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

OriginDeparture dateReturn dateFind Ticket

Jeju

28.10.2020

28.10.2020

Tickets from 17

Busan

03.11.2020

04.11.2020

Tickets from 24

Ulsan

27.10.2020

28.10.2020

Tickets from 33

Yeosu

27.10.2020

28.10.2020

Tickets from 38

Gwangju

26.10.2020

03.11.2020

Tickets from 41

Daegu

08.11.2020

09.11.2020

Tickets from 51

Pohang

13.11.2020

16.11.2020

Tickets from 77

Manila

19.04.2021

25.04.2021

Tickets from 108

Taipei

09.03.2021

18.03.2021

Tickets from 112

Kaohsiung

30.12.2020

05.01.2021

Tickets from 120

Tokyo

12.04.2021

17.04.2021

Tickets from 122

Osaka

08.01.2021

11.01.2021

Tickets from 125

Cheongju

27.11.2020

29.11.2020

Tickets from 142

Bangkok

12.03.2021

15.03.2021

Tickets from 153

Fukuoka

23.12.2020

30.12.2020

Tickets from 161

Nagoya

18.03.2021

19.03.2021

Tickets from 174

Vladivostok

06.04.2021

15.04.2021

Tickets from 199

Irkutsk

13.09.2021

27.09.2021

Tickets from 230

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

02.04.2021

16.04.2021

Tickets from 235

Chiang Mai

21.03.2021

26.03.2021

Tickets from 240

Shanghai

07.04.2021

21.04.2021

Tickets from 253

Singapore

09.04.2021

16.04.2021

Tickets from 270

Hong Kong

11.12.2020

17.12.2020

Tickets from 271

Jakarta

03.04.2021

10.04.2021

Tickets from 290

Kuala Lumpur

11.10.2021

19.10.2021

Tickets from 296

Moscow

16.05.2021

28.05.2021

Tickets from 309

Novosibirsk

27.09.2021

11.10.2021

Tickets from 328

Taichung

29.04.2021

02.05.2021

Tickets from 329

Ho Chi Minh City

01.12.2020

06.12.2020

Tickets from 331

Taitung

20.11.2020

21.11.2020

Tickets from 337

Yangon

05.04.2021

23.04.2021

Tickets from 337

Khabarovsk

15.06.2021

05.07.2021

Tickets from 340

Pattaya

01.02.2021

14.02.2021

Tickets from 352

Samara

15.04.2021

23.04.2021

Tickets from 373

Amsterdam

26.12.2020

07.01.2021

Tickets from 375

Saint Petersburg

08.04.2021

24.04.2021

Tickets from 376

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

01.04.2021

30.04.2021

Tickets from 381

Beijing

31.03.2021

10.04.2021

Tickets from 385

Perm

15.04.2021

23.04.2021

Tickets from 388

Paris

12.04.2021

25.04.2021

Tickets from 398

Omsk

12.04.2021

19.04.2021

Tickets from 399

Dubai

15.05.2021

29.05.2021

Tickets from 400

Krasnojarsk

09.04.2021

25.04.2021

Tickets from 409

Shimkent

10.01.2021

05.02.2021

Tickets from 412

Chelyabinsk

09.04.2021

16.04.2021

Tickets from 416

Toronto

24.03.2021

14.04.2021

Tickets from 421

Vancouver

01.03.2021

08.03.2021

Tickets from 424

Hangzhou

12.08.2021

22.08.2021

Tickets from 425

Almaty

28.05.2021

05.06.2021

Tickets from 427

Murmansk

03.06.2021

18.06.2021

Tickets from 428

Ekaterinburg

27.03.2021

02.04.2021

Tickets from 444

Hanoi

10.11.2020

22.11.2020

Tickets from 444

Vienna

06.07.2021

16.07.2021

Tickets from 447

Prague

01.06.2021

07.06.2021

Tickets from 448

NQZ

01.06.2021

04.06.2021

Tickets from 456

Melbourne

01.03.2021

22.03.2021

Tickets from 458

Ufa

05.04.2021

16.04.2021

Tickets from 460

Hamburg

26.03.2021

06.04.2021

Tickets from 463

Venice

05.07.2021

17.07.2021

Tickets from 464

Madrid

26.09.2021

06.10.2021

Tickets from 465

Okinawa

31.10.2020

03.11.2020

Tickets from 467

Kazan

04.05.2021

21.05.2021

Tickets from 469

Johor Bahru

01.10.2021

02.10.2021

Tickets from 473

Rostov

29.03.2021

05.04.2021

Tickets from 477

Toulouse

10.05.2021

08.06.2021

Tickets from 480

Bishkek

03.04.2021

10.04.2021

Tickets from 481

Tyumen

10.09.2021

01.10.2021

Tickets from 482

Munich

01.12.2020

08.12.2020

Tickets from 482

Krasnodar

28.03.2021

17.04.2021

Tickets from 485

Nizhniy Novgorod

02.10.2021

09.10.2021

Tickets from 486

Krakow

03.03.2021

07.03.2021

Tickets from 487

Harbin

01.06.2021

02.06.2021

Tickets from 488

London

11.03.2021

19.03.2021

Tickets from 488

Warsaw

03.03.2021

09.03.2021

Tickets from 490

Wroclaw

05.02.2021

09.02.2021

Tickets from 492

Stuttgart

26.12.2020

07.01.2021

Tickets from 494

Minsk

27.04.2021

27.05.2021

Tickets from 496

Lisbon

10.12.2020

15.12.2020

Tickets from 498

Dusseldorf

26.12.2020

07.01.2021

Tickets from 498

Sochi

22.03.2021

28.03.2021

Tickets from 501

Perth

01.04.2021

24.04.2021

Tickets from 503

Riga

23.03.2021

06.04.2021

Tickets from 505

Simferopol

14.05.2021

05.06.2021

Tickets from 506

Naberevnye Chelny

03.04.2021

30.04.2021

Tickets from 518

Izhevsk

01.06.2021

14.06.2021

Tickets from 518

Kaliningrad

21.06.2021

04.07.2021

Tickets from 520

Saratov

12.04.2021

06.05.2021

Tickets from 522

Ulan-ude

01.04.2021

04.04.2021

Tickets from 522

Seattle

02.02.2021

02.03.2021

Tickets from 523

Helsinki

01.07.2021

15.07.2021

Tickets from 526

Milan

18.01.2021

15.02.2021

Tickets from 526

Houston

18.05.2021

02.06.2021

Tickets from 528

Manchester

31.10.2020

23.11.2020

Tickets from 529

Athens

19.11.2020

28.11.2020

Tickets from 529

Malaga

25.02.2021

11.03.2021

Tickets from 530

Gdansk

02.11.2020

09.11.2020

Tickets from 532

Tashkent

01.10.2021

06.10.2021

Tickets from 541

Khon Kaen

17.11.2020

27.11.2020

Tickets from 542

Nizhnevartovsk

16.04.2021

28.04.2021

Tickets from 546

Mineralnye Vody

08.08.2021

27.08.2021

Tickets from 549

 

Tours & Activities in Seoul:

Powered by GetYourGuide. Become a partner.

 

Share this at: