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Pocket Guide: Seoul

The capital city of South Korea, Seoul is a massive metropolis with a population of over 11 million. It is the financial capital of the country as well as its most visited city thanks to its fascinating blend of old and new. It is both a modern and an ancient city that is split into 25 districts, while the Han River divides it even further, with the north side being the historical side and the south the modern half. Book a hotel in Seoul and you’ll never have a dull moment.

Don’t Miss

There is so much to see in Seoul that visitors will hardly even scratch the surface, though most stay for at least four or five days.

Seoul is home to plenty of historical sites, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites that date back to the 14th century, like Changdeokgung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine. The Fortress Wall of Seoul also dates back to this time and still has two of its gates remaining: Namdaemun in the Jung-gu area and Heunginjimun in Jongno-gu. A Seoul hotel certainly gives you access to some historic gems.

There are numerous parks in the city that are great for escaping the hustle and bustle that Seoul is, like Namsan Park, Olympic Park and Yeouido Park. The 360,000 square metre Boramae Park features a zoo, a pond and sports facilities, while Hangang Citizen's Park sits along the Han River and stretches across 13 districts, and is a popular place to walk, jog, cycle and inline skate.

The 236-metre high N Seoul Tower sits atop Namsan Mountain and has four observation decks that boast spectacular panoramic views of the city. Another great place to view the city is from the Lotte World Tower, which is located near the Han River in Songpa-gu. Those on a family holiday should head to Lotte World, Everland or Seoul Land.

Restaurants and Bars

Seoul is filled with restaurants and bars to suit all budgets and taste buds. There are street stalls selling noodles, well known Korean and international food chains and fine dining restaurants. Itaewon is the city’s international neighbourhood and where the widest variety of Western restaurants and bars can be found, while Apgujeong is the place to go to drink with the most affluent people in the city. The best nightclubs are in Hongdae and Gangnam.

Shopping

Namdaemun is the most famous place for tourists to shop as well as being Korea’s largest street market. The best place to go for fashion is Myeongdong, though Hongdae is great for more funky clothing. Those wanting to shop for known luxury brands like Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton should head to Apgujeong, which also has many Korean designer boutiques.

Check out some more of Asia’s gems with a hotel in Tokyo or a Hong Kong hotel.

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