Seoul is the capital of South Korea, while also being its largest city. It is major center for finance and culture on the Asian continent. One of the most modern cities of Asia, the capital has a rich historical past. The combination of the old and the new make the city one of the most unique places in the world. Seoul also has a vibrant nightlife, an aspect not many associate this traditional city with.
With as rich a past as Seoul has, the city is bound to have palaces. Tourists will enjoy visiting several palaces in this city, the most important of which is Gyeongbok Palace or the Palace of Shining Happiness. A huge palace complex, the Gyeongbok Palace seems even more overwhelming because of the mountains in its background. This is the oldest and the largest palace in the capital city. Avid photographers will delight in capturing its architecture. The official residence of South Korea’s President too, is nearby. If you exit from the back gate of the Palace, then you shall be able to see the Blue House, the President’s official residence.
South Korea is also well-known for its garden. But what intrigues the tourists most about this garden in particular is its name, Biwon, meaning Secret Garden. People flock to discover this garden, and to see what’s so secretive about it. A part of the Changdeok’s Palace, the Biwon served as a pleasure-garden for the Korean royal family. A guided tour of this place will tell you all you need to know about the Biwon.
Away from the hustle-bustle of the city that Seoul is, is the Bongwong-Sa Temple. A quiet, serene place, it is a Buddhist temple situated in the center of the city. Since it is located near a mountain, you can climb up to the mountain peak to take in the breathtaking view it provides. You can come back to the city to visit the Seodamun Prison History Hall. It is a grim reminder of the modern-day conflicts that beset this nation. The prison was built by the Japanese, and was later used to detain political prisoners by the autocratic rulers in the country. The museum recounts a horrifying tale of the atrocities committed inside its walls.
But if you want to escape the harsher face of the city, and go into something mellow, then you should take the river cruise. The river cruise brings to you a whole new face of Seoul. The best time to take a cruise is at night. You can hire a boat from the Yeouido Island and sail along the city, while enjoying its shimmering lights. Alight from the boat and proceed to the Namdaemun Market. This market comes alive only at night, and is the perfect place to pick up clothes, Oriental spices, and almost anything. Bargaining is the thumb-rule here. From here, you can Insadong, where you can taste some authentic Korean cuisine. If you want to avoid the crowds, then you can visit Insadong on Sunday too, when the area is closed to cars.