Gyeongbokgung has over 600 years of history under its belt and is one of the five royal palaces in Seoul, South Korea, that the city keeps well-preserved. A Korean monarch lived here some time ago and now, in the Blue House, very close by, is where the President resides. This complex is very close to City Hall, so I recommend going to the Palace from your stop there. The views are breathtaking and I was really impressed by how the new structures are combined, as well as the large buildings, with their reassurance that breathes classic Korean tradition. I attached some photos for you to take a look at below. They show you exactly what I mean. The price is 3,000w, which is about 2 euros, making this a required visit. No excuses. It's usually at the top of tourists' lists, but, as I say, it's worth it. Also, it puts you very close to other areas of interest. I leave it inside you discover it for yourself. It's awesome. Oops, I forgot: 9am to 5pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
A part of the function of the viewpoint and communications tower, the Namsan Tower (N Seoul Tower or Tower) is that it also has a emblematic role in the life of couples that go up at least once together to declare their love for one another. It's kind of cheesy, but when you're there is when you realize what the business is made of, with it all mounted with magnets on one wall in the ground floor. I went in the month of November, during the cold and snowfall and it surprised me that they would not let me see anything from the top of the tower but watching the snow falling on the many locks decorated in the shape of Christmas trees, it was like a prayer.
The Beomeosa Temple is a Buddhist temple that was built in the late VII century. It is located on a mountain on the northern outskirts of the city of Pusan. It is the head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism and includes multiple chapels, which rise in the mountain of stairs and courtyards. This area is decorated with colored lanterns which are lit at dusk and give the tempe beautiful glow. To get here, you can take the metro to the "Beomeosa" metro stop, and then get on the bus, where you will then walk 5kms from the base of the mountain (where the city ends) to the beginning of the temple.
The Seoraksan National Park, in the northeast of the Republic of South Korea is one of the country's most popular parks. The ideal time to visit is spring and autumn, as the temperature is moderate and the risk of low rainfall in winter is covered by snow and access can be difficult and in summer it's best not to go due to the high probability of rain. Access to the park gate is as easy by bus from Sokcho or by car. There is a fee to be paid at the entrance. Once inside, around the port there are a couple of temples to visit, a large Buddha and a bunch of services. It is also one of the starting points for different walking routes for any levels.
Haeundae Beach, located half an hour by subway from Busan, is the most popular beach in all of South Korea, which is not saying much, because Korea is not exactly famous for its beaches, but the reality is that it is a very well maintained beach of fine sand, with a promenade and which has all necessary amenities located on the edge of the sand, a tourist office with internet access, cafes, restaurants, hotels, a spa, etc. I highly recommend going to the end of the beach to the right hand side and continuing by taking a walk in the park
Hongdae is the most characteristic neighborhood of the city of Seoul. Next to Hongik University, a university for the country's most prestigious young artists, it is a mix of shops, bars and colorful places where Korean youths gather daily. The area breathes life. Cafes during the day give way overnight to international dinners and drinks of all kinds. It helps that this is the neighborhood with the bulk of the city's international hostels. On Saturdays, in one of the many squares, there's a flea market where young artists sell their creations, music, vintage objects, throw concerts, dance or just hang out. It's recommended. I wouldn't mind living there.
Changgyeonggung Palace, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is part of the vast set of five royal palaces in Seoul, which will take the best part of a day to see. As much of the appeal is in the grounds, I went in winter, I decided to visit only two palaces. The joint ticket for the five palaces is about 7 euros, and individually about two. The palace was built in 1104 by King Sejong for his father, Taejong, and in 1483 was expanded and remodeled by King Seongjong. Like the other royal palaces, Changgyeonggung received vast amounts of damage during the Japanese occupation, and they built a zoo and botanical garden, and a museum. The zoo and botanical garden were closed in 1983, while retaining a beautiful tropical flower greenhouse near the main lake. Stunning scenery that is well worth a visit.
Seoul Incheon Airport is the main international airport in the South-Korean Capital. It is situated on the island of Yongjongo at 52 km. from Seoul city and connects to it using a toll road. It has 2 terminals, both of them have been renovated. The 2 have a playful space sponsored by the local tourist office events and workshops related to Korean culture.
