Seoul, South Korea – The Gangnam Style City

Seoul (서울) is the capital of South Korea. A fascinating blend of ancient traditions and cutting-edge digital technology, home to endless street food vendors and vast nightlife districts, an extraordinarily high-pressure educational system and serene Buddhist temples, a trend-setting youth culture and often crushing conformism, extraordinary architecture and endless monotonous rows of grey apartment buildings, Seoul is a city filled with stark contrasts.

Seoul is the center of business and culture of South Korea. Here the skyscrapers stand side by side with the Buddhist temple. See the entire city from N Seoul Tower, built on top of Namsan Park. Taste the taste of Korea at the tea shop and shop in Insadong, then continue by visiting the courtyard and Gyeongbokgung museum. Changdeokgung Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a perfect example of authentic ancient architecture.

Discticts
Administratively, Seoul is divided into 25 districts, each with an area and population comparable to a small city. The districts are then further subdivided into 522 sub-districts (동 dong). The Han river bisects the city, splitting it into two halves: Gangbuk (강북), the northern, more historical half, and Gangnam (강남), the southern, wealthier and more modern half. The sheer size of the city means that travelers to Seoul will find it difficult to locate a true “center” of Seoul; instead, Seoul is almost more like a collection of cities that happen to be bunched together, each with their own central business and commercial districts. The two largest core areas are Jongno/Jung in the north, and Gangnam in the south. For travelers with more time, there are many more, smaller centers and districts to be explored, such as the island of Yeoui-do and the college district of Hongdae/Sinchon. For the typical traveler, it would be useful to divide the city into the following areas:

North of the River (강북 Gangbuk)

  • Jongno  – The Joseon-era historical core of the city, containing most palaces and government offices. This district, along with Jung (중) district immediately to the south of it, makes up one of the main centers of the city. Here you can find the most famous of the Five Grand Joseon Palaces, Gyeongbokgung, with a long avenue attracting many tourists leading up to the main gate. To the east of Gyeongbokgung are clustered Changdeokgung and Changyeonggung, two more of the Five, and Jongmyo Shrine, the main Confucian shrine in the dynastic era designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Sandwiched between these two areas is Bukchon, a quaint housing area filled with ‘hanok’, beautiful traditional Korean houses that also date back to the dynastic era. South of Bukchon is Insa-dong which is the largest antiques market street in Seoul and the cultural heart of the city, and further south is Cheongyecheon, a renovated stream and park that runs through the heart of the downtown area.
  • Jung  – This district makes up the other half of the historic core, with Cheongyecheon stream as its northern border. It holds some of the few remaining European-style government buildings left over from the Japanese imperial colonialism era – the City Hall and the Bank of Korea, both in the west, centered around a large plaza often serves as a rallying point for protests and soccer games. Immediately to the southwest of the City Hall is Myeongdong, an large upscale shopping district that gets extremely busy at night and on weekends, and one of the top ten most expensive shopping districts in the world by rent. To the south of the City Hall is Namdaemun Market, another large shopping district that is decidedly cheaper than neighboring Myeongdong. Further south of Namdaemun is Seoul Station and Namsan Mountain, with the Seoul Tower at its summit. Finally, the eastern part holds Dongdaemun, an enormous fashion district with dozens of clothing malls, complexes, wholesalers, and department stores.
  • Seodaemun/Mapo – These two districts lie immediately west of Jongro and Jung, and contain dozens of universities and colleges. As such, this area is home to some of Seoul’s most active nightlife districts: Hongdae and Sinchon. Sinchon is close to Yonsei University, one of the most prestigious in Korea, and has hundreds of restaurants, bars, clubs, and stores that are open well into early morning, packed with throngs of students during the weekend. Hongdae is famous for being the center of Seoul’s indie and underground arts scene – expect to see street performers, indie rock bands, graffiti, and independent stores. During the night, Hongdae really comes alive, even more crowded than Sinchon and absolutely enormous – it’s easy to get lost inside this huge nightlife district, and has the second highest concentration of foreigners, after Itaewon.
  • Yongsan  – Yongsan is home to the US Army Military Base as well as one of the largest electronics markets in the world, Yongsan Electronics Market. On the top floor of this market is a Starcraft Arena – and yes, computer-obsessed Korea does, in fact, regularly broadcast Starcraft matches on national television. This is also where you’ll find Itaewon (이태원), perhaps the most culturally diverse area on the entire peninsula and home to dozens of restaurants featuring cuisine from the world over, numerous shops selling everything from custom-tailored suits to antiques, and several Western pubs and bars. Itaewon also has the only mosque in Korea, and as such there are a growing number of Middle Eastern and Pakistani immigrants. Talks are also finalizing on Yongsan International Business District, a $28.8 billion dollar project that when completed, will have a 665m centerpiece tower, the second tallest in the world.

