Seoul is brimming withyouthful vibrancy. Art galleries, cinemas, bars and boutiques are dotted allover the city. Seoulites are also in touch with their past, and you’ll findplenty of instances of traditional Korean culture in palaces and theatres.
Korea has suffered frommany conflicts, and some of the bruises still show in Seoul. The city’s FiveGrand Palaces are testament to this; all of these complexes have been destroyedor badly damaged. Today they have largely been restored to their former glory andhouse national treasures, art and traditional architecture. For particularlyfine examples of these palaces, visit Gyeongbokgung, Deoksugungand Changgyeonggung.
Locals possess optimismand friendliness in abundance. Younger Seoulites will be eager to use theirlanguage skills to help you out, and older residents, although not asproficient with their English, are still overwhelmingly warm.
Shopping opportunities inSeoul are boundless. Choose from designer outlets in Myeongdong,traditional craft shops at Insadong and bargain malls at the huge DongdaemunMarket. Wear your new attire while exploring the city’s nightlife. HongdaeYoung Street has an eclectic collection of bars, clubs, live music andindependent cinema.
Soak up classic Koreanculture at venues like Chongdong Theatre. Here, you can marvel atspectaculars featuring traditional music, dance and costume. Sample localcuisine at well-priced stalls and restaurants that serve Korean classics suchas kalguksu (“knife noodles”) or donkas (deep-fried pork cutlets). Foodies willwant to pay homage to the Korean national dish (kimchi) at the PulmuoneKimchi Museum. Kimchi is a fermented vegetable (cabbage, radish orcucumber) dish seasoned with spices. Finish your dining experience with a visitto one of Seoul’s excellent teahouses.
When you want some quiettime, escape to one of Seoul’s regenerated areas, such as CheonggyecheonStream. This stretch of water in the city center features greenery,wildlife and local art. It’s a great example of Seoul’s ability to innovate,educate and entertain all at once.
Seoul has hot summers andcold winters. The best time to visit is around March through May (spring), orSeptember through November (fall) . Navigate the city using the well-priced andefficient subway system, considered one of the best in the world.