Jagalchi Market is the fresh fish market in Pusan. The surrounding of the market of Pusan is a haven of commercial marine atmosphere. Small outdoor stalls where ladies offer the goods ready to taste fresh for customers. Jagalchi Market is a large covered market next to the sea. On the ground floor you can see that South Korea is a country of fishermen. Each post displays merchandise in small or large aquariums octopus, sea snails, crabs, prawns and serrano and countless other fish. The client chooses the fish they want to take home and the fishmongers prepare it right there in front of you. Surprising to Western eyes, but the Koreans are used to it. On the first floor there are restaurants and dried fish stalls. During the summer, the restaurants are bustling and it's even hard to find a free table at night. The fish above the ground floor becomes feast for the palate.
Hyeopjae Beach, which was unpronounceable during the four days I spent on the island, is ideal if you dream about a pristine beach, lush green meadows, white sand and dark volcanic stones. All this on a sunny day. On a cloudy day you have to settle for wating for the next day. It's definitely worth a bus ride from Seogwipo (one hour, 3000w) and learn how to spend a lazy afternoon on the beach. The place is magical.
In this palace, Gyeongbokgung palace, there are no exterior or interior walls, Gyeonghoeru. It is situated in a small square pond. The palace has an area of 931 square meters, 2 floors, and the whole structure rests on 48 columns of stone on the 1st floor. It was the site used for the kings banquets and to receive envoys of strangers, while the people enjoyed the incredible views of the building and of Ingwansan.
Seogwipo is a fishing village. To reach the port is to reaffirm this statement as you can see its huge fishing fleet. Even on rainy days it's non-stop, there are boats of all sizes with their comings and goings, loading and unloading one thing or another. The streets leading down to the harbor, lined with its restaurants and giant aquariums are one of the oldest sources of industry. In the summer, the first tourists start to arrive, nationals and internationals. A postcard of Seogwipo at night overlooking the sea and its port is a dark landscape with screaming sea gulls in the distance, the breeze and thousands of lights looking squid
The Gimhae International Airport (also known as Kimhae International Airport) is located just west of the South Korean city of Busan. It was officially opened in 1976, and until now, was only accessible to passengers by way of bus. Officials estimate, that by the end of 2010, the metropolitan area will reach the airport. The airport is small but it works great, it is fast and effective.
Yeonggeumjeong Sunrise Pavilion is one of the most spectacular views from Sokcho city. So named because the sound of the waves in it, sound like the stringing of an instrument from South Korea: The Geomungo. This pavilion offers a unique view of the East Sea or Japan and the nearby island of Jodo. It is also an excellent location to enjoy the sunrise and the daily work of the fishermen of Sokcho.
I love port areas, in spite of the noise and dirt associated with them, but I guess that having lived for many years a few meters from the fish market in La Coruña I have become immune to it. The port of Busan is flourishing, with shipyards, marinas, large buildings, and is now in the process of being renovated and which among other things they are building anti tsunami walls after experiencing the Japan earthquake of 2011, and in the Yeongdo area they have created a promenade several kilometers long that gives great views of the Bay Bridge. The only downside is that if you do not have time to complete the whole ride, you have to climb hundreds of steps to get to the road to take the bus.
Naksan Temple or Naksansa (-sa means temple in Korean) is a Buddhist temple and one of the most beautiful temples in South Korea as it has a unique location on top of a mountain and overlooking the Sea of Japan. It was built in 671 but, in 2005 suffered a fire from which it is still recovering. Many of the buildings have already been restored, though they still have to build pavilions. In the following link you can see pictures of this fire. Another peculiarity of this temple is the huge statue overlooking one of the towers, the Gwanseum-Bosal representing Haesugwaneumsang (해수 관음 입상), which is a stone statue depicting Bodhisattva, the Buddha of Mercy. Fishermen from the area come here to pray, as he is also considered the "patron" who takes care of the fishermen. The entrance fee to the Temple is 2,000 won. The temple doors open from 4:30 am in the morning as many local people like to get up for sunrise.
North of Gyeongbokgung one will find the royal palace in Seoul. We found this beautiful little octagonal palace. It is located in the center of a small pond full of lotus and in the heart of an island. On the sides of the pond there are some trees that can protect us from the intense heat of August. The little island Hyangwonjeong communicates with the rest of the gardens of the royal palace by a bridge just south of the pond. This is not the original bridge that was situated on the north side, which was destroyed during the Korean War.