entertain and serve the US military personnel stationed in Seoul. However, a lot has changed since. Yes, Itaewon is still frequented by the US military personnel but it now is going through a renaissance of a sort as the international district of Korea.
In Itaewon, you will find the best (or the most authentic) international cuisine in all of Seoul. The range of food you can find is wide — from Middle Eastern to Belgian. It is also home to many expat bars where you will find the pub next door atmosphere and the nachos and buffalo wings just the way they make ’em back home.
In Itaewon, you will also find many little shops for clothes, leather good and souvenirs to take back home. (You look hard enough you will find very real-like fake luxury goods as well.)
I originally wrote this article for HiExpat.com Blogs.
Take a look at Seoul Restaurants for more detailed guide on Seoul’s best restaurants.