South Korea

Business TravelSouth Korea

Seoul – city of contrasts

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What a delight it is to visit Seoul! Surrounded by mountains and hills it is a travellers’ oasis.

It gives the feeling of being in the most modern of cities alongside charming old architecture. Efficient public transport, delightful markets, street food vendors and eateries – it’s all there to be enjoyed, as well as a vast array of nightlife. A fascinating blend of ancient traditions and high tech digital innovation.

The subway in Seoul is very impressive. It is well signposted and runs on time. The buses are excellent too. Courtesy is always observed. Everyone, but everyone, wears a mask. Seats are set aside for those “needing them most” and this rule is, again, well respected. The platforms are clean as are the trains. It is the third largest subway system in the world.

Charming traditional hanbok stores exist alongside the most modern phone and tech shops. While Seoul today is often known as a super-modern mega-city that is home to skyscrapers, malls, and millions of electronic-mad residents, the city boast over 2,000 fascinating years of history. 

South Korean cuisine is amazing.  The Korean barbecue is fast becoming one of the most popular global specialities.

Seafood and shellfish abound in Seoul.

This beautiful concert hall is a modern take on the traditional old design.

If you want to get into one of the famous palaces you can do so for free if you’re wearing traditional dress!

The illuminations are beautiful.

Modern buildings exist alongside traditional in Seoul.

Charming statues.

Buses abound in Geunho.

Street markets in Seoul are very colourful. Simple fare abounds.

The River Han runs from east to west through the centre of the city.

If you are planning a stay in Seoul booking.com offers a good selection of hotel and apartment accommodation in the city. Read more….. If you use this link to book your stay we may earn a commission. Thanks.

South Korea

Jagalchi Fish Market Busan

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South Korea offers a treasure trove of fascinating experiences, landmarks to admire and explore and food to enjoy. Undoubtedly a favourite when visiting the South Korea’s second largest city, Busan, is the huge Jagalchi Fish Market. It is located in the Nampo-dong district. Busan is South Korea’s busiest port and that is reflected in the hustle and bustle at Jagalchi. The atmosphere is vibrant and inviting.

On the periphery of the market and on the upper level numerous eateries offer an abundance of fresh fish, typical fishcakes and other varieties of superb Korean street food. 

A colourful display…..

Once inside the vast area of this traditional market you will see that stall after stall offers a huge range of fresh and preserved fish. This landmark is a veritable visual feast of amazing colours, shapes and sizes! These charming displays are largely tended by friendly older ladies, or ajumma, who offer their fish and serve with a smile. Here, the display is colourful and the variety huge. Also, some of the produce is still alive, cheerfully displayed in bubbling tanks. Giant Alaskan crabs abound! In the case of octopus it is even eaten alive! Other fish adorn brightly coloured plastic palettes gutted and ready for you to cook. A deluge on the senses. Further, the perfume from smoking repellant coils wafts through the air in the market ward off unwanted insects. 

The vendors chat away to visitors and fellow stallholders alike and the atmosphere is jovial. This welcoming, friendly atmosphere is delightful!

An amazing selection…..

The array of fish on offer includes eels, prawns, octopus, oysters, crabs, abalone, squids, scallops….. Fish prices are generally reasonable. You will see fish that are typical to Asia and not available in other countries of the world.

You can choose your fish in the market  and go upstairs and eat in in the restaurant. So besides the stunning visual feast that is the market you can enjoy the fish with a glass of the local soju of course!

Want to stay nearby?

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South Korea

Namsan Tower Seoul

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Namsan Seoul Tower  View from Namsan Seoul Tower in autumn or fall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The foot of the N Seoul Tower is easy to reach by bus. The Namsan Sunhwan shuttle bus (number 1) from Chungmuro Station will get you there. We would recommend the bus rather than walking! The drop off point itself affords splendid views across Seoul. To enjoy the vista, there is a telescope through which you can admire the calm expanse which belies the bustling city below.

Panoramic view of Seoul South Korea in fall

You can also take the cable car and enjoy the view from above. The cable car is easily accessible from Myeongdong Station.

Walk up the hill!

If you would actually prefer a steep walk up the hill, you can get off the bus at Namsan Public Library and enjoy the lush scenery and vegetation as you make your way slowly upwards….. We took this route and it took some 45 minutes to reach the Namsan Tower via the tree covered slope. Lycra clad cyclists were racing down the hill… We didn’t see any labouring upwards! The sun was shining through the autumn foliage – it was a glorious day. Every so often the walk afforded a glimpse of the city below. Some half way up there was a welcome seat – the only one! – at the entrance to Namsan Mountain Park nature reserve. 

Dining habits…..

Road works were taking place along the route in a snow management scheme. At various points, workers were sitting in groups of 6 – 8 around small dishes of food laid out on the pavement! Sharing food at mealtimes is one of the core activities at the heart of contemporary Korean society. Having travelled from England where one might see workmen in a similar situation having a sandwich at the road side, we were astonished to see so many little plastic boxes and dishes laid out as they would be in a cafe or restaurant being shared by the workers.

Pandas at entrance to Namsan Seoul Tower

Onwards and upwards…..one more steep incline to reach the foot of the observatory tower – an oasis where restaurants of different hues abound.  Starbucks is here – isn’t it everywhere?! Hot dog cafe, Korean cafes, dessert shops. Fast food and fine dining. We sat and enjoyed a “hot” coffee in the autumn sun whilst looking out over the city… When you order a coffee here, the first question is “hot or cold”, then “in or out”….. Lovers’ lockets abound on the fences and railings here – they are positively encouraged (and charged for of course). Romantic couples abound at the Namsan Tower!

Lovelocks for the lovelorn

Again there are a charming gift shops up here selling Korean souvenirs for all! Including an array of love locks which you can attach to the tower for posterity. And time capsules into which you can put a message and leave in the tower. The terrace level offers views from a different angle and you can climb among the gun placements to take a view. On a hot day, shade is provided by a typically decorated ornate Korean roof.

Romantic lockets attached to fence at North Seoul Tower

On the lower levels there are extensive observation decks and terraces, all offering amazing views of the city.

Tickets to ascend the tower are fairly inexpensive.

On a weekday there was a short wait going via an immersive media art exhibition where 40 laser projectors present surreal reinterpretations of Seoul. The lift to ascend is accessed via an immersive media art exhibition where 40 laser projectors present surreal highly colourful reinterpretations of Seoul onto the walls and ceiling.

View from Namsam Seoul Tower

The lift itself has a screen on the ceiling showing planets and the lift operative instructs visitors to look up for the 25 second ride so you can imagine you’re travelling through space en route to the observatory… Once at the top it is a feast for the eyes. Walk round the circular tower, look through the glass and you will get a 360 degree bird’s eye view of the amazing city of Seoul. Potted histories are shown on the windows. It is a great photo opportunity.

History

The tower was originally opened to the public in 1980 and takes a hour and forty minutes to rotate. Audio guides are available.

On the way out you can walk through a 3D tunnel.

To the side of the walkway you will be able to see part of the iconic Fortress Wall of Seoul.

We would highly recommend a visit to the Namsan Seoul Tower where you will be able to appreciate the enormous scale of the city. Step back from the daily metropolitan rush and view this beautiful city from a place of calm…….. It is one of Seoul’s best tourist attractions – a landmark not to be missed!

If you are planning a stay in Seoul booking.com offers a good selection of hotel and apartment accommodation in the city. Read more….. If you use this link to book your stay we may earn a commission. Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

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