Seoul is one of the world's most luxurious cities, in addition to being South Korea's leading economic and political center, and its influence on technology, international trade, and education makes it a fascinating global destination for travelers. The first settlement in Seoul took place around 18 BC when the Baekje kingdom established its capital in the southeast region of the city. The city became Korea's capital during the Joseon Dynasty and is home to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Hwaseong Fortress, the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty, Changdeokgung Palace, and Jongmyo Shrine. The Gyeongbokgung Palace in northern Seoul South Korea also holds special historic importance and is one of the most popular attractions in among the city's historic palaces, temples, and shrines.
Popularly known as Gyeongbok Palace, Gyeongbokgung was one of the Five Grand Palaces of the Joseon Dynasty. When roughly translated in English, Gyeongbokgung means a "palace greatly blessed by heaven." Built in 1394, the royal palace was destroyed and rebuilt numerous times during the war between Koreans and the Japanese. The palace is one of the key attractions in Seoul South Korea and several travelers pay a visit to learn more about its court customs, architectural value, and history. Located at the Senjonro Boulevard, Gyeongbokgung palace is easy to find and is located near the U.S. Embassy. Foreign visitors can take advantage of the English-language guided tours that are available three times daily.
Vacations in Seoul can also be spent visiting the numerous different parks in the city. Some are memorial cemeteries and military academies converted into parks whereas others have great ecological importance. The Namsan Park is located in the heart of Seoul South Korea and has more 60 species of plants, animals, and trees. This park is especially known for its botanical gardens, hiking trails, and the Cable Car Station. This ecological island is surrounded by pine trees and several statues of Korean patriots.
Other Seoul parks that are worth a visit include the famous Olympic Park built for the 1988 Summer Olympics, the Tapgol Park, and the 4.19 Memorial Cemetery, which was built in memory of the people killed during the April 19 Movement, a student-led protest that forced the resignation of then-President Syngman Rhee. The Tapgol Park is a perfect place for the elderly and for weary tourists looking to cool their heels during vacations in Seoul. Although it is a relatively small park, Tapgol also has some historic significance, making it an excellent part of Seoul travel excursions that center on the city's past. The park boasts a 500-year-old Namesake pagoda kept under a glass case, and it was also the site where the Korean constitution was first declared orally in front of the public during the twentieth century.
Travelers can also learn about the city's cultural heritage by visiting its famous shrines during their Seoul vacations. For instance, a visit to Inwang temple could be a fascinating excursion. Located atop the 1,100-foot Mount Inwang, the temple is visited frequently by locals and travelers alike. There's also a famous Guksadang shrine and unusual rock formations called Zen Rock behind the temple. Locals frequently visit this shamanic shrine to pray and give their offerings to the temple gods. The hill has plenty of trails to explore, but make sure you do not take photographs of any rituals performed inside the temple and the shrine.
Other major attractions that are well worth a visit during Seoul travel including the city's amusement parks and some of the best street markets in Korea. You can also learn to cook Korean cuisine, pottery making, or tae kwon do during your visit. If you're vacationing with children, consider visiting Everland, a theme park reminiscent of Disneyland. Located south of the city, Everland can easily be reached by bus from other parts of Seoul, and among its most popular attractions is a small zoo that displays unusual wildlife such as ligers (lion-tiger hybrids). Another option for family-friendly Seoul travel is visiting the Children's Grand Park, which also houses a zoo, as well as several restaurants.
Whatever you choose to do during your trip to South Korea, you're sure to find the capital city is an unforgettable stop. There are numerous hotels and accommodations options for a variety of price ranges, and the number of international flights ensures you will have little trouble reaching your destination.