9 Reasons Seoul South Korea is a Must Visit City
Seoul is the capital of South Korea. It has a municipal population of over 10.5 million, and a metropolitan population totaling over 20.5 million. Seoul is by far South Korea’s largest city. It is one of East Asia’s financial and cultural centers.
The city has a fascinating blend of ancient traditions and cutting-edge digital technology. Being the world’s 2nd most expensive city, and the capital city of South Korea, Seoul has transformed itself into a major city from the 17th century Hermit Kingdom.
Today, Seoul is considered a leading and rising global city. It is a result from a South Korean economic boom called the Miracle on the Han River.
That boom transformed it to the world’s 4th largest metropolitan economy
River Hans passes through the city; the major port city of Incheon and some satellite cities that are included in the Greater Seoul area. Eight mountains, with Namsan Mt. in the middle, surround the city.
Seoul South Korea 4K .City – Sights – People
Published on Youtube on Published on Oct 22, 2018
Lets take a tour to Seoul South Korea. One of the largest cities in the world renowned for its architecture, technical advancements and friendly people. Lets take a walk in Seoul.
One of the world’s most populated cities, Seoul still maintains a hidden history of palaces, pagodas, gardens, and temples. That’s even though it is presently dominated by multi-lane highways and skyscrapers. It is a friendly, safe, and prosperous city with a low crime rate. People are friendly, socializing, and hardworking.
About 600 years ago, Seoul was known as “Hanyang”. It has different districts with the central area called “Downtown Kangna” or “Gangnam”.
The international section is “Itaewon” with a very vibrant nightlife. It is designated as the Special Tourist Zone. Pubs, night clubs, Hooker Hill, and juice bars are of western style. These places remain open till dawn.
One of the city’s busiest marketplaces (open-air) is “Namdaemun”. Another busy market is “Dongdaemun”. The younger generation loves the attraction of “Jamsil” and “Lotte World” (huge ice rink).
“Yeouido” (like New York’s Wall Street) is Seoul’s financial district.
Finding Addresses in Seoul
It is quite difficult to find addresses in Seoul. There are literally to street signs and the numbers on the buildings are random; hence, public transportation is the only option.
It is virtually useless to remember an address. So, instead of looking for a particular address and wasting time, best would be to ask a local to write the address in Korean language—Hangul. This is of tremendous help to the tourists, especially anyone visiting Seoul for the first time.
Presently there are people from many foreign countries in Seoul. People from India, China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Also people from Vietnam, Uzbekistan, and the Philippines all residing in Seoul and earning an excellent living.
A Brief History of Seoul
Though there is evidence people were living in this area (mostly around River Hans) from the Paleolithic Age, the “Amsa Prehistoric Site” in Amsa-dong, Gangdong-gu, dates back 3000 to 7000 years. Those days, the settlements had started moving towards inland from River Hans’ area.
Seoul’s history can be traced back to 18 BCE. Wiryseong was the capital city of the kingdom of Baekje, which developed from Mahan confederacy into one of Korea’s three kingdoms. From the remains of an earthen wall “Pungnap Toseong”, archaeologists believe that it was the main Wiryseong site. Evidence has also been found that “Mongchon Toseong”, another earthen wall, dates back to Baekjes.
The three Korean kingdoms competed against each other to take over the important region of the Korean Peninsula. In 392 ACE, the control passed to Goguryeo (from Baekje), and in 551 ACE, the control passed to Silla-Baekje (from Goguryeo). Then, Seoul was known as “Hanyang”.
After Silla-Baekje, came the Goryeo period; in 1104, “Southern Capital” (Namgyeong), a palace, was built by King Sukjong of this dynasty.
In 1394, came the Joseon Dynasty. The capital was first moved to Hanyang (now Seoul), and then to “Hanseong” (fortress city on River Hans). The gates of this city were Sungnyemun, Heunginjimun, Sukjeongmun, Changuimun, and Hyehwamun (still seen near the downtown district of Seoul).
The Coming of Seoul toward Today’s Era
In the 19th century Seoul opened the doors to non-Koreans. Modernization started in full swing. There were trolley cars, water, telegraph, telephone, and electricity because of trade links with the US and France.
Between 1910 and 1945, under Japan’s colonial rule, Seoul was called “Keijo”.
The city started being called “Seoul” after the liberation of Korea and after the Second World War. When the Korean War broke out in 1950, Seoul changed hand four times between the North and the South Korean forces; as a result, by the time the war came to an end, Seoul was totally ruined.
Then began the reconstruction and modernization program for Seoul. The industrialization of the 60s and 70s had a tremendous impact on the city. Rapid economic growth and a raised standard of living followed. However, with it came pollution, and a high population.
9 Reasons to Visit Seoul South Korea
Due to its historic importance, there are many interesting places to visit in Seoul. Here are some of them.
- Lotte World: Already in the Guinness Book of World Records for its largest indoor theme park, and opened on July 12, 1989, it consists of “Magic Island”—an amusement park, an artificial island (inside a lake), shopping malls, luxury hotel, sports facilities, movie theaters, and monorail. One can visit Lotte World any time of the year. “Gyro Drop”, “Gyro Swing”, and “Flume Ride” are the famous amusement rides.
- Itaewon: Located near the main US Army base, and a neighborhood that is totally expat-friendly, it is the first “Special Tourist District” for the foreign nationals to enjoy shopping, entertainment, and culture diversity. Itaewon can be called “choc-a-block”—clubs, bars, restaurants, furniture, well-tailored dresses, pottery, and jewelry; everything is available here.
