According to Abbreviation Finder, Seoul is the capital of South Korea, and with its almost 10 million inhabitants, it is also the country’s largest city. It is a historic city with a location in northwestern South Korea, with close proximity to the country’s coastline. The only country that South Korea borders is North Korea, and consequently you can only get to South Korea by boat or plane. But unlike its neighbors in the north, South Korea and Seoul have been greatly modernized and have an economy that allows the city to grow strongly in recent decades.
There is undoubtedly a lot to see in Seoul, and a completely different culture than what we Norwegians are used to – even though the city and the country in recent years have gained more and more influence from Western culture. Throughout the 2000s, the city has hosted both the World Cup and most recently in 2010 as the host of the G20 summit. Tourism has also exploded in the country, with over 11 million tourists visiting South Korea every year, and a large proportion of them have the capital Seoul as their main destination.
Recommended hotels in Seoul
- Four Seasons Hotel Seoul-Simply an incredibly beautiful and accomplished hotel that lives up to its five stars. Not among the cheapest hotels in Seoul, but without a doubt one of the best.
- RYSE, Autograph Collection- Beautiful, stylish and modern hotel with a high standard. The hotel is centrally located in Seoul, with a short distance to the metro and with everything you need right nearby.
- SIGNIEL SEOUL–Fantastic five star hotel with a very high standard. With its spectacular height, the hotel is a landmark in itself and the views from the upper floors are stunning. The hotel also has good facilities such as a lovely pool, its own spa and fitness center.
Travel to Seoul
With its location all the way to East Asia, it will naturally be a long journey to get to South Korea from Oslo and Norway. It is rare to fly directly from Oslo, and you probably have to settle for a stopover at one of the major European airports. Then you must also expect a flight time of at least 12 hours. The currency in South Korea and Seoul, which is called the South Korean won, differs greatly from the Norwegian. 1000 won is equivalent to just over six Norwegian kroner, and it can be difficult to get wise to the prices if it is the first time you visit an Asian country.
Seoul is a safe city to travel in, despite the fact that many millions of people live there. As a tourist, you will have a nice holiday as long as you take the usual precautions. Pickpocketing and other crimes against tourists are uncommon here. In addition to this, you should not drink tap water, but rather buy bottled water for everything other than brushing your teeth.
Hotels and restaurants in Seoul
Like most big cities, Seoul has plenty of settlements of varying standards. In the center, and especially along the city river, are a number of luxury hotels with a high standard and thus also a higher price level. But you will also find everything from the simpler hostels to completely affordable hotel rooms in terms of price. In any case, accommodation in Seoul is far cheaper than here at home, which also applies to most countries and cities on the Asian continent.
Asian food is well known to most Norwegians, with its unique dishes through wok, sushi and the like. Much of this comes from China, but Korean cuisine also has many exotic dishes with lots of exciting flavors and spices. The only challenge in Seoul may be that many of the restaurants only have the menu in Korean, so you should visit the typical tourist places if you want to be sure what you eat.
Attractions in Seoul
Seoul is a city rich in history, but very large parts of the capital were laid in ruins during the terrible Korean War. But the city has been completely rebuilt since then, and is on a par with the modern cities of Europe and America. There are definitely many sights and experiences here!
Namsan Seoul Tower
The city’s absolute best views can be found from the Namsan Seoul Tower, which is centrally located on a hill almost in the center of Seoul. The highest point is 500 meters above the ground, which offers a spectacular view of the South Korean capital. Up to the brightly lit tower you can get either via a gondola lift or by using your legs. The former is recommended in the evening, and is an experience in itself.
The War Museum
An important part of Korean history is the Korean War, a cruel multi-year war that ended with the country being divided into North and South, respectively. At the official war museum in Seoul, called the “War Memorial Museum”, you will find extensive exhibits from the said war. But you will also find exhibitions here that date back many hundreds of years.
The Royal Palace
The Koreans have a building style that matches the impression most Norwegians have from Asia and China, with well-lit buildings in a very special architecture. This also applies to Gyeongbokgung, which is the Korean name of the castle in the city. It consists of a palace surrounded by a huge park and a number of temples.
As a tourist on holiday in an exotic country, you will naturally want to shop and buy souvenirs. This is best done in the pedestrian street Insadong, which is adapted for tourists. It is located in a quiet area, although there may be large crowds and tourists here in high season, it is definitely worth a visit.
No holiday is complete without a trip to an amusement park – and in Seoul, it’s Lotte World that counts. It is a gigantic complex that combines pleasures and shopping, where some shops and attractions are located indoors, while others are located outdoors. A must visit when in Seoul!