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Seoul
 
Seoul

The capital of South Korea is a modern city with a long history. This ancient city has been the capital of Korea since the 14th century. Some of the old city gates can still be seen - most notably the South Gate (or Nam-Dae-Mun), which used to be the main entrance to the city.

There is no better picture of Seoul than The South Gate, which stands as an architectural feat and a reminder of Korea's heritage and history. But much like Paris' Champs-Elysees, it is situated right in the middle of a modern and bustling city, serving as a constant symbol of Korea's proud past intersecting with its bright future.

While there are many modern sites to visit, perhaps the typical tourist would like to visit the old city first.

In the old city there are many sights to see. Toksu Palace is set in a park and is a nice place. The Kyongbok Palace (built in 1395) houses the folklore museum and has beautiful pavilions.

Other sights include the Tonggunung tombs Chonsugongbang , Changkyong Palace, Pomun-sa Temple and the Toksugung Palace. For a quiet afternoon head to one of the numerous gardens and parks. The Secret Garden in the Changdok Palace complex is probably the nicest of them all.


Apart from exploring Korea's past, the contemporary visitor might also appreciate Seoul's modern attractions. Korea's economic boom has resulted in the development of a beautiful and extensive skyline. Office towers, apartment buildings, art galleries, shopping centers, and museums contribute to Korea being the most modern nation in Asia. Come to Korea and be at the center of global business, art, fashion, education, and politics.

One sign of Korea's growing prosperity was its selection as the host of the 1988 Summer Olympic Games. Seoul's transit system is widespread and efficient - it even has recorded English voices and LCD displays for visitors, all thanks to the Games - and Olympic Stadium is easy to spot on the map. You could also take taxis around the city, but the drivers are notorious for taking roundabout routes in order to earn more money. While taxis are expensive, pretty much every driver can speak a little bit of English - foreigners might want to hail the deep Gold-colored taxis, even though they are the most expensive (again, thanks to the Olympics, these special taxis were dispatched to handle the influx of tourists from all over the world, therefore, expect them to be pricey, but friendly and English-speaking).

The Olympic Stadium (or Chamshil Stadium) would be a nice place to start your exploration of the city. There you'll find Lotte World, a shopping mall that contains an Olympic-sized skating rink and even a full amusement park on the upper floors. In addition, Chamshil Stadium is conveniently located to many of Seoul's major shopping centers - one of them being the famous Lotte Department Store, for those of discerning taste who are looking for the most expensive items Seoul has to offer. While Lotte is the most famous, it isn't the cheapest and there are plenty of other areas where one can go shopping - anywhere there are people flocking to doors greeted by uniformed female hostesses, that's most likely where the malls are!


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