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Overview

Seoul is one of the world's largest and most hyperactive cities, a pulsating feast of neon-drenched streets, glowing skyscrapers and 24-hour markets, all crammed so tightly together that you're never more than a stone's throw from the nearest restaurant, convenience store or internet cafe. Here you can shop 'til you drop in Myeong-dong and trendy Apgujeong, or party until midday in the teeming nightlife zones of Hongdae and Itaewon, but while such urban urges can be sated in many cities, Seoul has a few interesting tricks up its sleeve. Behind the incessant commerce lies a layer of rich history, best exemplified by half a dozen Confucian ...

Seoul is one of the world's largest and most hyperactive cities, a pulsating feast of neon-drenched streets, glowing skyscrapers and 24-hour markets, all crammed so tightly together that you're never more than a stone's throw from the nearest restaurant, convenience store or internet cafe. Here you can shop 'til you drop in Myeong-dong and trendy Apgujeong, or party until midday in the teeming nightlife zones of Hongdae and Itaewon, but while such urban urges can be sated in many cities, Seoul has a few interesting tricks up its sleeve. Behind the incessant commerce lies a layer of rich history, best exemplified by half a dozen Confucian palaces dating back as far as 1392; the maze-like streets around Insa-dong and Samcheon-dong are also filled to bursting with tearooms, trinket shops, traditional restaurants, and quite possibly the world's greatest concentration of modern art galleries. Alternatively, it's possible to escape the urban jungle with a trip to nearby Bukhansan, the world's most-visited national park.

Norbert Paxton
About the Expert

Norbert Paxton is the author of the Rough Guide to Korea and contributor to the Rough Guides to China and Vietnam.

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Norbert Paxton for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The weather is most pleasant during spring and fall.