The Korean Capital: An Asian Supercity

15, May 2022 |

Being the biggest and the most populous city in the country, there are many small places and locations inside the massive city, here are some you should visit when the visiting the city

With South Korea being the prosperous and bustling country it is, it has countless sites and monuments, places and locations for people and travellers alike to travel to and discover. And there is no place to start on this South Korean journey than the capital: Seoul. Being the biggest and the most populous city in the country, there are many small places and locations inside the massive city. Here are some you should follow when planning a trip to the Asian country



The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) 

When visiting Seoul or even South Korea, the Korean Demilitarized Zone is a must-visit. With the Korean War being the defining point in the country’s origin and independence and with the tensions still high on the border, you can see the point of national significance by going to the border between South and North Korea. Whether it is the Dora Observatory where you can peer into the unknown lands of a North Korean village or the Freedom Village where the prisoners of war (PoW) of both sides walked back into their home countries, or the DMZ line where Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in the shook hands and where Donald Trump took steps into the DPRK. You can also visit the various infiltration tunnels dug in the DMZ or the ghost train station in Dorasan that could have taken a train straight to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. All in all, to truly appreciate the history and the struggles of the past that have defined the nation and still affects it to this day, this area is a place to explore and observe. 



Seoul’s Five Grand Palaces

To explore the ancient culture and relive the traditions and peer into the past Korean lifestyle, Seoul’s Five Grand Palaces are the places that you must keep on the to visit list. Made by the Joseon dynasty, the Five Grand Palaces, are the culmination of the rich history and cultural aspects of Korean culture and lifestyle and traditions on display in the city. The Five Grand Palaces are Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest of the Five Palaces, Changdeokgung Palace the only one of the Five Grand Palaces that are listed in UNESCO Heritage Sites, Changgyeonggung Palace famous for its beautiful blossom season, Deoksugung Palace an intoxicating melding of the Western and the Korean architectural styles and last but not the least Gyeonghuigung Palace a place for secondary residence for the Joseon dynasty. You can spend hours on a single part of one of the Five Grand Palaces and can dedicate an entire day in awe of the historical, cultural and sociological aspects of the Korean lifestyle and society that led to the South Korea we know today.



LOTTE World Tower

Now switching from the ancient to the modern is the tallest building in South Korea towering over its surrounding structures, the Lotte World Tower. Owned completely by the company LOTTE, the tower is over half a kilometre long, the fifth tallest structure in the world with 123 floors and with over 400,000 square meters of total floor space. Along with many physical feats, the buildings also contain the world’s highest glass floor and the world’s largest movie screen for people’s entertainment. The tower contains the LOTTE World Aquarium, LOTTE Museum of Art, LOTTE Concert Hall, and LOTTE Cinema with a 21-screen MoviePlex. In addition, there are offices, luxury residences and hotels for any tourists to rest in the megaplex of comfort and convenience. And at the very top of the enormous tower, many indoor and outdoor observation areas have been made, named Seoul Sky for people to look down on the bustling city below from the highest point in the city. It is quite an experience to visit the tower, whether to rest in one of its premium hotels or it is just to visit one of its many services like the cinema or its shopping complex or many more. 



Bongeunsa Temple

Now from the high tech-to ancient architecture, is a Buddhist temple dating back to the 8th century with one of the most ancient scriptures, architecture and religious monuments in the city, is the Bongeunsa Temple, originally named Gyeongseong. The place is the site of about 14 major temples and about 80 smaller temples There is also a Temple Stay program in which visitors can practise and live the life of a monk, practising various traditions and lifestyles where they can eat monk meals with Buddhist cutlery and stuff. In the same vein, many of the restaurants near this temple, specialise in giving you Buddhist vegetarian that the Korean people used to eat, but with a modern Korean twist.



Bukhansan National Park

Last but certainly not least, let’s go more into the natural side of the city with the Bukhansan National Park. Also known as the Samgaksan, the National Park is defined by its three peaks: Baegunbon, Insubong, and Mangyeongbong which it contains. The terrain is mostly made of granite peaks and gorges in the area with diverse flora and fauna with over 1300 species of animals and plants found in the National Park. In addition, there are all sorts of historical and cultural heritages and temples scattered in the areas. This makes the Bukhansan National Park very popular among hikers, offering trails suited to every level of experience. All in all, it is perfect to unwind and relax from the ever-accelerating hustle and bustle of the city. 

Text By: Samyak Dhar Tuladhar


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