South of the River (강남 Gangnam)

  • Gangnam  – Gangnam 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 core business district runs along Tehran-ro from Samseong Station to Gangnam Station. Gangnam station is the true center of Gangnam – with dozens of high rises, hundreds of restaurants and bars, and thousands upon thousands of neon signs lining Gangnam street, this area is not only a major commercial and nightlife center for young adults, it is Korea at its futuristic, digital, high-tech best. Samseong station at the other end of Tehran-ro is connected to COEX, a huge underground shopping mall with a movie theater, aquarium, hotels, food courts, and a Hyundai Department Store. To the north of this business district (but still in Gangnam) is Apgujeongdong and Cheomdangdong, some of the most affluent areas in Seoul, and home to hundreds of upscale luxury brands and department stores.
  • Songpa – a primarily residential district east of Gangnam where you’ll find Lotte World, Olympic Park, Seoul (Jamsil) Sports Complex, and the Sincheon nightlife district. Lotte World is an unusual place – just a few bus stops away from COEX, it is yet another enormous shopping and entertainment complex, but with a twist: It holds one of the largest ice-skating rinks in Korea, and the largest indoor theme park in the world. Good for families with children, but be warned: on a rainy day, the shortest lines may be an hour or longer. Sincheon (not to be confused with Sinchon, is a large, crowded nightlife area, mainly populated by an older, local business crowd due to its location near Gangnam.
  • Yeoui-do – An island in the Han River in Yeongdeungpo-gu (영등포-구) and the closest Seoul gets to Manhattan with skyscrapers, the National Assembly and the Seoul Stock Exchange. Though it may seem attractive for tourists, in reality there isn’t too much to do here, and the island gets pretty desolate during the weekends.
  • Yangcheon – a district of western Seoul with the Mok-dong area at its centre, home to some of the tallest residential buildings in Seoul, a large Hyundae department store and an ice rink.

The climate of Seoul features a humid continental with dry winter, called “Dwa” in the Köppen climate classification. Seoul is classed as having a temperate climate with four distinct seasons, but temperature differences between the hottest part of summer and the depths of winter are extreme. In summer the influence of the North Pacific high-pressure system brings hot, humid weather with temperatures soaring as high as 35 °C (95 °F) on occasion. In winter the city is topographically influenced by expanding Siberian High-pressure zones and prevailing west winds, temperatures dropping almost as low as -20 °C (-4 °F) in severe cold waves. The bitterly cold days tend to come in three-day cycles regulated by rising and falling pressure systems, during winter snowfall can cause frosty weather in the city. The most pleasant seasons, for most people in the city are spring and autumn, when azure blue skies and comfortable temperatures are regular. Most of Seoul’s precipitation falls in the summer monsoon period between June and September, as a part of East Asian monsoon season.

Fact:

  • Government : Capital of South Korea and South Korea Special City
  • Currency : Won (₩)
  • Area : 605.21 km2
  • Population : 10,140,000(2013 est.)
  • Language Official : Korean(with Seoul dialect)
  • Religion : n/a
  • Time Zone : UTC+9

Hotels in Seoul :

Seoul Hotel Deals :

Find your best hotel rates here :

