Hanang River, Seoul © Korean National Tourist Office
Seoul is a thriving metropolis encircled by mountains
with skyscrapers rising towards the heavens. The city is busting
yet organised, with modern marvels growing side by side with
centuries-old palaces and shrines.
A great deal of the credit for the well-ordered urban
planning of Seoul can be given to the ancient Joseon Dynasty, which
used great foresight when crafting the city into a capital way back
in the 14th century.
The old Joseon Dynasty city, with its central main
palace, is now the traditional downtown heart of Seoul where many
of the most popular sights, hotels, and markets are to be found.
One of the most interesting areas for visitors to explore is
Insa-dong, filled with antique shops, art galleries, traditional
teahouses, restaurants, and bookshops.
Across the Han River, the modern city is dominated by
Korea's World Trade Centre and the Coex Mall, a shopper's delight.
Even the island of Yeouido, in the middle of the Han River, is
densely packed with high-rise buildings; this is also the base for
the Korean National Assembly and the world's biggest Presbyterian
Interspersed through the urban landscape are several
lush, green parks, the most central being Namsan Park which
encompasses the mountain of the same name just to the south of
downtown Seoul. It's also home to the iconic Seoul Tower, which
offers spectacular 360 degree views of the city and surrounding
Nightlife in Seoul has something to suit all tastes,
from pub hopping to sedate sit-downs at traditional teahouses.
Eating out is a feast for the senses in Seoul, with an enormous
international variety to choose from, whether it is succulent
steak, perfect pizza, multicourse gourmet, tasty tandoori, or, of
course, classic Korean.
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