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 Seoul is a city of contrasts in which the ancient and the modern harmoniously coexist. In one sense, it’s a hi-tech 21st-century city awash with neon lights and the sights and sounds of a 24 hour metropolis, while at the same time, a city retaining the majesty and graceful ambience of ancient dynasties that once ruled. Like the river Han on which it sits, Seoul is constantly moving as it strides boldly into the future, yet simultaneously managing to keep one foot firmly entrenched in its historical past.

currency

South Korean Won (KRW)
KRW1,000 ~ US$0,89

phone

Police: 112
Fire or Ambulance: 119
Red Cross: 1339

newspaper

The Seoul Times
The Korea Times

hours

The convenience stores are open 24/7; departments are open 9am to 8pm while small retail shops are open 10am to 8pm. Restaurant chains are open 24/7 while independent dining rooms are open until 10pm. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

population

10,420,000

info

Gwanghwamun Tourist Information Center
215 Sejongno 1-ga, Jongno-gu (in front of Donghwa Duty Free)
Opening hours: 9am - 8pm
Languages: English, Chinese, Japanese, Thai
+82 2 735 8688

Korea Tourism Organization
40 Cheongyecheonno, Jung-gu, Seoul 100-180
Opening hours: 9am-8pm everyday
Korea Travel Hotline: +82 2 1330
(Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Two Korean Girls dressed in traditional dress running down stairs in Seoul street Savvapanf Photo/Shutterstock.com

The City

The Jongno-gu area of Seoul is one of the city's most fascinating districts, symbolizing the duality of Seoul as both ancient and modern. Here, the historic palaces and the old quarter of Insadong sit aside Daehakno and University St, which is the centre for alternative art brimming with galleries, theatres, restaurants and bars. This dichotomy between the ancient and the modern is also seen in the district of Gangnam, where skyscrapers tower above the delicate architecture of Gyeongbukgung Palace. The city’s commercial centre, Gangnam, is more workmanlike than other areas of the city. However, like Myeongdong, the city’s financial district, Gangnam is also becoming known for its restaurants and bars.

Missing home? Then head for Itaewon - the international hub of Seoul, where expatriates, tourists and locals gather. It is known for its legendary nightlife where Western-style pubs and nightclubs proliferate. Failing that, a spot of retail therapy in the Namdaemun and Dongdaemun areas should certainly cure all.

Young woman tourist with map in hand on the background of Asian architecture, travel to Korea, Seoul Asia Olesya Kuznetsova/Shutterstock.com

Do & See

As one of the largest cities in the world, Seoul offers visitors plenty to explore. Any traveller will find an activity to fit their taste - the Korean capital has everything from historical sites to museums, art galleries, recognizable landmarks, traditional parks and palaces, casinos (only open to foreigners!), theme parks and much more. Seoul certainly is one of those cities that boasts the thrilling variety a traveller craves.

CJ Nattanai/Shutterstock.com

Gyeongbokgung Palace

MOLPIX/Shutterstock.com

National Folk Museum Of Korea

SiHo/Shutterstock.com

Namsangol Hanok Village

Guitar photographer/Shutterstock.com

Seoul Tower

leungchopan/Shutterstock.com

Hangang River Ferry Cruise

Guitar photographer/Shutterstock.com

Bukhansan Mountain National Park

Efired/Shutterstock.com

Lotte World

Olena Zaskochenko/Shutterstock.com

Coex Aquarium

ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com

Bongeunsa Temple

Alexander A.Trofimov/Shutterstock.com

Changdeokgung

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

Trickeye Museum

Syda Productions/Shutterstock.com

Seoul City Tour Bus

06photo/Shutterstock.com

The War Memorial Of Korea

blurAZ/Shutterstock.com

National Museum Of Korea

PKphotograph/Shutterstock.com

Namsan Park

Ahn Eun sil/Shutterstock.com

Seoul Olympic Park

guruXOX/Shutterstock.com

Leeum Samsung Museum of Art

Lexter Yap/Shutterstock.com

Yeouido Hangang Park

Kanuman/Shutterstock.com

Deoksugung Palace

yochika photographer/Shutterstock.com

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

TRAVAL TAKE PHOTOS/Shutterstock.com

Seoullo 7017 Skygarden

Korean Bbq Indypendenz/Shutterstock.com

Dining

Much as expected from a busy Asian metropolis sch as Seoul, the city really has a lot to offer in the way of dining - from traditional Korean restaurants to flavourful and endlessly varied street food, along with, of course, a plethora of eateries serving cuisine from all corners of the globe. In Korea, every sit-down meal is accompanied by kimchi - a spicy pickled cabbage, and some of the must-tries include bibimpab (vegetables and rice with an egg on top), Korean-style BBQ, and the many side dishes (banchan) that come with a staple of steamed rice.

