Seoul

There are a number of reasons South Korea’s capital deserves its reputation as one of the best destinations to visit in Asia. Not only is the city’s culture incredibly vibrant and its population made up of exceptionally friendly people, it is also a bustling economic powerhouse, housing a number of the world’s biggest tech companies such as Samsung, LG, and Hyundai Motors.

Korea experiences the full four seasons, so Seoul has things to offer travellers at every time of the year – whether it’s cherry blossoms in spring, the summer Seoul Lantern Festival along the Cheonggyecheon, colourful mountain scenery during autumn, or amazing winter sports on the outskirts.

Seoul is also a treasure trove for history lovers, as it features well-preserved Korean cultures and traditions. Visitors can see stunning sites such as the Gyeongbokgung Palace, which housed dynasties of kings, browse the Asian artefacts in the National Museum of Korea, or walk the streets of traditional Korean areas (such as the Bukchon Hanok Village) packed full with art galleries, traditional teahouses and lovely craft shops.

Tourists interested in religious history can journey to one of the dozens of colourful Buddhist temples surrounding the city and learn more about the religion of approximately quarter of the country’s population. The monks living and working in the temples are always open for discussions, and travellers are welcome to partake in the temple life and rituals.

There is a unique balance between the ancient history radiating from Seoul and its new super-slick modern developments. This is most prominent in the city’s technological innovation; it’s equipped with widespread Wi-Fi availability and the latest gadgets. The innovative cityscape is packed-full of architectural wonders, such as the Lotte World Tower, whose double-decker elevator is the fastest of its kind globally.

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  1. Eat authentic. You haven’t really eaten Korean BBQ until you’ve had it in Seoul! The city has a number of restaurants offering the well-known dish of quality meat seasoned with spices and accompanied with soups, rice and fresh locally grown veggies.
  2. Reconnect with nature. If you are craving a change of scenery from sky scrapers and neon lights, you needn’t even leave Seoul to get it! Using public transport you can easily reach the surrounding mountains, which offer tranquil climbs and great views of the city from the top. (Make sure to let out a loud ‘Ya-ho!’ yelp once you reach the summit, as it’s the Korean tradition!)
  3. Have a themed cuppa. True to its nature as a social city, Seoul has a coffee shop on every corner, allowing people to meet up for any occasion, from catch-up with friends or a casual date, to study groups and business meetings. More adventurous tourists can explore the many themed cafes around the city, which range from the animal-centric ones (specialising in cats, dogs, sheep and even raccoons) to ones dedicated to popular cartoon characters (e.g. Hello Kitty).
  4. Socialise after sundown. Seoul is a city that never sleeps, and its vibrancy transcends into the nightlife. Most places in Itaewon, Gangnam and Hongdae stay open all through the night, so you can hop across pubs, bars and karaoke rooms for food and drinks (like the world’s most popular liquor soju) until the sun comes up.
  5. Get a room. For a uniquely Korean activity, take part in the Bang (‘room’) culture. It focuses on friends spending time together in private rooms, where they have a choice of entertainment such as video games, karaoke machines, personalised movie theatres and even spa rooms!

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