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Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
"Oh-deng" is a street-food classic found on the streets of Seoul. It's kind of hard to describe: formed crab-cakes, or white fish sausage (sounds weird, tastes great!). Late one night in Seoul's Myongdong district (think Times Square meets the...
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South Korea, Seoul, Jongno-gu, Gahoe-dong, 계동길 37
On my first evening back in Seoul, on my first visit in almost twenty years, I could hardly believe I was in the middle of a metropolitan area of over twenty million people. I was staying in the Buk-chon neighborhood, in a 'hanok'--one of the...
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Earlier in the evening, this spot in Gwanghwamun Plaza was full of families, children playing in the fountains beneath the statue of 16th-c. Admiral Yi Sun-shin. After dinner, with the kids gone, I got a moment of calm. For decades, this statue...
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Cheonggyecheon, Jongno 5(o).6(yuk)ga-dong, Seoul
Chong-gye-cheon stream and park is a several-miles-long ribbon of pedestrian tranquility in the heart of Seoul. For decades, an elevated expressway ran through the heart of Seoul. The air pollution and congestion made people forget that a stream...
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Samseong 2(i)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Across the street from Asia's largest underground mall, Bong-eun-sa temple still functions as one of Seoul's largest and oldest Buddhist temples. Under the paper lanterns, ritual continues, a counterpoint to the the wired and wifi frenzy in the...
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531 Bongeunsa-ro, Samseong 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The beautiful roof tiles at Bong Eun Sah Buddhist Temple in Seoul.
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Deoksugung-gil, Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Bukchon, the historic neighborhood between Gyeongbok-gung and Changdeok-gung palaces in the heart of Seoul, is the home of buk-chon son mandu, which translates as "handmade dumplings." Even though this is a Seoul chain restaurant, the namesake...
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Changdeokgung-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Amidst the almost hypnotic repetition of pattern and color, I spent an afternoon 'lost' in the colonnades of Changdeok-gung Palace. Focusing my vision on architecture in a historical context far removed from my everyday life--one of my favorite...
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22 Majang-ro, Sindang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
We lose ourselves in travel, work or play. Becoming fully engulfed in the moment is all to frequent. This photo was taken in the Sindang Market in Central Seoul. It is tough to put a finger on Sindang Market, it is a place where you can find an...
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Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
While living in Seoul, exploring was something I would often do. I would ride the subways and pick a random stop, get off then walk as far as I could. In my opinion there is no better way to gather a sense of place in a foreign land. One area I...
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Junggye 4(sa)-dong, Seoul, South Korea
Is your mouth watering yet? Sanggye Dong, Seoul, South Korea
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175 Sejong-daero, Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The open plaza area in front of the Sejong Cultural Center was a frequent visiting spot for me when I lived in Seoul. In the summer months the cool water was a relaxing spot to wet your feet and watch children running through the musically...
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Gye-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
In the middle of a metropolitan area of twenty million, Seoul's historic Bukchon neighborhood has kept a traditional village feel. "Hanok"—traditional courtyard houses, with upswept tile roofs and latticed sliding doors—line the hilly streets....
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106 Sogong-ro, Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The "Altar to Heaven," hidden away in what is now the garden of the Westin Chosun Hotel in central Seoul, was one of the Joseon Dynasty's last architectural expressions of independence. In the tumult of the end of the 19th and beginning of the...
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119 Sogong-ro, Taepyeongno 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
From the upper floors on the north side of The Plaza hotel in central Seoul, this is the view up Sejong-ro, the city's historical main axis. Reopened in 2010 after extensive renovation and redesign by the Italian designer Guido Ciompi, this is...
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Euljiro 6(yuk)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Dongdaemun, the old East Gate of Seoul, has been the site of a market for generations. Today, the double-roofed stone arch no longer marks entry into the city, but the capital's residents still come here to haggle over everything from shoes to...
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21 Cheonho-daero 4-gil, Sinseol-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Seoul's Folk Flea Market is a place where you can buy anything, I mean anything! This scary contraption looks like an invention of a comic book super-villain, but for the small price of 5 dollars you could be tightening those crow's feet and...
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South Korea, 서울특별시 중구 태평로2가 69-5
Koreans apparently love to write messages in all kind of forms...After the padlocks in the tower I start looking around and I could find them everywhere..sadly I could not understand anything...Here a wall of tiles in an underground station.