- Hongdae: Shops, clubs, clothing stalls, and vintage shops are the center of attraction for people who want to enjoy a youthful nightlife here. The famous prestigious school of leading arts and design programs, the Hongik University, is in its vicinity.
- Cheong Wa Dae: Meaning “pavilion of blue tiles”, it is the President of Republic of Korea’s official residence and executive office. Most famous in the President’s residence are the blue tiles and smooth roof blending magnificently with Bugaksan Mt. in the backdrop. Cheong Wa Dae has seven palaces, a main office, a guest house (Yeongbingwan), and spring and autumn pavilion (Chunchugwan), gree grass (Nokjiwon), and Rose of Sharon (Mugunghwa valley).
- Bukchon Hanok Village: With Changdeokgung to the east and Gyeongbokgung to the west, one can see the largest cluster of “hanoks” (traditional wooden homes), which are privately owned. The layouts, spatial aesthetics, and structural arrangements (also known as Hanok architecture) of the hanoks leave any tourist spellbound!
- Myeongdong: The most famous and primary fashion district, it also has variety dining options (mainly Western, Japanese, and Korean), restaurants, and fast food chains. Even famous Korean cosmetic brands—Laneige, Missha, Etude House, the Face Shop, Skin Food—are sold here.
- Insadong: The main area for Korean traditional culture and crafts—traditional clothings (hanboks), traditional teas, traditional papers, folk crafts, pottery—it is a place flocked by tourists. About hundred galleries, that houses painting and sculptures, adorn the area. Traditional performances take place every Sunday.
- Jongmyo Shrine: The oldest and authentic of the Confucian royal shrines preserved, this is where memorial services are performed for deceased kings. It is there in the present form since the 16th century though it was dedicated to the forefathers of 1392-1910 Joseon Dynasty. Even ritual ceremonies still take place. (It had started from the 14th century)
- Gyeongbokgung: Translating to “Palace of Shining Happiness”, it is also called “Northern Palace”. It is the grandest of five palaces; the other two are Eastern Palace (Changdeokgung) and Western Palace (Gyeongheegung). Between 1592 and 1598, when fire had destroyed the premises with its 7,700 rooms, all were restored by King Gojong under Heungseondaewongun’s leadership. Both the National Folk Museum and national Palace Museum are located here.
More Things to Do in Seoul
Some other places of tourist interest are Dongdaemun, Changdeokgung, Everland, Namiseom Island, and N Seoul Tower.
Seoul is also full of parks. You can cycle along the river(Hangang). There are many famous parks you can visit. Seoul is surrounded by many mountains. You can hike along with the people and feel the nature in the middle of city. Some notable mountains are Namsan, Gwanaksan, Bukhansan, Suraksan.
There are lots of museums in the city since Seoul has been a capital for more than 600 years. The most important museum is the National Museum of Korea at Yongsan. This houses the highlight of 5,000 years of Korean history and its exquisite treasures. There are many art museums as well. Seoul Museum of Arts is near the city hall and is free.
Like to people watch? Then youcan watch the fashionable Seoulites shop and sip coffee in Gangnam. Are you into evening activities? Then enjoy the nightlife in Yongsan.
Some other places of tourist interest are Dongdaemun, Changdeokgung, Everland, Namiseom Island, and N Seoul Tower.
11 Things NOT to do in SOUTH KOREA – MUST SEE BEFORE YOU GO!
by Cal McKinley – Go Local
Published on Youtube on Published on Feb 13, 2018
Here are 11 things you should NEVER do in Seoul, Korea. the city is one of the most amazing places in Asia, but the culture can be difficult to navigate if it’s your first time. These are some helpful tips when getting to know the Korean people.
Climate in Seoul
Seoul has Subtropical and Continental types of climate. Hot and humid summers, and dry and cold winters rule the city. The average temperature in August is 85 °F, and that in January is 21 °F.
Seoul has four seasons of which the most comfortable are autumn and spring. Rains are experienced between June and September.
Air Quality in Seoul is Not SO Nice
One not so nice aspect of Seoul is the bad air quality. The Seoul Metropolitan Government monitors and publicly shares real-time air quality data. Air pollution is a major issue in Seoul.
As of 2014, the annual average PM10 concentration was still at least twice than that recommended by the WHO Air Quality Guidelines. Asian dust, emissions from Seoul and in general from the rest of South Korea, as well as emissions from China, all contribute to Seoul’s air quality.
All that being said, smog in Seoul is becoming less of a problem. In general, air quality has been improving since the early 2000s.You will, however, see some Seoul residents wear different types of masks outdoors for allergies, smog and yellow dust storms.
Different Districts in Seoul
The sheer size of the city means travelers to Seoul will find it difficult to locate a true “center” of Seoul. Instead, Seoul is more like a collection of 25 cities that happen to be bunched together. Each with its own central business and commercial district.
The two largest areas are Jongno/Jung in the north, and Gangnam in the south. Those are probably the areas to visit for tourists with limited time. For travelers with more time, there are many more, smaller centers and districts to be explored.
Seoul has become a favorite place to visit by tourists from China, Japan and Southeast Asia, due to the success of Korean pop culture. Many restaurants and stores, especially in the more touristy areas like Myeongdong, will have signs in Japanese and Chinese, as well as Korean and English.
However, this travel destination, long popular among Asians, is still relatively unknown in the West and frequently passed over by Westerners for nearby Tokyo, Kyoto, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.
The traveler who does visit Seoul will not be disappointed. This sprawling metropolis is truly vast. Even so, the casual traveler can see most of the main sites in a few days. A dedicated traveler could spend months exploring this huge city and surrounding areas.
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