Kwanbenz/Shutterstock.com

Mugyodong Bugeokukjib

Konstantin Kopachinsky/Shutterstock.com

Samwon Garden

Romaset/Shutterstock.com

Di Matteoh Daehakro

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Braai Republic

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Jyoti Restaurant

kongsak sumano/Shutterstock.com

Philkyungjae

Woraphon Nusen/Shutterstock.com

Food Court - Lotte Department Store

TMON/Shutterstock.com

Myeongdong Kyoja

Alexandralaw1977/Shutterstock.com

Jung Sik Dang

TMON/Shutterstock.com

Pro Ganjang Gejang Sinsa

Magdanatka/Shutterstock.com

Hemlagat

zarzamora/Shutterstock.com

Hamo

Two young woman enjoy using mobile smartphone in coffee cafe, technology lifestyles Surasak Ch/Shutterstock.com

Cafés

One thing that becomes instantly obvious when walking down any street in South Korea is that coffee shops are incredibly popular - both international chains and small independent cafés dot the capital, providing a plethora of options to choose from. Seoul is known for its quirky themed cafés - ones where you can enjoy a beverage while playing with a resident cat or dog, those selling a very specific type of food or drink (the everything-green-tea O'Sulloc, for example), and even Hello Kitty-themed establishments, where everything revolves around the iconic character.

Joshua Resnick/Shutterstock.com

Vatos Urban Tacos

sekitarief/Shutterstock.com

Tongin Market

Atmostfear/Shutterstock.com

Gwangjang Market

Alerte'/Shutterstock.com

O’Sulloc

leon58/Shutterstock.com

Rogpa Tea Stall

mnimage/Shutterstock.com

Seoureseo Duljjaero Jalhaneunjip

Sineenart Lerkmongkol/Shutterstock.com

Bau House

picturepartners/Shutterstock.com

Casablanca Sandwicherie

Nixx Photography/Shutterstock.com

Hakrim Dabang

rnl/Shutterstock.com

Passion 5

Shebeko/Shutterstock.com

Tartine Too

Seoul city skyline, Hangang River and Lotte World mall at nigth in South Korea. Teerachat paibung/Shutterstock.com

Bars & Nightlife

Nighttime entertainment in Seoul is really more about the neighbourhood than a particular establishment - each area is known for its very specific vibe, and knowing what kind of pastime you're looking for might be a good idea before deciding on a location. The go-to areas are the stylish and bohemian Hongdae, Gangnam (favoured by young, trendy twenty-somethings), and Itaewon - a location most favoured by internationals. Most clubs and bars remain open late into the night, some venue remaining in operation as late as 1pm of the following day. One type of entertainment for those looking for an authentic expereince of sorts is one of the many Seoulian "noraebang" - karaoke bars still rather popular with locals. Other great nightlife areas of town include lower-key Myeongdong and Daehangno, as well as upscale Apgujeong-dong or Sinsadong.

dmitrymoi/Shutterstock.com

Club Octagon

Syda Productions/Shutterstock.com

M2

Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.com

Livingroom

Aleksei Lazukov/Shutterstock.com

J.J. Mahoney's

Minerva Studio/Shutterstock.com

Lobby Lounge Bar

Geoff Goldswain/Shutterstock.com

Evans

Dragon Images/Shutterstock.com

Su Noraebang

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Theatre

Kzenon/Shutterstock.com

Glam

Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com

Cakeshop

Traditional Asian market. Scharfsinn/Shutterstock.com

Shopping

Seoul is absolutely the place to be for shopping devotees - from street markets to high-end shopping malls, the Korean capital has it all. Some of the most popular shopping areas are Myeongdong, Itaewon, and Insadong - each with its own distinctive character. Seoul is a metropolis filled with shopping opportunities at every turn. Markets worth a stop include Namdaemun and Dongdaemun, the Gyeongdong Oriental Medicine Market selling all sorts of traditional miracle cures (Chegidong Station) and Noryangjin Fish Market, even if only to watch the traders in action (line 1, Noryangjin Station).