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136 Seorin-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Expecting a stuffy museum, I found the King Sejong Story was a pleasant surprise. This monument in the center of Seoul, housed underneath one of the hippest areas, is worth a look. No amount of rambling can present how great King Sejong was for...
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21 Namdaemunsijang 4-gil, Hoehyeon-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Among the biggest and most chaotic markets in Korea, Seoul's Namdaemun Market is the capital's oldest, dating to the 1400s. Today you can find ANYthing here, if you're willing to brave the crowded alleyways tucked in behind skyscrapers:...
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424 Olympic-ro, Bangi-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The worlds most recognized brand. Coke.
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Namdaemun Market, the most bustling place in Seoul. Food vendors fly through unnavigable aisles with food stacked on their heads, touts selling their wares and a constant stream of shoppers looking to spot the best bargain. Three things you should...
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161 Sajik-ro, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Originally built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest and greatest of Seoul’s Five Grand Palaces. Burned down during the Japanese invasion of 1592, it was reconstructed in 1867. Today, the palace grounds, filled with lotus ponds,...
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161 Sajik-ro, Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
I have to admit, I am a bit of a snob when it comes to being called a "tourist". I prefer "global citizen", "traveler", or "cultured", mostly for the sake of feeding my own ego. Though while at Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul, looking at fresh cherry...
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Palpan-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The Throne Hall of Gyeongbok-gung Palace in Seoul has a lofty name based on Confucian principles: "Geun-jeong-jeon," meaning "diligence helps governance"—words for politicians to live by, eh? Originally built in the 1390s when a new dynasty...
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18 Insadong 4-gil, Nakwon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
On a sidewalk in Seoul's Insa-dong district, a husband-and-wife team demonstrate the traditional way to make "tteok," chewy-sticky rice-cakes. Pounding the sweet rice in the giant stone mortar with a wooden pestle turns it into a flour which is...
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Deoksugung-gil, Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
When we fell in love with lover, we want to promise the eternal love. N seoul tower is one of the sacred place of love. Lots of couples have visited there then locked their own lock at the fence and throw the key out of the fence. They believe...
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종로51 종로타워 17층, 공평동 Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
One of the most distinctive buildings in central Seoul is the 33-story Jongno Tower, a triangular glass and steel tower topped with an oval floating above seven stories of emptiness. Across the street is the traditionally reconstructed...
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185 Changgyeonggung-ro, Waryong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The website said that Changgyeong-gung Palace was closed on Tuesdays. So on this particular drizzly Monday, (my last day in Seoul), I trekked over, planning on revisiting this site of a childhood outing...But when I arrived, the 400-year-old gates...
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78 Namdaemun-ro, Myeongdong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
In the Korean capital's Myeongdong district, you're not limited to 'Seoul-food;' you can also taste distinctive dishes from Jeonju city, in the country's fertile Southwest. Go to "Go-gung" (pronounce: goh-goong) restaurant. The restaurant's...
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Over the last decade or so, these "love padlocks" have been appearing at various sites around the world: Italy, Paris, the Brooklyn Bridge, Tokyo, and in this photo, on a mountaintop in the middle of Seoul (the park around N-Tower on Namsan). With...
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During daylight hours, Gwanghwamun gate's portals are open to visitors entering and leaving the Gyeongbokgung Palace compound. Coming in or going out, make sure to look up as you pass through: the ceilings are vividly painted with mythical...
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99 Sejong-daero, Jeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Surrounded by skyscrapers in the center of Seoul, Deoksu-gung Palace ("The Palace of Virtuous Longevity") got its start as a prince's villa in the mid-15th century. In 1907, the compound became the 'retirement home' of the next-to-the-last king of...
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60 Jangchungdan-ro, Jangchungdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Treatments at the Banyan Tree Club and Spa Seoul draw on regional therapies and ingredients. Banyan Tree’s green tea bath treatment was inspired by the bathing rituals of jjimjilbangs—Korean public bathhouses. Korean green tea is rich in...
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Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
This religious site is within a quarter mile of the popular Gyeongbuk Palace and is worth a visit. The courtyard in front of this wall of buddhas is shaded by bamboo. The atmosphere is extremely peaceful unlike the busy streets just outside this...
