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City of Seoul / 서울시.

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Seoul (map), officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. Seoul was the world’s 4th largest metropolitan economy in 2014 after Tokyo, New York City and Los Angeles.

The Seoul Capital Area contains five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: *Changdeok Palace (map), *Hwaseong Fortress / Suwon Hwaseong Fortress  (map), *Jongmyo Shrine (map), *Namhansanseong (map) and the *Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty.

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Seoul has been a capital of Korea since the Joseon Dynasty. Starting from the Gyeongbokgung, many palaces were built for kings and royal family. The most important of them are called Five Grand Palaces (5대궁). *Gyeongbokgung Palace (map) is the first and main palace, and holds the site of Joseon Palace Museum and Korean Folk Museum (map).

Seoul has two unofficial backpacker districts, *Jongno (Anguk/Sinseol-dong) to the northeast of the city and Hongdae-Sinchon (map) out to the west. Within walking distance to Dongdaemun Market (map), Jongno is better located for sightseeing and can be reached directly from Incheon Airport on limousine buses or city bus.

Jongno (종로) (map). The Joseon-era historical core of the city with the famous Joseon Palace, Gyeongbokgung. Bukchon has beautiful traditional Korean house and Insa-dong (map) has the largest antiques market street in Seoul. Cheongyecheon has a renovated stream and park that runs through the heart of the downtown area.

Jung (중) (Jung-gu) (map). This district makes up the other half of the historic core as well as the shopping districts of Myeongdong (map) and Namdaemun Market (map). This area contains Seoul Station and Namsan Mountain (map), with the Seoul Tower at its summit.

Gangnam (map) Seocho (map). Famed for ‘Gangnam Style’, this affluent area is the glitzy center of modern Seoul, home to hundreds of glass and steel skyscrapers, neon billboards, and some of the most expensive real estate in the country.

The main gate of the palace, Gwanghwamun (map), and its plaza are the center of Seoul. Changdeokgung, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sties, was the most favored palace of many Joseon Royal Family. It also has the beautiful garden named Secret Garden (Also was called ‘Forbidden Garden’, map).

There are several traditional spots in Seoul besides palaces. *Jongmyo Shrine (map) is where the royal family of Joseon Dynasty is enshrined, and Jongmyo Jerye ceremony is held every year. Jogyesa Temple (map) and Bongeunsa Temple (map) are notable Buddhist temples for experiencing the Korean Buddhism.

Explore the huge fresh fish market (map) in Noryangjin and enjoy fresh sashimi afterwards.

National Museum of Korea (국립중앙박물관, map) Houses the best of the best collection of artifacts and relics from across Korea throughout different periods and dynasty. Also has some West Asian pieces from the Japanese Governor-General of Korea.

MMCA Seoul (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, map)

Bukchon Hanok Village (map) This area was where relatives of the royal family, high public officials, and other important families lived for over 500 years as they serviced the nearby palaces. Today, some 900 of their traditional Korean “hanok” houses remain, making this area one of Seoul’s most picturesque centres for arts, culture, food and fashion.

Namdaemun Market (map). The largest traditional street market in Korea. This market is in the center of Seoul and is a famous shopping place for tourists. Clothing for children and accessories are the most-commonly sold goods in this market, but there’s lots of food as well and many outdoor eating options, especially in the evening. There is also a huge digital camera market in this area.

Yongsan Electronics Market (map) Yongsan is one option in Seoul if you are looking for electronics goods.

Itaewon (map) is Seoul’s international district, with a wide variety of Western-styled venues to eat, drink and be merry. Since many foreigners congregate there, Itaewon remains somewhat of a niche nightlife area for Koreans interested in a more international scene. A number of notable bars and clubs spot the area, both on the main street and in the nearby alleys. Long notorious for being somewhat seedy, with prostitutes plying their trade and alleged (gasp!) drug dealings, Itaewon has become cleaner and more gentrified.

⇒ Source: www.ezilon.com

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Public Transport.

Guide to traveling to and getting around in the Country.

Subway – If planning on using the Metro extensively or staying for more than a couple of days, you should consider purchasing a T-money stored value contactless smart card. This can be used on many local buses and subways throughout the country and some taxis.

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BUS: Buses (버스 beoseu) remain the main mode of national transport, connecting all cities and towns. The Korean Express Bus Lines Association have timetables and fares of the Express bus routes in South Korea on their website.

TRAIN: National train operator Korail (KR) connects major cities in South Korea. South Korea’s flagship service is the high speed Korea Train eXpress (KTX) with services from Seoul to Busan, Yeosu, Mokpo, Masan, and Gangneung (with new services opening all the time).  >> High-speed rail in South Korea

AIRPORT: Incheon International Airport , about 1 hour west of Seoul, is the country’s largest airport and is served by many international airlines. Busan’s Gimhae International AirportJeju International Airport. The A’REX train link connects the airport to Seoul Station (for further connections to KTX high-speed services) and Gimpo Airport (most domestic flights).

WATERWAYS: The services listed here may change frequently, and English language websites may not be updated with the current information. Verify before traveling. Busan’s International Passenger Terminal (map) is the largest seaport in the country and offers ferry rides mostly to and from Japan. JR BeetleNew CameliaPukwan Ferry CompanyPanstar Line.

Incheon’s International Ferry Terminal (map) has services from several cities in China, such as Weihai, Dandong, Qingdao and Tianjin. The largest operator is Jinchon, but Incheon Port has full listings on their website.

[My Soul Seoul: Sense’ational Seoul] Magnificent Seoul.

The Official Tour Guide to Everything in Seoul presented by ‘STO(Seoul Tourism Organization)’

⇒ video source: VisitSeoul TV /youtube.com/