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South Korea November 2015

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Sincheon-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Bodega is a Spanish wine & tapas bar in a funky neighborhood in Seoul. Nothing strange about that. In fact, there's nothing strange about the food or the wine at all—the sparkling brut is cheap as chips, and the albariño blend comes to the table...
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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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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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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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Seobinggo-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The Korean alphabet, known as hangeul, is the only alphabet in the world where the letters were created to resemble the shape the mouth makes as you voice them. Created by King Sejong in the mid 15th century as a way to educate the illiterate, the...
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Ideally situated on the cusp between major financial, retail, and historic districts is the Westin Chosun Seoul. Built during the Japanese occupation of Korea, the hotel survived through World War II and is the oldest in the country. Originally...
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281 Eulji-ro, Euljiro 7(chil)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Like a spaceship that has alighted on the famous Dongdaemun shopping district, Dongdaemun Design Plaza, which opened last March, is Seoul’s sparkling center for design, fashion, art, and more. DDP is one of Seoul’s—and arguably the world’s—most...