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Changdeokgung-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The upswept rooflines of Korean architecture are beguiling: intricate eaves are a symphony of patterned color...and every once in a while, a face pops out, like this scowling end-tile 'guardian'--a face only a roofer could love. I spent a couple...
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Gwanghui-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Globalization is this groovy thing leading to all sorts of adventure. I was surprised while living in Central Asia to find how many people had family living in Korea or were Koreans living in the region. With this said, I should not have been...
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Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
You don't need to go to back alleys or historic markets (although those are great!) to sample traditional snacks in Korea; almost all the major boulevards in the center sprout mini-kitchens, set up on the sidewalk even across from chic...
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21 Namdaemunsijang 4-gil, Namchang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Dumplings are delicious. That's not much of a secret. But snacking on dumplings in one of the world's busiest and most atmospheric night markets? That's an entirely different experience. Namdaeumun Night Market, located smack dab in the heart of ...
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When Seoul's Gyeongbok-gung Palace was built in the 1390s, it was the centerpiece of the newly established Joseon dynasty, which had just named the city as its capital. Six centuries later, after invasions, fires, colonization, and wars, its...
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Jibong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
"Dongdaemun" is the old east gate of Seoul. The word is also synonymous with the massive market area that surrounds the gate, both above and below ground. Several of the nearby subway stations connect with underground shopping arcades. You can...
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135-1 Gye-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
A flagstone courtyard under a persimmon tree, lattice-doors under an upswept tile roof...on my last night in Seoul, I stayed in these traditional surroundings in the city's Bukchon neighborhood. Twenty million people live in the South Korean...
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Hwanghak-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, 서울특별시 South Korea
Gob-chang is broiled (pieces of) small intestine of cattle, a famous dish in Korea. Especially near the Sindang subway station, you can find many Gob-chang restaurant crowds. If you want to drink So-ju (this is one of the main alcoholic drinks),...
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Sometimes I visit Insa-dong in Seoul, South Korea. Insa-dong is traditional culture street. I can taste original Korean slush at the traditional teahouse. The basic topping is red bean, but many teahouses or coffee shops are trying to change to a...
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Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The first time traveling internationally by myself, I went to Seoul. It is safe to get around at night, it's beautiful in the fall, and it was relatively easy to get around. The Cheonggyecheon-ro is a stream that runs through the heart of Seoul....
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Seosulla-gil, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
For slice-of-life Seoul, take a walk from Jongno 3-ga Subway station up to the main gate of Changdeok-gung Palace. Re-built in 1607, (and somehow surviving the Korean War of the 1950's), Donhwa-mun gate is one of the oldest wooden structures left...
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88 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
For over a century, Seoul's Gwangjang Market has been a destination for snack-seekers. The labyrinthine passageways are covered, and you can find anything from knock-off shoes ("fira" instead of "Fila," for example) to chili powder and embroidered...
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18 Insadong 4-gil, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
"Yeot...what?" The closest approximation in English for one of Korea's favorite street-sweets might be "taffy." It ranges from sticky-soft all the way to jaw-breaker-hard. Traditional vendors announce their confectionery presence by loudly and...
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Jugyo-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Evidently Lord Stow's Bakery is a Macau-based chain with a handful of locations in Asia, but we weren't aware of that as we found it while strolling through Seoul on a frigid February morning. We simply saw the cute-as-a-button, closet-sized space...
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60-16 Itaewon-ro 55-gil, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
A great way to spend an afternoon in Seoul: a good book and the genius of sculptor Louise Bourgeois at the Leeum Museum. A gentleman relaxes on ‘Eye Benches,’ while 'Maman' stands guard. It’s in Itaewon that Samsung planted the Leeum Contemporary...
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Chungmuro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
There is a definite rhythmic buzz along the streets of Myeong Dong, in the heart of Seoul. From the energetic calls of salesgirls thrusting skincare samples into the hands of passersby to the throngs of trendy travellers stopping at the roadside...
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28 Toegye-ro 34-gil, Pildong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
A must-do experience in South Korea. Visit any traditional teahouse or take a lesson in the art of tea making. Lessons last 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of the group. You will see that tea making is a skill that requires a lot of patience!...
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1 Euljiro 7(chil)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
I go to Dongdaemun Market (Dongdaemun Stadium Station) to see how the locals live. The market is made up of 26 shopping malls over multiple blocks. There are more than 5,000 shops. You can find everything from food to clothing to electronic goods...
