Visiting Seoul

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"Fantasy Korea"

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Korea National Tourism Organization


Shilla dancers Seoul sunset palace
  1. Must see spots in Korea
  2. Top recommended restaurants and bars
  3. Open markets in Seoul

Must see spots in Korea

Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace was built in 1395, the fourth year of the reign of King Taejo. The palace, named 'Gyeongbok' or 'shining happiness' was built as a tribute to the permanent happiness and prosperity of Korea's kings, their children and the people of the nation. It was burnt down during the Japanese invasion of 1592, and was left in ruins until being rebuilt in 1865, during the 2nd year of the reign of Prince Regent Daewongun.

Many of the buildings at the palace were demolished during the Japanese colonial period. However, in the 1990s, the government launched restoration of the palace, and it has now been restored to its original state. On the site stand Geunjeongjeon, Gyeonghoeru, Hyangwonjeong, and Amisan Chimney, all in their original states.

They provide glimpses of the culture and heritage of long ago.

Subway: Get off at Gyeongbokgung Stn. (Line 3, Exit 5 )
Bus: Get off at Gyeongbokgung Palace Stop
City Bus: 135-3, 159, 2, 205, 205-1, 543, 588-2, 59

Changdeokgung Palace

Changdeokgung Palace Changdeokgung Palace Changdeokgung Palace

Changdeokgung Palace was built during the 5th year of the reign of King Taejong (1405) as a royal villa. It was later used as royal residence when Gyeongbokgung Palace was burnt down during the Japanese invasion in 1592. Since the site of the Palace is not level, the layout of the buildings is designed in such a way that architectural forms adapt to the changing natural terrain.

In particular, the back garden, along with numerous pavilions, tens of thousands of trees and flowering plants attest to the Korean design tradition that harmonizes the structure with its natural surroundings.

World Heritage

Subway: Get off at Anguk Stn. (Line 3, Exit 3 )
Bus: Get off at Changdeokgung Palace Stop
City Bus: 143-1, 16, 2, 205, 205-1, 543, 6, 8, 8-1, 84

Seoul Tower

Seoul Tower

Seoul Tower is one of the must see places in Seoul to visit. The tower was built in 1975 on the top of Mt. Namsan where the entire Seoul can be seen in one view. This is the best viewpoint to see Seoul, and boast its size as the biggest in Asia. Seoul Tower is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers. Its height is 237m (243m from the sea level). The total building space is 15,352 m2, and the maximum capacity of people is up to 2000 people. Two elevators are running inside of the tower. When the weather is good, visitors can see as far as Incheon in the West Coast.


COEX

COEX
COEX (Convention & Exhibition Center)

The COEX Seoul, the state-of-the-art complex for international conferences, is located in Samsung-dong, Gangnam-gu. The COEX Seoul holds 150 specialized exhibitions and 15,000 conventions/events a year. The center also plays a role in promoting international trade by connecting international buyers with local businesses.

With the completion of the ASEM Convention Center and COEX Mall on May 2000, the COEX Seoul has become one of the biggest buildings in Asia with facilities for exhibitions, tourism and conventions.


COEX Mall

COEX Mall is a multi-entertainment center which integrates leisure together with busy city life. People can enjoy shopping, a wide range of amusements, culture, and other services in one place.

A vast diversity of taste has been gathered in one place through many excellent restaurants. The Mall is also a shopping center full of clothes, jewelry and accessories, books, and stationery, luggage, sporting goods, gifts, etc.

COEX Aquarium

The Aquarium has about 40,000 animals of 500 species. The underwater tunnel in the aquarium has 72m-long automatic rail moving forward and above the rail there is 2,000 ton of sea-water aquarium. The aquarium has a wide range of varieties of fish from those at Amazon tropical rainforests to those from deep seas. The sea animals in the aquarium include men-eating sharks and grand-size stingrays, and groupers.

DMZ Tours
DMZ Tours

Panmunjeom is located in the Joint Security Area, which is in the demilitarized zone, 50 km south from Seoul and 10 km east from the city of Gaeseong.

