Seoul Travel Guide & Information

Seoul, the capital and largest city in South Korea, is often described as a Historical city of contrasts primarily due to the abundance of ancient palaces juxtaposed with modern skyscrapers. Located on the Han River in the center of the Korean Peninsula, the city was settled in 18 B.C. Seoul's influence in business, international trade, politics; technology, education and entertainment all contribute to its role as a prominent global city.

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Flights to Seoul gives you access to a city that was named as the world's sixth most economically powerful city by Forbes.com, ahead of Paris and Los Angeles. Travel to Seoul, the city where traditional and cutting-edge intersect with gracious, historic harmony. The traditional markets paired with department stores and fast food outlets alongside spicy Korean cuisine are intrinsic to Seoul.

The list of things to see and do in Seoul is amazing and ranges from sampling the outstanding cuisine served in the city’s excellent restaurants, to rock climbing. Nightlife in Seoul is lively and exemplary, with something to suit all tastes. Founded 600 years ago by the Joseon dynasty, Seoul has a truly historic heart, which is distinctly reflected in its aromatic and healthy cuisine, traditional tea houses, museums, markets and cultural performances. Today, Seoul has risen to become a metropolis that travelers visit time and time again.

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Things to do in Seoul

Museums:

Seoul is home to several museums showcasing the city’s magnificent past. The variety of exhibits is amazing.

National Museum of Korea: is the flagship museum of Korean history and art. The museum contains over 150,000 pieces in its collection with 11,000 on permanent display. It claims to be the largest museum in Asia and the sixth-largest museum in the world in terms of floor space. The Archaeological Gallery showcases artifacts from the origins of Korean society, allowing visitors to experience Korea's unique and evolving culture.

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Seoul Museum of History: chronicles the history and culture of the city of Seoul from the Stone Ages to contemporary times with special focus on the era of the Joseon Dynasty. Exhibits are parsed into four zones, principally evolving around the Joseon Dynasty era to offer a comprehensive look into the landscape of Seoul, the lifestyles of Seoul, the culture of Seoul and the development of Seoul as a city.

National Folk Museum: located on the grounds of the Gyeongbokgung in Jongno-gu uses replicas of historical objects to illustrate folk history. The museum displays representative materials of everyday life and customs in Korea, from prehistoric to modern times. The priority of this museum is to preserve those items that have been named national cultural assets because of their significance in understanding everyday life in a particular era or region of the country.

Prominent Attractions:

Besides museums, Seoul offers numerous prominent attractions and landmarks well worth visiting.

Namdaemun Market: is located next to Namdaemun, which means "Great South Gate". Namdaemun market is one of the oldest continually running markets in the country and the largest retail market in Seoul. The streets in which the market is located were built when cars were virtually non-existent, so the market itself is not accessible by car. Namdaemun is a popular tourist attraction and an excellent place for souvenir shopping.

Gyeongbokgung Palace: Gyeongbokgung Palace is a royal palace located in northern Seoul. The palace is oldest and grandest of five palaces of the Joseon Dynasty, built in 1394. The palace, named 'Gyeongbok' or 'shining happiness' was built as a tribute to the permanent happiness and prosperity of the nation. Many of the buildings at the palace were demolished. However, the government restored the palace to its original state.

Lotte World: is perhaps the most exciting and coveted family attraction in Seoul. It is like a small city with an amusement park, folk museum, sports center, shopping center and hotel. Most facilities are indoors, so Lotte World can be enjoyed throughout the year. Lotte bills its World Adventure amusement park as the world's largest indoor theme park. The park has rides for everyone, ranging from tranquil tram rides to exhilarating roller coasters.

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Where to Stay in Seoul

Seoul offers an array of hotel accommodations ranging from cheap hotels, 4-Star Hotels Under $99, youth hostels and extended stay hotels.

Jongno-gu : is the Joseon-era historical core of the city and is home to most of the palaces and government offices. The area also houses several premier attractions like Gyeongbokgung Palace, National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum, to name a few. Jongno-gu is also the address for Insa-dong, which is a popular street to find souvenirs and within walking distance to many of Seoul's historic cultural landmarks. With so many attractions at hand, it’s no surprise that this area is home to several hotels to suit every travelers budget.

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Songpa-gu: As a center of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, which marked a dramatic advance in the economy, Songpa-gu emerged as an economically revived district. The district has a number of fancy cafes, restaurants and hotels, as well as being home to Lotte World, Olympic Park and Seoul Sports Complex. You’ll also find Garak Market, often known as the hub market for agricultural and marine products in Northeast Asia. Visitors who intend to travel for business and leisure can choose to stay in this area.

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Passport & Visa Requirements

For US Citizens:

As per the latest travel information available to Seoul Travel, here are the following passport and visa guidelines to assist you further.

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* A passport is required. U.S. passport holders may enter Seoul without a visa for a stay of up to 90 days for tourism or business.

* When staying for more than 90 days or for any purpose other than tourism or business, the U.S. passport holder must obtain a visa prior to entry.

* Individuals who desire to stay longer than their authorized period of stay must apply to Korean Immigration for an extension in advance of the expiration of their authorized period of stay.

For Canadian Citizens:

* A valid Canadian passport is required for Canadians intending to visit Seoul.

* The passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected departure from the country.

This requirement applies to all travelers, regardless of age, including children.

We recommend that you check the latest travel alerts, various airlines baggage policies and travel safety tips, so that you do not miss out on any of the fun while visiting Seoul .

*Kindly note that we take the utmost care in providing you with correct information at all times. However, the passport and visa regulations are subject to change and we strongly urge you to check the requirements directly with the US passport office and, or the Canadian Passport Office before traveling.

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When to visit Seoul

Seoul experiences all four seasons of weather. However, Seoul is a popular destination throughout the year. Weather-wise, the best time of year to visit, is autumn; from September to November, when the weather is usually sunny. Another popular time is April to early June, when the weather is warm.

Fewer travelers book flights to Seoul in winter, as the weather is dry and cold. Between the months of December and February, temperatures stay pretty close to freezing point.

Planning your Visit:

High season: (September to November, April to early June)

Low season: (December to February)

Seoul Weather

Seoul has a humid continental climate with four distinct seasons, despite the fact that the country is surrounded by three sides by water.

* During the summer the North Pacific high-pressure system brings hot, humid weather with temperatures soaring high.

* Winters are often very cold and sometimes freezing, though this season is much drier as compared to other seasons.

Currency and Language:

Currency:

We urge you to exchange cash and buy travelers checks before arriving in Seoul. Be sure to let your bank know your dates of travel and find out what the fee for ATM withdraws are.

Languages:

* Korean is the official language of Seoul.

* In tourist areas, English is spoken.