Seoul (Inchon)

Stylish, modern, lively, Seoul is widely regarded as a real up-and-comer on the global scene with an astounding economic boom and growth referred to as the ‘Miracle on the Han River’. Fantastic shopping opportunities are presented – from the Dongdaenum market which comprises traditional markets and shopping centres, Myeondong shopping and entertainment area in downtown Seoul with mid- to high-end stores, fashion boutiques and international brand outlets, through to Sinchon which caters more for a younger, university student crowd. Seoul is a technological hub boasting various multinationals such as Samsung and LG, as well as a supremely technologically advanced infrastructure with reputedly the world’s fastest broadband. Seoul is home to modern landmarks such as the N Seoul Tower, Lotte World – the world’s second largest indoor theme park open all year round – and the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain, the world’s longest bridge fountain, which also set a Guinness world record with nearly 10,000 LED nozzles that run along both sides that is 1,140m long, shooting out 190 tons of water per minute!

On the other hand, amongst all these spectacular displays of modernity, Seoul also is home to various UNESCO world heritage sites such as Changdeokgung Palace, as an ‘outstanding example of Far Eastern palace architecture and garden design’; the Hwaseong Fortress; the Jongmyo, the Confucian shrine for the deceased kings and queens of the Korean Josean dynasty; and the forty Royal Tombs of the Josean dynasty, some of which are in Seoul.

But, surrounded by mountains and situated on the Han River, Seoul also offers natural beauty: the Bukhansan (or Bukhan Mountain) is a major landmark visible from most of the districts of the city. Various parks and streams offer relaxation and are popular for activities such as hiking or cycling, particularly Namsan Park, home to the N Seoul Tower and views of the downtown Seoul skyline.

Seoul is served by Inchon as its chief port. Incheon is near to the Songdo Resort, and also less than a mile away from Wolmido Island, a weekend destination and tourist area with beautiful ocean views, pleasure boats, restaurants and the Park Hill theme park.

Between the dazzle and glitz of an up-and-coming super-modern city, the historic tombs and palaces of the long-gone Josean dynasty which herald Far Eastern traditions, and the majesty of Seoul’s natural setting, and its parks and green belt – Seoul shows itself to be a fascinating city of contrasts.