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Great attractions in Seoul
27 February 2012

What to see in Seoul

There are few better places in the world to experience culture than in South Korea. It’s known for its eclectic mix of shantytowns and skyscrapers, Mercedes and motorcycles, and a stunning enchantment fills the air. Those who take holidays to South Korea are in for a great mix of culture, food, shopping and sightseeing, not to mention the vast and in-depth history of this ancient country. If Seoul is on your list, many places are worth the time to visit.

Gyeongbok Palace

Considered Korea’s most famous royal palace, Gyeongbok Palace is home to the former seat of power. Located at the end of Seoul’s main street, and near the U.S. embassy and the Blue House, Gyeongbok Palace remains a spectacular model of architecture from the 1300s. The grounds are walled and the palace consists of numerous halls and pavilions. A guided tour can be had or you can tour on your own in about two hours.

Bukchon village

To this day, the village remains filled with privately owned Korean hanok or wooden homes. Some of the alleyways are adorned with refurbished buildings that include dark tiled roofs, beautiful courtyards and decorative exteriors. Planked by two grand palaces, Bukchon village makes for a great walking day. Make sure to stop by and see Changdeok and Gyeongbok Palaces. The village itself has many art galleries, quaint cafes and charming restaurants.

The War Memorial of Korea

As one of the most invaded countries around, the War Memorial of Korea is a great place to learn about the country’s disturbing history. For a small entrance fee, visitors can wander inside the museum and see the numerous military guns, tanks and planes that are on display.

City bus tour

Hopping on board a city tour bus is often the best way to get around without getting lost. Most city-tour buses allow a hop-on and hop-off feature that allows visitors to not only get around easily, but to also see their personal top city attractions for a fraction of the transportation cost. The buses are easy enough to find at the city’s major markets and at the North Seoul Tower.

Shopping the Namdaemun market

Shopping in any new city is a delight, even if it’s only window-shopping. Located on the Hoehyeon Station subway line, the Namdaemun market is a bustling one filled with everything you can imagine. It is a great place to pick up inexpensive clothing, house items, jewellery, food and accessories. The market consists of several thousand shops that are located in about 30 buildings, making it easy to get confused. If you do find yourself slightly lost, use the time to relax and enjoy some local foods such as bindae duk, which is a mung bean pancake, kimchi spicy cabbage, or try some mandu gook dumpling soup.

Bugaksan

If a day at the market has you feeling the need to experience a little nature time away from the crowds, slap on your best hiking shoes and head to Bugaksan. This area is one of the mountains that surrounds the city of Seoul and is dotted with trailheads. These trails guide hikers through spectacular 15th century gates and ancient fortresses.

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