This place is most well-known for the peace talks that were held here on October 25, 1951 and was designated as the Joint Security Area on July 27, 1953 when the armistice agreement was signed.

Once used as a management office, Panmunjeom has been used as now a conference room since the Red Cross held an international conference here on September 20, 1971.

It is the only place where North Koreans and South Koreans can come in contact on a daily basis and make efforts towards the peace of Korea.

Top recommended restaurants and bars

restaurant

restaurant
Seoul Tower revolving restaurant

This restaurant is located on the top of Seoul Tower on Namsan Mountain. The restaurant was built into the tower in 1975, but only opened to the public ten years later. One can enjoy the view of Seoul City in all directions as you eat, since the restaurant rotates slowly. The chef's recommendations include the tower set course with hamburger steak, fish cutlet and shrimp (13,000 won), and tender lean short ribs (20,000 won).


Menu Items Tender steak, tower set course, beef cutlet, beverages, cocktails
Tel +82-2-777-0010
Open 10:30 a.m. - 10:45 p.m.


SamcheongGak
SamcheongGak

Situated in a pristine natural setting, yet only minutes from downtown Seoul, SamcheongGak is part of a major cultural corridor that includes Gyeongbokgung, the National Folk Museum, the traditional Korean home preservation district of Gahoe-dong, the world famous "antique" street of Insa-dong, numerous private art museums, and the Bear House Restaurant with its spectacular views. SamcheongGak's proximity to the home of Korea's president, the Blue House, insured that the wooded forest that surrounds the complex has remained untouched for the last half century.

Finally, your visit is made complete by the traditional Korean cuisine featuring seasonal delicacies served with the same thoughtfulness and courtesy that has made Korean hospitality famous. SamcheongGak offers the perfect atmosphere to enjoy an outstanding performance or event that you know represents the finest in traditional Korean performing arts presented in the true spirit of this country's great cultural legacy.

Shuttle bus service is available for free from the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, Seoul Plaza Hotel, Gyeobokgung, Kyobo book center to SamcheongGak.

The trip takes 10-minutes and the bus runs at 20-minute intervals 10:00 to 22:00.


Bangbiwon
Bangbiwon

After successfully operating restaurants for 25 years, the proprietor of Bangbiwon opened this establishment about 5 years ago.

The construction of this restaurant took 3 years and it has been equipped with high-quality, modern facilities that is managed very carefully.

The head chef is renowned for his skill and many VIPs, including the U.S ambassador, frequent this place.

A specialty of this restaurant is holdaegi-sikae (salt-fermented flatfish), which is served as a special side dish.

Subway + Town Bus: At Sinchon Station (Seoul Subway Line No.2) exit 3, take the Neighborhood Bus No. 8 or No.8-1. Get off at Ewha Womanís University Rear Entrance and the restaurant is located in front of the overpass.

Top Cloud

Top Cloud
Top Cloud Top Cloud (Bar and Restaurant)

Top Cloud features a neat and modern decoration that invites to unwind while enjoying the impeccable services it offers. Its famous floor-to-ceiling windows provide a splendid view of Namsan and Bukhansan. The chef's fusion cuisine is very popular.


Transport : Subway Line No. 1, connected with Jonggak Station (exit No. 3)
For more information : Grill - 2230-3000~1 / Bar - 2230-3002~3


Once in a blue moon
Once in a blue moon

Opened on April 1, 1998, Once in a Blue Moon is a live performance-oriented club which has a similar atmosphere to the Blue Moon jazz club in America. Foreigners and celebrities join the regular customers who are lovers of jazz music in their thirties.

Various genres of jazz music are performed at Once in a Blue Moon, including original jazz, swing, bebop, and fusion. Korean jazz musicians perform at 8:30 PM every night from Monday through Sunday, and there are sometimes invitational performances of world famous musicians from foreign countries.

One can enjoy 100 types of wines and beverages, cocktails named after jazz musicians, and traditional Western foods or multinational fusion cuisine.

