Seoul, the capital of South Korea is a Pandora’s box of surprises and experiences. While Pandora may have unleashed entities beyond her grasp of understanding, Seoul begs to revisit and revise that notion. This 24 hour city that never sleeps, is a commingling of the traditional and modern. A city that thrives in its fashion and technology forward uniqueness, Seoul is often considered to be a foodie’s getaway.
But is that all?
The complexity of this seemingly simple city is so vast, that I fear that these five reasons would not do justice to truly display the essence of what makes the South Korean capital truly worth visiting. But here’s a try into salivating your wanderlusting taste buds,
Tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), hotteok (sweet pancakes), kimbap (seaweed rice rolls) and chicken skewers from street vendors; baked goods and a variety of cafes that serve a delectable assortment of coffee; barbecue, noodles, fishcakes, etc. etc. When you’re in Seoul, be prepared to have your stomach filled to the maximum. As one gorges on these delicious treat, during the summers, one can try unique desserts like the ice shavings dessert, or simply visit tea houses for an exploration into another universe.
OR, as Seoulites do it, visit the markets for fresh produce or grab onto street vendors in the markets for a heavenly experience! Whether it be the fiery crab soup in Noryangjin Fish Market, or the to die for food selection in Gwangjang Market, take your pick!
Shopping In Seoul
Shopping, like in any other city, comes in different packages of different kinds. Seoul seems to have it all. The Koreans have always been known for their keen sense of fashion, one visit to market places like Namdaemun, Dongdaemun, Myeongdong shopping district, and you’ll be floored by the variety of clothes, handicrafts, electronics, you can find here! Moreover, it has been highly recommended by many to visit two iconic department stores, called Shinsegae Department Store and Lotte Department Store.
Here’s a fun nugget of suggestion: Remember those boxes of Lotte Choco-pie that make the rounds in our convenience store? Here’s where they come for! And there’s more!
Korea’s capital had faced destruction during the Korean War. So much so, that it’s industrial rise is described as ‘the miracle on Han river’. Seoul is representative of this rise and the preservation of cultural identity that led Korea forward in the years of oppression under Japanese colonialism and then the conflict between the two Korean nations. One climb up Mount Namsan, home to the N Seoul tower, and have a bird’s eye view of the sprawling metropolis.
One may visit Gyeongbokgung palace, or explore the alleys of the Bukchon Hanok Village, where one can view the traditional hanok style houses that date back to the Joseon dynasty.
Moreover, the World Heritage–listed sites such as Jongmyo shrine, are also worth a visit.
Seoul aims to provide a model of the urban ideal. Glass, concrete and steel are crafted into natural forms at the spectacular Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park and the new City Hall. The parks, especially which have been beautifully landscaped around the Cheong-gye stream and the Han River has allowed for several cycling routes as well as spaces for a nice picnic and Frisbee throwing. But it’s the futuristic tenacity of electronics and urban design that boggles my mind.
But the new also constitutes within it the vestiges of the past, and the reality of the present. Thus, one can visit the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two Korean nations in Panmunjom and understand the tensions of a conflict that has kept the entire world on the edge of their seats.
The Korean Wave
You knew this was coming. (Oppa, Gangnam Style!) Kpop and Kdramas have had a worldwide influence upon the entertainment appetite of the citizens of this world. Moreover, all the culture influences in South Korea, along with the impact of globalisation assimilates into the Korean entertainment industry.
No the interesting aspect here is that Seoul offers an opportunity to those who wish to live the Kpop star experience by actually experiencing some of it in studios! Kpop lovers can head to SMTOWN, and maybe catch a show, bur merchandise or go to the studio and become an artiste for a day.