South Korea – The “Seoul” Soul of Korea!!!
Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. It is famous for its serene and tranquil mountains, UNESCO-designated heritage sites and palaces. City is an amazing blend of ancient traditions and cutting edge digital technology.
With its leading pop culture and style, it has made the Korea, a trendsetter for fashion and style.
It is a home to amazing food and vibrant city life. Also Korean beauty products are famous across the world 🙂
Best time to visit is spring(March-April). The autumn(September-November) is also good time to visit.
How to reach
Fly to Incheon International Airport. From airport you can each Seoul by AREX(airport train to Seoul station) or Airport Limousine Bus or Taxi.
Seoul has very convenient public transport system, it is worth to purchase T-Money card. This is a rechargeable money card can be used on subways, city/local buses, a reasonable number of taxis and can even be used to make purchases at convince stores.
Where to stay
Myeongdong is the best area to stay. Area is famous for shopaholics and foodies. My trip to South Korea was a backpacker one. I stayed in Backpackers Inside hostel located in Jongno-Gu , it was a perfect place to stay, just 10 minutes walk to Hyehwa Subway Station. From Hyehwa the famous Myeongdong street was just 4 stops away.
Hostel offers both dormitory and private rooms with free wi-fi. I stayed in private room with attached bathroom, room was fitted with air conditioner and heater, also had a small kitchen, best part it had terrace too 🙂 they also provided simple free breakfast of coffee, jam and toast.
Places to visit
DMZ & JSA Tour
Its a must visit. If you are covering DMZ only its half day, if you are going for both DMZ & JSA its full day tour.
The tour will take you to the history of North and South Korean War and its after effects.
DMZ(The Demilitarized Zone) it is strip of land running across Korean Peninsula. Under the provisions of Armsitice Agreement(cease-fire) signed on July 1953, both South and North Korea pulled back 2 kilometres from the last line of military contact MDL(Military Demarcation Line) to ensure peace.
DMZ is a buffer zone ceasing all military and hostile actions. Tour comprise of Imjingak(Bridge of Freedom), Dora Observatory, The 3rd Tunnel & Dorasan Station.
JSA or Panmunjeom – It is located inside the DMZ, and it is the most forward location, that can be visited by civilians. In JSA you can see North and South Korean soldiers standing face to face.
Although Panmunjeom is the common name, the official name of the negotiating site is the JSA(Joint Security Area).
It is located 62 kilometres northwest of Seoul, and 215 kilometres south of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.
Tour covers Camp Bonifas– this camp houses United Nations Command Support Group, where you will have an official briefing on JSA.
After the briefing you’ll be taken to Freedom House, Conference room, Bridge of No Return and Murder Incident Area.
The area is highly guarded, it gives goosebumps and feel of war zone.
Garden of Morning Calm
It is the best and one of the most beautiful gardens of Korea. For those who love nature and fond of botanical gardens must head for this place.
Located in the north of Seoul in Gapyeong, it is around 2 hours ride from Seoul.
Very picturesque setting with beautiful flowers, trees and landscapes.
The garden has been filming location for many famous Korean drama. It has 6 main theme gardens – Millennium Juniper, Sunken Garden, J’s Cottage Garden, Road to Heaven, Pond Garden and Moonlight Garden.
It has 4 Annual flower festival as well- Spring Flower Festival(Apr-May), Hydrangea Exhibition(Jun-Jul), Maple Festival & Chrysanthemum Exhibition(Oct-Nov) and The Starlight Garden Festival(Dec-Mar).
Nami Island is 50 kilometres from Garden Morning Calm. Located in the middle of Han River, it looks like a leaf floating gracefully on top of Cheongpyeong Lake. To reach the island you have to take a ferry ride of 10 minutes.
Formed with pebbles and sand, there are no mountains, but there are pine trees tall enough to touch the sky 🙂
Wide grass gardens where ostriches, rabbits, squirrels, ducks and and countless types birds flourish.
It is home to a variety of cultural events including exhibitions and performances. This place is also famous filming spot for many Korean dramas.
Palace was completed in 1395, was the first royal palace built by the Joseon Dynasty. The largest of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon dynasty.
It was constructed about 25 years earlier than the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.
The palace was burned down in 1592 due to an invasion but was restored in 1867 during the reign of King Gojong. The palace is grand and massive and will take you to golden era of Korea.
Reaching palace through Seoul subway is very convenient. You can alight at Gyeongbokgung Station and take exit 5 if you are coming from Myeongdong.
Don’t forget to watch the Royal Guard Changing Ceremony, which is great chance to see the rare Korean tradition. You’ll see guards wearing traditional Korean costumes with traditional weapons and perform the change of guards.
It is one of the five grand palaces built by Joseon Dynasty, and well-preserved of the five palaces.
It is the second oldest palace after Gyeongbokgung. Buildings are laid out in perfect harmony with the mountains and other natural surroundings.
Known as a place of rest for the kings, the rear garden boasts a gigantic tree, a small pond and a pavilion.
To reach the palace alight at Anguk station and take the exit 3.
Bukchon Hanok Village
It is a traditional Korean village located between Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace.
It is home to hundreds traditional Korean houses, called hanok, that date back to Joseon Dynasty. The place gives the vibe of old world charm.
Many of these hanoks now operate as cultural centres, guesthouses, restaurants and tea houses.
As a visitor you can experience and immerse yourself in traditional Korean culture.
When in Korea, dress like Korean 🙂 You can walk the streets wearing traditional Korean dress Hanbok 🙂
Located at a walking distance of 750 metres from Changdeokgung.
The most famous shopping destination of Seoul. You can experience Korea’s latest fashion trends, and this place is also a food paradise for food lovers.
Evening is very vibrant and lively and always bustling with crowd. There are many food stalls throughout the street, the food aroma drives you to try some of the delicious Korean food, ranging from stir-fried noodles, banana pancake, assorted dried cuttlefish, tornado patatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, fresh juices, egg bread, grilled lobsters, giant mussels and many many more, my personal favourite was fried dimsum.
The place boosts many beauty shops as well. You can see lot of offers as well 🙂 Korea is world famous for its cosmetics.
If you are in Korea, definitely you need to buy some of the amazing beauty products which are available here only 🙂