Location 85-1, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Tel +82-2-549-5490 Fax. 02) 549-8776
Business Hours 19:00-24:00, open throughout the year


Open markets in Seoul

Apgujeong-dong

Apgujeong-dong

One of the trendiest commercial districts in Seoul, Apgujeong-dong covers the area from Hyundai Department Store (Subway line 3, Apgujeong Station) to the Galleria Department Store, two major luxury department stores in Korea.

There are many fashionable and stylish stores, restaurants and cafes along the streets, making the area one of the favorite destination for foreigners as well as young people in their twenties. You may have a chance to see famous entertainers or actors.

If you want to eat your own country's food or other nation's cuisines in Seoul, Apgujeong is the best place: Korean, Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese, Indian, Thai, Japanese, etc.

For more information on Apgujeong, visit here

Dongdaemun market
Dongdaemun market

Dongdaemun market

Dongdaemun market

Dongdaemun Market is one of the oldest and famous markets in Korea. The market established in 1905 consists of 30 shopping centers and about 30,000 smaller stores, more than 50,000 manufacturing companies to sell textiles, clothes, shoes, sports goods, stationery, toys, household goods and accessories.

It is an extraordinary large shopping town in the world. The origin of 'Dongdaemun Market' comes from the gate named 'Dongdaemun', which is the National Treasure No.1 set up 600 years ago during the Joseon Dynasty and one of the four gates entering Seoul.

The wholesale stores open from 20:00 to 09:00 and the retails open from 10:00 to 18:00, which makes the 24-hour opening market a quite attractive place for business people and tourist.

This is because the traders often visit Europe, Japan, etc. to collect samples and obtain latest designs, fashion trends, etc. Clothes of famous entertainers are available at Dongdaemun Market in a second. Most of the stores own a manufacturing factory or subcontract and therefore the price is 30~70% cheaper than that of the department stores.

For more information on Dongdaemun Market, visit here.


Insa-dong
Insa-dong

Art galleries displaying works of new and old artists all year round... writing-brush shops which you can stumble on in every other place... heavy ancient tomes, antique and unsophisticated handicrafts, the aroma of tea and the rhythm of gayageum permeating traditional teahouses, and boisterous old taverns... Insa-dong is the place where you can experience the harmony of antique and modern art, and tradition in the midst of hectic urban life. It is the place where you can purchase various traditional handicrafts and ceramics which reflect the beat and taste of Korea.


Itaewon
Itaewon

Itaewon

Itaewon is a "must-see" place that is popular with travelers from around the world. Here you can encounter a wide variety of products as well as people. Besides the joy of shopping, Itaewon offers diverse kinds of food, from simple takeou s to serious dining. With dusk it turns into a center of entertainment.

There are about 1,900 stores lined up along the streets and back alleys of Itaewon, for clothes, leather goods, and antiques, as well as restaurants.


Myeongdong
Myeongdong

Myeong-dong is one of the most famous shopping areas in downtown Seoul. Major department stores along with all kinds of shops are found in every corner of Myeong-dong. Taking full advantage of the areaís image as the nationís biggest shopping district, Myeong-dong has been holding a festival since 1985 in aims to strengthen Myeong-dongís image of tourist attraction as a world-class shopping place.

To most Koreans, Myeong-doing means more than just a shopping paradise because it is a street of trends and freedom.


Namdaemun market

Namdaemun market Namdaemun market Namdaemun market

Namdaemun Market is the largest wholesale market in Korea. It is known for offering virtually every product you can imagine: kitchen utensils, handicrafts, accessories, imported merchandise, food, miscellaneous articles, farm produce and fishery products and the like. You can buy goods at reasonable price.

Most of the shops and stalls manufacture their own wares. The stores open at about 22:30 at night and then come alive in the wee hours around 3:00 at dawn, when retailers from all over the world descend on the market to get the best wholesale deals. These unique scenes make Namdaemun Market one of the major shopping destinations for tourists, embodying customer-oriented attitude.