This guest post is by Jessica Gold of Travel Wkly, enjoy!
South Korea’s largest city is its capital Seoul. The city dates back to 18 BC and now has a population exceeding 10 million and the city’s metropolitan area has a population exceeding 25 million, making it the second most populated metropolitan areas in the world. Located on the banks of the Han River, the city is surrounded by mountains, the tallest being Mt. Bukhan home to the most visited of any national park in the world, by square footage. In the center of the city is Namsan Mountain which has a cable car that runs to the peak where there is the N Seoul Tower, which, although primarily a communications tower, also has an observation and entertainment amenities. There are, of course, many attractions in a city this size and it is the most popular of any city visited by Chinese, Japanese and Thai tourists. Some of the most amazing places to see in Seoul are:
5. Hike in the City
Perhaps somewhat unusual for a major city, you will see people dressed for hiking even in the subways, complete with their hiking poles and backpacks. This is because there are some amazing walks, not only on the mountains surrounding the city but also within the city. Hiking up Namsan Mountain is a popular pastime, as is hiking along Cheonggyecheon Stream. This is a stream 8.4km long that runs through the center of the city and has whose banks have been made into a green recreation area where people go, not just to hike but also just to get away from the bustle of the busy streets.
4. Go Back in Time
When you walk through the hills and winding streets of the Bukchon Hanok Village, located near the Royal Palace, the houses have been maintained in their old traditional ancient style. Walking through these streets is like walking through the history of Korea, even though some of the houses are now guest houses, souvenir shops, restaurants or boutiques the houses themselves evoke an amazing ancient Asian atmosphere.
3. Discover the Amazing Array of Museums
As with most major cities, Seoul has its share of museums but apart from the main historical museum that includes exhibits dating all the way back to the stone-age and the War Memorial and Museum which has some interesting outdoor exhibits that feature giant missiles, helicopters, planes and tanks, there is the Seoul Museum of Chicken Art which exhibits the well-known chicken in less traditional style, as it has been portrayed through culture and art through the ages and the Bomun Pavilion which has been nicknamed a museum without walls. The pavilion is a small gazebo, made of wood that stands beside a duck pond and is said to be the ideal place to witness the four seasons; winter with its blanket of snow, fall with its mixture of mustard and scarlet foliage, the summer’s lush green and of course the magnificence of cherry blossom at its best.
2. Enjoy a Theme Park Fan’s Dream
Lotte Amusement Park is the second largest theme park in the world which also includes perhaps the largest indoor theme park in the world as well as skating rinks and bowling alleys. Although theme parks may now be fairly common, most are not as big or amazing as this one.
1. See Royal Extravagance
According to many tour guide blog, Seoul’s Royal Palace is Korea’s most popular tourist attraction and although restored as late as 1867, some of the over 300 buildings date back to 1395 when the palace was first built. The opulence that the old royalty enjoyed is evident in some of the 5,793 rooms. The palace covers over 4 million square feet, which fortunately, possibly because only 40% of the buildings still stand, allow room for the millions of visitors it receives annually.