Feel like to visit a city that has the most skyscrapers than any Asian city? Or want to see how a city that was left in tatters by war has reinvented itself to be one of the most populous and successful cities on earth?
I believe Seoul, the capital of the Korean peninsula in 1394, has those interesting places to visit and places to see to meet your needs. You may not know that it has a turbulent and bloody history, i.e. Seoul was colonized by Japan in the early 1900s, but gained independence in 1945. And despite the Korean War (1950-1953) fought between the north and south and hacked by communist China and the western allies that left Seoul in tatters, it has since totally reinvented itself. Many who knows its history will amaze with the speed with which it has been transformed and the fascinating combination of ultra-modernity and ancient tradition that it has produced.
As a matter of fact:
- Seoul is South Korea’s economic powerhouse, as well as its cultural and political centre;
- A quarter of South Korea’s population lives in the greater metropolitan area of Seoul; and
- There are 40 universities there.
Seoul in South Korea is set amongst eight mountains, and is divided by the Han River, and is acknowledged by many (including tourists, of course!) is now one of the most populous and successful cities on earth. For tourist shoppers, Seoul is their favorite because they can ‘shop till they drop’ in designer stores, one of which has seventeen floors above ground and seven beneath, or buy electronic items in a market comprising twenty buildings containing 5,000 shops. Not only that, Seoul also has the most skyscrapers than any Asian city, nevertheless, you can still see millions of trees and that the city is full of splendid parks.
If tradition is more your thing, head on to the old Joseon Dynasty city that contains many historic buildings. There are five major palaces to see, including the fabulous Changdeokgung, it has been beautifully restored and listed by UNESCO as well. Other tourist attractions and places of interest shall include the wonderful Buddhist temples, who know you may want to take part in a tea ceremony with the monks there! Don’t miss Namdaemun, the Great South Gate and Korea’s national symbol. If you are interested in modern history, I suggest you to take a guided tour to Seodaemun Prison, it was notorious during the Japanese occupation.
From what I see, the city is safe and easy to get around, added to that its inhabitants are friendly and helpful. Another thing is that Seoul is packed with restaurants, grill houses, bars and clubs, this I think is largely due to Koreans love to socialize over food.
Other tourist attractions, places of interest, places to see and places to visit that you should not miss shall include:
- Changdeokgung Palace and its Secret Garden;
- Gyeongbokgung Palace and its museums;
- Mount Inwang, its temple and the famous Shamanist shrine;
- Mount Namsan Park;
- Seoul Tower which offers the best panoramic view of the city; and
- Yeouido Park.
When is the best time to go? September to November or March to May.