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South Korea, Seoul, Jongno-gu, Gahoe-dong, 계동길 49-23
Travelers looking for a rich cultural experience should book a room at a hanok, or traditional Korean home. One of the best, Rak Ko Jae, has fancy touches such as jade floors and a mud sauna. Guests can perform a tea ceremony and make their own...
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60 Jangchungdan-ro, Jangchungdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
seoul.go.kr"Bukchon Hanok Village offers an old-fashioned Korean hotel experience. You sleep on thick sheets with a hard pillow on a heated floor. Try the Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul (shown) if you want to be pampered. —Heong Soon Park This...
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240 Olympic-ro, Jamsil 3(sam)-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The world’s largest indoor amusement park, Lotte World gets more than 7 million visitors annually. Seasonal festivals like the Rio Samba Carnival and the Happy Christmas Party dictate the themes of the daily parades and performances, while...
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Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Notebooks and markers and pencils, oh my! Art Box offers a kaleidoscopic array of school supply fun, a favorite among Korean students of all ages. Found in various locations around Seoul, this colorful stationery shop sells everything from...
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Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tucked away in the heart of downtown Seoul is the quaint Insadong district, where a Korea of yore comes to life in the form of traditional artists and musicians, shops selling Korean crafts and souvenirs, and street performers dressed in native...
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Seoul, South Korea
Bibimbap is by far one of Korea’s most popular dishes, and it’s found in almost every traditional restaurant in Seoul. Once you’ve sampled it, you’ll understand why. Imagine a large bowl is placed before you, filled with a heaping portion of...
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662 Gyeongin-ro, Sindorim-dong, Guro-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Located in southern Seoul at the Sindorim Subway Station is D-Cube City. This retail monolith houses scores of shops and restaurants. There are the ubiquitous H&M, Zara, and Uniqlo, but also trendy Korean labels such as Bean Pole, Codes...
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Cheonggyecheon, Jongno 5(o).6(yuk)ga-dong, Seoul
An artery of calm running through central Seoul is the Cheonggyecheon stream. This soothing green space proffers a respite from the bustle, with tranquil waterfalls, bridges, and landscaped rock formations adorning the 5.2 miles of wooden walkways...
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Dosan-daero 13-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
No, it’s not your imagination. Everyone—men, women, children, even dogs—dresses up in Seoul. Sure, you’re bound to see the odd denim-clad dud, but on the whole you’re more likely to spot bow ties and blazers or blouses and heels walking the...
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105 Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan 2(i)ga-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Look to the top of Seoul’s 860-foot-tall Namsan Mountain and you’ll see the N Seoul Tower, which rises an additional 777 feet. This aerial perch is the highest point in the city and offers incredible views. Far below, Seoul sprawls out...
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94 Wausan-ro, Sangsu-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
If the name of Seoul’s favorite new ice cream shop sounds familiar, maybe it’s because the moniker is gleaned from an intersection in San Francisco where the owner used to live. This small-batch parlor serves up imaginative flavors of ice cream,...
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99 Sejong-daero, Jeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
There are many imperial palaces in Seoul, but only one is open at night - Deoksugung Palace. For about $1, enter the east gate and watch couples hold hands as you stroll through the grounds of former kings and queens. When you leave, cross the...
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88 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
You won’t break the bank at Gwangjang, lively 100-year-old market in Seoul’s Jong-Ro. To get a taste of the countryside just like the locals do with all the hustle and bustle of a traditional market, try Jeon scallion pancakes, Yukhoe (Korean Beef...
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249 Dongho-ro, Jangchung-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The renovated Shilla Hotel's brand new dining venue, La Yeon, gives Seoul's high-end restaurants a run for its money with beautifully executed lunch and dinner courses. The prix fixe midday meal is not too be missed -- an elegant parade of...
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Seoul, South Korea
The thousand-year-old Korean tradition of decorative knots becomes high art in the studio of Kim Eun-Young, where she weaves and ties intricate patterns of flowers and insects out of silk thread. Kensington Tours can arrange a visit with Kim or...
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85-1 Chebu-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
A steaming bowl of ginseng chicken soup is just what the doctor ordered—no matter what ails you—and To Sok Chon is Seoul’s top spot. Each portion contains an entire boiled chicken, accompanied by roots and herbs. Despite the quantity, you’ll hear...