Welcome to Korea
The Korean Peninsula is located in North-East Asia. It is bordered by the Amnok River (Yalu River) to the northwest, separating Korea from China, and the Duman River (Tumen River) to the northeast which separates Korea from both China and Russia. The country itself is flanked by the Yellow Sea to its west and the East Sea to the east. There are several notable islands that surround the peninsula including Jejudo, Ulleungdo and Dokdo. Currency is won.
Korea has four seasons, with a wet monsoon/summer season in the middle of the year, and a cold winter from November to March. The island of Jeju off the southern coast is the warmest and wettest place in the country. The ideal time to visit Korea is during the autumn months (September-November). During this time, the country experiences warm, sunny weather, skies that are cobalt blue and spectacular foliage that is perhaps the biggest draw. Winters are cold and dry and are a good time to visit if you are interested in winter sports as there are numerous ski resorts. Spring (April-May) is also beautiful with all the cherry blossoms in bloom. However, it is very busy and one needs to book in advance to ensure accommodation is available. The summer months are muggy and hot, and rather crowded. It is also when the monsoon season begins so many activities are subject to the fluctuations of heavy rain.
Below are the attractive cities of South Korea:
Korean capital city, Seoul, is located in the Midwest of the Korean peninsula.
It has been an area of strategic importance since prehistoric times, particularly in the realms of politics, economics, society and culture. During the Era of the Three States (4th to mid-7th centuries), the area was frequently used as a battleground among the ancient ruling kingdoms of Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla. It was designated as Korea’s capital city during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Since then, the city has continued to grow to become the largest in the country. Following Korea’s independence from Japanese colonial rule in 1945, the city was named Seoul, which means ‘towering high.’ In 1949, it was designated as a metropolitan city by Korean government.
Seoul hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 1988 and the FIFA World Cup in 2002. Seoul has overcome many adversities and, with such tenacity, risen from the ashes of the Korean War to become a leading global city.
Korean capital city Seoul is home to more than 10 million inhabitants from all over the country and around the world, living and working in modern skyscrapers and moving rapidly through sophisticated infrastructure. At the same time, diverse forms of nature thrive and permeate throughout, while abundant cultural heritage assets coexist with modernity in this nation’s capital of over 600 years. Essentially, Seoul is traditional yet modern, technological yet natural.
In the heart of Seoul stand royal palaces designated as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage and high-tech buildings occupied by global institutions. Asia’s largest underground street shopping mall lies near the 15th century royal tombs. The vast subway system transports millions of passengers daily to their destination, as Hangang River, which bolstered the nation’s miraculous economic development, flows calmly through the city. Finally, a plethora of social and cultural outlets know no limit in time and space, begetting creativity and excitement across the city and among its residents. We invite you to begin your Korean travel here, in this ever fascinating, evolving and harmonious city of Seoul.
Below are the attractive places in Seoul:
Until it was restored in 2005, Cheonggyecheon Stream existed only as a neglected watercourse hidden by an overpass. Today, it has been transformed into a haven of natural beauty amidst the bustle of city life.
Narae Bridge, expressing a butterfly in flight, and Gwanggyo Bridge, symbolizing the harmony of the past and future, are just two of the more than twenty beautiful bridges that cross the stream. The ‘Rhythmic Wall Stream’, lined with fine marble, sculptures, and Korea’s 8th stone building, Palseokdam, adorn the Cheonggyecheon Stream.
Cheonggyecheon Stream passes close to Deoksugung Palace, Seoul Plaza, the Sejong Center, Insa-dong Street, Changdeokgung Palace, and Changgyeonggung Palace, allowing visitors to easily visit major tourist sites after a leisurely stroll along the stream.
Operation: Open all year round
Buses: Take any bus bound for Gwanghwamun or Jongno.
Subway: Line 1: City Hall, Jonggak, Jongno 3-ga, Jongno 5-ga, Dongdaemun, Sinseol-dong; Line 2: City Hall, Euljiro 1-ga, Euljiro 3-ga, Euljiro 4-ga, Sindang, Sangwangsimni; Line 3: Jongno 3-ga; Line 4: Dongdaemun History & Culture Park; Line 5: Gwanghwamun
Address: Seoul-si Jongno-gu Taepyeongno1-ga
Insa-dong , located in the middle of the city, is an important place where old but precious and traditional goods are on display. There is one main road in Insa-dong with alleys on each side. Within these alleys are galleries, traditional restaurants, traditional teahouses, and cafes.
The galleries are the heartbeat of Insa-dong. There are about 100 galleries in the area and you can see every example of traditional Korean fine art from paintings to sculptures. The most famous galleries are Hakgojae Gallery, which functions as the center of folk art, Gana Art Gallery, which promotes many promising artists, and Gana Art Center. The best way to visit these galleries is to use the “Art Gallery Tour Bus.” It will take you to over 10 of the most famous galleries at a very reasonable price.
The teahouses and restaurants are the perfect complement to the galleries. At first they might be hard to find, but if you take the time to stroll around the twisting alleyways, the window shopping in itself can be very entertaining. The shops in Insa-dong are very popular among all age groups, because each one is unique.
