‘Must-visits’ in the city include:
- N Seoul Tower - catch a cable-car to the main landing area followed by an ear-popping elevator ride to the 360° viewing tower which offers an awesome panorama of the city.
- Bukchon Hanok Village is a hilly area with small and winding streets filled with traditional houses where members of the royal family and nobility used to live. It is frequently used as a filming location for movies and TV dramas and some houses are even open to tourists for viewings and tea ceremonies.
- Gangnam is one of Seoul’s most vibrant hot spots, recently made famous by Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’. Though the area consists mostly of office blocks, the streets around the station have become a gathering spot for the young and trendy South Koreans and is where the most famous Seoul nightclubs can be found.
- The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), about 1 hour 30 mins outside Seoul, is the 248km coast to coast cease-fire line separating North and South Korea. The best way to visit the area is on a guided tour from Seoul. Viewing platforms give you a rare glimpse across the border and you can enter the 3rd Tunnel which was dug by the North in an attempt to invade the South and was uncovered in 1978.
As with most cultures, food plays a vital role in South Korea’s society and tradition. Koreans have a reputation for their love of spicy food but milder options can also be readily located for the more sensitive palettes. The fermented vegetable speciality, kimchi, is available in almost every dish and there is even a theatre show named after the famed bibimbap rice dish. Wash down your food with a soju (rice liquor) ormakgeoli (milky rice wine) as the locals do. The South Korean version of a local pub is the ubiquitous fried chicken and beer restaurant, known as chi-mek - chi for chicken and mek or mekju for beer. There are a number of food markets in the city which give you a glimpse of traditional methods of shopping and trading - make sure to try the freshly made jeon (South Korean savoury pancake).
Interesting fact - there are 3 types of taxis in the city; standard taxis, deluxe taxis with luxurious upholstering and higher quality service, and international taxis for which drivers need to pass Japanese and English speaking tests.