Seoul is located on the Han River in the Korean Peninsula. Its the largest city of Korea and is also the countries capital city. Over ten million people call Seoul home and its the second largest metropolitan area in the entire world.Seoul can trace its roots back two thousand years to the Joseon Dynasty. It is considered a truly cosmopolitan city with its influence extending over world politics, education, business and international trade.Seoul is also a leader in world technology. In fact, its the only city to feature Digital Media Broadcasting, a digital mobile technology that enables high definition television broadcasts to be sent to mobile phones. This city also has a one hundred megabyte per second fiber optic network for the transmission of high speed internet.
This city has some of the world’s best transportation hubs. Seoul features a high speed rail, and its subway is the third largest subway in the world accommodating over two billion visitors each year. Its also serviced by what many consider to be the world’s best airport, AREX.Seoul is home to a whole plethora of attractions which include prominent natural features, gardens and temples, as well as a large collection of shops and vendors.
This city is home to five historic palaces with the favorite among tourist being the Gyeongbokgung Palace. This impressive palace was built in 1395 by founder of Joseon Dynasty, Lee Seong-Gye. This palace, which is rectangular in shape, contains lotus ponds, gardens, elegant state rooms and apartments. It also contains the National Folk Museum of Korea.The National Folk Museum of Korea contains exhibits which chronicle the history of the Korean people through the replicas of historical objects. It was established in 1945 by the United States government and was originally located on Mt. Namsan. In 1975 it was relocated to its current position in the Gyeongbokgung. Another popular temple is the Changdeokgung. This temple blends in with its natural landscape in an almost seamless fashion. Its located in the Jongno-gu park.
Namsangol Hanok Village is a traditional village that is contrasted by the many skyscrapers on its horizon. The village is like taking a trip through time. It features five restored historical homes that date all the way back to the Joseon Dynasty. Visitors here can peruse the houses, as well as enjoy such activities as shopping for souvenirs, indulge in traditional tea drinking ceremonies and even engage in traditional games of skill.
For visitors looking for a day of thrills there is Lotte World. This is the world’s largest indoor theme park and attracts in excess of six million visitors each and every year. Inside visitors can partake in hundreds of activities and have access to restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. There is even a folk museum and a skating rink. Outside, visitors can enjoy rides, a fairy tale style castle and enjoy many of the trails and laser light shows.
For bargain hunters, Seoul offers visitors access to the district of Insa-dong. This shopping district, also known as “Mary’s Alley”, features hundreds of art galleries and antique shops. There are always bargains to be had here, with goods from the antique to the eclectic being sold. There are also countless bars, tea houses and restaurants where shoppers can find a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the hawkers and street vendors.
Another popular shopping destination in Seoul is Myeong-dong. This is a huge modern shopping area that host hundreds of malls, restaurants, designer boutiques and fast food outlets. There are also stores and vendors hawking everything from clothing to jewelry here. Also located here is the famed Myeong-dong Catholic Church. This church has an amazing garden where one can take a rest from the busy streets of the district.
As previously mentioned, Seoul is a city that also has a deep natural profile. One only has to visit Namsan Park to confirm this fact. Namsan Park is located on Mt. Namsan. Visitors can access the top by either taking the stairs or the cable car located here. From the peak, a breathtaking view of Seoul can be attained. Namsan Park also features a maritime museum and a botanical gardens.
Bongeunsa is a Buddhist temple that was built in 794 AD. This beautiful temple features a program where visitors can stay for a few hours and live as the monks do for that period. This gives visitors an inside look at the inner workings of the temple that is very unique.
Visitors shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the Seoul Olympic Park and Stadium, known also as Olpark. This impressive arena was originally built to host the 1988 summer Olympic games. It has since been used for various concerts and includes attractions such as the Mongchon Fortress and the Seoul Olympic Museum. A perfect conclusion to any visit to this city is the temple Jogyesa. This is a Buddhist temple that was built in 1395. It is the primary temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. One of its main features is a large and very old pine tree known simply as Natural Monument 9.
Whether staying a weekend or an entire month, Seoul offers its visitors a whole range of choices when it comes to hotel selection. There are small regional bed and breakfast style lodging as well as huge luxury hotels such as the COEX InterContinental, the Grand Hyatt, Grand InterContinental, JW Marriott and the Sejong Hotel. All of these hotels are within travel distance of the shopping districts and the major landmarks of Seoul. And many of them are attractions in their own rights.