If you have not been to Seoul yet, now is a good time to start planning that trip. South Korea’s capital city is an increasingly popular destination for tourists. While not as popular as the world’s most touristy destinations like Bangkok, London, and Paris, Seoul draws its fair share of visitors who are drawn to its unique set of attractions and marvels. From traditional to contemporary attractions and everything in between, here are five of the best reasons to visit this vibrant city.
1. Traditional and Modern
Seoul is both traditional and modern. It is an urban jungle that juxtaposes the old and new. Historical and cultural landmarks that date back to hundreds of years sit in the midst of the city among contemporary buildings. Some of the city’s famous landmarks include the Bongeunsa Temple, Changdeokgung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Gwanghwamun Gate, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Jongmyo Shrine, and Namdaemun Gate among others.
2. The Food & Nightlife
Food lovers will find plenty of dining options in Seoul. From street food stalls to high-end gourmet restaurants, there is no dearth of places to savor Korean and international cuisines. It is a place suited for culinary adventures with must-try dishes and treats like bibimbap (mixed rice), bulgogi, ddukbokkie (spicy rice cakes), haemul pajeon, hoeddeok, japchae (sweet potato noodle dish), kimchi, samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly barbeque), samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup), seolleongtang, soondae (blood sausage), and soondubu jiggae among many others. Seoul’s nightlife likewise has plenty of options for people who love a good party or simply want to find a suitable place to unwind. Popular nightlife destinations include Apgujeong, Gangnam Station, Hongdae, and Itaewon.
3. Technology & Design
Seoul is a technology-savvy city. It is also one of the most connected cities in the world with free Wi-Fi that boasts of fast Internet speed. And it is continuously improving with the government committing more investments for mobile infrastructures. Cashless transactions are also quite common. Apart from innovations in technology, Seoul also is also making strides in design. It was named World Design Capital in 2010 by a prestigious group of industrial designers.
4. Transport System
Seoul’s transport system offers a convenient way to get around or travel to nearby cities. It has an extensive network of buses, subways, and taxis. Transportation cards are widely used and easily accessible even to tourists unfamiliar with the ways of the city. Subways are color-coded and buses have numbers or easily identifiable colors or marks.
5. Nature and Green Spaces
Seoul may be a bustling urban metropolis, but it still has plenty of green spaces. The city is also ringed with mountains some of which are visible from places like Gyeongbokgung Palace. Among the top places for nature and outdoor lovers include Cheonggyecheon Stream, Dream Forest, the gardens in the city’s royal palaces, Noeul Park, Olympic Park, Seonyudo Park, Seoul Forest, World Cup Park, Yeouido Hangang Park, and more. The mountains are also accessible from the city with subway lines making it easier to go on a quick trip to places like Achasan Mountain (Subway Line 5) and Gwanaksan Mountain (Subway Line 2).