South Korea Travel Guide- Seoul for the Novice Traveler
By Paul Symonds
Seoul is the capital and largest city of South Korea, east of Inchon in the northwest part of the country. Founded in the 14th century, Seoul has been capital of South Korea since 1946.
The city was the capital of Baekje (18 BCE - 660 CE), the capital of the Choson dynasty or Joseon Dynasty (1394 - 1910) and the centre of Japanese rule of Korea (1910 - 45), Seoul was the capital of the U.S. military government during the Korean War and thus suffered extensive damage. The city has been largely rebuilt since 1953.
Seoul became the capital and designated as South Korea's only “Special City” in 1948. The modern Seoul, with the area of 605 square kilometers, is one of the most densely populated major cities. The citizens of Seoul are referred to as “Seoulites.” Seoul is one of the top 20 “world-class cities.” The South Korean capital is one of the most prominent cities of the world. It is one of the world's most digitally-connected cities. It is the commercial, cultural, industrial, political, and transportation center of South Korea. The city is also a centre of higher education, with several universities, including Seoul National University. Seoul was venue of the 1988 Summer Olympic Games.
Often dubbed as the “City of Blinding Lights,” Seoul is one of the most coveted travel destinations of the world. Spring and autumn offer the most pleasant seasons in the city, when azure blue skies are clear and temperature is comfortable. The “Miracle on the Han River” is one of the most wonderful destinations of Asia. Seoul is the city with plenty of tourist attractions. Extremely famous for its beautiful palaces, great food and hopping nightlife, Seoul attracts volumes of tourists to South Korea.
The major attractions of the city include Gyeongbok-gung (Seoul's grandest palace), Joseon Palace Museum, the Korean Folk Museum, Changdeok-gung (Wonderful Palace, Seoul's only UNESCO World Heritage Site), Deoksu-gung (Beautiful Palace located in Seoul Downtown), ChangGyeong-gung, (the main palace of the kings of the Koryo Dynasty and the Joseon Dynasty), Mount Inwang (Beautiful Temple), The National Museum of Korea, Seoul Tower (Namsan Tower), COEX (Mall located in Samsung-Dong), Seodaemun Prison, Dongdaemun, and Namdaemun.
Some of the parks of Seoul include 4.19 Memorial Cemetery, Boramae Park, Mt. Namsan Park, Olympic Park, Tapgol ("Pagoda") Park, Yangjae Citizen's Forest, Yeouido Park, and Yongsan Park.
For traveling to Seoul, the futuristic Incheon International Airport, west of the city, welcomes the most of the international flights to Seoul land. The older Gimpo Airport operates the shuttle service to Tokyo and domestic flights within South Korea.