The Afar Guide to

South Korea's capital city is a living, breathing juxtaposition. Centuries-old courtyards snuggle up to modern high rises, and traditional teashops vie with Starbucks for customers. The contrast of modern and ancient can be found everywhere—from the glitz and glamour of the now-famous Gangnam district to the grand palaces of the Jongno area. This seamless blending of old and new has created a dynamic capital burgeoning with inventive restaurants, galleries, boutiques, and culture. Though once little known on the world travel circuit, Seoul has finally emerged as one of eastern Asia’s most vibrant cities. In short, it’s not just Psy’s K-pop hit that’s put South Korea on the map, Seoul has already done that for itself.

Essential Seoul Facts to

know before you go

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Leslie PatrickSeoul Local Expert

Leslie Patrick is a freelance writer who splits her time between South Korea and a nomadic life of slow traveling around the globe. Leslie writes about travel, culture and lifestyle, and her work has been published in Salon, Marie Claire (UK and Australia editions), Islands, Travel + Leisure, Monocle, United Airlines' Hemispheres Magazine and various English language publications in Korea. Tales of Leslie's Korean life and travels can be found on her blog, The Chic Adventurer.