What to do With 24 Hours in Seoul
Category : Travel
I warmly greet today’s guest blogger Natalie Bauer. Natalie is a traveler, lifestyle designer and digital entrepreneur who blogs about her adventures in the world and on the web atNatalie Travels.
With so much to see in Seoul, planning a short jaunt into the city can seem overwhelming. To pack an authentic experience into a quick trip, visit some of these memorable places.
Gyeongbokgung Palace – Known as the grandest palace in the city, Gyeongbokgung was the home of the Joseon kings from the late 1300s through the 1500s when the capital was moved to what would become Seoul.
Namdaemun Market – A massive under and above ground market situated near the site of Namdaemun or the Great South Gate. Namdaemun, Korea’s National Treasure No.1 has been standing since 1398. The market runs 24 hours and has a variety of stalls including traditional food stands, clothing and household goods.
Bongeunsa Buddhist Temple – Bongeunsa Temple is a major attraction for both tourists and locals. Constructed in 794 the temple is still a major home of Korean Buddhism today. The impressive 23m statue of Buddha is the largest in the country.
Insadong – The neighborhood of Insadong is a juxtaposition of ancient Korean life and modern style. The streets are lined with shops that sell traditional painting supplies and tea sets next to clothing shops and art houses filled with pieces on the cutting edge. Insadong is a great area to pick up Korean souvenirs.
COEX – For business and entertainment COEX (Convention and Exhibition Center) provides everything a person could need. The area contains business facilities surrounded by hotels and below the street is Asia’s largest underground shopping mall. Packed with stores, restaurants, bars, a huge movie theatre and an aquarium with 40,000 marine creatures COEX mall is like Disneyland for shopaholics with something to entertain everyone.
Dongdaemun Market – Though Dongdaemun or the Great East Gate is a vestige of ancient Korea, built in the late 1300s, the market nearby is a modern city in itself. There are over 20 malls and 30,000 shops offering retail and wholesale clothing and accessories.
Itaewon – Known as the ‘foreigner’ area of Seoul, Itaewon is a hub for expats of all nationalities and off-duty army personnel. The street scene is diverse with Korean antique shops next to haute French bistros. The neighbourhood is a shopping and dining destination in the day. In the evening the party crowd descends; people visit decadent restaurants then head out to clubs and bars to drink and dance all night.
Hongdae – The area surrounding Hongik University is the nightlife destination in Seoul. Densely packed with nightclubs Hongdae doesn’t start getting busy until after the sun goes down. Once the music starts the crowd becomes shoulder to shoulder as young people jostle in and out of clubs looking for the hottest scene.
Taking It All In
Seoul is filled with incredible sights down every street; just wandering is an experience. Even while running around on a tight schedule the best way to experience Seoul is to slow down and take in the city with all of the senses.