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In the land popularized by K-Pop (Korean Pop Music) and Korean dramas, ever immortalized by Psy’s famous “Gangnam Style,” Seoul is city that you will want to visit. It is a modern major city mixed with the old world culture and history interlaced within.
This thriving major city in South East Asia is a force to be reckoned with. Home to Samsung and LG, this technologically advanced city can proudly say it’s home to one of the fastest Internet speeds in the world.
If you ever find yourself in South Korea’s capital city, we highly recommend:
1. Cheonggyecheon (청계천)
Running through the heart of the city you can find Cheonggyecheon (청계천), a 3.6-mile flowing stream that was part of an Urban renewal project in Seoul. In the busy bustle of the city it is a wonderful place to talk a walk along side the river during your lunch breaks. This is definitely a must when visiting Seoul. After a busy day visiting the city, take a nice peaceful stroll along the river.
2. Five Grand Palaces
Built during the Joseon Dynasty (14th century), five royal palaces still stand today in Seoul. Spread out across the city, any visitor has the chance to experience a “back in time” moment as they cross the threshold from modern metropolitan city to the regal royal palaces by simply walking through the gate.
Simply pass through the gates and you are transported back to 14th century Korea, yet peeking over the walls you spot the many skyscrapers reminding you that you are still in the 21st century. Purchasing one pass provides you access to all five palaces.
3. Myeong-dong (명동)
Situated in the heart of Seoul, this busy shopping center is bustling from sunrise to sunset. One of the main shopping districts in Seoul, this is the place to find all of your sartorial needs and more. Korea is home to many beauty and cosmetics companies, which you can find along the streets in Myeong-dong.
Street vendors sell anything from fake Louis Vuitton bags and jewelry to some of the most amazing Korean street food that you can imagine.
4. Insa-dong (인사동)
Filling the streets of Insa-dong, you can find many galleries filled with examples of traditional Korean fine art, traditional Korean restaurants, and amazing traditional teahouses. No matter what season stop at one of Insa-dong’s traditional cafes that will provide you with the much-needed refreshment a weary traveler could be in need of.
5. National Folk Museum of Korea (국립민속박물관)
Located within the palace grounds of Gyeongbokgung Palace this museum gives visitors insight into historical Korea. A view into traditional Korean life, the National Folk museum recreates home and traditional items that would be used in a traditional Korean village. If you are into history this is one museum you will want to visit.
6. Seoul’s Obsession with Coffee
If you thought America’s obsession with coffee was bad, Seoul can give us a run for our money (see photo evidence). Littering almost every block in Seoul you will find throws of cafes and coffee shops sprinkled throughout the city. While Starbucks does exist in Seoul, make sure to visit places like Paris Baguette or Coffine Gurunaru. Pick up some of delicious pastries that fill the shop with your coffee and you are set for the day.
Photos courtesy Michelle Sohn. Photos cannot be used or reproduced without express permission from the owner.
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