sekitarief/Shutterstock.com

Tongin Market

Atmostfear/Shutterstock.com

Gwangjang Market

qingqing/Shutterstock.com

Namdaemun Market

mTaira/Shutterstock.com

Dongdaemun Market

Silverfoxz/Shutterstock.com

Myeongdong

imtmphoto/Shutterstock.com

Itaewon

imtmphoto/Shutterstock.com

Apgujeong

Vincent St. Thomas/Shutterstock.com

Insadong

Dragon Images/Shutterstock.com

COEX Mall

petrunjela/Shutterstock.com

Yongsan Electronics Market

luminaimages/Shutterstock.com

Kyobo Book Store Gwanghwamun

elwynn/Shutterstock.com

Ewha Women’s University Fashion Street

Roman Babakin/Shutterstock.com

Hongdae Free Market

longtaildog/Shutterstock.com

Noryangjin Fish Market

nenetus/Shutterstock.com

Åland

elwynn/Shutterstock.com

SMTOWN coexartium

imtmphoto/Shutterstock.com

Goto Mall

Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul, South Korea FenlioQ/Shutterstock.com

Tourist Information

Incheon International Airport

Incheon International Airport is located approximately a 1-hour ride from downtown Seoul by bus or taxi.

Airport buses are normally stop directly outside the airport building (Limousine buses run not to Seoul only, but also connect the airport to other provincial cities). The Limousine bus runs to and from the airport every 10-15 minutes and stops at most of the major hotels. You can buy your bus ticket from ticket booths next to the bus stops outside on the sidewalk.

Taxis are available from stands no.16-21 on the arrivals floor. Some taxi companies offer English-language service.

Address: Incheon International Airport, Yongjongdo

Email:

Phone: +82 2 1577 2600

Website: www.airport.kr

More Information:

Public Transport

The Underground is clean and efficient and operates from approximately 5.30am to midnight non-stop every day. All stations display signs both in Korean and English. You can buy your ticket at the ticket vending machine. Check the website for details (www.seoulmetro.co.kr).

Seoul Station is a central hub for transportation. Standard buses are frequent and inexpensive. You can pay your fare by either scanning your T-money card or paying in cash when entering the bus. Make sure to have change since you cannot pay with bigger bills.

There are several city buses operating in Seoul. For example the "Blue Bus" which connects inner Seoul with the outer suburban areas. The Yellow Bus (Circular Line) goes in a circular pattern around the very central part of Seoul. There are also the Red Bus (Wide Area Line), Maeul Bus (Local Bus) and the Green Bus (Branch Line).

Address:

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Taxi

Taxi in Korea is an affordable means of transportation. Taxis come in two varieties - regular and deluxe (easy to recognize by the black-with-golden-stripe color scheme; prices for those are slightly higher).

There is also the International taxi which was specially created for foreign tourists in Seoul who cannot speak Korean. They are orange with a "Haechi", the Seoul mascot, on the side of it.
www.intltaxi.co.kr
+82 2 1644 2255


In addition there is also the water taxi. There are total of 17 water taxi stations located along the Hangang River.

Address:

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Post

Post boxes are red in color and may be found all around the city.
Seoul Central Post Office:

Address: 70 Sogong-ro, Myeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul

Email:

Phone: +82 2 6450 1114

Website:

More Information:

Pharmacy

There are many different pharmacies and you will find one on nearly every major street or road. They are marked by a sign that says “약,” (“yak,” which means “medicine”). However, many pharmacies are closed on Sundays, but pharmacies located in large shopping malls, subway stations, bus terminals are open on Sundays.

24-hour phone information service: 120 and 1339

Address:

Email:

Phone:

Website: www.pharm114.or.kr

More Information:

Telephone

Country code: +82

Area code: 02

Address:

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Phone:

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More Information:

Electricity

Round two-pin plugs, 110V but most hotels now have a 220V supply.

Address:

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More Information: