Interested in Seoul?
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Although Seoul is a huge city, it's rather compact when it comes to touring the sites. It's a very walkable place!
Insadong is a great place to start. It's a street filled with shops and restaurants selling traditional Korean items. It's the perfect spot to purchase souvenirs...anything from ceramics and silk bags to paintings and Korean clothes. Take subway line 3 (orange) to Anguk Station to get there.
A block west of Insadong Street is Jogyesa Temple. Recently restored, it's in its former glory and looks specatacular. The repainted walls and roof eaves are amazingly colourful and a feast for the eyes (and camera). Take a look around the main temple and see the story of the Buddha and his path to Nirvana. Best of all...a look around this temple is FREE.
This district is south of Insadong Street (across a big intersection). A haven for the young, it offers shopping, bars and restaurants galore. Cheap jewelery can be purchesed in one of many shops along the main street and there are many street vendors selling goods such as DVDs and clothes. Every fast food restaurant as well as Korean and Foreign restaurants are all over Chongno and there are endless bars offering cocktails, beer or Korean soju. Try a korean meal while you're there...Samgyetang (Chicken Ginseng soup) or some Galbi (Grilled Ribs). Yum!
Continue walking south of Chongno and you'll stumble across Cheonggyecheon, a river running through the heart of downtown Seoul. Previously paved over to make way for busy Seoul traffic, Cheonggyecheon has since been dug up and transformed to a lovely green space. Flowers and trees line the river and quaint pathways follow along for a leisurely stroll. It's a wonderful place to take a break form the hustle and bustle. Cheonggyecheon runs all the way from City Hall to Tongdaemun market (running west to east), so the adventurous may want to walk the whole distance.
Still heading south, you'll reach Myeongdong. This hip and happening area sports the city's busiest shopping district where Korean and International brands can be found. Considered an expensive place to shop, you can still find deals in the shops or on the street. Hungry? Try some homemade noodle soup in Myeongdong Gyoja or opt for the famous "hot bars" (fried processed fish on a skewer...it's good... really) on the street. For desert try O'Sulloc, a cafe that serves sweets all made with green tea.
Tired yet? I hope not, because you have yet to visit the Shinsegae Department Store. Enough shopping you say? Well, this is a worthwhile experience...this store has recently been renovated and it's a place of beauty and luxury. Start at the 11th floor where is been transformed to a food court with a park surrounding it. Fountains and trees grace the roof and a peacful moment can be had (along with a Starbuck's coffee). Take a wander down through the many levels of shopping and be sure to end your visit in the basement level. There, you can find...that's right--more food! Workers are busy down there cooking away an endless variety of cuisines ready to be sampled. Some booths offer tables so that you relax and eat take-out Dimsum or Indian curry. Oh yeah, there's an acutal supermarket down there too.
Uh oh! More shopping...this time it's different, I promise. Namdaemun is an old market located just west of Shinsegae Department Store that sells just about anything and everything. Be prepared to haggle, because the sellers are expecting it. Namdaemun market is big, so be careful not to get lost in its little nook-and-cranny alleyways. Guaranteed, you'll find this open-air market an interesting spot. Don't forget to take a picture of the famous South Gate of Seoul (Namdaemun).
**Update** Namdaumun has burnt down since writing this list. Expect to see the gate under construction/renovation. :(
You're going to backtrack a bit and head East of the Shinsegae Department Store, just south of Myeongdong. There you can find a street leading to a cable car that takes you up to the top of Namsan. You could walk up there, but I imagine you must be tired by now. The cable car isn't free, but it's not a lot of money to go up. Once at the top of Namsan, you'll have a wonderful view of Seoul and you can check out all the places you've just visited on your walking/shopping tour. Hopefully, you'll be there on a nice clear day.
An optional part of the tour, once on top of Namsan it might be nice to go to the top of the Seoul Tower and get an even better view of the city. If you happen to be there at night, the views can be quite romantic.
Guaranteed. You're going to be tired after following my recommended walking/shopping tour in Downtown Seoul. Grab a cab or a bus and relax at your Hotel, Motel or wherever you've decided to stay. You deserve a break (and more food)!