Flight Deals to Seoul

Origin Departure date Return date Find Ticket

Jeju

27.08.2018

30.08.2018

Tickets from 44

Busan

24.08.2018

25.08.2018

Tickets from 90

Kaohsiung

21.03.2019

26.03.2019

Tickets from 100

Hong Kong

04.10.2018

09.10.2018

Tickets from 106

Osaka

05.09.2018

13.09.2018

Tickets from 124

Okinawa

21.11.2018

25.11.2018

Tickets from 136

Taichung

17.09.2018

19.09.2018

Tickets from 148

Manila

22.11.2018

26.11.2018

Tickets from 148

Tokyo

12.01.2019

15.01.2019

Tickets from 156

Taipei

19.09.2018

26.09.2018

Tickets from 160

Vladivostok

17.12.2018

31.12.2018

Tickets from 170

Macau

07.09.2018

11.09.2018

Tickets from 170

Tianjin

20.11.2018

24.11.2018

Tickets from 172

Qingdao

29.09.2018

04.10.2018

Tickets from 186

Fukuoka

06.10.2018

08.10.2018

Tickets from 187

Shanghai

15.10.2018

22.10.2018

Tickets from 188

Kuala Lumpur

15.09.2018

30.09.2018

Tickets from 193

Nagoya

03.09.2018

10.09.2018

Tickets from 209

Yantai

28.09.2018

07.10.2018

Tickets from 210

Ho Chi Minh City

15.11.2018

29.11.2018

Tickets from 212

Hanoi

07.03.2019

10.03.2019

Tickets from 216

Bangkok

22.09.2018

27.09.2018

Tickets from 221

Penang

04.09.2018

10.09.2018

Tickets from 225

Weihai

28.08.2018

28.08.2018

Tickets from 228

Da Nang

30.10.2018

05.11.2018

Tickets from 228

Hangzhou

29.12.2018

03.01.2019

Tickets from 233

Saipan

03.09.2018

17.09.2018

Tickets from 236

Cebu

05.11.2018

09.11.2018

Tickets from 236

Nha Trang

16.11.2018

19.11.2018

Tickets from 241

Yiwu

29.10.2018

03.12.2018

Tickets from 246

Beijing

12.11.2018

17.11.2018

Tickets from 252

Khabarovsk

18.12.2018

31.12.2018

Tickets from 255

Kunming

26.08.2018

03.09.2018

Tickets from 262

Irkutsk

17.09.2018

01.10.2018

Tickets from 266

Haikou

10.11.2018

24.11.2018

Tickets from 266

Harbin

23.10.2018

31.10.2018

Tickets from 269

Chiang Mai

18.10.2018

24.10.2018

Tickets from 269

Phuket

03.09.2018

07.09.2018

Tickets from 270

Singapore

12.03.2019

21.03.2019

Tickets from 271

Sapporo

26.08.2018

31.08.2018

Tickets from 275

Niigata

22.02.2019

28.02.2019

Tickets from 277

Shenzhen

20.09.2018

11.11.2018

Tickets from 281

Sendai

05.09.2018

29.09.2018

Tickets from 281

Huế

30.10.2018

05.11.2018

Tickets from 285

Phnom Penh

01.12.2018

05.01.2019

Tickets from 297

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

13.10.2018

19.01.2019

Tickets from 299

Nanjing

29.09.2018

04.10.2018

Tickets from 308

Novosibirsk

21.09.2018

01.10.2018

Tickets from 328

Chongqing

02.10.2018

05.10.2018

Tickets from 338

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

11.02.2019

25.02.2019

Tickets from 339

Jakarta

23.11.2018

27.11.2018

Tickets from 344

Kota Kinabalu

12.12.2018

23.12.2018

Tickets from 350

Wuhan

31.01.2019

23.02.2019

Tickets from 359

Yanji

23.10.2018

23.10.2018

Tickets from 359

Seattle

21.09.2018

21.10.2018

Tickets from 361

Yakutsk

06.09.2018

15.09.2018

Tickets from 362

Krasnojarsk

04.02.2019

09.02.2019

Tickets from 365

Medan

05.12.2018

12.12.2018

Tickets from 366

Honolulu

27.09.2018

30.09.2018

Tickets from 381

Melbourne

02.09.2018

08.09.2018

Tickets from 381

Moscow

11.04.2019

17.04.2019

Tickets from 382

Los Angeles

08.09.2018

30.09.2018

Tickets from 387

Ulaanbaatar

20.09.2018

20.10.2018

Tickets from 393

Ulan-ude

18.09.2018

25.09.2018

Tickets from 398

Tashkent

21.09.2018

21.10.2018

Tickets from 404

Guangzhou

30.09.2018

06.10.2018

Tickets from 408

New York

31.10.2018

18.11.2018

Tickets from 415

Almaty

13.10.2018

17.10.2018

Tickets from 439

Astana

15.10.2018

21.10.2018

Tickets from 440

Vancouver

08.09.2018

13.10.2018

Tickets from 440

Munich

04.09.2018

02.10.2018

Tickets from 443

Saint Petersburg

05.10.2018

17.10.2018

Tickets from 448

Dusseldorf

01.01.2019

14.01.2019

Tickets from 453

Samara

15.11.2018

22.11.2018

Tickets from 455

Ekaterinburg

13.11.2018

20.11.2018

Tickets from 459

Tyumen

14.03.2019

22.03.2019

Tickets from 459

Frankfurt

15.10.2018

21.10.2018

Tickets from 463

Rostov

12.10.2018

21.10.2018

Tickets from 465

Voronezh

03.12.2018

08.12.2018

Tickets from 475

Krasnodar

15.11.2018

22.11.2018

Tickets from 479

Paris

28.10.2018

02.11.2018

Tickets from 488

Kazan

25.01.2019

02.02.2019

Tickets from 491

Sydney

02.09.2018

12.09.2018

Tickets from 495

Budapest

03.06.2019

10.06.2019

Tickets from 498

Ufa

06.12.2018

14.12.2018

Tickets from 499

Zurich

16.10.2018

30.10.2018

Tickets from 499

Washington

10.01.2019

17.01.2019

Tickets from 501

London

03.11.2018

16.11.2018

Tickets from 511

Magadan

24.12.2018

06.01.2019

Tickets from 511

Dubai

31.10.2018

04.11.2018

Tickets from 514

Manchester

04.02.2019

15.02.2019

Tickets from 515

Brisbane

09.09.2018

17.09.2018

Tickets from 517

Billund

26.02.2019

19.04.2019

Tickets from 518

Portland

12.09.2018

28.11.2018

Tickets from 519

Chelyabinsk

07.11.2018

15.11.2018

Tickets from 520

Bishkek

27.09.2018

07.10.2018

Tickets from 522

Chennai

21.08.2018

24.08.2018

Tickets from 526

Istanbul

05.10.2018

20.10.2018

Tickets from 529

Shimkent

22.09.2018

28.09.2018

Tickets from 530

Tallinn

10.04.2019

17.04.2019

Tickets from 539

 

Tours & Activities in Seoul:

Powered by GetYourGuide. Become a partner.