Seoul, the capital of South Korea
Seoul is the capital of and the most populated city in South Korea (officially the Republic of Korea). Nestled along the banks of the Han River, the city is a sprawling metropolis full of technological achievement and old world charm. The city offers so many different experiences, there’s definitely something you’ll find to pique your interest. There may be some cultural differences that can take a minute to get accustomed to (i.e. everyone walking the streets with their head buried in their phone), but you would have to try hard to make any visit not be an awesome experience.
Things to Do and See
Itaewon is the international part of Seoul. Here you’ll find lots of tourists and expats from all over the world. There are plenty of international food options from across the globe, but you can still find traditional local cuisine as well. Itaewon also has an abundant nightlife scene as well. While you’re there, take a trip up to Seoul Tower. The communications and observation tower is one of the highest points in the city.
Spotlighted in the K-pop song, Gangnam Style, by Psy, Gangnam is an upscale, posh area of Seoul that is often compared to Beverly Hills. This is where you will find the largest underground mall in Asia, the COEX mall. Gangnam is the place to go if you’re looking for high-end fashion and nightlife.
Songpa is the home of Lotte World, the world’s largest indoor amusement park. The Lotte World mall can be found here as well. The mall features tons of shopping, restaurants, a world-renowned cinema, and a concert hall. If that wasn’t enough, the mall also features the Lotte World Aquarium.
Hongdae is a hip and trendy area popular with college students and expats located near Hongik University. As you might have guessed, the area has an impressive nightlife scene featuring a lot of live and indie music. Hongdae also offers plenty of shopping and restaurants. If you are looking for a fusion style bistro, Hongdae might be a good start.
Seoul has a very underrated nightlife. What truly makes the nightlife in Seoul special is the variety. You can find huge mega clubs, cozy bars, lounges, jazz clubs, and just about any genre of music you want to hear, so you won’t have any problems finding someplace to fit your mood. Seoul also has a few casinos spread across the city. However, Korean citizens are not allowed in the casinos, so be sure to bring your passport to make sure that you can get in.
The food in Seoul is pretty amazing. Definitely, take some time to try a Korean BBQ where you can cook your own food on a grill built into the middle of the table. Pork or chicken bulgogi will usually be your meats of choice. Kimchi, which is pickled vegetables, is another popular dish. Cabbage is the version of kimchi you’ll most often find, but if it’s not for you, make sure to try the cucumber instead. My personal favorite is bibimbap, especially when you can get it in a traditional stone pot and cook the egg into the rice and vegetables.
If you need a break from Korean food, Seoul has tons of top-notch international restaurants for a change in pace. Itaewon is a good place to find popular chain restaurants as well as independent food options from all over the globe. If you’re looking for Korean dishes with a modern spin to them, Hongdae would be the place to go.
It’s been fascinating to watch as Seoul grows to one of the economic epicenters of the world. Unfortunately, along with all of this economic success comes a pretty hefty price tag for visitors. Seoul isn’t the most expensive city in the world, but it does rank on the high side. You can cut down on cost by having meals away from the touristy areas and learning the public transit system, which isn’t too difficult. Taxis aren’t terribly expensive, but keep in mind that there is a pretty good chance that you will get stuck in traffic.
Seoul is a super safe city with a crime rate that is incredibly low for a city of its size. There is a risk of pickpocketing, scams, and bag snatching, but these aren’t rampant issues. There have also been issues with drink spiking, but these are rare. Taxi scams are the one problem that you’ll likely come across, but the city has done a lot in recent years to cut down on the number of shady drivers. You can read up on some tips to help you avoid taxi scams here.
Place Name: Seoul
Place Description: Seoul, the capital of South Korea
Seoul, the capital of South Korea
Lots to do
Air pollution can be an issue