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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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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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Dosan-daero 13-gil, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
It’s not all Louis Vuitton and Chanel in this quirky museum dedicated to woman’s favorite accessory. Inside this handbag-shaped building located in Seoul’s chic Gangnam district, you’ll find over 300 purses on display, some dating back as far as...
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662 Gyeongin-ro, Sindorim-dong, Guro-gu, Seoul, South Korea
If you swoon at the sight of sparkly picture frames, leopard-print throw pillows, and other kitschy home décor items, make Francfranc your first stop in Seoul. This Japanese-owned design store is a welcome addition to the sparse collection...
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Seoul, South Korea
After Japan, Korea is the most high-tech country on Earth, meaning its capital is one of the tech-savviest cities in the world. Everywhere you look, you’ll see the latest gadgets—especially apparent when you behold entire subway cars filled with...
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Seoul, South Korea
Seoul’s underground railway system is full of fun surprises. When you turn down one of the labyrinthine corridors or hop off a train, you never know just who or what you’ll find. One rainy day at the Anguk subway station, I stumbled upon this...
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Seoul, South Korea
Seoulites work hard, but they know how to play hard too. And one of their favorite pastimes is singing their hearts out at the noraebang. This Korean version of Karaoke doesn’t require copious amounts of talent (or alcohol) to get up on stage....
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Seoul, South Korea
The sidewalks of Seoul are one big fashion show. Both men and women dress to the nines, and boutiques purveying designs by local designers abound. In-the-know locals with a passion for fashion frequent Galleria Design Street. Located on the second...
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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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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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Chungmuro 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is full of street food, and open-air markets and sidewalk stalls abound. But wander the avenues at night, and warm light from under tarps beckons; it's the poh-jahng-mah-chah. Literally meaning "covered/tented wagon," these are an...
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40 Hangang-daero 21na-gil, Hangangno 3(sam)-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
In Korea, nothing spells relaxation like a jimjilbang, or Korean bathhouse. For over a thousand years, Koreans have used public bathhouses not only as a means to get clean, but as a social gathering place to chill out with family and friends....
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Seoul, South Korea
Korea’s traditional costume is called hanbok, which just means “Korean clothing.” These vibrant dresses and pantsuits—characterized by loose, flowing lines—were primarily worn during the Joseon Dynasty for ceremonial occasions. Nowadays, however,...
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65 Hangaram-ro, Jamsil 2(i)-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The Han River is Seoul’s main artery, and the fourth longest river on the Korean peninsula. This glistening waterway bisects Seoul’s bustling neighborhoods, while modern bridges span the divide and pretty pathways meander along the banks. Han...
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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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99 Sejong-daero, Jeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
While in Seoul, stop by Daehanmun Gate at Deoksugung Palace, where you can see semi-daily changing of the guard ceremonies.
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Mexican food in Asia sounds like an oxymoron. However, in Seoul, that is not remotely the case. Mexican food has been popping up around the city over the past decade, and it was with great happiness that foreigners living and traveling through...
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29-4 Bukchon-ro 6-gil, Gye-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
In a metropolitan area of 20 million people, finding an oasis is a must for keeping your sanity. Seoul's Bukchon neighborhood still has a plentiful supply of traditional courtyard gardens—many of the "hanok" (traditional houses) have been opened...
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161 Sajik-ro, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
On my first evening in Seoul, I found myself here, in front of a 'haetae' (mythical fire-eating guardian) beneath Gwanghwamun, the recently restored gate to Gyeongbok Palace. The story of the haetae and the gate it guards sums up the turbulent,...
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105 Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan 2(i)ga-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Near the center of Seoul at the top of Namsan Mountain sits a tower, the North Seoul Tower (CJ Tower, officialy). From the top of the mountain, and the tower, the panoramic views of Seoul are vast and impressive. A trip up the mountain is well...
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Changdeokgung-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Covering 78 acres of hilly forest in the middle of Seoul, the Huweon, or "Rear Garden" of Changdeok-gung Palace is better known by the city's millions as Biweon, or "The Secret Garden." Once exclusively for the royal family, today it's a favorite...
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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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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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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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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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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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531 Bongeunsa-ro, Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Modernization. Westernization. Globalization. These words are sometimes used synonymously, but while all three certainly might be used to describe East Asia, distinctions should be made. South of the Han River in Seoul is the Gangnam district; the...
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Euljiro 7(chil)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Has a giant spaceship landed amidst the high-rises of Seoul? No, it’s only the new Dongdaemun Design Plaza. The futuristic façade encloses multiple museums and exhibition halls, and a design market featuring a myriad of work created by local...