Filled with skyscrapers, street markets, palaces, and temples, Seoul is a buzzing hub of energy and enterprise mixed with tradition and serenity. In just 50 years Seoul has grown to one of the world's most modern and vibrant megacities and one of the hottest tourist destinations in Asia.At first glance, Seoul is a city in a hurry. New development is shooting up around town and everyone, it seems, is rushing somewhere. This is as true in the modern business districts as it is in the maze of markets. But Seoul also has pockets of quiet—parks and palaces where the pace of life slows to a crawl as soon as one enters. While Seoul's main draw is experiencing this contrast of energy and tranquility, the city is full of excellent food, interesting arts and crafts, and has a number of impressive historic sites. Seoul is an intense city, and while great for urban explorers, travelers looking for a more relaxing experience may not want to spend too much of their trip here.
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Things You Can't Miss
The War Memorial of Korea contains artifacts (including tanks and fighter jets) used in conflicts with Japan, China, the U.S. and other foes.
Gyeongbokgung Palace provides contrast in this skyscraper-filled capital. The restored 14th-century former royal home has a grand pagoda-style roof.
Tibor Bognar / Alamy
Modeled on Rodeo Drive in L.A., the Rodeo Street shopping district offers luxury goods plus cheaper labels. Stop at a café; watch fashionistas forage.
Find nature and lose the crowds in these urban oases.
Kids will get a kick out of Lotte World, a huge indoor amusement park with rides, a talking cartoon whale and lots of shopping for the older folk
National Geographic Image Collection / Alamy
Use these tips to choose an online photo book service and create your own personalized photo album to share your travel memories with family and friends.
Gwangjang Market is the place to sample bibimbap (rice with meat, veggies and spicy chili paste), kimchi (fermented cabbage) and red bean porridge.
Travel agents can be a great resource, but don't take everything they say at face value.
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