Every Saturday from 14:00 – 22:00 and Sunday from 10:00 – 22:00, some streets are blocked off from traffic and it becomes a cultural space. Stores set up booths outside and others set up shops (Korean candy merchants and fortune tellers.) There are traditional performances and exhibits as well. Insa-dong is especially popular with foreign tourists. This is where they can experience and see traditional Korean culture firsthand, and also purchase pieces of fine art. On the street you can eat Korean taffy and traditional pajeon (Korean pancake), and see many foreigners lost in all the joyous festivities of the street.
Buses: Jongno 2-ga: 101, 103, 143, 150, 160, 201, 260, 262, 270, 271, 273, 370, 408, 470, 471, 601, 708, 710, 720, 721; Jongno Police Station: 109, 151, 162, 171, 172, 272, 601, 708
Subway:Anguk Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 6. Go 100m straight, then turn left; Jonggak Station (Subway Line 1), Exit 3. Go 300m straight, then turn left. Go 100m straight, then veer left into Insa-dong alleyway.
Address: Seoul-si Jongno-gu Insa-dong
Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace is also commonly referred to as the “Northern Palace” because it is the furthest north when compared to the neighboring palaces of Changdeokgung (Eastern Palace) and Gyeongheegung (Western Palace). Gyeongbokgung Palace is arguably the most beautiful and remains the grandest of all five palaces.
The premises were destroyed by fire at the time of Japanese occupation from 1592-1598. However, all of the palace's 7,700 rooms were later restored under the leadership of Heungseondaewongun during the reign of King Gojong (1852~1919) .
Remarkably, the most representative edifices of the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeonghoe-ru Pavilion and Hyangwonjeong Pond are still relatively in tact. Woldae and the sculptures of Geunjeongjeon (The Royal Audience Chamber) represent past sculpture of contemporary art.
The National Palace Museum of Korea is located south of Heungnyemun Gate, and the National Folk Museum is located east within Hyangwonjeong.
Adults (ages 19-64) 3,000 won / Group 2,400 won (10 or more people)
Youths (ages 7-18) 1,500 won / Group 1,200 won (10 or more people)
Age 6 and under are free.
9am-6pm (March to October); 9am-5pm (November to February) ; Close every Tuesday
Use exit 5 of Gyeongbokgung Station (Subway Line 3),
From Exit 2 of Ganghwamun Station (Subway Line 5), walk 400 meters
Myeong-dong is one of the busiest places in Seoul and is among Korea’s premier shopping destinations. Over 1 million shoppers pass through this area each and every day. Located in the heart of Seoul, Myeong-dong market has been a witness to Korea’s tumultuous modern-day history as a center of city politics, economy, and culture. To international visitors, Myeong-dong is a stunning shopping district with countless shops and restaurants. Its wild popularity has led to similar shopping districts springing up all across the country.
International Shopping District
Two anchor department stores (Lotte and Shinsegae) and a number of large shopping malls lie along the streets of Myeong-dong. Shops for clothing or cosmetics can be seen at every corner, and street stalls dot the spaces in between, offering tasty snacks, inexpensive clothes, or sparkling accessories. The air is abuzz with the mix of foreign languages as shopkeepers and international tourists haggle in English, Japanese, and more. The area’s well-developed transportation grid makes it the ideal place for visitors who may not yet be familiar with the city.
Fashion, Skincare, and the Works
Thousands of brands are sold in Myeong-dong. The two major department stores sell mostly luxury brands while shopping malls such as H & M and Migliore offer selections at more modest prices. Relatively inexpensive products can be easily purchased at street stalls and other shops.
Every Korean cosmetic brand has a branch in Myeong-dong. The market is home to roughly a thousand cosmetic shops and hundreds of skin-care stores, with several large cosmetic shops clustered around the central street (Jungang-gil) and Myeongdong Theater. Sales associates usually can speak a few foreigner languages (to some degree), which makes for a pleasant shopping experience for international visitors who don’t speak Korean. For the added convenience of international shoppers, many fliers are written in other languages as well.
Aside from shopping, visitors can check out the Myeongdong Cathedral and the nearby Namdaemun Market, a market with over 600 years of history. Myeong-dong’s combination of historical significance, nearby tourist attractions, and prime shopping has established it as the ultimate tourist destination in Seoul.
Bukchon Hanok Village
Surrounded by Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine, Bukchon Hanok Village is home to hundreds of traditional houses called 'hanok' that date back to the Joseon Dynasty. The name, 'Bukchon,' which literally translates to 'northern village,' came about as the neighborhoods that the village covers lie to the north of the two significant Seoul landmarks, Cheonggyecheon Stream and Jongno. Today, many of these hanoks operate as cultural centers, guesthouses, restaurants and tea houses, providing an opportunity to experience, learn and immerse in Korean traditional culture.
Access: Anguk Station (Line 3), Exit 2. Go straight for about 300m to arrive at Bukchon Hanok Village.
Address: Seoul-si Jongno-gu Gahoe-dong, Jae-dong, Samcheong-dong, Gye-dong, Wonseo-dong