Seoul, South Korea’s capital, is brimming with enticements for any traveler. The landscape is a mixture of old and new – skyscrapers jostle for attention alongside Buddhist temples and marketplaces, and the cutting-edge of technology is undergirded by ancient traditions. All of it points to a city that’s a cultural center full of beauty, life, and style.
Seoul is South Korea’s own city that never sleeps. The lively nightlife pulses from dusk to dawn in the night markets like Namdaemun, the party districts like Hongdae, and more. The Namdaemun market is the largest in Korea and features hundreds of vendors, street performances, food, fashion shows, and the chance to buy local goods.
Among the neon lights and tall buildings, Korean traditions still reign in the form of teahouses, shops, winding alleys, and wooden homes built in the traditional style, called “hanok.” Juxtaposing this are modern shopping centers featuring luxury goods, stylish boutiques, and designer brands.
For a modern park experience, go to Seoullo 7017, which was once an overpass but has been transformed into a park. Kids can play at the trampoline park, and everyone will enjoy regular events held here, like art exhibitions and concerts. Another popular park is Olympic Park, the site of the 1988 Olympic Games. It has walking paths, sculptures, and even the ruins of a fortress from the 3rd century.
For a modern theme park experience, try Lotte World, which has everything from amusement park rides, ice skating, a museum, shopping, and movie theaters.
Of course, you can’t talk about Seoul without also mentioning its numerous World Heritage sites. Just one of these includes the grand, lush palace of Changdeokgung, which was built in 1405 and was the primary royal residence from the late 1500s to 1872. Another site of note is a Confucian shrine, Jongmyo, which was built in 1395.
You can also get your fill of history at the War Memorial of Korea or the National Museum of Korea. The latter is an impressive, sleek modern building that houses all kinds of ancient relics, treasures, and artifacts.
Finally, climb atop N Seoul Tower on Namsan mountain to see sprawling views of the city from the edge of an observation deck. You can even take a cable car to the top if walking isn’t in the cards.
International travelers on flights to Seoul can expect to land at Incheon International Airport. For travelers coming from within Korea, you may arrive at Gimpo International Airport.
The best times for booking flights to Seoul are in spring and fall when temperatures are mild and pleasant. Keep in mind that typhoons are a possibility from the end of June to September. Summers are generally hot and humid, while winters are long and cold.
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Seoul’s airports provide services that make flying easier and less stressful.
Incheon provides pregnant women and families with children lots of tailored services. Pregnant women, the disabled, and the elderly can get transport to and from their departure gate. Certain airlines offer assistance for traveling with young children, including check-in and transportation within the airport.
There are additionally internet cafes and free service throughout the airport, with all including print services and coffee. Rest areas include business lounges, designated smoking rooms, and an airport spa. You can even get a haircut, get laundry taken care of, or mail a letter at the post office.
If you need a little fun, there is a movie theater and an ice skating rink, too.
Gimpo has shopping and dining options galore for travelers, including cafes, restaurants, and duty-free stores for essentials. Various “roaming centers” offer internet connection as well as business services, plus lounges and baby rooms provide areas to rest and relax.
Cheap flights to Seoul are the way to experience Asian culture that’s a juxtaposition of old and new, modern and ancient, industrial and natural. The architecture, attractions, history, and modern vibe should put Seoul at the top of your list for travel destinations.