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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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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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Deoksugung-gil, Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Seoul-based food pundit Daniel Gray leads eight-hour ultimate insider tours of the city. Each is customizable. Meat lovers can focus on Korean barbecue, while vegetarians may want to sample kongguksu (chilled noodle soup in soy milk broth) and...
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21 Namdaemunsijang 4-gil, Hoehyeon-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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78 Namdaemun-ro, Myeong-dong, 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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Seoul, South Korea
Seoul has to be Asia's most caffeinated mega-city. There is plenty of tea to be had, but coffee rules in Korea's capital. Along with an abundance of multi-storied Starbucks, every street seems to have sprouted a home-grown café: from the...
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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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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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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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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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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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Deoksugung-gil, Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Every year in May, Buddha's Birthday brings the amazing Lotus Lantern Parade at nightfall in Seoul. Be amazed as the brightly lit pass you by. Insider's Tip: if you are non-Korean, inquire as to where the foreigners only section is. Sure, you may...
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종로51 종로타워 17층, 종로1.2.3.4가동 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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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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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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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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18 Insadong 4-gil, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), 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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Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
In the Samcheong-dong neighborhood, I saw this whimsical mural on the side of a bakery—perfect for a Francophile Korean sweet tooth. I became a lover of macarons (not to be confused with macaroons) when I lived in Paris. I had no idea that the...
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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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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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61 Deoksugung-gil, Seosomun-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Seoul Museum of Modern Art 서울시립미술관 is a beautiful space perched up on top of a hill behind Deoksugung Palace. It is not only one of the most innovative museums I have been to, but also it happens to have a wonderful little cafe on the 3rd floor...
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175 Sejong-daero, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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55 Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Buddha's Birthday is a splendid time in South Korea. The streets of Jongro in central Seoul become filled with prayer lanterns. If you are in Seoul head to the Jongro and Insadong areas as musical performances and street performers will be...
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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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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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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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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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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...